Title: Independent reformer
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Title: Independent reformer
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Publisher: Independent Publishing Company (of Belize) Ltd.
Place of Publication: Belize City, Belize
Publication Date: June 29, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
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Volume ID: VID00030
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Bush Serenades CARICOM


It was a swell party, President George
Bush inviting the heads of Caribbean
governments to Washington, finally, as
his days in the White House wind down.
The regional leaders, seldom consulted
even though they represent what some
in the Beltway call the "soft underbelly"
of the Americas as far as homeland se-
curity is concerned, were given the
chance to present their views, and
needs.
The conference, convened just a
month after CARICOM heads ex-
pressed some reluctance over pushing
through a free trade agreement with the
US, had that trade agreement as a cen-
terpiece, although it was deftly sur-
rounded by a host of issues including
violence in the region, health, tourism,
education and investment. One key
component of the Conference on the
Caribbean was face to face meetings
with Caribbean nationals living in the
United States.
These were well attended and focused
primarily on the "brain drain" and re-
mittances. While there was a lot of posi-
tive bonding and bridge building, as
usual there was some disconnect be-
tween the reality of successful Carib-
bean Americans and those left at home,


OAS top brass, Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, flanked by Permanent Representative of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Ambassador Elsworth John (left) and Assistant Secretary General Ambassador Albert Ramdin of Guyana (right) welcome Caribbean
journalists to a seminar on June 18, the day before the opening of the Conference on the Caribbean


such as in the suggestion that a portion
of remittances should be used for in-
vestment rather than just to meet daily
living needs. It was also pointed out that
to a large extent remittances are circu-
lar, ultimately benefiting the US economy
since a large portion of the money sent
to family in the Caribbean travels back
to the United States when it is used to
purchase goods and services originated
in the USA.
Following meetings with President


US Ambassador to Belize, Robert Dieter, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Charge D'Affairs
Mike Mena and CEO Amalia Mai at the opening of the Conference on the Caribbean,
IMF Headquarters June 19, 2007


Bush at the US State Department,
Belize's Prime Minister Said Musa at-
tended a question and answer session
with members of the diaspora gathered
at OAS headquarters. He announced
the President indicated he would have


congress "review the Caribbean Basin
Initiative Act and trade arrangements
with the Caribbean. But not just to re-
vive the CBI, but to modernize it, ex-
tend it in light of events that have taken
(Please Turn To Page 3) EW


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(See Story on Teen Page, Pg 11)







Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2


Ripe for the Taking
Dear Editor,
Firstly, let me say that the article,
"Senate Sensation" (June 18, vol.2
no.24) in the Independent reminds me
that there are still some "good people"
left in Belize. I certainly hope that this is
the silent majority coming out of the
woodworks....no offence.
I am a Belizean living in Toronto,
Canada. I was a Metro Toronto Police
Officer for 15 yrs. I lived in San Pedro
for a number of years in the late 90's
and have always maintained strong ties
and remained informed about my coun-
try Belize.
Belize reminds me of the U.S.S.R.
and Lenin's rise to power. Or Edi Amin's
in Uganda. Belize was ripe for the tak-
ing! Said Musa saw this and went for it.
The PUP was a well tuned machinery
just waiting for a Despotic leader. Said
was smart... blood-lined it into George
Price's family and Empire. As he waited,
he planned and conspired, building his
Mafia Organization waiting for Manuel
Esquivel to make his honest mistake. An
honest man is soo predictable. Musa


then set his Master Plan in motion.
Price was at least Belizean by hered-
ity, character and thinking. Here comes
this Foreign Entity... hungry, and greedy
beyond comprehension. Will stop at
nothing, respects nothing... a True So-
ciopath. He reminds me of the "Joker"
in the Batman movie... The Joker says...
"Wait till they get a load of me"!!!
Said Musa revolutionized Belize in a
way that Belizeans could not compre-
hend. He implemented fraud and cor-
ruption to a level where even North
American Law Enforcement and Judi-
ciary would be baffled and not know
where to start or what to do.
The problem is that Belize is GONE-
- stolen, taken by a very few. Even the
colonial Brits are starting to look good
at this point. At least they left us some-
thing to work with when they pulled out.
If Barrow wins he will be governing a
bankrupt country in all respects. debts,
land, no assets, liabilities etc. etc.
It will be mind blowing when the true
financial damage finally comes out... if
it ever does.
Two freedom fighters come to mind:.
Martin Luther King, who preached a


peaceful revolution; but even he knew
that his days were numbered. Let us
remember his words: "Any man who is
afraid to speak for freedom is already
dead." And Malcolm X who preached
that only through force will change truly
come. "Plymouth Rock landed on us,"
he said." He too knew his time was
numbered.
It took a couple more Good
Samartians... John and Bobby Kennedy
before true change came.
The U.S. did change, but at a great
cost!
Belize can expect the same.
Sincerely,
Charles Lawrence Payne
More Belize All Over
Dear Editor,
Have you thought about having a re-
gional/district section of your paper
which could include pertinent or inter-
esting stories from each district or town?
This could let those in the rest of the
country find out what is happening in
the different districts, info that might not
be making the headlines. I know there
(Please Turn To Page 15) 0JW


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Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3


Yankee Rippa, Bush Serenades CARICOM


--I-- (Continued From Page 1)
place." Referring to the end of prefer-
ential markets for many Caribbean coun-
tries and drastic changes in relations with
the World Trade Organization and Eu-
ropean Union.
The promises come even after some
banana producing islands are seeing
their economies collapse and some sugar
producing nations have closed their in-
dustries and even transformed agricul-
tural land to golf courses or adapted it


for ethanol production.
PrimeMinisterofGuyana,BharratJagdeo,
said there were two broad areas discussed
with the US leader 1) economic well-being
of the region 2) security and illicit activities,
primarily drug trafficking, small arms trade,
deportees and money laundering.
"We know the US will not keep these
criminals here, but they should help us
reintegrate them into our societies. In
terms of financial commitment to fight
(Please Turn To Page 15) lEm


The OAS's Executive Secretary for Integral Development Alfonso Quinonez andActing
Director of the Department of Trade, Tourism and Competitveness, Sonia Johnny gave
presentations on the importance of sustainable development


Belize's Prime Minister Said Musa was available for questions from the Caribbean
diaspora community, at OAS Headquarters on June 20



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Sullivan, Director for International Media Assistance offered support to Caribbean
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Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4 |


o 2


lat
im
tin
wa


By: Karla Heusner Vernon
I was between planes in the Miami
airport and marveling at how many
people were walking around talking to
themselves. Well, not themselves, oth-
ers on the other end of their phone line.
Only there was no phone, just an ear-
piece they gabbed on, loudly, like
schizophrenics in the streets. Even the
bathroom was not safe from their snip-
pets of conversation: "So yeah, I told
him we had to break up... hey, is there
any toilet paper in here or what?" As if
the woman on the other end of the line
could help her more than I could from
the next stall...
It was like that the whole morning,
hearing fragments of stranger's insu-


ed lives. I tried not to listen, but it was Hearing this conversation actually
possible sometimes. Then there were assisted me when I arrived at my
nes when I wanted to listen, "Trinidad destination: the Caribbean Journal-
is great! It reminded me so much of ism Conference in Washington DC.

"Whenever a government feels it is

about to lose an election, they tend to

blame the press."


Nairobi. Oh? ....No, its way down by
SouthAmerica....you haveto fly there, like
four hours. But it was cool, really tropical
and well, like I said, just like Kenya. Mi-
nus the giraffes and stuff."
Hmmm, I was wondering what she
would say about Belize. But it made me
realize the incredible differences between
how we in the Caribbean perceive our-
selves and the way some Americans per-
ceive us. I don't know ift anyone in
Trinidad ever compared their country to
an African state, but I suppose this woman,
presumably having been to Kenya, found
similarities Trinidadians who had not per-
sonally made the Atlantic crossing would
not necessarily see.


