Title: Independent reformer
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099538/00024
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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 18, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00024
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Regional


Brokers


converge on Belize


Belize's Prime Minister Said Musa,
the President Pro-tempore of the Cen-
tral American Integration System, SICA,
once again hosted Central American/
CARICOM heads of government sum-
mit, this time on May 12.
Among the heads of state who at-
tended were Guatemalan President
Oscar Berger, Prime Minister of Antigua
and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer, Presi-
dent of Costa Rica, OscarArias, Presi-
dent of El Salvador Antonio Saca
Gonzalez, Prime Minister of Grenada
Keith Mitchell, President of Haiti, Rene
Preval, President of Honduras Jose
Manuel Zelaya Rosales, President of
Nicaragua Daniel Ortega, and Patrick
Manning Prime Minister of Trinidad and
Tobago and Prime Minister of Barba-


dos Owen Arthur.
A bevy of foreign ministers lead other
delegations and foreign ministers from
21 countries were invited to a Foreign
Minister's meeting on Friday, May 11.
A number of them will meet again in June
in Panama for the Organization of
American States, OAS, General As-
sembly. Caribbean foreign ministers
have also been invited to a meeting in
Washington DC in June with US Presi-
dent George Bush.
Among the items on a twenty point
declaration, leaders of the small states
pledged to "recommit" to negotiations
to formalize a Free Trade Agreement
over the next few months, using a
CARICOM-Costa Rica Free Trade
agreement as a starting point.


Although there were previous indica-
tions trade talks would conclude within
six months, Guatemalan President Os-
car Berger told reporters, "The process
is beginning, but no deadline has been
set."
Prime Minister of Barbados, Owen
Arthur, says while some Central Ameri-
can countries have already signed Free
Trade Agreements with the United
States, he believes that "Before trade
relations with the US can be discussed
with the US, we have to establish stron-
ger relations within the region."
Members reiterated their
government's commitments to poverty
alleviation, anti-corruption measures,
crime fighting, increased tourism and
climate change monitoring as well as a


host of social and economic concerns
common to countries of both regions.
The full text of the declaration is avail-
able on the government of Belize
website.
Prime Minister Musa told members
of the media that Belize has strong his-
torical and geographical reasons for
seeking better integration between the
sub-regions and should continue to
bring leaders of government and the
private sector together, "I would like
to believe that Belize has been a cata-
lyst for building this bridge between the
regions, but it is a work in progress."
The first CARICOM/SICA heads of
government meeting was in Belize in
2002.


Indy Reformer Weekly had an oppor-
tunity to interview Ambassador Albert
R. Ramdin, Assistant Secretary General
of the OAS last week when he visited
Belize to be a part of the joint foreign
ministers' session: Central America
(SICA countries) and CARICOM
member states of the OAS.
On May 11, 2007 our editor con-
ducted the following question & answer
session in Belize at the Radisson Ft.
George Hotel:
Q: What can you tell us about the
CARICOM/SICAMeeting, Ambassa-
dor Ramdin?
A: In discussing the importance of
Caricom's position at the OAS:
CARICOM constitutes 40% of the
membership and as a region contributes
several key elements: strong democra-
cies, good rule of law, independent ju-
diciary, relatively governance, strong civil
society. These assets are critically im-
portant, relevant, to building democra-
cies, best practices, for Central and
South America. CARICOM countries
can express themselves by becoming
engaged, not just in areas of Caribbean
interest, but by taking positions within
the general strategic vision for the hemi-


OAS Assistant Secretary General,
Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin
sphere. This strengthens individual po-
sitions, strengthens uniting and collabo-
ration as a hemisphere.
Q: CARICOM has been playing an
important role at the OAS?
A: Yes, certainly, the Inter-American
Democratic Charter would not have
been adopted with real teeth without the
Caribbean giving it teeth in 2001, mak-
ing it more meaningful. But there needs
to be more policy dialogue and finan-
(Please Turn To Page 3) EM


Brenda Habuayo wins


Female Cross Country


See story on page 14








Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2


Phonics are basic to
Reading
Dear Independent Reformer & Deacon
Cal,
I'm a Belizean living in Ft. Lauder-
dale, Florida. I hold a Masters of Sci-
ence degree in Psycho-Education
from Florida International University,
and work with the Florida Diagnostic
& Learning Resources System-South
(FDLRS/S: Miami-Dade County
Public Schools) as a lecturer. My ar-
eas of specialization are the brain and
learning, and reading instruction. My
job requires that I research, design,
and train inservice teachers primarily
in Miami-Dade County, and in the
state of Florida via our FDLRS net-
work; there are 19 FDLRS systems
in the network throughout Florida. I
also lecture at Barry University.
My reason for introducing myself is
that I just read your article titled
"Textbook Standardization Poses
Threat to Belizean Printer" in the In-
dependent Reformer newspaper. I'm
not familiar with BCR's Reading pro-
gram; however, I'm very concerned
that, according to the article, the gov-
ernment is substituting phonics in-
struction with whole language instruc-
tion in the schools. Very cursory re-
search on whole language will yield
valuable information that the effective-
ness of whole language instruction is
unsupported. To adopt whole lan-
guage to the exclusion of phonologi-
cal awareness (phonemic and phon-
ics instruction) does not teach children
the vital skills they need to learn to
read competently. Reading, unlike
learning to speak, is not inherent to
the brain. Children learn to speak by
listening to their primary caretaker;
reading, on the other hand, must be
directly taught through systematic and


explicit instruction in phonological
awareness.
Phonological awareness is the
building block for reading instruction
in which children learn the sounds
(phonemes) of the spoken language,
and that there is a predictable rela-
tionship between those sounds and the
letters and spellings graphemess), that
represent those sounds in written lan-
guage. Whole language has its place
in the scope and sequence of reading
instruction; some children are global
learners and need to see the "whole"
before the "part". But even these chil-
dren must be explicitly and system-
atically taught phonological awareness
skills if they are to become compe-
tent readers. While it is true that whole
language programs emphasize read-
ing and writing, phonics instruction is
generally embedded in these activities.
This means that letter-sound relation-
ships are incidentally taught based on
key letters that appear in the material
the student may be reading. That is
not enough!
The English language is based on the
alphabetic principle and the challenge
therefore is to find research substan-
tiated methods to help children learn
to "break the code". Research also
indicates that without direct support
in systematic and explicit instruction,
phonological awareness eludes as
much as 25% of middle class students
from print rich environments, in the
early grades! Think what those per-
centages could be for students from
lower socio economic statuses who
might not have access to such envi-
ronments!
I learned to read and write in
Belizean schools using the phonics
method; I remember it well! In the
past, Belizean students attending uni-
versities here in Florida (and, I'm


sure, elsewhere) have always enjoyed
recognition for their superior reading
and writing prowess. It would be a
shame to see that change.
Sincerely,
Cynthia Humphreys-Magnus

The Vagaries of
Belizean Politics

Dear Editor,
Politics in Belize have pretty much
been played out in the traditional fash-
ion of CHARACTER
ASSASSINATION and UNREALIS-
TIC PROMISES for a EUTOPIA by
politicians. The opposition promising
freedom from poverty or oppression
caused by the ruling government AND
the ruling party painting a picture of
success and accomplishment and lit-
erally begging the population for an-
other opportunity to govern.
The last 15 years have shown or
(Please Turn To Page 15) *E


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Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3


-IM (Continued From Page 1)
cial commitment. The financial increase
in quotas is minimal considering what
they are buying into. We are not talking
about tens of thousands of dollars, but
thousands of dollars. It has tremendous
impact. It shows the Caribbean is seri-
ous about the OAS, are hemispheric
partners. The cost is very low compared
to the benefits.
Q: Tell us a little about this joint sub
regional heads meetings.
A: Caribbean and Central American
heads have met twice in Belize. I have
to give Belize credit for keeping this
relationship alive. This is a natural al-
liance to be built with Central America
and with a common agenda: 1) vulner-
ability 2) economic opportunities glo-
bally 3) together CARICOM and Cen-
tral America make up 60% of the OAS
membership. They can, and should, join
hands, learn from each other.
In some ways the Central American
integration is more developed, and in
other ways CARICOM has valuable
contributions. This relationship should
be intensified and nurtured.
Q: Ambassador, what can you tell us
about the upcoming GA meeting in


