Title: Independent reformer
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Title: Independent reformer
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Publisher: Independent Publishing Company (of Belize) Ltd.
Place of Publication: Belize City, Belize
Publication Date: May 11, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00023
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Master chess player Prime Minister
Said Musa may have run out of moves.
New information on the Universal
Health Services Guarantee and docu-
ments signed with the Belize Bank has
caused Belizeans at home and abroad
to follow "Guarantee-Gate" with rapt
attention, and anger.
Leader of the Opposition, Dean Bar-
row has not only reiterated his call for
the Prime Minister's resignation, he has
now set a deadline for the National As-
sembly. His ultimatum: call a house
meeting during which he can challenge
the Guarantee by Friday, May 11, or
the United Democratic Party will hold
a national protest.
The party is now playing hardball af-
ter News 7 disclosed last week that the
Prime Minister had already signed a
settlement deed with the Belize Bank
even as he was instructing his own Fi-
nance Committee to try and "renegoti-
ate" with that bank. In fact, the loan
payments are already overdue.
During a press conference May 3
Barrow said the PM has gone too far
this time: "There are two extremely
grave offenses that the Prime Minister


has committed against the constitution
and the polity of this country. One is
doing the guarantee and now, even
worse, the loan agreement in an unlaw-
ful manner, a patently illegal manner and
the second is in lying to everybody in
an effort to conceal those illegal actions
that had in fact engaged in... There can
be no question of any ignorance on the
part of the Prime Minister. Deliberately,
with malice a forethought, this man se-
cretly converts the already illegal guar-
antee into a loan that expressly violates


the terms and provisions of the Finance
and Reform Act."
In a bizarre twist to the whole affair,
PUP Secretary General Henry Usher,
became a useful pawn as he attempting
to defend the King-who also happens
to be his father- and justify the PUP
Parliamentary Council's support for the
party leader and Prime Minister.
But that was the day BEFORE News
7 showed copies of the Belize Bank
documents which, it seems, the Secre-
tary General did not even know existed.


Barrow lashed the Prime Minister for
this deception too, "So the man lies to
his own son, hangs him out to dry, sac-
rifices him publicly on this altar of fraud
and conspiracy. Well that may be a pri-
vate family matter, I refer to it only be-
cause his son is the Secretary General
officially of the PUP and this was said
on nationwide TV It thus illustrates the
lengths to which Said Wilbert Musa is
prepared to go."
How far Barrow is prepared to go
will be revealed this week as he told
the media he plans to send two motions
to the National Assembly asking 1)
House members to rej ect the loan ar-
rangements as unlawful 2) declare any
payments to the Belize Bank would be
illegal.
The Prime Mini ster was in Taiwan for
most of the firestorm but was expected
back in Belize on Sunday. Just what sort
of reception will greet him is unclear, but
Belizeans all over the world are not likely
to let him sacrifice other key players so
easily this time. They will also expect
the opposition to make good on its own
promised moves.


Supply Down, Milk

Prices Could Rise


Belizean consumers may see some
increases in the price of their powdered
milk and possibly condensed, evapo-
rated and other dairy products due to
heavy demand on European Union
countries and a shrinking supply in other
parts of the world.
Grace Kennedy Belize says Belizean
buyers should be made aware of the
current conditions which MAY result in
higher prices locally.
According to Melkweg Market Re-
port on Milk Powder last month there
is a historic high in world market prices
for all dairy commodities with heavy
pressure on the EU. Melkweg cited
conditions in a number of producing
countries: New Zealand-sold out for
the season, Australia-experiencing a
drought, USA-not appearing on the
market and behind schedule in deliver-
ing contracts, India-export ban,
Ukraine-seasonal shortage, Argen-
tina-new export tax leading to can-


celed contracts.
According to the report, buying zones
such as Algeria, Egypt, Mexico, Brazil,
South-East Asia are already experienc-
ing shortages and looking for milk pow-
der and Europe could be next.
According to Fronterra Briefing
Notes however, while there is growing
demand for fresh milk in many coun-
tries, "traditionally, developing markets
have shifted from powders to con-
densed milk to fresh milk as consumers
become more sophisticated and more
affluent. What we are seeing now is a
much faster transition to fresh milk."
Perhaps Belize's Mennonites might
see some increase in sales if there is a
shortage, however, a great many
Belizeans still rely on imported prod-
ucts due to refrigeration or other con-
straints, or simply prefer the taste they
grew up on.
Information for this article was supplied
by Grace Kennedy Belize Ltd.


Can the himself out ofthe mess?
Can the PM pull himself out of the UHS mess?


Ms Y' 2007


Mrs. Anita Henry wins Ms 'Y' pageant. (see story on pg. 16)








Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2



1


Testing Our Mettle
Dear Editor,
Greetings. It is a tough environment
in Belize taking on 'the powers that be'
especially after what has occurred with
David Gibson, Christine Perriot and now
reports are in the media about Dr
Corinth Morter Lewis... People have to
be reminded of these 3 cases and simi-
lar cases over time. The majority of
Belizean public servants are one pay-
check away from financial difficulty
hence the fear of losing one's job.
"Dinero para mis amigos, Bala para mis
enemigos y Palo (beatings) para los
indecisos"
Business is far stronger than govern-
ment; government is far stronger than
civil society. We have to use some the
oil money to strengthen civil society with
education (not for the same 20 names
that usually get everything, ordinary
Belizeans-- not Preferred Belizeans) 20
PhD per year for the next 20 years, 40
MA per year for the next 20 years, 80
BA per year for the next 20 years. This
is additional to whatever training is oc-
curring now. It is likely that from these
2800+ people will come our next:
Phillip Goldson, Antonio Soberanis,
Henry Fairweather (This man planted
hundreds of mahogany trees knowing
he would not harvest, that's a patriot),
David Price, Julian Cho... It's possible
that there still is a moratorium on study
leave in the public service how will we
ever climb out of the hole without edu-
cation.
How many people could have been
educated with $33 Million? How much
money has been collected from the oil
company? How many geologists, indus-
trial engineers and surveyors are being
trained with the proceeds from oil, min-
ing around Belize? How has the money
collected from oil been used? How many


more loan guarantees have been signed?
How much is Mahogany Heights worth
today? How much was reportedly spent
on Mahogany Heights? Keep bringing
up these and other issues on our behalf.

signed, Concerned Lecturer

Textbook
Standardization Poses
Threat to Belizean
Printer
Dear Editor,
With the Government's free book
giveaway, the Ministry of Education
has chosen the Learning Tree reading
series for seven of Belize's eight
school years. They begin in Infant
One. MoE also chose a second set
of readers: for Infant One, Fast Phon-
ics written by QADS/MoE and the
New Caribbean Readers for Infant
Two through Standard Five.
The reasons why MoE/QADS did
not include BRC's books in the free
give away are complicated, full of
questionable, opinionated reasoning
and wrong.
BRC's reading method is called
Phonics First. The only reading
method Ministry of Education accepts
is the Whole Language method. By
the early 1990's, the Whole Language
reading method proved to be a fail-
ure in developed nations. It even
failed when the parents helped their
children and their children spoke En-
glish as a first language. It is for that
reason that "Hooked on Phonics" was
extremely successful. Today the de-
veloped world is using phonics based
books. BRC is a phonics based
book.
Because MoE demands that


schools use the Whole Language
method, they have been trying to get
BRC's books out of schools. Up until
now MoE has not been successful.
Children learn using BRC's phon-
ics first reading method, so BRC has
grown in the number of schools using
their books. More schools are using
BRC's books this year than in any pre-
vious year. Eighty-four percent of
Infant One children in Belize are cur-
rently being taught using BRC's Phon-
ics First method.
BRC' S Math and Reading for the
first three years of school are used by
a very large majority of the children
in Belize. I believe that an injustice will
be done to the children of Belize if the
MoE/GoB plan is carried out. I and
BRC's books, will be attacked, but
our children's learning cannot be sac-
rificed.
Thanks Deacon Cal,
BRC Printing Ltd.
E-mail: brc@btl.net


