Title: Independent reformer
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099538/00004
 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: December 19, 2006
Copyright Date: 2006
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00004
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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Cat and Mouse in the Senate

At the last Senate hearing, the
Belizean public heard Senator Godwin
Hulse voice his frustration that the
Senate could not get more details of
Government's proposed bond for US
$565 million. He objected to the speed
at which it is was being rushed through
the house and the Senate's helplessness
to stop it or even slow it down. Senator
Dickie Bradley, leader of government
business in the Senate reminded him that
the Senate is essentially a rubber stamp
on money bills and that the non-elected
members should not presume to have
as much say in these matters as the
House of Representatives.
Clearly the time has come for the
Senators of Belize to be empowered to
do more for this country than they can
at the moment. There have been
rumblings for years about the need for
Senate Reform, but perhaps now,
Belizeans, and Senators, see for
themselves than an elected Senate, on

equal footing with the other members
of the House, is something whose time
has come.
In this writer's opinion, an elected
Senate is critical to putting the breaks
on the current government's runaway
economic train and give the appearance
of putting the people back in the driver's
An elected Senate is something the
PUP themselves should welcome if their
1998 campaign manifesto is to be
believed. In that year the PUP
promised: "to ensure a real separation
of powers between the executive and
legislative branches and reduce the
power of ministers to make or bend
That is exactly what an elected Senate
with mid term elections would have
done-and could still do- if either
political party were truly interested in
stopping corruption.
Belizeans have learned a sad lesson
about political promises; that they are
most often false political rhetoric which

is completely ignored after the election.
During the last national election
campaign in 2003, it appeared that the
PUP was loosing public support due to
perception that corruption was rampant
in government. Prime Minister and Party
Leader, Said Musa, saved the day for
the PUP. He acknowledged the
corruption and promised to stamp it out.
But as we enter 2007, the stamping
hasn't started yet! Instead public
perception is that the party leader is now
dictator and his rule is bordering on
Government makes no attempt to
cover, or even justify the corrupt acts,
it just allows them to continue.
Belizeans, it seems, can do nothing for
under the present political system there
is no way to check those in power. As
far as the Government is concerned if
you do not like the way they do business,
you can go to hell. The corruption has
been brazen and open; however, it is
clear none of the politicians have been
prosecuted for any misappropriation of

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funds or diverting money from national
development projects, risking public
investments, pillaging public financial
institutions, or taking money under false
pretenses for non-existent proj ects or
(Please Turn To Page 3) M W

King '06

This Christmas looks bright for
Musa while the new year looks dim
for Belizeans (See cartoon on pg. 4)

Kenny Morgan says Cz 1
(See review on pg. 4)

Inside this Issue

Bruk it down
pg. 4

Total Madness
pg. 5

Lots of bark
but no bite
pg. 7

receives award
pg. 14

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 2

Edito ialDieco

Me ulc


Karl Hes. ero


-argol neris


to go but up. But they also know it won't
justhappenbymagic. Thatnoforeign power
will rescue us, and no established political
party incountrywill either.
ceiling needs to be done will be done from
underneath. In our hearts, we all prefer
peaceful change; butwhetherit happens that
way or through violence will depend not so
much on our own intentions, but on their
resistance, andreluctance, todotherightthing
and step aside, and down.
As we pray they find the wisdom to
continuethepeaceful, constructiverevolution
and put their own self interest aside, we will
try to enj oy the holy-days and recharge our
The staffofthe Independent Reformer
Weekly wishes you all blessed Christmas

tn this, the fourth issue oflndependent
Reformer Weekly, I take the
oppo tytothank all ourreaders and
Holidays. The Independent is taking the
decision to skip the Christmas week and
come out again January 2nd. Itshouldbean
exciting issue because we will be selecting
the Man and Woman ofthe Year as well as
mentioning some other notable events and
people of 2006.
It's hard to believe this year is over, it
seemed to go so quickly. But as we rush
headlonginto2007itiswitharenewed sense
of purpose. The feeling is palatable across
the country and Belizeans seem to have a
greater sensethat change is uponus, andthat
we musttake advantage ofthe opportunities
being presented tous all. There has been so
much negativity, even desperation, over the
past few months. That is not necessarily a
when things areuncomfortable.
Those few who still comfortable are
realizing very quickly, thatthosewho make
their soft life possible are becoming
increasinglyunhappywiththe stugglejustto
maintain a modest home and lifestyle. Too
many Belizeans have seen their spending
power diminishthispastyear, too many have
begun to feel not only are they not getting
ahead; they are hardly breaking even
anymore. People who once lived paycheck
topaycheckarenotfindingthemselves selling
off the few things they own to carry
themselves over the rest of the month and
living paycheck to several paychecks
down the road.
We used to wish each other a prosperous
newyear, now some hardly rememberwhat
prosperity felt like orifitwill overcome again.
But it must, for as the wheel of fortune
turns down, so it will turn back up. Many
Belizeans feel the country has already hitthe
lowestpointofthe cycle andthereisnowhere

Clarification of terms and phrases

Madam Editor,
We want to congratulate the
Independent on your new enterprise.
We are offering this criticism of your
article entitled Election shugga
daddy(s), December 5 issue, in hopes
that you do not follow the path of many
newspapers before you.
We have no problem with the article
itself, but with a phrase you used at the
end: "if one tells a little lie no one will
believe it; if many people tell a big lie
promises big results everyone will
believe it. The communist philosophy
suggests that if you tell a lie often enough
the people will believe it." The actual
quote is: "The broad mass of a nation
will more easily fall victim to a big lie

than a small one" and it comes from
Adolph Hitler, in Mein Kampf, who was
a fascist (right-wing), not a communist.
[anyone wanting clarification of those
terms, can email us at
The above is a perfect example of a
lie being repeated so often, it is accepted
as truth. Communism and Fascism are
not the same thing. The communists
would not quote a fascist who was
responsible for the murders and
extermination of millions of
communists, labor leaders, and
minority groups.
Just trying to keep it honest.

Signed: George and Candy Gonzalez

P.O. Box 2666
Beliic Cit.. Beli/c
Send me 6 months of the INdependent Reforner for as little as
BZ$30.00 (US$30 00 international)

I m -I ,h.

and thanksyou for seekingus out each week
and sharingyourthoughtswithyourfriends,
families and associates.
Seasons Greetings everyone, meet you
back here, January 2nd, 2007.

Pd' III, Ili Ill, ILId-:d F-1 hill Im. 1.11-:1 F

I 'i ik I, -r I III L 1111111 .11 i lid ti. ., Li Ill .1' '. 11" b -1 -Uh, rlpLI- .11 1 -Liflide


roo P,

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 3

Pussy Foot Politics

n (Continued From Page 1)
causes. Nor does it appear anyone is
likely to be prosecuted, not even after
public hearings and investigations such
as those for the Social Security Board
or the Development Finance
Corporation. In fact, word is the Prime
Minister is attempting to wiggle out of
testifying before the DFC Commission!
Since Independence, corruption has
continued throughout the successive
changes of Government. Many people
believe democracy no longer exists in
Belize, that instead we are under a tightly
controlled dictatorship. The rebel
ministers, dubbed the "G7", found out the
extent of the tyrant's powers. The only
limitation that appears to be on the Prime
Minister is the length of his term in office!
Thisisnotjustmy own view, thePolitical
Reform Commission (appointed by the
PrimeMinister himselfin 1999) had similar
concerns about corruption and Belize's
vulnerability to the power hungry. In the
summary of the Political Reform
Commission Report of 2000, the
Commissioners wrote "The House and
even more the Senate serves largely as
rubber stamps for cabinet decisions".
They continued, "the system is in essence
a dictatorship ofthe cabinet."
Is it any wonder only a fraction ofthe
Commission's recommendations were
adopted by the Prime Minister and made
intolawby the House ofRepresenatives?
It's almost atrite sayingthese days that
"Power corrupts and absolute power
corrupts absolutely." But itis that absolute
power that Belize's politicians wish to
retain. Which is precisely why they do
not want an elected Senate. This would
give too much autonomy for the people's
representatives and make them too
accountable to their constituents.