It was sponsored by the OAS and
was the first time in a long time I had
been among my colleagues of the
region. The main purpose of course
was to help us understand the work-
ings of the Organization ofAmerican
States and help them publicize their
activities in the region. But the whole
thing went way, way beyond that.
There were topics on the Media's
Role in Regional Integration, Re-
sponsible Journalism and Freedom
of the Press, Human Rights, Sustain-
able Development, Violence Preven-
tion, and one I found particularly in-
teresting as editor of an online pa-
per, New Media.


As the presenters presented and col-
leagues collaborated, I think we all re-
alized what a rare opportunity it is for
us to get together, due to distances, ex-
pense, busy schedules. But we have so
much in common, whether we are from
the larger media houses which feature
regional news and reporting, or small
local papers just starting up.
We face the same problems in terms
of getting government advertising-or
not getting it- as governments attempt
to squash what they perceive to be op-
position, or at least non-supportive re-
porting. What we did not know is that
the OAS and the Inter-American Hu-
man Rights Commission see the with-
holding of such advertising, paid for
from the public coffers, as a violation of
Freedom of the Press and also media
democracy. This last one is a term they
use to describe situations in which a
country's media is owned by diverse
members of the business community
representing a variety of perspectives,
NOT concentrated in the hands of a few
politically aligned owners, or media
(Please Turn To Page 13) *








Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5


By: TrevorVernon
On November 2, 2006 the British
Government hosted a conference on
the new Caribbean economy... entitled
'Transforming the Caribbean economy
- new avenues for investment' in Lon-
don. It explored how within two de-
cades the Caribbean economy is likely
to change dramatically as preference
ends and the region comes to be
dominated by the offshore &


nearshoree" services sector, tourism
and how to decimate the agricultural
economy.
The one-day invitation-only confer-
ence, which was organised by the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
with the support of the Caribbean
Council, was aimed at the international
investment community. It took place
at the initiative of the British Prime
Minister, Tony Blair MP.
Fast Forward: The Conference on
the Caribbean, June 19-21, 2007
was largely organized by the Caucus
of Caribbean Ambassadors in Wash-
ington, DC, they say. But for the first
time in the history of CARICOM did
such a Conference include such
meaningful participation by ranking
participants from the Administration


of a US President.
This US based US/CARICOM
HEADS Conference came in at least
three concurrent parts (as did Blair's):
1) Experts Forum, (World Bank)
2) Private Sector Dialogue (The
Inter-American Development Bank)
3) Diaspora Forum (OAS).
What Blair's commitment to
CARICOM was in his one day 2006
Private Heads Conference is still un-
clear to many of us but certainly most
clear to the heads and the British Lord
who raids these parts. Blair's three
part conference covered basically the
same issues except the Diaspora is-
sues.
What Bush appears to be commit-
ting to CARICOM is more equitable
treatment, a renewal of some old eco-


nomic benefits, and a promise and
willingness to dialogue.
What is painfully clear to many ob-
servers is that Chavez appears to have
everyone in a reactionary mode. And
the Bush Administration appears to
want to signal to CARICOM a bet-
ter deal than Chavez is offering... not
unlike the two China policy that the
Government of Belize appear to be
wanting to play off each other. For if
the masters of the universe blink,
Chavez will give CARICOM both
"new avenues for investment" and a
20/20 vision, simultaneously...while
incorporating the Diaspora to boot.
PM Musa said a lot of euphemistic
things at this conference in Washing-
ton last week but they are not worth
reproducing, really.


Yankee Rippa


/-IN(Continued From Page 3)
ing drug trafficking, I (Guyana) get
$20,000 to fight drug trafficking. That
does not even pay my head officer. All
I get is a series of lectures from the US
about failing to stop what is crossing
THEIRborders. The State Department
says we are not doing enough, but we
do not have the resources."
PM Jagdeo was not the only head of
state to be frank about the need for siz-
able financial support from the US, be-
yond family remittances but federal in
nature. From the very opening ceremo-
nies of the Conference on the Carib-
bean, Prime Minister of Barbados,
Owen Arthur had delegations buzzing
when he stated openly, "We are asking
for help to build new airports, and other
infrastructure, but we are not getting it.


Right now the economies of the Carib-
bean are being assisted by Venezuela,
Taiwan and Cuba." In other words, if
you want to lessen the impact of these
countries which have sensitive relations
with the US at best, step up Uncle Sam.
He also cautioned his Caribbean
brothers and sisters to be bold and
forward thinking, and maintain their
dignity. "We have not come to Wash-
ington to harken for a nostalgic past,
but not as beggars either."
Indeed the Caribbean leaders made
it clear they may be microstates in the
grander scheme of things but they con-
sider themselves worthy of attention,
Arthur also said, "We recognize full
development not as a goal, but as a
right. Size does not determine des-
tiny."


Guyanese businessman Wesley lKirton, Irevor Vernon, Iew York Belizean Deanne
Romero-Williams of Carib TV and St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassafor Kingsley
Lane attended lively sessions with the Caribbean Diaspora community


Members of the electronic and print media came from throughout the Caribbean for
the journalism conference at the OAS


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Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6




The Best Political Platform


Best Political Platform-continued
from Vol.2 No. 24.
Independent Weekly readers have
responded enthusiastically to our pub-
lication of a set of ideas called "Best
Political Platform developed by the
online community members of the
Belize Culture list-serv and Belize-
Polisci. The planks presented arose
from the list serv participants desire
to do more than simply complain
about the way Belizeans are presently
governed but to make positive, pro-
active recommendations for political
reform. Reforms the next govern-
ment, whoever they may be, could
implement and candidates running in
the upcoming General Election (who-
ever they may be) could endorse if
they want to show their commitment
to change. The planks were edited
by Bob Brotherton.
Independent Weekly is proud to en-
dorse the effort of those who contrib-
uted and to make them available to
a wider audience, both in print and
online. Comments, criticisms and rec-
ommendations are welcome through
letters to the editor.
4) Auditor-General To enhance the
effectiveness and independence of the
Office of the Auditor-General, this party
agrees with the Commission that:
(a) the Constitution be amended at
section 109 of the Constitution to re-
form the appointment process so that
the Auditor-General is appointed by the
Governor-general acting on recommen-
dation of the National Assembly con-
tained in a resolution passed on that
behalf,
(b) the Auditor-General be required
to have specific qualifications equiva-
lent to that of a certified public accoun-
tant, and be an active member of the
Institute of Certified Public Accoun-
tants;
(c) Chapter IX, section 120 be so
amended as to ensure that the budget
for the Office of the Auditor-General is
submitted directly to the House of Rep-
resentatives and be given priority call
on the Consolidated Revenue Fund;
(d) the Public Accounts Committee
of the House be the medium through
which the Auditor-General communi-
cates with the House;
(e) the Finance and Audit Act be so
reviewed with the aim of making amend-
ments that increase, establish, and en-
sure the execution of penalties for (i)
government auditors who disclose in-
formation on audit inquiries without


