Title: Independent reformer
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099538/00027
 Material Information
Title: Independent reformer
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Publisher: Independent Publishing Company (of Belize) Ltd.
Place of Publication: Belize City, Belize
Publication Date: June 8, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00027
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Bac


to


the


Future


We all know the Aikman story or so we
think: clean-cut "Wonderboy" drop-kicked
the PUP leader's butt in the polls in Freetown
some 20 years ago and paid the ultimate price:
major humiliation, financial and otherwise. It
is generally accepted that there was apparent
collusion between both political party leader-
ship & a certain highly successful banker to
bury Derek politically. They did a wicked
number on the man for being young, popular,
assertive, and ambitious. That was then.
The man possesses political genius; and,
there are forces in our society who knows
who possess the real Svengali-like powers
around here and now two decades later, a lot
wiser, Aikman has resurfaced yet again.
There exists a need in the Belize political
landscape today for a leader to pull together
the various third parties to make them see the
common ground on which they stand. There
have been a lot of energies expended to get
this accomplished over the years but human
nature being what it is, the efforts have fallen
on fallow ground.
In walks Derek, looking rather saintly when


juxtaposed beside the super materialistic Dean
Oliver and super disgraced Said Wilbert. No-
body knows who's walking behind him and
there's a lot of speculation. Some even believe
that the Lord of the Bank developed a con-
science and a chance to right a wrong commit-
ted against a younger Aikman, a couple de-
cades ago. Or maybe he just sees an opportu-
nity to pit the big boys against each other by
introducing another third man into the ring.
We also believe it is possible the rainmakers
think that Derek Aikman is the man who can
bring the third parties together, that can then
take down the Musa Government, fair and
square in any election with great ease and some
resources. They are not so comfortable with
the other leader-in-waiting because he is not
so comfortable with them.
So no good deed goes unpunished.
For as quickly as he got 10,000 people mo-
bilized in 48 hours to pressure the Government
to withdraw its ridiculous proposition to bail
out private concerns, he was picked up, bound,
gagged and held for 3 days. Disciplined. A
(Please Turn To Page 16) *EJ


Caught with conch in reserve waters


The Belize Audubon Society (BAS)
marine protected areas staff have de-
tained three persons for illegally fish-
ing within the Halfmoon Caye Natu-
ral Monument. On Sunday, May 27t1,
the marine protected area (MPA) staff
detained Markito Mendes, Hipolito
Novelo and Geraldo Cobb for har-
vesting conchs within the boundary of
the Halfmoon Caye Natural Monu-
ment. One hundred and fifty-two
(152) conchs that had already been
removed from the shell were confis-
cated for evidence, and 194 live
conchs were released within the
Halfmoon Caye Natural Monument
Under the National Park System Act
1981, it is illegal to fish within any
natural monument. The boundaries of
the Halfmoon Caye Natural Monu-
ment is clearly demarcated by moor-
ing buoys and BAS has undertaken
extensive education campaigns to in-
form fishers of the protected areas
boundaries as well as the importance
of protected areas to maintaining
Belize's fisheries.
The three men appeared in the
Magistrate's Court and were found
guilty of catching fish within a natural


BAS reels in fishermen illegally harversting conch near Half Moon Caye


monument without written authoriza-
tion and illegal entry into a natural
monument. All three were charged
$400 for the offences. The Forest
Department, under whose jurisdiction
natural monuments fall, prosecuted
the case.
The confiscated conchs were do-
nated to the Dorothy Menzies
Childcare Centre in Belize City
BAS, as the on-site manager, ad-
dresses encroachment issues both
through enforcement and through
compliance by way of public educa-
tion. Recently, BAS has observed in-
creasing pressures from illegal fisher-
ies within the protected areas. As
the Society does not have all the re-
sources to address these issues on its
own, it depends on the support of
partnership agencies and organiza-
tions for their support in conservation
efforts.
The Belize Audubon Society helped
establish Belize's first protected area
at Half Moon Caye, and now man-
ages nine protected areas covering
over 162,000 acres, on behalf of the
people and Government of Belize.
Press Release


Noh Musa


ru Prime Minister


look"k -







Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2




r1


Dear Editor.
If the Prime Minister-- and this is a
big if-- is sincere about providing af-
fordable health care for the citizens of
this country, there is a less expensive
option that would satisfy everyone. He
and Ralph could go to the IMF, World
Bank: or wherever they go when they
need extra pocket money, negotiate a
concessionary loan for $10-$30 million
dollars to upgrade and expand the
KHMH, and turn it from a shell hospi-
tal into a full-service institution.
The terms and interest rates would be
far better than the pound of flesh the
Belize Bank is asking for and save this
country and the people upwards of
$70-$90 million.
In addition, Said and Ralph might


even get a good feeling out of asking
for money that win actually help the
Belizean people instead of paying for
all of their failed, short-sided govern-
ment projects for the benefit of their
friends.
After the KHMH is upgraded, addi-
tional staffwould be needed which could
come from those that are no longer at
UHS. This change of direction should
not affect the Belize Bank because as
the Prime Minister has told the people
of Belize the UHS has over $30 mil-
lions in assets -and if his word is good
enough for us, shouldn't it be good
enough for Mr. Ashcroft? Then all the
bank would have to do is sell off the
assets (some of which KHMH could
purchase at discount) and then, this is


the radical part, go after the principals
ofUBS to collect whatever else is owed
to the bank instead of burdening the
Belizean taxpayers with their privately
owned failed venture.
Sounds like a win-win situation all
around. However, as the Prime Minis-
ter likes to say, hindsight is 20/20. I say
if the PM does not have the forward
vision to see this, the people must de-
clare him legally blind.
Unfortunately, the cowards in cabi-
net and the area reps are the only ones
that can stop this madman from push-
ing his vision down the throats of the
Belizean people. Anyone in government
willing to stand up and do the right thing?
signed,
Oscar M.


independent.newspaper.bz@gmail.com
P.O. Box 2.666
Beliie (Ci%. Beli/e
--I YES! Send me my FREE T-shirt with my year's subscription of the INdependent
Reformer for BZ$60.00 in Belize (US$60.00 international)




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E-1 Lill lll E-1


!.-I IIb IIj.II..II lild 111,11 1 .11' 1.-1 i),11 ..







Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3


Another desperate cabinet reshuffle:


Mark, Cordel, Eamon & The DPM


forced to walk the plank


Government of Belize composed PRESS RELEASE
Cabinet Changes June 2007. Belmopan 04 June, 2007

The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Said Musa, has advised His Excel-
lency the Governor-General to effect a number of changes in his Cabi-
net.
Against the background of two Ministers being asked to leave Cabi-
net, the upcoming national Convention of the People's United Party set
for July 1, 2007, and the run-up to General Elections due within nine
(9) months, the changes being made are as follows:
The Prime Minister has invited veteran politician, Corozal Southeast
Representative, the Hon. Florencio Marin, into his Cabinet, and of-
fered him responsibility for the Ministry of Natural Resources and the
Environment. Hon. Florencio Marin will be retiring at the end of this
term. Former Minister of State for Labour, Hon. Valdemar Castillo
will be appointed Executive Chairman of the Commercial Free Zone at
Corozal to replace Hon. Florencio Marin.
o has declined to accept any other post in the Cabinet. The Hon.
John Bricen
Senator, the Hon. Eamon Courtenay has also indicated his unwilling-
ness to continue to serve in the newly restructured Cabinet and the
Senate.
The Hon. Vildo Marin will be appointed Deputy Prime Minister and
retain his portfolio responsibilities for Agriculture and Fisheries.
The Hon. Rodwell Ferguson will be appointed Minister of Defence,
Youth and Sports.
The Prime Minister will appoint Her Excellency, Ambassador Lisa
Shoman as a Senator, and the new Minister for Foreign Affairs and
Foreign Trade.
The Prime Minister will assume the portfolio responsibility for Na-
tional Development into the Ministry of Finance.


FOR

























John Deere front-end loader 544B
& John Deere Excavator 690B


The changes in Cabinet will take effect on Tuesday, June 5, 2007.