I Now available


independent.newspaper.bz@gmail.com
P.O. Box 2(666
Bclic Citl. Beli/c

71 YES! Send me 6 months of the INdependent Reformer for as little as
BZ$30 ( (ULIS$S30.00 international)

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Independent Reformer
Weekly
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Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3


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.... J Ei "E : :


MARK
0 ESPAT
and tihe
PUPAlberI Commintee







Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4



Loan backsaid

even he knows anymore. All I know is is a ceremonial role; it is the Prime Min- Would we feel optimistic again?
it is a mystery to me how a man who isterwholeadsus. . wherever he wants Would the feeling last? Could we re-
was revealed to have lied in the cham- us to go. build this country, or at least salvage
bers of the House of Representatives So many people responded (verbally some of her?
while Minister of Immigration EVER and by email) to a piece I did recently Ithinkwe must begin to move forward
rose to be the leader of this country. on going to Chetumal. They all echoed towards this time... we must rise above
Why we, the Belizean public allowed the sentiment that when you are there, the current scandals on the ground and
7. think granderthoughts. Write offthose who
is"t .he.. H-.. are so flawed in character they can no
-' .It is the Prime M minister who leads longerholdtheirheadsup in public, or
B: KarlaHeusnerVernon whr h wevenwithintheir own families, and usher
Witheachnewdaythereseemsto US...wherever he wants us to go. inpeoplewecanrespect.
be a new deceit. So it is difficult for me, So who? Got any suggestions? Who
sitting here on Sunday, May 6, to know it, mystifies me still. We should have seen a weight is lifted from you, you feel less among the current PUP power structure
what will have transpired by the time the cut of his jib from early on. But then, stressed, more like yourself before ev- could we accept if Said should suddenly
you read this. So please forgive me if he seemed so sincere... erything fell to pieces in our own land. find religion, or the party suddenly re-
something maj or has developed, if there Some will blame the party system, say I tried to recapture that feeling this morn- trieves its backbone? The obvious choices
has been a resignation, a call for elec- the PUP chose him for us. Ifthat is so, ing when Iwoke up. I imagined what it are Mark and Johnny. Orboth, one Prime
tion, coup, some horrendous blood- maybe we have learned our lesson. would be like if there had been elec- Minister, the other Deputy. Markknows
shed. Maybe it is time we consider the direct tions and the man so many believe has thetourism market and international bank-
Many Belizeans are feeling that some- election of our Prime Minister or adopt sold us out, had been ejected from his ing climate. Johnny knows how to hold
thing occurring, even something ugly, is a republican form with a President. job. this place together in an emergency and
better than no change at all. Maybe the greatest job in the country What if, when we woke up tomor- has been an integral part ofthebirth ofthe
Many people have written about, or shouldbe filledby an applicant who gets row, there was a new government? Ei- oil industry.
written to, the man who holds us hos- more than a few thousand people's their a re-formed and reformed PUP, a But what of Joe? Would we not need
tage. They have threatened, they have votes and the support of a handful of renewed UDP, oramixture of either of his skillstogetusbackontrack?Arethere
pleaded, they have tried to appeal to partisan hangers-on. Last week the the above and some VIP or NRP or others, working in the background,
his sense of honor and decency. All, at Belize Times blared, "PUP back Said." members of the now forming Alliance. pushed away orunder, who could not be
this writing, to no avail. More like PUP loans back Said. Lone What if there was a new slate, a clean ofuse....? I say we look at each and ever
What kind of man is he? Perhaps not backside indeed. Like it or not, the GG slate, of people ready to represent us? (Please Turn To Page 13) "




























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You've painted yourself into a corner uith noluhere to go. NoU don't say I didn't uarn you'







Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5


I


a


By: Trevor Vernon
We are witnessing in Belize unusual
and incredible phenomena as a direct
consequence of the wonderful leader-
ship skills of the duly elected and in-
stalled Prime Minister. The man has
skills that would make Machiavelli en-
vious; Machiavelli had nothing on this
man and his mind. More should aspire
to be as great as Musa, instead of criti-
cizing him for the few shortcomings.
Once you get beyond those, you will
come to appreciate how truly great the
man is.
As a leader, Musa has moved Belize
out of the darkness... forget the costs,
please. The billions in loans that have
been built up is merely paper when you
think about it; and, Musa will fix it so
your children aren't hurt and won't suf-
fer. We now have beautiful roads, a fu-
turistic international airport, great wa-
terways, excellent communication ser-
vices, uninterrupted power supplies,
endless supply of drinking water, impec-
cable judiciary (he started out as a mag-
istrate), true separation of powers, un-
matched education system where the
poorest can get a good education,
houses galore and cheap too. And
money is circulating like crazy, if only
for a few. It's not Musa's fault that you
can't get any. You cannot blame him for
everything.
As a family man, the little we know is
that the man has been wildly successful
there too. Wildly successful... the envy
of most Belizean men and women. The
man has had a great many cakes and
kept them too, simultaneously.
As a scholar, the man is super well-
read... says so right there on his
website. Sartre to Satow, the man has
mastered them all. Well actually, his
website puts it better:
"He is a man of action, yet a closet
intellectual, as familiar with Camus and
Voltaire, and Vivaldi, as he is with "Baca
a' town Blues" and Punta Rebels. From
MajesticAlley tofBelmopan, Said Musa
is the archetype of Kipling's man. He
can walk among kings, but still keep the
common touch."
And he writes too. He writes up a
storm; the envy of world scholars. He
wrote and delivered quite a few great
speeches. You should see the ones he
did in London at exclusives lecture se-
ries and Leadership Conferences. The
man is the envy of Presidents and
Prime Ministers. Pity those don't get
released in Belize so you can read


them too. You should have seen the
one he delivered at "Whitehall", was
it? He lashed the Lord most cruelly
during the romance period with
Prosser of BTL fame. Why Press Of-
fice won't release that one is beyond
me. After all he was speaking for the
people of Belize and a beautiful
speech it was. Wished I had kept a
copy, but it was an eyes only docu-
ment the 'jefa' had said. I guess we
have to trust their good judgment to
"keep you from hurting yourselves."
Okay, I know what you are saying.
Yes, as a leader he has had to be lib-
eral with the facts and with the na-
tional treasury. What do you expect?
The man has a country to run. A coun-
try! It's no easy task. Give the guy a
break, okay? He's only human and
with the pressures he faces on a daily
basis, he deserves a little something
extra. Okay? Relax, its not that bad.
Wait till you get the other guy then let's
hear what samba you'll sing then
when he does what he has to do.
And the man Said W. Musa, excuse
me, The Right Honorable Said W.
Musa, has paid his dues and has
earned everything he has the good old
fashioned way: hard work. Please.
Let's not argue and fight about this. It
says so on his very own official
webpage. Oh, you want a reference?
I'll stick it in at the end. Here's what
it says, and we have no reason to
question this:
"Said Musa has been in public life
for the past twenty five years. During
this time he worked and served Belize
as Attorney General; Minister of Edu-


cation; Foreign Affairs; Economic De-
velopment; Sports and Culture. He has
won four general elections as the rep-
resentative of the Fort George constitu-
ency of Belize City. He has earned his
stripes."
I say we need to amend the consti-


Operations Executive -


I


tution and name this guy President-
for-life. What will that take? Well,
we have another wonderful world
class attorney & scholar to figure that
out. Let Ghandi figure it out like he
has figured everything else out for the
(Please Turn To Page 10) EMJ


I I I -


International Company


The succoissrul candidate will be reyiil for coordinating the bra nch
fi.-inagcn ll niacross the entire otp.,r~1ii1I1 and rnuitist tAilc to drive the
relevant performance indicators and J011% tur business fs wuils.

