Title: Independent reformer
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099538/00036
 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: August 10, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00036
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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Submitted by The Peninsula Citi-
zens for Sustainable Development
Consider these numbers:
-Approximately 575 rooms, condos,
villas and suites are currently available
for tourist rental on the Placencia Pen-
-Approximately 1,500 rooms, con-
dos, suites, villas and lots have been
approved for the Placencia Peninsula,
with about 500 under active construc-
tion, along with ancillary swimming
pools, marinas, restaurants, bars, gyms
and spas all, of course, completely
air conditioned.
-Developers are currently seeking
approval for another 415+ villas, con-
dos, rooms, lots and suites and this
number includes only those about which
information is somewhat available. This
number does not include development
(Please Turn To Page 2) MIW


artists conception of Grand Reef Condos to be built in Placencia

The Case for Independent Candidates

By: Mario Lara
Belizean voters don't have a real
choice between the UDP and PUP be-
cause neither one represents a real chal-
lenge to the status quo. The case can
be made that it would be at least worth-
while to replace the current administra-
tion with a different set of managers who
say they will work to bring the national
debt under control and reign in the ram-
pant corruption.
But, so what? All that would mean is
that the UDP would be committed to
managing the debt in order to protect
the same "investors" to whom they now
claim that the PUP have sold out. They
would simply renegotiate deals and
make it look as if they've accomplished
something. Just listen closely to what
both parties are saying about the $33
Million UHS mess.
So, let's not fool ourselves into think-
ing that the UDP represents anything
fundamentally different than the PUP.

VIP's Paul Morgan
They may differ in style but not in sub-
Both the UDP and PUP have been
financed and continue to be financed by
the elite foreign and local business in-
terests in Belize. So, how can either
party claim to represent the grassroots?
They simply pretend to do so and claim
to be agents of change meanwhile they
both protect the status quo. They help
to convince Belizeans that in order for

Belize to progress, we must be willing
to exploit our valuable natural resources
with the help of foreign lenders and "in-
vestors." Both the UDP and PUP try
to convince us that one is better than
the other at playing the economic growth
game- but it's the same game they both
say we must play.
The party system in Belize is designed
to work this way. Every five-years or
so, it allows the people to let off some

PNP Will Maheia
steam by pretending they can vote for
real change; meanwhile the elite mov-
ers and shakers remain well in control.
Enter the independent candidates...
The independent parties are not well
organized and not as well financed, so
it will be tough for them to present a
real challenge. Bucking against the sta-
tus quo is not an easy task. And, the
second they start to show a little head-
(Please Turn To Page 6) M

Le dI n e n d t O n l i e a t h t t p / / b ei z e n e w c o mi n d e e n d n t r t t p / / t n y u l o m / 4 5 d p

I. I S R e adS SI~~Ind ep e n d e nt O n i e a t p / b l z n wgcm i d p n e t o t p / ti y rgo/ 4 d pP g

GOB has right focus
To the Editor,
I have watched with interest your
publication's attitudes toward devel-
opment in Belize and in particular to-
ward your criticism of the government
(both of the major political parties)
and its approach to development. As
a developer for over 45 years in the
US, currently considering develop-
ment in Belize, and as an elected offi-
cial in state government in the US for
a number of years, I would like to
comment on your approach.
First of all, few generalizations about
development are appropriate. Each
development should be judged on its
own merit. And it should be judged
by someone knowledgeable in devel-
opment. While rapid, high cost de-
velopment on the coast of Belize will
create certain problems, it will also
create certain advantages. Develop-
ment must start somewhere. And
good development breeds more de-
velopment. In the last analysis, good
developers will create good develop-
ments regardless of government's at-
tempt to regulate. And bad develop-

ers will create bad developments re-
gardless of government's attempt to
regulate. It comes down to the com-
petence and integrity of the developer.
The government of Belize has, dur-
ing the almost four years that I have
been investigating developing in
Belize, been uniformly cooperative,
while always asking the key question
-"is this development good for Belize
and in what ways?" Because I have
seen the proliferation of high end de-
velopments along the coast of Belize,
I have concluded that the develop-
ment of middle class, large scale de-
velopments in the central part of the
country is what is most needed. The
development of an economy is based
upon a strong middle class. Therefore,
while there are economic benefits to
attracting wealthy retirees to Belize,
the future of Belize ultimately lies in
middle class developments, the cre-
ation of middle class jobs, and a com-
mitment to reinvest a significant part
of the profits of development in
Belize is massively underdeveloped.
Countries of similar size and even
fewer resources support populations

twenty times as large as that of Belize.
Belize has the potential of quickly
becoming the flower of Central
America. Only inappropriate percep-
tions created by the media can stand
in its way. The media has an obliga-
tion to cover improper actions in the
public arena. But the media has the
obligation to treat such actions pro-
portionately and also to cover with
equal zeal the many positive accom-
plishments of the country and its gov-
The government of Belize has dem-
onstrated to me that its focus is cor-
rect. After almost four years of inves-
tigation, many meetings with govern-
ment officials, government civil ser-
vants, non governmental organiza-
tions, and professionals, including at-
torneys, accountants, and engineers,
I have found competence, coopera-
tion, and not the slightest hint of cor-
ruption. On that basis I have con-
cluded that I should recommend ma-
j or investment in the future of Belize
and I intend to do so.
David N. Levinson, Chairman
(Please Turn To Page 15) *Ji

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Friday, August 3, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3

Doom or Boom in Placencia?

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Developers are clearing mangroves and dredging up landfill; where are the Environmental Impact Assessments and the Department of the Environment in all this?