THE NEW CABINET (JUNE 5, 2007):

Rt. Hon. Said Musa Minister of Finance, National Development
and the Public Service
Hon. Vildo Marin, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Agriculture
and Fisheries
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Attorney General, Minister of Labour, Educa-
tion and Culture
Hon. Godfrey Smith, Minister of Tourism and National Emergency
Management
Hon. Ralph Fonseca, Minister of Home Affairs, Public Utilities and
Housing
Hon. Jose Coye, Minister of Health, Transport, Communications and
Local Government
Hon. Sylvia Flores, Minister of Human Development
Hon. Michael Espat, Minister of Works
Hon. Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Defence, Youth and Sports
Hon. Florencio Marin, Minister of Natural Resources and the Envi-
ronment
Hon. Lisa Marie Shoman, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign
Trade.

MINISTERS OF STATE (JUNE 5, 2007)
Hon. Mario Castellanos, Minister of State (National Development)
Hon. Marcial Mes, Minister of State (Education)
Hon. Ismael Cal, Minister of State (Home Affairs)
Hon. Dave Burgos, Minister of State (Agriculture and Fisheries)
Hon. Servulo Baeza, Minister of State (Natural Resources)
Hon. Ainslie Leslie, Minister of State (Works).


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Asking Bz $85,000


Contact Independent Weekly






Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4




PARENTS

Ministry of Education is forcing our schools to use the Language Tree Readers.
The two pages below are from the first story in the Language Tree Reader for
Infant One. The only way our children will be able to read the story will be if
parents read the story to them over and over and over. If parents read the story
enough times, children will memorize the story. They will not be able to read
the words in the story. Children will never learn to sound out words. Children
without parental help may never learn to read.


BC's hn, mOtesdag Ls ad i m=n, 9 oMade scko,:s a Dasm Ds Radg is udwy mdbecame di&ldm amule to weed by song g, ,wNds. omy of
mri db a ei nm- mBoMCi' Ra a i hi h oo.k fhly hamw d if RC. Baing iis =hem 1owk n ,m uin llm as gm N.. T Mm mam B Biks.

A Ministry of Eduction official said: We know that children will not be able to learn to read using the
Language Tree Reading Book for Infant One.
TYoea amm & Kams if y at a s a ktw W
Wfy -qnd quyum' my to wpm hdm kmxnofi bcks i. ga rchads?
WI doM MoE wnos "D uam% ay .mduial nabm boad (WRC) ut l na g bgo& Ma kma wil n sm k humtor aVd?
Wiy doM UNE gwme a fia psit Om ulf ir a back thittmy uwi mnobt dikkm mhab rmnd d aih uxy jbs firbmmib 7
Te Lismnr t FEhtuas Otind cmm& &sBesa m swv srm chMrm WEm ham.r sud ming lAnuage Tree. ue r dendMa Fast MP Umms. WO &M
hF IFadt A be tlba ctWMk Im. w udm Lagpu fau. T
Tb Mae ofVE&dalam had 12 zbwMt m Fm Pawcm t0cs t u= a yda Mi km mn usmd cm's nusMg tm 12 mcholK bs q ut k 1th wo sy ymnd = w aSn
MW. cklam in a mbaa, hk alMi dhm ug -MRC's. .ad -omdlmSk admuug m. M a wsd &o d tha bc. MuE kum which pu &o
womd nod bom Tem.n ham md thS Fa nes. wa mt WB&

lto uad cocphm wrai nd ar foe Fa aToms. am Ahems amoo ticO ooD is a ood pme. w do ac h npe ay 1 b e
priTingo F Poic A -pd pais t S3.OCE.
Tb Mimfny dPEKas i m ngd to 4 mg d ea- in S0,1OOmd W ma.o y or pdme m book hcL is no ams x d n BULCk hIk be war n bcme K.wo w i A B3RC


OUTRAGEOUS
Apndad






Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5




Teachers and Principals of the 12 Fast Phonics Pilot Schools

You really have an awesome responsibility. Our children's ability to read in the coming years is in your
hands. The Ministry of Education is claiming that Fast Phonics is excellent and all children learned to
read when using it. MoE is claiming that Fast Phonics is much better than BRC's reading.

BRC is claiming that teachers are saying:
Fast Phonics is too fast. After 8 lessons, children are lost.
Only children with a lot of parental help will be able to learn to read using Fast Phonics.
If children have two years of pre-school, it might work.
It will never work in villages or on the Southside.
BRC is better.

Both MoE and BRC have biased opinions. Only the Fast Phonics teachers know if taxpayers should
spend one-half million dollars to put Fast Phonics in all the schools. Only Fast Phonics teachers know if
Fast Phonics is so good that it should be Belize's learning to read book of the future. The Fast Phonics
teachers and their principals must have the courage to speak out. Fast Phonics teachers must tell the
media and the Minister of Education of their children's ability or inability to read using Fast Phonics.

If Fast Phonics teachers do not speak out and a mistake is made, Belize's children will pay the price.

Please speak out.

Parents, Teachers and Principals of Schools Using BRC's Reading

BRC's Reading and Math are designed to help all children learn. If you believe that your children have
learned well using BRC's books, you must speak out. Write newspapers. Call talk shows. Let the
Government know that you want BRC books used.

MoE does not know how to help non-privileged children learn. They do not even like books that help
non-privileged children learn. MoE has convinced the Minister of Education that BRC's books are not
good. MoE has convinced the Minister of Education that BRC's books are not widely used and not liked
by teachers and parents.

BRC has tried to convince him otherwise, but has failed. You, the parents, teachers and principals may
be able to convince him.

MoE/GoB has already bought foreign written and printed books that do not have anything about Belize
in them. That cannot be stopped.

MoE/GoB is planning to spend about $350,000.00 on developing and printing Fast Phonics for Infant
One. Fast Phonics materials are designed for privileged children. Those taxpayers' dollars could be
better spent buying books that will help all children learn.

If you are quiet, our children will pay the price.


A Paid Ad


I







Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6



"Framd fi Derek

Areas Act. And yet no one expected the to ever The ridiculous question lingered,
But that was years ago, this is now. hear the news which flew across "What he gat fi do with BTL bill any-
And recently Derek Aikman came out Belize and beyond faster than a BTL way?"
of retirement. Well, more like shotup webcast: "Somebady kidnap Even those who professed to be-
into the air like a flare in the night... Aikman!" lieve it was a hoax, found part of them-
selves 'fraid fi Derek." Afraid they
.the abduction had nothing to do would kill him, afraid we'd never find
S ..the abduction had nothing to do his body, afraid he would be maimed
.. with aBTLand or mutilated, set on fire, made an ex-
with BTL, and everything to do with ample to terrorize and terrify anyone
By: Karla Heusner Vernon the man himself." else who might dare to buck the sys-
tem.
He seems an unlikely candidate for The call to KREM radio which he
a hostage: A man of moderate in- Cge- says his captors made so he could
come, family-oriented, active in his Certainly he is good at overnight Fortwo days, everywhere and any- prove he needed thyroid medication
church. Aman who loved music and success, for seemingly out of no- where you went in Belize people, al- was chilling. Anyone who heard it
drama, and organizing September where, he spearheaded the Belize most every email you opened, every stood frozen and shocked. Unless he
Celebrations and church events. Covenant Movement, a group of citi- text sent and received, someone was was an excellent actor, Derek Aikman
Not the type of person one would zens possessing both religious and asking someone else: "Where yutink was really being held; he might never
expect to attract the attention of kid- nationalistic fervor. With less than a Aikman dey? Yu think Derek okay? Yu see his wife and children again!
nappers, home grownterrorists whose week's notice, he pulled off a tink dis fake or real? Who dey be- But heldby whom? Surely not some-
tactics seemed more typical of an "People's Poll," a nationwide, al- hind dis now? Why dey pick up di one who cared about the BTL Vesting
American movie than Belizean thugs. though unofficial, referendum on the man instead a sambady else?" Bill Political kidnapping are usually
But once upon a time, Derek Universal Health Services loan guar- After a while, people just started about some sort of prisoner exchange
Aikman was a powerhouse. He was antee which sent a resounding 95% calling him Derek, as if he were a per- or funds or guns for rebels or some-
the only man to ever beat George "Vote No" to the government in sonal friend of member of their own thing. Well, the ones we have seen in
Price and the lead voice in the Na- Belmopan. So dramatic was the re- family. Soon enough, we stopped us- movies anyway. Derek had no con-
tional Alliance for Belizean Rights, sult that the Prime Minister withdrew ing his name at all, everyone just knew trol over the BTL bill or prisoners or
NABR's, fight against the Maritime the motion. who you meant when you said "He. (Please Turn To Page 7) E*