Under the present system, the Prime
Minister appoints members oftheNational
Assembly to head the various ministries.
If a particular Minister doesn't go along
with the wishes ofthe Prime Minister, the
PM can remove him from hisMinistry and
appoint another who will.
With an elected Senate and the terms
of office reduced to four years, the
senators could be changed. The first
Senate would only be elected for two
Thereafter the senate elections would
take place every 4 years between the
national elections, that is, 2 years after
which would also be 2 years before a
national election. A corrupt
Government could not continue for long
and even if those in charge did get out
of line, they could not exploit their
positions for more than 2 years for as
soon as Belizeans became aware of
what was happening the voters could
stop it by bringing in a new slate of
Senators or Representatives as the time
period might dictate.
The present party heads do not want
the voters to have this type of power or
give the country of Belize the same
successful checks and balances that the
United State of America has had with
its elected Senate. More than two
hundred years of successful operation
in the USA has proved the value of an
elected Senate. The elected Senate can
check the actions of the House of
Representatives and likewise, the House
of Representatives can check any
improper or unwise actions of the
The November 2006 mid-term
election in the United States ofAmerica
has again proved the value of an elected,
not appointed, Senate. It proved that

an elected Senate is indispensable for
good Government. The Republican
party, which was the party in power, lost
control of the Senate and the democrats
are now in the majority. This turnaround
was a direct response by American
voters to what they considered bad
Government. The President heard their
call and has gotten their message, loud and
Imagine ifBelizean voters could send
their Prime Minister and his Cabinet and
Area Representatives the same signals. If
Belizeans could ensure that that only
legislation that is good forthe country will
be passed and that no national leader
could ever assume the position of
The PUP has failed for eight years to
fulfill its 1998 promise thatwould require
an elected Senate. The UDP's
leadership is also against an elected
Senate. Their reasons are dependant on
who they are speaking to and runs the
gamut from (1) an elected Senate would
be too expensive (2) the UDP should
have its turn in office.
An elected Senate would certainly
not be more expensive, rather it would
be a great money saver, saving millions
lost to the people annually through
unfettered corruption. The second
statements startling foritimplies the UDP
wants the same chance at corruption that
thePUPhashad! Do UDP officials seek
office simply so they can also garner
additional money for their own
If this is the case, the UDP should not
be elected to office, either. Enough is
Belize, though small, is a great country
with great potential. However, one- third
ofBelize's citizens live below the poverty
level, 24% of the people are functionally
illiterate and 50% of the children do not
finish primary school. The country has a

national debt of $2 Billion plus. Why
should the head of ANY political party
have the power to wreak such havoc, to
destroy the economy rather than build it,
to ruin people's lives rather than provide
The Government has openly entered
into bloated contracts, paying as much as
twice the value for the same services from
a legitimate contractor. The Government
has paid millions in excess of their
appraised values for properties they have
purchased. The Government has sold
properties and businesses for a fraction
of their appraised values.
The politicians and their cronies have
waxed fat from the above transactions.
Someone has to pay their bills. Those
someone's are the Belizean people. The
middle class and poor now bear the
burden ofthe high taxes and inflation while
the politicians and their cronies live high
on the hog.
Which brings us to the real reason
the politicians don't want an elected
Senate: it would prevent the leader of
the party and Prime Minister from
becoming the Supreme Authority and
stop his sharing of the booty pillaged
from the nation, among its politicians-
both blue and red.
Those who do not want an elected
Senate, do not want a solution to
corruption. They do not want the power
placed with the people where it belongs
and they do not deserve our votes. They
should not even be considered for office.
It is not too late; both the PUP and
UDP have the power to proposed an
elected Senate. And if one does so and
the other doesn't support it, well, the
voters will know immediately which party
is really seeking reform and which one
wants to maintain the status quo.
If neither proposes it before the next
General Election, then clearly alternative
party would be a better choice.





Over 15,000 dails visitors

The biggest and busiest websi5te on eIlize


Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 4

Bruk it down

Karla Heusner Vernon

tennis shoes, Kenny Morgan-radio
announcer, singer, composer, poet and
political activist shookhis dredlocksandtold
the expectant audience at the Bliss Centre
theBrukdownmusiccompetitionifhe sang
Thenhe sangit.
Morgan's critics were wrong; because he
DID win with the controversial song. Not
only did hewinBrukdongArtist oftheYear,
he got Song of theYear, even SpecialAward
for content.
He takes home $4250 in cash but most
importantly of all, he has the support of the
audience andjudges.
opinion, then the government is in trouble.
From this call and response musical session,
Morgan wasmakingthe call, and his listeners
were answering. Loudly.
toleavethe Bliss awinneryet again; it'sthe
secondyearthisentertainer/activisthas swept
the Brukdong Competion. In2005 he won
BestNewArtist, Artist oftheYear and Song
oftheYear, edging out the landslide 2004
What a stark comparison to being led
away in handcuffs by police afterthe 2004
Lord RhabumMusicAwards to beheld on
vague charges he disrupted a National

AssemblyMeeting. The words he shouted
at the politicians in the House that day were
nothing compared tothe scathing comment
he made Saturday night, anditwas not only
the PUP side that got the lick. Quite a
comeback for the man whose poem about
poetry contest because it was deemed
But when he sang "vote foryu picney"
and "votefiBelize"the audience atthis show
went wild. Theylistened politely to songs
about why we should love tourists and
Christmas traditions; in deference to her
about cahew and gingerwine.
But her son, Henry Genus 1I Martinez
also tookapolitical turn, urgingBelizeansto
take backtheir independence by "takingup
their armor and clearingthe land" returning
to family plantationsinsteadofbecoming'"yes
Lennox Blades, veteran ofMr. Peter's
Boom and ChimeBand went solothisyear
and impressed the audience with his guitar
playing skills, both holding hisinstrmmentin
thetraditionalway andthenplayingitbehind
his head. Iftherehadbeenacategory called
wouldhave grabbedthattitleforhis riotous
pretended to be himself as aboy and sang
the praises of the Stann Creek Valley and
playedtheharmonica. The audience quickly
dubbedhim"ValleyMan" andshoweredhim

with praise when he laterjoinedthePlayaz
Band duringamusicalinterludewhilejudges
Mr. WilfredPeters, the man whose very
name is synonymous with this beloved
Belizean style of music, was even more
Mistress ofCeremoniesMymaManzanares,
putting down his accordion andjoining the
Playaz's Band while his own Boom and
Chime Band was on a break.
The audience was as much a part of the
show as the performers, and they shouted
their encouragement and appreciation again
and again. There was even dancing on the
floor in front of the stage.
It felt, in so many ways, like the old days.
Not the days of Ole Time Christmas with
Boom and Chime and the Sorrel wine, but
hearted, less burdened by debt and disaster,
more in control ofwhat was happening in
this country and less at the mercy of the
powers that be.
While all the songs and artists had their
own appeal, the support for Kenny Morgan
on Saturday night made it abundantly clear
to me the days of people being afraid to
speak their mind are over. The days of
being afraid to vote for a controversial
song-even when it is sung in a
government run building-are behind us.
And perhaps the days certain politicians
have left in office are also numbered as
people echo Morgan's sentiment that

