Title: Independent reformer
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099538/00025
 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: May 25, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00025
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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A democratic peaceful demonstration
degenerated into a riot at the instigation
of the Police Riot Squad in Belmopan
last Friday when the Belizean elector-
ate turned out en masse to say an em-
phatic "NO" to the Musa
administration's proposed $33 million
bailout of Universal Health Services
debt to Belize Bank.
They came by the busloads from ev-
ery corner of the country from the
cane fields of Corozal and Orange
Walk, the rice paddies of the Belize and
Toledo districts, the citrus and banana
orchards and aquaculture farms of the
Stann Creek district, the fishing com-
munities of the coast and the islands. The
protesters included not only the Belizean
workers who toil for their daily bread
under the sun and their spouses and
children, but also teachers, educated
professionals, public servants and inde-
pendent businessmen.
The protesting groups were clearly
defined and colour-coded by their t-
shirts. There was the massive crowd of
red-shirted supporters of the United
Democratic Party, the members of the
National Trade Union Congress of
Belize in their yellow shirts with the
NTUCB crest on their left breast, the
members of the Public Service Union
in their grey shirts, the Vision Inspired
by the People (VIP) Party in yellow T-


Are Governed

shirts, the National Reform Party in their
orange shirts, and many more VIP sup-
porters who demonstrated their affilia-
tion by wearing some splash of yellow,
a cap, a scarf, a yellow-striped shirt or
skirt or even a yellow umbrella.
Their banners all voiced their di sap-
proval of the PUP administration's poli-

cies: "Stop Punish the Poor", "Musa the
People no want You, Resign Now!",
"Da weh Musa di smoke?", "Enough is
Enough", or simply "NO." Others
avoided an epithet by a transposition of
letters to produce a message reminis-
cent of the 60's Black civil rights move-
ment "Muck Fusa", but the message

These women braved the heat to make their views known.

was clear.
This was not the demonstration of a
few thousand UDP supporters and
union members who had protested the
Musa 2005 budget in January 2005.
The crowd of protesters, over ten thou-
sand strong, stretched out in a sea of
faces from the chain barrier placed by
the police at the foot of the steps to the
National Assembly out across Indepen-
dence Plaza all the way to the Belmopan
police station and Post Office.
Some had brought bull-horns from
which they voiced their arguments and
dissent to the audience, even though
for the most part they were preaching
to the converted. On the other side of
the barrier and barbed wire barricades
strung by the police, stood the grey-shirt
clad, crew-cut raw recruits of the Belize
Police Academy, who stood with stony
expressions worthy of the Buckingham
Palace guards. They listened in stolid
silence, knowing full well the truth be-
neath the protesters' diatribe, that there
would be no pay raise for them next year
or for years to come if this latest finan-
cial boondoggle went through.
Despite their obvious anger, the dem-
onstrators remained peaceful and or-
derly and only roused to an excited
cheer whenever any opposition mem-
(Please Turn To Page 3) M W

e t Independence Plz, ut this time the Police Riot Squad relaods ru-erullets tofire at citizens.
Deja-vu at Independence Plaza, but this time the Police Riot Squad relaods rubber bullets to fire at citizens.

Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2 -

Proposed port makes
waves in San Pedro
Dear Editor,
The word came as a shock. There's
going to be a new, privately-owned port
in San Pedro Town. It's going to be
built in a residential area on the south
side of the Island. The road that the
trucks with their containers will have to
travel past homes within 30 or 40 feet
of the road. Stretches of the road are
virtually impassable during the rainy sea-
son, now. The same roads are "dust
bowls" from normal traffic during the dry
season. When the new cobblestone
road is completed from the water plant
northward, we will see unprecedented
use by the ever-present incredibly large
dump trucks and now we're going to
add 20 foot and 40 foot containers with
their tractors to the mix? Surely, the
powers that have reportedly approved
this project have little or no expertise in
this type of engineering or little or no
regard for the residents, the environment
and the future ofAmbergris Caye or we
would not be faced with a situation with
"disaster" written all over it.
Let's look at the situation as it is, right
now. Work has proceeded and critical
mangrove has already been cut from the
road to the sea. Was a permit obtained?
We don't know, but we trust someone
in government can tell us. Arock road-
way has been started to allow a large
mechanical shovel to operate.
Will the reef, Hol Chan and Shark Ray
Alley be affected by the ebb and flow
of the currents and potential silting that
is bound to occur in the coming years?
This property faces these valuable and
protect sites. Are they really going to
be protected from potential accidental
oil or chemical spills from barges carry-
ing a vast array of items for construc-

tion and many industries?
Aside from the multiple environmen-
tal issues, we have a thriving tourism
industry that supports thousands of
people on this island. Do we think that
a working port with the potential for
many barges to be in the process of
unloading or loading on our beachfront
is the sight we want to greet our guests?
Most destinations work very hard at
locating their ports and industrial build-
ings "out of sight". Will literally thou-
sands of residents and guests be awak-
ened to the sounds of large trucks pass-
ing their homes or rooms at 5:00 a.m.
or 11:00 p.m.? Or, will the barge in-
dustry suddenly enact rigid schedules
for their loading, unloading and truck-
ing for this new site?
They haven't seen fit to do this at the
current piers being utilized. The Gov-
ernment of Belize (and by extension, the
citizens of this country) built a new ma-
rina/port on the back side of the island
at substantial expense. There have been
up to 4 barges there at one time but we
hear cries that with that many you can't
turn one around. Has anyone ever heard
of scheduling? This location also is ac-
cessed by a road to the back that by-
passes many, but not all, residential ar-
eas but it won't have to travel a sub-
stantial amount of the new cobblestone
road. While the people have had to
bear the cost of this marina/port, we will
now have to bear the many additional
costs associated with the need for bet-
ter roads and maintenance if the new
port proceeds. For a country with too
little income and a multitude of needs,
this looks like the wrong project at the
wrong time and for all the wrong rea-
We look forward to the opportunity
to speak to government officials about
this ill-conceived project and participate

in a search for a solution that not only
contributes to the protection of all our
natural beauty and resources, but also
is both citizen and visitor friendly. There
is little or no doubt that win-win solu-
tions are usually the best solutions for
South Ambergris Caye Neighbor-
hood Watch Association

Cc: Major Jones, Belize port authority
Mr. Martin Alegria, Department of the
Mr. Craig Moore, Geology Department
Mr. Wilbur Sabido, Forestry Depart-
Hon. Elsa Paz, Mayoress, San Pedro
Hon. Manuel Heredia, Jr., Area Rep-

(Please Turn To Page 15) *E

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P.O. Box 2.666
Bcli/c (il. Beli/c

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Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3



Guru's teaching

paid o@
By: Enda Leahv
WAS it a case of mind over matter?
A tiny company set up by two Irish
women and three geologists in 2002 has
struck oil in Belize, with the help of con-
troversial lifestyle guru Tony Quinn.
Succeeding where multibillion dollar
corporations had failed, the company
has found commercial quantities of high-
quality crude in the small Central Ameri-
can state, population 290,000. They
claim their success was partly due to a
mind-training course from Quinn.
Belize Natural Energy (BNE),
backed by American and Irish inves-
tors, claims to have found so much oil
that the Belize government reckons its
7.5% cut from the discovery will pay
the entire national budget for a year.
A succession of oil majors quit the
country in disappointment after failing
to find a gusher, but BNE scored three
times in its first three attempts, and the
government believes it could soon be
producing 20,000 barrels of oil per day
Enniskillen-bom Sheila McCaffrey, a


-in.(Continued From Page 1)
ber of the House of Representatives
appeared outside the national assem-
bly. They were equally loud in their boos
of disapproval when a PUP politico
appeared. The crowd was ecstatic
when the House broke for lunch and
the opposition members came out to
greet their supporters and shake hands
across the barricade. The cheers were
loudest when Opposition Leader Dean
Barrow came out to meet the crowd a
while later.
Despite the broiling heat, there was
total respect for law and order. When

Pf in Giant Oil Strike?

Natural Resouces Minister Johnny Briceno (center) & BNE executives inspect Belize's
first production oil well, Usher L.

director of BNE, said the company's
success was not pot luck. "Seven years
ago I trained with Tony Quinn; it was an
absolute transformation. It completely
changed my life and it's the only reason
I'm in Belize today," she said last week.