We've been 9 years before the mast, me maties, and I'm at my wit's end,,, I mean, Land's
End. 5o it's time to abandon ship qnd feed the Great White 5harKs. Happy Landings(








Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7


61


4


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hko


S (Continued From Page 6)
guns or funds or anything. The Sena-
tors would not be deterred, the gov-
ernment flunkies would support the
bill, those with a conscience oppose
it, those who had no backbone would
not even show up. The GG would do
as he was told and sign. Nothing new
and no chance Derek Aikman could
influence the outcome, any more than
any of us could.
So it seems pretty obvious to me
I mean, how many other politicians
or public figures in Belize at this time
could galvanize over eight thousand
people with only 2 days notice,
mostly word of mouth minus expen-
sive television advertising, and get
them to the polls? How many politi-
cians, from any political party, could
get that many people to turn out of
their volition, with no transport or food
or financial incentive provided? Who
else could get dozens of people to
volunteer to man those polling booths
for up to ten hours, to get schools and
churches and community centers to
throw open their doors and invite such
an activity inside without the prompt-
ing of Elections and Boundaries or
National Development or NEMO?
Maybe only Godwin Hulse could
generate that kind of public support.
Maybe. But the rest? Could any of
them pull off such an an audacious
move, a longshot, a public relations
gamble that hit the jackpot?
Much of it has to do with timing I
suppose. Right now, more than ever,
the nation of Belize is looking for a
charismatic leaders, a spiritual and
moral man who has been happily
married to ONE woman for most of
his adult life, who has intelligent, well
mannered children who are totally
devoted to their education and hob-
bies. Perhaps what also appeals to
them about Derek, if the very thing
that drove him out of politics, a bank
attack by an institution controlled by
the man many Belizeans now regard
as the devil himself. Add to the mix
the fact that Aikman dared to say "No"
to Guatemala when so many our lead-
ers were practicing appeasement and
the larger than life story of how he
rescued a child from a burning build-
ing, and you have an individual who
has gone from cult hero to national
icon. Become a beacon of hope in a
hopeless land where more and more
families are losing their homes, their
income, their women and children
to violence and men to reckless driv-
ing and gang violence.
Derek Aikman has walked onto a
very different national stage than the
one he left a few years ago. Both maj or
parties are under heavy fire and nu-
merous smaller parties have emerged.


He could fly under the flag of the VIP,
PNP/WTP or the NRP and easily win
a seat in the new government. Which
division? Any division really, from
Queen's Square to Fort George to
Belize Rural Central. Take your pick.
Yes, there any number of people
who would want to see him scared
off the scene, sidelined or worse.
New rivals, and old enemies. As one
woman said to me the other day,
"Derek no done pay fi defeat Price
yet..."
This is not to suggest that anyone in
Price's camp had him picked up. But
the opinion illustrates a view, rather
widely shared, that the kidnapping
was carried out at the behest of some-
one at "a very high level." Perhaps
even with the assistance of some
branch of the police department or
military. Someone who is not afraid
FOR Derek, but afraid OF him.
At least one in every four people I
spoke to during the disappearance be-
lieves this. It startled me to hear it.
So frequently, and said with such con-
viction. After Aikman was released,
a man shook his finger at me and said,
"No mus police? How else would
Crispin Jeffries know for certain the
man would be found alive? You can't
assume dey no when kill di man, un-
less you KNOW!"
Personally, I think Mr Jeffries's
comment during the press conference
at Raccoon Street was designed to
intimidate the kidnappers, make them
feel the Police Department could, and
would, catch the perpetrators and free
the hostage. A show of bravado, if
you will. Entirely in character.
So was the inability of some police
officers to keep their own personal
prejudices to themselves during the in-
vestigation. Frustration over the lack
of leads, or maybe their own incom-
petence when faced with such a bi-
zarre situation also led some rookie
officers to do such absurd things as
visit Covenant members at one in the
morning and ask for glasses of water
so they could look under their tables
and peek into rooms while the owner
was in the kitchen. What did they
think? That Derek was hiding right in
Burrell Boom? Or that his body would
be stuffed behind someone's enter-
tainment center? Stupid.
But not damning enough to impli-
cate the entire police force or high
command as accomplices in this
crime. Could rogue or fringe elements
have been co-opted? Former
Belizean military personnel? Possibly.
None of us likes to think we have en-
tered a new era now of state-spon-
sored kidnapping. But then, none of
us wanted to admit when gangs in-
vaded Belize City or we became a


major drug transshipment and money
laundering center either.
Derek says he was asked to com-
municate to the police, the government
and the people of Belize that he will
not be the last person to be picked
up. Specific threats were made to the
lives of the Prime Minister and the
Governor General. At least, this is
what Derek says his captors told him.
The one who spoke English with a
Belizean accent, not the ones he says
spoke only Spanish with "Central
American accents."
These threats are similar to the ones
made in a letter sent to media houses
this week, including the Independent
Reformer, on paper bearing the let-
terhead "The New Jihad." We will
not reproduce a letter by a group
which clearly fancies itself a terrorist
organization or allow our paper to
become a vehicle through which they
can issue demands and threats, or at-
tempt to conceal their identity or cloud
their motivation by ridiculous state-
ments about the BTL Vesting Bill. Pure
smokescreen and I am not buying it.
We here at the Independent may not
support the actions of some of our
national leaders, but we cannot con-
done death threats against them. Car-
toons poking fun are one thing, death
squads something else entirely.
The people responsible for Derek
Aikman's unlawful detention are not


concerned with BTL or UHS or any
other piece of legislation or loan guar-
antee. The only guarantee they seek
is their own continued power to ex-
ploit the Belizean people and steal
from the public coffers.
They can kidnap Derek Aikman, fire
shots and set fire to Jose Coye's ve-
hicle, light up Godwin Hulse's truck,
throw people out of cabinet, detain
cameramen and radio hosts who give
them the finger in the House of Rep-
resentatives, even whisk inquiry
Chairmen away for medical attention
from which they never return, take
away people's land, fire them, smear
them with filth and innuendo- but
they cannot keep their finger in the
dike for much longer.
For every single populist leader, for
every outspoken critic and challenger
who is threatened and intimidated,
even driven away, there will be oth-
ers to replace them.
Make no mistake, one of these
days one of them will get through the
mine field to the other side.
'Fraid fi Derek? They SHOULD be
afraid--not only of Derek, but of all
the Belizeans who were afraid for him
while he was being held in the under-
world.
Because the next time we won't just
be voting no in a hastily called refer-
endum.


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Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8


Belize's reef, not Mexico's BTB


counters beauty pageant claims

Statement from the Belize Tourism
Board
It has been brought to the attention
of the Minister of Tourism and the
Belize Tourism Board that on May 28t,
2007 during the live television broad-
cast of the 2007 Miss Universe Pag-
eant in Mexico City, to some 1 billion
viewers worldwide, Cozumel, Mexico
was positioned as "... home to the
second largest barrier reef in the
world...." This deliberate misrepresen-
tation of the truth has stirred strong lo-
cal disapproval and international dis-
gruntlement. The Belize Tourism Board
shares the expressed sentiments of
many Belizeans on such a blatant dis-
regard for the people and country of
Belize and is appalled by this gross dis-
tortion of the facts.
The Belize Tourism Board is the pub-
lic-sector organization responsible for
the marketing and promotion of the
Belize's Barrier Reef is a principal attraction for tourists.
Belize tourism product. We are committed and
determined to educate and share with potential visi-
tors and friends, the rich diversity of our culture and
the many natural and physical attributes that pro-
vide for a truly authentic Belizean experience. We
recognize that the 185-mile long Belize Barrier
Reef, hugging the entire coastline ofthe country of
Belize is one of the country's most valuable natural
attractions. Offering world class adventure to divers,
sports fishermen and snorkel enthusiasts alike, the
Belize Barrier Reef has set us apart from our com-
petitors and has served as the foundation for Belize
's vibrant and growing tourism industry. Due to the
tireless efforts of the Government and people of
Belize, in 1996, the United Nations Educational
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) rec-
ognized and designated the Belize Barrier Reef as a
World Heritage Site.
These and other facts have been shared with the
organizers of the Miss Universe Pageant in a letter
addressed to them earlier today, expressing the col-
lective views of the Government and people of
Belize. The letter addressed to the Ms. Universe
Organizing Committee and copied to the Ministry
of Tourism in the host country, requests a formal
....retraction of this erroneous statement and clarifica-
tion of the facts to the viewers of the Miss Universe
Pageant. Additionally, an international press release
will be disseminated to our media partners in the
United States and Canada, later today, via the
BTB's Public RelationsAgency based in NewYork
SThe Ministry of Tourism has made contact with
the Embassy ofBelize in Mexico City in an effort to
secure diplomatic support as well as to formally reg-
ister the Government's grave concern on this mat-
ter.
'We are disappointed that the proper protocols
were not exercised in this case", commented the
Minister ofTourism, Godfrey Smith. "We will re-
f main vigilant and steadfast in our effort to ensure
that Belize receives a formal apology from those
who were involved in this most unfortunate incident."
For more information on development and events
in Belize 's tourism industry, e-mail:
info@travelbelize.org or visit our website at
Miss Belize Maria Jefferies wore a Mayan costume at the Miss Universe Pageant. (photo courtesy Richard Holder) www.travelbelize.org and www.belizetourism.org







Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9


Attack on Press Freedom



and Democracy


By: Meb Cutlack
The BTL has sliced across the press
freedoms of Belize and undermined our
democracy in a way never before seen
in Belize. In a totally shameless and ar-
rogant manner, and in one swift move
BTL has taken KREM radio station off
its internet streaming, emasculating it
nationally (it used the internet platform
to broadcast into Punta Gorda,
Placencia, Independence, and Corozal
Town) and internationally.
According to the Amandala the rea-
son for the action is "Because KREM
Radio had to take a stand against Lord
Ashcroft on the UHS and Belize
Telemedia matters."
This action cries out to all of Belize
and all Belizeans abroad, louder than
ever, that the illegal giveaway of BTL in
its illegal sale to Prosser and now the
sudden, convenient and also illegal
transfer to 'Telemedia' without tax or
cost should never have happened.
It is imperative that BTL should be
restored to a maj ority ownership by the
people of Belize as soon as possible.
In taking KREM off the air, the Lord
has signaled that the gloves are off. It's
a bare fisted fight from now on and all
the rules of the engagement have
changed. It is no longer a boxing match
between a powerful 'champion', and an
upstart contender from among the
people, it has become a 'tag' fight.
The Lord only has a clever, small and
darting Musa defending soft spots be-
tween his legs, the Times newspaper
being waved to keep him cool ,and
Love FM crouched behind his corner.
Our fighter 'KREM' has the crowd
roaring on his side. Hundreds of citi-
zens, once prepared to see a fair fight
under Queensbury Rules, are now
ready to jump into the ring with this
media house.
The straw that broke the proverbial
camel's back was just a tiny straw
loaded only in greed, and without
thought or consideration, but it was
enough to bring the straining camel
down and broken.
Three recent straws added to the bur-
den of the people of Belize; the UHS
scandal, the VACA dam extension
(adding to the already huge financial
burden of Challilo) and the Telemedia
plot piled on the top, are three straws
too many for the Belizean people to


bear.
These issues are going to bring you
toppling down M'Lord and Mr Musa
with you. They will also bring about
uncomfortable retribution for all the sy-
cophants who sing your song.
Amandala: "While patriotic Belizeans
have been making sacrifices, members
of the Ashcroft Supporters Society,
a.k.a. collaborators, have seen their
benefits increase. Collaborators will
now get the Belize Bank account. Col-
laborators will now get the Espat and
Hyde Cabinet portfolios. Collaborators
will now benefit from the KREM Ra-
dio crippling. It is important to identify
collaborators. They are enemies of
Belize, but they know how to talk and
act as if they are friends of Belize."
Also from Evan X of Amandala: "In
the battle being waged in the streets and
the countryside of Belize between the
Ashcroft Supporters Society and the
people of Belize, it is KREM Radio
which the Englishman considers more
dangerous than the newspaper. There


are different reasons for this, but I will
discuss these reasons another time. Suf-
fice to say that at the book launching a
couple months ago for the LOVE FM
owner's literary effort, Lord Ashcroft
showed up in the front row, and when
questioned about it by Jules Vasquez,
responded, "Anything for Rene!"
It is past the time for all Belizeans to


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see the manner in which they are being
ruled and manipulated, also acknowl-
edge just who is pulling the stings and
recognize who is piling on the straw. The
camel minder no longer knows what he
is doing. The camel boy is a silly little,
dangerous, twerp!
Twerp! ... personn regardedas in-
significant and contemptible ".


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Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10




Making Things Happen?


By: TrevorVernon
Everyone's been saturated with
heavy news lately. Lots of hard news
along with the usual police blotter type
crime "around the inner city". So this
week I'll lighten up and do the Joyce
"stream of consciousness" thing with-
out any heavy analysis, naturally with
an exclusive Belize focus.
The big news that continues to
dominate the consciousness of
Belizeans everywhere is the Aikman
kidnapping. Speculation is the order
of the day. The semi-official whisper
campaign coming out of government
quarters is that Mr. Aikman is a mas-
ter showman and that he staged the
whole thing to make his comeback. I
don't buy it, but some do. Mr.
Aikman was back the moment 10,000
plus voters came out to vote country-


wide in a mock referendum two
weeks ago. There's no question.
Somebody needs to tell the security
forces that this kind of thing is above
their pay scale.
Lots of friends have been asking
us to take extra precaution. Heavy
stuff. While are not taking the kid-
napping lightly there is no need for
extra security measures as we see
it. We have a wonderful and well
trained police department. They
just had a guy come back from a
special course on handling kidnap-
ping and hostage taking situations.
I am sleeping better already but not
turning off my security gadgets.
What wonderful things this internet
related technology is... and not re-
ally expensive.
And listening to Belize's robo-cop
Jefferies elaborate on the compe-
tencies and brainpower of our
proud men in blue, one gets a sense
of utter calm and total control. This
guy is mister take charge. When he
speaks you know everything will
return to a state of normalcy real
soon. And exactly as super cop
told us on Tuesday, so it came to


pass. What's there to worry about?
Things were super calm over the
weekend with graduation season in
full swing. The PM came back, over
the weekend we hear, from stately
commitments in Caracas and else-
where ... with more money in hand.
All things bright and beautiful. Bet
Washington isn't too happy with the
cozy Caracas/Caricom relationship
but Washington isn't putting out like
she used to and the Maximum
Bolivarian Leader Chavez is.
The economic train will be mov-
ing again and real soon. This is the
only opiate of the masses and this
orange government understands it
very well. Let it flow at the last
minute. We need to get this private
sector led economy back in gear.
We have been losing a lot of for-
eign direct investment and related
employment... and the hemorrhag-
ing continues.
So what's there to worry about
really? Things are looking up...just
keep those foreign bills, acts, and
Statutory Instruments flowing
through the pipeline. Gifts and tax
breaks to the big political donors.


The Aikman kidnapping was ob-
viously politically motivated but it
would be grossly unfair to say it was
state sanctioned. The kidnapped
man is back with his family and
that's a beautiful thing. Jefferies,
with the security forces, has things
under control in the streets. The
gangs have been sedated.
The US Government drops her
hand with another million USD to
support security efforts, institutional
strengthening-wise. Chavez will
give that a hundred times over. Tai-
wan is dropping her hand too.
Clean money is flowing again, pour-
ing in. The drug monies aren't flow-
ing, all of a sudden, so drug related
conflicts/crime are nonexistent. Yet
the "parallel market" exchange rate
remains "pegged" to the US Dollar.
Just doesn't add up.
Jefferies making things
happen... or not happen?
We are living in a beautiful coun-
try and soon we'll watch as the
people get pumped with all sorts of
opiates as we head full scale into
electioneering mode, like the rest of
the Americas.


