Title: Independent reformer
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099538/00032
 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: July 13, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00032
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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It was reported that Ralph Fonseca
had decided not to run for office in the
next National Election. He has now
changed his mind and will be a candi-
date. Interestingly Fonseca's notice of
his change of mind came soon after Hugo
Chavez, President of Venezuela, made
a $10 million dollar grant to the country
Ralph Fonseca, who is campaign
chairman for the PUP, hastened to Ven-
ezuela to receive the grant. He soon
thereafter gave notice of his candidacy.
Chavez has been the supporter of
Presidential candidates in many coun-
tries. Sometimes those he supported
were elected, and at other times they
were not.
Some 2 years ago, Hugo Chavez
supported a candidate in Peru's national
presidential election. His candidate lost
and Alan Garcia was elected as Presi-
dent of Peru. Alan Garcia had previ-
ously been defeated as President due
to corruption. However, the voters pre-
ferred Alan Garcia over Chavez's can-
didate who was allegedly connected
with terrorist.
During the last Presidential election in
Mexico, Chavez supported Andres

Manuel Lopez Obrador for the presi-
dency. Obrador was defeated by Felipe
Calderon Hinoj osa, who won the presi-
Chavez supported Daniel Ortega for
President of Nicaragua. Ortega had
been President of Nicaragua for 12

years by appointment under the then
communist government. When democ-
racy came to Nicaragua and elections
were then held, Daniel Ortega lost.


Now with help of Chavez's backing
Daniel Ortega is back in office as Presi-
dent of Nicaragua.
Chavez also supported Juan Evo Mo-
rales Ayma for President of Bolivia,
Morales won and came into power on
January 22, 2007. Morales rise to
power also came from his leadership of
the Coca Growers Union and his op-
position to eradication of the Coca crop.
He earned the label of"Narco- Trade
In 2006 Chavez backed Rafael
Correa as a presidential candidate in
Ecuador. His candidate won. It has
been stated that Chavez is now support-
ing Albert Colon in Guatemala's Sep-
tember presidential election.
Is Hugo Chavez, a person of ques-
tionable beliefs, now supporting the
PUP for the next National Election?
Chavez recently met with Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, President of Iran. He
pledged his support for Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad. Mahmoud advocates
that democracy is contrary to the be
(Please Turn To Page 5) O W

PUP campaign manager Ralph Fonseca always manages to find thefunds.

R e a I n d p e n e n t O n i n e a tgt t :/ / e l i e n w s o m / n d e e n e n t o r tg: Hgn ygl Am/ 4 5 g g


Is Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez bankrolling Belize's upcoming General

Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2

The Italian Tourist
Dear Editor,
An interesting thing about the Italian
tourist market is that it is a national cul-
tural custom for all businesses not nec-
essary to daily life, to close down for a
full month of vacation for the month of
August every year. Even the factories
close up for the month of August. The
Italians believe in their long month holi-
day as a national right. We used to do
something similar for April and May in
Belize before the government opted to
match our education system to the US
model and semesters. Maybe you old-
timers will remember it?
Another thing that is interesting, is that
we in Belize and particularly the bar-
rier reef cayes, have enjoyed a small
Italian tourist flush every August, for
more than 30 years.
Something else of interest, is that
90% of the Italian population do not
read, write, or understand English and
actually have no desire to do so, or
economic interest to bother. They be-
ing surrounded by Turks, Greeks, Al-

banians, Serbs, French, Swiss, Germans
and Spanish people, one can understand
the reluctance to waste one's time on
learning English.
We can draw some tourist marketing
conclusions from these known facts. If
we wish to attract the Italian tourist mar-
ket in more volume than has been his-
torically current, then we are going to
have to have our Belize Tourism Board
this year, target immediately, the news-
papers of maj or cities in Italy with ad-
vertising and also television shows in time
for the August vacation rush from Italy.
If we plan to increase our Italian tour-
ist numbers, it also makes sense that
people who have web pages for
Belizean resort offerings, should get
translations into Italian. The statistics
show that Italians will not bother to look
at our English type web pages.
Waiting for direct jet flights from
Milan, Italy to the new extended Belize
International Airport, touted on the
grapevine to start November 4th, might
be misguided and too late? Addition-
ally, if there is any government institu-
tion that deals with this sort of tourist
promotion, charter flight operators out
of Italy should be contacted immediately.

Or we will miss the big tourist flow op-
portunity for a whole year. Is anybody
paying attention or studying the Euro-
pean tourist markets?
Signed, Ray Auxillou

Independent Reader's
Letter to the Editor
Gets Results!
PUC Respect the
Dear Editor,
Last week, I wrote the papers about
the unanswered questions directed to
the Public Utilities Commission (PUC)
about approval for the construction of
the Vaca Dam. I had not gotten any
response from the PUC after two
People may recall that on May 30,
2007, Belize Electric Company
Ltd.(BECOL), released a statement
saying: "Belize Electric Company Lim-
ited (BECOL) has received all major
approvals for construction of the
(Please Turn To Page 15) m '

P.O. Box 26(6
Belize C'ii. Belize

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Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3

raceKennedy (Belize) Ltd.

ebrating 25 years of Belizean enterprise
Open any kitchen cupboard In Belize and you will find us. That's because GraceKennedy Belize safes and distribution agents have spent
the last quarter of a century creating a distribution network. A network so strong and wide that Belizeans don't have to go any further
than their corner shop to find their favorite Grace and Colgate-Palmolive products, Teddies diapers, Suretox insecticides, Devon biscuits,
and other fine lines distributed by the people at GraceKennedy Belize.

The 25th anniversary of GraceKennedy Belize coincides with the excitement of the 85th anniversary of GraceKennedy Limited, which
began in Jamaica and then branched out to many different countries across the region, but make no mistake-Grace Belize is very much
a Belizean company. It has been since it's startup in 1982 by Roberto Espat Sr. the founder and a major shareholder of GraceKennedy

iWenty five years later, it boasts a staff of over 45 dedicated, proud Belizeans with one of the country's youngest and most energetic
management teams headed by General Manager, Alberto Young.

Grace Belize ranks as the third largest distributor/exporter In the country; but In terms of customer loyalty, GraceKennedy Belize is
number one. For even as Belizeans have Increasingly wider selections from competing products, they continue to look to
GraceKennedy Belize for the quality products they have relied on for years accepting no cheap substitution.

What's more, GraceKennedy Belize not only imports what Belizeans want and need, GraceKennedy Belize is an exporter to the
Caribbean with the best Belize has to offer. In past years it has worked with cooperatives and local farmers to sell their red kidney
beans, black-eyed peas, marine products and citrus concentrate to markets In Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Barbados. Today it
continues to work closely with the Citrus Products of Belize Ltd. to seek export markets for Belizean orange and grapefruit concentrate.

GraceKennedy Belize also has its Sno-Brite Bleach and Grace Vinegar bottled in Belize and continues to seek out producers who can
package foods under the Grace label.

GraceKennedy Belize prides itself in the development of its employees and continuously seeks to establish programs that will benefit
employees. GraceKennedy Belize is one of the very few companies that provides a variable salary and profit sharing scheme for its
employees among other benefits like a retirement fund, training programs, medical and life insurance, and educational assistance.