PrinLczp~il Ihpfns.ibilIice include but not limited Lo;
0 Monitoring of Businessi Performalnce
Moni I or bhi nc-s-iperfrmanev in branch operations a~nd .ik Io'- .I Ill..!*Ir
[trfo majicte improvement mCINmUres

I h~I e rini. Ajj-rd K!"Is
I )ovelrpai d. 'Iexecute s~pectific initjanvvqto I',lur'latin le rive for orr i''
L' kL 4Jiiti., ie-5ga],iI tI h I ill, ~~I ubLgI A ir. .rgets, FrL,LLtibiii And Nrv-

a M.,nagi ng and NMeli~ .ling Vrcronnet
Effecl ivedv n .lnLj1 pi-rsrilnel !to ensure thati each achleves hi- ih.r imdiv iduII .nd
t"M I tmuLotiflt.~bI ihiti'-, 'N ile zreatIinga~n tenvirlrIpTfl011l


T he successful candidate muist have:
F. 1. -.oi I jrwrit-nct in the 1Retajl business, li~i iiig proven track record in
11'1,11T a tfa to delivery ~ne~resiults.
*"~.i "Ii, r. ai dt.r, ii. n .,,tnero. Trmanagement tor branch iopvtr onshaving
1uincthiid at senior level ci fi minimum o(45 vers.I
Ir.i .j1Ni~to partner with and tohilIniIi IlkL -A'* lltral all lvverl" uf Ihe

*DriFve and be a sellI Jotorirth vai1, .ii communication 4;ill.
1 1, :k-. -1, 1. beig dhle o i)iravel ih1i, 'ith *ri the (inonlrv at short notiLce
a A Clea~n driver's 11,~n

Deadline is May 1 8th. 2007.
Please mail your resume to:
Horwoth Belize
P.O. Box 756
Belize City,
Belize


Try al


Canned

Vegetables


Available at your
fa vourite
Supermarket or
Grocery Store.

Distributed by:
GraceKennedy(Belize) Ltd.







Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6


Israel's strong interest in continuing to
support programs of the Organization
of American States (OAS) was the sub-
j ect of discussion as Assistant Secre-
tary General Albert R. Ramdin this
week received Ambassador Dorit
Shavit, Director General for Latin
America and the Caribbean in the Is-
raeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Am-
bassador Shavit was at the
Organization's headquarters on a cour-
tesy visit.
Ambassador Ramdin briefed the visit-
ing Israeli official and her delegation on
the Western Hemisphere organization's
principal objectives and thrusts-around
the promotion of democracy and human
rights, integral development and security
from a multidimensional perspective. He
explained as well the range of issues and
activities that will be presented to the OAS
General Assembly-to be held June 3 to
5 in Panama City-which the Israeli dip-
lomat will also be attending.
Ramdin made mention of the special
OAS support for Haiti and the need for
support to vulnerable economies in the
Caribbean and Central America. The

UPF Ambassi
Students of the Seven Day
Adventist Primary School in Santa
Elena and the San Antonio RC Primary
School in San Antonio Village can now
have music lessons to play the recorder,
thanks to the Universal Peace
Federation (UPF)..
UPF Chairman for the Cayo
District and Ambassador for Peace Mr.
Ivan Roberts, and Ambassadors for
Peace Dr. Katsuhiko Ando and his son
Yoshiaki Ando, both from Japan,
donated ten recorders to the two
schools on Monday, April 2.
Dr. Katsuhiko Ando and his son
also performed a few magic tricks for
the children during the presentations. Dr.
Katsuhiko Ando, a commercial banker
and a dear friend of Mr. Roberts,
brought these recorders from donors
in Japan. Mr. Roberts said that the UPF
is currently running a number of
educational programs in Belize and as
the Chairman for the Cayo District, and
a candidate for the up coming general
election, he will make sure that as many
schools within the Cayo District,
partake in these programs.
Mr. Robert,s with his eye on the
Cayo Central Constituency, said that


Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin receives Ambassador Dorit Shavit,
Director General for Latin America and the Caribbean and Minister Michael Eligal,
Latin America &Caribbean Division.


lors donate recorders to


Assistant Secretary General and Am-
bassador Shavit also reviewed OAS
programs that currently enjoy support
from Israel, including some under the
Young Americas Business Trust
(YABT), whose Chief Executive Officer
Roy Thomasson was among those on
hand for meeting. The Director of the
OAS Department of External Relations,
Irene Klinger, was also present.
Shavit identified other potential areas
of interest, such as courses in gover-
nance and security, in which her gov-
ernment is willing to provide additional
assistance. Ramdin conveyed the
Organization's deep appreciation for the
interest as well as the longstanding sup-
port and collaboration it receives from
Israel, a permanent observer since 1972
and thus one of the first countries to be
granted that status with the OAS.
Accompanying Ambassador Shavit
on the visit to the OAS were Michael
Eligal of the Latin America and Carib-
bean Division of the Israeli Foreign Min-
istry and Oren Anolik, Alternate Rep-
resentative of Israel's Permanent Ob-
server Mission to the OAS.

Cavo schools


Cayo students thankedAmbassadors for Peace Mr. Ivan Roberts, Dr. Katsuhiko Ando and his son YoshiakiAndo for the gift of the
recorders and were entertained by their magic tricks.


the UPF is currently awaiting another
shipment of computers and those


schools who have already submitted
their request for computers will be


receiving their computers as soon as they
arrive in Belize.


For an online version of the INdependent Reformer visit us at

http://www.belizenorth.com/ independentreformer.htm







Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7


PNP & We the People reprove UHS Guarantee

Pledge to Limit Government Power by Constitutional Reform


The key issue in the scandal
around the Universal Health Ser-
vices guarantee by Prime Minister
Said Musa is process. The Prime
Minister should never have signed
a guarantee to the Belize Bank tak-
ing on the debt of UHS without go-
ing through the process outlined in
our Constitution which requires ap-
proval from the National Assembly.
The fact that the PM did not have
proper authority to take on this
debt yet was able to hide his ac-
tivities and evade accountability
shows that our Constitution needs
reform in order to limit the discre-
tionary power of elected officials.
We are not a free nation if the of-


fice of the Prime Minister can hold
so much power and our directly
elected representatives in the Na-
tional Assembly are not able to pro-
vide any checks on his power be-
cause they are oblivious to his ac-
tions. Belize needs Constitutional
reform that places defined limits on
power with no loopholes like hav-
ing "prior approval of Cabinet," as
is allowed under the Finance and
Audit Act, which states that the PM
can spend more money on a project
without the approval of the National
Assembly if he has gotten approval
for the project previously. Belize
needs stronger checks on discre-
tionary power of government offi-


cials or the people will continue to
pay the price for the mistakes and
abuses of elected officials that act
without regard for process or rule
of law.
Cabinet ministers cannot be ex-
cused by claiming ignorance. It is
the individual responsibility of each
minister to be aware of what the
Prime Minister is doing because he
or she is responsible to the public
for what the GOB does. Section
44(2) of the Constitution states that
the Cabinet is responsible "for all
things done by or under the author-
ity of any Minister in the execution
of his office." Further, The Public
Finance Committee is responsible


for ensuring greater oversight of
public finances. Professing igno-
rance does not inspire confidence
in leadership and it should not pre-
vent voters from holding cabinet
ministers accountable on election
day. Exercising our right to vote for
another candidate is the ultimate
limit on the power of government
officials.
Meanwhile Belize still lacks a public
health care system and building one be-
comes more difficult with an unstable and
unpredictable government. Corruption
and lack of good governance hold back
the development ofBelize's public infra-
structure and private enterprise.
Press Release