proper authorization, and (ii) public of-
ficers and others who refuse to coop-
erate with the requests of the Auditor-
General during annual audits;
(f) the Public Services Commission
delegate, as allowed by the Constitu-
tion, its authority of employment, pro-
motion, and removal of staff of the Of-
fice of the Auditor-General Department
to the Auditor-General;
(g) provision be made for the devel-
opment and implementation of penal-
ties for failure to present audited national
accounts to the House;
(h) provision be made and resources
be provided to allow the Auditor-Gen-
eral to contract the services of auditors
outside of the public service to assist in
the execution of the duties of the office;
(i) amend section 120(b) of the Con-
stitution to state that a report be sub-
mitted to the House by the Auditor-
General whether or not the report is
c o m p 1 e t e
and, if not completed, the reasons why;
(j) provision be made for the revision
of the Finance and Audit Act to ensure
compatibility with the Constitution;
(k) Revise and consolidate the Finan-
cial Orders, Store Orders and Control
of Public Expenditure regulations into
one document.
5) Waiver of Fees This party rec-
ommends that provision be made to: (a)
require that all waivers suspending the
legal requirement of any persons or or-
ganization to the payment of a particu-
lar fee or charge be done only by per-
mission of a statutory instrument and
that no waivers be allowed until such
statutory instrument is passed by the
House;
(b) Ensure that all waivers of fees are
published in the government gazette.
Plank No. 4
Planning and Environmental Pro-
tection
Whereas the pristine environment of
Belize is recognized to be one of its most
important and valuable assets of Belize,
and Whereas the protection of the en-
vironment is one of those unique roles
best suited for government, and
Whereas there are certain industries that
present unique threats to the environ-
ment, and Whereas the GOB does not
have the adequate capacity in place to
monitor the Cruise ship or the oil indus-
try, and Whereas local communities
ought to have a greater say towards in-
fluencing land development, industry,
and economic development opportuni-
ties that are undertaken in their com-


munities:
1. A special business tax, placed
on cruise ship companies and oil com-
panies, shall be enacted to fully fund
the regulation and management of the
cruise ship and oil industries that are
granted access to Belize. Such taxes
shall be managed through a special fund
and will be designated for the sole pur-
pose of environmental protection and
management programs.
2. Each district will be encouraged
(but not required) to develop a 20 year
General Plan. This plan shall be de-
veloped through the Strategic Planning
Process with a broad range of stake
holders. The plan shall be adopted by
a majority of the Area Representatives
including Mayors of Towns and Vil-
lages, and the leader of each Alcalde,
who shall also form a permanent body
whose approval will be required for
maj or development projects affecting
the district. Amaj or project is defined
as one that under current laws would
require an environment impact assess-
ment before being granted a license or
permit. Funding for this planning pro-
cess shall be provided for and included
in the budget of the general government.
Towns and Villages who opt for their
own Charter shall provide their own
local plan development with funding of
the plan development by the General
Government.
Plank No. 5
Economic Development of Belize
Whereas it is recognized that the cre-
ation of job opportunities for all
Belizeans is of significant priority for
Belize, and Whereas it is of primary
importance that the education of people
match the economic job opportunities
that will come to Belize in the future,
and Whereas it is recognized that small
businesses have the potential to pro-
vide significant economic development
of Belize, and Whereas it is recognized
that Belize operates in a competitive
way with many countries of the world:
1) Cooperative Village Banking-
(Offered by Bob Brotherton) This
party supports the concept of "Coop-
erative Village Banking" where village
and surrounding community residents
combine their borrowing power to en-
courage lending of small business de-
velopment funds for the development
of small local individual owned busi-
ness operations including farming, ser-
vice shops, light manufacturing, and
similar business ventures. These op-
portunities to finance the start of small


local business shall be open equally to
men and women and all ethnic and cul-
tural backgrounds who are citizens of
Belize. This party will pass laws to en-
courage and facilitate the start of new
small business operations by the Belize
Government and offer tax relief and
other means to facilitate new business
development. The Town or Village
Council will act as the Board for the
cooperative banking and shall approve
loans and shall determine standards and
types of businesses to be approved that
will coordinate with local planning and
economic development efforts.
2) Education and the Economy (Of-
fered by Brian Keating [kobuh]) Given
the interlocking relationship between
Education and Economic Development
this party recognizes the critical impor-
tance of a viable educational system. The
prior findings of the Education Commis-
sion will be honored and put into place
in the elementary and secondary sys-
tems. Post secondary education will be
brought under review and a Board with
a majority seating of active business lead-
ers will be created. This board will act
with the authority to approve budget al-
locations, curriculum, all appointments,
and the award of all publicly funded
scholarships. The Department of La-
bor shall select five industry sectors and
assign priority in terms of growth, bal-
ance of payments/cash flow, tax genera-
tion, employment impact, and include
government operations as one of the five
industry sectors. Starting with one sec-
tor the first year, education will add an
additional sector each year for the sub-
sequent four years meanwhile creating
a full service curriculum with degrees
proceeding through graduate programs
as appropriate which will cover the
spectrum of jobs in each sector. In all
cases, the curriculum content will be
developed via a DACUM type study led
by SME's (subject matter experts)
drawn from businesses in each sector.
Further, funding will be made available
for a small business incubator program
under the community college compo-
nent. Sufficient funding will be allocated
for the startup of at least three businesses
each year. The selection will be on a
competitive basis as judged by the CC
business faculty and other faculty rela-
tive to the priority sector for that year.
3) Encouraging Investment in
Belize (Offered by Kevin Chisholm)
Given the poor history of business and
job development in Belize, this party rec
(Please Turn To Page 5) W


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Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7



The Best Political Platform


g-i.(Continued From Page 6)
ognizes the critical importance ofj ob
creation and need for business investment
in Belize to create those jobs. It is also
recognized that the history and culture of
Belize needs to be fully understood and
protected by those who may invest in
Belize from foreign countries. Since pass-
ing a law to encourage business develop-
ment several years ago, very little busi-
ness development with significantjob cre-
ation has been accomplished and im-
provements need to be made in this legis-
lation that will foster real and measurable
quality ob creation. It is also recognized
that not all business types generate the
same economic impact to Belize. It is
important therefore, to promote the types
of business that will allow money gener-
ated through the new business to circu-
late to other businesses within Belize and
multiply the value andimpact ofthe money
generated to the overall economy. Part-
nerships between foreign investors and
BelizeanNationals will be encouraged with
increased incentives offered to majority
ownership ofBelizeanNationals. Exist-
ing government offices will be reorganized
to form a new Department of Economic
Development designed to solicit invest-
ment, track and report the progress of in-
vestments and business development, and
work with the GOB in creation oflegisla-
tion to implement this policy. Thislegisla-
tion will include but not be limited to: (a)
Requirement for foreign investors and new
residents to attend the UB for a course in
Belize History and Culture, (b) Improve
the criteria relating to tax incentives and
other inducements to encourage foreign
investment in new business including the
attraction of new retirement communities,
medical training facilities, manufacturing
and light industry, non-traditional medical
facilities, and the development of unique
products to be exported, (c) Plan and
provide for the development of the Uni-
versity of Belize Business Park in
Belmopan including the provision of
needed infrastructure improvements, (d)
Continue with the expansion of airport
facilities including smaller airports located
near business development, (e) Plan for
and improve the development of port fa-
cilities, and (f) Utilize the Strategic Plan-
ning process in the implementation of these
strategies.
Plank No. 6
Support Constitutional Amendments
Whereas the Constitution ofBelize has
not been amended since its original insti-
tution in 1981, and Whereas the history
of government operations based on this
constitution indicates the need for change,
and Whereas the people ofBelize need a
more direct voice in government through
the election of government officials and
also need mechanisms to make petitions
to their government, and Whereas the size
of government and government budgets
needs to be limited to what the people


want and can afford:
1) Elected Senate- In order to fur-
ther the balance of powers and provide a
more direct voice of the people in gov-
ernment, this party supports the proposal
to provide for the "District Election" of
senators. There shall be two elected sena-
tors from eachDistrict inBelize which will
have equal voting rights and other equal
responsibilities fortheirDistrict. The terms
of office shall be staggered and shall be
for a period of 3 years. Senators elected
to office may be recalled by a petition of
the registered voters of the District and a
special election set within 6 months of the
receipt of the validated petition.
2) Petitions by the People Peti-
tionstothegovemment ofBelize for griev-
ances and voter initiated ballot initiatives
(including proposed constitutional amend-
ments) shall be accepted by a petition of
25% or more of the registered voters of
the people. District petitions shall be by