Its management team is focused on motivation and continuously strives to create an environment of teamwork and camaraderie. its
family day and quarterly employee socials are special events which encourage positive attitudes and teamwork In employees at Grace

Notable Belizeans have contributed to the development of the mother company, GraceKennedy and Company Ltd. over the years.
Amauri Rafael Diaz, born and raised in the Cayo district was one of GK's most Influential executives, taking up an accounting post at
the head office in Kingston In 1969 and rising to become the CEO of GraceKennedy & Co. Limited and Chairman of the Board until he
retired in 2005.

In 1989 a reporter from the Jamaica Gleaner asked him what direction he believed the Jamaican economy should take. His reply: "What
really Is required Is foreign exchange. My advice to Government is to focus on an export-led economy."

Mr. Gilroy Graham is another Belizean who is helping to shape GraceKennedy & Company Ltd. and also GraceKennedy Belize. Gilroy
Graham joined GraceKennedy Belize in 1991 and was transferred to World Brands in Jamaica in June of 2004 where he now holds the
position of General Manager.

Clearly Belizean business Ingenuity has been Important to GraceKennedy, both in Jamaica and Belize.

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, GraceKennedy Belize is proud to have established itself as a leader in the distribution/export
industry. Our success Is due to the support of all our customers, large and small, and our commitment to them. We proudly share our
company's values: "My Word Is My Bond," "The Promise That is Kept," Ethics and Integrity, Respect and Consideration, Commitment
and Openness.

During the month of July, GraceKennedy Belize will host several activities starting with a church service at the Open Door Church on
Sunday, July 1, 2007 to be attended by all its employees, launch of a Salvation Army school feeding program, consumer specials
throughout the month, samplings and other consumer activities, and a grand Customer Appreciation sale on July 14. 2007 at the
GraceKennedy compound.

GraceKennedy Belize invites all Belizeans to celebrate its anniversary and thanks all its customers for allowing us to be a part of their
lives, as they serve their family meals, maintain their homes and produce agricultural and marine products for the regional export

Gr QC G Great (felationshi\s among customers and employees

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Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4

Beggars will be choosers

Those gathered were extremely agi-
tated. They were practically pushing the
single, slim police officer back against
the wall.
One particularly vocal "client" began

,.. :,. --- -.
4A'.. .,-'-*m
By: Karla Heusner Vernon
They were there at 7 am when I
passed on the way to town; standing
expectantly in front of their Area Rep's
office. I saw more of them in front of
the Prime Minister's office on
Gabourel Lane when I passed there
twenty minutes later. Were they at all
the other officers all across the coun-
try? It was Wednesday "clinic" day
after all. Nothing surprising about the
gathering. Even though the numbers
seemed greater than usual.
But what did surprise me was that
five or six hours later when I pulled
up to the building, they were still there.
In fact it seemed more of them had

the hot sun all day.
While I was conducting business
next door, another woman burst in,
came up to the counter and began
to rail up, telling the postman how

I had to wonder what kind of woman stands
in front of a politician's office from before 7
am until 2 in the afternoon, or longer, trying to
.get five dollars.,

making nasty comments when I exited sickened she was that "they" had
my car. I won't repeat what she said. It a woman out there all day who has
was racial and nasty in nature. Essen- seven picney fi feed and all "they"
tially she seemed concerned that I was won't even give her the five dol-
somehow going to visit "her" politician lars she came for. She claimed, in
and come away with something that she a spirit of feigned generosity, that
felt entitled to. She was visibly, and au- if she had it herself she would have
dibly, relieved when I opened the door given it to the "poor" lady. Then she
to the post office next door instead. I looked at both of us expectantly as
looked over at her, dead in her eyes, to if we would chip in and help this
let her know I understood Kriol and supposed friend of hers. We just
knew exactly what she had said, did not looked at her, as blankly as pos-
consider it becoming, either to her or to sible (not unlike the way people
me. She only blinked, a bit surprised. A watch most beggars in the streets
bit ashamed, but not much. Then she re- by the main post office downtown)
sumed her tirade against the minister and until she gave up and left.
his minions who had her waiting there in I had to wonder what kind of

woman stands in front of a politician's
office from before 7 am until 2 in the
afternoon, or longer, trying to get five
dollars. In that amount of time she
could have washed and hung out
someone's laundry, baked bread and
sold it, or cleaned someone's home
for three to four times that amount.
The women of our mothers' and
grandmother's generations would
have done those things, done anything
before publicly begging for money.
There are thousands offBelizean, and
immigrant women, all across this
country who are punishing, but who
still manage to get up every morning
and think of something to do to gen-
erate some income, however meager.
Women who have a healthy self-re-
spect and sense of initiative and drive.
When I left the office I looked over
at the crowd. They were getting even
more hostile and crowding each other
away from the door, hurling insults,
trying to eliminate the competition:
"Man, you done come last week, you
no di get noting dis week. Why yu

Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5


By: TrevorVernon
Running a small business in Belize to-
day is the focus of the column this week.
I debated the prudence of running such
an article with numerous sages and they
all advised against it. But it's causing me
so much headache and other discom-
forts that I was left with no other choice
really... not unlike the Registrar Issue
where that office can't grant me my day
in court after 2 years of inadvertently
stumbling on a stolen car ring in Belize.
My first job out of Sixth Form was
with a local bank. I worked at that bank
for over a year before I left to pursue
my first degree in accounting with pri-
vate resources, read: loans. So I have a
pretty good idea of how banks are run.
It helps too that I have some immediate
family in banking with over 50 years of
banking experience all together. So I
came of age discussing banking issues
as a matter of course.
In a previous life I was fortunate to
get a job as Finance Manager of the
Chamber of Commerce, a job I was
pleased to have done some pretty cre-
ative things that involve banks.
In short, I have loads of experience
with banking from many angles... in-
cluding meetings in Washington to ex-
plore assisting the post 9-11 USAwith
stemming the funding ofterrorists.
Nowadays, I have a paper to run and
I have to deal with big drama to cash
small checks.. The other banking issues
are pretty straight forward, newspaper-
wise, but cashing checks and accessing
funds from checks has been a nightmare.
Nobody wants to negotiate them. It's
getting really, really bad. You have to
wait a few weeks to collect sometimes


and when you do get the check, no one
wants them... not even the banks where
the checks are drawn. Unless you de-
posit an "out-district" check and wait
seven days for clearing process, you are
stuck. Even if that check is from Bank
X from a district branch, you can't have
cash for at least a full day. And God
forbid if that check is made out to the
company. Forget cash for what seems
like weeks.
In this day and age of technology, I
can't imagine why a check drawn on
Bank X from Bank X's Corozal Branch
can't be cashed in any other branch of
that same bank-like it is IN OTHER
COUNTRIES!!!!!!!! It's ridiculous,
really. Don't they have internal
interconnectivity? This is the day of the
Internet and high speed modems for
goodness sake. And I am tired of hear-
ing, "Sorry Sir, our system is down".
The frequency of this is unacceptable
but what are the options? You are at
their mercy and you better appreciate
It's easier for me to negotiate a U. S.
check drawn on some obscure US or
Canadian bank than to negotiate a lo-
cal bank's check drawn by cash-laden,
blue-chip Belizean companies. But to
be fair, bank personnel try their level best
to accommodate us. With a U. S. check,
I get instamatic cash. No wait, no
"clearing period" and "system's down,
Sir". And we certainly don't get, "for
this amount Sir, you have to go to the
Belize City Main Office" like one bank
tells us for pretty much every transac-
tion over $10. Instead they make you
waste a half an hour looking for park-
ing downtown, and as soon as you get
to the door guess what, they are al-
ready closed.
I used to "go to clearance" for the
bank I worked for, years ago in Belize
City, where all the local banks' repre-
sentatives would meet at the Central
Bank and physically exchange checks.
That was a couple of decades ago and
I dare not ask my family connections

Coincidence? Or Plan?