Panama?
A: The main theme will be Energy for
Sustainable Development. Very relevant
right now due to high prices, the impact
on the budgets and economies of coun-
tries in the hemisphere, on the popula-
tion, effects at all levels. Members will
look at cooperation strategies and miti-
gating factors.
In terms of the long term vision, there
will be discussions on alternative
sources of energy such as biofuel, solar
and wind energy. Biofuels have more
political implications, can raise some
food security tensions, concerns about
loss of land, say as in the case of sugar
cane production for ethanol, versus ag-
ricultural products, so there is some
political orientation there.
The OAS strength is bringing to the
attention of member states the impor-
tance of stability in countries, in terms
of their economies and political situa-
tion. The General Assembly is a chance
for all 34 foreign ministers to meet.
What is interesting is that over the
past 18 months there have been 16 elec-
tions. So there is a new political envi-
ronment, new ministers. Some of the
new governments have perspectives out-


side the mainstream. So there are chal-
lenges, but also opportunities. Instead
of the usual 45 minutes or so, we will
have an entire afternoon retreat, with no
set agenda. It will be a chance to get
different perspectives on international
relationships, development issues. It's
a chance to listen to the new, demo-
cratically elected leaders, and to work
with them.
It is of critical importance the minister
talk more frequently. The OAS provides
the platform, the permanent basis for 3 4
countries to sit around the same table
and take collective action.
There will also be private sector fo-
rums.
"The way I see it, hemispheric devel-
opment cannot just be in the hands of
governments; it is a shared responsibil-
ity of building stable societies. It takes
civil society and governments to accom-
plishthat."
The OAS is striving, more and more,
to include civil society, invite them to be
a part of the discourse. There will be 3
dialogues (at the GA) heads of delega-
tions and civil society, permanent ob-
servers (67 members) and private sec-
tor representatives. The permanent ob-


servers contribute to funding, programs.
The guest speaker this year will be the
new Secretary General of the UN, Ban
Ki Moon, of South Korea.

Q: Ambassador, what would you like
our readers to know about the OAS as
it relates to the Belize/Guatemala facili-
tation process?
A: I think a lot of progress has been
made but it is time for a conclusion to
the Belize-Guatemala "differendum" as
we are to call it. We regret that despite
what has been agreed in the context of
the OAS efforts, we were not able to
make progress. There has been some
progress in some areas, the maritime
issues look to be resolved soon, but the
border issues, the moving of Santa Rosa
to Guatemala, needs to be stressed.
The OAS does not want to continue
discussions that are counter-productive,
but we want everyone to realize the
importance of the facilitation model. If
that is successful, it could be used for
other cases, in other countries. (We've
heard that someplace before)
I have been to the Adjacency Zone,
the OAS maintains an office there, and
(Please Turn To Page 13) *E[


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Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4



Conscientious Objector

people they were elected to represent unite behind you instead of the be- leon? The little man so intent on his own
before their own political careers. trayer? Instead of around the heir ap- conquest he cannot see he is standing
If they can see what is wrong in what parent waiting in the wings, crony's arm at Waterloo. So paranoid, so perse-
was done, even if the man responsible around his shoulder... cuted, he can no longer trust anyone,
pretends not to see the wrong in what Alot is riding on your actions. Alot of not even those closest to him.
he has done. people are looking for leadership. Alot In other places there would have been
I guess we need to know, Gentlemen, of people are hoping and praying you a vote of no-confidence a long time ago.
.- E sne. wBut this is Belize. And yes, we tend to
SEssentially, we want to see if they will do things on "Belize time." Buteventu-
-'put their duty to the people they were ally we do get there...
Gentlemen, all of Belize is watching
By: KarlaHeusnerVernon elected to represent before the leaders of you right now, praying foryou, sending
Everyone, but everyone, iswonder- their political party... you courage. Will you lead us, the
ing what will happen at this coming p liapeople who chose you to lead? Or will
Friday's House of Representatives if you can tell: is he naked? Or if you have as much courage when he is in the you reach down and cover your own
Meeting. No, its not a protest outside will stand around him, hiding his ex- room and you did when he was out of nakedness? Hope we will look the other
they want to see, but a revolt inside, posed form, shielding him from view, the country. way?
Belizeans- every man, woman, and protecting him from the rotten tomatoes What will you do to our own Napo- Let your conscience be your guide....
some of our more aware children, are and spoiled eggs those who can no
waiting to see if any of the five cabinet longer afford bread, nor cake, would
ministerwho said they did not know the like to throw at him. If you will put him
Prime Minister had signed the Univer- in the stocks in the square, or whisk him
sal Health Services Guarantee, and off to some secluded place of leisure
would not have supported it if they had and comfort, where he is no longer a
seen it, will support it now. danger to the rest of us, or himself
Essentially, we want to see if they will We need to know ifit will just be busi-
put their duty to the people they were ness as usual for you all, or if someone
elected to represent before the leaders among you will have the courage to L"TL e road less travelled"
of their political party, before the party break ranks and object. And if this hap- Information Security wwwodriveradventures.com
itself. If they will put their duty to the pens, will others stand around YOU and


Onward and upward, let's unite on this $30 odd million pledge we gave our good ol' boys.







Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5


High


were Meetings:



**Hush-Hush"


Al I
By: TrevorVernon


Belize City was host to a number of
high level meetings last week that was
poorly publicized, in Belize. Appar-
ently many of the attendees, including
Presidents & Prime Ministers, had
coverage in their national media out-
lets. Every meeting was "hush-hush":
Foreign Ministers from both the sub-
regions: CARICOM & GRULAC/
SICA, heads meeting, and a
COFCOR/CARICOM Foreign Min-
isters meeting. Obviously, there were
other meetings on the periphery of the
hodgepodge of meetings that included
some heads of state.
It's a noble effort to bridge the two
sub-regions the country straddles, we
hear, but with no details forthcoming,
we remain skeptical, given the
Administration's track record.
We first learnt of the meetings via a
Mexico, DF-based media organiza-
tion. So we promptly asked whoever
we knew and didn't know in Belize's
Foreign Affairs Ministry but were
stone-walled. We asked other media
houses, but as it turns out, we were


better informed than they were. So we
didn't feel especially left out of their
press conferences and other non-
starter events for the media of Belize.
What were they trying to hide
from the Belizean people who "gave
them a mandate" in 2003? We, the
people, still don't know what hap-
pened, exactly. But we know there
were bilateral discussions over the
"differendum" between the Heads
of the respective countries.
I've lived in a couple of other
countries (in excess often years)
and had never seen this type of news
blackout on exactly what was tak-
ing place in the name of the people
of that country. Places where the
media were/are generally re-
spected. Here in Belize, the govern-
ment ministries simply dismiss the
media whenever they feel they can
get away with it.
In Belize today there is no report-
ing on these high level meetings, be-
cause generally, the media houses
do not have the training and back-
ground in these matters of state. The
government loves this for obvious
reasons. The leader of the opposi-
tion, on the other hand, would have
had to have been briefed and ought
to have been monitoring and re-
porting back to the people. But,
maybe we expect too much of our
leaders.
How can this be rectified? Well,


first there needs to be the interest
of the general public and then the
follow-up by these our media
houses. Maybe if we were to tell
the public what was going on be-
fore it happened and then tell them
what happened after, they'd appre-
ciate it more and develop an inter-
est. Get people like retired career
Ambassadors to comment on the
process. I can think of at least two
retired or separated persons who
would be able to do good analyses
and commentaries. And one is a
retired "school teacher" to boot.
Some pressing issues the public
need to know, given the tens of mil-
lions that went missing and the hor-
rible state of the nation state's fi-
nances:
1) Financial impact on our
treasury of hosting; who paid for
what?
2) How much of this was within
Belize's temporary rotating seat
obligation as Presidente Pro Tem-
pore of SICA [SICA is the Central
American Integration System, by
the way]?
3) How much was borne by
CARICOM Secretariat or the
OAS Secretariat?
4) We know the COFCOR
Mandate coming out of CARICOM
but where does the mandate come
from for the joint meeting for the
two sub-regions?
5) How many meetings were
there, officially?
6) Did Musa meet with his
Guatemalan counterpart to discuss
taking the Guatemalan claim to