"The history showed us that 50 com-
panies failed spectacularly to find any-
thing commercial, with a budget line
from the 1950s to the 1990s of hun-
dreds of millions of dollars."
Quinn's philosophy, which promotes

what he calls "mind technology", has
been criticised as brainwashing but is
defended by adherents as positive and
Complaints about Quinn's techniques
have come from the likes of Dialogue
Ireland, a cult watchdog, which says
seminars in the Bahamas costing
18,500 are proof of the "idiot effect"
- "the phenomenon of entrepreneurs
losing the plot and direction in life when
they pay inflated prices for courses
available for a few euros in a paper-
McCaffrey and Belfast-born geolo-
gist Susan Morrice, who met working
on oil and gas exploration projects in
Ireland, set up the company with Mike
Usher, a Belizian geologist who was
convinced the country was oil-rich. They
had financing from Morrice's husband,
a Colorado oil executive, and more than
80 Irish investors.
Usher died suddenly in June 2004 but
one year on BNE drilled its first hole,
named Mike Usher 1 in his memory, and
(Please Turn To Page 13) *EJ


the Police observed via their television
monitors that a cement tread of the steps
had broken loose, they moved to re-
move this obj ect which could be bro-
ken into missiles such as were hurled at
the Police in 2005. Four senior officers
in their spick and span khaki uniforms
with braid crossed the barrier with an
empty carton and moved among the
crowd of protesters to the loose cement
slab. The officers wore no helmets, and
carried not so much as a baton, but they
were unimpeded by the protesters as
they picked up the pieces, placed them
in the carton and carried them off. Such

What chapter in crowd control is this, G Mike?!
( UDP campaign manager Karim Berges (center) seconds before he was lashed on the
rear end with a baton. )

translation: When a man has become so corrupt that he is longer aware of his
perversity, he cannot be trusted."

was the respect for law and order that
no one even threatened to assault the
The mood changed completely
around 2:00 PM when the black-uni-
formed riot police showed up at the top
of the hill in their black helmets, black
armor and plastic shields. Those who
remembered the event of January 2005
began throwing rocks, bottles, sticks
from their protest placards, and the
Police cadets beat a hasty retreat from
this rain of missiles.

The Riot Squad advanced down the
steps and began firing into the crowd of
demonstrators. The people, some them
mothers carrying infants, retreated in
haste to a safe distance, near the foot
of the Independence monument. It was
a scene reminiscent of Kent State Uni-
versity in 1970, when US national
guardsmen opened fire on rock throw-
ing students protesting the Vietnam War.
Four students were killed at Kent State,
but the Belize Police Riot Squad had
(Please Turn To Page 16) 1*

Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4

Eye of the Hurricane

What happened on Friday, May 18, never prosecuted for any alleged mis- Fewer still may go nextFriday. Or, what
2007 was but the first lash of wind and deeds. occurred may generate even greater num-
water. We stand now in the eye, wait- Refugee status may be all he has to bers.
ing for the second wave this coming look forward to... IF he survives the The leader ofthe Opposition may mar-
Friday. Even if we make it through that, storm surge. Physically speaking, not shal more support, or change strategy, out-
the tidal surge will follow. It has to; too politically. He may think otherwise, but manoeuverthe Prime Ministerthis time.
much pressure has been building up. many believe he has gone too far, and Even if he does not get a protest permit
-.... he can organize a countrywide business
1. and school shut down, a national day of
.- The leader of the Opposition may marshal more mourning with everyone wearing
By: KarlaHeusnerVernon support, or change strategy, out-manoeuver the black...he, andwe, have options.
We do not have to go over the details Prime Minister this time. Perhaps he will get the Speaker re-
of the clash between police and demon- moved, or she, noting the public criticism
strators in Belmopan; all of us saw or about her knowledge of proper proce-
heard what happened, some way or The people's emotions, and tendency that some radical will go too far too. dures and/or willingness to act on them,
another, thanks to the media. The whole to violence, are being stirred up by the We can only pray this does not oc- she will step aside, recuse herself, avoid
thing came as no surprise. All of us arrogant and disdainful attitude of the cur, that Belize does not break its track further aspersions and insinuations about
knew it was coming, we had ample no- Prime Minister himself. Many cannot record of peaceful transitions of power close relatives and/or PUP bias.
tice. figure out ifhe is honestly losing his mind, and peaceful elections. There is more OnFridaythe Opposition did the people
But just as officials in British Hondu- or trying to instigate violence on pur- at stake for us than the life of one man. ofBelize proud. Honorable Patrick Faber,
ras refused to heed the warnings from pose to earn the support of foreign Scores of Belizean men and boys die spoke passionately on behalfofthe people,
abroad that a hurricane was headed powers, or so he can seek asylum in violent deaths every year. We hardly at great personal risk to his status in the
towards our shores on September 10, some friendly country where he has in- react anymore. In Belize the cost of liv- House. But his daring paid off; there was
1931 and continued on with their offi- terests like Panama or Grand Cayman ing rises daily, but the value of life is at nopunishmentand he is oneAreaRepre-
cial program of celebrations regardless or Cuba or Taiwan. There are any num- an all time low. sentative who does not have to worry
of the risk to the public, so too our offi- ber of places he can act out the roman- Still, we are not reckless. A great about letting down his division.
cials have refused to listen to the fore- tic role of a head of state in exile, forced many people who wanted to go to What will the others do when called
casts, so they continue on with the party. out by an ungrateful people, a militant Belmopan on Friday did not do so. They to account to their constituents? It is per-
So too they ignore the danger to opposition. With luck he would be for- were apprehensive and afraid fortheir haps easier for the UDP than the
Belizeans. gotten, left alone with his suitcases, lives and property. (Please Turn To Page 12) "

Only Fu we vote could stop this $33 Million loan. Me uwe show gaid da who we(

Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5

The Future of Printing

By: TrevorVernon
I despise long weekends and we have
been getting a lot these days. Why the
Gods give all these holidays is beyond
me in the first place. And to make it
worse they give all the various holidays
on a Monday which this wrecks havoc
on our printing and distribution sched-
ules. We come out on Tuesdays nor-
mally, which means that we must get our
stuff to the printers we have contracted
with, by Monday at the latest.
We don't own our own printing press
so we give up a lot of control over our
product to factors unknown. We live
with that reality and deal with it accord-
ingly. The plan was never to own one,
to eventually go fully electronic, but we
need to get the non-electronic presence
established first and therein lies the mas-
sive expense.
The beauty of it all is that since the
contents of the paper is floating around
out there (electronically) as early as

Thursday the previous week, it invari-
ably gets picked up, becomes material
for the others to react to the following
Tuesday. Big people, when they get the
"early leak" on what's coming, are fairly
This is not cast aspersions on anyone
whose services we contract. The pa-
per is put together with one software
and then "flattened" in pdf, another soft-
ware, and emailed to the printer for
printing. We know nothing goes around
here in emails that btl and others doesn't
have the fix on. And we know who con-
trols btl Don't we? So we work with
that reality too. They figure they have
the leg up but like I said we have learnt
to deal with the reality to massage it to
work it in with our objectives. Give them
stuff to think about, on the sly... in ad-
Now, our printing ob is not a priority
with our printers anymore. They have
bigger fish to fry. We deal with that re-
ality too. There are always other print-
ers but we love National and the qual-
ity of their work. There are always
choices and options in the printing busi-
ness in Belize and outside of Belize. One
could always buy the equipment and set
up one's own printer, I suppose, if one
has six figures to play with and cases of
aspirin. For now we need that physical

printer product and have learnt to live
with the costs. It ain't cheap.
Anyway, the government used to
own a printer but like everything else,
they transferred it to the private hands
of their favorite people. The private
transfer of the people's assets. Bet-
ter not complain though, or you'll get
branded a malcontent. Simply get
with the program and get your piece
of it too like the boys do, however
small, take what you can get. And
take it now and bury it deep. Time is
running out fast.
I knew next to nothing of the news-
paper business but that was before I
became disillusioned and disgusted
with the bold faced usurping of this
country's good name by people who
project one image to us here and an-
other diametrically opposed one to
the outside world. To the international
community we are but a country of
Arafat worshippers, run by the sons
of the late great Arafat. Wake up and
smell the camels.
My thing is to get these conflicting
realities in sync, one way or the other.
Idealism? Most certainly.
Now I am considering acquiring a
press, in spite of the research. Imag-
ine the leap of faith; but, the timing
might just be right given the pending

elections. I am not risk averse and
Belize is notjust an isolated pond any-
more. Globalization has caught up with
up the Belize Printing landscape and
this is a good thing in the newspaper
business. You don't have to rely ex-
clusively on just what's available in
Belize anymore. You can always reach
out to the bigger ponds to tap re-
sources that are beyond the influence
of the control freaks in this here
But is it worth the gargantuan ef-
fort? The world is moving away from
newsprint to a paperless newspaper,
that's for sure. Printed materials are
rapidly become passe even in the
classrooms. Its just a matter of time
before the printing press becomes
obsolete and everything goes elec-
tronic. So we must balance this even-
tuality with current needs and growth
They say if you don't grow you die
off and we aint about the roll over
anytime soon despite the many chal-
So you now know why we got into
the business, what my motivation is
(yes its mostly reactionary), and where
we are headed. Its going to be one
hell of a ride but I think we have the
stomach for it. Do you?