" M (Continued From Page 1)
plans for a resort on Lagoon Caye, the
best permit flats in the country or for
a resort on False Caye, which is a teem-
ing nursery for juvenile fish and conch,
the nearest good snorkeling spot to the
Peninsula and the site of a Mayan ruin.
Now consider this:
-The Placencia Peninsula has one dirt
road, an unreliable electrical supply, and
a water system that is already under
considerable stress from water require-
ments of existing residents and tourists.
-Only one doctor and two nurses are
available on the Peninsula to handleALL
medical care, including emergencies.
-The Peninsula has no sewage treat-
ment facilities. While larger resorts are
now being required to install package
sewage treatment plants, individual lot
owners and smaller condos and hotels
still rely on often poorly designed and
improperly constructed septic tanks.
-The Peninsula has one garbage dump
to handle all household, resort and con-
struction garbage. That dump has no
landfill or garbage management equip-

ment or expertise.
-Dredging for fill needed for new con-
struction and to develop marinas threat-
ens to destroy seagrass beds in the
Placencia Lagoon that provide food and
safe harbor for manatees, juvenile per-
mit, rays, snook, barracuda and lob-
ster. One contractor recently received
a permit to dredge the Lagoon from
mid-July 2007 through November
-The same dredging and filling has al-
ready destroyed much of the mangroves
along the Peninsula coastline, especially
on the northern end of the Peninsula
from Maya Beach through the Planta-
tion area.
-Affordable housing is extremely lim-
ited, forcing many Peninsula born
Belizeans to move from the Peninsula
across the Lagoon to the Mango Creek
Clearly, the Peninsula's infrastructure
already can't handle existing loads.
How will it handle double that load when
the developments already under con-
struction are completed in less than a

year? What happens when that load
triples and quadruples in the next few
Of particular concern is the road, the
only path of evacuation for most resi-
dents of the Peninsula when a hurricane
threatens. Will residents of Placencia
Village be able to make it off the Penin-
sula behind possibly a thousand new
vehicles also seeking escape?
The Department of Geology,
which issues dredging and mining
permits, refuses to send permit ap-
plications to the Department of the
Environment for review, even
though the Government of Belize
acknowledges that the Placencia
Lagoon is an ecologically sensitive
environment. Geology even goes as
far as to claim the dredging is "good"
for the Lagoon because it deepens the
bottom and that the "fish like that."
Maybe a couple of big snappers like it,
but one of the primary functions of the
Lagoon is as a marine nursery, not a
series of fishing holes for a few big fish.
Geology also won't release the per-



A satellite image from Google Earth with new developments for Placencia marked by pushpins.
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mits to the public so that the amount of
dredging that is occurring can be moni-
tored by people living on the Peninsula.
The Lands Department continues to
issue permits for mangrove clearance
even when Environmental Compliance
Plans prohibit mangrove removal.
The Department of the Environment
claims not to know about most of the
new developments planned or already
under construction on the Peninsula.
Why? Because, says DOE, other de-
partments, such as Geology, Forestry
and Lands, are purposefully bypassing
So, DOE remains ignorant of the cu-
mulative impact of development occur-
ring on the Peninsula, and developers
use DOE's ignorance to avoid cumula-
tive impact analyses that might highlight
the uncontrolled development that is oc-
curring on the Peninsula.
Ara Macao is a prime example of this
strategy, as evidenced by its answer to
the requirement that the Ara Macao
developer characterize the extent and
quality of the cumulative impact of de-
velopments on the Peninsula. As stated
in Ara Macao's EIA, Section 18-2:
The determination of potential cumu-
lative impacts... is difficult to quantify,
since data is limited due to the fact that
all proj ects have not been subjected to
the environmental clearance process.
Further, little or no monitoring is be-
ing done of any of the developments on
the Peninsula, and the Departments of
Lands, Geology, Forestry and Environ-
ment have not responded to requests
for information that would allow local
residents to monitor the developments
For example, on 14 May 2007, a let-
ter was sent to all four departments ask-
ing for copies of mangrove and dredg-
ing permits, Environmental Compliance
Plans, engineering studies and other of-
ficial documents that are supposed to
limit the environmental, social and cul-
tural impacts of new developments.
(The letter was actually hand-delivered
to DOE and Geology.) This letter was
again faxed to all four departments on
17 July 2007. No response has been
received from any department.
Ironically, Travel Mole, an Internet
based travel agent newsletter, reports
that the number of tourists visiting Car-
ibbean countries declined 10% in the
last year because tourists have "been
(Please Turn To Page 7) E1

Voting Bights, or Bight to Vote

have had to drop out long ago if it had
not been for this support; perhaps some
of them only eat every day because
some auntie or uncle or granny sends
the person they live with money for

I-- .. 1

By: Karla HeusnerVernon
A little snippet in one of the party pa-
pers recently lambasted Belizean Asso-
ciations abroad for not doing more to
ensure Belizean children get a good edu-
cation. The nameless author was shame-
lessly begging these organizations for
books and other supplies and to help
with school fees. Now, excuse me, but
isn't the responsibility for making sure
our kids get to school and stay that of
the children's families living here and also
our own Ministry of Education?
It also did not take into account the
fact that thousands of our children do
get their fees, books and uniforms from
Belizean relatives abroad through remit-
tances and boxes and barrels of shoes
and school bags and shirts and pants and
skirts and crayons and blanks, etc, etc.
Perhaps some of these children would

So I found the piece quite ignorant
and reckless.
But perhaps it is symptomatic of that
"kruffy" mindset which believesjust be-
cause someone lives in the States they are
somehow obligated to help those back
home. ThatBelizean organizations abroad
are formed for the sole purpose of col-
lecting donations and bundling them back
to Belize, not to help maintain cultural and
social ties or enhance business network-
ing and so on... .that someBelizeans of a
certain socio-economic background even
regard Belizeans living away as little more
than "shugga" daddies and mommies and
resent it when they come back and point
out things could be run better, more ef-

ficiently, money spent more wisely.
The little piece was crawling around
in the back of my mind even as I was
skimming through an unrelated docu-
ment, the Political Reform Commission

Report, 2000. And I realized that even
those higher up the food chain want
those financial contributions to continue
to the state, but prefer to keep those
sending the money in their place over
yonder. For the simple reason that their
sheer numbers would enable them to
turn ova Big Fat Jerry's barge, if they
wanted to.
Their attitude is once Belizeans have
left Belizean soil they are no longer sons
and daughters of that soil, and some-
how forfeit their right to participate in
Belizeans society and political process.
If you don't believe me, judge for your-
self. And I quote:
Under Recommendation 82, Voting
Rights for Belizeans Abroad 13:24:

It is the considered view of the
(Political Reform) Commission that
voting rights, outside of those pres-
ently existing should not be conferred
on Belizeans abroad. As it is,
Belizeans living abroad can register
to vote once they have lived at an
address in Belize for over two
"The Commission also noted that
there were many risks that allowing
registration outside of the residency
requirement or voting by proxy could
cause, including the extreme situa-
tion of a government that has minor-
ity support at home. When elections
in Belize are sometimes determined
by one vote, the influence of large
numbers of Belizeans not living in
Belize voting in Belize 's elections is
extremely significant. Additionally, a
basic principle of democracy is that
it is government i ith the consent of
the governed and Belizeans living
abroad can in no way claim to be gov-
erned. "
Wow, so I guess all the millions ofUS
citizens abroad who vote through ab-
sentee ballots in major US elections
(Please Turn To Page 16) iE"

Friday, August 3, 2007

The INdependent Reformer

Page 5

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B: TreorVernon
By: TrevorVernon

All the republics around us have
more than ten active political parties,
some as high as 20 plus registered par-
ties. Caricom countries have on aver-
age fewer than four, which don't have
to be registered at all. In Belize, we
have the two mass parties (not unlike
Caricom countries) and four other se-
rious contenders; but, the latter have
been dormant in the last month or so.
And, this is troubling to all of us con-
cerned about our democratic future.
Our legal system is based on what
they call "common law traditions", Brit-

The Case

HEl(Continued From Page 1)
way or progress, you bet that the
members of the elite business class
will immediately take notice and just
as immediately try to sabotage any
progress that the independents
make by any means necessary in-
cluding threatening, bribing, slan-
dering, and co-opting.
So, we can quarrel, fuss, and fight
all day long about an elected sen-
ate, or about who are the better
managers or which party is more
corrupt. But when it boils down to
it, a handful of people with deep
pockets will ultimately continue to
control the direction of develop-
ment in Belize because we are a
people divided and there is no
leader in sight who is capable of
capturing the collective imagination
and leading us down a different path
toward a unique vision of what
Belize might be.
We allow our leaders to use
words like "sustainable growth" and
"grassroots" without holding them
accountable to what these terms re-
ally mean. The Mayan people of
Belize, for instance, who are argu-
ably the most representative of what
it means to be grassroots Belizean
and who have a long history, full of
important lessons for us to learn are
hardly paid any attention. The
Mayans too had elites who were in-
terested in amassing wealth only for
themselves; but eventually they col-
lapsed. The ones who survived,
survived because they clung to a
traditional culture and communal
lifestyle based on subsistence liv-
ing (some might say sustainable liv-
ing). But, this philosophy is of no

ish Common Law traditions to be ex-
act. Our Central American neighbours
have a codified legal structure they in-
herited from Spain, which allows for
better facilitation of formation of mul-
tiple political parties in the Republics.
The Brits saw no need for more than
two parties. Hence, the so called "third
parties", have legalistic hurdles to get
around as if they don't have enough
challenges as it is.
Yet clearly we see a need for more
than the two mass parties the colonial
masters envisioned, enshrined in the
common law system, and handed down
to us or to those of us who copied down
our constitution from other post colo-
nial constitutions.
Political Party formation takes orga-
nization and that requires financial out-
lays. I don't know how the colonial
masters envisioned political organization
but clearly it was not well thought out.
Now, I have not studied legal traditions
to any degree so the arguments con-

tamined here are not to be confused with
any academically structured thesis.
There is in Belize today a fairly active
third party movement, struggling but
active. And while many are expressing
dismay at the apparent inability for these
3rd parties to show some force, I would
like to suggest that they/we take that
disappointment and get active with the
third party of your/our choice. Third
Parties in Belize, all four of them, need
the help and active volunteerism of the
people, you & I. What are you/we wait-
ing for?
These days it has become quite fash-
ionable to talk about "the removal of
the last vestiges of colonialism". Well,
let us do that but getting rid of the old
boys club of the colonial vestige called
the two mass parties. If we've truly had
enough of them, being controlled by the
new vestige called the "Lawd", then let
us unite for the sake of our beloved
Belize and rally around the 3rd parties
and their candidates. Some 3rd parties

are still looking for candidates. Get ac-
tive, get involved, or get taken for an-
other long ride by the two mass parties
and their cesspool of lawyers, funded
by massive funny money, with the legal
cover of the truly last colonial vestige:
the outdated, antiquated, inherited con-
stitution coming indirectly from the co-
lonial master of this "common law tra-
dition" country.
So the answer to the question: what
happened to the 3rd parties? is simple.
You & I are not active enough with the
third parties. We need to take owner-
ship of this political system and not trust
it to our "bling, bling" lawyers posing
as politicians backed up by their funny
money financiers posing as investors/
clients. We can't trust them anymore to
handle Belize's affairs for us. They have,
as a collective group, failed us. If we
are to see positive changes, then the
baby must go out with the bathwater.
Get involved or get taken yet again. The
choice is yours Belize.