court, the ICJ? Moving more
boundaries and/or markers?
7) Were there any monitors/
observers at any of both the formal
& informal meetings?
8) Were there any new decla-
rations that were signed that will
further prove to be a drag on the
economy of Belize? We know that
GOB has placed a present value fig-
ure of all government's future earn-
ings and sold off that future revenue
stream. So the people remain con-
cerned with all these hush-hush
commitments.
There are so many questions to ask
the Musa Administration about these
meetings, but their temperament at this
late stage is pure unadulterated hos-
tility. They don't seem to realize that
this country is no longer PUP country
precisely because of their hostilities
toward the people generally, and the
media specifically.
They had better start talking with
the people and stop this talking
down to us, because life in the game
is not going to get any easier with
the political quandary they find
themselves in.
Elsewhere in this paper there is an
exclusive interview we did with the
Hon ASG of the OAS, HE Albert
Ramdin. For those of you follow-
ing, he is Ambassador Luigi
Euinadi's replacement at the OAS.
However, we were limited in the
interview to ask only of things for
which he is responsible. And he was
kind enough to do the interview.
For this we thank him, in the name
of our readership.


ff l9the Msiw
By FLORENCE FABRICANT,
New York Times
Opening This Week (May 9)
CHINA DE PUEBLA Ian Nal, the
owner of this Mexican restaurant with
an Asian outlook, which opened Mon-
day, is from Belize and has a Mayan
last name. He knows a lot about the
trade routes between Mexico and the
Far East and is having his chef, Jason
Scott Titner, incorporate those connec-
tions into dishes like huitlacoche fried
rice and hoisin-braised duck carnitas:
3143 Broadway (123rd Street), (212)
222-8666.


Civilians working with Police are or-
ganizing a special event in the Cayo Dis-
trict. The event, a Senior Citizens Moth-
ers day special, is scheduled to be held
at the Columbus Park in San Ignacio
Town from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 pm. this
Thursday, May 10, 2007. The event is
being organized by the Zone Ten
Neighborhood Watch, a Police-Com-
munity initiative chaired by community
activist Desol Neal along with Zone Beat
liaison Police Officer Darius Martinez.


According to Martinez there will be lots
of prizes and surprises. Desol Neal re-
ports that the business community has
been very generous in giving prizes to-
wards this event.
The Zone Ten Neighbourhood Watch
meets every third Thursday of the month
and the next meeting will be held on June
21st 2007. For additional information,
contact Ms. Desol Neal at 824-2590
or Mr. Martinez at the address as shown
below.


i i
m For an online version of the INdependent Reformer visit us at

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


Independent

Belizeans Abroad


Cayv Police & Commun

help Senior Citizens







Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6


SPEAR poll sets 95% certainty


What is a Public Opinion Poll?
* Opinion polls are surveys of
opinion using random sampling.
* They are usually designed to
represent the opinions of a population
by asking a small number of people a
series of questions and then extrapo-
lating the answers to the larger popula-
tion."*
Why a Telephone Opinion Poll?
* Telephone polls are faster,
cheaper, and more reliable than say:


face to face interviews on the streets or
in households.
In a democratic society, par-
ticipation is a key pillar; and where op-
portunities for such participation in gov-
ernance are limited, polling provides the
best option
An innovative approach to the
traditional public consultation yielding
scientifically reliable public opinion.
Why now?
Belizeans' voice on UHS issue


Q1: "Do you agree or disagree that the Prime
Minister should have gone to the National
Assembly with a Bill to approve the UHS Loan
Guarantee for $33Mn?"w

Gofveince Transpwency

O S.6% 4A%











UAwB- Ul...a_0gme Opinion L Dt Know

Q2: "Do you agree or disagree that the Prime
Minister should have first obtained Cabinet
support for a bill to approve the Universal Health
Services $33Mn loan guarantee before signing it?"

sov.n..ce Aa bfitmy
SS.% --
I*N&% / [It2%


Iaio U Dbwmp DNo Op*uam 0 Dtl KiEn

Q3 'Do you agree or disagree that the Prime
Minister should have informed Belizeans about
his intention to sign the Universal Health
Services loan guarantee for $33Mn?"

6SwnainceL People's Pariipation
03.6%
a8.5% L -rn flt-


is important;
Implications of UHS case on
Belize's Democracy, Governance, &
Justice Systems;
Part of SPEAR' S mission to
inform and educate;
SPEAR's strategic focus is
governance
What were the measures?
Identify people's perception
on:
Governance (Transparency)
- The need to seek approval from


the National Assembly prior to sign-
ing the UHS guarantee;
- Governance (Accountabil-
ity)- To seek approval from Cabi-
net prior to tabling the UHS guar-
antee in the House of Representa-
tives;
_ 3. Governance (People's Partici-
pation)- Public Disclosure of intent to
sign UHS guarantee;
4. Governance (Justice) Should
taxpayers pay the debt;
(Please Turn To Page 7) U


Q4: "Do you agree or disagree that Belizean
Taxpayers should pay for the Universal Health
Services debt to the Belize Bank?"


Gmerammn 3mc.

132.7%/


rE110.Sb


* 85.l 3% C e ApeU agas a Ioon 0 in.it Know


Q5: "Whom do you say should take full
responsibility for the signing of the Universal
Health Services loan guarantee?"


Urdamn r f I'wna


amedr Sm&cIMiW adeIannuCer-rme gi..wi

Q6: "How would you rate your present level of
confidence in this Government?"





1132%





S52.4%-

oa34S%


0222%%


7182~I.8%


0 7.1%
0 DuON. opt C ,..,








Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7


What is State and Private Sector



Economic Discrimination?


PG correspondent for
INdependent Weekly
The BTIA Toledo Branch is ask-
ing the Toledo Ecotourism Associa-
tion, TEA, to join the Belize Tourism
Industry Association. They have in-
formed them that the TEA is a tour
operator and BTIA's membership for
tour operators is $263 per year plus
$50 for application.
This is much more than the TEA
can pay at the present time. A mem-
ber of the BTIA executive has also
informed the TEA, that as a tour op-
erator they need to get a tour
operator's license from the BTB, this
will be another $250 per year. At
this time TEA cannot afford this ei-
ther. BTIA has informed the TEA
that if they can't pay these fees they
must remove their desk from the
BTB office. The BTB also wants
each guide to have a recommenda-
tion from the local Tour Guide Asso-
ciation, this will cost $35 each guide
for membership. The BTB wants
each guide to have the tour guide


course, then two photos cost $10.
The Red Cross course $40 each per-
son. The site specific card $10. This
amounts to over $100 per guide. This
is way over what a site guide in the
TEA makes per year, as members in
the TEA program take turns, sharing
work and benefits.
The women who conduct the village
tour take turns, and they only get $7
Belize per hour. Twenty percent of this
they contribute to the Village Health
and Education Fund and the TEA of-
fice. The tour is one or two hours so
they don't make enough to pay these
costs. The BTIA and BTB are re-
quiring fees beyond the ability of the
rural villagers in the TEAto pay. This
can be called state and private sector
sponsored economic discrimination.
These fees violate the People's hu-
man-rights to economic development.
The TEA program has won the
world's most prestigious prize for so-
cially responsible community based
eco-tourism. The TEA has definitely
attracted tourists to the tourism indus-
try in Toledo and other parts of Belize.
Hotels, restaurants, tour operators,
tourist guides, souvenir sellers and
many others have benefited and con-
tinue to benefit while the TEA oper-
ates. Now the program is threatened
by those more powerful and wealthier
than the people of rural Toledo. If
the TEA is so good why hasn't it
grown? The simple fact that anyone
who would care to research can prove
is that the BTB and the private sector