VIP condemns intimidation of ACB


The VIP condemns the attempt
by Mr. Phil Johnson of the Belize
Bank Ltd. to intimidate and harass
members of The Association Of
Concerned Belizeans who in the
practice of their democratic and
constitutional rights have filed an
action in the Supreme Court to
estopp the Government of Belize
from unlawfully making payment to
the Belize Bank in fulfillment of a
purported guarantee on behalf of
the Universal Health Services.
The VIP wishes to make it clear
to Mr. Michael Ashcroft, the pro-
prietor of the Belize Bank that his


continued hostility towards Belize
and Belizeans will be resisted. It is
for this reason that the VIP has
closed its account with the Belize
Bank and is encouraging other com-
munity minded individuals and or-
ganizations to do likewise. At the
same time the VIP assures the
bank's employees that this action
has become necessary as a last re-
sort to bring to the fore issues re-
lating to our governance which have
disproportionately favored the pro-
prietor of the Belize bank at the ex-
pense of ordinary Belizeans.
It clear to the VIP that election


campaign financing must be the criti-
cal issue surrounding this matter. It
is an issue that both the PUP and
the UDP have failed to address
even though this issue alone has
done untold damage to our finan-
cial and economic system. In the
interest of our nation, the VIP there-
fore takes this opportunity to call
on both political parties to immedi-
ately address the matter of election
campaign financing.
At the same time the VIP also
wishes to lend its support to the
work of the ACB and Honorable
Senator Godwin Hulse whose tire-


less efforts have assisted in high-
lighting the corrupt practices of the
current government administration.
The purported guarantee by Gov-
ernment on behalf of a private en-
tity, the UHS is a shameless and
despicable act perpetuated on the
people of Belize that must not go
unchallenged.
The current crisis demands that
GOB makes known all of the facts
on this issue and that the matter be
debated fully in the National As-
sembly before any action is taken
regarding payment on the guaran-
tee. Press Release


SPEAR condemns


UHS guarantee


The Society for the Promotion of
Education, Advocacy, and Re-
search (SPEAR), categorically con-
demns the Government of Belize's
conduct as it relates to the reckless
signing of an open ended guarantee
offered for Universal Health Ser-
vices private loan of $33 Million
from the Belize Bank Limited and
which first came to public knowl-
edge exactly eight months ago.
In reviewing the time-line of
events from August 2006, SPEAR
notes that there have been gross
and consistent violations of Good
Governance Practices on the part
of Government, namely in its fail-
ure to take the matter of a sover-
eign guarantee to the House of Rep-
resentatives, which is the national
forum for Public Finance debate, in
order to have kept Belizeans fully
informed. That horrendous act of
deception was preceded by the ap-
parently deliberate failure to dis-
close the UHS guarantee to the


cabinet, failure of a Ministry of
Health appointed task force to ad-
equately address the idea of a
merger with KHMH because of
lack of transparency, and the intent
to swap public land in lieu of a pri-
vate sector debt cancellation.
SPEAR expresses its deep con-
cern over the Government's mis-
guided decisions to risk public mon-
ies to guarantee private sector ven-
tures, because such decisions have
serious implications for the people
of Belize and the nation insofar as
they relate to investor confidence,
national credibility, the management
of the local economy, and therefore
to national security.
SPEAR calls on the Prime Minis-
ter of Belize to immediately bring
this crisis to a final and positive
resolution by going back to the
House of Representatives for a vote
on the matter of the Government of
Belize's Sovereign Guarantee to the
Belize Bank for the UHS loan.


PRAGMATICA INVESTMENTS
Mile 46. Western Highway
Mount Pleasant, Belmopan
Tel/Fax: 501 822 2290
Cel: 501 620 3535
Email:harrisonbz@yahoo.com

Senior Partner:
Richard Harrison, MBA, BSPharm


* MANAGEMENT CONSULTANCY
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Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8










St Kitts halves Electricity Cost


By: Meb Cutlack
In a little heralded move the govern-
ment of the tiny island community
of St Kitts and Nevis has taken
measures to reduce the cost of elec-
tricity to consumers by almost half.
At a recent Cabinet meeting un-
der the chairmanship of Prime Min-
ister Dr. Denzil Douglas, it was an-
nounced that by using cheaper
heavier fuel oil at the generating
plant the price of electricity could
be cut by 10.5 cents a KWH.
"This conversion, however, will
cost the government $12.6 million
over two years," said Minister of
State for Information, Sen. Nigel
Carty.
Senator Carty said that Cabinet
was concerned about the environ-
mental impact of the use of heavier
diesel fuel and therefore they had
commissioned an Environmental
Impact Assessment, which will be
done according to international
standards.
The importance of this announce-
ment for Belize is that the Belizean
Government, with or without Fortis,
could supply the Belizean consum-
ers with electricity at probably half
the current price if new 'clean' hot
bed generating plants were put in
place to generate power from our
own oil resources.
Going back over 20 years; a
Colorado oil man drilled several
wells at Belmopan. He reported to
government then that one of these
wells could electrify Belmopan (as
a growing metropolis) for the next
35 years. The cost of using the oil
would have given Belmopan power
at about 7 cents or less a kilowatt
including amortizing the cost of the
generating plant.
The Belizean government ignored
his conclusion and his research.
It seems we have a government
(and it pretty well applies to all our
governments since Independence)
which puts profit before the inter-
ests of the people.
Today Fortis is spending another
$100,000,000 on a third dam -
which will not only up the price of
our electricity but tie us to a 15%
to 20% interest payback in U.S.
dollars for the next 50 years. It is
ruthless capitalism at its worse and
adds an even greater burden to the
already outrageous Chalillo dam
debt.
We have our own oil and we have


known it since the early 1980's and
yet we have to pay the highest elec-
tricity costs in the Western world.
We should be using our own oil
to fire our generators and our
people should not be deprived of
the benefit of the oil discovery but
profit from it.
Our cruder oil is some of the fin-
est grade oil on the planet and will


+conscious community


burn directly into generators with-
out expensive refining and yet we
have to put up with Chalillo's huge
costs and the high mark up to im-
port expensive fuel oil for generat-
ing power.
BEL is a prime example of 'deals'
which favor rich foreign companies
at the expense of Belizean consum-
ers in the same manner, as BTL


+fully fenced 6' high


and the former water company
WASA were 'sold off'.
The ongoing and extraordinary
deception over the UHS hospital
scandal is just one more deception
engineered at the expense of all
Belizeans.
What a shame our government
does not follow the lead of the
leader of St. Kitts and Nevis.


contact Independent Weekly


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Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9




The Fruits of Our Sweat!


By: Richard Harrison
My rough estimate of the domestic
market for fresh fruits in Belize is around
BZ$30 million per annum. This market
can be expected to continue to increase
exponentially as Belizeans become more
health conscious, as their incomes and
education improve, and also as a result
of the growing tourism market.
This market is very important for the
small and medium producers, who natu-
rally depend on the domestic market to
consume what they produce. Hence,
the growth and development of this sub-
sector is vital to livelihood of thousands
of persons, from backyard growers to
street market vendors.
One backyard grower mentioned to
me that he was paid BZ$500 by a fruit
trader, for all the avocados on one of
the trees in his yard. He did not have to
lift a finger, as the trader brought his
helpers and they harvested the fruits
themselves. My estimate of current
demand for avocado in Belize is BZ$3
- 5 million at the farm gate; if the fruit
was made available year round as it is
in Mexico, and the culture of consum-
ing avocado was promoted to the gen-
eral population. The current harvest
is estimated to value less than BZ$1 mil-
lion per year to the farmer.
My information is that 95% of the
avocado trees currently in production
are from varieties that bear fruit from
July to October, only 4 months of the
year. Only five percent are from the
varieties that bear fruit outside of this
"window". Hence, there is a glut dur-
ing the months from July to October,
over-supplying the market demand dur-
ing this period. This causes increased
competition during those months, which
in turn causes the price to be relatively
low. At these low prices; farmers, trad-
ers and retailers can only realize a nomi-
nal profit from their investments; while
the consumers "gain" by paying a lower
price.
The avocados that "come in" be-
fore July are called early varieties.
Those that deliver fruit after October
are called late varieties. Farmers that
have early and late varieties harvest
their crop during a period that avo-
cado is relatively scarce, hence they
have less competition for their pro-
duce, and they can sell for a higher
price during those months. Early and
late avocados sell with ease for as high
as BZ$1.50 per fruit. At this price,
farmers, traders and retailers stand to
make a decent profit; while the con-
sumers "lose" by paying a higher price.
I suggest that the market determines
what the consumer is willing and able
to pay for a produce. I suggest that
the consumer is interested in having
avocados available all year round, and
thus "lose" by not having this demand