Excerpts from "ENUFF IZ
ENUFF" by Kenny Morgan

All across the country it's People Under
And it's not a pleasant feeling at all
Everywhere u turn Belizeans just di
And every day u hear somebody else
While the ones who are responsible for
having us in this mess
Don't feel the pinch at all, they are
living large
But if Musa is a man, tell him call the
And let the people say who they want
in charge ...
They sell out our assets and they pocket
the funds
To share among their family and
Then when election time comes they
throw us some crumbs
Then we don't see them until election
time again
Life getting bitter for so many and
better for so few
And the hardest worker end up with
the least pay
But as sure as the wind does blow, as
sure as baldy/ grow
Election day the people will have their
Chorus: Enuff is Enuff, PUP got to go
They fail to deliver on the promises in
their manifesto
They did a lot of talking just to get on
But since then all they do is tax we till
we drop
We made a very big mistake 2003 and

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 5

Total madness

By: TrevorVernon

"Lawn the
game, fool" this
older inebriated
friend of mine
says to me in
Kriol. "Tek keer
of yourself first
before you mess
with those
gangstas in government!"
"My bway, you need security; set up
your own security system with people
you know now and not people you mi
know or think you know."
"Sleep widu own eye, bossman."
I get a lot of great advice these days
from friends who still sees me as the
little scrawny pre-teen running around
barefoot around the Caye where I
vacationed as a child with my father's
entourage in its heyday. That was then;
this is now. Paranoia rules my world
today as government personnel try
every trick in the book of hard knocks
to rock my world in an effort to please
their godfather.
I got my first "expected" rude
awakening a year and a half ago when
powerful people in Government thought
it would be good time to send a
message that to others I had no
business criticizing GOB's foreign
policy. Six months earlier had givenan
interviewto a couple ofDC-based reporters
when asked about Belize's foreign policy
toward the Middle East. They asked the
questions, and I agreed that yes, Ithought
the Musa government was playing undue
hardball with the state of Israel and its
representatives in the various international
forums. Ihave no evidence to suggest this
has changed today.
Anyway, six months after that most
unfortunate interview and subsequent
articles, I was looking down the barrels
of state issue shotguns and 9mm
firearms. Twelve fully armed ADU,
Customs, BDF and other assorted
personnel descended on my home in
Ladyville, locked and loaded. One very
young and very well briefed teenage
officer wanted to know, "How come a
man like you got mixed up in crime?" I
was floored but learnt the game rather
quickly. He subsequently offered to
meet me alone with the real story, if I
could give him some casino chips. Not
interested, kiddo...unless you want to
tell it to an independent Judge in a
recorded statement... in Miami.
I had bought a car from a very
colorful character in Belize City 6 weeks
earlier for a pretty penny. But, at the
time, I wanted decent transportation to
ply the real estate trade and after all the
emergency room experience with chest
pains, in DC I felt I deserved it. Well,
Waldo Emerson says life is what
happens after you make your plans.
The car, as it turns out, was one of a

couple hundred smuggled in from
Guatemala, detailed, illegally registered
with GOB's top personnel atthe Traffic
Department and then sold. The ring
made out like bandits. Research shows
them buying a "vehicle reported stolen"
in Guatemala for around $2500 USD,
paying 'mordida' to get it driven across
the Macal, and into Belize where
unscrupulous civil servants and
government contract officers forge

customs documents to get it licensed.
They are thenboldly sold to unsuspecting
Belizeans seeking a nice refurbished ride
for about 50-70% of market value = 30-
50 thousand dollars. What makes the
scam work is the pretence of body work
having been done to the vehicle and of
course ministerial discretion and
underworld connections.
Anyway, the matter is before the courts
andwe must respect the court'sjurisdiction
and independence. I won't comment
further and risk revealing my sources or
Last week, I got a little more of the ire
that exists in some government quarters

when my mail box was tampered with
and made inoperable. No big deal. I paid
what the contract officers wanted me to
pay for a new lock: 25 buxx. Turns out
that it's not that simple. The lock seized,
and they need the welder to take it off. I
get this from aPostal Service workerwith
a smirk across his face. "And the welder
comes in only whenit's convenienttohim".
So I pay for a Post Office Box from
government but can'tuse it because their
welder is busy and may be made busy
for the next year? This is the registered
PO Box ofthis newspaper I am talking
about. How will they be able file their
lawsuits against us?

Nowwe do a lot of mailing: bulkmail.
First week we are charged 25 cents per
local item but second week new guy says
its over 50 grams and we must pay 40
cents per. I reason with him and ask to
see his scale. He sees the error of his
ways after a little convincing and
reluctantly agrees that the items are
below the 50 grams cutoff. "The one I
weighed was definitely over the mark",
he says. I throw on ten at random and
they are all under. Ah, I wasn't
disappointed today. Maybe the fact that
"River of Fire" was sharing some of his
written poems with me in the middle of
the negotiations helped my position.


Who knows?
Before I criticized Mr. Musa's foreign
policy, I never experienced these
irritations. Now whatever I do, I expect
them. The word is out; but, funny thing
is since I spoke out against the pup
government's foreign policy positions in
Washington, I sleep much better at night.
In addition, the ulcers, migranes, and
trips to the emergency room are no
more. You can buy my silence but you
can't buy my state of wellness. My
choices; no apologies, no regrets. And
by the way, just for the record, I was
highly critical of Mr. Esquivel's
introductory rate of 15% for VAT in
1998. I1 still think people in Washington
did a number on him and destroyed his
popularity and his government's. No
apologies there either.
Finally, there is another matter that
bears mentioning: it's this legal
requirement where new newspapers
must get the approval of the Solicitor
Generals office the other day before
going to press. Ours took a while and
the wait almost frustrated the entire
effort, but for the grace of God.
Apparently, two others were not so
lucky. Was in an office the other day and
caught glimpse of paperwork on their
demise. I would like to encourage those
folks to still publish or contact us to
explore some synergistic options.
There are other developments in this
newspaper business that we are keeping
avery close eye on as it relates to Trojan
horses and old acquaintances. We at the
Independent take nothing for granted
and do sleep with our own eyes and
security cameras and are quickly learning
the game, too.

1 Cardinal Street
Tel. 802-2926
E-mailh vip@reformbelize.org
Websltem https//vip.reformbelize.org

December 6, 2006

Dear Friends:

The VIP Executive respectfully announces that over the past three months, the party explored a political merger
option with other Belizean "third parties" and "Independents". Our prerequisites to seriously consider merger
were that the VIP and its prospective partners:
1. Establish Common Direction.
2. Create Synergy.

While Common Direction was largely established, Synergy was not.

In order to give due respect and opportunity to the others pursuing the merger, the VIP now withdraws from that

The VIP however remains open and welcoming to anyone with a common direction who is open to the building
of a cooperative relationship aimed at serving the people of Belize.