for Independent Candidates

interest to today's elites nor to a
majority offBelizeans.
I am not suggesting that we should
all give up our modern lifestyle and
be willing to live in traditional Mayan
villages. What I am saying is that
until a majority of us are willing in-
corporate some of this subsistence
philosophy into our way of living
and to give up our insatiable appe-
tite for material wealth; and look
around us and see and appreciate
the plenty that we have and embrace
a more modest lifestyle and create
a culture that says to our leaders
and our would-be leaders that what
we want most is to protect what we
already have, and stop the madness
of borrowing and spending for
projects that enrich a few at the
expense of many and at the expense
of our natural environment. We will
all remain partly to blame for the
continued sell out of our national
wealth and its concentration into the
hands of a few.
So, having said all this, what is the
ordinary voter supposed to do?
Lets assume, for the moment that
you agree that there is no fundamen-
tal difference between the UDP and
PUP and that the independents
don't stand a very good chance.
Under this scenario, why bother
I offer the following as food for
thought. Even though the indepen-
dent candidates may not stand a
very good chance and may not have
their act fully together, they repre-
sent the best hope for change. If
the independent candidates are able
to gain a majority or at least a sig-
nificant showing in the number of

seats they gain, it will create a win-
dow of opportunity. Members of
the status quo would be caught off
guard and would be forced to ne-
gotiate with a new set of leaders
that they have not dealt with before.
Yes, they will attempt to bribe, di-
vide, conquer, and co-opt the in-
dependent candidates who are suc-
cessful and they may even be able
to frustrate their effort to bring
about meaningful change; but at

least the people would have dealt a
blow to the status quo and begin to
create a culture and environment
where our political leaders and par-
ties might be inspired to truly cham-
pion the cause of the people rather
than simply manipulating the elec-
If either the UDP or PUP wins a
majority in the next general elections
it will represent a continuation of
the status quo, period.

U.S. Embassy Belmopan 6H Annual

Fifth Floor, Radiss.on Fort George
Hotel and Marina
Belize Citr. Belize
August 24-25, 2007
9:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.

American Expo 2007 The place to promote your American
products and services in Belize! Especially those
new-to-the-market US-made products and services!
Firms interested lo showcase American prodic Is and senr iccs may contact
U.S. Fmhiassy. telephone 822-40 It1. extension 4308
Or visit hbrip l1i' u-c
Come experience a truly American event at
Admission on both days is FREE to the general public *
ponsoredby U.S. .Embas-B p d ih heU.S. Depwn orStale

Friday, August 3, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7

Doom or Boom in Placencia?

-'IME(Continued From Page 3)
there, done that" and want "something
That "something new" could be
Belize. However, in addition to an ap-
parent total lack of concern for envi-
ronmental, cultural and social issues, it
seems that the Government of Belize is
trying to turn the country, especially the
Placencia Peninsula, into a carbon copy
of Caribbean islands already full of ca-
sinos, marinas, tennis courts and spas,
while ignoring the uniqueness that could
attract tourists to fill locally owned and
operated hotels, guesthouses, resorts,
tour boats and tour vans.
Clearly, the Government of Belize and
the People's United Party don't care
about planning, controlled growth and
protection of Belizeans, their families,
their businesses, their culture and their
environment. Does the United Demo-
cratic Party? Maybe. Maybe not. We
haven't seen any concrete evidence of
concern, and, in fact, the UDP Mani-
festo promises to bring cruise ships, with
all of their attendant problems, to south-
em Belize.

The Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable
Development (PCSD) is one local or-
ganization that IS concerned. PCSD is
attempting to bring this situation to the
public's attention, as well as monitor
dredging, mining, mangrove destruction
and water quality through citizen moni-
toring programs.
PCSD has also produced a slideshow

providing information (and pictures) about
Peninsula developments. This slide show
can be downloaded from http://
2007pljdevelopments.exe. (The show
must be downloaded and saved to the
desktop. The commercially produced
player for the show is included in the
download and will not harm computers.)

Sunset Point in Placencia.

What is happening on the Placencia
Peninsula is mirrored by projects oc-
curring elsewhere in the country, such
as government support for a causeway
that would destroy the Swallow Caye
sanctuary for manatee and birds, fail-
ure to prosecute individuals who forge
ahead with projects without obtaining
legally mandated environmental review
and approvals, such as Luke Espat's
cruise ship terminal, inadequate funding
for the Department of the Environment,
and refusal to require compliance with
environmental compliance plans, such
as the government refusal to require
BEL to implement a community warn-
ing system for the Chalillo dam area.
Development can be sustainable and
offer positive economic growth and en-
vironmental, social and cultural protec-
tion at the same time. But, rampant and
uncontrolled development offers neither
sustainable economic benefits nor en-
vironmental, social and cultural ones.
Your home and your community could
be the next to suffer unless all of us be-
gin to take responsibility for our com-
munities and our environment, AND
embrace our duties, responsibilities and
obligations as citizens to ensure that our
government acts in OUR best interests,
and according to OUR goals and pri-
orities not the desires of a few politi-
cal cronies and foreign investors.

Coco Plum Responds to PCSD

Not everyone agrees that the
Placencia Penninsula cannot sustain the
projected increase in condominiums and
other units. Independent Weekly spoke
with Coco Plum developer Stewart
Krohn about infrastructure and other
IW Is the current road in Placencia
going to be able to accommodate an
increase in traffic and all the build-
ing going on in the area?
SK. Government has already given
its commitment, signed the loan agree-
ment for a new road. The chief engi-
neer told me construction should begin

around November. So that is not even
an issue.
IW In terms of water supply, will
there be enough water to supply all
these units?
SK. There is no way to measure the
capacity of the acquifer, that may or may
not be a problem. What I can give you
is an example from Cocoplum, we have
a covenant arrangement that every pur-
chaser must have an underground
system. In other words, they will collect
rainwater and only tap into the main
water system as a supplement. For nine
months out of the year we have good

rainfall down here. But look at San
Pedro. They have no water and have
gone the way of water treatment, turn-
ing salt water to fresh. If there should
prove to be a problem with the Placencia
supply, we can always go the reverse
osmosis route.
IW Do you share any of the con-
cerns by the Penninsula citizens
SK. I believe it's a way of life issue. I
wouldn't want to see a casino at Ara
Macao, or anywhere for that matter.
I don't think that type of thing is com-
patible with eco-tourism. I also find

the Ara Macao project offensive in
terms of scale. So maybe we are on
the same page with that. But devel-
opment can be done right. Again, the
example of Coco Plum. We are set-
ting the standard for low density de-
velopment, we believe that is the way
to go. I would much rather see that
instead of just condemning all the
projects, rejecting everything, the
PCSD should put their efforts into
establishing a Penninsula Planning
Authority to ensure things are done
right and the infrastructure is there to
meet the demand.