(Please Turn To Page 1) 1 ,
liefs of Islam and Islamic law. He ad-
vocates that the democratic countries
be subjugated to Islamic law. Mahmoud
also advocates the extermination of
Jews and Christians. Whose next?
Iran is the Country that finances the
terrorist organizations Hamas and
Hezbollah. Iran is a country to which
Chavez pledged his support.
Hugo Chavez himself is an anomaly.
He came to power against a political
system that had characteristics similar
to those of the present political system
of Belize. Venezuela had two political
parties that for forty years had alter-

nately presided over corrupt system.
Venezuela, as in Belize was an example
of the adage that power corrupts and
absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Unless Belize make appropriate
changes to its political system corrup-
tion will continue.
Is Ralph Fonseca or Said Musa go-
ing to give an accurate accounting for
the $10,000,000.00? Will the posses-
sion of the $10,000,000.00 bring about
an early election in August with prom-
ises of future benefits? Or will the elec-
tion be delayed while portions of the
money are used in projects to solicit
votes for the PUP?


for an update on the process to keep
them out of possible repercussion from
my little issue. Or maybe it's not so little.
Who knows? Unless we hear from the
readers, we'd never know.
I imagine that for a big business the
average 5 to 10 day hold on checks due
to clearance requirements would suffer
additional interest charges on monies
they have to use from, say, an overdraft
facility. I can't afford to pay 20% inter-
est on overdrafts or the business col-
lapses; and, I certainly am not about to
deal with the fly-by-nights affiliates with
a certain Belizean bank and risk being
choked at their fancy or whim. Too
many small start-ups have suffered that
fate, and we are not that desperate to
deal with the Lord of the Flies.
I guess the only solution is to ask
our clients paying for ads and such to


please send the check made out to an
individual or send only certified checks
or postal money orders. Or cash,
which kind of defeats the whole pur-
pose of having checks.
All I know is, it would be nice if we
could speed things up a little and the
banks of Belize could find some
means of trusting their own branches
when it comes to facilitating trade &
commerce locally. Isn't it bad enough
we have to deal with all these taxes
and fees and penalties and utility dis-
connection policies and what have
you, and that most of them don't want
our checks? So they get to use a hell
of a lot of money over a settlement/
clearance period but we can't benefit
from the facility. I think we need to
open a bank.

Belize City, June 21,2007.

CMA CGM now launches its weekly Maya Express Ser-
vice to Belize City.

Effective June 28th 2007, CMA CGM will upgrade its Maya
Express Service, linking Miami and Belize City as a newly
added Port of Call.

We are pleased to offer our customers this new trade lane
which will incorporate a weekly fixed-day service with
sailings every Thursday from Miami and arriving in Belize
City Monday evenings.

The first sailing from Miami will be the CMA CGM Bar-
bados departing Miami on Thursday, June 28, 2007 with
arrival in Belize City on Monday, July 02, 2007.

For more information, please contact our Agent in Belize
City (shown below) who will be able to answer all your

No.95 Albert Street
P.O. Box 611
Belize City, Belize
Tel: 501-227-2112 or 3448
Fax: 501-227-5404
Email: marserve@btl.net


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Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6

By: Pamela Constable
Almost every day, another unmarked
j et from Houston lands at the interna-
tional airport in this Central American
capital and disgorges a new batch of
deportees from U.S. immigration cus-
tody. More than 1,800 this month. More
than 13,700 since January.
The passengers file out uncertainly,
pausing to grab the paper or plastic bags
holding their few belongings, and enter
a low building with a sign that says:
"Welcome Home, Brothers." There are
weary-looking older workers, scowl-
ing young men with tattoos, a handful
of women. They wear clean prison uni-
forms or the grimy clothes in which they
were caught.
Those who found menial j obs in the
United States say they sent far more
money home than they could ever earn
in Honduras, but most say they were
caught within days of sneaking across
the border and have returned with empty
pockets. Two out of three say they in-
tend to try again.
"The immigration van caught us after
we walked for three days across the
desert in Arizona," says Matias
Miranda, 42, an illiterate farmer who
just made his second attempt to enter
the United States in search of work. "I
was getting older and I wanted to try
once more, to help my children. But al-
ready I am back without a single peso.
All I got was this Bible, and I still have
the one they gave me last time."
Illegal migration is a crucial safety
valve for Honduras, a chronically poor
country of 7.5 million where 40 percent
of the populace earns less than $3 a day
and just over half the workforce has a
sixth-grade education. Money sent di-
rectly to Honduran families from rela-
tives working in the United States, both
legally and illegally, provides nearly one-
third of the national income $1.8 bil-
lion in 2005, $2.3 billion last year.
Over the past several years, however,
the pace of deportations from the United
States has skyrocketed as the U.S.
Border Patrol has beefed up operations.
In 2005, 18,941 Hondurans were de-
ported; in 2006, 24,643 were deported;
and by mid-June 2007, the figure had
exceeded 13,700. There have been
similar increases in deportations from
Mexico and Guatemala, which Hondu-
rans must cross before they reach the
United States.
The current debate over immigration
reform in the United States, where an
estimated 12 million illegal immigrants

Honduran deportees are happy to be home, yet ready to try to enter the U.S. again.

live, has caused hope and anxiety here,
because it holds out both the promise
of legalizing tens of thousands of Hon-
durans now in the United States and the
threat of a harsher crackdown near the
border, which about 90,000 Hondurans
attempt to cross illegally each year.
Meanwhile, the steady rise in depor-
tations is met here with a mixture of
alarm and relief. Officials worry that the
current flow of cash remittances to
families expected to reach a record
$2.8 billion this year will start to
lessen and that the economy will not be
able to absorb a sustained influx ofj ob-
less returnees.
On the other hand, Honduran society
has paid a high price for this economic
antidote. Experts here say illegal immi-
gration destroys families during long
separations and lures fatherless youths
to crime and gangs. It also fosters de-
pendency on handouts from abroad and
a tendency to fritter cash windfalls on
luxury goods.
"Honduras today survives on remit-
tances, but mass migration also causes
enormous damage," said Julio
Velasquez, an official of the Honduran
National Human Rights Commission.
"Those who manage to reach the U. S.
can lift their families a little out of pov-
erty, but often the families fall apart and
the kids end up in gangs or on drugs.
We need to create the conditions so
people don't need to leave, instead of
thinking of migration as something to
Dario Cardona, the deputy minister
of labor, said a variety of factors have
contributed to the exodus. The minimum
wage here is only $3.50 a day, and
many Hondurans earn far less as sea-
sonal field hands or street vendors. Al-
though the economy is growing and in-
flation is down, Cardona said, progress