As small and vulnerable economies, Mayers, the country's Minister for ing the sub-region, the impact of glo-
Caribbean states have no choice but to Trade, Industry and Commerce, as well balization on Caribbean economies and
deepen their regional integration; it is as OAS Saint Lucia Country Repre- the role of free trade agreements in en-
simply a choice of how quickly to inte- sentative Paul Spencer addressed the hancing development, and to help "chart
grate, and how deeply. That was the opening session Thursday, in addition a course forward that will strategically
message Assistant Secretary General to Ambassador Ramdin, who spoke by position the region to benefit fully from
Albert Ramdin of the Organization of live video link from OAS headquarters the EPA."
American States (OAS) conveyed to a in Washington. The Deputy Director Ramdin recalled that a primary obj ec-
Saint Lucia seminar that brought to- General of the EU Commission and the tive of the EPAis "to address not merely
gether parliamentarians, including trade Directorate General for Trade, Karl thetradebetweenthetworegionsbutalso,
ministers, from the Caribbean Forum Falkenberg, also spoke at the seminar, and more importantly, meet the
(CARIFORUM), made up of the Car- which was attended by Saint Lucia's overarching development goals of the
ibbean Community (CARICOM) states Acting Prime Minister Stephenson CARIFORUM countries as they seek to
and the Dominican Republic. King and several members of the Cabi- reposition their economies to meet the
The seminar-entitled "Shaping a net. challenges of globalization." Noting that
TradeAgendatoPromoteRegional In- OASAssistant Seretary General "Perhaps the most critical tool to under the present negotiations
tegration and Competitiveness for Albert Ramdin achieving the development objectives is CARIFORUM countries are expected to
CARICOM: The EPA and other Ne- through the deepening and strengthening open their markets to exports from the EU
gotiating Challenges"- was organized Pacific (ACP) group offormer European ofthe region's integration process, cur- on a reciprocal basis, the OAS Assistant
by the OAS and the World Bank in colonies. The seminar comes as the Car- rently enshrined within the framework of Secretary General argued that the shift in
conjunctionwiththegovernmentofSaint ibbeanisbeingencouragedtofinalizeits the Caribbean Single Market and the EU-ACP relationship heralds a sig-
Lucia. It examined the current status of negotiating positions in time to meet the Economy and the CARICOM-Domini- nificant change for CARIFORUM coun-
negotiations of the Economic Partner- deadline and enable the implementation can Republic Free Trade Agreement," tries, which previously enjoyed unilateral
ship Agreement (EPA) to govern the of the EPAin January 2008. AmbassadorRamdinnoted. He urged the duty-free and quota-free access for their
new relationship between the European Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, Saint Lucia's parliamentariansto critically examine the main exports to the EU.
Union (EU) and the African-Caribbean- National Assembly Speaker, and Guy economic development challenges fac- from www.oas.org

* For an online version of the INdependent Reformer visit us at I

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

Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6 |

By: Richard Harrison
The population and economy ofBelize
continues to grow regardless of all the
trials and tribulations that have beset the
country. It follows that the demand for
housing will continue to be strong for
the next two decades.How the supply
responds to this demand will say a lot
about us as a people. Scientific market
research of the demand for housing can
improve the way how the market re-
Belize has traditionally depended on
the commercial banks and credit unions
for financing houses. At various stages,
the Government has dabbled in the
market directly or indirectly with Cu-
ban houses, mobile homes, and lately
the DFC-financed houses.The commer-
cial banks and credit unions cannot by
themselves respond to the needs of all
segments of the demand.Government
has a poor record of responding to the
demand by its direct involvement, as in
the DFC, Cuban and mobile-home sce-
Securitization is a standard in the fi-
nancing of houses worldwide. Some
would like to speak of securitization as
some new instrument for which Belize
needs to apply some 'learning curve ',
allowing for 'mistakes 'to be made and
accepted by the population as a 'cost
of doing business'. If we continue to
employ persons who are not qualified,
experienced nor trained to suit a par-
ticularj ob, we can expect performance
to suffer and a plethora of excuses to
follow. A similar result can be expected
if trained, experienced and qualified in-
dividuals become 'hired-gun mercenar-
ies' for designers of shake-down
Some would like to have us believe
that housing for lower and middle in-
come persons carry some high and vola-
tile risks for which the public purse must
pay. The issue of risk in responding to
this market has been discussed, ana-
lyzed and answered for decades. In-
surance against such risk is commonly
available through multilateral coopera-
tion with development banks, and is
standard procedure for these
projects.The last time I checked, the
trade of gold in Belize was still very vi-
brant. Peddlers go from house to house,
and sell gold on credit to the lower and
middle income families. If these lower
and middle income people did not pay
their bills, this trade would notbe all that
Most multilateral cooperation how-
ever, like the UK Debt Forgiveness
Program, are now linked to governance,
democracy, poverty reduction and hu-
man rights performance in the receiving
country. Governments seeking to ac-
cess this help must show progress in
these elements; and subject themselves

to rigorous due-diligence processes re-
quired by the multilateral agencies.
Governments that do not seek to im-
prove these elements according to ac-
ceptable criteria, will likely prefer to
pursue the very expensive commercial
financing route, instead of pursuing the
much more concessionary financing
available via multilateral cooperation.
Such 'rebellious' governments argue
that the conditions of the multilaterals
are unacceptable and subservient, that
they do not respect sovereignty; thus
turning an economic decision into a po-
litical one; perhaps with personal ulte-
rior motive. This causes low and middle
income people to be subjected to very
high-cost commercial financing as with
the RBTT and Bear Steams issues, re-
sulting in very expensive and
unaffordable housing for the lower and
middle income persons. Some would
want to argue for the speed of com-
mercial credit processing, compared to
the slowness of the multilateral agencies.
I agree with our chief diplomat, a slow
deal is better than a bad deal.
Belize will have to structure and har-
ness its domestic financial resources in
some private-public collaboration that
will provide a new, more responsive and
accountable system for addressing the
supply of financing for houses. Belize
will have to set up its own credible sec-
ondary mortgage market, perhaps by
establishing an avenue for commercial
banks, credit unions, Social Security
Board, Insurance Companies, Govern-
ment and Multilateral Agencies to col-
laborate, via a secondary mortgage
market institution that is more private
than public.
Small and medium producers have
much to look forward to from any new
structure of the housing market. Belize
needs to provide incentives for more in-
digenous materials to be used in hous-
ing construction and furnishing. Too
many of the inputs for a house are im-

ported, which drains our financial
resources.Currently, money flows from
the mortgage bank, to the borrower, to
the hardware retailers/importer, to the
foreign supplier. The money disappears
outside our borders, as soon as it
appears....you can almost hear a suck-
ing sound. Clay bricks are now made
in Belize on a small scale, from close to
100% indigenous materials. They are
currently expensive, mainly because ap-
propriate technologies have not yet
been introduced; which can significantly
reduce the unit-cost-of-production.
Surprisingly, there is no effort in Belize
to stimulate construction material pro-
duction enterprise.
In other countries, policies are put in
place to stimulate small industry in con-
struction materials, to complement the
housing construction initiatives. Even in
Mexico, where cement is abundant, they
promote policies and practices that en-
hance the success of small industries.
For example, clay bricks or 'ladrillos'
are used for wall fill, instead of cement
blocks. Cement and steel are still used
for the corner columns and beams,
which give strength to the structure.
Most clay brick makers are small, fam-
ily owned enterprises that use the clay
in their villages; and thousands of these
are scattered throughout Mexico; cre-
ating jobs and livelihoods for tens of
thousands of men and women. As
most of our architects are trained in
Mexico, they are well aware of these
practices. Our architects and engi-
neers associations can be used as av-
enues to promote a policy to enhance
the use of indigenous construction
These policies enhance the benefits
from investment in housing, by allow-
ing the dollars to circulate through
more hands, causing a greater ripple
in the economy from every dollar
spent on housing. In technical finan-
cial terms it is called "optimization of
the multiplier effect".