Landfill used on the Bella Maya development is spilling into the lagoon.

Could We Live the Next 5

Years Without Politicians?


By: RayAuxillou
In Belize, we surely could. The civil
service runs the government and all the
government revenues for the next five
years have already been allocated. The
money must be spent on maintaining the
government, the teachers and the medi-
cal system, with the remainder if any,
going to pay the interest on the PUP
Super Bond created National Debt.
We don't start paying PRINCIPAL if I
have understood the PUP announce-
ments on their created national debt,
until after the next new government five
year period. Gawd help us if Musa
manages to saddle the taxpayer with
his UHS foolishness to the tune of $120
It doesn't seem to matter who will
get elected, or who collects the politi-
cians' salaries and perks for the next
five years. There is little, if anything,
for them to do. We can expect another
five years of austerity, perhaps a little
more rigid and tighter than this past five
years and probably more of the same
extending out for another 18 years, or
3 12 more elective terms of office.
Financially, we require a $100 mil-
lion foreign exchange permanently in our
foreign reserves, which is equivalent to
$200 million Belize currency, to be
available for any Hurricane strikes and
fixing any aftermath damage.
This past five years saw some public
works activity, using various foreign
loans, a favorite operating method of
the PUP, which is only exacerbating our
national debt problems. Preferably we
would make no more foreign money
loans for five years, or at best very mini-
mal, in sort of emergency cases.
The PUP of this current term has
brought the National Debt down from

8% to 3.2% of GDP- they say. Inde-
pendent observers hint it is back up to
over 4% of GDP because of continued
borrowing. The PUP carefully explain
this only covers foreign loan debts. I
believe we have been quoted of having
a total of 90% of GDP in TOTAL debt?
The European Union require their
member states to have below 3% of
GDP in foreign debt. In our case with
looming interest and principal payments
in six years, the debt must rapidly be
reduced to less than 1% of GDP right
NOW, in order to be able to prepare
for payments on the PRINCIPAL of the
PUP Super Bond ten years from now. In
other words, we cannot take on any for-
eign loan debt for the next five years. We
shouldn't have borrowed any this past five
years, but you know the PUP, they can't
stop borrowing and spending as a substi-
tute for poor management skills.
It does seem that without any extra
money to spend and a curtailing of a lot
of activity in public works, we could
easily live as a country without politi-
cians, at least for the next five years.
There isn't a lot of work to be done
really in the nation. We are going to
need a steady building of new class-
rooms, as the Belize Baby Boom starts
to escalate exponentially over the next
five years but most of these new chil-

dren will be in private for profit, pre-
schools, so we can build new classrooms
using other methods than foreign loans.
It is the term after that when we are
really going to need a lot of classrooms
as this population hits school age.
If we put wild spending politicians in
power for the next five years, people
who continue to take on loans abroad,
we will be in real trouble by the end of
the next new five year government term.
So it does seem that we would be bet-
ter without politicians for the next five

years, or perhaps a consensus type
political government with lots of Inde-
pendent representatives and a clean
slate unconnected to the two maj or ex-
isting political parties' machinery. We
may be lucky enough to find some con-
stitutional reform people among them
who would spend the next five years
reforming the legislation which would
lead to a more democratic consensual
partnership type government for the
better future of Belize.
What do you think?

fo r
Independent Weekly
An autographed copy --
of Karla Heusner's
collection of columns
Only $25 BZ
(including shipping)
Call, e-mail or write to
Independent Weekly I


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Friday, August 3, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9



diplomacy -


From The Economist
The job of representing the Pope in
Burundi brings with it a fine colonial villa,
but nobody would say Archbishop Paul
Gallagher has an enviable post. In 2003
his predecessor, Archbishop Michael
Courtney, died in a hail of bullets after
mystery attackers ambushed his car.
Whoever they were, the killers were
clear about their target: the vehicle bore
diplomatic plates and a Vatican flag,
while the Irish cleric, in white cassock
and purple skull cap, was known to all;
so was his role in negotiating a peace
accord, sealed a month earlier. The day
of his death, December 29th, is now a
fixture in Burundi's calendar.
Thousands of miles away, on the fron-
tier between Argentina and Chile, pa-
pal diplomacy is remembered in a dif-
ferent way. A mountain pass has been
renamed after Cardinal Antonio
Samore, who before his death in 1983
helped settle a territorial dispute that
could have led to war. In different ways,
the Irish archbishop and the Italian car-
dinal represent the best of an ancient
and often contentious quirk of the in-
ternational scene: the fact that the Ro-
man Catholic Church, alone among
faiths, is a diplomatic player.
Over the past century-despite the
march of secularism-the Vatican's role
in world affairs has expanded. In 1890
a famous English Catholic, Cardinal
Manning, said the Holy See's diplomatic
activities were "a mere pageant", a me-
dieval relic. He would be amazed to find
that in 2007 papal diplomacy is more
active than ever.
The real explosion came under John
Paul II. When he was elected in 1978,
the Holy See had full ties with 85 states.
When he died, the figure was 174.
Among states that dropped their mis-
givings were Margaret Thatcher's Brit-
ain, Ronald Reagan's America and
Mikhail Gorbachev's Soviet Union. The
Holy See now has full diplomatic rela-
tions with 176 states. Vietnam, China
and Saudi Arabia are among the few
without formal links. Recent years have
also seen an expansion in the See's
multilateral diplomacy. It sits in on the
deliberations of 16 inter-governmental
bodies, including the United Nations,
the African Union and the Organisation
ofAmerican States.