BTIA has failed to support and en-
courage the TEA's growth and in fact
have obstructed it.
Discrimination can usually be traced
to economic reasons. When the TEA
first formed, the local branch of the
BTIA was very much against it. They
even had the permanent secretary of
the Ministry of Tourism Mr. Victor
Gonzalez call and inform me that in
order to get USAID money for the
development of tourism, the govern-
ment had to work with the private
sector, (in this case represented by the
BTIA) and the Toledo branch of the
BTIA did not support the idea of com-
munity guesthouses. They claimed the
growing development of tourism in
Toledo could be negatively impacted
by tourists having bad experiences in
the rural villagers. Many negative
things were said about the rural vil-
lagers' ability to host the "sophisti-
cated" tourists.
At one meeting I attended with the
BTIA members, I was told, "right now
the tourists come to my hotel, they pay
me to take them out to see the vil-
lages and the ruins and return with me
to stay in my hotel. Why should I help
the villagers to get the guesthouses,
that will then compete with my hotel?"
Another said, "The rural villagers
didn't help me to get my business why
should I help them to get theirs?" An-
other said, "The rural villagers can't
work together or learn new things, just
look at how many projects have
failed, once we get a bad name for


tourism in Toledo we will never be
able to live it down."
I replied, "Most tourists enter Belize
up north. Most are on a budget and
only have a limited amount of time.
Up north they can see rainforest, ru-
ins, rivers, cays and many other at-
tractions. Why should they spend
two of their valuable days on a pun-
ishing bus ride or spend a lot of their
limited funds to fly round-trip to To-
ledo and back?" Because what To-
ledo has that visitors cannot find up
north are more than 40 indigenous
communities. This eco-cultural tour-
ism attraction destination could bring
visitors to our town businesses as well
as help our rural villagers earn much
needed income.
I asked them to help and support
the villagers in their efforts to develop
well-planned and regulated tourism in
Toledo, to ensure they did not have
the problems they were concerned
with. Unfortunately they were ada-
mantly opposed to this. Fortunately
Mrs. Jean Shaw was then president
of the National BTIA, Miss Joy
Vernon director of the Belize Tourist
Board, Honorable Glen Godfrey was
Minister of Tourism and The Right
Honorable George Price was the
Prime Minister. They did support the
poor of Toledo and encouraged me
to continue to sponsor free work-
shops where the villagers designed
what came to be a world award win-
ning project.
(Please Turn To Page 12) fIW


SPEAR poll sets 95%


i--" (Continued From Page 6)
5. Burden of Responsibility- Po-
tential liability arising from signing of
unlimited sovereign guarantee;
Impact on People's Trust -
Confidence level in Government;
7. Attitude Toward Early Elec-
tions Should elections be called
now?
"Do you agree or disagree
that the Prime Minister should have
gone to the National Assembly with
a Bill to approve the Universal
Health Services loan guarantee for
$33Mn?"
"Do you agree or disagree
that the Prime Minister should have
first obtained Cabinet support for a
bill to approve the Universal Health
Services loan guarantee for
$33Mn?"
"Do you agree or disagree
that the Prime Minister should have
informed Belizeans about his inten-
tion to sign the Universal Health


Q7: "Do you agree or disagree that the Pri
Minister should call general elections now


PM Should call general elections now


T-i 7.714,


-/ M4.0%


U 19.41


I AgMW


*MOgrem


Services loan guarantee for
$33Mn?"
"Do you agree or disagree
that Belizean taxpayers should pay
for the Universal Health Services
loan guarantee?"


aDo"tlEKutw


"Whom do you say
take full responsibility for ti
ing of the Universal Health S
loan guarantee?"
"How would you ra
present confidence level in the


certainty
ment?"
me "Do you agree or disagree that
w?" the Prime Minister should call general
elections now?"
What was the Margin of Error?
The poll has a 95% Confidence
Level or say, a margin of error of +
or-5%.
Explain This Please:
Means that going from the
sample population to the voting age
population within the stipulated margin
of error we are 95% confident that the
Voting age population would respond in
the same way
Sample size
Geographic distribution:
District
Urban/Rural
S* Age distribution
should Sex distribution
he sign- Education background
services Sampling Frame: Voting Age
Population (18+)
ite your Sample Size: 414 Individuals
govem-


F







Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8


Mayhem in the Streets?


By: Meb Cutlack
Elsewhere in the Caribbean, if the
people had been treated by their gov-
ernment as the Belizean people have
been treated for the past 9 years, there
would be marches in the street, con-
stant union strike action and virtually
open revolt against the government.
Belizeans however appear to a have
a passivity that is of great solace to our
reckless, spendthrift, overtaxing and
lying government, but how long be-
fore the veneer on this rotting edifice
cracks through and the whole thing
comes tumbling down with bloody and
irrecoverable consequence?
Mr. Musa, Mr. Fonseca and their not-
so-merry-men appear to think that the
castle can never tumble down. They
even take the recent village council elec-
tions as a sign of that they did not lose
as many seats, or at least not by as huge
a margin, as they anticipated.
But let's take a closer look at those
results and the reason why the PUP re-
tained the few seats that they did.
Ever since the PUP government aban-
doned 'Radio Belize' by selling it out -
lock stock and barrel to Love FM,
there has not been a national radio net-
work offering true news coverage to
the nation.
Belize City is well served by many
weekly newspaper and any number of
diverse radio and television programs
and talk shows while the districts, since
the demise of Radio Belize, have been
totally starved of almost all independent
news.
Yes, they get Love FM, but that's
basically always in the government's
pocket and they get occasional re-
broadcasts of pro- government pro-
gramming. Channels 5 and 7 are harder
to find.
Yes, some talk shows do reach the
districts! But to participate from the dis-
tricts costs a fortune. Every minute costs
not cents, but dollars. Acall to Love FM
from within the Belize District may cost
up to $1 or $2 at the most. A caller, kept
hanging on, from Cayo, the Cayes or
Corozal can wind up paying $10 to $15!
Because of Love FM's monopoly of
the old Radio Belize towers nationwide,
most of the other commercial radio and
TV signals from Belize City do not reach
the districts or, if they do, it is barely
audible.
What all this adds up to is that the Gov-
ernment, and Mr.Musa and the PUP
knowthis only too well, has much louder
voice in the districts in every way than op-
position or Independent candidates.


Simply put, the PUP should have done
much, much better inthe districts than they
did in the Village Council elections. Their
district power is slipping disastrously and
it's now become only a matter of time,
and a few more scandals like the UHS,
ever increasing taxation and higher and
higherutility costs, beforetheir districtvote
disappears altogether.
Just glance at last week's figures, which
revealed that (thanks to their increased
profits from Belize, ourelectricity supplier)


Fortis Inc., made the biggest profit in its
history. This was at the same that they
were pressing for higher electricity rates!
This could be just one more straw (of
iniquity piled on iniquity) which will cause
the camel to collapse.
Take just the last quarter, January to
March, of the balance sheet from Fortis
Inc. Electricity sales rose from 80 to 87
KWh and profits from $20,000,000 to
$22,000,000.
That is for just 3 months! And, at the


same timethat Fortis and BEL were push-
ing the PUC for price rises!
Belizeans are perpetually being caught
between a rock (the ever increasing
power of local and foreign finance groups)
and a hard place (The PUP government).
Well, concerted and collective action by
all Belizeans can shatterthe rock and soften
the hard place.
Vote with your feet and shout and march
again and again againstthe iniquities ofthis
PUP government.