The bay-leaf (guano) industry in
Belize is estimated at around BZ$5 mil-
lion per annum. The leaf, when avail-
able, sell for as much as BZ$ 1.00 each
and is usually scarce. There is a demand
forthis leaf, or its substitutes, from South
Carolina to Montego Bay. Belize should
commercialize the production of bay-
leaf, and it should be done based on a
domestic initiative that promotes tradi-
tional high-quality Mayan-style
architecture homes in all our rural ar-
eas. They are more appropriate for our
climate, last as long as the Mennonite
houses which are in high demand, and
can use almost 90% indigenous materi-
als. Such an initiative would create the
demand for bay-leaf at levels that would
support commercial farming of this in-
digenous plant, such that volumes and
quality could be made available for ex-
The botan posts were once widely
used for house comer posts and beams,
as well as for building piers in the sea,
and for protecting water-side land from
erosion. They are very durable. These
have all but disappeared. This product
could also be commercialized; as it
grows 'wild' in Belize.
Bamboo is being used in its raw and
processed forms, in all areas of housing
and furniture construction, especially in
the far-east countries. Belize grows
bamboo in all its various varieties. One
company, Hummingbird Rattan, pro-
duces very high quality furnishings out
of bamboo. Bamboo products should
also be commercialized on a greater
scale for the domestic and export mar-
In short, our architects and engineers
need to be more than just collaborators
with the multinational corporations that
wish to send us their "stuff'. They
should also play a role in helping to find
commercial uses for more of our indig-
enous building materials. BELTRAIDE,
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Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7

By: Mario Lara
The final report of the Political Re-
form Commission of 2000 summed up
its position on whether the system of
government in Belize should be
changed by stating, "Let's rock the
boat but not overturn it." Well, look
at where merely rocking the boat has
gotten us. The system of government
that Belizeans inherited from their co-
lonial masters is not working to the
benefit of the majority of Belizeans.
We have a national debt at 100% of
GDP with little to show for it. There-
fore, Belizeans need to seriously start
asking themselves how long they are
willing to keep going down this road.
Did we get our independence only to
be timid about how we change things?
What's the point of being an indepen-
dent nation if we're not bold enough
to discard what we inherited from the
colonial masters and what clearly is
not working to the benefit of
themajority of the people?
No system of government is perfect.

- in (Continued From Page 6)
like PACT, should find and make
available pilot project funds for this pur-
pose, such that local builders could
compete for the funds to conduct pilot
projects that utilize indigenous construc-
tion materials and to develop new de-
signs that enhance durability, comfort,
style and utility of such dwellings.
Various investors have tried to pro-
duce plywood, fibre-glass products and
PVC tubing for the construction indus-
try in Belize. BELTRAIDE needs to
do an analysis of why these projects
have not succeeded, given that we im-
port such great quantities of these ma-
terials each year. CET needs to estab-
lish courses in the building of high qual-
ity ceramics (tiles and bathroom fixtures)
and cast-iron metal furniture. If our lo-
cal industries are not afforded 'home
court advantages' in their early stages
by Government policy, they will never
prosper. Indeed, they will be still-born.
Government officials need to stop hid-
ing behind excuses about WTO restric-
tions, as that organization very explic-
itly recognizes the right of member coun-
tries to safeguard the interest of its na-
scent industries.
Many valuable varieties of timber trees
growwell infBelize; including mahogany,
cedar, rosewood, red wood, santa

Few things are. But, no one can deny
that there's got to be a much better
way for intelligent and independent
people to govern themselves. Giving
carte blanche authority to a political
party every five years and allowing it
to mismanage the resources of the
nation, mainly to the benefit of a few
cronies, for its entire term in office
without any effective means of over-
sight and checks and balances, seems
like an obvious problem that should
be fixed right away. So, why haven't
we done so? If we ran a business this
way, with no effective system of over-
sight, we'd be ripped off and easily
bankrupt. Why do we assume it will
be any different with government?
The people of Belize are clearly
frustrated with the series of missteps
by the current GOB. But, will the
people have to demonstrate and take
to the streets over every misstep the
government of the day makes? Is that
any way to run an independent coun-
try? Given the series of missteps by

maria, granadillo, hobillo, cabbage bark,
pine and teak. The timber that results
serves not only the wood cutter, but also
the sawmill operators, builders, furni-
ture makers, home-dwellers and tax
collectors. Planting a timber tree, given
that there is no incentive in place, is a
noble exercise which not all investors
are likely to undertake due to scarce
resources. But it would seem like natu-
ral justice that those who cut trees down
for a living should be required to plant
new trees. Our country charges money
for timber concessions, as well as roy-
alty on the timber that is felled. Now
that Belize is importing most of its pine
timber through special importers, the
high customs charges on such imports
must be going into general revenue?! At
least 50% of these monies should go
into an ear-marked fund to provide cash
incentives for private investments in re-
forestation. This will speedup the plant-
ing of timber trees which will increase
the chances for Belize to develop a sus-
tainable forestry industry in the lifetime
of my seven-year-old son and your own
We should never abandon our
roots... especially those that grow out
of our soil naturally. Taking our eyes off
forestry would be like abandoning fish-
ing. It would be likejumping the fence,
to find solutions that are right under your
nose. BUT... then again.... common-
sense is not so common. Hmmmm.

GOB, it is obvious there needs to be
more far-reaching political reforms
and better systems of oversight. But,
who will have the courage and integ-
rity to put the bell on that cat? Merely
voting out the offending party and
voting in another without fixing the
root causes of the problems will only
lead to more of the same further
down the road.
All Belizeans should ask themselves
the hard question, has the time come
to overturn the boat? Should Belize
discard the Parliamentary Executive
model for an Executive Presidential

The Organization of American States
(OAS) has adopted aresolutionto"perma-
nently liftthe pause inthe awarding ofOAS
scholarships," thus paving the way for stu-
dents in the member states to pursue new
opportunities fortraining and higher educa-
scholarship awards, OAS Assistant Secre-
tary General Albert R. Ramdin said, "Iam
putin place-bothinstitutionally aswell asin
terms ofpolicy-will satisfy the needs of all
member states in a mannerthatbest serves
the people oftheAmericas, particularly our
youth population."
The OAS program will provide approxi-
mately 100ifull scholarships peryearfor stu-
dents pursuing undergraduate or graduate
degrees, as well as opportunities for some
1,000 students to take on-line training
According to the Assistant Secretary
General, OAS scholarships are espe-
cially important for the smaller econo-
mies of the Western Hemisphere as they
not only benefit individual students, but
also contribute to development by help-
ing to build capacity on the ground in
those countries.

model or some sort of hybrid that
would give the House more power
and oversight over the Executive?
I know the hurdles and resistance
such a move would face. Why give
up what we inherited from our co-
lonial masters only to copy from
somewhere else, worse of all the
US? Every model has its pros and
But, think about it. We gave up
driving on the left side of the road
and that turned out okay. It's just
a tradition, that's all it really is -
nothing sacred about it at all.