District voters. National petitions shall be
from voters of Belize. Upon receipt of
the petition, the petition shall be validated
and placed on the next respective elec-
tion ballot. To make changes in the law
or recall an elected Senator by voter initi-
ated change will then require a vote of ap-
proval of 60% of the registered voters of
the District or Belize depending on the
type of petition.
3) Voter Fraud -Any voter found
to accept payment for any public vote
shall be considered to have committed a
felony punishable by the loss of all future
voting rights in Belize and shall pay a fine
of $1,000 BZ.
4) Issuance of Public Debt No
debt in excess of $500,000 BZ shall be
issued by the government ofBelize with-
out a vote of 9 of the 12 elected Sena-
tors.
5) Tax Reform- This party believes
that the current type of taxation system in


Belize to raise income for government
debt and operations is unbalanced and
places an undue burden on people of
low and moderate income. It is also
recognized that certain revenues are
required to operate government in the
provision of public services. This party
will recommend the decrease in the cur-
rent gas tax as a priority and will not
increase any taxes unless first recom-
mended by the auditor general after a
full audit of all current government in-
come and expenses. No tax increase
or decrease shall be allowed without a
vote of 9 of the 12 elected Senators.
Tax reform will be initiated with the phi-
losophy of graduated tax scales from
low taxes on the poor and increased
percentage of taxation on higher in-
comes and higher valued property.
Revenue sharing with local chartered
Towns and Villages based on popula-
tion and need shall be considered.


Carving


Painting


S1
wou


YOUTH TALENT EXPOSEDI. I








Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8




Cacao Fest a Smash Success


I V V T l ......... kl.......IL
PG correspondent for
INdependent Weekly
Anyone who questioned if the people
of Toledo could ever work together has
had their answer. The recent Cacao
Fest was impressive and attended by
both the rich and poor, developed and
undeveloped, sophisticated and unso-
phisticated. Belizeans from Belize City,
Ambergris Caye, Cayo, Placencia and
from the smallest rural villages, all came
together in a spirit of goodwill and co-
operation, not just to have a good time,
but to promote and market Toledo's
products and services. Graig Sams,
President of Green and Blacks Organic
Chocolate who encouraged and aided
Toledo farmers to form the Toledo Ca-
cao Growers Association way back in
1993, flew in from London England to
attend the celebration.
The corporate world was also sup-
portive, from Love FM, Belize Bank,
Tropic Air, SMART, Green & Blacks,


Bennys, One Barrel Rum, Premium
Wines Travelers Liquors. The GOB,
Belize Tourist Board, to the BDF, the
NGO community, Earth Watch, TIDE,
YCT, SATIIM, and GSW Project also
participated.
In terms of the private business sec-
tor, foreign and Belizean owned resorts
and businesses such as Supal & Sons
Supermarket, Belize Minerals, Sea
Front Inn, Toledo Farm Supply,
Carysha's Internet Cafe, Beya Suites,
Kings Texaco Station, Arthur Johnson,
IBTM Tours, Nancy's Lumberyard,
Machaca Hill Lodge, Cotton Tree
Lodge, Corral house Inn, Earth Run-
nings, Bubut Bar, Tastee Tours, and
Garbutts Marine lent their sponsorship.
Individual citizens of Toledo contrib-
uted money and labor and special men-
tion should made ofHiticate Lodge who
was a main coordinator. The Governor
General Sir Colville Young, escorted by
the Belize Defense Force and Inspec-
tor of Police, officially opened the festi-
val.
Another important achievement for
the Cacao Festival was to highlight
Belize's musical talent. Again artists were
invited from northern Belize as well as
Punta Gorda Town and the rural vil-
lages. Jazz, blues, Bruk Down,
Garifuna, Kriol, Ketchi & Mopan Maya
and more, all were provided a chance
to entertain. Avery special and colorful
highlight was the Maya deer dance.


Appropriate for the grand finale of
Toledo's first annual Cacao Festival was
singing under the stars in front of Saint
Peter Claver Parish Hall. Master of
Ceremonies Paul Mahung told jokes
and introduced Toledo's greatest stars,
Mr. Paul Nabor and the Wamalalee
Group and our very own Leela Vernon,
Belize's queen of brukdown Creole
culture, accompanied on accordion by
her brother Henry Genus III.
Next was the award of prizes for the
raffles, many locals won nights and din-
ners at Toledo's finest hotels, resorts
and restaurants. For some, these places
would be beyond their means and per-
haps even dreams. How great it was to
see them win.
To end Toledo's first annual Cacao
Festival, and appropriate for it's suc-
cess, was what had to be the longest
and biggest fireworks display in Toledo
history.
I interviewed one guest, Mr. Larry
Wilson from Ontario Canada, asking if
he enjoyed the day tour he took with
guides from Sun Creek Lodge- "Oh
yes, he replied, it was really enjoyable.
We visited two cacao farmers and had
a delicious lunch of traditional Maya
chicken caldo with fresh hot corn torti-
llas on top of a hill with the cool breeze
blowing and a great view. We went to
Blue Creek and walked through the rain
forest to visit a cave and then everyone
swam in the clean clear water. I met a
young man who told me he was inter-
viewing his father and grandfather and
writing a history of his village, he said
he had about 100 pages. I met an En-
glish woman about my age, we had a
great time."
"How is the price"? I asked. He re-
sponded, "Only 30 dollars US, very
reasonable for the quality of the tour."
Saturday night several local places had
entertainment. I asked one visitor,
where did you go? He said he went with
friends to the Coral House Inn where
he had a really good time relaxing after
a busy day, the music group was on one
side of the swimming pool and the
people were sitting on the other side
having drinks and getting to know each
other, the music was very good, jazz and
blues, laid back, easy to listen to while
conversing. After a while they moved
on to the Earth Runnings Restaurant and
had a delicious dinner. "The host was
most accommodating, as I have a spe-
cial diet."
The only comment that one might con-
sider negative, was quickly followed by
a positive, when I ask a local person
what do you think of the Cacao Festi-
val? He answered, "I've heard some
people saying it was" "a white people's
thing", but our people had the chance
and didn't do it, so I think it was good."
The Cacao Festival shows that we all


have something to contribute and that if
we respect and help each other we can
make the great and rapid progress we
need. I can't fully express how proud it
has made me feel to see the success of
the many different aspects of these three
days and to hear so many compliments.
Having been here from the beginning of
the tourism industry in Toledo and per-
sonally suffering with the aches and
complaints of its birth and moans and
groans of its growing pains, it feels so
good to see what our people have
achieved, I'm sure I'm not alone in this.
I'm a grandfather a few times over, so I
hope our readers will permit me to say
that PG now is like a loved child com-
ing of age.
So what does it all boil down to?
Well, to put it simply, American know
how, to work capitalism. If you want to
end all hunger and suffering in the poor-
est district of Belize, get the foreign busi-
ness people who have come to make
money in the lucrative tourism industries,
to understand that if they work as hard
to promote the proposed Toledo
Peoples Eco Park, as they have the
most successful Toledo Cacao Festival,
they will help the people end their pov-
erty. They will help create an endless
stream of eco tourists and create the
adequate measures necessary to lessen
the potential negative affects of the new
Guatemala link road and the rapid
growth they are creating with the cacao
web site and other marketing and pro-
motion they are doing. And it will be
beneficial to all our people and our en-
vironment.
If we want to be successful, we must
establish carrying capacities to protect
the district's environment and local cul-
ture. If we don't want to attract the
potential crime problem that resorts in
the tourism industry are facing up north,
then we must involve the local people
at all levels, once everyone is getting a
piece of the tourism pie they will pro-
tect the tourists, this only makes good
sense. Give our local people some credit
for the intelligence it takes to figure this
out, and a fair chance to participate.
The first annual Cacao Festival proves
that by working together all the people
of Toledo district can rapidly move from
the current poverty to future prosper-
ity.