Signed on Behalf of the VIP

Hubert Enriquez
Secretary General

Paul M. Morgan Sr.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 6

General Assembly urges action

to protect world's fish stocks

Responding to the depletion of
fish stocks and degradation of
fragile marine habitats in many parts
of the world, the United Nations
General Assembly has called on
States to take immediate action to
reverse the situation and protect
vulnerable deep sea ecosystems.
Adopting a consensus resolution
on sustainable fisheries, the
Assembly called on all States to act
in a precautionary manner and apply
an "ecosystem approach" to the
conservation, management and
exploitation offish stocks.
The resolution also expressed the
Assembly's particular concern that
illegal, unreported and unregulated
fishing constituted a serious threat
to fish stocks and marine habitats
and ecosystems, to the detriment of
sustainable fisheries, as well as the
States were encouraged to take
measures to deter illegal,

Christmas Riddles
1. What do elves learn in school?
2. What is the difference
between the Christmas
alphabet and the ordinary
3. What Christmas Carol is a
favorite of parents?
4. Why does Santa have 3
5. What kind of candle burns
longer, a red candle or a green
6 What do you get if you deep
fry Santa Claus?
7. Why was Santa's little helper
Turn updside down for the answers

tuIaoso9 JI omo plqt 9H L
9ouuID ds'D "9

ujnq s1AxIB S9puo 'ljiTo'jo*oN
0 o01400 1 4 qO0u 14os "'t

(pou) -

1oqu-J1ot i lI

For every one pound of shrimp caught, trawlers haul in
20 lbs of fish stock which is then discarded

unreported and unregulated fishing
activities, and to facilitate mutual
assistance to investigations and
punishment as needed.
The adoption of the resolution
followed a two-day debate on the
issue, with nearly three dozen
countries participating.
Over half- 52 per cent of
global fish stocks are fully
exploited, while overexploited
and depleted species have
increased from about 10 per cent
in the mid 1970s to 24 per cent in
2002, according to a study,
'Ecosystems and Biodiversity
in Deep Waters and High
Seas', which was issuedjointly by
the UN Environment Programme
(UNEP) and the World
Conservation Union (IUCN)
earlier this year.

\11ith a

- ,.~ -


T ropical TWist

Anita Tupper
Christine Tuppei

Opening Hours 7 ')
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Sunday & Holidays 7 a.m. 7:30 pm.
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r Mile 31 1/4
Western Highway
BELIZE, Central America
Mailing Address: Box 346, Belmopan
E-Mail: chrissy@cheersrestaurant.bz

- -A -

Namre's way tiuesmouse

Welcome To Nature's Way Guesthouse .
Clean, Safe, Affordable', .
Central Location Sea Front View & Breeze
Single $23BZD, Double $33BZD, .
S.. Triple $48BZD r"
- Getoff bus at Catholic Churchion
Main & Church Streets, walk Lown
hill 75 yards to Guesthouse.

1'' AM --

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 7

Lots of Bar

but no Bite

By Meb Cutlack

The tourism industry in Belize reaches
into every nook and cranny in the country
and in its various guises, as BTIA, BHA,
has over 650 members and (with the tour
guides association) has in excess of 1600
direct members. Many of the
organizations supportbetween 5 and 20
employees. Call the average 10 and, even
without countingtourguides, this amountsto
you add relations and families who directly
benefitfinm theindustythatfiguremagnifies
to probably 50,000 ormore.
Of course, down the line, the industry
does in fact impact on a lot more persons
but, even when you only think of the
50,000 plus, you realize that something is
very wrong with the voice of the industry.
It is a giant that so far just squeaks. It
does not call out to be heard or demand
anyone to listen.
It is a sleeping giant, stung continually
by the wasps of government and mauled
by officialdom but which, until now, has
shrugged these annoyances and bites off.
It takes, still lying down, the fact that
the only tourism group connected to
Belize Tourism Board planning is the

Belize Tour Guides Association.
There is absolutely no representation on
the BTB from the two major industry
associations, the Belize Tourism Industry
Association or the Belize Hotel
Association or from the Belize Eco
Tourism Association which are
organizations with over 650 members.
In simple language that means that
Belize's tourism policy and it
implementation is without input of any
sort from the very pillars of tourism, the

hotels, lodges and other tourism industry
sources. It is a little like forming an
agricultural board and notincluding anyone
with agricultural knowledge or experience.
This is supposed to be tourism industry
'planning'but arecentpaperfrom the BTB


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reflects how hollowthis planning is.
The BTB spends $11,000,000 per
annum on
And note: "The hotels Department
ensures that the accommodation sector
complies with the Hotels and Tourist
AccommodationAct, Chapter 285 of the

Laws of Belize, Revised edition 2003.
With this comes constant monitoring,
overseeing and inspecting to ensure
satisfaction of services as well asto collect
accommodation fees and penalties."
Yes! That's how the BTB principally
relates to the tourism industry, hounding it
forfunds and almostblind to its problems.
The BTB is particularly blind to problems
related to high exit taxes which deter
hundreds of younger, free spending back


packers and bus riders. They now either
go through Belize in under 24 hours or
go around via Mexico and Guatemala.
By The BTB's own admission there
* over 575 registered hotels
* over4,000 persons employed in the
accommodations sector
* over 200 registered and licensed tour
* over 1,100 tour guides
I wish it were true when they name the
Belize Tourism IndustryAssociation, Belize
National Tour OperatorsAssociation, Belize
National Tour Guides Association, Belize
Hotel Association and NGO's etc. as:
"formulating policies and legislation for the
Itsimplyisnottrue. Thepowersthatbein
the Cruise Ship Industry havethe clout, which
is listenedto, while tue hotel andecotourism
operators whisper and go unheard.
That could all change very abruptly if,
and when, the various industry resources
such and BTIA, BHA, thetour guides and
eco tourism operators all come together and
create a combined policy coordinating
committee to speak with one loud voice to
the BTB and the Government.
It is not now even a matter of"if' they
come together, to speak in a loud and clear
voice, but "when" and the recent finance
and tax squandering by Government on
the cruise ship and shrimp farm industries
make a single loud voice for tourism



We Belizeans Against the Dam


Our electricity bills have skyrocketed
The fish are not safe to eat
The Macal River looks and smells bad
We don't know how safe the Macal River water is -
to drink or to swim in.
We still don't know what to do if there is
a dam break emergency.

Fortis/BECOL failed to keep their

promises on the Chalillo Dam.
On Vaca Dam, estimated cost of US$50 million!!

they are not making promises (only profits)

"Yes! That's how the BTB
pAncipally relates to the tourism

industry, hounding it for funds
and almost blind to its

problems," I

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 8

Cost of poverty
higher than helping

According to the UK government
the spread of poverty among
citizens has costly and scary
It leads to painful, devastating
and damaging effects on the
economies and security of nations.
The government recently
authorized providing poor families
with fruit and vegetables free of
charge. The government made this
decision after studies and statistics
proved that 85% of the poor
complain that they're not able to pay
their bills or afford to buy their food,
medications or clothes. Many of
them are forced to borrow. Children
are deprived of basic necessities
because their parents cannot afford
The British government came to
the conclusion that the cost of this
social assistance is less than the
cost of imprisoning people who
commit poverty-related crimes,
such as armed robbery and other

forms of theft.
Take note Belize!

BBC disappears

It was a brutal shock to listeners
a year or so ago when BBC radio just
vanishedfromits oldairwaves anditbecame
easiertogeta ChineseEnglish news report
than try to find the BBC. Further shock
Belize have evidently chopped out oftheir
schedules all BBC news broadcasts. Its
goodbyeto one ofthelastfairly independent
international TV news broadcasts.
The cable companies should think
again and also be obliged under their
licenses to rebroadcast Belize City TV
news coverage to all the districts.

That GST again!

GST is a farce in many districts
simply because the only ones
penalized are those who obey the

rules. Bob Jones at Evas in San
Ignacio reported to the GST board
6 months ago that he was getting
receipts from suppliers without the
receipt carrying the GST column
specifying the GST. They did
nothing. This meant that if he took
the GST off the bill he ended up
paying GST twice without
possibility of getting it back and
was fined. Bob specifically
mentioned that the GST inspector
was sympathetic and not to blame
but just doing her job...

interest borrowing (14% to 22%)
from the Belize Bank, and this
guaranteed by government. In this
manner, a moderate loan to update
and modernize became a financial
nightmare. The crux of this perhaps
inadvertent conspiracy is still to
come -if and when the Belize Bank
is handed huge chunks of and in
San Pedro and/or becomes two
thirds owner of all the health
facilities in the country!