"Lifting the pause will pave the
way for a more robust scholarship and
training program," said Ambassador
Ellsworth John of St. Vincent and the
Grenadines, who introduced the reso-
lution during aj oint meeting Wednes-
day of the OAS Permanent Council and
the Inter-American Council for Integral
Development (CEPCIDI).
John, who chairs CEPCIDI, ex-
plained that the revamped system incor-
porates new mechanisms to facilitate a
thorough review process for the award-
ing of graduate and undergraduate
scholarships. Ambassador John identi-
fied several positive changes that had
been made in the program, including the
adoption of a new manual of proce-
dures, rigorous financial controls, and
systems for monitoring third-party per-
"The future of our economies and the
future of our democracies are closely
linked to our ability to adequately edu-
cate this and future generations," noted
Assistant Secretary General Ramdin.
"The OAS, through its scholarship and
other programs, plays a critical role in
shaping the future of this region."
from www.oas.org

The Belize Zoo

In The Worl

Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8 |

Behind the Scenes Friday

By: Meb Cutlack
The heat was inside and outside
the House on Friday, but, even
more insidious than the UHS scan-
dal (which caused the outrage), was
the presentation for second read-
ing of the Shrimp Bill, the Chalillo
tax relief bill and some, equally evil
bill relating to BTL.
The government is quite blatantly
forcing through tax relief bills for
local and foreign cronies at the ex-
pense of Belizeans.
Every write-off of taxes for the
shrimp industry means that the bur-
den of replacing that tax falls di-
rectly on the shoulders of the ordi-
nary Belizeans. Once again, as the
PUP gear up to try to buy the next
election (as they bought the last
one), they are throwing expensive
favors in all directions to bring them
in heavy donations from their cro-
nies and foreign friends.
The very idea of giving tax breaks
to Fortis Inc., for the Chalillo Hy-
dro project, when Fortis already
make proportionately much more
profit from little Belize than from
any other of their other hydro or
electricity projects worldwide, is
Pandering to Barry Bowen and
the shrimp producers is equally and
cynically cheating the Belizean
people of millions of tax dollars -
which they, the ordinary tax payer
will have to fork out.
The worst evil of this system of
rewarding the rich and depriving the
poor is the way in that, while these
'donations' will add up to a few mil-
lion dollars in cash and cheques, the
amount of tax dollars which will be
lost to the exchequer, and to the
Belizean people, will amount to mil-
lion of dollars over the next few
years. More 'stolen' money which
will eventually eclipse even the UHS
One of the most pressing priori-
ties in Belize today is to control, de-
termine, and lessen the huge sums
spent on elections. Every donation
in excess of $10,000 should have
to be openly declared so that the

Belizean electorate can see exactly
who is buying favors and how much
they are paying government to be
able to 'collect' afterwards.
Today in Belize there is no doubt
at all that huge sums of drug money
find their way into the coffers of
both parties particularly at election
time. There is also no doubt that
every day in Belize more and more
drug money is circulating and be-
ing laundered through Belizean
businesses and banks.
International agencies now clas-
sify Belize as a major drug shipment
and transfer locale via both the
inland route through Guatemala and
through Belize to Mexico and the
coastal route, by fast boats from
Panama and Columbia, through
Belize's offshore Cayes.
The estimates are that more than
one third, or even a half of all the

cocaine entering the USA now
comes via these route. It is also es-
timated by international agencies
that there are scores of young
Belizeans involved in the trade. One
group are the drug related street
gangs murdering each other on a
regular basis but more powerful, as
each day goes by, are the 'young
lions' of the new local and Mexican
drug cartels. Young men from 'good'
north side families.
They are fast becoming 'untouch-
ables' as their deadly and warring
factions take over the routes and en-
terprises once run by the old and
deadly Colombian Medelin Cartel.
What price Belize and Belizeans
will have to eventually pay for this
can perhaps be seen in recent
events in Guatemala, El Salvador
and Mexico where drug related kill-
ings are rising at an alarming rate.

The recent murder of the four Cen-
tral American politicians by Guate-
malan police, who were then them-
selves assassinated, is the tip of a
new drug and gun war oozing
though the whole of Central
America including Belize.
The accusation that there are even
Belizean politicians heavily involved
in offshore drug running should give
both the Government and the Op-
position pause for thought. It is a
cause for both parties to conduct
an examination of any of their Mem-
bers and Ministers who are rolling
in wealth and have island bases
and sport yachts, cars and houses
- which they cannot account for
by their salaries, or even from fam-
ily wealth.
Follow the money indeed, and see
where it leads. And to whom.


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Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9


By: Noam Chomsky I| i

The chaos that derives from ,
the so-called international order '.
can be painful if you are on the
receiving end of the power that
determines that order's struc-
ture. Even tortillas come into
play in the ungrand scheme of
things. Recently, in many re-
gions of Mexico, tortilla prices
jumped by more than 50 per
In January, in Mexico City,
tens of thousands of workers
and farmers rallied in the
Zocalo, the city's central square,
to protest the skyrocketing cost
In response, the government
of President Felipe Calderon
cut a deal with Mexican produc-
ers and retailers to limit the price
of tortillas and corn flour, very
likely a temporary expedient. Corn is
In part the price-hike threat
to the food staple for Mexican workers
and the poor is what we might call the
ethanol effect a consequence of the
US stampede to corn-based ethanol as
an energy substitute for oil, whose ma-
j or wellsprings, of course, are in regions
that even more grievously defy interna-
tional order.
In the United States, too, the ethanol
effect has raised food prices over a
broad range, including other crops, live-
stock and poultry.
The connection between instability in
the Middle East and the cost of feeding
a family in the Americas isn't direct, of
course. But as with all international
trade, power tilts the balance. A lead-
ing goal of US foreign policy has long
been to create a global order in which
US corporations have free access to
markets, resources and investment op-
portunities. The objective is commonly
called "free trade," a posture that col-
lapses quickly on examination.
It's not unlike what Britain, a prede-
cessor in world domination, imagined
during the latter part of the 19th cen-
tury, when it embraced free trade, after
150 years of state intervention and vio-
lence had helped the nation achieve far
greater industrial power than any rival.
The United States has followed much
the same pattern. Generally, great pow-
ers are willing to enter into some limited
degree of free trade when they're con-
vinced that the economic interests un-
der their protection are going to do well.
That has been, and remains, a primary
feature of the international order.
The ethanol boom fits the pattern. As
discussed by agricultural economists C
Ford Runge and Benjamin Senauer in
the current issue of Foreign Affairs, "the
biofuel industry has long been domi-
nated not by market forces but by poli-

more valuable to man as a food than as fueL
tics and the interests of a few large com-
panies," in large part Archer Daniels
Midland, the major ethanol producer.
Ethanol production is feasible thanks to
substantial state subsidies and very high
tariffs to exclude much cheaper and
more efficient sugar-based Brazilian
ethanol. In March, during President
Bush's trip to Latin America, the one
heralded achievement was a deal with
Brazil on joint production of ethanol. But
Bush, while spouting free-trade rheto-
ric for others in the conventional man-
ner, emphasized forcefully that the high
tariff to protect US producers would
remain, of course along with the many
forms of government subsidy for the in-
dustry. Despite the huge, taxpayer-sup-
ported agricultural
subsidies, the prices of corn and tor-
tillas- have been climbing rapidly. One
factor is that industrial users of imported
US corn increasingly purchase cheaper
Mexican varieties used for tortillas, rais-
ing prices.
The 1994 US-sponsored NAFTA
agreement may also play a significant
role, one that is likely to increase. An
unlevel-playing- field impact ofNAFTA
was to flood Mexico with highly
subsidized agribusiness exports, driving
Mexican producers off the land.
Mexican economist Carlos Salas re-
views data showing that after a steady
rise until 1993, agricultural employment
began to decline when NAFTA came
into force, primarily among corn pro-
ducers a direct consequence of
NAFTA, he and other economists con-
clude. One-sixth of the Mexican agri-
cultural work force has been displaced
in the NAFTAyears, a process that is
continuing, depressing wages in other
sectors of the economy and impelling
emigration to the US.


It is, presumably, more than coinci-
dental that President Clinton militarised
the Mexican border, previously quite
open, in 1994, along with implementa-
tion of NAFTA.
The "free trade" regime drives Mexico
from self-sufficiency in food towards
dependency on US exports. And as the
price of corn goes up in the United
States, stimulated by corporate power
and state intervention, one can antici-
pate that the price of staples may con-
tinue its sharp rise in Mexico.
Increasingly, bio fuels are likely to
"starve the poor" around the world,
according to Runge and Senauer, as
staples are converted to ethanol pro-
duction for the privileged cassava in
sub-Saharan Africa, to take one omi-


nous example. Meanwhile, in Southeast
Asia, tropical forests are cleared and
burned for oil palms destined for bio
fuel, and there are threatening environ-
mental effects from input-rich produc-
tion of corn-based ethanol in the United
States as well.
The high price of tortillas and other,
crueler vagaries of the international or-
der illustrate the interconnectedness of
events, from the Middle East to the
Middle West, and the urgency of es-
tablishing trade based on true demo-
cratic agreements among people, and
not interests whose principal hunger is
for profit for corporate interests pro-
tected and subsidized by the state they
largely dominate, whatever the human
cost. -- The News International



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Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10


The Most Incredible Jaguar

Conservation Program!!!