has been hampered by corruption, poor
public education and lack of investment.
"The poor who leave subsidize the
poor who stay," he said. "Depending
on other countries is a short-term help
for us, but it is not a long-term solution.
Our country is exporting its youth and
its labor force, and after a few years
many of them come back with nothing."
Sympathy and Respect
At the Center for Attention to Mi-
grants next to Toncontin International
Airport, deportees who have just been
uncuffed from airplane seats are greeted
with the sympathy and respect due
homecoming survivors of a long ordeal.
Immigration officials offer good-luck
handshakes while volunteers pass
around coffee, tortillas and brochures
for free training in fish farming, pastry
cooking, auto mechanics or computer
Valdete Wilemon, a Brazilian nun who
runs the center, says she has heard a
thousand horror stories from returning
migrants of people crazed from thirst
in the U.S. deserts, falling to their deaths
from trains in Mexico, being beaten and
robbed by cross-border guides.
"I see migration as a big business
for those who exploit it, and a cause
of great suffering for the migrants,"
she said. "We treat them with dignity,
and we welcome them home. But this
country is very poor, and the people
will keep trying to get to the north, no
matter how big a wall they build," she
added. "The deportations are more
now, but so is the flight."
Despite her ministrations, new
deportees are often angry and bleak.
They mill uneasily or slump in chairs,
ripping open sacks containing shoe-
laces, belts and wallets confiscated by
U.S. immigration officials and cop-
ies of the Bible donated by prison visi-

tors while they wait impatiently to
be processed for reentry into Hon-
Some look sullen with failure or hag-
gard with exhaustion; others grin and
whoop with defiant relief. Afew young
men with tattoos, possible signs of
gang membership, curse at visitors.
One man pulls out a snapshot of his
wife and daughter, left behind when
his factory was raided in New Jersey.
Another complains angrily that his
landscaping boss in Texas betrayed
him to avoid paying his salary.
"I not criminal guy," says Santos
Canales, 30, struggling to explain him-
self in English. "I work hard. I have
wife and five kids. The boss know I
am illegal. I ask for my money. He
call police, not pay me."
In the next room, immigration offi-
cials call the deportees one by one
for brief interviews. They answer two
pages of questions that provide a ba-
sic but revealing profile of the motives
and fortunes of many illegal migrants
from Central America. Education
level? Most say they reached only
sixth grade. Occupation? Most say
farmer, driver, factory worker or
How long did you spend in the
United States? A few say several
years, but most answer less than two
months. How much did you earn?
Most say zero; a few say between
$1,000 and $2,000 a month. How
much did you send home? Again, most
say zero; some say several hundred
dollars a month.
How many times have you been de-
ported? Many say twice, some say
more. Are you planning to go back?
Many in their 20s and 30s answer
yes; most in their 40s and 50s shake
their heads and say no.
"For me, it was definitely worth it,"
says Hidalgo Fuentes, 30, who quit
his local factory job and was caught
in May trying to reach Missouri on a
cargo train. "Here, the best I can earn
is about $30 a week. The last time I
went north, I earned $500 a week
washing dishes, and my family was
able to build a house." Asked if he
expects to try again, he just smiles.
Reuniting the Family
Outside the center, a throng of
families waits anxiously. Most have
received calls from relatives in U.S.
detention, saying they will be home
this week. Gladys Morales and her
two children are there, taut
(Please Turn To Page 7) UE

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Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7

A Common CARICOM Currency includes Belize

By: RavAuxillou
The old rallying cry for
CARICOM to form a federation has
risen again, promoted by English speak-
ing royalists and academics who have
nothing personal to risk. It's easy to play
with centralization games when the only
thing you have to risk is a secure gov-
ernment salary. But for business and
trade it is a different story.
The renewel of a cry for a com-
mon currency for the CARICOM coun-
tries is once again being promoted by a
writer in the TIMES. The trouble with
the one currency concept is; that it is a
huge step toward federation of

--l (Continued From Page 6)
with excitement and dressed in new
clothes for what Belkis, 13, calls "the
They are waiting for Gladys's hus-
band, Ram6n, 34, who has been in
New Orleans for three years. He
worked as a house painter, sending
home a steady stream of cash that helped
them improve their three-room shack
on a hillside outside the capital. But they
missed him terribly, especially Jose
Ram6n, 9. For this family, the joy of
reuniting is far more important than the
loss of income.
Suddenly, there he is in the door, still
wearing the paint-splattered pants he
had on when U. S. immigration agents
raided an apartment complex he was
painting in April. The children rush for-

Caricom. The whole idea would isolate
Belize over here, on our outer rim of
Caricom and estrange us from our ma-
j or trading partners, the Central Ameri-
can countries and North American.
One Central Bank, what a mess
that would be! Almost all the countries
of Caricom have money that is uniquely
printed and only used internally inside
their countries. Their money is worth-
less in the outside world. Local money
printing is a pure control mechanism for
local governments. You can't trade lo-
cal Caricom countries currency on any
Foreign Exchange. Nobody wants our
money. It is worthless! Would it be any
different under a group of worthless
currencies? I doubt it! So what is the
point? We might as well go back to trad-
ing Cacao beans like the Mayan Em-
pire did. At least that would have an
International currency value.
In order to establish a value for
any Caricom currency, local internal
politicians would have to curb their
spending and borrowing habits. I can't
see that happening in Jamaica, Guyana,

ward, and he crushes them to his chest.
"So you still remember me?" he mur-
murs affectionately. "How are you do-
ing in school? Are you behaving your-
Jose Ram6n clutches his father's
hand all the way home, a huge grin on
his face. He brags about his grades
and jokingly offers to teach his father
When they reach their house,
Ram6n Morales looks around appre-
ciatively. The back room is still a dirt-
floor shed with a latrine, but the front
room has new tiles, a fresh coat of
paint, and a TV set and three CD
players covered with doilies. Over a
welcome-home meal of rice, beans
and pork chops, Morales says he has
no idea how he will earn a living now,

calipers, pedal arms &
derailleur gear, handle
grip shifters, quick

Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Lucia,
or Belize? Certainly there has been no
sign in the past forty years that building
up foreign exchange reserves is at the
top of priorities for any island Caricom
country, including our own. Fiscal
strength, self reliance are not real buzz
words for Caricom politicians. This
may be because the similar parliamen-
tary system we use, with a five year
party leader appointed as dictator for
five years does not fit very well into the
exigencies of party politics. The de-
mands of internal political parties short
term crisis needs as we have seen for
decades in Belize, outweigh those of the
nation they allegedly represent. It would
be worth a specialized study on the ef-
fect of parliamentary style government
like ours and the end effect, on the
Caricom inability to plan long term, or
apply some sort of steady growth policy
through savings on a regular basis in our
Foreign Exchange Reserves, from
which all self sufficiency must flow. You
have to build a solid foundation before
you can build your house, and in na-

but he is sure of one thing.
"My children need me. So many
homes fall apart, but we stayed
united," he says. "I worked hard, I
suffered a lot, I sent money home. But
after going through all that, you come

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tional governments that foundation is the
amount of your Foreign Currency re-
serves. There must be some conflict
logic tells me, why we in Belize and
other Caricom countries cannot build
our foundation correctly first.
None of our Caricom small coun-
try associates have shown any capabil-
ity to govern financially. Grouping us
together would only exacerbate the
problem. Acommon Caricom currency,
what a joke that is! Calculate, that we
would separate ourselves in Belize from
expansion of trade with our mainland
neighbors, which is growing, and al-
ready exceeds anything Caricom has to
offer, or likely to EVER offer. Pretty
soon, Belize is going to have to decide
to do without Caricom and look after
our own interests. The expanding net-
work of roads along the coastline of
Central America and Mexico, the air-
line, bus and trucking freight routes, all
indicate our future is here on the main-
land. Maybe in the future we might con-
sider a Central Americanj oint currency,
but a Caricom currency? No way, Jose!