The Vatican acts, by its own choice,
as a "permanent observer" rather than
a voting member of the UN; but it is a
signatory to some UN human-rights
conventions, including those on racial
equality and the rights of the child. It
uses these vantage points to lobby for
its ideas: non-violence, a better eco-
nomic deal for poor nations, the exten-
sion of international law, support for
marriage-and, controversially, the
"sanctity of life" from the time of con-
ception, which means opposing contra-
ception, abortion and euthanasia.
Arguments over the Holy See's dip-
lomatic status came to a head in 1994
when the pope's envoys-lining up with
Muslim states-used their muscle to
water down the outcome of a UN
meeting on population in Cairo. The
Vatican took a similar, albeit slightly
lower-key, stance at a follow-up con-
ference in 1999. This prompted cam-
paigners for "reproductive rights" to
demand that the Vatican be stripped of
its diplomatic status-arguing that nei-
ther as a state, nor as a religion, should
the Holy See have a place at the UN.
The pope's "diplomatic service" is a
reminder of his unique and ambiguous
status as both a religious and temporal
leader. Formally, the pope's diplomats
represent the Holy See-not the Vatican
state which, under a 1929 accord with
Italy, is the sovereign power in part of
Rome. But in years past, some states
(such as America in the 19th century)
would deal with the pope only as head
of a sovereign state. The fact that pon-
tiffs wear two hats, temporal and spiri-
tual, gives them, and their interlocutors,
a certain flexibility. In 2001, when
Greece's Orthodox clergy grumbled
over a visit by Pope John Paul II, the
government in Athens could retort that
it was merely receiving him as a head of
But more and more governments have
in recent years seemed happy to deal
with the Holy See on its own terms,
especially after John Paul II boosted its
global profile. For any state, an embassy
to the See offers attractions. For poor
ones, it is a chance to garner informa-
tion from one of the world's best-in-
formed chancelleries. For powerful
ones, it offers a way to influence the
Vatican and seek papal approval. Na-

poleon told his man in Rome: "Deal with
the pope as if he had 200,000 men at
his command." After some years in
Rome, the envoy said 500,000 was
nearer the mark.
The real extent of the Vatican's power
is hard to compute. One in every six
human beings was baptised into the
pope's church. Of course, many quit
the faith, but he remains a global opin-
ion-former. His views can sway Catho-
lic votes-a point not lost on Ameri-
can presidents, who rarely miss a
chance to visit the Vatican. In Burundi
all top politicians and expatriates flock
to Archbishop Gallagher's residence for
the papal feast day. Cutting a lower
profile than his predecessor, the 53-
year-old Englishman reports only "oc-
casional" contacts with Burundi's rebel
factions, the last of which signed a
ceasefire agreement in September
2006. In the rich world one respecter

Top of the line parts.
Asking Bz$1,200 O.B.O.
contact Independent
Reformer Weekly

of papal clout is Britain's new prime
minister, Gordon Brown. Three years
ago this son of a Presbyterian minister
went to seek Vatican endorsement of a
proposal to boost aid to poor nations.
This year he returned to co-launch a
plan to bring new vaccines to poor
The pope's divisions
Papal diplomacy is almost as old as
the papacy. But it was not until 1500
that a permanent nunciature, or diplo-
matic service, was established, in
Venice. The earliest Protestant state to
send an ambassador was Prussia in
1805: its envoy was Baron Wilhelm von
Humboldt, a philosopher and linguist.
The first non-Christian state to estab-
lish relations was Japan, in 1942.
Of the countries with links today, only
78 keep missions in Rome-and they
form one of the world's odder diplo-
(Please Turn To Page 9) M W


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I. IS ReadS S I''Indpndn nlnSt Sp:/eiznwScm in eedet o Itp/tn ulcm 2 5dpp*Pae'10



diplomacy -


" EM(Continued From Page 8)
matic corps. The embassy with the big-
gest staff, along with that of Germany,
is the Dominican Republic's. Iran has a
large mission, with as many diplomats
as America. ("Who knows what other
duties they have?" sighs a senior Vatican
Courtney gave everything to his
mission in Burundi
The diplomats' main point of contact
with the papal administration is the Sec-
retariat of State, housed in the pope's
residence, the Apostolic Palace. It has
two departments: the Section for Gen-
eral Affairs deals with national churches,
while the smaller Section for Relations
with States does conventional diplo-
macy. Its current head, in effect the
Vatican's foreign minister, is Dominique
Mamberti, a French expert on Islam.
Born in Morocco, Archbishop
Mamberti has represented the Holy See
in Algeria, Chile, Lebanon, Sudan and
at the UN.
Papal diplomats, all priests nowadays,
are trained at the Pontifical Ecclesiasti-
cal Academy in Rome. The academy
has had a colourful history, once losing
its assets to a rogue administrator. Its
graduates do two jobs: representing the
Holy See to the local government and
keeping a vigilant eye on national
churches. Vatican envoys usually stay
longer enposte than secular ones (one
nuncio was in Dublin for 26 years).
Some cover vast cultural distances: the
nuncio in Algeria was born in Taiwan.
Conventional diplomacy is a small
part of what they do. "In most places,
95% of our work relates to the life of
the church," says a former nuncio. "The
overwhelming bulk of the correspon-
dence has to do with the appointment

Reuters-Kyrgyzstan's government
has offered a novel idea to repay the
impoverished nation's giant foreign
debt simply to club together and
pay it off.
The Central Asian state's govern-
ment rejected in February the Heavily
Indebted Poor Countries initiative of
the International Monetary Fund and
the World Bank, which would have
slashed its $2 billion (1 billion pound)
foreign debt in half in return for re-
President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said