fulfilled. The consumer may thus be
willing and able to pay BZ$1.50 for a
good quality avocado; if it was made
available all year round.
It is known that Belize already has
the varieties that would allow year-
round production of avocados. It is
also known that the agronomic con-
ditions in the north, central and south
regions of Belize provide ideal and
differential conditions for segmenta-
tion of the crop varieties by geo-
graphical regions; so that different
parts of the country can harvest dur-
ing different periods of the year. This
opens the possibilities for significant
trading activity for this fruit between
these regions; as each region in pro-
duction sells to the region that is out
of production. This is the promise that
can result from production and mar-
ket planning.
This kind of scenario exists for
many fruits that can be produced in
Belize. The fruit market can become
a lot more important to the livelihood
of many lower and middle income
families. This importance can be en-
hanced if the fruit production is con-
centrated in clusters of backyard gar-
dens in villages with close proximity,
so that production, harvesting and
handling factors could be consoli-
dated at rationalized costs.
Both agronomic and cultural char-
acteristics can be taken into account
in this planning. While some villages
are well suited agronomically and cul-
turally to growing crops such as to-
mato, cabbage and lettuce; others
might be more suited to growing back-
yard fruit trees that does not require
daily and intense care.
The San Estevan to Sarteneja rim
already has a history of avocado pro-
duction which can be enhanced. The
villages along the old northern high-
way, the stretch from Roaring Creek
to Esperanza and the villages from
Pomona to Punta Gorda are ideal lo-
cations for setting up backyard avo-
cado production clusters.
Belize only needs about 10,000 ma-
ture avocado trees to supply the en-
tire domestic demand. Avocado trees
take approximately 5 years to bear
fruit. If more trees than this are
propagated, in the absence of an ex-
port market, then the domestic mar-
ket will be over-supplied, the prices
will fall and the incentive for the
farmer-trader-retailer chain will be
extinguished, defeating the entire pur-
pose of the exercise. Brooks
Tropicals, the same company that
now exports most of 'our' papaya, is
also developing a lucrative world-
trade in avocados.
Belize has various cooperation
agreements with Mexico. Mexico has


been very successful at penetrating the
large US market with exports of their
fresh avocados. They have mature
production and market experience
that they are willing to share with us.
There is a growing market for pro-
cessed avocado, especially for avo-
cado oil which is used in expensive
cosmetic products. It would take a
one-year cooperation with Mexican
help, to graft 10,000 avocado trees
of the appropriate varieties, and have
them ready for planting in the desig-
nated cluster villages at a nominal cost
to the farmers. Within five-six years
we would have added another $3 4
million dollars to the pockets of small
and medium farmers, especially as
supplemental income to families who
grow fruits in their backyard; poten-
tially increasing their wealth.
When small and medium producers
increase their income by $3 4 mil-
lion; they increase their savings, in-
vestments and consumption in the rest
of the economy, causing a multiplier
effect of potentially BZ$20 million.
Service industries develop as a pe-
riphery to production enterprise. It is
a fallacy to believe that an economy
can become dependent entirely on a
service sector, without having its own
production base, or a strong financial
integration to production bases such
as does Switzerland to Europe, Hong
Kong to China, Bahamas to the USA,
and Ireland to the USA/UK. Produc-
tion is still the core around which sus-
tainable services develop. Fad ser-
vices can and do develop without a
production core, however these are
highly likely to be unsustainable and
short-lived.
The avocado-scenario exist with
many other factors of production
within the Belize economy that can
improve the livelihood of small and
medium producers; and hence the
general economy.
Improving the small and medium
producers economy is lifting up the
country from its base. It is the setting
of a very strong foundation upon
which to build, with dignity for the
least among us. The already wealthy


will become even more so, as the
small and medium producers earn
more income and can demand more
services and goods that the wealthy
'control'.
The mango blossom this year seems
a little light. This might mean a less-
than-bountiful harvest of ripe mango
for small and medium farmers. This
might mean that consumers will have
to settle for green mango or "curtido"
mango, as the farmers cannot leave
the fruits to wither on the trees from
lack of water. Farmers that depend
on mango for supplementing their in-
come may see a little 'haad time' this
year.
Imagine if we concentrated our
fruits production in village clusters
within the various agronomic regions
of the country. Imagine if we had
more irrigation of fruits trees? Imag-
ine if we were constantly improving
our fruit-tree varieties to obtain the
more dominant genetics that give
higher yields and better quality fruits,
and are disease resistant. Imagine if
we had as many volunteers pollinat-
ing our fruit trees during blossom sea-
son, as we do for the climb up
Victoria Peak, walk-a-tons, and other
such "fund-raisers"? Imagine if we had
more agriculture professionals who
dedicated their lives to improving our
agricultural production instead of
pushing paper in air-conditioned of-
fices or offering 'consultancy' ser-
vices? Imagine if we grew more
honey bees near the clusters of vil-
lages that produce backyard fruits.
More of our blossoms would turn to
fruits. More of our fruits would be-
come ripened and sweet.
When last did you see a healthy and
ripe local guava, or custard apple or
sour-sop? Much less toki? Some-
thing is happening to some of our "in-
digenous" fruits; such that if nothing
is done; future generations might only
hear stories that such fruits existed in
Belize.
Do Belize and Belizeans wish to har-
vest more ripe and sweet fruits in its
future? Must we beware of the fruits
of our sweat?


Q0, 2l, 7%)

WE PAY CASH FOR
INFORMATION
ON ANY UNSOLVED CRIMES
O A Cnlennial Communilt Pmvim Cordincdtd by ahe Rotay Club of BUali.








Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10


Identity and belonging, rooted in the land


Kate Heartfield, The Ottawa Citizen
The tiny country of Belize can teach a
big lesson to Canada, if Canada both-
ers to pay attention. The lesson is this:
If you reform property rights on re-
serves, you had better do it right.
Belize is a former British colony. It has
a reservation system that encompasses
part of the land the Mayans see as their
ancestral territory.
If you believe that only individuals
have rights, the whole question of what
to do with communal land is simple:
Chop it into parcels, distribute the par-
cels and call it a day. The principle ap-
peals to me, because private land own-
ership makes economic sense. In prac-
tice, there are hundreds of ways to mess
up that kind of project, to create bitter-
ness and litigation that can last years.
Jim Prentice, Canada's minister for
aboriginal affairs, is trying to step gently
onto thin ice by encouraging private
home ownership on reserves while pre-
serving communal land ownership.
We'll see if it works, and what the next
step is.
In Belize, the government's approach
hasn't been working very well, at least
if you ask many of the Mayans, or the
University of Toronto legal team that is
pressing their case.
The Mayans and the government have
been disputing resource and property


rights all over southern Belize. The gov-
ernment is understandably eager to
grant logging and oil concessions. Pri-
vate land ownership encourages devel-
opment and investment: good things in
a poor country, but not without safe-
guards for the ecology and human
rights.
In 2001, the government began hand-
ing out leases and grants in the village
of San Pedro Columbia, which is inside
a reservation.
According to Sarah Perkins, the act-
ing director of the International Human
Rights Program at the UofT faculty of
law, this process has displaced about
200 families in San Pedro Columbia
because the leases haven't respected
the customary land use patterns of the
Mayan farmers. "We have significant
numbers of people who have been dis-
placed and no longer use the land that
their families have occupied for genera-
tions."
Ms. Perkins, who is now a lawyer,
was a student at the U of T when she
became involved in this project in 2003.
She and other students and faculty trav-
elled to Belize in the intervening years
to gather evidence. With the help of
Belizean and Canadian lawyers, the U
ofT team is now bringing a challenge
on behalf of Mayans to the Supreme
Court of Belize.