back with a new mentality. I want to
build a life here now. I can't leave
them again. It's time for me to come
Pamela Constable is a writer for
Washington Post Foreign Service

Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8

Lynam Graduates: Your


needs You

By: Rudolph Bowman
For quite some time now, I have
been contemplating a plan to involve
selected parts of the Belizean soci-
ety (local and international) with a
very specific project; and I take this
opportunity now to present this idea
to as large an audience as possible
through your written media (news-
papers, internet contacts, etc).
The late great English Statesman
and Prime Minister of Britain, Sir
Winston Churchill, is alleged to
have said "we make a living by
what we get; we make a life by
what we give". Franklin Delano
Roosevelt, 32nd president of the
United States, and a contemporary
of Churchill, remarked "the test
of our progress is not whether we
add to the abundance of those who
have much, but whether we pro-
vide enough for those who have
too little." An underlying theme in
both statements suggests a moral or
ethical obligation to care for those
less fortunate than "we" are. Our
monotheistic tradition (Judaism,
Christianity, Islam) is replete with
such utterances of national, societal,
and personal care and responsibil-
ity. Churchill's statement, and in my
opinion, the greater of the two, elic-
its the role of society (churches, in-
stitutions, NGOs, businesses, well-
off individuals) in assisting and help-
ing to provide for "those who have
too little".
As one who grew up under "hard
times" in Belize (Dangriga specifi-
cally) and who was fortunate enough
to receive assistance during my time
at Lynam College, I feel I have an
obligation to give back. My mother
was unable to pay for my last two
years which was graciously granted
to me by the Rev. Urban J. Kramer,
S. J. (small wonder the school
folded; too many of us were unable
to pay). Happy to say hard times
are behind me now, and have been
for quite some time. But that im-
petus through the Jesuits carried me
on. I graduated from Zamorano,
from the University of Arizona, and
finally, from the University of Cali-
fornia at Riverside where I received
a Ph. D. in Soil Science. I went
on to work for the USDA-Agricul-
tural Research Service from which
I recently retired.
Now it is my turn to try to give
back, and I want to invite some of
you to do the same. I have been
fortunate enough to repay Father
Kramer in some small way since we
corresponded during his time as a

Chaplain in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and
during his retirement at Headquar-
ters in St. Louis before he died. I
was even trying to get him to Colo-
rado for a visit (don't have to do
that for Fr. Leo Weber; he is right
here in Denver).
Now for my project plan after
much ramblings: The project is
called LA-PAS, and it is supposed
to be a tribute to Fr. Kramer by all
the hardworking souls he had go
through Lynam (students and teach-
ers) with special partnership with
the Belizean society. LA-PAS
(peace when spoken) is an acronym
for Lynam Alumni and Partners As-
sociation Scholarships. I would like
to see a tertiary school scholarship
presented to a needy person in all
seven principal towns and cities of
Belize. It would go something like
this based on need and some merit
First Year: Students and family
pay. While this appears harsh, it
helps to weed out those who are not
really interested in school, and the
initial sacrifice builds character, and
gives the school a better feel for eli-
gible candidates both financially and
Second Year: Paid by Lynam
Alumni Association (all who at-
tended regardless of graduation and
teachers are welcome to join). We
provide enough money for 7 schol-
arships. My wife, daughter Jen,
and I presently sponsor one regis-
tration scholarship per semester
(Mary Davette Bowman Scholar-
ship primarily for single mothers) at
Stann Creek Ecumenical Junior
Third Year: Paid by business, in-
dustry, and individuals of means.
Citrus exports $109 million, sugar,
$100 m; banana, $51 m; and pa-
paya, $31 m. Just a random sam-
pling of the big guns. There are oth-
ers out there. This is your chance
to give back to your country by
helping in the formation of some of
the future leaders of Belize. You
sponsor just 7 scholarships per
Fourth Year: Granted by the
University or the government or
both. After three years these stu-
dents have proven themselves and
deserve continuation. Their par-
ents, Lynam alumni, business
groups have contributed; now insti-
tutions and government are asked
to do their part.
Much remains to be worked out,
costs, lead personnel, etc, but this

is the framework of the plan-
LAPAS. This means after the 3rd
year (students in their fourth year),
and thereafter, there will be 21
scholarships across 7 cities whose
cost will be borne by the three listed
groups. Each group pays for 7 only
each year.
I ask that you seriously think
about this, and give me feedback,
suggestions, criticisms, etc. Please



Prices have dropped butBelizean mo-
torists are getting no relief from the Musa
administration. During the past month,
acquisitions costs have gone down 17
cents per gallon on premium, 47 cents

pass this on as you see fit: to all
the Lynam folks, businesses, and
institutions, politicians, and to any
who wish to take an extra active
role in the continued development
of our Belizean youths.
If you would like to join forces
in this effort, please contact me at
719 Bonita Ave
Fort Collins, CO 80526
or email bowman41@gmail.com

taken for

Roo tales

on regular, 3 cents on kerosene and die-
sel, but taxes and duties have taken up
the slack so that there has been no reduc-
tion in prices at the pump.
See table below.

Super Regular Kerosene Diesel
Cost of Fuel $5.4129 $5.2991 $4.8206 $4.5988
Import Duty $0.4496 $0.4496 $0.0000 $0.2665
RRD $1.7619 $1.7967 $0.0032 $0.6354
Environ Tax $0.1040 $0.1018 $0.0923 $0.0879
Freight $0.0700 $0.0700 $0.0700 $0.0700
Additive $0.0019 $0.0019 $0.0019 $0.0019
GST $0.8149 $0.8069 $0.5186 $0.5911

BC Pump $10.00 $9.90 $6.35 $7.30

Super Regular Kerosene Diesel
Cost of Fuel $5.2381 $4.8250 $4.7898 $4.6299
Import Duty $0.4496 $0.4496 $0.0000 $0.2665
RRD $1.9402 $2.2801 $0.0346 $0.6037
Environ Tax $0.1006 $0.0924 $0.0917 $0.0885
Freight $0.0700 $0.0700 $0.0700 $0.0700
Additive $0.0019 $0.0019 $0.0019 $0.0019
GST $0.8149 $0.8069 $0.5186 $0.5911

BC Pump $10.00 $9.90 $6.35 $7.30

Super Regular Kerosene Diesel
Cost of Fuel ($0.17) ($0.47) ($0.03) $0.03
Import Duty $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
RRD $0.18 $0.48 $0.03 ($0.03)
Environ Tax ($0.00) ($0.01) ($0.00) $0.00
Freight $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Additive $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
GST $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

BC Pump $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9

mb1~Kz~mvIU 9..