Another big difference between pa-
pal and ordinary diplomats is that the
former have little protection-and never
pull out of dangerous situations. "The
pope leaves his representatives to suf-
fer with the people of the country to
which they are accredited," says a
Vatican official.
Compared with many foreign services,
the Holy See's is tiny, less than 300-
strong. There are rarely more than two
people in each mission. According to
the Vatican's official directory, the "Sec-
tion for Relations with States" has only
18 diplomats and 29 other staff in
Rome. Until recently, one desk officer
watched Britain, South Asia and bits of
Latin America. Yet visitors to the Vatican
"foreign ministry" are amazed by the
knowledge they find. "We are priests,"
says one veteran. "We have no family.
We work 24 hours a day if necessary.
It's the key to understanding why we
are so few, and so efficient."
Oded Ben-Hur, Israel's envoy to the
Holy See, adds that its diplomatic ser-
vice is "just like any foreign service, with
different people having different abili-
ties. But they have an advantage: they
are highly cultured. They know lan-
guages. They know history. They are
very well-informed." A former papal
envoy to a war-torn nation tells with
pride how the American embassy would
send a diplomat each morning to ask
him about the war zones, knowing the
pope's man would have been fully
briefed by local nuns.
Like their secular counterparts, these
brainy clerics have in recent years had
to share the diplomatic action with other
institutions, both official and unofficial.
The Pontifical Council for Justice and

at the time that by signing to the for-
eign-prescribed initiative, the Kyrgyz
risked losing face and would better
tighten their belts to repay all debts.
Finance Minister Akylbek
Dzhaparov said last week the gov-
ernment would issue interest-free
securities to the population and
would use the proceeds to pay off
the massive debt comprising 80
percent of Kyrgyz gross domestic
"I hope government members will
show an example and be the first to

Peace, a sort of overseas-aid ministry,
speaks for the Vatican in some forums,
while an independent Rome-based
body, the Sant'Egidio Community, has
achieved some of the more spectacular
successes of Catholic diplomacy. Sir
Ivor Roberts, a former British diplomat
who worked with Sant'Egidio over
schools in Kosovo, calls it an "unor-
thodox, extra corps d'elite" that can
plug gaps "in areas where conventional
diplomacy hasn't worked." Mario Giro,
a Sant'Egidio official, says it is now doing
mediation work in "Darfur, Ivory Coast,
north Uganda and two other places
outside Africa I cannot name".
In Burundi last year the Catholic
Peacebuilding Network-which calls
itself "a network of practitioners, aca-
demics, clergy and laity"-held a meet-
ing on the Great Lakes region that in-
volved the nuncio, local bishops,
Sant'Egidio and other Catholic agen-
cies: an array of expertise on the re-
lated conflicts ofBurundi, Rwanda and
Congo. Last month the network held a
similar pan-Catholic forum in Colom-
Even as they share tasks with sister
agencies, envoys from the Vatican must
live with the fact that their boss-like
any political master-reserves the right
to upset the whole apple-cart with "un-
diplomatic" outbursts. John Paul II's
blunt talk about communism swept
away years of cautious accommodation.
His successor has upset Muslims (by
seeming to link their faith with violence),
South Americans (dismayed by his
views on the record of missionaries),
Jews (because of the revival of a liturgy
whose original form called for their con-
version, though the number two in the
hierarchy has said that bit of the rite might

buy the securities," he told a cabi-
net meeting.
The cheapest security will have a
nominal value of $2,600, and the
government set a limit of $26,500
per person for a one-off "assis-
tance" to the state.
Monthly salaries average less than
$100 in the mountainous nation of
5 million people.
The government had earlier
opened a special "people's" ac-
count at the central bank, inviting
compatriots to make contributions

be changed), and most recently, Prot-
estants, who ask why the Vatican chose
last week to repeat its view that their
churches don't deserve the name.
These embarrassments highlight one
of the drawbacks of the Holy See's
ambiguous situation: it enjoys many of
the privileges of a state while also
speaking for a faith. Vatican officials say
this paradox is both defensible and ben-
eficial: unlike diplomats who act for a
state, and whose first duty is to pro-
mote and protect its interests, papal
envoys strive for the good of humanity.
A former Vatican "foreign minister",
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, said re-
cently the Holy See "tries not only to
promote and defend, if necessary, the
freedom and rights of the Catholic com-
munities around the world, but also to
promote certain principles without
which there is no civilisation." But it also
has a specific political agenda. It wants
international status for Jerusalem. It
recognizes Taiwan as China. Listing the
keystones of foreign policy, Cardinal
Tauran stressed the "right to life at all
stages of biological development".
Statements like that make the Vatican
respected in some quarters, mistrusted
in others. Some activities, such as tak-
ing lethal risks for peace in Burundi, are
almost universally admired. But in an
age when the power of independent
agencies (including Catholic ones) is
growing by the day, mightn't the Vatican
enhance its authority by clarifying its
own status? Instead of claiming to prac-
tise a form of inter-governmental diplo-
macy, it could renounce its special dip-
lomatic status and call itself what it is-
the biggest non-governmental organiza-
tion in the world.

- including in personal jewelry
- to help repay the foreign debt.

Information Security

Friday, August 3, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11

Bkewim bmkwb6

Authored by members of the Belize-
Culture internet list

In our little jewel of Belize
There is no shortage of sleaze
As politicos know
Their hands out for the snow
And suitcases fly with great ease
It comes to no one's surprise
What a grim future therein lies
For our young generations
Who shan't know the libations
There will only be tears in our eyes
The future we'll see
And ponder what it shall be
both parties are riddled with graft
and either option will give you the shaft
Be it UDP or PUP
Forgive us for being leery
As we grow old and weary
For we have seen all the tricks of the
Is there a blue for the vote that we shall
The outcome is sure looking scary
The oldest do remember
Our celebrations in September
And revel in the times of yore
But now the super bond will sure make
us poor
As our wallets we are forced to surren-
Now so many threaten to sue
Oh my, what shall we do?
We wring our hands slowly
And will all end up lonely
As we will surely be under curfew
It wasn't a dump, but a back-handed
Of masculine praise, you must know.
When guys offer praise,
They do so in ways
That don't have a feminine glow.
Beneath the surface so tough
Is a very thick layer of fluff.
So soft and so kind,
The ladies go blind.
"Better them, than us," they huff.
Belize is a place like no other
You can work all your life like a mother'
But if you're not well connected
To those who're elected

You'll remain broke like a monk or a

Belize has a fantastic Prime Minister
Who signs deals some might think are
quite sinister
Yet there are those who'll defend
Honorable Said 'till the end
Against the Reds who just can't wait to

Free text books for the children sounds
But I wonder if they're giving it to you
Who will pay for the bill
In excess of $6 mil
Might it have something to do with your
tax rate?
Who will get the contract to print those
free books?
Will it be just a bunch of slick crooks
Or will they go out to bid
Should we ask old Said
If the contract will be made public for a
quick look
I'm guessing the key to
real progress
Is disguised in a girl
with a short dress
With a wiggle and sway
She will show us the way
To make men bob their
heads and cry "Yes!"