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Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9


A


irac


e in


By: Paul Morgan.
VIP chairman
The hand of God is working in our
land. Thanks to the thousands that
have kept the faith and even now con-
tinue to pray for Belize. What we are
witnessing in Belize's political turmoil
these days, might be described by the
politically wise as only high stakes
politics. We in the VIP (Vision In-
spired by the People) are however
aware that Belize is really witnessing
a modern day miracle of our nation's
deliverance from the political abuses
we have been suffering over the past
26 years.
"PM MUSA FAVORS AN
ELECTED SENATE" says the Belize
Times of Sunday, June 10, 2007. This
bait was repeated by the PM himself
on a Love FM morning show. If we
had not been following political events
in Belize for the past 26 years or at
least for the past 9 years, we would


certainly have given the PM credit for
wisely "favoring an elected senate".
But we know better! Though we hope
it is real, we see this announcement
as all palabras talk and politricks.
If the PM is serious about bringing an
elected senate to Belize, why does he
not just start the public consultation
and get it on?
We all know that both mass politi-
cal parties have had the opportunity
to take this step while in government,
but they both have resisted any change
to our constitution that will check the
absolute power of Cabinet. They
both know that an elected senate with
a mandate to check the working of
government is a big step in the right
direction. Both continue to resist any
change in our system that will allow
the Belizean people final say over is-
sues of national concern. Neither has,
or intends, to make constitutional
amendments (not just an act of par-
liament) to recall elected representa-
tives who have lost the people's trust.
The question then is: Why an an-
nouncement of such critical impor-
tance now?
Well, the PM knows that his party
lacks credibility. The Belizean people
have lost faith and trust in the PUP
and so like a drowning man, the PM
is stretching his hands to grab onto a
rope of hope. In this effort he is try-
ing to align himself with the views of


the so called "third parties" who have
been clamoring for such political re-
form and are these days gaining mo-
mentum in public opinion. The Pub-
lic is very aware that the Leader of
the Opposition, being poised to win
big in the next election, has come out
squarely against an elected senate. In
fact the Leader of the Opposition pro-
poses to have a senate that is domi-
nated by opposition members, a situ-
ation that anyone can foresee will lead
to constant gridlock. As his political
fortunes seem to increase lately, the
leader of the opposition is no longer
talking about reforming the system but
is rather visibly backing away from the
reform agenda. In so doing his real
heart for reform is being exposed be-
fore the nation as a farce.
As these political dynamics play
out, we in the VIP must advise our
Belizean brothers and sisters that the
most important function we should
seek from an elected senate is the
power to fairly, soberly and compe-
tently investigate charges of corrup-
tion brought against any member of
cabinet. The membership of the sen-
ate we seek must proportionally rep-
resent a broad cross section of our
Belizean society. This we know will
facilitate greater transparency in gov-
ernment. The public will recall that
VIP launched its National Direction
in January 2007 which advocates for


an elected mixed member, propor-
tional representation Senate, with half
the members elected at mid-term.
The advantages to this model are nu-
merous and we will elaborate on the
idea during our campaign.
Belizeans, the VIP has been ask-
ing you to resist tyranny against
heavy odds. It is nothing short of a
miracle that recent events have so
shaped our current political reality,
forcing the two mass parties to now
stand before us, naked and beg-
ging. But this is a miracle in
progress. It can be ended if we do
not act right. Belizeans at home and
abroad must act in concert to force
these two mass parties to give us
the political reforms we deserve.
The reforms must come before elec-
tions. If they cannot do it now, then
they should both stand down for
elections and let the VIP do the job
within six months of being elected.


Log On Today for your
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Tell thcmi you learned about it hee
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Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10


TOO Uwr.l FOR WORDS!


Training Day at Cockscomb


Basin Wildlift Sancturary
Under the sound management of
The Belize Audubon Society, these
men all have an important job -they
safeguard the world's only
protected area which specifically
focuses upon the greatest wild cat
in the Americas: our beautiful
jaguar.
Brought to the Belize Zoo by
Wildlife Conservation Society's Bart
Harmsen, all wardens got a very close
up view of the jaguars at the zoo -
and then they were introduced to the
important Jaguar Rehabilitation ,"
Program. (These one-time livestock ,
killing "problem jaguars" are
rehabilitated into "people-liking" cats,
and then are found magnificent homes
is zoological facilities who are in
strong need of healthy "jaguar-genes
for captive breeding programs) -
Most of the wildlife in our,0
tropical forests is nocturnal.
Viewing our dramatic wild animals
out there in the Belizean jungle is
more chance and luck than a
guaranteed event. For the wardens,
each enclosure provided a
"familiarization" opportunity so that
they could get to observe, at their
leisure, the animals who call Belize
their home. A Cockscomb Reserve game warden gets close up and personal with a jaguar, one nocturnal animal he doesn't normally get to see in
TOO WILD FOR WORDS!!! the wild


State Department Annual Report


on Two Debt Reduction Programs


The U.S. Department of State has
submitted the 2006 Annual Report to
Congress on two debt reduction pro-
grams expected to generate $400 mil-
lion to help developing countries pro-
tect the environment and ensure the de-
velopment of their children. The pro-
grams are the Tropical Forest Conser-
vation Act of 1998 and the Enterprise
for the Americas Initiative launched by
former President Bush in 1991.
Since 2000, Congress has appro-
priated funds for the Tropical Forest
Conservation Act enabling eligible
countries to re-direct a portion of
their debt payments to the United
States Government to generate funds
locally to protect important tropical
forests. To date, 11 countries in Af-
rica, Asia and Latin America have
entered into debt-for-nature agree-
ments with the United States. These
agreements will generate a total of
$137 million to protect forests in the


tropics. The Nature Conservancy,
Conservation International and the
World Wildlife Fund have contributed
$9.6 million to these debt-for-nature
agreements.
The 11 countries which entered into
debt-for-nature agreements with the
United States are: Bangladesh, Belize,
Botswana, Colombia, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Jamaica, Panama (2),
Paraguay, Peru, and the Philippines.
The United States also has debt re-
duction programs with eight eligible
countries in Latin America and the
Caribbean under the Enterprise for the
Americas Initiative. These programs
have generated $165 million in grants
to non-governmental organizations
supporting environmental activities
and child survival and development
programs in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile,
Colombia, El Salvador Jamaica, Peru
and Uruguay. Although Congress no
longer appropriates funds for the Ini-


tiative, a total of $100 million remains
available in existing local programs.
For further information on the
Tropical Forest Conservation Act and


the Enterprise for the Americas Ini-
tiative, see www.usaid.gov/
our_work/environment/forestry/
tfca.html.


Visit


The Belize Zoo






i The Wol







Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11


Top Student

By: Julia Heusner
As a classmate of Xux-Ek
Novelo, I always knew she would do
something great and now she has
came in first in the P.S.E. with a top
score in Belize. She scored a 100%
in math, 92% in Social Studies, 94%
in science, and a 88% in language giv-
ing us a total of 93.5% She got a
374 answers correct out of 400 ques-
tions. Her favorite subject, as you well
can see, is math.
She is now the Valedictorian of our
class of Hummingbird Elementary.