Northern ramblings
and rumblings
What a contrast between Orange
Walk and Corozal these days!
On a recent drive north it was ob-
served that Orange Walk was decorated
with banners reading "Liad Musa: Call
Elections Now!" while in Corozal white
and blue flags line the highway. While it
is apparent the colors flying in Coro
were intended for convention go-ers, the
ones in Sugar City probably are for lo-
cal impact since the buses headed for
the PUP bash took the bypass instead.
Nevertheless, both are impressive dis-
plays. And costly ones too no doubt.
Election date or no, the north is ready
to rumble....
Traffic Scams in San
Somebody from the Ministry of
Transport needs to do a little undercover
work on La Isla Bonita. Reports reach-
ing the Independent are that taxi driv-
ers are being shaken down for a whop-
ping $8,000 annual "fee" to get permis-
sion to operate. What the h-ll? Not only
that, there is some official sticker now
being sold to all motorists that is sup-
posed to give them a number so they
can be tracked down in case of hit and
run accidents. Excuse me, but isn't that
what a license plate is for? Is this legal,
or is it, as widely hinted, a fundraiser
for a certain political candidate's cam-

paign. Even more, residents are being
told that transfers for the sale of their
vehicles must be handled by an attor-
ney, for an undisclosed fee an attor-
ney the traffic officer just happens to
know... This is a service done at the
Traffic Department everywhere else for
$5. These scam operators have got to
be given a red light so they can stop this

Pay attention to those
And while we are on the subject of
jacking motorists, a certain gas station
on the Northern Highway has attendants
who not only punch a lower amount into

the pump than the customer ordered and
then keep the change, they even keep
the customer's gas cap and then try to
sell it back to them when they come
back for it! If this happens ONE more
time to someone this writer knows, the
name of the attendants will be published
in this paper as a warning to customers/
victims. Find another job, guys, your
days at the pump are numbered. (photo
at left NOT of one of the perpetrators.)
MIA's on furlow?
PUP generals Mark and Cordel didn't
attend the PUP convention in Corozal.
We all know why, they don't have to
say. Pity some of the others didn't have
the coj ones toj oin them in the boycott.
But then, they were all too busy genu-
flecting in front of high priests, hoping
their hearts don't get out during the next
ritual sacrifice. What is going to happen
to the ones missing in action? Maybe
Disciplinarian Emeritus will decide.
Spare the rod, spoil the party? Can't
wait to see Mark and Cordel win their
divisions in spite of the spitefulness.
Registration fees
stolen... again.
Excuse me, but it seems only com-
mon sense that if your school is prone
to armed holdups (prone as in, it's hap-
pened before) mightn't it be a good idea
to ask parents to pay their fees at a
BANK and then bring the receipts to
the schools? Not that hard for schools

right downtown and parents might feel
a little more secure knowing their hard-
earned money is actually going towards
the payment of their children's fees, not
somebody else's free ride. As for the
schools that keep getting burglarized,
maybe some of the parents need to sit
up a couple nights and catch the cul-
prits instead of letting them traumatize
their kids and take their stuff.
Vegetable Stand
And finally, would it really be asking
too much for vegetable vendors to get
a chalk board and write down how
much a pound or price per fruit or veg-
etable and mount it at the front of their
shop for customers? While it is kind of
charming to be able to select your own
produce, a lot of us are getting kind of
fed up of having to ask how much for
everything every single time we "go da
shop" because of constant price fluc-
A price list, clearly displayed might
also alleviate some difficulties we are
experiencing with vendors who some-
how charge whatever they feel YOU can
pay instead of what they are charging
everyone else. A small thing, but until it
happens, some of us prefer to buy at
Save U and Brodies where the price is
clearly marked. It might seem like you
pay more, but you calculate the differ-
ence the next time you pay too much
for too little at an unscrupulous shop.

Lox On ITodAy for your
Tell dhcm you Ikarncd about it hhciv

f W~ rovC-assist1I Ji .c Om

Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10

US admiral puts clinics before fighters

By: Demetri Sevastopulo
When Admiral James Stavridis was a
young naval officer serving on an Aegis
cruiser in the Strait ofHormuz in 1987,
he was faced with a very hard deci-
When an Iranian aircraft started ap-
proaching the ship, as the tactical ac-
tion officer he was responsible for ad-
vising the captain whether to launch a
"The aircraft was coming at us, com-
ing at us, coming at us, and I almost
launched a missile at it, but then decided
not to at the last minute because I felt
the ship could probably defend itself in
a point engagement," explains Adm
Stavridis. "It turned out to be the right
decision. The aircraft went back."
"The incident comes back to me at
times, because it tells you that in the
world we live in, it is good to hold back
on the key sometimes."
Twenty years later, his role oversee-
ing US military operations in Latin
America and the Caribbean as head of
the US military's Southern Command
is very different.
"In this area of the world, we are not
launching Tomahawk missiles, we are
launching ideas."
Adm Stavridis says the real problems
in the region are poverty, inequality and
corruption. He partly attributes the rise
in "anti-Yanquismo" sentiment in parts
of the region to poverty. He says the
US needs to work harder in the mar-
ketplace for ideas, to win the hearts and
minds of people in the region. He points,
as an example, to the USNS Comfort,
a Navy hospital ship that had just that
day pulled into Belize to provide medi-
cal services to the local population.
Since assuming command last Octo-
ber, he has been preparing a plan to re-
structure Southcom to include non-mili-
tary personnel to better address the
non-military challenges faced in the re-
"I don't need Humvees down here, I
don't need high priced fighter aircraft,"
says Adm Stavridis. "I need the inter-
agency and I need to hook up with pri-
vate-public ventures... like Operation
Smile, Doctors without Borders, and
the American Red Cross.
While there has been some resistance
to his proposal from government agen-
cies who are concerned about the
Pentagon's ability to work as a partner,
Adm Stavridis says his proposal -which
he will formally make to Robert Gates,
the defence secretary, later this year-
has been well received.
"Over the decades ahead, this kind
of interagency approach and this pri-
vate-public approach is the future ofUS
national security in Latin America, in
Africa, in Pacific Command, and I
would argue eventually in Central Com-
mand," says Adm Stavridis.
Unlike other regional combatant com-
mands, Southcom is not involved in

fighting any wars. But Adm Stavridis
also has some more tradition military
concerns in the region, such as Venezu-
ela. While he says people should re-
member that the US has traditionally
enjoyed an excellent relationship with
Venezuela, he also raises concerns about
the country's purchase of arms, includ-
ing AK- 103 weapons, fighter aircraft,
and reports of plans to buy submarines.
"Every country has a right to buy the
weapons system that it perceives that it
needs, but I have difficulty understand-
ing what is the perceived threat to Ven-
ezuela. It is certainly not from the USA,"
says Adm Stavridis.
But despite the arms purchases, he

says he does not perceive Venezuela as
a threat, and would like to improve mili-
tary relations and cooperation on
counter-narcotics with the country. And
while he says he does not wake up
worrying about Hugo Chavez, the anti-
American Venezuelan president, he says
he would like to meet "Senor Chavez".
"Who knows, we might be able to talk
about baseball, or something en
Adm Stavridis will have no chance to
meet Cuba's president Fidel Castro,
however, because of the US embargo.
Adm Stavridis concedes that there is an
argumentthatthe US would benefit from
military relations with its decades-old

enemy Cuba, but says he is comfort-
able with the national policy.
He says his greatest concern about
Cuba is the prospect of a mass migra-
tion after the death of president Fidel
Castro. But while John Negroponte,
then director for national intelligence,
told Congress earlier this year that Mr
Castro would most likely die this year,
Adm Stavridis appears more cautious.
"Any 80-year old man who has had
10 gastric operations over a six-month
period has got to be considered some-
what at risk," he says. "On the other
hand, he is a very resilient guy, and he
may be running the Boston marathon
next year." --from Financial Times

next election



thi tim mmemtiamu fmumiiu cozuntry!

Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11

My First Day of Summer Classes

By: Ronnier Leonardo
Corozal Community
College 1st form,
As I walked through the
enormous gate on Monday
morning I was very happy for
I knew I would get to know
other people. I said to myself
that I am must learn all that I
am taught. Iwas abit surprised
not to see anyone but then I .
realized I was a bit to early so
I went around the campus to
see all the murals on the walls.
After a while some people
started to arrive. I saw a crowd of them
around a paper so I went to see what it
was all about I realized it was the list of
students and their classes so I searched
for my name and I saw I was in I S. I was
happy to see three other former classmates
in my class. I had not seen any of my
friends yet, but after a few minutes I saw
one of them walk in. I went to see if he

was a bit nervous. He was, but then Itold
him that he doesn't need to worry because
he can find many friends easily. Iwas then
amazed to see so many colors of uniforms
from the different schools.
After some time the buzzer rang and my
home room teacher came forward and
introduced herself. She then told us we
needed to go to the auditorium for assem-

a 20 minute break. I could not believe
how long the line was for you to enter
the cafeteria! I thought I was not going
to have enough time to buy anything.
But I took chance and I cut through the
line then I began imagining how long the

line will be when the year begins for this
line was only first form. So I finally bought
my stuff and I headed back for my math-
ematics class. It was very easy for all of
the things they taughtus was already taught
in Std VI. Then after that the buzzer rang
it was now time to go home.
I really liked my first day for I met some
new people. I also like the summer classes
because when you begin in September
you are already more comfortable with
the environment and with the people.
To share your experiences or ideas with
other teens, email the teen page editor at
jch artist@hotmail.com.

Your weekly


bly. Once there we sang our national an-
them and the vice principal introduced us
to our teachers, then spoke to us for a
whole halfan hour. Afterthatwe wentback
to our classes and began our first class,
study skills. I got a bit bored but I still
found interest in it. Next we had an En-
glish class which was a bit fun for we
had to introduce ourselves. We then had

We apologize to our readers for a misnomer, U.S. Ambassador Dieter (left) is
standing beside President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce, Emil Mena (center),
and not Mike Mena, as we identified him in Vol.2 issue 25 of June 29, 2007.


The Belize Zoo

The est ittlgZo



Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12

Beggars will be choosers

--M (Continued From Page 4)
no go and give other people wan
chance?" "Gyal, why yu no go
home, mek yu man maintain yu
picney," etc, etc.
I noticed they were decked out
in up-to-the minute fashions, both
the men and the women. None of
them looked destitute or truly des-
perate. I was reminded of what I
had seen-and written about-- at
Area Rep offices a few years ago.
Only this time, the quiet respect and
politeness, almost apologetic atti-
tude for taking up the space in the
waiting room, or the man's time,
was gone. Replaced by slekness,
conceit, a disturbing sense of en-
titlement, and belief they were
somehow being victimized.
I was discussing it with friends
later, observing that there certainly
is a need for jobs so these people
can find some sense of self worth
as well as income. "But they don't
want to work," said one friend.
"That is too much trouble. They'd
rather stand up all day and beg than
do something they consider de-
meaning. You give them a job, they
last two days at the most."
Is it true? Has a whole group of
young Belizeans (for most were in
the 20's and 30's) somehow gotten
caught up in a welfare system,
joined the rent-a-crowd set, selling
their services to the highest bidding
candidate? Have they totally lost
any sense of how to take care of
themselves, focusing only on who
can take care of them?
The whole scene was so disturb-
ing so sad and such a contrast to
all the Belizeans who are "out
there" along the roadside every day

Information Security

selling food or fixing cars or chang-
ing tires and driving taxis and teach-
ing and sewing and working in shops
and doing honest, hard work. Such
a slap in the face to the thousands
who get up and go to work all over
this country, supporting their chil-
dren, elders and themselves.
Just how big is this army of mer-
cenary foot soldiers? And what ser-
vices, besides campaigning, do they
render? If there was serious unrest,
would they be causing it? Or just
cashing in on it?
What makes an individual choose
to live off the scraps dropped by
fat cats instead of trying to create
their own place at the table, or at
least get into something more ful-
Do we judge them too harshly
merely because of their crude lan-
guage and ways? Are they not just
the low end of the totem pole, mak-
ing noise and going on bad about a
few dollars a day while their more
educated, savvy counterparts man-
age to secure themselves long term
contracts or tender bids, or fancy
appointments and titles with
perdiems and housing allowances?
Is it not the same behavior, more
or less, when you think about it?
The same course of action Belizeans
find themselves forced to take just
to survive in the absence of genu-

ine opportunities for personal and
national growth, decent wages and
At a conference in Washington,
the issue of under-employment in
the Caribbean was raised. But it
was glossed over as one of so many
problems. Drug trafficking was also
mentioned and pushed aside. But I
think there is a connection between
the two AND between the forma-
tion of this group of political group-
ies. If these young people were
working at something sensible,
making a comfortable living, per-
haps they would not be tempted to
work for either the traffickers, or
the traders in votes.
Just suppose that our communi-
ties had grown in the past decade
instead of decayed? In my own
community, Ladyville, what if a few
factories or shopping malls, or
ready call centers had opened here
e instead of this welfare office?
Would these young people have
matured with a very different idea
of what opportunity really is?
Would they have been standing out-
side that office this past Wednes-
day, planning to be there again next
week. And the week after, and the
week after that...
But then, maybe that is precisely
why we have had no development
in our community. Why the Cubel

factory went belly up and Nova shut
down and Williamson is leaving and
there are rumors Bowen is selling
out to the Mexicans... Perhaps there
are people who do not want
Belizeans to be employed and
stable and self-sufficient. Perhaps it
is more useful to have useful fools
following their leaders around, root-
ing around in the trash heaps, turn-
ing into scavengers satisfied with the
leftovers of the killing in the world
markets-intelligent young men and
women who convince themselves
it is somehow worthwhile to waste
their entire day to get the $5 they
will just take down the road and
spend on a Chinese fried chicken
while their children go hungry at
home, or are out following tourists
around begging for a dollar.
We wail and complain about the
financial losses due to corruption,
but what about the human costs? Do
we have any grasp of just how
many Belizeans have sold out- not
only their votes, but their very dig-
nity, for a few paltry handouts?.
I realized on Wednesday that most
of us have no idea how truly money-
driven our elections, and our soci-
ety, have become. How many of our
people no longer have the will to
work. Or the need to.
How many Belizeans are now
tearing down, instead of building,


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Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 13

By: Barry Hatton
LISBON, Portugal-The Great Wall
of China, Rome's Colosseum, India's
Taj Mahal and three architectural mar-
vels from Latin America were among
the new seven wonders of the world
chosen in a global poll released on Sat-
urday. Jordan's Petra was the seventh
winner. Peru's Machu Picchu, Brazil's
Statue of Christ Redeemer and
Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid also
made the cut. About 100 million votes
were cast by the Internet and cellphone
text messages, said New7Wonders, the
nonprofit organization that conducted
the poll. The seven beat out 14 other
nominated landmarks, including the
Eiffel Tower, Easter Island in the Pa-
cific, the Statue of Liberty, the Acropo-
lis, Russia's Kremlin and Australia's
Sydney Opera House. The pyramids of
Giza, the only surviving structures from
the original seven wonders of the an-
cient world, were assured of retaining
their status in addition to the new seven
after indignant Egyptian officials said it
was a disgrace they had to compete.
The campaign to name new wonders
was launched in 1999 by the Swiss ad-

No visit to Beijing is complete without climbing the Great Wall of China, only a few
kilometers outside the city.