Paul Schabas, a Canadian lawyer who
is working on the case pro bono and
just got back from Belize, says the case
could influence common law in Canada.
Belize's constitution is similar to our
own, and of course we have communal
land rights here, although the situation
of subsistence farmers in the small coun-
try of Belize is not very analogous to
the situation in Kashechewan in north-
ern Ontario.
I lived in Belize for 10 months in 1994
and 1995. I spent about half that time
in the one-phone village of Georgetown,
on a dirt road off the Southern High-
way. Georgetown is populated by
Garifuna people, descended from a mix
of escaped African slaves with peoples
indigenous to South America and the
Caribbean.
If you walk about two kilometres fur-
ther down the road that runs through
Georgetown, you come to the village
of Maya Mopan, where Mayan people
live and farm.
As a Canadian, I had trouble get-
ting used to the idea of communities
based, even unofficially, on ethnicity.
Georgetown was almost entirely
Garifuna; Maya Mopan was almost
entirely Mayan. The people did busi-
ness with each other and went to the
same soccer games, but that mile of
dirt road was always there. The


people on either end of the mile spoke
different languages, wore different
clothing, ate different food.
I hear Belize is changing, slowly.
Most of the Southern Highway, little
better than a mud track when I was
there, has been paved. Other forces,
including private land ownership,
threaten the idea of discrete ethnic
communities. "There's a lot of evi-
dence that when you allow land to be
alienable, the community on that land
disappears very quickly," says Ms.
Perkins.
I don't know if communities such
as Maya Mopan or San Pedro Co-
lumbia will be able to survive intact
and unadulterated forever, and to be
honest I'm not sure they should.
I do know that a sustainable
economy must be based on respect
for sound agricultural and forestry
practices, and that whatever a gov-
ernment does with land must be done
in full consultation with the people
who already live there. So I wish the
Canadians involved in this Belizean
legal challenge luck: Perhaps both
countries will learn something about
how to make change while respect-
ing land and people.
Kate Heartfield is a member of
the Citizen's editorial board.


Belmopan The United States
Embassy is pleased to announce the
2007 Ambassador's HIV Preven-
tion Program. This program is in-
tended to further the United States
Government's commitment to com-
bat HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean
region and in Belize. This is the fifth
consecutive year for this program
which has provided over
BZ$167,000 to local initiatives that
might not otherwise receive finan-
cial support.
The Embassy invites proposals
from community-based organiza-
tions, local non-governmental or-
ganizations, clubs, individuals and
the Belize government to develop
and implement HIV-related activi-
ties. This year, the Ambassador's
HIV Prevention Program will sup-
port community initiatives that will
specifically focus on HIV/AIDS-
related stigma and discrimination.


US Ambassador Robert Dieter
Interested persons may contact
the Embassy at 822-4011, exten-
sion 4308, for additional informa-
tion and proposal guidelines.
The deadline to submit proposals
is close of business Friday, June 8,
2007.


-_ilE(Continued From Page 4)
government and people of the
jewel. He'll fix it up for us and make
it acceptable to the other international
scholars and the international commu-
nity at large. So what if we go to a
Republican Form of government so
we can make him President for a
very, very long time? What's so bad
about that? We deserve no less and
he has earned his stripes.
So please, the next time you hear
people grumbling about the stuff
Musa has done that's not-so-good,
tell them to stop belly-aching and go
out and do something productive. The
man works hard for all of us and even
he is prone to make slips here and
there but its all for the good ofBelize.
Some people have life so easy they
actually have time to bellyache, in-
stead of thanking their lucky stars to


have gotten a "Kipling's man" for
Prime Minister. Geese! What a
thankless bunch of "Naysayers." And
no, I've gotten it from impeccable
sources: the man isn't resigning be-
cause of some trip up the dratted
media did to him with UHS and the
Belize Bank. And he isn't calling early
elections either. Get over it. We have
the most wonderful Prime Minister
Belize will ever see, even if V.S.
Naipaul doesn't think so.
Okay. Here are the web site refer-
ences:
1) Musa's homepage: http://
www.belize.gov.bz/pm profile.html
2) V.S. Naipaul's nasty com-
ments about Belizeans:
http://www. stab roeknews. corn/


1 fl d e x


n 1 /


article sunday features?id=56519209


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U.S. Embassy announces

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Prevention Program


Ungrateful



Bunch?







Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11


MOTHERS
We all know that we can't live with-
out mothers. They care for us and help
us when you need it the most. They love
us and hug us for no reason at all.
They were there when no one else
was. When it felt like the world was
crashing down all around us they held
on tight. They love us even when we

Your




ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
Take advantage of your attributes and
lure the mate of your choice. Extrava-
gance will be a problem. Organize so-
cial events or family gatherings. You can
buy or sell if you're so inclined. Your
lucky day this week will be Tuesday.
TA UR US (Apr. 21- May 21)
Don't point yourfingerunjustly at oth-
ers. You will have the stamina and the
know how to raise your earning power.
Be prepared to make changes to your
personal documents. You will have the
stamina and the know how to raise your
earning power. Your lucky day this
week will be Wednesday.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21)
Travel will enhance romance and ad-
venture. this week will be hectic. Avoid
joint ventures and steer clear of groups
that want you to contribute financial as-
sistance. Look after financial transac-
tions this week. Your lucky day this
week will be Sunday.
CANCER (June 22-July 22)
You'll be dropping friends for no ap-
parent reason. Don't force your opin-
ions on friends or relatives unless you
are prepared to lose their favor. Think
before you act. Rewards, gifts, or
money from investments or taxes can
be expected. Your lucky day this week
will be Saturday.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
Don't push your luck with your boss.
Don't involve yourself in the emotional
problems of those you work with. Sud-
den trips will take you by surprise. You
may be frustrated by the way situations
are being handled in your personal life.
Your lucky day this week will be Fri-
day.
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
You may have a problem keeping se-
crets. You can expect to have problems
with your mate ifyou've been spending
too much time away from home. Prob-
lems with relatives and friends could
surface. You will find that money could
slip through your fingers. Your lucky day


fall, when we mess things up, when we
are mad and even when we think we
don't love them.
SO HAPPYMOTHERS DAY!!!!!!
MAYYOU BE BLESSED ONYOUR
SPECIAL DAY!
-Abigail Marshall
Mothers are awesome, cool, and fun,
and there the only one.
They make U laugh they make U cry

But they're always there for U..

When U have done wrong tell put U
in your place.
When U've done right they'll be there
to reward U.
-JuliaHeusner

weekly .




this week will be Friday.
LIBRA (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
Emotional matters may not be easy
for you to handle. Stick to your own
projects and by the end of the day you'll
shine. You will get along well with your
colleagues this week. New projects may
lead you into a dead end. Your lucky
day this week will be Friday.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
Don't overdo it. You need to enjoy
yourself. Your high enthusiasm will be
sure to inspire anybody around you.
Your interest in helping others may take
you back to school. You can expect the
fur to fly on the home front.
Your lucky day this week will be Tues-
day.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
Emotional relationships will be plen-
tiful if you attend group activities. Don't
overspend on friends or children. Get
into some activities that will help you in
making new friends. Your mind is on
moneymaking ventures. Your lucky day
this week will be Saturday.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
You can make career changes that
may put you in a much higher earning
bracket. Female members of your
family may be difficult to deal with.
Your ability to communicate with ease
will win the hearts of those you are in
touch with this week. You can win
points if you present your ideas this
week. Your lucky day this week will
be Friday.