Money laundering fears trigger


Grace Kennedy action


By Dennise Williams
Friday, June 01, 2007
GraceKennedy boss Douglas
Orane this week disclosed that
fears of money launderers own-
ing shares in the company had
caused Grace to insist on know-
ing who were its true sharehold-
ers.
Orane, the GraceKennedy CEO,
moved a motion at Monday's an-
nual general meeting to include a
provision in the company's Articles
of Association, which would allow
GK to determine who were the true
holders of shares and allow the
company to impose sanctions
where there was failure to disclose
after appropriate notice.
"We want to know who our part-
ners in GK are. It is like living in a
condo with new owners coming in
that you don't know," Orane told
shareholders at the AGM, held at
GK's harbour Street headquarters
in downtown Kingston. "We see
this provision as important in
today's environment where money
launderers are seeking innovative
ways of disguising funds," he said.
"The risk is that shareholders of
the company could one day find that
significant shares of the company is


held by these persons," added
Orane.
He further proposed that sanc-
tions, such as the withholding of
dividend cheques, be implemented
to force disclosure.
But John Jackson, GK share-
holder and financial analyst, spoke
passionately against such a move.
"There might be a case where a
person simply chooses not to dis-
close who they are, not because
they are doing anything wrong, and
then the next thing they know, they
are excluded from receiving divi-
dend cheques. I cannot accept
that," said Jackson.
In support of Orane's proposal,
GK director John Issa took to the
podium and questioned why anyone
who was an upstanding citizen
would not want to be identified as
a GK shareholder.
Jackson then attempted to have a
motion moved to stop the amend-
ment but Karen Chin Quee Akin,
GK company secretary, said that
since the amendment had been duly
circulated, the financial analyst's
motion could not stand. Orane
noted that Jackson had the right to
vote against the amendment, which
he did, but was the only one to do


so.
Another shareholder took GK
executives to task on several issues
presented in the notes to the Finan-
cial Statements.
First, there were questions sur-
rounding the receivables, which had
increased significantly during the
year under review. Indeed, as at
December 31, 2006, trade receiv-
ables stood at nearly $1 billion, a
60 per cent jump from the $378.1
million booked in the correspond-
ing period of 2005.
Fay McIntosh, GK chief financial
officer, was at pains to explain the
reason for the robust surge, but
admitted that there was room for
improvement in the company's col-
lection methods.
"It is a tight market. Our collec-
tions are something that we are
working very hard at," said McIn-
tosh.
Don Wehby, chief executive of-
ficer of GK Investments, noted that
part of the increase in trade receiv-
ables was due to outstanding receiv-
ables from the GraceKennedy Re-
mittance Service.
Secondly, the shareholder ques-
tioned the $728.2 million from pen-
sions that was recognized in the


profit and loss account.
To this, Orane's response was:
"Over the last 20 years, GK's de-
fined benefit pension plan devel-
oped a large surplus. In fact, our
pension is twice as large as what is
needed, actuarially, by retired GK
workers and soon to be retired
workers."
The GK head added that, "now,
under the IFRS rules, a portion of
the surplus must be recognized as
profit. And we cannot ask the GK
Pension fund to write us a cheque
for the surplus. The only way that
we can get it back is a contribution
holiday where we don't contribute
to the pension for several years."
provided by Grace Kennedy
Belize Ltd.







Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11


st


ce


Statement from the National Re-
form Party, NRP
What about justice? As the saying
goes, "Don't let your rights become
wrong." Every now and then
a case comes up that shows the level
of justice we have in the land. For
example, Christine Perriot's case;
imagine as a union leader she cannot
get her rights upheld? Naturally the
question arises, what about the com-
mon man or woman? Such a case
becomes an insult to our society, es-
pecially to those who know our laws
and the working people.
Another common saying is, "Only
free people can set people free."
When a police man does not listen to
your case, don't be silent; or when
your tax money is wasted, don't be
quiet; and when the country's future
is at stake, don't be quiet.
Every justice system needs judge.
Every judge has the Constitution and
many books of historical cases to
guide him. On the other hand he goes
by what the leader of the country and
people want. He uses the information
you give him. So, if corruption takes
control of our society, it will always
start from the top. Once it has pen-
etrated to the majority of the body of
people, they cannot change unless the
leadership is removed. This is easy
to explain.
A corrupt leader cannot afford for
his leaders under him to be corrupt
also. The problem is he cannot stop
them. Eventually they become like
him, and the society at large becomes
corrupt. That is when the dance ends
and music stops.
A judge in Cayo years ago said
something unforgettable. He said that
there is a written law, but along with
it there is what we is called the spirit
of the law. We definitely need both
to havejustice working for us.
A newspaper article read: "Good
laws on paper will not protect us
from a bad government." That is so
true! If being smart, educated, and
vocal only could do it, we would
be in far better shape a long time
ago.
The spirit of the law is not as evi-
dent as the law on paper but more
sensitive. We have many written
laws that many of us don't even
know about. They are not regarded
or enforced. But if we disregard
the spirit of the law, there is more
of an immediate reaction. Our


Prime Minister found that out lately.
He did some things against our law
a n d
constitution for years. Then one day
he touched the spirit of Belizean
people, by saying, law or no law,
you have to pay what I signed for.
He quickly found out that he should
never have said nor done that.
Overnight, over 90% of the people
were against him. That is the un-
written law in action, if people
speak up, much can be accom-
plished.
Smokey Joe of the Amandala
wrote "I am not talking to you
tongue stretchers who get allow-
ance to talk about others, because
if you cannot see it yet, your days
are numbered. Check the world,
brother man. The power of God is
moving. The Ice Age is now turning
into a heat wave. As I have said,
money and material things here have
taken the place of God. This is turn-
ing our so-called poverty stricken
youths into thieves..."
Thinking about justice and what
comes along with it: 1) The Belizean
people at this time don't know if
anyone is listening to them. One
thing is sure that everyone is disap-
pointed of a cowardly leadership.
2) The Belizean people don't feel
that there is compassion for them,
with all the pressures upon them,
the hardships in daily life, which is
the result of corruption. 3) The
Belizean people don't understand
love anymore, because of the loss
of trust, the betrayal and lawless-
ness they witness on a daily basis
in the streets and among the lead-
ers.
Thousands of people have lost
their jobs. Contractors have lost
their contracts. Trusted arrange-
ments have been broken. People
have lost their savings, their land,
their houses, their family with no
hopes of ever getting it back. Most
of them keep quiet and do not
speak up. Others who have spoken
continue without any results. Many
are waiting years for the courts to
decide. Some have suffered wrong
judgments.
Belizeans are very disappointed at
the indifference of their leaders.
Why? We went with all the best
promises and plans. Then we get
disappointed without explanation.
That hurts. That is a very insulting


let down. For a good example just
read Tom Greenwood's letter in the
Independent Reformer, Amandala
and Reporter. He was brave enough
to vent his anger and
frustration and put his thoughts in
writing. What about the thousands
that keep it to themselves? There
are many similar stories from the dif-
ferent political administrations of
'93, '98 and the 2003.
Let us try to look at today's situ-
ation from a historical point of view,
if that is possible.
When we were awakened after
the last elections, with all the prom-
ises being made of a good Belize
and economy that was going to be
strong, everyone knew that our as-
sets and properties were being sold
to bring constant cash money; and
while the music was being played,
we were told it is alright to borrow
as much money as possible from
other countries and not to worry if
we do not see any auditing done for
13 years of our cash flow; we were
made to believe it was alright to
raise our commodity 100%, that is
a must too, in order to rise up to a
high level. We were also told to pay
more than double into Social Secu-
rity for our safety of the poor and
sick people; and our fuel prices
raised up 100% for better roads.
We say but wait, UDP brought us
to the road of starvation. Then PUP
came and said UDP have money,
but it is far too much. Let us handle
it. Today we owe four times as
much, plus our assets have been
sold; taxes have been raised even
when dozens of grants from other
countries have been given; the
booming of the tourism and its
forthcoming tax income, and now
we must hear we are broke. Then
we hear we cannot even pay the
interest and as a result all contracts
stop! Some never get their money
they have already worked so hard
for, and finally go broke as well.
At this pace, in a short period of
time, say six months, many busi-
nesses in the country could go down
by 50%.
Today we are told the worse yet.
This one not only tingles our ears
but sinks our hearts. We were made
aware that our PM signed millions
of our tax money over to private in-
stitutions and we found out that he
is use to this and has been doing it