BTB boondoggle

Hospital Farce

Nothing is clearer from the
Universal Health Services/Karl
Heusner hospital farce than that the
Government, the Development
Finance Corporation and the Belize
Bank are the principal bad guys.
UHS had a clear contract for a loan
for relatively low interest from DFC
for funds which the DFC failed to
provide. This resulted in high

The country is proud to have a huge
BTB headquarters inBelize City and new
and attractive expensive Social Security
buildings in many districts. One problem!
Unless these HQ's also provide
rentable space for the private sector, and
therefore pay their way, they are expensive
"boondoggles" and should have their
staff and office space severely
restricted to a necessary minimum and
have rental contracts offered to all

UDP panic about independents

By Meb Cutlack

No greater compliment that can be
paid to the potential power of
independent candidates in the next
election than the sense of panic now
running through the UDP.
In last week's Guardian newspaper
they even give a run down of the various
parties and name many of the
independent candidates.
They suggest that there is a real row
going on as to who would lead the
independents and who should emerge
as Prime Minister in the event of a
independent 'party' victory.
Well, of course the next election will
not be so much about an independent
party 'winning' the election but about
by enough independent candidates
being elected to stand like guardians
between one or the other traditional
parties continuing to rule Belize as if it
is an oligarchy.
Whenever the election comes there
is a good chance, thanks to their
diehards, of PUP and UDP getting
some 19 or 20 seats between them.
That leaves the rest up for grabs by the
Independents. The independents would
then be in a position to dictate who
ruled Belize but on certain conditions.
These conditions could, and
conceivably should, include:
An elected Senate. Elected on a
different time mechanism than the
Lower House members, serving

7 years and composed of at least
15 members
* Land distribution reform giving
land distribution to district
committees comprised of local
political, business and religious
* A revision of 'general revenue'
practices to enable better
accounting and fixed budgets for
* An effective audit and budget
committee chosen form
membership of both houses.
* Rigid integrity rules which
candidates would, by law, have
to follow. And, list their own and
family wealth and holdings when
The UDP gives its own view of
various independent candidates saying:
1. "Hipolito Bautista and his few
remaining followers of We the
People claim he is the most
experienced and mature
candidate for the position."
2: "Paul Morgan of VIP claims he
is the most appealing and
politically successful so far."
3: "Cornelius Dueck of the so-called
National Reform Party believes
he is entitled to it because he will
be spending and raising most of
the money."
4: "Meanwhile, others are
contending that Will Maheia,
who claims to be setting up his
own party, is the only potential
leader who can unify the various

rival elements."
And they go on: "At the level of
Deputy Leadership, a fight just as
ferocious is underway between Patrick
Rogers, who claims he is qualified to be
leader but is prepared to settle for
Deputy Leadership, Lucilo Teck
(Hipolito's colleague from We the
People) and Hubert Enriquez of VIP."
This is all good publicity for the
independents and getting their names
known. Better still, is the obvious
discomfort the UDP expresses with its
snide: "Imagine, the people who claim
we need a new political party because
the two established parties have become
too powerful, cannot even get off the
ground because they are fighting for
power.....The UDP, by contrast, has no
confusion about who its leader is and
who will become Prime Minister when
the party wins. Honourable Dean
Barrow is the undisputed Leader. He is
the most experienced, the most
successful at the polls and the most

committed to reform and stamping out
Well! Many of us wish he would
stand up and say he would support an
elected senate, would support a Land
Distribution Act giving power to the
people, revise the 'General Revenue
honey pot and pledge punishment for
all blatant transgressions of the law
carried out by PUP ministers and
It is wishful thinking when the
Guardian reports: "When The Guardian
raised the question a few weeks ago
about who would lead a possible third
party and whether any such person
would be a credible choice for Prime
Minister, it threw proponents of the third
party theory into crisis."
The Guardian is, perhaps deliberately,
missing The point. It only needs ten true
men; stalwart in action, independent in
hope and united in expectationto topple
the long entrenched power of both PUP


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Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 9




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Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 10

Apocalvyto: mGoo Drama, Bad History

The Maya didn't wipe out the forest and cause their

civilization to collapse, prominent Mayanist asserts

By: Dr. Anabel Ford

Santa Barbara-Mel Gibson's
Apocalypto presents the commonly held
tragic view of the Maya collapse. Despite
their beautiful art, monumental
architecture, and highly developed forms
of government, astronomy, and
mathematics, the film says the Mayanever
learned to farm. Instead they slashed and
burned, and by the time of their peak, their
population had become too dense, their
network of cities too crowded and reliant
on non-sustainable agriculture to survive.
Though other factors may have played a
part-including a hard drought and a
possible epidemic-the film boldly asserts
that the chief reason for the Maya collapse
was their poor ecological stewardship.
"Not so," says leading Mayanist, Dr.
Anabel Ford, a vibrant UCSB
archeologist and President of Exploring
Solutions Past: the Maya ForestAlliance
(ESP Maya), a non-profit organization,
known forherworkin the Maya rainforest,
6-million-acres that span parts ofMexico,
Guatemala, and Belize.
Ford does not believe that the Maya
"collapsed" because there were too many
of them and they were too greedy,
warlike, and crude in the way they
cultivated their land.
"In fact, they were excellent stewards
of the rainforest, and their practices can
help us think productively about
sustainable ecology in the age of
globalization and climate change," she
Ford's conclusions-which she
stresses are based on interdisciplinary
study, not archeology alone-are
presented in the forthcoming article
"Agriculture and Landscape in the Maya


Forest," available priorto publicationvia
email by request.
"You can't blame the misconception on
Mel Gibson, though," Ford added. "The
view of the Maya as ecologically self-
destructive is entrenched. Even the
geographer Jared Diamond used it in
"Collapse," his bestselling book about the
ways societies bring about their own
Ford, who has spent 30 years studying
the Maya, is not convinced. The bedrock
ofher skepticism-and her article-is a
simple fact, one she believes holds
profound implications: that the modem
Maya forest is human-influenced.
"Ninety percent of the [surviving]

Dr Anabel Ford with a Maya forest gardener at El Pilar, 2006

dominant species
are still useful," Ford
said "The forest is
feral, not original,
and still wears its
human mark, as if
the Mayas' ancient
gardens abandoned
at the Spanish
conquest have gone
Such astonishing
coherence could not
have been possible
if the Maya had
been destructive
farmers. Indeed,
the opposite must
be true: the Maya
must have been
attuned and
responsive to their
environment if they
managed to have

such lasting, all-encompassing effect on
the still populate the jungles of
Mesoamerica still follow good practices,
but they are being supplanted by
immigrants who see the forest as an
economic opportunity to be clear-cut for
profitable crops or livestock.
"The Maya forest gardeners have the
secretto balancing cultural prosperity with
ecological preservation-and they are
dying out," she said.
Ford believes the best way to preserve
the rainforest is to encourage and cultivate
the traditional techniques still used by
Maya forest farmers today. These are
receding-along with its people-into the
She hopes to demonstrate the
importance of these practices at the newly
created El Pilar Archaeological Reserve
for Maya Flora and Fauna, a 5,000-acre
slice of rainforest inWestern Belize. El
Pilar has extensive Maya monuments,
which Ford believes should be only
partially exposed to preserve the
(Please Turn To Page 11) 0*J "

Cireerinl, from the Belmopan Mental Health Consumer ,nsociation
orlaindopulidomomal.cort TLIu-d3. 05 Decemberr 2006