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Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9


Land of


By: Richard Harrison
The land which provides an ample
supply of "milk and honey" is consid-
ered by its people to be the promise
land.
Literally, milk and honey are highly
nutritious foods and form important
parts of a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
The world milk market is historically
"controlled" by a few European coun-
tries; whose governments continue to
support their farmers with large subsi-
dies; which make it very hard for pro-
ducers in countries with little or no sub-
sidy to compete. Nestle; a multinational
company with headquarters in Vevey,
Switzerland; is a monopoly player in
the worlds market for milk and milk-
products. Not-too-long-ago it acquired
one of its main rivals, Borden Foods of
the USA, thus fortifying its monopoly
power. Amonopoly market is described
as a market where one player controls
55% or more of the market-share. The
European Union is committed, through
the WTO, to reduce its subsidies, and
has done so on various occasions.
Consumers world-wide have seen a
gradual but steady increase in the price
of milk ever since, each time these sub-
sidies are periodically reduced; and as
monopoly power is concentrated in one
company.
The world honey market used to be
controlled by USA, Canadian and Eu-
ropean producers. Over the past ten
years, significant changes have been tak-
ing place in the honey markets; with
China, Argentina and Mexico now play-
ing increasingly important and competi-
tive roles. Subsidies are being reduced
in Europe and the USA, which have
caused farmers to reduce the mainte-
nance oftheir hives to reduce cost. This
in turn has exposed their hives to dis-
eases and infestations, causing large re-
duction in their productive capacity.
Thailand, Vietnam and Ukraine are also
emerging players in the world market
for honey. World market prices con-
tinue to remain stable and relatively high.
While the demand for honey by manu-
facturing industries, such as bakeries,
have been driving the greatest portion
of the increase in imports of honey; there
is also a noticeable trend towards in-
creased demand for organic honey and
unique-flower honey, such as citrus-
honey. Thus the market is becoming
highly differentiated.
If both these trends continue, it can
be fairly accurately forecasted that pro-
duction of milk and honey will shift away
from USA and Europe. Depending on
the rate at which new players take up
the slack, the prices will likely increase
for these commodities.
Belize has dabbled in both milk and
honey production. It can be argued that
we have not really made a serious ef-
fort in neither of these.


While we drank fresh milk and ate
white-cheese from my uncle's farm as
children, a serious effort at commercial-
izing milk production in Belize was only
attempted during the USAID projects
of the 1970's and 80's. At that time,
we started to see Holstein milking cows
with improved genetics, we started to
see improved grazing pasture, even
feed-lot systems for improve nutrition
of the cows. USAID added to local
know-how in the areas of animal hus-
bandry, farm management, milk-storage
and transportation, milk processing,
packaging and distribution. In other
words, attention was given to all the lev-
els of the production-chain. The gov-
ernment even put in place non-tariff
barriers, to prevent the importation of
products that compete directly with fresh
cows milk; claiming to be supportive to
farmers and industry. Even non-Men-
nonite farmers attempted to make
money from milk production and pro-
cessing. We still cannot claim success
after 25 years of dabbling in the domes-
tic market for milk and milk-products.
The nature of milk is that it contains
proteins. Proteins are very complex
molecules, which behave very differently
than expected, if exposed to very small
changes in conditions. In short, the pro-
cessing of milk is not as simple as mix-
ing a glass ofKool-Aid. The entire pro-
duction chain mustbe carefully managed
with substantial know-how at each criti-
cal level.
Another given is that the final prod-
uct (output) is only as good as what
goes into it (input). If the milking
cows are not well kept, they will likely
suffer from mastitis, or infection of the
udder, so the cow will produce low-
quality acid milk. If the milking pro-
cess is not sterile, there will likely be
bacteria and other contaminants that
will get into the milk and can cause it
to spoil quicker or attain undesirable
characteristics. Ifthe milk is taken cor-
rectly from a healthy cow, but then it is
not properly refrigerated, its rich nutri-
ents will allow bacteria to grow and
spoil the milk in the holding tanks. If a
sub-standard milk is fed into the pro-
cessing system, or if the processing sys-
tem itself is inferior, one can expect that
a sub-standard product will result.
Consumers have not been too im-
pressed with the quality/consistency
of fresh cow's milk and milk-prod-
ucts that they get from local produc-
ers.
The final price that the consumer
pays for a product must include a rea-
sonable margin for all the players in
the production chain, from the farmer
to the retailer. If a player in this chain
is weak from compressed margins,
the chain will not function properly and
the industry is likely to falter.
The final price for a product is de-


Ik & Honey

termined in many different ways. My calculations are that a 20% rate
However, the most common way is of import duty would convert this sce-
to look at prices for products com- nario into a positive ERP, making it
peting in the market. This might be possible for local producers to take
referenced to products that compete full advantage of the BZ$22 million
directly, or products that can act as domestic market for milk products;
substitutes. even if milk products were not pro-
Milk powder, evaporated milk and tected by non-tariff barriers (which
sweetened condensed milk can and happen to be illegal by WTO rules
does act as a substitute for fresh cow's anyway). This will allow appreciable
milk. They compete in every cup of margins from farmers all the way to
coffee or tea, in every birthday cake the retailer, for most dairy products;
or pastry. So, they naturally affect the and will allow farmers and processors
price that fresh cow's milk could be to invest more in improving the qual-
sold at. As those products come from ity of their product, and to meet the
highly subsidized European and demands of the consumers.
American production systems, they We can do this now, and start stimu-
control' the world market by pricing lating our local milk industry in a real
at low levels that will not allow local way...... Or, we can wait for three
production systems to compete effec- more years, when our milk prices will
tively. Our farmers had to price their have increased by 20% anyway with
milk at levels predetermined by these the continued reduction of subsidies
subsidized products. in the industrialized countries; and as
Compounded to the subsidy effect the exercise of increasing monopoly
that European and Americans enjoy, power drives the prices upward.
our own Government put a ZERO While the consumers stand to 'lose'
PERCENT rate of import duty on temporarily from paying a higher price
milk-powder, evaporated milk, for milk products, the country stands
sweetened condensed milk and liquid to gain by reducing its need to import
UHT milk. This results in a negative large quantities of this commodity.
Effective Rate of Protection (ERP) for I will argue that one of the main ob-
the local industry, regardless of the stacles to a truly industrial Belize, is
non-tariff protection that they put in the paradigm that exist as a result of
place only for liquid cow's milk. This our long history of importation. Our
is like a sprinter shooting himself in successive governments have sat on
the leg before he starts the race. (Please Turn To Page 10) E "

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The successful candidate will be rcspon-iblt for roordinaling the branch
management across thir entire oper'TLition and must be able to drive the
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Principal Iesponsilllties include but not limited to:
Monilfnring ofI BRu-inei' Performance
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Please mail your resume to:
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Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10


Dornitory at Belize clinic


to honoer mnenory of Abby


Sunday, May 06, 2007A year and
a half after their daughter's death,
Roger and Jan Brinkman are helping
others as they continue to heal.Roger
and Jan hope to raise enough money
to build a dormitory at the Hillside
Healthcare International Clinic in
Belize, the clinic their daughter Abby
fell in love with."Abby had talked with
us about wanting to devote a portion
of her life to working at Hillside
Clinic," Roger said. "She can't do
that, but if we can enable other people
to do that, our biggest hopes and
dreams will be realized." Abby, 28,
died while serving a rotation in tropi-
cal medicine at the rural clinic in Punta
Gorda, Belize, preparing for a career
in pediatrics and mission work.In early
November 2005, she boarded a boat
headed to Gladden Cay for scuba div-
ing. When the engine stopped with no
flares, no working radio and no way
to communicate, Abby and three
other divers decided to swim for land.
The four divers drifted for three days.
Emergency workers found three
divers alive. Abby had died.After her


death, family, friends and even strang-
ers began asking Roger and Jan how
they could help, and within a year
more than $12,000 had been donated
to the clinic. Nearing the year anni-
versary of Abby's death, clinic board
members asked Roger and Jan how
they would like the donations
allocated."We suggested it go towards
helping an IU medical student serve
at the clinic," Jan said. "They said they
had no shortage of volunteers, but
what they did lack was housing for
those serving. What they really
needed was a dormitory for the
volunteers."Currently, the clinic can
house a handful of volunteers in a small
outbuilding called the "tree house."".I
rememberAbby kind of laughed about
the conditions," Jan said. "The water
for the shower came on at 7 a.m. and
was turned off at 7 p.m."Jan said the
volunteers who don't fit in the "tree
house" must ride their bikes seven
miles to the closest rental
properties."They are riding their bikes
alone in this remote area, sometimes
very late at night," Jan said. "If they


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


could all stay in the same place they
could talk about cases and come up
with treatment plans."Abby's
HouseThe proposed dorm, called
"Abby's House," will feature eight
bedrooms, a living room, a dining
room, a kitchen and two large bath-
rooms. The estimated cost of the
3,364-square-foot building is
$125,000. The Columbus Rotary
Club has committed to raising
$12,500 for the project. "Rotary is
about international understanding and
fostering world peace," said Joe
Smith, Columbus Rotary club presi-
dent. "This is just the kind of project
Rotarians respond to."Smith said
many members also knew
Abby."Roger has been a long time


Rotarian, and Abby was certainly vis-
ible at Rotary events throughout her
life," he said. Pete King, Columbus
Rotary member, said a handful of
members presented the project to 63
Indiana Rotary clubs at a recent
conference."The response was great,"
King said. "This kind of project re-
ally resonates throughout all segments
of society. "We think it is just a very
fitting memorial to a very wonderful
young woman." Jan and Roger hope
to raise the money by the end of the
summer and to begin construction by
fall"Any parent who has lost a child
will tell you that the worst thing that
can happen is that their child is for-
gotten," Jan said. "Abby's House is
just one more way to tell Abby's story.