anytime he wants to without going
to the House for approval. And so,
many millions have gone through
the cracks already while so many
are broke and looking for a rem-
edy to our economy. Then we hear
a word worse yet, you must pay
and don't ask questions. Don't ask
for estimates or records.
Belize is our jewel. A story was
told in a radio program lately where
an African farmer had a big farm.
He got interested in the jewel busi-
ness. He wanted to find diamonds.
He sold everything and traveled all
over the land searching and finding
nothing. And finally he drowned in
a river, a poor, broke, discouraged
man. Someone else bought the farm
and found an ugly looking stone in
the same river where the previous
owner had drowned. He set it on
the shelf until someone told him,
that's a diamond. You will see it af-
ter you shine it up. He found out he
had a diamond mine under his feet.
It became the biggest diamond mine
in all of Africa.
Now to all of us in Belize, the
question is: what we will do with our
jewel? Leave it on the ground, put
it on a shelf or shine it up, or go
around the world to find stuff that
glitters, that someone shined al-
ready to try to buy it with borrowed
money. Or will we trade our mine
with one stone that glitters?
The NRP does not believe in sell-
ing your tools to buy food; or sell-
ing your land to buy a luxury ve-
hicle. Instead, let the produce of the
land pay for it. A local magazine said
it so right, we don't inherit the
earth from our ancestors, and we
borrow it from our children.
At this time we see that the older
people are worried about our future.
The workers are tired of a high cost
of living. The youths are waiting for
things to develop. The children are
hungry and want their nutrition, but
the main thing is, will we see jus-
tice done in our country?
The NRP wants what everybody
wants, justice. Add to that some
common sense, and education along
with information.
Belizeans need another chance to
free themselves from bondage, hun-
ger, and crime.
NRP not only knows that we are
in trouble, but also has an answer.


MOOEM
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L~mal reyseTvations^^tBBBBicaMir^co
^~~h Airline of Belize www^^^^^ tropicair ^^^com


n


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Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12


action


in


Bondage


By: GusA. Perera
"The rich rule over the poor, and the
borrower is a servant to the lender."
Proverbs 22:7
In early Greek culture, many people
were under compulsory service, some
due to economic hardships, and others
simply because they were offspring of
slaves, and some due to the spoils of
war. The Greek culture looked at these
people with scorn. Their plight was not
a subject of social conscience; they
were simply overlooked in the social
structure. Slaves were not considered
part of the state.
Because economic hardship or in-
debtedness could lead to enslavement,
borrowing was not something to be
taken lightly for even the failure to re-
turn a borrowed item had some serious
implications. The following story illus-
trates this point.
"One day the guild of prophets came
to Elisha and said, 'you can see that this
place where we are living under your
leadership is getting cramped we
have no elbow room. Give us permis-
sion to go down to the Jordan where
each of us will get a log and we'll build
a roomier place.'"
The story continues: "Elisha said,
'go ahead. And he went i ith them
and they started chopping down trees.
As one of them was felling a timber,
his axe head flew off and sank in the
river. He cried out. 'Ave it was bor-
rowed! '" (The Message, 2 Kings, 6)
The young student panicked because
he realized that, until such time as he
returned the axe head to the lender, he
was under compulsory service or bond-
age to the owner of the axe. For all in-
tents and purposes, he had just become
enslaved.
Let us spool back for a moment to

L1 ,41
L-!Y-LAR


the 1998 general elections. The PUP
campaigned on the promise to "Set
Belize Free."Judging from their pledge
to "build 10,000 new homes and cre-
ate 5,000 new jobs" one had to as-
sume that their approach to managing
the economy would have been expan-
sionary investment and growth.
In reality, what the PUP did was in-
troduce the concept of "deficit spend-
ing" or "growth economics" as their
new approach to managing Belize's
fragile economy. According to the PUP,
and as they have said so many times
before, they inherited an economy in
recession from their predecessors the
UDP. In their minds, an in normal prac-
tice, deficit spending should have stimu-
lated economic growth without the need
to impose further tax burdens on the
Belizean worker.
The main goal, it would appear, was
to increase economic output tied to in-
vestments in varied infrastructure
projects. However, and because these
investments could not be funded from
the traditional tax revenue base, the PUP
government chose to go the route of
floating bonds.
And this is where Belize's economic
nightmare began. According to the
Wikipedia Encyclopaedia, "the most
important burden of bond loans is the
interest that must be paid to bond-
holders, which restricts a
government's ability to raise its out-
lays or cut taxes to attain other
goals. It further states: "most of the
government debt is owned by the rich
people, so that a rising debt can raise
demand for the funds supplied by the
rich, encouraging income inequal-
ity. "
While deficit spending might be
bearable in cases where sound invest-
ments are made, it can become a yoke
on the back of a nation if the monies
are used for wasteful expenditure, and
bad investments. In the case of Belize,
the latter has been the case.
Instead of the government acting as
a facilitator for investment and
growth, it took on the role of main
protagonist. Most of the investment
funds were concentrated within the
ranks of a handful of party loyalists
and favourites and this gave rise to one
financial failure after another. Nine
years after promising to "Set Belize
Free" the PUP has achieved the op-
posite; they have borrowed their way
into bondage
One of the true measures of suc-
cessful stewardship is when a govern-
ment can leave an inheritance of pros-
perity for at least two generations. By
doing so, it gives each generation an
opportunity to grow the wealth they
inherit for future generations and


tion and people.
Sadly, this is not the case. Belize is
a nation in bondage to its lenders.
Belize now has debts that future gen-
erations will be paying for, even though
the benefits will not accrue to them.


ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
Those close to your heart may be dif-
ficult to reason with. You need an outlet
that will not only stimulate you but also
challenge your intelligence as well.
Physical limitations are possible if you
aren't careful. Try to accommodate
them without infringing on your own re-
sponsibilities. Your lucky day this week
will be Tuesday.
TAURUS (Apr. 21- may 21)
You may have problems with skin,
bones, or teeth if you haven't been tak-
ing proper care of yourself. You could
lose money or precious belongings if you
aren't careful. Use your charm, but
don't sign or agree to anything. Be pre-
pared to make compensations and ad-
justments. Your lucky day this week will
be Tuesday.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21)
You need to get down to basics with
regard to yourself. Try to deal with the
problems of those less fortunate; how-
ever, don't allow them to make unrea-
sonable demands. You are best to put
in some overtime rather than get in-
volved in family gatherings. You need
to concentrate on the areas where you
can make a difference. Your lucky day
this week will be Sunday.
CANCER (June 22-July 22)
Your ideas are right on the mark and
your work commendable. Any capri-
cious behavior will confuse loved ones
and your mood swings will result in lone-
liness. Get busy putting your place in
order. You must avoid gossip and focus
on what you have to do. Your lucky
day this week will be Sunday.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
You may want to take a trip; how-
ever, before you do, make sure that
your car is serviced properly. You are
best to be accommodating for the time
being. Sudden romantic infatuations
won't be lasting. Do things you enjoy
instead of being a chameleon. Losses
are likely if you have left your financial
affairs in other people's hands. Your
lucky day this week will be Saturday.
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
Unexpected visitors are likely. Be pre-
pared to do your chores early. Oppor-
tunities will come through behind the
scenes activities. Residential move may


thereby create a truly prosperous na- be necessary to get a better job. Your


Belize in 2007 is a borrower nation
that has become a slave to its lend-
ers. The cry of 1998 therefore ech-
oes even more thunderously "Set
Belize Free... Set Belize Free... Set
Belize Free!"


ability to add a sophisticated touch will
help you capture the look you're after.
Your lucky day this week will be Tues-
day.
LIBRA (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
You need to fulfill your needs and pre
sent your talents. Turn things around,
make sure that they do their share. New
partnerships will develop ifyouj oin in-
vestment groups. Stabilize your own
position by locking up your savings.
Your lucky day this week will be Tues-
day.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
Don't be shy; show your abilities! In-
teraction with colleagues will only be
upsetting. Travel will promote romantic
connections. You should be in business
for yourself. Your lucky day this week
will be Friday.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
Make changes in your domestic
scene. It might be time to shake a leg
and do a personal makeover. Your
charm will attract someone special.
Don't let your anger consume you and
don't allow important matters go unat-
tended to. Your lucky day this week
will be Saturday.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Read between the lines when signing
contracts. Delve a little deeper if you
really want to know the score. Keep
your ears open, especially to those who
care about you. Moneymaking oppor-
tunities will surface. Your lucky day this
week will be Tuesday.
AOUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
You have been going through a pe-
riod of change that no doubt caused
problems with your loved ones. Be hon-
est with yourself before getting involved
with someone who is likely to lead you
on. Your outgoing nature will win hearts.
Property deals will pay big dividends.
Your lucky day this week will be Fri-
day.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
Don't get involved in expensive en-
tertainment that involves gambling.
You can get a promotion if you put in
a little extra detail. Try to bend to their
wishes if you want to avoid conflict.
Don't go overboard; start small and
work toward building it up slowly.
Your lucky day this week will be
Monday.