Dear Friends of Mental Health in Belize and Around the World,
\% % bring you greetings from the Belmopan Memat Health (onsmner Asswciafion
BMHCA, the major actor for consumers in the Central American Nation of Belize. Since
our founding at the Banana Bank Lodge in 2004 we have been toiling in the interest of
those who have undergone the trauma of mental illness Tii. year was, once again, a
niioii-'rii0u,. c..i for all consumers in Belize, .-dhl with some challenges.
We celebrated the second year that the Government of Belize has been fr,.i.n;, the
supply of the most advanced Second Generation Anti-psychotic medications for the
treatment of a gamut of mental disorders in Belize. We view this as a remarkable
achievement, because these medications bnng very litlc side effects and as a result convert
consumers into catalysts qor the national development process, Il was through the former
Minister of Health the Hon. Vildo Marin, now Minister of Agriculture, that these Atypicals
became available to all Consumers in Belize. The NMiinirs. ,1 Health remained opened to
us this year with a willingness to listen to our request-for these medications to remain
available for all consumers in years to come The private sector also was very helpful this
year with the Social Security Board making some niia'i renovations at the Rockview
Hospital. \ e salute Scotiabank for funding the beautification of the l%:. hiai ic \%\InL at
the Western Regional Hospital And to .ill consumers whose contributions have made the
BMHCA a viable NGM Lastly to Dr. Claudina Cayetano. Director of Mental Health
Programs and all P,,, un.r. Nurses-- for keeping Consumers sparkling and in fine tune
The Beimopane Memal Health Consumer Association will be iniJ'ii..' a Christmas
Party on \ .Jjnsda ec. December 20,06 between the hours of 11 00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The
party will be held within the Psychiatric Unit at the Western Regional Hospital in
Belmopan. We plan to have much entertainment during those five hours together, Nurse
Marion Casey, will be the contact person for the party at "2- 22 22-2264

Mi o ImrlIu

our .. .i, n. . L.Inl .14- .i1
our power gnrd during 20f04-2'(l(,6

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 11

CountiHg instead of shooting, tAe

Auaduon Society's CAistmas Bird Count

Dr.-ees ons als it IdeenenWeky'

Schmidt: What is the purpose of the
Dr. Jones: The original purpose in
1900 was to provide an alternative to
the Christmas Day Hunt, a traditional
competition to see how many different
bird species could be shot in a day.
Since then, the Christmas Bird Count
data has been used in a number of
different ways by scientists to examine
long term early winter population
trends, which reflects habitat
alteration and long term climate
cycles. Christmas bird count data can
also reflect short term effects. For
example in it's second year 2001, the
PG Bird Count recorded by far its
highest number of species to date,
267 species, Hurricane Iris struck in
October of that year and caused
major destruction of the habitat north
of PG to Dangriga. As a result many
birds were forced to move south to
areas where they don't normally
Schmidt: I understand you started
the PG Bird Count...

Birding is increasingly t qi, 11 //, i /ih visitors to Belize

Dr. Jones: Yes, I did along with
Philip Balderamos in 2000. It's the
fourth of what we hope will be six
counts, one for each district in Belize.
Schmidt: How does our count compare
with other districts?
numberofdifferent species, notonlyinBelize
butinall ofNorthandCentralAmericanorth

Schmidt. What are the other three
Dr Jones: BelizeDistrictwas the first,
thenBelmopanforCayo, then Gallon Jug
for Orange Walk.
Schmidt. Why is it called the Punta
Gorda Bird Count and not the Toledo
Dr Jones: It started in 1900 in the
United States of America, and has

li t LOLe/o Lzp

The Toucan Bird

The toucan is one ofBelize 's most
recognized and beloved birds. It 'sno
wonder! It is colorful friendly and
inspires its share ofpride in all the
wonders of the rainforest. Indepen-
dent Weekly would like to thank
Katie Stevens for the following ex-
cerpt from her popular field guide,
Jungle Walk.
The toucan is a specialty of
tropical America. In Belize, the keel-
billed toucan (Ramphastos
sulfuratus) has been designated the
national bird in honor of its hilarious
When you envisage the outsized,
capsized canoe-in rainbow hues-
which is the astonishing beak of the
toucan, its hard to imagine that the
bird to which it is attached could
ever manage to hoist it high up into
the air, much less use it with dexterity
for picking and cutting fruit-then
as a chute down which the food is
spilled into its gullet.

This beak is an amazing feat of
structural engineering. The horny outer
shell is reinforced with a network of
inner cellular fibers, providing
strength without debilitating weight; it
feels like laminated balsa wood, but
the serrated edges are more mindful
of a stainless steel pairing knife.
The coloration is beyond belief:
apple green, with an elongated
triangle laid out along the lip of the
upper beak and a streak of powder

blue wisping across the lower beak,
the entire tip dipped in carmine and
the whole then varnished in satin
matte. It is attached to the toucan's
head by a black, patent leather
strap. Science speculates that this
gaudy display intimidates potential
foe, but perhaps it simply
bedazzles them, riveting them to
the spot while the toucan decides
its best escape route.
Featherwise, this black bird
wears a perfect bib of lemon
yellow and, beneath its tail, a flash
of caladium red. Greenish skin
rings its eyes. And, after all this
and all that, its legs and feet are,
unbelievably in iridescent blue.
All things considered, the keel-
billed toucan is simply not
The toucan generally feeds on
the fruits of large forest trees. With
its beak, it rips off a chunk from
the fleshy portion; it juggles the
morsel with the tip of its bill until
it is positioned just so and then,
with a toss of its head, it flips the
food into the air and catches it

generally been named for the town or
prominentfeature ofthe area. It encompasses
a diameter of 15 miles. So it is a relatively
small part ofToledo. It's northemboundary
is Big Falls, the western part is the
Aguacaliente Wildlife Preserve. Cattle
Landing OrangePointandBoomCreekare
the southern and eastern limits.
Schmidt: When isit?
Dr Jones: For Toledo it's always on a
Wednesday between the 14th & 20th of
Schmidt: Where will itbegin?
Dr Jones: Wemeetthe evening before,
Tuesday, at the Sea Front Inn at 7:00 pm.
We assign areas, pass outthe checklist forms,
instructions, and work outtransportation. It
beginsbeforedawn onWednesdaymoming
and ends at dusk around 5:45 to 6:00 pm,
followedby a complementary compilation
dinner served at6:30pm.
Schmidt: Can anyone participate?
Dr. Jones: We encourage tourist
guides and students, after all, birds are
one of Belize's greatest tourist
attractions. Despite its usefulness for
scientific studies, a maj or objective is
for like minded people who are
interested in nature to get together for
an enjoyable day in the field counting

somewhere en route to its throat.
It drinks water in a similar
fashion, dipping its bill below the
surface, then lifting it high,
making of it a gutter to conduct
the liquid down. Toucans also eat
insects, lizards and snakes, and
have been known to help
themselves to oropendola eggs.
This bird prefers large trees in
open areas. It nests in holes such
as those made by woodpeckers
and which it will enlarge by
removing dead wood-but only
enough so that it can fit
comfortably when folded up, its bill
down its back and its tail hinged
forward. Two to four eggs are laid. The
parents take turns with the incubating
as well as with the task of filling the
baby birds. The nesting stage is
prolonged, lasting up to nine
The social birds may flock, in
groups of six to eight and often
hold forth in monotonous
creaking croak. At the Belize
Zoo, Rambo, (originally
Rainbow) in the right mood, will
"purr" foryouwhile you scratch his
The other species of toucan
found in Belize are the collared
aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus)
and the emeralf toucannet
(Aulacorhynchus prasinus).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 12

so aa Paage



By Aqnes Copperfield

At a celebratory soiree, attended by
friends, invited guests and participating
artists, on December 9th, 4-8 pm, Jenny
J. Wildman officially opened her Maya
Beach (Placencia Peninsula, Stann Creek
District) art gallery, Spectarte.
Many will know Jenny as realtor/
developer and also former hotelier (Don
Quixote and Adventure Inn, both of
Consejo Shores, Corozal District), she
is also a multi-media artist herself. Her
passion has always been art, and cultural
preservation in Belize. All of the art objects
in Spectarte are produced in Belize. Since
taking the final leap to realize her longtime
ambition of gallery proprietorship, Jenny
has been combing the country, collecting
the fine and the unusual, and also
commissioning and encouraging artists
toward products now found in Spectarte.
In the gallery's veranda one finds a
summary of Spectarte's offerings painted
on the wall: "BelizeanArtists originals,
antiques, furnishings, fabrics, carvings,
custom orders, murals, doo-dahs, art by