Land of Milk & Honey


-m" (Continued From Page 7)
a fence between the influential im-
porter groups and the industrially
ambitious newcomers. Our advocacy
groups, such as the Belize Chamber
of Commerce and Industry (BCCI),
have attempted to 'represent' indus-
try and commerce clients with inter-
ests that have so far remained mutu-
ally exclusive.
To break this cycle, the importers
need to see themselves not merely as
'representatives' of foreign interests
in Belize, but as 'traders' for profit
who are part and parcel of a construc-
tive product-market chain that is
Belizean. Local producers need to
recognize this role of the 'traders',
and not attempt to be all things to all
persons. These organizations already
have the distribution and selling chan-
nels established; which they have in-
vested much to develop. Local pro-
ducers who desire to export will have
to work with distributors in other
countries anyway. So, why not learn
by working with local distributors here
in Belize? Countries that have success-
fully pursued export markets have spent
much effort and resources in develop-
ing this product-market chain.
If we can solve the issue of importer
vs. producer in the building of a strong
Belizean product-market chain, we
would not need to break up the BCCI
into commercial and industrial rival-
ries. It could become instead a bea-
con of constructive collaboration be-
tween industrial and commercial in-


terests. If we can't solve this prob-
lem, then we will continue to see such
groups as the Agro-Productive Sec-
tor Group and others becoming more
influential in representing the interests
of industry groups, with a relative
weakening among such groups as the
BCCI and the Belize Business Bureau.
As Belize is very small, this could
mean more industry representation,
within a context of a weaker and di-
vided private sector lobby, especially
if the rule of 'structure follows func-
tion' is not adhered to.
BUT.....the secret is in the
ERP...... if this is negative, the local
producers will likely have compressed
margins that will not allow them to
offer competitive margins to the local
traders and still make a living for
themselves. The local traders should
not seek to gouge the local produc-
ers by demanding higher margins than
they get from imported products.
While I know that some naysayers
will argue that this article is represen-
tative of the old and discredited im-
port substitution models, I will argue
that the market realities are constantly
adjusting themselves, and because
something did not work ten years
ago, it does not mean they will not
work today ....if we did it the right
way. Food security should always re-
main high on our agenda.
If our managers can break this cycle
of misunderstanding, Belize can truly
move its children closer towards the
"land of milk and honey".


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Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11


Let these days count


Graduation is near for all you STD 6
students so let these days count. We will be
moving on to high school and you might not
see your friends again. Sad I know, but
true. But you never know, you just might be
put in the same class.
Girls: I know you all probably don't talk to
the boys all that much but you should, be-
cause your gonna miss them. You might be in
a school with all girls- not fun. Boys: try and
get along with the girls and try not to say
some perverted things (like some people I
know).
Your friendships will change, you might even
get separated from your best friend. But stay
strong. Don't be scared that you won't fit in.
Of course you won't fit in the first few days
because you might not know where to go and
the other people might laugh at you, you may
not know all the rules. And its like they say,
"leaving the familiarforthe unfamiliar... "But
one of my friends who already graduated last
year said that he was kinda happy and he felt


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accomplished and relieved. Some other
people didn't care at all if they gradu-
ated or not, it was no big deal.
But it is still important to graduate. And
I hope I'll see you in high school.
Jokes:
It was graduation day and Mom was
trying to take a picture of her son in a
cap and gown, posed with his father.
"I want a good picture, so try to make
this look natural," she said. "Junior, put
your arm around your dad's shoulder."


Your





ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
You will easily charm members of the
opposite sex. Voice your opinions and
contribute to the de bate. Avoid any
over indulgences. Do not yield to chil-
dren or relatives when they really don't
deserve it. Your lucky day this week will
be Friday.
TAURUS (Apr. 21- may 21)
Travel and communication will be lucra-
tive for you. You may have a hidden
adversary who would love to prove you
wrong. Monitor your budget carefully
to avoid unnecessary stress. Express
your interest if you want the relation-
ship to progress. Your lucky day this
week will be Tuesday.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21)
You will have good ideas for home
improvement projects. Keep your
thoughts to yourself for the time being.
You can find out interesting information
if you get a chance to talk to people
you respect. Don't blame others for
your own stubbornness. Your lucky day
this week will be Friday.
CANCER (June 22-July 22)
Visit friends or relatives who have
been confirmed. Changes at home will
be necessary. Now is a good time to
ask for favors. Travel will promote new
romantic encounters. Your lucky day this
week will be Friday.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
It's time to make professional
changes. You can enjoy social events
and meet new potential mates; however,
avoid being lavish. You will have a great
day ifyoujust say what you feel. It might
be best to keep your ideas to yourself
this week. Your lucky day this week
will be Saturday.
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
You will be erratic and quite likely to
make personal mistakes. You may find that
family members may not be too easy to
get along with. You will have to make
some changes regardingyourdirectionifyou
wish to keep on top ofyour career expecta-
tions. You need to clearup some important
personal documents before the end of the
year. Yourlucky day thisweekwillbeMon-
day.


v


The father answered, "If you want it
to look natural, why not have him put
his hand in my pocket?"
Mothers
If I had a flower for each time I
thought of My Mother, I could walk in
my garden forever.
God could not be everywhere and
therefore he made mothers.
Mothers hold their children's hands
for a short while, but their hearts for-
ever.


weekly -





LIBRA (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
Be tolerant, but don't let any one take
you for granted. Emotional upset may
prevail on the domestic scene if you
have neglected your duties or your mate.
Your financial situation may be draining
and it's time to make some serious
changes. Use your high energy and dy-
namic approach to win favors from su-
periors. Your lucky day this week will
be Friday.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
Discover opportunities based on the
individuals you mingle with this week.
So smile! You may be tired of working
for someone else. You can expect op-
position from family as well as col-
leagues. Your lucky day this week will
be Sunday.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
You can win points if you present your
ideas this week. Involvement in groups
will be favorable and lead to valuable
information. Opportunities may come
up at prestigious affairs. Be very care-
ful while in transit or while traveling in
foreign countries. Your lucky day this
week will be Tuesday.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Encourage the youngsters in your fam-
ily. There's lots to be done and if you
meet your deadline you'll be in your
boss's good books. Colleagues may try
to undermine you when talking to su-
periors. Be prepared to neutralize any
threats. Your lucky day this week will
be Tuesday.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
You could lose a good friend because
of it. Your dramatic approach to life has
probably gotten to your mate. You have
the stamina and determination to suc-
ceed. You will enjoy interaction with
others this week. Your lucky day this
week will be Friday.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
Your goals will be in reach if you di-
rect your energy wisely. Direct your
energy wisely. You will be able to con-
tribute a great deal to organizations that
you join. Be tactful if you see flaws in
someone else's work. Your lucky day
this week will be Tuesday.







Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12


Man of the Year


Riot Police trained for
another
demonstration


have a choice. That would be way more
effective. Hit them in the pockets. And
yes, don't forget to wear black to work
on Friday. The national day of mourn-
ing...
Please don't let Musa sucker you into
committing acts of violence on Friday,
May 18th. We need no more bloody
Friday.
Still waiting for
Reports from Inquiry


Isn't it interesting how the PUPs are
catapulting Jules into the Political Hall
of Fame. They attack Jules on a daily
basis, while leaking stuffto him simulta-
neously. First Ralph, then Said, now
"falla-foot" Smith-Lightburn. Worth
watching. Jules was our man of the year
for 2006 and unless anything changes,
he's well on the way again for 2007.
And justice for All


Lots of talk about big demonstrations
on Friday, May 18th, 2007 house meet-
ing in Belmopan. They even brought
Tradewinds "simulations" into the pic-
ture for crowd control and to intimidate
the public. Uncle Sam had better be
careful that Musa won't use US troops
to settle domestic issues...
Ineffective
Demonstrations


I


Musa has been on a roll attacking the
Reporter Newspaper. He has been
awarded, or better put- he has put a
$40,000 hurting on that Newspaper.
And while his cases get called up when-
ever he wishes, there are other lawsuits
dragging on ad infinitum, thanks to a
wonderful new appointees in the Judi-
ciary, hand picked by the man himself.
Animal Farm? Whoever said justice
delayed is justice denied?
Press blackout on
international meetings


What's up with these high powered
meetings last week in Belize? Little co-
operation from Press Office or Foreign
Affairs Ministry. Maybe they were in the
dark too. They are usually told only what
they need to know so you can't blame
them. They are "just doing ourj obs" and
God knows so many ofus live paycheck
to paycheck.


The demonstrations are a waste of
valuable time, resources, and energy that
can be better deployed elsewhere.
Didn't you folks hear what Musa told
BBC Caribbean Reporter and Reuters
after the Jan 2005 demonstrations? (It's
on the BBC.com website still) He said
he won't resign or call early elections
UNLESS there is "bloodshed" or risk
to life & limb because he is the demo-
cratically elected leader.


Nobody is silly enough to believe
that. The guy has no intention of doing
either, so don't waste your time. In-
stead, the better protest would be to
withdraw all you saving from the bank
in question, quit paying that phone bill
to the company in question, and never
again use the hospital in question, if you


And, whatever happened to those in-
vestigative commissions of inquiries into
the missing millions? When are we to
get the reports? Are we to wait till they
all die off in accidents or old age? Let's
get on with the show.
What's the deal with these gangster
reconnection fees from the utility com-
panies? These reconnection fees are
bleeding us more than Musa's other con-
sumption taxes. Are these the poverty
alleviation practices that are fully
sanctioned by Musa's PUP? The
ones he sings about to the interna-
tional community, particularly the
British?


i. (Continued From Page 7)
Sadly Jean Shaw is no longer with
us and our leaders of today do not
manifest the same concern for
Belize's poorest of the poor. Our
leaders today are not of the same
caliber as those before them. The
BTB redirected a prime-time Ger-
man television travel show, that was
going to put the TEA and Toledo on
the tourism map, to film resorts up
north. They continually told visitors
who inquired at the BTB office that
the TEA did not exist. Year after year
they have continued to ignore TEA's
requests for support for TEA and
Punta Gorda Conservation Commit-
tee projects. Recently the members
of the Toledo branch of the BTIA


Word on the street is that PNP &
WTP will join up with VIP. I pray this
happens fast. Where is the NRP? Any-
body seen them lately? They've gone
silent. Way too silent for my liking while
the grass is growing. They need to join
up with this master alliance to truly
make a difference. Make the announce-
ment guys and make it fast. The only
way the third party movement will be
successful will be through a grander al-
liance. Mark my word: make that an-
nouncement and the others will come.
Maybe even Jules will get onboard; he'd
make a great addition to the leadership
council.


have developed a Cacao Fest, unfor-
tunately they didn't invite the TEA to
participate in the planning. Could it
be they didn't want the visitors to stay
in the rural village guesthouses, but to
return to PG and stay in their hotels
and nearby resorts? BTB, the BTIA
and the Ministry of Tourism should
help the members of the TEA to
strengthen and expand this valuable
program, rather then requiring by law,
fees that they cannot afford.
In closing I should point out if
these organizations did get behind
the TEA and really help them with
institutional strengthening, training,
upgrading, and marketing the TEA
would be able and happy to pay the
required licenses and membership


Third Parties
to Unite?


What is State and

Private Sector

Economic

Discrimination?







Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Pagel33


- S.(Continued From Page 3)
spoken to people on both sides. The
OAS role continues to be important,
but essentially it is between two
countries. It is a bilateral debate in
an international context. For third
party arbitration, or the World Court,
both parties have to agree and have to
agree to follow the outcome. We are
still hopeful both countries will be able
to reconcile their positions. The politi-
cal environment must be conducive.
Guatemala is going into elections; we
shall have to see... "[and Belize is too,
Ambassador]
Q: Ambassador, we understand the
former head of the OAS fellowship pro-
gram, Santos Mahung, a Belizean is no
longer at the OAS and is now going to
be installed as the new President ofUB.
Before he left, the fellowship program


was halted and controversy prevailed,
what is the status now with the Fellow-
ships & Training programs?
A: The program was suspended, yes.
But we intend to lift the ban and start
application procedures again, before the
General Assembly. We have at least 150
annually going to applicants from Car-
ibbean countries and we believe it is
critical to the Caribbean, important to
these countries. It is a well respected
and useful program.
Q: What are the other benefits to
Belize from the OAS aside from Fel-
lowships?
A: There are two other projects in
Belize, EDUSAT, which is distance
learning by satellite technology and a
program for sustainable land develop-
ment systems, it is called Maya Ranch
Foundation.


Pope to dealers:


You'll answer


to God


from every level of society," Benedict
said.
"Human dignity cannot be trampled
upon in this way," the pope declared
before a cheering crowd of 6,000 on a
sprawling lawn outside the "Fazenda de
Esperanca," or "Farm of Hope" near
Brazil's holiest shrine, the basilica of
Aparecida, home to the nation's patron
saint, a black Virgin Mary.
Later, Benedict prayed to the saint for
help in restoring the church's eroding
influence in Latin America's largest na-
(Please Turn To Page 16) *N"


Q: We understand the FEMCIDI
(technical cooperation) program is no
more, can you tell us what replaced it?
A: We are not really happy with what
is in place right now. The fund is for al-
location to development projects, but I
feel it is very cumbersome and compli-
cated and it does not give due attention


to development issues. The trend is now
for a more holistic approach, to con-
sider democracy, security, development
issues and members should lead. What
I would like to see is a Development
Commission on the Permanent Council
so that these issues can get their due.
Thank you very much.


Pope Benedict XVI embraces Brazil '
street children.
GUARATINGUETA, Brazil (AP)-
Drug traffickers will face divine justice
for the scourge of illegal narcotics across
Latin America that destroys lives amid
seemingly endless drug-related vio-
lence, Pope Benedict XVI said Satur-
day.
"God will call you to account for your
deeds," he warned the dealers to cheers
from recovering addicts at a rural treat-
ment center founded by a Franciscan
friar.
Brazil and the rest of Latin America
face dangerously high rates of drug
abuse and traffickers must "reflect on
the grave harm they are inflicting on
countless young people and on adults


ILY Iw VAT


.I


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FOR SALE: One Bradley's 25Ft. Pelican
like new. BZD $16,000.00 OBO.
CALL: 601-8854 FOR INFO.







Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Pagel44


Brenda Habuayo wins Female Cross Country


Mexican cyclist Brenda Habuayo,
riding for Team C- Ray, set a new record
when she won the 2007 Female Cross
Country Cycling Classic. Habuayo
completed the 75-mile ride from San
Ignacio to ride solo into the Marion
Jones Stadium Belize City in 3:07:30,
breaking the record set by Alma
Bennett, to win a $2,000 first prize, a
garland of roses, a diamond ring from
JEC Ltd, and the championship trophy.
Last year's winner Gina Lovell rode
the ride of her life, turning in her best
time ever as she led the main peloton of
riders into the stadium 8 minutes later.
Lovell won the sprint for second place,
clocking 3:16:28 to win a $1,000 prize.
Shalini Zabaneh of Team Sagitun was
3rd, to win a $800 prize and a trophy.
Marinette Flowers rolled in 4th to win
a $6000 prize and a trophy.
Jamie Lee Usher, also of Team
Sagitun, finished 5th, winning a $600
prize.
Kaya Cattouse of Team C-Ray was
the youngest rider to finish the race, roll-
ing in 6th, to win a $100 prize.
Shantia Morrison of Team Comfort
Air was 7th, Canadian rider Karen
Turner was 8th, Maria Gabrielle Mobra
Cortez of Team ComfortAir finished 9th
and the 2005 Cross Country champ
Anthea Sutherland completed the top
10. All 6th to 10th place winners


(Left to right) Marinette Flowers 5th, Gina Lovell 2nd, Brenda Habuayo Champ, Shalini Zabaneh 3rd & Jamie Lee Usher 5th.


recieved a medal and a $100 prize.
Guatemalan rider Luisa Fernanda
Zea-Zecena of Team Comfort Air had


led at the start of the race, winning the
first 6 station prizes till she was over-
taken by Gina Lovell at Spanish Look-


out. After that one station prize Habuayo
took over the lead and swept all remain-
ing station prizes on the way to the city


GUEST


Our friend "Barnacle Bill" Taylor sent us this photo of quashes at a family feast.