Your weekly

[}@[O)O








Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 13


Well now we know why the BTL
Vesting Bill had to be pushed through
the House of Representatives and the
Senate-so that when the Chief Jus-
tice ruled this week in Prosser's favor,
he would be left holding an empty cro-
cus bag... which is exactly what hap-
pened. Jeffrey Prosser gets to have his
board meeting at BTL, only, now get
this, THERE IS NO MORE BTL. Ru-
mor is Belizeans we won't be SMART
for muchlonger, when Belize Telemedia
Ltd (the artist formerly known as BTL)
refuses to renew its contract to inter-
connect with their system. If that hap-
pens, the PUP promise of bringing com-
petition to the telecommunications in-
dustry will be broken and cell phone
users have to go back to being "dun-
cey." What they going to do next, cut
off the cable companies providing
internet? Then we will truly be in a game
of monopoly.
Belizeans mistaken for
illegal Aliens?
While thousands of proud grads are
receiving diplomas and certificates this
month, one group of students missed their
graduation because officers at an immi-
gration checkpoint out west demanded
they show their passports.
When they could not produce the
documents, the students were detained
so long the ceremony was over by the
time they got to the school. Now here is
the perplexing part: itwas a group ofKriol
kids, not Hispanics orAsians or Cauca-
sian looking foreigners speaking foreign
languages. We can only imagine the
tongue lashing they must have given the
officers at the checkpoint. Maddafya.
Can't imagine howthe officers mistook
them forillegal aliens, unless of course they
themselves are not fluent in Belize's lin-
gua franca. Wonder if the officers have


proper documents, and work permits..?
Notice a lot of foreign personnel popping
up in certain security firms.
The Department of Immigration has
since apologized to the students for caus-
ing them to miss this very special ceremony,
and for lack of discretion on the part of
their personnel. Guess some immigration
officers will be sent back to school for a
little cultural sensitization training. Can you
spell B-e-l-i-z-e-a-n?
New Airport Road
and Intersection
It's a lovely strip of highway, the new
cutoffto the PGIA, but you have to won-
der why it is we can never seem to get
things right. The 90 degree turn onto the
northern highway is poorly planned and
confusing with lines painted all over the
place and an island popping out of no-
where with no reflective paint on
it... another accident waiting to happen.
And can someone please put a booth for
people waiting for shuttles or rides to the
airport out there, right now everyone is
lining the highway out in the hot sun or


darkness.
Andwhileministry ofworks-or some-
body-is at it, can y'all go back and fin-
ish thej ob of fixing the piece of highway
that slid off into the river around the
Courtenay's? An unsightly mess anyway
you take it, from the roadside or the riv-
erside. At least cut off the jagged steel jet-
ting out of the top and finish casting the
posts, will you? We've paid enough in gas
taxes since the accidents happened at that
site to pay for a whole new highway
already... and there is enough steel
brought in for Stake Bank making its way
to the black market to build that bridge
across to the Western Highway too. Don't
think we don't know about that guys.
Opposition Leader, Dean Oliver
Barrow, quits his law firm to focus on the
Party he leads and we suppose, to get the
Lord off his you know what. He hedges
when making the separation announce-
ment from his private lawpractice. Doesn't
wantto irritate the Lord, it seems. Might
need an extra million or two to shore up
the campaign? Can't say we blame him.


Campaigns can get expensive, if we are
to take the word of the leader of the Na-
tional Reform Party (NRP) from a pre-
sentation he made during their launch.
Barrow has said nothing of what a gen-
eral election campaign will cost theUDP
and where they or the PUP will get the
"50to 100 million dollars" thatNRP talks
about.
DFC Commission
Hearing Report
Aren't we supposed to get a report
from the DFC Commissioners on the
proceedings that concluded a couple
months ago? What's up with that? And
the Senate hearing report? Is that Dead
in the water too?
Third Party Alliances &
Coalitions
We would like to see the grand alli-
ance efforts massaged a bit more. We
have got to check our egos at the door if
we are to dispense with the super cor-
rupt government. Don't we? Come on
third parties, Belize deserves a grand al-
liance.


Can anyone explain how this illegal garbage dump inpalcencia came into to existence despite the vigialnce of the Dept of the
environment and helath Dept.?


Commending the latest international
findings on how crime and violence harm
development in Central American coun-
tries, the Secretary General of the Orga-
nization ofAmerican States (OAS), Jose
Miguel Insulza, said the study will provide
important tools to help the OAS more
strategically focus its action in this area.
Insulza made the comments today dur-
ing a press conference at OAS headquar-
ters, where the Executive Director of the
United Nations Office on Drugs and
Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa,
unveiled a report entitled Crime
andDevelopment in Central America:
Caught in the Crossfire. Insulza remarked
that, while uncovering no new major
trends, the findings do provide a great deal
of data that could help shape long-term


international cooperation designed to ad-
dress problems arising from crime and
violence in the Central American coun-
tries.
According to the OAS Secretary Gen-
eral, in grappling with the issue of crime,
the link should alsobe made in policy dis-
cussions on development and democracy.
He said the information in the report also
bringsto light theundeniable links between
crime and poverty and, at the same time,
reinforces the OAS in its efforts to com-
bat illegal drugs and terrorism, part of its
multidimensional security agenda.
Costa, for his part, explained during the
press conference that the study-the
product of broad-based consultation on
the effects of crime and violence-seeks
to break the "vicious cycle" of the severe


impact of crime on security, stability and
development. He added that underdevel-
opment is also a maj or cause of vulner-
ability to crime.
The document stresses that all of the
countries studied-Belize, Costa Rica, El
Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicara-
gua and Panama-are affected to vary-
ing degrees by drugs, crime and under-
development. Several of the countries are
vulnerable because of socioeconomic fac-
tors related to income disparity, uncon-
trolled urban development, widespread
poverty, a relatively young population,
easy access to large quantities of weap-
ons and an unstable post-conflict environ-
ment, among other factors. As well, ac-
cording to the report, their particular ge-
ography puts the countries at risk: they


are trapped bet\ een the \\ world's largest
coca producer-Colombia- and the
largest consumer of cocaine, the United
States.
The OAS and UNODC intend to use
this study as the basis for cooperation
among the countries of the region and
other international organizations on strat-
egies to tackle crime,
corruption and drugs and the effect of
these on development in Central America
and the Caribbean.
Besides the senior UNODC officials,
Central American ambassadors to the
OAS were on hand for the presentation
of the study. Also distributed was a pre-
vious study on the situation in the Carib-
bean countries, entitled, "Crime, Violence
and Development: Trends, costs and
policy options in the Caribbean."







Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 113



Eco Watch


Oil "Fever" in Belize
A release from Belize Institute of
Environmental Law and Policy,
BELPO.
In May, Oilwatch Mesoamerica staff
member, Alicia Casas, visited Belize to
monitor the oil development in Belize.
The visit covered the three districts of
the country where oil activity is occur-
ring from the Sarstoon Temash Na-
tional Park (STNP) in Toledo, west to
Spanish Lookout and Georgeville, in
Cayo, and up to the Rio Bravo in Or-
ange Walk.
Oilwatch Mesoamerica was accom-
panied by members of its Belizean part-
ner, Belize Institute of Environmental
Law and Policy (BELPO), and by en-
vironmental institutions and local people
in the different areas.
Two Guatemalan members of the
Mesa Ambiental Qeqchi (MAQ) par-
ticipated in the meetings in Toledo.
"We could confirm the rapid expan-
sion of oil activities and projects, and
to our surprise, the lack of environmental
concern of national and even local au-
thorities", said Casas. "It is as if Belize
has never heard or known the experi-
ence and burdens of oil projects around
the world, and specifically in the
Mesoamerican region- Guatemala and
Mexico".
Debt and revenues
Experience has shown that the eco-
nomic benefits from oil revenues that
Belizeans seem so optimistic about,
have never been used for the benefit of
the communities or in the national inter-
est in other countries with oil. On the
contrary, these very skimmed revenues
(in the name of competitiveness), have
usually gone to pay for debt that politi-
cians and authorities made bigger after
the oil boom. These experiences have
been extensively documented in Ecua-
dor, Venezuela before Chavez, and
Guatemala. In the Belizean case, it
comes as no surprise that the Universal
Health Service (UHS) debt may end up
being paid by the Petroleum Develop-
ment Fund that was recently put in
place.
Environmental impacts
overlooked
Regarding the environmental impacts,
it is alarming that Environmental Impact
Assessment Regulations have been re-
cently amended so that oil exploration
does not need an EIA, even in protected
areas. In an era where there is rising
awareness of climate change, where
there are increased efforts to protect
biodiversity in high biodiversity spots,
like Belize, when alternatives to oil de-
pendency are being sought, Belize is
doing quite the contrary by letting these
companies rule the game. "We believe
protected areas are at serious risk, be-
cause there appears to be no intention
to protect them from oil expansion and