Xux-Ek Novelo is also a talented
flautist.
Like a average student she watches
T.V, listens to music, and reads in
her spare time. But Xux-Ek is not
your average student because when
the rest of us are at home kicking back
after a long day of school and finish-
ing up our homework she is doing her
ballet classes, her flute classes, her pi-


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ano classes, and Pallotti Chamber
Group. All this and still finds time to
study. Xux-Ek told me how she aced
the P.S.E., "I studied whenever I
could, three times for the week and
reviewed for four days." When I
asked her about how she is feeling
about the publicity she said, "Well,
I'm kind of used to it, cause of bal-

Your




Aries (Mar. 21- April 20)
Only one more week to take ad-
vantage of the edge your Mars ruler
is giving you. Mercury retrograde can
slow down work being done around
the house, but you suspected as much,
didn'tyou?
Taurus: Apr. 20 May 20
One of the happier times of the year
occurs on Tuesday when your affec-
tionate Venus ruler perfects a favor-
able trine with jolly Jupiter. While the
two benefitss" are reinforcing each
other's positive traits, now would be
the time to double your pleasure,
double your fun. Maybe even call
your sister. On Flag Day don't let a
chance to buy, sell or trade for some-
thing of great value pass by.
Gemini: May 21 Jun. 20
Mercury turns retrograde in your
Cancer house of assets and acquisi-
tions. It's probably too late to remind
you to be diligent about money mat-
ters, the paperwork involved, plus the
goods and services that'll pass through
your place over the next three weeks.
Cancer: Jun. 21 Jul. 22
The sun can help clarify the issues
that need your attention. The others
should be put on hold. Meanwhile
you'll have an excuse to enjoy (maybe
even pay for) some luxurious fun and
games as agreeable Venus in your Leo
money house and generous Jupiter in
your house of romance and recreation
form a favorable time for you.
Leo: Jul. 23 -Aug. 22
Grab the Crab. The two signs are
linked this week by a harmonious tie,
not unlike a colorful ribbon, that you
both can wear with pride. Relinquish-
ing control isn't easy for a fixed sign
such as yours, but after your sun ruler
confronts Pluto, the master of ma-
nipulation, Monday night you aren't
scheduled to face another obstacle
until mid-August, and that one you can
easily blow off.
Virgo: Aug. 23 Sep. 22
There are basically two arenas that
Virgos should focus on during the next
three weeks. For the August born:
confusion over club dates, meetings,
colleagues' contributions, social get-
togethers, politics, union matters and
the blogging they entail. For the Sep-
tember born: it'll be about your ca-
reer, clients, employers, community
leaders, parents and your reputation.


V


let shows and music shows. "
In her other achievements she won
2nd place in the Hugh Parkey quiz bowl
and 3rd place in the BTB Social Stud-
ies Quiz. She also won 4 golds in the
festival of arts and an award of most
promising instrumentalist.
Congrats Xux-Ek all the teens of
Belize are proud of you!

weekly




Good luck.
Libra: Sep. 23 Oct. 22
Join the parade. Bulls, Lions and
Centaurs might appear to be leading
it, but the Scales is more than wel-
come to join the party. In fact, a com-
mittee of your peers may pay you to
be the figurehead. Might be more of
a hassle if you're traveling abroad or
taking courses.
Scorpio: Oct. 23 Nov. 21
Remind yourself that the annual
Gemini new moon on Thursday may
present an interesting opportunity to
make money using other people's
money, the area of expertise tradition-
ally attributed to Scorpio. If you plan
to get away for a holiday, aim for La-
bor Day rather than the Fourth. For
the moment, protecting the bird in
your hand is a better deal than the two
in the bush.
Sagittarius: Nov. 22 Dec. 21
You could be feeling the good vibes
as soon as the new moon in your
Gemini marriage house sends you on
a mission to explore this year's ver-
sion of "togetherness." Don't shy
away from any offer you get while
impulsive Mars in your house of ro-
mance. Hot!
Capricorn: Dec. 22 Jan. 20
An irritating element of your scene
at home could disappear suddenly,
done in by a guardian angel you didn't
know you had. A city ordinance? An
avenging relative? Let whomever is
working behind the scenes do their
thing while you concentrate on a new
assignment.
Aquarius: Jan. 21 -Feb. 18
Air signs, whether or not they even
care, can also benefit from harmoni-
ous relations between the fire signs.
Do something really nice for your
partner. The one area that might not
show any improvement, much less any
action, is work.
Pisces: Feb. 19 Mar. 19
Water signs might feel depleted,
depressed or simply washed out by
all the fire sign energy being emitted
this week. There's not much you can
do about it except trust that your loved
ones will share their good fortune with
you. Maybe you'll get the nerve to ask
for more pay at work, please. Maybe
even carve out a tastier piece of the
pie for yourself?








Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12


We, the Heads of State and Govern-
ment of the United States of America
and of the Caribbean Community Na-
tions of Antigua and Barbuda, The Ba-
hamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica,
Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St.
Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent
and the Grenadines, Suriname, and
Trinidad and Tobago, meeting in Wash-
ington D.C. on June 20, 2007, reaffirm
our unequivocal commitment to a se-
cure and prosperous region and future
for the benefit of all of our citizens.
2. Recalling our shared history of
democracy, respect for human rights,
social justice, and cultural and ethnic
diversity, we highlight the value of our
enduring friendship and recommit our-
selves to enhancing our partnership to
reinforce the development aspirations
that guide our mutual priorities.
3. We pledge to continue promot-
ing the consolidation of democratic
norms, values, and institutions
throughout the hemisphere and to en-
hance accountability and respect for
individual rights.
4. We agree to take steps to ex-
pand economic opportunities for our
people, to address the threats of ter-
rorism and crime, and to provide the
benefits of democracy to all members
of our societies, recognizing that de-
mocracy will best flourish if our soci-
eties are stable and our economies are
prosperous.
5. We recognize the establishment
of the CARICOM Single Market and
Economy as a critical element of the
growth and development strategy of
the Caribbean Community.
6. We are determined to strengthen
our existing trade arrangements. We
acknowledge President Bush's an-
nouncement to work with Congress
to extend and update the Caribbean
Basin Trade Promotion Act and the
1991 Trade and Investment Frame-
work Agreement. We further commit
to the harmonization of customs pro-
cedures consistent with global stan-
dards and the advancement of tech-
nical trade cooperation.
7. We reiterate our support for Car-
ibbean efforts to expand the services
sector, and encourage a focus on the
international financial services sector
to facilitate a competitive means of
economic diversification while remain-
ing committed to the maintenance of
appropriate regulatory and supervi-
sory practices, consistent with the
highest international standards.
8. Cognizant of the spread of HIV
and AIDS and the impact on the eco-
nomic and social development of our
people, we pledge to deepen our co-
operation in health and welcome the
initiative to continue PEPFAR in the


Caribbean.
9. Cognizant that more than 95 per-
cent of CARICOM's energy needs
are derived from fossil fuels, we pledge
to increase cooperation in this area to
achieve sustainable, secure, and af-
fordable access to energy for all our
citizens.
10. We agree to increase coopera-
tion efforts in the field of education
and workplace training. We commit
to strengthen teacher training by ex-
panding the Caribbean Centers for
Excellence. We also commit to
strengthen human capacity in the Car-
ibbean to meet the demands of a 21st
century employment environment
through partnering with academic in-
stitutions and non-governmental
groups as well as through skills train-
ing for youth via the Entra-21 pro-
gram.
11. We declare our intention to ne-
gotiate an agreement on cooperation
in Science and Technology including
Information Communication Tech-
nologies.
12. We recommit to our ongoing ef-
forts of cooperation in the area of di-
saster preparedness, mitigation, and
recovery.
13. We acknowledge the multidi-
mensional nature of the security
threats and challenges faced by our
countries and pledge to continue to
work together in the fight against ter-
rorism, trafficking in persons, drugs
and small arms, and transnational
crime.
14. We also acknowledge the suc-
cessful security partnership developed
to secure the CARICOM Region dur-
ing its hosting of the Cricket World
Cup 2007. To this end, we agree to
continue strengthening the Region's



Now available I


security infrastructure.
15. We recognize the need to work
more closely on immigration security
issues in a manner respectful of na-
tional laws and government services
capacity and sensitive to the effects
of human displacement. We will
jointly work toward the expansion of
the pilot reintegration program for
deportees in Haiti to include other
CARICOM member states. We will
develop new ways to facilitate, coor-
dinate, and communicate between our
immigration services.
16. We are heartened by the sub-
stantial progress in Haiti made by the
Government of President Preval, with


the support of international partners.
We recognize that Haiti will continue
to require substantial regional and in-
ternational support in the implemen-
tation of a consistent and long-term
strategy of institution and capacity
building, and pledge to work together
with the three branches of the Hai-
tian Government.
17. On the occasion of Caribbean-
American Heritage Month, we pay
tribute to the generations of Carib-
bean-Americans who have helped
shape the spirit and character of the
United States of America and who
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Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Pagel33