It is a "roaring" success! The Belize
Zoo "Problem Jaguar Rehab Program"
is now four years old and stands as a
stunning role model to assist a serious
environmental conflict.
What is the conflict? Jaguar, who
continually prey upon domestic animals,
like dogs, or livestock, like cattle and
sheep, are often "damaged" cats.
Missing teeth and claws, or weak-
ened by parasites, these endangered big
cats cannot effectively hunt. Then, com-
bine a less-than-fit jaguar with a habitat
that continues to shrink and a prey base
that is less and less, well, it can easily
be seen why a jaguar would chase after
"easy prey".
This situation is a problem through-
out the range of thej aguar. The usual
"solution" to the problem has been to
destroy the cats.
The Belize Zoo offered a more posi-
tive alternative: Send the cats to a spe-
cial "rehab" program at the zoo. There,


In unity with the Belizean people,
VIP continues to condemn and re-
sist the abusive actions of govern-
ment in relation to the UHS/Belize
Bank scandal. We maintain that not
one cent of the people's money
should be squandered to pay pri-
vate debt. We call on all Belizeans
and friends of Belize to resist this
blatantly obvious abuse of power
by our government.
We condemn the irresponsible ac-
tions and inactions of the UDP in
the conduct of its protest on May
18th, that led to un-necessary vio-
lence, injury and senseless destruc-
tion of private and public property.
We call on the Mayor of Belmopan
and his Council to henceforth show
leadership in maintaining safety and

these spotted "ex-cons" go thru



'L'i JJ

good order within our capital.
The VIP hereby notifies Belizeans
that the party shall continue to or-
ganize peaceful and constructive
activities to resist government's
abuses but shall not participate in
the public protest planned for May
25th in Belmopan.

behaviour modification and over time,
become "people friendly" jaguars.
Then what? They cannot be returned
to the wild. But another door opened
up for these extraordinary animals.
Zoological facilities in North America
are in great need of new genetic input

for the captive j aguar population.
The "problem Jaguars" can repro-
duce! And what a delightful life they
meet after "rehab"!!
These cats go to very "upscale" zoo-
logical facilities. Mates awaitthem. The
zoos acquiring a problem jaguar ensure
that environmental education is abig part
of their exhibit.
So... visitors learn about the jaguar
and also the environmental problems
currently facing these great cats.
One of the Problem Jaguars, a female
cattle killer, came to the zoo pregnant.
Zoo officials did not know and what a
surprise for us all. She gave birth on
February 4, but sadly, rejected her cub
"Junior", as he is known, quickly came
under the diligent care of The Belize Zoo
staff, and today, he is a happy, thriving
jaguar "toddler".
He will soon be on exhibit at the zoo,
and will draw important attention to the
plight of thej aguar in Belize. "Junior"
will underscore all the good efforts be-
ing made in our nation by the Govern-
ment ofBelize, the Belize Audubon So-
ciety, the Belize Zoo, and Belizeans ev-
erywhere, aimed at saving the Jaguar
for future generations.

Sharon Mattola feeds jaguar cub "Junior" at The Belize Zoo.

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Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11

By: Julia Heusner

What is a crush ?
A crush is a word used to describe
special feelings you have for another
person, a classmate, or friend that you
really like. Noticing your first crush is
an exciting time in life because you're
beginning to understand how it feels to
like another person. Sometimes, feel-
ings for a crush can be confusing be-
cause they're new to you and you aren't
sure how to act. You could have mixed
feelings. When you see your crush, a
part of you might feel embarrassed and
you might want to run away and hide or

giggle uncontrollably. Another part of
you might imagine your crush noticing
you and sharing the same feelings. And
in away, a crush can help us think about
the kind of person that we want to love
when we grow up.
How do you know if you're ob-
sessed with your crush?
1.You've Forgotten Your
Friends.(you ditch your friends to hang
with him/her.)
2. You've Got a Serious Jealous
Streak. (you can't stand when he/she
is always talking about some one

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3. You Say "I'm totally
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are you still talking about
Age Differences
Sometimes you will
have a crush on some
one older than you are.
Or someone older than
you will have a crush on
you. But if this person is
a lot older and you don't like them
they might even begin to stalk you.
They also may say some things that
will make you feel a little uncom-

ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
Secret affairs will only lead to heart-
ache. Your irritability may drive your
loved ones crazy. Consider applying for
aj ob in another part of the world. Avoid
any gossip and be careful that you aren't
misinterpreted. Your lucky day this
week will be Friday.
TAURUS(Apr. 21-May21)
Opportunities to pamper yourself may
unfold. Be sure thatyou have all the facts
before you take action. Extravagance
and overindulgence are not a cure if
you're feeling sony for yourself You will
find it easy finalizing personal papers if
you make an effort. Your lucky day this
week will be Monday.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21)
You need an outlet. You can certainly
gain popularity; however, don't do it by
paying for everyone else. Don't let other
people meddle in your private affairs. You
are best to concentrate on work. Your
lucky day this week will be Sunday.
CANCER (June 22-July 22)
Changes in your residence may be fi-
nancially favorable. You can help a close
friend find solutions to personal prob-
lems. You could meet potential new
mates if you go out with friends or take
pleasure trips. You will be able to get
along well with colleagues. Your lucky
day this week will be Thursday.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
Deal with in-laws this week. Find
ways to mellow out. Relationships will
become stronger. You are best to avoid
such unsavory circumstances, especially
if you're in a group situation. Your lucky
day this week will be Wednesday.
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
You may be likely to have difficulties
with females. Beware of someone who
is trying to make you look bad. Resi-
dential moves look hectic and sudden
changes in your life are likely. You will
reap the benefits if you put money into
upgrading your residence. Your lucky
day this week will be Wednesday.
LIBRA (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
Involvement in groups of interest will
bring you in touch with important indi-
viduals. Your mate may not have been

portable. If that happens, tell your
teacher or parents, or both. In some
cultures it is considered ok to have
an older man about 30 or 40 mar-
ried to a 14 year old girl. It's tradi-
tion, while other cultures consider
it perversion and make laws against
But I say it's better to stick with
people your own age and just have
fun having a crush, nothing serious.
If you have a story you would
share with us, or any issues you
would like to have teen page talk
about, send it to

honest with you. You can get others to
do things for you but be sure not to
overpay them or lend them money. Se-
cret enemies will be eager to spread
rumors about you. Your lucky day this
week will be Thursday.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
A lot can be accomplished if you or-
ganize your time. Try to understand their
point of view. You may be experiencing
emotional turmoil in regard to your
mate. Don't get intimately involved with
a coworker. Your lucky day this week
will be Wednesday.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
Be supportive in order to avoid con-
frontations. Changes in your home are
apparent, and you must be willing to
bend if you don't want to find yourself
alone. Problems with in-laws may cause
friction in your personal relationship.
Don't let your partner get away with
spending too much of your money.
Your lucky day this week will be Tues-
CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Your involvement in interest groups
may bring you popularity. Changes in
your domestic situation will prove to be
favorable in the long run. Don't take ad-
vantage of your expense account. You
can expect to feel confused about your
personal prospects. Your lucky day this
week will be Sunday.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
Avoid lending money or belongings to
friends. Take part in stimulating debates
that will allow you to show off your in-
telligence. It's a good time to make
changes to your living quarters that will
give you more space. Disappointments
are likely if your mate embarrasses you
in front of friends. Your lucky day this
week will be Wednesday.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
You could meet an interesting individual
you'll want to getto know better. You can
learn a great deal if you listen to those who
are older or more experienced. You will
get along well with your colleagues this
week. Channel your energy into decorat-
ing or household chores. Your lucky day
this week will be Tuesday.

Your weekly

Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12

In celebration of the 10 year Anniversary of
the Tulum Declaration June 5, 2007 in which
the governments of the region stated their com-
mitment to the conservation and sustainable use
of the Mesoamerican Reef, a consortium of
government and non-government organizations
involved in marine conservation in Belize is
sponsoring a photo competition and "Swim for
the Reef' as part of Reef Week June 5 8,
In Celebration of World Ocean Day (June 8) a
swim across the English Caye Channel is being
organized (approximately 1.6 miles) to raise
awareness ofmarine conservation in Belize. In-
terested swimmers see contact below.
Photo categories include professional and
amateur for both underwater and general
coastal/marine themes. Each photographer can
submit up to two photos for each theme. Dead-
line for entries is Junel, 2007. Please mail to:
or deliver to the ICRAN-MAR Office, Coastal
Resources Multicomplex Building second
floor, Fisheries Compound, Princess Marga-
ret Drive, Belize City.
For more information contact: Armeid Th-
ompson tel 223-4673 or email
icranmar@btl.net athompsont@icran.org.
Cash prizes will be awarded.