Wall, Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal and
Petra had been among the leading can-
didates since January, while the Statue
of Christ Redeemer received a surge in
votes more recently. The Statue ofLib-
erty and Australia's Sydney Opera
House were near the bottom of the list
from the start. Also among the losing
candidates were Cambodia's Angkor,
Spain's Alhambra, Turkey's Hagia

Visitors to Mexico's Yucatan province won't miss a chance to see the famous Toltec
pyramid at Chichen Itza.

venturer Bernard Weber. Almost 200
nominations came in, and the list was
narrowed to the 21 most-voted by the
start of 2006. Organizers admit there
was no foolproof way to prevent people
from voting more than once for their
favorite. APeruvian in national costume
held up Macchu Picchu's award to the
sky and bowed to the crowd with his
hands clasped, eliciting one of the big-
gest cheers from the audience of 50,000
people at a soccer stadium in Portugal's
capital, Lisbon. Manyj eered when the
Statue of Liberty was announced as one
of the candidates. Portugal was widely
opposed to the U.S.-led invasion of
Iraq. Another Swiss adventurer,
Bertrand Piccard, pilot of the first hot-
air balloon to fly nonstop around the
world, announced one of the winners-
then launched into an appeal for people
to combat climate change and stand up
for human rights before being ushered
off the stage. The Colosseum, the Great

Sophia, Japan's Kiyomizu Temple,
Russia's Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathe-
dral, Germany's Neuschwanstein
Castle, Britain's Stonehenge and Mali's
Timbuktu. Weber's Switzerland-based

foundation aims to promote cultural di-
versity by supporting, preserving and
restoring monuments. It relies on pri-
vate donations and revenue from sell-
ing broadcasting rights. The U.N. Edu-
cational, Scientific and Cultural Orga-
nization, or UNESCO, keeps a list of
World Heritage Sites, which now totals
851 monuments. But the agency was
not involved in Weber's project. The
traditional seven wonders were concen-
trated in the Mediterranean and Middle
East. That list was derived from lists of
marvels compiled by ancient Greek
observers, the best known being
Antipater of Sidon, a writer in the 2nd
century B.C. The Hanging Gardens of
Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olym-
pia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus,
the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the
Colossus of Rhodes and the Pharos
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Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 14



Independent reader Desi Rosado sent us this photo of his visit to Bangkok, Thailand.

These colossal statues of a nude man and woman in Kingston's Emancipation Park
sparked a storm of controversy when they were first erected.

Belizean Pat Heusner shot this photo of Venice, Italy a few weeks ago.

Lisa Zayden asked another tourist to photograph her in front of the Emperor's Summer
home near Beijing, China.
If you have any photos you would like to
share with Independent readers in our
Guest Gallery, send your digital jpg or tiff
images to
karlavernon belize@yahoo.com.

Raul Cano focused his camera on his wife while she took photos of a canal in Venice

Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 15

i'~ IA

-In.(Continued From Page 2)
BZ$105 million Vaca Hydroelectric
Facility and has commenced activities
at the site."
Following the letter appearing in the
paper, BELPO President called the
PUC who finally faxed him answers to
our questions. The PUC sent a copy
of an application to construct and op-
erate the Vaca Dam from BECOL,
dated 13 February 2007. According
to the PUC, they decided to accept
BECOL's Application and grant a li-
cense without giving people notice or
an opportunity to comment.
BELPO originally wrote and faxed
the PUC on June 9, 2007. The PUC
granted approval for the Vaca Dam in a
decision dated June 6,2007. They said
they felt the public had enough time to
comment because there had been a lot
of news coverage of the Vaca EIA and
based on review of prior obj sections and
comments from 2002, concerning the
construction of the Chalillo Dam.
When the Vaca Dam was being dis-
cussed last year, the PUC issued a press
release (9 May 2006), stating: "..in
accordance with Section 51 of the Elec-
tricity Act, BECOL will have to obtain
consent from the PUC for construction
and operation of the Vaca Hydroelec-
tric Project. This process has not been
initiated as yet. (Ends)" This release led
us to believe the PUC intended to an-
nounce receipt of any application and
give time for the public to comment. In-
deed, the PUC is required, under Part
II, section 13(3) of the Electricity Act
to provide notice to interested parties
and to give an opportunity to comment
before making any decision.
Section 13(4) specifies that the no-

tice "shall be published by the Commis-
sion through such medium as is likely to
reach the largest number of persons in
Belize..." Instead, the PUC chose to
accept the Application and grant a li-
cense to Vaca a project that will have
an effect on all Belizean ratepayers, and
certainly affect people living down-
stream of the dams on the Macal
River-without notice, and without a
chance for comments.
The PUC has chosen to ignore their
obligation, (under section 13(3) of the
Electricity Act) to publish a notice and
invite comments from people with an
interest in the subject of any decision.
Speaking for aggrieved ratepayers and
downstream residents, we call on the
Commission to rescind its decision to
grant consent to BECOL for the con-
struction of the Vaca project; Belizeans,
write the PUC with your concerns about
this decision. Their fax number is: 227-
1149 and their address is: Public Utili-
ties Commission, 63 Regent Street, PO.
Box 300, Belize City, Belize.
How will another $105 million (plus)
dam improve our rates and how will it
affect the Macal River, upon which
downstream peoples and communities
depend, for their water, food, and live-
Signed, Candy Gonzalez,
Belize Institute of Environmental Law
and Policy
Ban BRC bashing
Dear Editor,
Deacon Cal Cathers can very well
stand up for himself. However, the
persons) who write such derogatory
marks as appeared in a letter to the
Times last week should at least have the

courage of their convictions to sign their
name(s). They are using generalities
again, making it seem that all parents of
Mount Carmel School are signing, which
I am sure is far from the truth. MCPS is
a very large school. You are not the first
to have objections to BRC being housed
in the old convent, which you deem to
be an historical building. Are you present
when CACHE tries to work to preserve
the culture, traditions and older build-
ings ofBenque Viej o?
I don't know the circumstances of
how Deacon came to use the convent-
over the years he has maintained it and
added to the structure. Not only that,
he has provided work for many, many
Benquenos, who, otherwise would have
had to go much further to find a job.
Presently he is the largest private em-
ployer in the town- his loss will be a great
loss for the town when employees start
to be laid off- what will happen to these
people and their families? You might be
able to afford to buy these Caribbean
texts but there are many families who
would not be able to do so.
You made reference to him hiring UDP
friends and made special mention of

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some. Not too long ago someone else
accused him of hiring PUP friends. Both
are correct. He hires people, perhaps
friends, who have the expertise needed
to carry on his specialized business, a
high-tech world now.
In regard to the convent renovations,
you are a bit behind the nuns will be
moving back; they certainly won't be
playing golf in the back yard since that
is where they are building a house for
the 4 or 5 candidates who come to the
parish each year. They don't come to
play golf either!


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with us free of charge! After that only
$10 per advert per issue. Ads must
be: 1) 20 words or less 2) photo must
bejpeg or tiff formats only. Must be
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at mid-day for inclusion in following
Tuesday issue.

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Friday, July 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 16

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