-S.g(Continued From Page 4)
moguls whose bias is apparent and
whose reporters are prevented from ex-
amining all sides of the issues through
commercial or political pressure.
We also discussed violence against
journalists, including murders, which are
occurring with impunity in Haiti due to
attempts to prevent investigative jour-
nalism and at an alarming rate in Mexico
due to the drug trade. I raised my con-
cerns of the detention of cameramen,
both freelance and fulltime around the
time of our Belmopan protests and also
assaults on journalists by police and
political candidates. I was told by a
panelist "Whenever a government feels
it is about to lose an election, they tend
to blame the press."
I raised the issue in the hope those
responsible for trying to prevent the
Belizean media from recording events
occurring in public spaces will remem-
ber that any attempt to censor the news
and physically restrain or attack report-
ers can be reported to international
agencies and pressure can be brought
to bear through international censure. I
hope those journalists who were de-
tained, slapped, punched, or otherwise
will make formal complaints, not just to
local police and Human Rights Com-
mission, but to international agencies
representing journalists.
This type of harassment must be
nipped in the bud as we head into an-
other election. If we want to continue
our record of free and fair elections, we
must continue to allow free and fair cov-
erage of those elections. I hope too
Belize will sign the Inter-American Con-
vention on Human Rights, for to my
surprise we were told Belize is among
the countries which still has not.
To say the media in the Caribbean is
the watchdog of democracy is an un-
derstatement. Although some countries
do not have a Freedom of Information
Act, those who do have already realize
it amounts to little in practice. Public ser-
vants however, have created their own
free flow of information in the form of
leaks. Virtually every major political
scandal in Belize was brought to media
and public attention by a conscientious
civil servant, or one with an ax to grind
against a politician. The information will











Information Securlty


come out but how, how transparently
is up to the governments in question.
You might say "as the workers begin to
believe a government will lose an elec-
tion they tend to blame the politicians."
In any case, the trip to Washington
was well worth our time and my hus-
band Trevor and I were astonished at
the number of people we tried to give
hard copies of our paper to who said
they had already read it online and had
been reading it for months!
This is gratifying beyond words not
only because we realize that the dip-
lomatic community and Belizeans
abroad-from Florida, California,
New York, Texas to Illinois- have
found us, but because it shows that
the "new media" is indeed the biggest
wave around and that little Indepen-
dent Weekly can ride it right along-
side the bigger, more established
newspapers in the region. It also sug-
gested to us that we have joined
Channels Seven and Five and
Amandala and Reporter and LOVE
and KREM as one of the sources of
news Belizeans seek out each week
and that together, as a group, we form
a strong, viable press presence from
our comer of the Caribbean. My col-
leagues in Belize, with the exception
of Ava Jean Diaz from LOVE, may
not have been with us in DC, but they
were with us. If you know what I
mean.
What I hope Trevor and I can do
from here on in, is to liaise more
closely with our Caribbean counter-
parts, help each other to bring the
entire region together, to see that the
concerns of the people of St. Kitts and
Nevis are in many ways the same as
the people in Belize, that the people


of Haiti are entering a new, renewed
chapter in their history, that St.
Vincent and Barbados and the Baha-
mas and all the places so many Car-
ibbean people know in name only are
as worthy of a visit as a shopping trip
to Miami.
But we also need, collectively, to
reach out to Americans, these people
who seem now to spend more time
talking on the phone and on the
internet than they do speaking to
people in the same room, that it would
be worth their while to leave their little
bubble and explore our countries. Let
them know that we have more in
common with each than with countries


I ,* I VAT n


in Africa. But then again, maybe there
are some similarities and bonds there
too worth exploring... .Perhaps at an
African-Caribbean journalism confer-
ence....? Held, oh I don't know, in
Nairobi?
(Well, I can dream can't I?)
We would like to thank Ambassa-
dor Albert Ramdin, Von Martin, and
Ian Edwards for inviting Independent
Weekly to attend the Caribbean Jour-
nalism Conference and to cover the
Conference on the Caribbean along
with our heads of state.
We appreciate your faith in Belize's
newest newspaper, and in Belize.


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Contact Independent Weekly







Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Pagpl4L4



Social Page


Wedding bells sounded once more for former SJC headmaster Andrew Lopez and his
blushing bride Yolanda Therese Rivero, who were joined in Holy Matrimony at the
Holy Redeemer Cathedral in Belize City on Saturday, June 23.

NOTICE
Private Property Owners Meeting
Friday 6 July 2007
9AM @ Spanish Lookout
All owners, occupiers and people in possession of Belizean lands are
invited to attend a very important meeting at Spanish Lookout on Fri-
day 6th July to develop a Private Property Policy concerning oil explo-
ration and production.
There are a number of issues affect private landholders for oil explo-
ration and production which are not well defined, and thus do not allow
the private landowner or occupiers to accurately access what rights
and options are available in negotiating the use of their property. The
issues have been presented in a discussion series which has been cir-
culated to interested parties for the purpose of developing a consensus
position on the issues for inclusion as part of a Private Property Policy.
The goal of this policy is to establish a consistent position which clearly
sets out the rights of landowners and occupiers, and the conditions for
using their lands for oil exploration and production which is consistent
with international practice. The intent is NOT to be confrontational,
but instead to develop a positive and uniform platform from which fair
and reasonable private land use agreements can be negotiated.
For More Information Contact:
mlm@btl.net
junglejim(kbtl.net
palmspring( btl.net


Nurse Bernadette Wade Rivas won the 2007 Public Service Officer of the Year award.
Nurse Rivas has been a nurse since 1985 and is today Acting Matron at the Western
Regional Hospital.


The Archives Department won the 2007 Public Service Department of the Year award.


IW General Manager Trevor Vernon and Editor Karla Heusner Vernon with Ian
Edwards, Information Specialist of the OAS, Deanne Romero-Williams of Carib Vision
TV and Ray Gongora, President of the Belize Association of Florida








Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Pag< 15.5


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Consulting- Escrowv Services -
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Visit our webase at w r -obeh ze can fr more
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For sale: Home overlooking Sittee
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609-5632 3-5pm daily. (Photo be-
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"Free international real estate
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Go to http://
investtheworld.blogspot.com as we
travel the world for fun, investment
and profit."For Rent: A (2) bedroom
flat located in King's Park, Belize City
$800/month
One commercial building (4 offices,
conference room, reception area) in
King's Park $1800.00/month
Computers $800/each Call: 223-
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Free Ads! The INdependent Re-
former is offering free classified ads
for the month of June: 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


" M (Continued From Page 4)
are things happening in San Ignacio/
Santa Elena and the surrounding area
that just aren't making it into the pa-
pers, even the local paper (The Star,
perhaps because it is a bit biased to the
UDP and thus, the current town coun-
cil). I think this info needs to be ad-
dressed notjust for those living in the
said communities and surrounding ar-
eas, but for the rest of country.
Maybe there are similar issues hap-
pening in other towns. But, perhaps
more importantly is the fact that if such
issues are being discussed at the national
level it may shame 'the-powers-that-be'
in the communities do something about
what is happening (or not happening).
Thanks,
A. Morrice
Editor's note-Independent
Weekly 's staff is very small at this
point, so we welcome any assistance
we might get from readers in the dis-
tricts. In terms of editorial policy, we


5) All classified ads must be emailed to
independent, newspaper. bz@gmail.
com with cc to
kheusner@yahoo. com and checks to
PO Box 2666, Belize City.
Please note: We must receive your
ad by Friday at mid-day for inclusion
in following Tuesday issue.


will consider printing anything veri-
fiable that comes to u %, n ihitutt apar-
tisan bias. If we begin to receive
enough materialfrom people willing
to report on a regular basis, IWwill
be more than happy to create a
fulltime regional section. Our format
does not include "ihaiJ news items
such as crime reports; our focus is
on opinion pieces, commentaries and
current event items, particularly as
they relate to political reform and
better governance.