-**l(Continued From Page 3)
struck oil on the anniversary of his
death. Mike Usher 2 and 3, the second
and third holes, proved they not only
had struck oil but that it was of the high-
est quality possible.
"In all the surrounding countries
you've got heavy crude oil the consis-
tency of butter, like Kerrygold, which
has to be refined," said McCaffrey. "The
quality of their oil is just 15-25 API (a
measurement of oil purity). Here we're
sitting on oil which is closer to 40. To

Eye of the

-* l(Continued From Page 4)
PUP, but if the PUP ministers vote "Hell
NO" and put a stop to the UHS loan
payment they too will be rewarded by
the people of Belize. The risk to their
standing in the PUP any punishment from
the executive is an illusion; or at least
only temporary until the inevitable
change of leadership. Until the man at
the helm is swept overboard or jumps
into his lifeboat and escapes to
We are in the eye of the storm this
week, a storm in which the looting ar-
rived BEFORE the hurricane. Yes, the
tidal wave may sweep away some in-
nocent people, damage some property.
But like so many times before, after it
passes Belizeans will rebuild, better than
before. And the survivors will also go
on to swap stories of survival and cour-
age for many years to come.

get an idea of what that means, diesel in
a refined state is 42."
Producers in surrounding countries have
only discovered oilfields that yield up to
200 bpd, while BNE is pumping 1,000
bpd. McCaffrey estimates at least 70m
barrels lie under their exploration area.
"You'd expect in a situation like this it
must be people vastly experienced in the
oil industry and backed by people who
are industry professionals. That isjust the
opposite ofus," she said.
"The results whatyou're startingto see
now, transposing itself out of the ground.
People can be as sceptical about it as they

r -
.- -
~ -
.C. N *... S 't. '~*

The sea near Belize's cayes and reefs is so cool and.,ii\ in, a. lets join the fun and jump in! Swim for the Reef 2007!

it 0il Strike?
of its earnings to a fund for medical and
environmental initiatives in the state. It has
already handed over the first $500,000
(413,480), even before its contract
comes into effect.
The Irish company has been remark-
ably quick about turning its discovery into
cash. In January, it shipped 40,000 bar-
rels to Houston, earning $2m.
The 7.5% royalty it has to pay Belize
is much less than in other oil-producing
countries. Royalties to Norway for ex-
ploration in the North Sea are 70%..
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like, quite frankly, but I would be prepared
to just sit back and say the results will
speak for themselves."
So is the local government. John
Briceno, Belize's minister of natural re-
sources, calculates that at current prices
the government's take from even small-
scale pumping of around 60,000 bpd
would fund the country's budget.
"Ifwe could produce even 20,000 bpd,
you can imagine what we could do with
that," he said in a recent interview. "It
could make a huge difference for our little
LastweekBNE volunteeredto give 1%

Guru's teaching paid off in

Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 133

First off, people need to understand
a few things about the political realities
of Belize. So for theunitiated, here goes.
The very public Speaker of the House
of Representatives, Elizabeth Zabeneh's
maiden name is Usher. She is the niece
of former PM George Price and sister
to his other niece, Lenni Jo Usher, the
mother of Said's set of kids born out of
wedlock. These children are all named
Usher, while those from his lovely Brit-
ish-born wife are named Musa. Noth-
ing personal here. These people are all
public figures.
Now most of this is supposed to be
common knowledge but it never, for
some reason, seemed to disturb the
Belizean people enough to become a
moral issue. Perhaps it was politeness
or a desire to protect the feelings of in-
nocent children. But the kids are no
longer children and their father has been
carefully placing them in positions of in-
fluence, both inside and outside Belize.
One of the Musa boys is the head of
NICH, another an attorney (who rep-
resents him in court when there are libel
suits), and yet another is the one who
got into some much trouble with the
Gurkhas, who mauled the Zabaneh boy
to oblivion at the house of ill repute...
when he was only 14. One of the royal
Usher boys is now the Secretary Gen-
eral of the PUP. Perhaps only due to
the influence of his great-uncle, first
Prime Minister George Cadle Price,
rather than his otherwise un-named fa-
ther on the birth certificate.

We all wink and blink at the rampant
duality of the existence of the Prime
Minister of this country. Two families,
like the tale of two cities. We all wink

and blink at the presence of his wife at
official functions and his mistress at
house meetings. But is it appropriate for
his "sister-unlaw" to be the Speaker of
that house? Really? That's pushing it
too far. Isn't it? There's got to be
some sense of common decency, some-
To those who say the man's private
life is private, I say no more! Clearly
now his private life is intersecting his
public life and affecting all of ourlives....
These ties really put us in a bind.
Don't they? Imagine if a Musa son
named Usher had a child with one of
Esquivel's daughters! Serious royal
family there: a child with sanguine lines
to all three Prime Ministers. Our first
truly Belizean Royal Family unlike any
other. Imagine. BTW, for those who
do not know, Esquivel was the sec-
ond Prime Minister of Belize.

So Inversiones S.A./BancoAtlantida
(Honduras) succumbs to local political
pressure to discipline ACB activist/
Belizean employee Glen Ysaguirre.
What's new? The BTL chair, the Lord's
point man, said they would go afterACB
members in a public release. Point blank.
No guessing. I don't think Bra Billy and
the Hindu Bag One, had to be leaned on
too hard. After all, the Bag One dutifully
sat through the entire passport pusher's
trial and pulled the appropriate strings to
keep the money flowing. Casinos aren't
his only gamble. Getting the Honduran
Chair to get rid of Ysaguirre was easy

Corridor talk says the Lord has
made a move after Steve Duncan,
seasoned Manager of First Caribbean

Bank. Should be simple enough to
swing, despite the fact that Duncan is
probably the best thing to ever hap-
pen to First Caribbean. Headquar-
tered in Barbados...Little
England... they worship British Lords.
And the Barbadian PM is quite lovey
dovey with Belize's PM because of
some $35 Million dollar "investment."
If Duncan gets the ax, I say we ax
the Belizean public to boycott this
bank too...

The Dr. Bamett thing isn't puzzling and
wasn't driven by any nationalism. Self
preservation, and saving face when col-
leagues and counterparts start the ribbing.
No magic there. The approval ofher peers
in the CARICOM Secretariat, CDB, and
elsewhere has to be important to her as it
would be any professional. No medals
there, please. And no special promotion
for Joe Waight either, he's been FS be-
fore. Then his conscience pricked him and
Ralph disciplined him to get him to toe the
line. Has he now lost his moral compass
and become willing to walk back into the
heavily compromised seat because he
wants his title & position back and is pre-
pared to play the game? Carla should
have done this years ago, not last week.

Can we do anything about this Lord
who is so widely despised and dis-
liked across this land? Does he really
own all the pols or just the slippery
ones? Really, are they all prostitutes?
What examples are they setting for
their kids and ours? Sell yourself for
a few dollars more. And we wonder
why so many young girls are selling
their souls to tourists & older gentle-
men. Come on, Belize, grow a pair

and put this guy in check.

Said masterfully rushed through a lot
of business-friendly bills in the house
last Friday while the crowd outside
the house wase waiting to say No to
the Musa give-away. He hooked up
Barry with the Aquaculture Bill, Fortis
with the other Bill, and Ashcroft with
the BTL tax exemption extension bill.
He also passed a SI to jack up pump
prices that same night, without expla-
nation. We are still waiting on the
Campaign Finance Reform Bill we
hear was aimed at NRP's financiers.
We are dying to have a look see.
Then there was the MALOCCHIO
Bill they are calling the BSI amend-
ment act; have to hook up the Pana-
manian too.

Lots of speculation on who is back-
ing NRP with the kind of money its
leader mentioned. We shan't specu-
late. Send the ads; we aren't in any
mood to reject them. Cornelius was
on LOVE FM morning show last Fri-
day, just after the Belize City Branch
of VIP Leadership was on.
It's all about the Benj amins, isn't it?