Information Security


AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
Lack of funds may add stress to
your already uncertain situation. Short
trips will be educational. Do not get
involved with individuals who are al-
ready committed to others. Your lack
of attention may have been a factor.
Your lucky day this week will be Fri-
day.


Full Service


PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
You can make sound financial in-
vestments if you act fast. Get the
whole family involved in a worthwhile
cause or cultural event. Professional-
ism will be of utmost importance.
Unexpected visitors are likely. Be pre-
pared to do your chores early. Your
lucky day this week will be Monday.


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Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12


Exam


les


PUP Discriminati


Against the Poople of Tolod


By: William Schmidt
PG correspondent for
INdependent Weekly
Recently Mr. Candido Coh, from the
Toledo Ecotourism Association (TEA)
group in San Jose, went to see Dr.
Ludwick Palacio, General Manager
of the Toledo Development Corpo-
ration (TDC) to ask him if there has
been any word from the Ministry of
National Resources regarding their
communities request for making their
community conservation area (part of
the Toledo People's Eco park Plan)
a protected area. He reminded him
of the many meetings and letters that
have been submitted over the last
years including the one presented only
a few months ago.
Dr. Palacio replied that he has re-
ceived no answer yet. Mr. Coh asked
if the TDC zone representative for
San Jose, Mr. Emeterio Sho, a mem-
ber of the TDC's board had recom-
mended it. When Dr. Palacio said he
had, Mr. Coh asked "why then hasn't
the Ministry responded?" Dr Palacio
said, he didn't know.
When Mr. Sho was running for zone


representative for the TDC he met
with the San Jose group asking them
to vote for him. They said they would
if he would support the Toledo
People's Eco Park Plan, he agreed.
The members traveled all the way to
Cattle Landing to cast their votes for
him. Mr. Vicente Sackul, Chairman of
the Toledo Ecotourism association
(TEA) has also asked the Toledo De-
velopment Corporation zone repre-
sentative for Laguna village Mr.
Ardiano Cucul to recommend their
community's conservation area CCA,
and he said he would. Now they are
asking what use is it to have zone rep-
resentatives on the Toledo Develop-
ment Corporation Board if the gov-
ernment will not respect them or the
General Manager? If San Jose and the
other villages don't get their commu-
nity conservation areas officially pro-
tected. The farmers will eventually cut
all the trees for their milpas. Where
will the tourist groups take their tour-
ists if there is no protected place for
them to see the animals and plants
they come to see? How will the valu-
able trees and animals themselves sur-
vive?
The members of the TEA from 14
villages have been asking the People's
United Party, Ministry of Lands and
Natural Resources for the eight long
years they have been in power to help
them get their communities conserva-
tion areas protected for the benefit of
all the villagers and the endangered
flora and fauna of the area and to help
to keep their tourism programs sus-


tainable.
When the tourists go to the TEAVil-
lage Guesthouse Eco Trail Program
where will they take them if there is
no Eco Trail? The big conservation
non-governmental organizations who
get funds and support from outside of
Belize always gets the government's
support. The TEA won the world's
prize for the most socially responsible
community based eco tourism pro-
gram, and is one of, if not the oldest
indigenous conservation, development
organization in the nation. TEA is go-
ing on seventeen years in operation
now. If this lack of support isn't proof
of the Peoples United Party's dis-
crimination against the Maya and other
peoples of Toledo District, I would
like to know what is.
When will the people of Belize, es-
pecially Toledo, demand that those en-
trusted with important leadership
roles in our nation tell the truth! The
slogan, "the truth shall set you free" is
well understood by those who keep
on lying to our people, if our People's
United Party government truly wanted
to decentralize and have the people
participate in real democratic planning
and development, if they really wanted
"power to the people", they would
welcome and support the Toledo
People's Eco Park Plan by and for
all the people of Toledo.
In the seventeen years of the TEA's
existence, there have been occasions
when the Belize Tourism Board threw
the TEA a few crumbs to cover-up
their gross neglect. Once they printed


a few brochures and posters, another
time after severe pressure, they al-
lowed them to have a desk in the
Belize Tourism Board office in Punta
Gorda Town.
In 2000 the TEA executive found
out the Belize Tourism Board was
telling people who inquired about
the TEA at the Belize Tourism
Board's office in Belize City, that
the TEA in Toledo no longer ex-
isted!
After all these years of meetings,
letters, phone calls, newspaper ar-
ticles, what else can we do? It's
been said that all that's needed for
bad people to get away with bad
things, is for good people to stand
by and say and do nothing to pre-
vent it. I'm doing my best. Con-
cerned citizens of Belize and To-
ledo, what are you going to do?
Demand a stop to the discrimina-
tion! Support the Toledo Peoples
Eco Park and power to the people.
Demand that our PUP government
tell the truth and allow our people
to free themselves!


with Anthony Hunt
THE .T[U- A T 'TITTV7


1 LLJ1 FOROOD


SUMATHI INDIAN RESTAURANT
Princess Margaret Drive, Belize City
Indian Cuisine has always been associated in my book with the Curry. And noth-
ing is better than a spicy curry and roti. Thusly, it is with this in the back of my
head that I headed on over to the recently upgraded "Ready Call" building and
the long time location of really the only Indian Restaurant that I know of in the
city. When I got there though, I changed my mind (in a good way) and ventured
out to order the Butter Chicken. It sounds fmr ni,,.. but it wasn't and the Nan
that accompanied this very "red" dish was good too. All of this and I could still
smell the curry from the kitchen. Service was a little slow, but the change of pace
from the rice-n-beans of our daily lives to the extensive menu of the subcontinent
is well worth the effort you make to get over to the north side. By the way I did
sneak a "sample" of the samosas, and they was good. So put some spice into life
and try Indian. Mi don taalk!


OPNDAL


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www4ol~riveradvenltures.com


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Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 33


A Free and Active Press: A Pillar of Democracv


Statement by US Ambassador to
Belize, Robert Dieter
May 3 marks the 171 anniversary of
World Press Freedom Day, a day on
which the World recognizes the impor-
tant contributions of a free press and
honors the sacrifices of those who have
risked their lives and their fortunes for
the sake of a free press. Freedom of
the press is a key component of demo-
cratic governance and is essential to a
strong civil society. A free and vigor-
ous press fosters active debate, inves-
tigative reporting, and a forum to ex-
press views particularly on behalf of
those who are marginalized in society.
Unfortunately, the press is too often a
target of retaliation by those who feel
threatened by freedom of expression
and transparency in democratic pro-
cesses. Every day around the world,
brave journalists who are often the
first to uncover corruption, to report
from the front lines of conflict zones, and
to highlight missteps by governments -
face harassment, beatings, detention,
imprisonment and even death in retri-
bution for their efforts to expose the
truth. The instruments of repression in-
clude government interference, censor-
ship, or control of the media, disruption
of distribution networks, restriction of
the Internet, and laws targeting indepen-


dent press outlets. Such actions limit a
nation's ability to find its voice and be-
come a flourishing democracy.
The United States and Belize, along with
other like-minded and democratic nations,
must continue to do our part to ensure a
safe and non-violent environment for the
free flow of ideas and public discourse. A
new report from the Organization of
American States noted that 19 journalists
in the Americas were murdered in 2006
for "reasons that could be connected with
the exercise of freedom of expression."
The report also states that more than 200
instances of assaults and threats were
made in theAmericas against "communi-
cators" in 2006. These incidents fre-
quently are not investigated or fully pros-
ecuted.
Every year the U.S. provides profes-
sional development opportunities forj our-
nalists, editors, and media managers
around the world. Belizeanj oumalists
have benefited from these exchanges in
the past and will again in 2007. The U.S.
will continue to promote a free and active
press, in partnership with other govern-
ments, multilateral institutions, NGOs and
individuals around the world. While we
engage in these efforts year-round, the
U.S. Department of State is honoring
World Press Freedom Day by offering
special publications, webchats, and dia-