Guests from around the Penninsula attended the opening.

carved/painted chests, the largestjiffy-
jaffa baskets this writer has ever seen,
unique and individually designed
soapstone tiles, hand -painted silk scarves,
silk quilts, Raku ceramics some
assembled into table lamps, all combined
to startle the guests with the breadth and
quality of the works under one roof.
Starting on January 14th, every Sunday
Spectarte will host a different forum event
where selected craftspeople will be
demonstrating and selling their products
on the grounds, along with many
capricious cultural performances of
mucisians, mayan music garifuna
drummers, et al.
Spectarte is open Thursday through
Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm, and by
appointment. Phones are 523-8019 and
614-1043. Jenny or her assistant
manager, FelipeZetina (raku ceramist) will

nature, baskets, forums, etc." Inside, one
will find treasures such as "The Almost
Bride", The Cockscomb King", "Boys in
a Dory", "Morning Market", "Mayan
Mama" all original paintings. Also, hand-
carved rosewood benches, one of a kind

Interior id' gallery


- lE(Continued From Page 10)
crumbling limestone that makes up their
core. She is determined to combine
excavation and limited exposure
with a return to Maya farming
techniques, making El Pilar a
monument to the past and a model
for the future.
Ford believes the distortions of
Apocalypto can be counteracted by
advancing the truth revealed at El
Pilar, and by encouraging the
burgeoning sustainable-tourism
industry now prevalent not only in
Belize and Guatemala, but across

the globe.
"People see how important
ecology is," Ford said, "how
inseparable human activity is from the
natural world. We're trying to reconcile
the two," She hopes El Pilar-and
knowledge of the Maya in general-
will provide an example, one that
people will visit and remember
when considering the broader
ecological issues now facing us.
Website addresses for El Pilar and
other useful sites--


Visit The

Belize Zoo

The Best Little

Zoo In The World


21.bi,, -11- o,. .,,. t-,,,Avorks is on display

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 13,

They have committed their lives and sacrificed

unconditionally to help others. They make our

communities and countries a better place.

Jetina Cgarle 2006 Regiona Uns HerO
Mrs. Jestk Chitl s has worn many "ha" in h Aletne -
theologaqtl teacher, counsellor. seamstress, homemaker and foster
mother. These have amounted to more than SO years of
dedicating her life to helping people. She has motkivated and
taught children, young adults and the elMedy. Her many yews of
teaching at various primary schools In SL Vincent resumed In her
being known affec ironately as "Missy.

She Is iso renowned for her assistance to the elderly and for
adminiosterng feeding progrannes for over 30 yevasn. A feeding
pragrwaimm she stated, known as the "L -e Talme", ha to dale
( w < ) ( 00 huM) U ~ provided a istaonce to 25 elderly persons This elfo evolved into
the c fto of the Bethel CAe programmiu dedicated to
enrichng the Ioves o the elderly through craft and exercise.
I1l heath as a result of a stroke in 2004 does not prevent her
froum coninuing to give selflesly of her time every day to the
disadvuntaged and underprIvleged In S1.L Vincent,

Laura CaSmore 2006 Regionallun g Heroes
Runner-up (St, Lucda)
Laura Colymor Is a retired school teadw, mentor, counsellor,
carivgr. town clerk aad humanitarian who has been activeky
serving the fishing village of Labori andit ewiirwon, including
the comniunriies ol Bln* La Crace and McDiamed, for the past
30 years. Her work includes stuabshmer of a caft centre for
Law M Clymre -2 M6 UeglonS urlungi unemployed youth in 1979. She also has a passon and vocallon
a"mes m Elunrup (St Lua) for the elderly that Is demonstrated by her commitment to
distribute food, medicine, and clothing to the aged.
She has as been instrumenal in the provision of electricity and
I the renovtlmon of diapMiated homes of the dderly in the
S conmmunay. She is a founding member of Club 60. a group
devoted to supporting the ldedry by engaging them in actvies.

Muar n Firayson 2006 Regoal Unuung Heron
Stannw-Up (The Bnhamas)
[vmry day lor the paA 1 5 years Maovin Finlyson hast devoted his
Wte to reaching ot to th hearing Impaired, and erasing ith
obstacles to creating equal opportuoitles for them. At the tender
age of six, he took II wth a bout of meningltts tha left him deaf.
'Determined not to be margiralised became of poor verbal
u--A-- .-"M --2106Reill Umig narme comrmnikation sMb, he became the it deal person to graduate
Ur fra-up -t2h 0 Ram im) from the College of the Bahamat Marvin has exclein speech,
fipireading and writing skill ad is fluent in aign language.
,He is one of the founding men-ers of the Bahamas Deaf Sports
Assoclaoe,i which reprent th l merets and actities of d6f
athletes both local and Internadnally

Fabian Mitdw 2006 Regional Lnug Heron
Runner.Up (Oarnaka) Spedal Conmmndation
Thirty4our-year-old Fablan Michel Is vtg testimony that hope
is alive and well with the youth in our region. He has been
irwolved in community actities since childhood. One of Fabian's
,mot significant achkvements has been the establishment of The
Cross Roads Found e on in uy 1 2001. The Foundaton Is a
member l the untArtl organiatian PACT People's Action lar
Conununky Tranfounation. is love for the youth coupled wht
im f lUo 2 0 g.R1Wo U HSu P his desire f or cane that wll have a posMve ffect on the society
*LinwA.Up (imaka) S ,dr Cammnulted in his decihiol to work volurntally for three and a hal
yem in the inner-city communities of Kingston He also started a
remedial progranwne lor siredt boys In the Jones Town
community that became a modd for a shnlar programme in the
city's South Side community.

www.firstcaribbeanba nk.com




Antigua & Barbuda

The Bahamas



British Vgin Islands

The Cayman Islands



Grenada & Carriacou

The Netherlands Antilles

SL Kilts & Nevis

StL Luca

SL Vincent 6 athe Cenraenes

Trinkidad fa Tobago

Tirks & Caikos islands

FlrstCarlbbean is
proud to honour
these Unsung
Heroes and to
support the various
causes to whkh
they have so
selflessly dedicated
their gives.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 14