"'Th r-oa8 less tra'velhIC8
wWWWridveradve ntu rescom


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independent.newspaper.bz@gmail.com







Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Pag16 7


It is hard to win w hen the referee and linesmen are members of the
opposing team and your fans are not allowed to attend the game.



Here is how GoB1,lol- QAL)S chose the books for the Infant I-,),ision for the Te\txbok Proirannime

Experts in ithe Caribbean made a schooIlbook ea.ilualion form

MolF QADS is in the process of wttintg a lciamira toIn rl.edt o hk c.ille FatI Phonics

MItIQADS ,usa the \pertI made e' alulionii fiin to itt aluate theli owr n paii al .I\nllen: F.ast PlhoiC. Ibook Thleir evaluaion ofidieir book
tunis out very :ood

MoF QA.\DS iJS,,d the exp.rt made evaluation form to c\.Iallate BR( 's le.arnirn' to read bks Siurpri,,,' BRC's books came in tsctond to
\loE QADS' Fast Phonics book

Is here a possibility that here was bias in Mo0. Q )DS' ealalution"' What would have happened if tihe authors of HRC' had done the
-\ Jtualion?

i hen BRC suggested to O ADS that testing children's leaminii, was necessary to determine the value of a book Q-\DS said that it was not
necessary b.':ecau'C the evaluation form was nide b y experts.

BRC askedJ MoL QADS it schools could be ,i'en a choice ofbooks in the Infant Division. Ihe answer was that the Cabinet (GoB) would not
allow a choice

Mol' QADS knew that ifa choice wi uii en an in oi whelniiiu number ot schoolIS would choose BRC. Thic knew that the only ;iv that th e.
,could get their not-proven Fast Phonics books into ithe schools was bv force Is it possible thail iol- Q SI) suggested "no choice" to
Cabirneit'

\10 hn the ritl ofchosen hooks was firi presented. Mol- Q-AI) claimed that the moxt wildly uti'd Ixook were chosen I hat claim was not
quite accurate

MoE QAIDS alWso said that the education partners ewe included in the choice. \When the partners got toethier. thex realli/ed that the claim ,was
lnot quite accuraie If Mn.:e partners had been included. there were only a fer. and thc\, w. re carefully ,cle.ed
(Go, M.oFO.ADS chose Fa:t Phonics heca.iis tile\ had the power to do so. even though thc,\ had to break lthe polic\ of including, partners in
slidich a decision,

Teachers usinfL BRL's reading, claim that their children are learning to read using it. iThat is ot er 80',, o'lthe schools in Belize. BRC lakes two
and one-half years to teach children how ito read u in'.g ihli phonics ymhils of the Fn-'lish I an'Iuai'c

lin the USA, a icompaim called SRA .\has Jie eltped a successful phonic, basdcl radiin series Thc first two 'c.ins are JesMnied to teach
children how to read It takes SRA two ears to teach I'S children how to read under (he following conditions
SRA is designed for children who ha e preschool and kindergarten and begin firsi grade (Infant One) at the ace of 6.
SR \ is tdesi'ned for children who speak Fn'.s.lil h1 c parental help in learnin' and li in a readim- Cn\irnmrneil
SR \ is desi,'ned for children who are in a class, size of 17 or Ies- and hal C a teacher who is a full> Irained uini% ersit, graduate with
a tlgi ce iin early childhiid ediuc.ion

SRA believes it takes two years, under the above conditions. to teach children how to read All other learning, to read books take a minimuin
of two years

MoF QADS claim that children, in a nilmch mote difficult leariuin situatIioni need only one year to learn how to read All the phlniis symbols
SRA teaches in two ) ears are taught by Mo- () X)Ds' Fast Phonics in one year

1o1 O-\DS cl:nain, ihai iheir experts cannot be wrong They are willing to 'ambnile one-half million taxpayers* dollars and our children's
lcaminii'. to read on their claim I et ihem demonstrate that their claim is accurate by bein', in fair competition wilh BRC If Fast Phonics
proves to be hettei. schools, will choose Fast Phonics and BRC( will either improve or he eliminated

GoHB.'MoE/QADS you owe it to thie children of Belize to present concivee evidence that Fast Phonics is better than BRC before you
give Fast Phonics fire to all schools and go to schools telling them not In use BRC. MoF..'QADS needs to demonstrate to the public
that children using F'asl Phonics arc learning to read better than children using BRC's reading.

B elirminiatin a bl-,k ilhal reacher, claim ins helping, children learn to read and replacing, it wili an unpro ein book. CPoB lMol-- 0 DD i,
UamblirgI with our children GOB MoL Q)ADS should ha.e completed then book and used it in pilot schools for more than two years before
declaring it the only lx. k to be used in the country, There are indications that Fast Phonics is not re'tching. children how to read but only
CMtIlirl.. children to mcnmorize phonics .m nibols if Infant One children are not learning" to read. that inability wll show up iln the secondd year
orfsC lwl A pilot school teacher said that she taug.,liht BR(t and Fast Phonit.s and that ili\ complement each oiliLr She went on to sa\ that F.st
Phonics cannot stand alone and th:n BIRC i, needed for children to learn to read

RRC Pnrnling 1 td
I







Friday, June 29, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 17



Crude Facts

The Spanish Lookout Oil Field


II mI Fj jO
Separation unit and storage tanks at Iguana Crooeek


During the short time BNE has been operating in the area, the ..srt't '
company has directly paid Spanish Lookout businesses includ-
ing civil works contractors, hardware vendors, fabricators, elec-
tricity suppliers, crude oil truckers and many others more than i
8.8 million dollars for goods and services.
BNE pays the owners of the land where the wells are located
an annual rental fee for the land used by the company. BNE '
pays for the use of community roads and for damages to crops,
fences etc. BNE has paid Mennonite monitors to be present
while work is being carried out Furthermore the Spanish Look-
out community will also receive from the Government of Belize "
5% of royalties paid by BNE.


TRAINING:
Spanish Lookout residents
have benefited from
participation in First Aid
training. The company is
currently planning an
advanced First Aid course
to be delivered by the Red
Cross and an oil measure- -
ment course through
Caleb Brett Intertek, a
world renowned oil measurement provider. The Spanish
Lookout community and Government of Belize have
been invited to participate.
FIRE-FIGHTING:
BNE has provided fire-
fighting assistance to
communities in and
around the Spanish Lookout
area. During the last dry
season, the company put
out 3 fires within Spanish
Lookout and two mfrest fires
In surrounding areas. This
was done using BNE's fire
fighting equipment and company personnel based at
Iguana Creek at no cost to area residents.


rage and truck loading bay at Iguana Creek


BNE has over the short period of exploration and
production operations moved to minimize its
presence in the Mennonite Community respect-
ing the community's wishes. As such a pipeline
was installed that gathers all the oil produced
from the field and transports it to a central facil-
ity outside of the community and there is no flar-
ing, venting or trucking of crude oil being con-
ducted within the community.
Flaring occurs exclusively at Iguana Creek



A small maintenance crew works in rotating shifts
at the 5 well sites on a 24hr basis.


A BELIZE
0 NATtUR At EM E CCi

INSERT # 4
June 2007


Belize Natural Energy started oil pro-
duction operations in the Spanish
Lookout oil field in late 2005. Since
that time, the Spanish Lookout Com-
munity has benefited significantly
both economically and socially, direct-
ly and indirectly from BNE operations.


.-...........-low


PIPELINE: a system of connected lengths of pipe, usually
buried in the earth or seafloor, that is used for transporting
crude oil and natural gas from a producing area to refineries
or terminals. I:ttp:l/ww mv.wkerwgy.comn.lxon4.htam I the it & Ga


a 1.-----aj b hl -


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