GALLERY


"Barnacle Bill" Taylor captured the splash of colour of this stair plant.


This oriole reciprocates "Barnacle Bill" Taylor's curiosity.


In Barnacle Bill's eye, the unmatched heauty ofthis lily needs no gilding.







Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 155


in. (Continued From Page 2)
rather proven the truth of the adage"
six of one and half-a-dozen of the
other." In other words there is abso-
lutely no difference in the governing
style of either party when in power.
Indeed power corrupts and absolute
power corrupts absolutely. The cor-
ruption continues; bloated contracts;
nepotism; unguided ministers; arro-
gance; greed; vindictiveness and the
hustle goes on.
The political stooges and the hard
core supporters line up and scramble
for the crumbs which fall out of the
feeding bowl-- then swear on their
mothers graves that all is well. Every
five years select individuals demand
their pound of flesh from the new rul-
ers of the country as payback for giv-
ing their blind support or providing
needed funds in a timely manner dur-
ing the campaign phase.
We have seen in recent years inter-
est groups from outside of Belize fun-
neling significant amount of money into
political campaigns. Naturally, these
too will demand their pound of flesh
if/when their candidate is elected into
government. Believe it or not the sce-
nario just described will not change
for a long, long time to come because
we are a peaceful, docile and fun lov-
ing people- always smiling, but qui-
etly bitching and praying that God will
somehow intervene.
Pessimist! you say, perhaps. But the
truth is there to be seen.


Is it our national destiny? Or are we
simply too damn naive, myopic and
complacent to see and do the things
that need to be done to ensure equal
opportunities far all regardless of
COLOUR, CREED, OR POLITI-
CAL PERRSUASION; or do we
continue to be satisfied with the tiny
crumbs that slip through the cracks of
the politicians feeding trays. In either
case as always someone will make a
decision for you come next election.
Meanwhile, you can rant and rave,
bitch, holler and scream- the die is
cast until 2003, or 2004? Or 2005?
Or NEVER! Is it politics or politricks
or is DEMOCRACY or
DEMCRAZY You decide.

Alfred Ramirez

No blue Note No
Vote
Dear Editor.

For quite sometimes, I have been
campaigning to rid our political cam-
paigns from bribery. It is of utmost
importance for voters to know that
it is a criminal offence to solicit or
accept any gift in kind or in cash from
any aspiring or incumbent politician
or their agents.
Chapter 36, Section (2) reads, "
No person shall give to any other
person on account of any person
having voted or refrained from vot-


Free Ads!
-hn:"S tU-2,1.' The INdependent Reformer is offer-
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ing or having induced any other per-
son to vote or refrain from voting at
any election, any article exceeding four
dollars.
Chapter 37 enumerates all the of-
fenses which constitute bribing a voter.
Among these are even attempts to
bribe a voter through any means and
by any individual, representing the
candidate or the political party.
Chapter 37 section (b) goes on to
warn a voter who corruptly accepts
or takes food, drink, entertainment or
provision aforesaid and Chapter 38


section (a) warns that even making a
threat of loosing a job or inflicting
punishment is guilty of undue influence
within the meaning of this Ordinance.
Many politicians would like this
violation of our Electoral Laws to
just vanish. BUT the possibilities of
enforcing these laws are very easy.
GET WILLING VOTERS to assist
in eradicating this criminal and demo-
cratic practice.

Signed Hector Silva
(Former Member of Parliament)


Conservation


Land


For Sale


70 acres in Burrell Boom for US$50K


independent.newspaper.bz@gmail.com








Friday, May 18, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Pag416


Pope to dealers: You'll answer to God


--i.(Continued From Page 13)
tion, where the number of Catholics has
dropped sharply in recent decades while
born-again Protestant congregations
have added millions of faithful to their
ranks.
The pope's warning that drug traffick-
ers will face the wrath ofGod was similar
to a 1990s declaration issued by his
predecessor, John Paul II, when he
went to the Italian island of Sicily and
said that mafia kingpins would bejudged
by God for their crimes.
Brazil is world's second largest con-
sumer of cocaine after the United States
and big cities across Latin America's
largest nation are plagued with drug vio-
lence, according to the U.S. State De-
partment.
While surveys show cocaine use has
been relatively stable in Brazil for years,
the violence continues unabated, driven
by gangs that control street-comer deal-
ing and the shipment of drugs made else-
where in South America to Europe and
the United States.
In Rio de Janeiro's teeming slums,
gangs recruit children and engage in
near-daily shootouts between them-
selves and with police that frequently
kill innocent bystanders and force
parents to use their bodies to shield
their children on the streets.
The violence is endemic in other
Latin American countries including
Colombia and Caribbean nations. In
Mexico, gangs battling over billion-
dollar drug smuggling routes into the
United States leave a daily body count
from beheadings, grenade attacks and
execution-style killings.
Benedict also donated $100,000 to
the treatment center and told more
than 1,500 recovering addicts wear-
ing white shirts with yellow trim rep-
resenting the Vatican's flag that they
must become "ambassadors of hope."
"The Lord has given you this op-
portunity for physical and spiritual re-
covery, so vital for you and your fami-
lies," the pope said. "In turn, society
expects you to spread this precious
gift of health among your friends and
all the members of the community."
The treatment center in
Guaratingueta claims an 80% success
rate, giving addicts spiritual guidance
as they milk cows, tend apple or-
chards and work as beekeepers.
Addicts who listened to the pope
said his visit was important because
Brazilian drug users are often treated
as castaways from society and left
to beg on the streets so they can buy
drugs.
"We are excluded from society, but
we are the ones who the pope is com-
ing to see," said Diego Cleto, a 19-
year-old who started taking drugs at
age 13.
But some doubted whether the
pope's message to traffickers will


have any impact.
"What the pope said is important
for drug users, but religion doesn't
matter to the dealers," said Felipe
Kenji, 27, under treatment at the cen-
ter since December. "They'll only stop
selling drugs when they die."
The Guaratingueta treatment center
was founded by friar Hanz Stapel in
1983. There are now 31 similar farm-
treatment centers in Brazil and 10
more abroad in Argentina, Ger-
many, Guatemala, Mexico,
Mozambique, Paraguay, the Philip-
pines and Russia.
The center is just a short distance
away from the shrine city of
Aparecida, where Benedict on Sun-


day will open a Latin American and
Caribbean bishops' conference aimed
at finding ways to reverse the erosion
of the church in the region.
Brazil's census shows the percent-
age of citizens characterizing them-
selves as Catholics fell to 74% in
2000 from 89% in 1980, while those
calling themselves evangelical Protes-
tants rose to 15% from 7%.
The pope is expected to map out
strategy to combat the church's losses
when he opens the bishops' conference
Aparecida, 100 miles east of Sao Paulo.
The small city is home to the three-
foot-tall statue of the black Virgin
Mary, called "Our Lady Who Ap-
peared."


The statue was pulled from a river
in the 18th century by poor fishermen
who were not catching any fish, and
then caught loads in their nets.
Miracles were subsequently attributed
to the statue, and so many pilgrims
flocked to Aparecida that the church
built the basilica and inaugurated it as
a shrine in 1955.
Saturday night, Benedict implored
the saint to "protect the Brazilian and
Latin American family" and energize
Latin America's priests and nuns with
evangelical zeal.
"Pour out upon our brothers and sis-
ters throughout Latin America a true
missionary ardour, to spread faith and
hope," Benedict said.


r rw




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