Placencia Fisherman receives Conservation Award

The Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries
Institute (GCFI) presented the third
annual Gladding Memorial Award for
commercial fishing conservation
leadership to Mr. Carlton Young of
Placencia, Belize and Mr. Ceylon
Clayton of Little Bay, Jamaica, during
its 59th Annual Meeting in November
in Belize City, Belize.
Mr. Young is one of the wise elders
of the fishing industry in Belize. As
Chairman of the Placencia Fishermen
Co-operative, and through his
membership on the Fisheries Advisory
Board of the Friends of Nature and
the Glover's Reef Advisory
Committee, he has long advocated for
the protection of grouper spawning
sites and responsible long-term
commercial fisheries management.
"Honoring exceptional
conservation leaders within the
industry encourages best practices for
the benefit of the resources and the
fishermen", stated Dr. Ken Lindeman,
Senior Scientist with Environmental
Defense (www.environmentald
Mr. Clayton is an outstanding
community leader, professional
fisherman and founding father of the
Negril Marine Park, having been a
dedicated volunteer with the Negril
Coral Reef Preservation Society since
its inception in 1990. He has served

Executive Director.
The Gladding
o aMemorial Award,
established in 2004
by the GCFI Board
of Directors, with
f major support from
Defense and the
WoFlorida Keys
National Marine
Sanctuary, is named
for the prominent
Florida Keys

fisherman, Peter
Gladding, whose
vision and actions
towards responsible
fisher i e s
Proud recipient posing with his award (Photo management helped
establish the
courtesy ofPlacencia Fishing Coop) landmark Tortugas
on the Board of Directors since 1997 Ecological Reserve in the Florida
and is affiliated with the Negril Keys. Any commercial fisher in the
Environmental Protection Trustand Caribbean region, Florida, and Gulf
many other conservation
"These winners represent the best Email yo
in responsible fishing in phOtogra
the Greater Caribbean and we are
extremely pleased with the Social
overwhelming interest in this initiative independent.news
from all stakeholder groups in the
region", stated Bob Glazer, GCFI

of Mexico is eligible for the award
which supports attendance at the
annual GCFI meeting. Prior recipients
have come from Florida,
Barbados, Belize and Colombia.
The Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries
Institute, founded in 1947, provides
information exchange among go
vernmental, non-governmental,
academic and commercial users of
marine resources, primarily through its
annual meeting, which reaches
members from 80 countries world-
wide in the form of its published
proceedings. Further information and
available publications may be
obtained at www.gcfi.org.
Environmental Defense, a leading
national nonprofit organization,
represents more than 400,000
members. Since 1967, Environmental
Defense has linked science,
economics, law and innovative
private-sector partnerships to create
breakthrough solutions to the most
serious environmental problems.

ur digital
ph for the
Page to
paper. bz(igmail. corn

Northern Hwy, Belize City
This quaint little hangout not only has some of
the cheapest and coldest beer in town, but the panades
are truly done with the most TLC this reviewer has
ever seen. We were told by the owner that he only
uses Blacktip Shark for the Panades or else he doesn't
make them. Now that is a standard! If sharks are in
short supply though, feel free to try the Conch Fritters
when in season or the Garnaches and Salbutes. While
other fare such as rice and beans are available it is
the panades that make this stop on the Northern
Highway bustle on a Friday evening, and if you see
any politicians there (as you will), just grin and say
hello... $5-$9. Dinner and Drinking only.


r ymt br 00d tood

L With Anthony Hunt

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 15

(Mar. 21-April 20)\
Be honest ifyou wishto solve the problem.
Yourinterest inreligion andphilosophymay
lead youto specific destinations.You should
regain some of your self esteem if you get
involved in organizational functions.
(Apr. 21- may 21)
You need time to rejuvenate. Don't make
any unreasonable promises. You can make
headway if you share your intentions with
someone you care about.
(May 22-June 21)
Don't let your anger consume you and don't
allow important matters go unattended to.
Problems withyourmate will develop ifyou
don't let them have their way. Do things
that involve children.
(June 22-July 22)
You'll find love andyou'll getintotiptop shape
at the same time. You will probably have to
defendyourmate.Yourpersonal life will be
under the gun and you may want to avoid
the questions your lover is going to want to
ask you.
(July 23-Aug22)
If you've been really busy, try to schedule
some time to spend with loved ones. Not
everything you hear will be legitimate.
Children could cost you more than you can
(Aug.23 -Sept. 23)
Travel for business purposes may bring the
highest returns. Your best efforts will come
throughmaking changes inyourhome. Get
involved in worthwhile endeavors and meet

Well couldyouimagine?Adults sellingbeer
to children! I don't needto imagine, I've seenit.
I gat WA story Fe tell uno: my mother and I
were in a grocery store on Saturday afternoon
and there was acute boy inthere about 10or 11.
We caught eye contact every now and again
Anyway we got to the checkout and he was in
front of us and there was a lady in front of him.
She was holding up the line, buying lotto tickets,
and arguing about her numbers. It was because
of her I noticed the boy had a birthday bag and
4 beers. A lot of people were getting impatient.
I guess they wanted Lotto tickets or beers too,
one guy seemed kinda drunk. Finally, after a
long time back and forth with the store owner,
the lady left with her tickets. The shop owner
just rang up the beers- no questions asked!
After that we paid and were on our way home
whenlbrought itto my mother's attention She
had not noticed because there was so much
distractionwiththe lotto tickets and otherpeople
Come to think ofit, it was not the first time I
saw this. I always see children buying alcohol
and cigarettes. As a teen at my age (13) I am
ashamed of this. I also noticed that if a child is
all dressed up and with clean clothes and goes
up to the counter with alcohol they will ask you

new friends.
(Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
You can make changes to yourhome thatwill
be pleasing to all concerned. Pamper yourself,
you deserve it. You can meet potential new
mates ifyou socialize with friends.
(Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
You will be in the mood for competition, and
your ability to lead a group will bring you
popularity. Try to be reasonable. Youmay want
to make changes in your home environment.
(Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
Opportunities to meet new lovers will I come
through pleasure trips or social events. Mingle
with individuals who are established and can
give you some serious insight into business and
future trends. Don't be too quick to sign
(Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Your high energy must be directed into
productive goals, or frustrations will occur.
Colleagues may try to undermine you. Your
positive attitude and intellectual outlook will
draw others to you.
(Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
Your leadership qualities will come in handy.
Think twice before you speak. You will be able
to get good advice ifyou listento close friends
or relatives you respect.
(Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
Make changes to your home that will
be pleasing to everyone involved.
Joining organizations will provide you
with stimulating romantic contacts. You
will be extremely receptive to new and
progressive methods at work.



a lot of questions and probably tell you to put it
back. But if a child dresses like a ragamuffin, they
will sell the alcohol. What really kills me is the fact
that if a child comes in and gives you more money
than the selling price they will get it to youbecause
they want the money.
Don't the shop keepers know it is against the
law ? What if the child's parents catches them with
it? Don't you think they will ask them where they
got and from who? Who sold it to them? And they
will go to the store and rail up and bring it to the
police's attention. They also we probably charge a
lotalotalotalotalotalot(x 10)alotofmoney. So
what is the point ? What I am trying to say here
is ........DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!! It is totally wrong,
ok? So do me a favorthe next time you go out, look
around you might see it happen.

Your weekly .

0*'fy s


for your copy of

Independent Reformer


We currently have the following
distributors Countrywide and are
looking for more:

Orange Walk:
Peoples Store
Evas Caf6, Celinas
and street vendors
Oscar Ramirez
Noldan Brown
Punta Gorda:
Natures Way Guest House
Caye Caulker:
Hyde's Mini Mart
and Dakers Stationery
Belize City:
Albert & Queen Street Stalls, Twin
Supermarket and Slingshot on St.
Thomas Street, Alpha Drug Store
(Freetown Road)
El Ca's Supermarket, Jonze Salon,
Celinas Grocery, Highwayman
Service Station, Celina's, Airport
San Pedro:
seeking a distributor

New Distributors are being added

every week so look out for increased

availability. You can also join our

Mailing list, see page 2 for details. J

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 16

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