its impacts", said Candy Gonzalez, mem-
ber of BELPO and former BACONGO
representative on the National Environ-
mental Appraisal Committee (NEAC).
Meeting with communities
and organizations
During the visit, several meetings took
place with related institutions and orga-
nizations, and Casas made comments
on international rules for oil develop-
ment: "Even the Convention on
Biodiversity and some IUCN regula-
tions have clearly stated that the figure
of Protected Areas means that extrac-
tive industries like oil and mining should
be left out."
Sarstoon Temash- illicit seismic
testing coming from Guatemala
Greg Choc, SATIIM's Executive Di-
rector, recently alerted authorities to in-
cursions into Belize by Guatemalans
carrying out oil exploration activities. He
said, "While SATIIM is managing the
STNP and has been consistently fight-
ing offGuatemalan illegal exploitation of
the vast resources of the park, the gov-
ernment seems to be giving unfettered
access to an oil company registered in
Guatemala to conduct seismic surveys
using Guatemalan labour force."
Casas said, "We went up the
Sarstoon River and documented, in
detail, the encroachment because it is a
very delicate situation- that the seismic
lines are being set inside the park and
are part of a straight line that obviously
comes across the river and coming from
Guatemala". There is potential here for
a binational conflict and it appears that
oil companies have no regard for es-
tablished boundaries and will continue
with their plans even if it means break-
ing the law.
Guatemalan Experience is
shared in Belize
Members of the MAQ shared the


burdens and struggles of the Queqchi
people in Guatemala in relation to oil
exploitation. Arturo Chen Bin, MAQ
member, said "We founded the MAQ
because we realized there was a big
concession in a communal protected
land. We have been resisting all these
new concessions a year and a half ago
and we have managed to ban this spe-
cific concession in communal lands. In
Guatemala we have very bad experi-
ences of oil development in the Alta
Verapaz, and Peten. The communities
have not seen the benefits but have all
the pollution left in their land". Another
MAQ member, Abelardo Bon, met with
people in Conej o Village. "I have come
here because we are all part of the same
culture, you as Queqchies must know
our experience and use it to make a wise
decision, before it is too late".
Rio Bravo Private Reserve
at risk too
On the other side of the country, in
Rio Bravo, Edilberto Romero, Execu-
tive Director of Programme for Belize
stated, "We were taken by surprise with
this oil project in our Rio Bravo Private
Reserve, we are studying about the im-
pacts that have been documented in
other countries with similar biodiversity,
and cannot take lightly the potential im-
pact that it will have on our ecotourism,
research activities and archaeological
sites,"
Ecotourism vs Oil Activities
An estimated 1 out of 4 Belizeans
works in tourism related activities mak-
ing this a matter of great economic im-
portance. Ecotourism (which is the kind
of tourism Belize is known for), and oil
extraction are not compatible activities.
"Costa Rica is a clear case of a country
that had to choose (through a national
debate that took place from 1999 until
2002), and chose wisely to continue


IL aI.. AT A


environmental protection, not only for
the sake of it, but because it makes per-
fect economic sense for the sake of
ecotourism", Casas explained.
Meanwhile, environmental and con-
servation institutions in Belize will be
coordinating efforts to define a common
strategy to advocate, in Belize and in-
ternationally, for a limit to oil projects in
Protected Areas.
For more information contact
BELPO, PO Box 54, San Ignacio
Town, Cayo 804-2032 or email
godsman.ellis@gmail.com, and/or
Mario Fernandez at
Candy Gonzalez at

For Oilwatch Mesoamerica, Alicia
Casas in Costa Rica at (506) 253 3629
or casasali2002@yahoo.com.mx








f ation Security



Information Security


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Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page :14


GUEST


GALLERY


PICKSj
PART
A


Don't We all?!


This quash shyly pokes his head out of his tree trunk home. (photo by Bill Taylor)


The pristine beauty of these tree blossoms demanded attention (photo by Leslie Kearns)


These sea grapes add a splash of colour to the tree as they ripen. (photo by Bill Taylor)


Belize observed Disabilites Week on May 27 to June 2 with a parade thru Belize City
streets on Friday (photo by William Ysaguierre)


Guest Gallery is open to readers of all ages, this painting is by Emily Rose Vernon, 5








Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page ]15


A Crisis in Morality


By: Justin 0. Gringo
It appears that Belize is now reap-
ing a harvest from a number of com-
mon acts that most civilized people
would regard as immoral, if not ille-
gal.
Stealing.
In the Middle East, stealing is not
just a crime, it's a sin. First offense,
cut off your hand. (So that you'll have
to wipe your butt with the same hand
you eat with. A serious punishment in
a land where water for washing is
scarce.) Brand your face to identify
you as a Thief. Second offense cut
off your head.
Veterans returning from Iraq tell me
that you can leave tools laying out. No
problem. Here in America, I see all
the lawn furniture and gardening tools
on porches and marvel. In Belize, of
course, they would be gone in a day.
Politicians steal big time and are ad-
mired for their cleverness. At least
until the people realize that the money
belongs to THEM!
Lying.
I used to buy lots of things at a shop
I liked to call "The Wal-Mart of
Corozal" because they had just about
everything. I went in to buy some little
electronic thing, and I remarked that
"if it didn't work, I would just bring it
back."
"NO," said the owner very sternly,
"YOU HAVE TO TEST IT HERE,
BEFORE YOU LEAVE. IF YOU
TAKE IT, HOW DO WE KNOW
YOU DIDN'T BREAK IT?"
Well, he should know, because I'm


the customer, and the customer is al-
ways right. But not in Belize, it seems.
This attitude is common among all of
the shop-keepers. The customer is
not right, he is probably lying.
The Police have the same attitude.
You go in to report a crime commit-
ted against your person, and their
question is "HOW DO I KNOW
YOU'RE NOT RUNNING A
SCAM?"
Because, I think, I am a victim, and
the victim (like a suspected perp) is
presumed innocent. Presumed to be
a victim. Not so in Belize. Victims
and Suspects are treated alike. Guilty
until they can prove their innocence.
A respected senior politician is kid-
napped, and everyone including the
Police believes that he is probably
lying; that it probably is a scam.
Denouement.
We dismiss these things with a wry
grin, with the thought that "That's just
the way it is in Belize." But, as you
sow, so shall you reap. The pigeons
are coming home to roost. The piper
must be paid.
We have borrowed money from the
international bankers, and now, our
sources of funds have dried up. Our
credit is no good. Everyone at the
top lies. They lie in secret, so that it
can't be proved. But, how can you
negotiate internationally when the
other players know that you always
lie?
Diogenes searched Ancient Greece
in vain for an Honest Man. How do
you think he would feel in Belize?


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Free Ads! The INdependent Re-
former is offering 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(gyahoo. 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.


Conservation Land For Sale


























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Friday, June 8, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 16


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Back to

the

Future
"-*-(Continued From Page 1)
warning to the Lord?
The timing, however, could not have
been better for Aikman to be reacti-
vated. These are times of grave in-
justices. The boys have been running
a train on this economy and publicly.
The gang rape of Belize & her people
has the populace longing for a gov-
ernment with some semblance of
morals, of common decency. And a
man who sings patriotic songs in
church mightjust be the savior they
are looking for....


Get your Free Gift
of an Independent
Reformer Weekly
t-shirt when you buy
a year's subscription
to the paper.


scheduled flights
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Guatemala

Charters also available






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