He's baaaaack! It's Derek against
Goliath as the Aik-man pulls in some
popular support with a poll. Only he
could have pulled that kind of thing
off so fast and effectively. The new
covenant movement is the latest en-
try in the alternate pressure group
horse gallop and they are off to a
quick and effective start. Go dey my
Buoy, you planning to beat this PUP
PM, too?

with Anthony Hunt
r- '7


Water Lane, Belize City

Well, you say..this ought be interesting. Our fair reviewer eating pies and trying
to stay on a diet. Well, damn the torpedoes and the cholesterol level, and indulge
a little, JUST a little. You can have one or two, but don't eat $4 worth. Even, if in
*L my opinion, they are the best meat pies in town. Judging by the line outside (not
in this afternoon pic), a lot of others ditto my vote for the best. Belizean Meat-
sPies is a late comer to the biggest part of the local diet (except for "Fry" Chicken
or course), but they are a serious competitor to the throne that currently sits
between Hyde's Lane and New Road, a throne that might be moving soon. And
while this reviewer eagerly awaits the original Jamaican sensation soon to open
on Freetown Road, the place of choice to get my gravy and crispy crust mixture
of meat pie heaven is firmly anchored on Water Lane. Now the big question is
will the man at the top (yes that is you Mr Musa, for now!) switch his allegiance
and line up on the Southside on Saturday mornings? The country awaits an ex-
ecutive decision, no protest needed!



Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 14[


Genelle Pop displays her handicrafts at Cacao Fest. (Photo by Nadja Chamberlain)


Independent Weekly's Trevor Vernon proudly displays the 100 lb shark his friendAbel
Rodriguez Jr. caught out on Turneffe Reef in April 2006.

Governor General Sir Colville Young inspects Mayan women's handicrafts at the
Cacao Fest. (Photo by Nadja Chamberlain)

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The INdependent Reformer is offer-

ing free classified ads
for the month of May:
1) 20 words or less
2) one ad per person in the promotional
period for free
(additional ads are only $10 each)
3) with photo (first time free...$10 ad-
ditional for photo ads)
jpeg or tiff formats only. Must be
emailed, no disk pickup or drop off
4) business card -first run is free for
month of May, 2007, $20 a run there-
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.

Mayan musicians entertained visitors at Cacao Fest. (Photo by Nadja Chamberlian)

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Asking Bz$1,000 O.B.O.
Contact Independent Weekly

Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 155

-'in(Continued From Page 2)
Belizean Stalwart
speaks out
Hon. Said Musa
Prime Minister

Dear Said,
I open up personally, because I have
known you personally. In 1987, when
you and Luke Espat came to my house
near Lopez Mateos Park (the place
where I was later to be deeply hu-
miliated and crushed by you and the
PUP), you both convinced me to join
forces with you and the PUP, to get
the party elected. Liking the excite-
ment of the prospect of getting in-
volved in high level politics, I agreed,
and eventually became a PUP stan-
dard bearer, campaigned most heavily
for the party, neglected my family and
business, spoke loudly and clearly in
support of the party on every single
rostrum throughout the length and
breadth of Belize, time and time and
time again, and in the process making
enemies I have to this day, who have
and continue to ensure I am punished.
I suffered the indignity of arrest and
incarceration, was processed through
the supreme court on utterly serious,
but false charges, and eventually, by
the grace of God, and with you as my
prime defence, was set free, as inno-
cent men must be, at all times. No
person in Belize has suffered more for

the PUP none.
In time, the PUP decided that I was
not to be part of their future, and you
could not, or would not do anything
about that; in fact, no less than a
couple hundred feet away from the
same home where you came to look
for me to help you win, you and the
PUP destroyed my every hope at
Lopez Mateos Park in 1992. Notice,
please, that I walked away, into the
night, to rededicate myself to family,
and attempt to rescue my little tour
operation. But too much damage had
been done to me; like so many thou-
sands of others in Belize, my business
failed, because of politics, my personal
fortunes waned and were destroyed,
I lost my family home, and now, sunk
in a hole deeper than I can ever get
out of, I have joined the tens of thou-
sands of Belizeans in the same hole
with me, seething with rage, feeling
lost and helpless, and praying for
miracles to happen, while working like
dogs to survive.
You, meanwhile, Sir, have ex-
pressed publicly that you are "fol-
lowing the money". Based on my
military background, my political
help to get you where you are, and
make you what you are, I am
hereby appealing you to use the
power you now have, and which I
helped you to achieve, to reverse
the horrible trend Belize now faces.
Reject the Dark Lord who has
brought a new colonial era to our


beloved Belize; reject the false
voices who are pointing your name
into the darkest annals of our his-
tory; change the course of events
that have brought our Beloved
Belize to its knees, wounded, hun-
gry and extremely angry. It is your
name that is and will forever be in
the forefront of hisotry not the
dreadful men who have and con-
tinue to feed voraciously on the
nation's wealth and resources. Be-
come the hero you can be, once and
for all.
Said, please open your eyes and
see the pain in the the eyes of your
closest true friends, in the eyes of
the men, women and children of this
nation, numbering in the tens of
thousands. Forget the dark politics
that have brought you and this na-
tion to the brink of disaster; wake,
up, stand up, feel in your heart what
must surely be in your heart, but
covered by ugly circumstances the
pain and suffering and hoplessness
of a people puzzled and now an-
gered by that which even Assad
Shoman had to admit the wealth
of the nation being concentrated in
the hands of a few, while the ma-
jority are left without, and without
History is preparing to write you
up very, very badly, while taking the
people and nation down a narrow,
thorny path of pain and ruin and
As God is our maker, and our de-
liverer, Said, please listen to this
voice that once admired you, sup-
ported you, and helped you to win.
You are Prime Minister and Leader



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of the PUP because of men like me.
Change the course of our history,
and yours turn away from the
greedy and dangerous few, back to
the nation and its multitudes. From
the Rio Hondo to the Sarstoon,
from the Cayes to the western bor-
ders, the people of Belize, YOUR
people, are crying out men,
women and children. Turn back to
them, do not turn your back on
them turn back to them, and they
will support you through thick and
thin, to the very end.
The rage is growing stem the
tide, or it will rise and overwhelm
you and everyone else, bringing
nothing but disaster and ruin. Stop
calling down the lightening the
thunder is much, much too close.

Tom Greenwood
Former Standard Bearer
Queen's Square
People's United Party

Editor 's Note: We believe Mr.
Greenwood's letter speaks vol-
umes about the integrity of the
man we call our Prime Minister.

Information Security

Friday, May 25, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 16

How We



-""i (Continued From Page 3)
only recently completed training in non-
lethal tactics against a civilian opponent,
as part of the US-sponsored Opera-
tion Tradewinds. The bullets they fired
were only rubber, but the bullets raised
welts the size of a "Johnny-cake" on the
unwary protesters who got hit. But let's
not forget how the Police/BDF handled
the Tower Hill bridge and Benque bus
protests, when they fired live rounds.
The Riot Squad revealed howinept they
were at their new role when they fired
tear-gas canisters into the crowd, without
first putting on their OWN tear-gas masks.
Alert demonstrators braved the rubber
bullets to pick up the gas canisters and
hurl them back at the police and the po-
lice had to halt to rinse out their eyes and
put on their masks before they could con-
tinue their advance. That gas subsequently
wafted in through the windows of the
National Assembly, affecting members of
the House of Representatives and creat-
ing such physical discomfort they had to
suspend the sitting. It seems no one in-
structed the riot squad to determine the
wind direction before launching their can-
isters either. Or maybe they did... ?
The protesters, out of range of the
rubber bullets, vented their anger and
frustration by throwing all manner of
missiles to break the louvered windows
and glass doors of the public buildings
which surround Independence Plaza.
The mob violence spread as the pro-
testors retreated before the police and
vehicles parked outside the Belmopan
market and other public buildings such
as the Social Security building also came
under attack and numerous private ve-
hicles were vandalized and a couple of
government ones as well.
Eventually, the protesters got back on
their buses to return home and the po-
lice fearful that the violence might spill
back to Belize City, advised businesses
to close up early. Most heeded the
warning closing up with steel shutters
and storm shutters over any glass win-
dows. By 6:00 PM most of the city's
commerce was battened down for a riot
which fortunately never happened.
The Riot Squad's intervention was
totally unnecessary and actually pro-
voked the resultant violence, but it
may now be used as an excuse to bar
the Opposition from demonstrating on
Friday May25 when the motion for
the UHS loan goes to debate in the
House. The demonstrators sought to
let PM Musa know he is in check on
this issue, but the wily prime minister
may still have a few moves up his
sleeve. Certainly he has the police vio-
lence squad at his service.

This floating casino "Midnight Gambler' was photographed recently at Stake Bank. What gives, Luke?

r rw

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