Loan baeksaid


-i. (Continued From Page 4)
one, at their track records and accom-
plishments. Most of all at their public
record ofveracity and accountability. Have
they declared their assets? Do they have
offshore accounts?
Within the UDP, who is a reasonable
choice? Many will assume its Barrow.
But who will support him? Who is ready
to step up, should he someday need to
step down? Some feel the weakness of
the UDP is the concentration of skill and
power in too one set of hands. Is that
something we are willing to gamble on?
To trust? Or do we need to see other
players be given responsibilities instead of
sidelined if they get too popular. Carlos
Perdomo wrote a fine piece in the Guard-
ian thisweek. In a time when our national
moral fiber is in shreds, might he notbe a
useful compass?
There is Zenaida, or there could be.
Saddled with Belize City debt and gar-
bage, herbaptism by fire would serve her
well as we try to extricate ourselves from
the national debt and carnage.
And Lois? UDP or ACB? Or both. I
don't personally care which, as long as
she can serve and continue as watchdog,
keep BTL and Ashcroft in check. She
could run for PM.
And of the Independents? Godwin
Hulse, the nation is calling you... will you
answer? Will you cloak yourself in the
Belizean Flag and run a victory lap for us
too?


Who will emerge in the Alliance?
Names are already being floated, some
good ones. We will watch with interest.
I guess all I am saying is we have
choices. We do not have to accept what
we have already been given or what
some would want us to believe is written
in stone forevermore. Belize does not
have to be or dragged down this path to
nowhere anymore. We deserve better.
And we can get it.


logues in May and June. I encourage you
to visit the State Department's public di-
plomacy website, http://usinfo. state.gov,
to learn more about these programs.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice observed that "there is no more im-
portant pillar of democracy than a free
and active press." Democratic societies


are not infallible, but they are accountable,
and the exchange of ideas is the founda-
tion for accountable governance. AsAf-
rican-American author, statesman, and
reformer Frederick Douglass noted in an
1860 speech, "Liberty is meaningless
where the right to utter one's thoughts and
opinions has ceased to exist."


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InP-ntaGordo:

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Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Pagel44


GUEST


GALLERY


A few weeks ago, the Indepen-
dent Reformer published some pho-
tos of mangroves by naturalist
Christian Zeigler. We got such a
great response from readers we
decided to create a special section
called "Guest Gallery" for submis-
sions from other photographers,
p| *^I^^^^^^^ -^^^^ -I^Hf


m


amateur and professional.
As the month of May begins, it
just so happens Mike Heusner has
been out taking photos of some of
the magnificent trees now in bloom
along the river and near his fishing
resort, Belize River Lodge. In
March he also captured an interest-
r -


ing leg of La Ruta Maya which most
spectators never get a chance to
see, as the canoeists enter the
tangle of mangroves at the mouth of
the Haulover Creek.
In addition we have some submis-
sions from Leslie Kearns of Af-
fordable Web-site Design who en-


j oyed the rodeo at the National Ag-
riculture Show last weekend.
Please enjoy. If you or anyone you
know is interested in having your pho-
tographs in our Guest Gallery, please
email jpg or tiff images to
karlavernon belize(yvahoo.com.


This young equestrian knows how to get her pony to corner around a barrel.


Time often stands still in Belize, especially along the quiet banks of a river.


This young bull rider has all the right stuff!


The flamboyant's blossoms are a blaze of colour against their verdant setting.


Flamboyant is the only way to describe the lush colour of the tree in bloom.


No need for a gardener to plant flowers when the mayflower strews her blossoms across
the lawn.







Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 155


Inspired by the Life of Edgar X Richardson, by River of Fire

Eye of the tiger, roar of the lion
Dare to be wiser, and always stand strong
General with no army, his mind and his hands
Admiral with no navy, the maritime demands
Remember my mentor, won't forget my friend

X is for Pan African, Christian not Islam

Remember my mentor, won't forget my friend
I fought beside you before, and we will fight this war once again
Can you remember Mediggon, where the first battle began
Hear on Focal Point, the local global joint
A repeat programming coint, sealed ,delivered and signt
Remember my mentor, won't forget my friend
Dared to be wiser, and always stood strong
Soldier, father, husband, and a real black man
One brother who fought long, real Pan African
Now remember my mentor, won't forget my friend


Beauty blooms at

Cashew Fest 2007


Miss Sherice Banner won little Miss Cashew Fest Queen in Crooked Tree.


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/- -.... Consulting Escrow Services -
P.ope.-i S-a.r.Bs and more.
Visit our website at www-wrobel:zetCm f!fr more
information or email us at wrobelize@gmailcom
Need help with cleaning, ironing, paint-
ing or other household chores at your
Ladyville home? Then call me at 624-
3652. Reasonable rates, mature female.


Tropical SPA Stressed out in the
City? Pamper yourself at Tropical Spa
with a massage, facial, pedicure, mani-
cure, acrylic and gel nails, or eyebrow
threading. Reasonable rates. Call 280-
1011 for appointment. Located at #42
Albert Street (downstairs of Heusner's
Dentistry).
"Free international real estate and
investment blog and podcast. Go to
http://investtheworld.blogspot.com as


we travel the world for fun, investment
and profit."
Free Ads!
The INdependent Reformer is offer-
ing free classified ads
for the month of May:
1) 20 words or less
2) one ad per person in the promotional
period for free
(additional ads are only $10 each)
3) with photo (first time free... $10 ad-
ditional for photo ads)


jpeg or tiff formats only. Must be
emailed, no disk pickup or drop off
4) business card -first run is free for
month of May, 2007, $20 a run there-
after
5) All classified ads must be emailed to
independent, newspaper. bz@gmail.
com with cc to
kheusner@yahoo. com and checks to
PO Box 2666, Belize City.
Please note: We must receive your ad
by Friday at mid-day for inclusion in
following Tuesday issue.


Land For Sale


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Friday, May 11, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Pagel6


Ms Y Pageant, more gracious than ever

















Mrs. Marie Lewis, 1st runner up, receives her bouquetfrom Breana Nunez Mrs Janet Graham was 2nd runner up.
They may not go on to compete in
prestigious international pageants, but
those who participate in the Ms "Y"
pageant do get national attention here
inBelize.
And goodness do they get affection
from the crowd.
The audience at the City Center on
Saturday May 5 enthusiastically cheered
their favorites during almost the three
and a half hour long pageant which in-_ .. '
cluded monologues and cultural dances.
There were six contestants, all deserv-
ing ofthe title. Who would win? Ms De-
termination, Ms Perseverance, Ms Vi-
vacious, Ms Gracious, Ms Personality,
Ms Courageous? How could the judges
chose from among the talented senior
ladies?
In the end it was Ms Personality, in
real life, Mrs. Anita Henry. She was ot
only crowned Ms Y but also voted
Miss Talent for her monologue "Poor
Man's Bread." She was sashed by Mrs ..
Jean Williams and little Keeva Wade
presented her flowers. 1st Runner up
was Mrs Marie Lewis, sashed by Ms ,
Dorla Lewis and attended by flowergirl, 6 4t
Breanna Nunez. 2nd Runner up was "h.
Mrs Janet Graham sashed by Celia
Mushchamp.
Also participating were Mrs Norma
Sutherland, Mrs Emily Avilez and Mrs
Eileen Haylock. Congratulations to all
thej ewels in the Ms Y Crown.
The event is an annual fundraiser for
the YMCAin Belize City.

Comments?

Suggestions?

or want toA

share yourC TvlH

thoughtsS

Email us at


bz(@gqmail.com




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