That men are such fools
is a pity
It's the scourge of our
country and city
While these guys get
there juks

Neocons sneak


out nukes

Learning about the wildlife of Belize
was brought to an exciting level recently
for visiting vet students attend ng Galen
A unique opportunity to get up close
to animals and accomplish basic vet
procedures, was appreciated by all.
The students also learned about the
Belize Harpy
Eagle Restoration Program, and had
funj joining in for an afternoon feed with
Panama, the harpy eagle living at the
Also receiving valuable education
about Belizean wildlife were the Cock-

scomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary war-
dens. Sponsored by the Wildlife Con-
servation Society, WCS, and led by Dr.
Bart Harmsen, all of the wardens were
able to see and get to know well, the
species of animals who call Belize their
The wardens were given special at-
tention to thej aguars, and were intro-
duced to the Belize Zoo Problem Jag-
uar Rehabilitation Program.
A highlight for all was a personal meet-
ing with Junior, thej aguar cub who was
born at the zoo earlier this year.
The Belize Zoo is just TOO WILD

Full Service Airline

With over 180 daily

scheduled flights

throughout Belize

and Flores in


Charters also available

The Airline of Belize

The Belize Zoo hosts

Galen University a

Cockscomb Basin

Sanctuary wardens

I. IS ReadS S I~~Independent Oniea tp/blieescmidpnen rht:/iyrgcm25p ae1

By: Ronnier Leonardo

Ronnier Leonardo prepares to enter the water in full scuba gear headfirst!

I have always loved the sea, and I
learnt to swim while out with my Dad
and family on different outings. So this
summer I was looking forward to
spending a couple weeks out in San
Pedro and if possible learn to dive,
scuba dive that is. My parents made all
efforts to get me one of the best instruc-
tors and I was placed with Gill Nunez
at Ramon's Village to start what I
thought was gonna be a great adven-
I was a bit scared when I heard about
all the things that can happen to you very
easily if you don't follow the rules when
you dive. I was not really thinking about
having fun at this point, actually Iwas a
bit worried. After I had a preliminary

dive in the pool I became a bit more
confident in diving. I was taught and
learned the basic skills on how to avoid
an injury while diving.
So on my second day I was taken to
a dive site that was located on the other
side of the barrier reef in San Pedro. I
was a bit scared for you could not even
see the bottom of the sea. The waves
were so big it felt as if the boat would
turn over!
But I got into my gear and I made
my way into the water. You could
hardly see, however I felt less scared
as I made my way down and after a
while I finally touched the bottom of
the sea. Then I was not scared at all,
I was just amazed by the colorful cor-

als and fish in the sea I was so amazed
that I had not realized how deep I
was. I then checked my gauge and I
found out I was over 60 ft deep! I
took over 40 minutes diving in the sea
it was just amazing. On the third day
I learnt some more skills for becom-
ing a better diver. I was again taken
to another dive site to see if I had ac-
tually learned what they had taught me.
After some daily quizzes I had to sit a
final exam.

I am now certified as a Junior Open
Water Diver. I am very excited for I
know I have done something good in
my life. I am happy because this was
an experience I can look forward to
enjoying in the future.
Hopefully soon Dad and I can go div-
ing together now!
If you would like to share your ex-
periences or thoughts with other
teens, email your article to teen page
editor atjch ai /ia h,,iiunil u ,n11

ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
Don't give them the use of your credit
card. Your ability to ferret out secret
information will lead you to an inside
scoop on an amazing financial deal.
Changes regarding your career direc-
tion will payoff handsomely. Children
will keep you busy. Your lucky day this
week will be Monday.
TAURUS (Apr. 21- May 21)
Try to calm down emotionally about
personal financial matters. Romantic
relationships should stabilize. You will
find the perfect outfit if you shop this
week. New romantic partners will
evolve through group endeavors; how-
ever, the association may not be likely
to last. Your lucky day this week will
be Sunday.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21)
You will communicate with ease this
week. Problems with your partner are
apparent. Your personal secrets may be
revealed if you let coworkers in on your

family dilemmas. Take a close look at
any contracts you've signed in order to
be sure exactly where you stand. Your
lucky day this week will be Monday.
CANCER (June 22-July 22)
Take time to make physical improve-
ments that will enhance your appear-
ance. You'll be pleased with the results
if you take the time to decorate your
home. Don't overspend on friends or
children. Gambling will be a waste of
time and money. Your lucky day this
week will be Friday.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
Try not to judge too quickly. Abrupt
changes in your home may send you for
a loop. In return, the satisfaction you
getis enoughforyou. Quarrels will erupt
if you get into philosophical debates
with friends. Your lucky day this week
will be Sunday.
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
Take that long overdue vacation if you
can. New romantic relationships will

develop through group activity related
to sports events. You are best not to
confront situations that deal with in-laws
or relatives. Spend time getting into
physical activities with your lover. Your
lucky day this week will be Friday.
LIBRA (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
Be careful when dealing with loved
ones. Opposition is present and you
should be prepared to counteract it as
best you can. If you can't get ahead in
the company you're with, perhaps it's
time to move on. You will probably have
to defend your mate. Your lucky day
this week will be Saturday.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
It might be time to pick up the slack
and do your share. Direct your energy
wisely this week. Anger will prevail if
you expect help from others. Think twice
before you speak. You will get bored
quickly, so make sure that you have
scheduled enough activity to hold your
interest. Your lucky day this week will
be Tuesday.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
You will be overly sensitive this week.
Try to have patience and refrain from
being judgmental. Go with the flow and
don'tbe concerned about your own job.

Opportunities will develop through those
you encounter while attending organi-
zational events. Your lucky day this
week will be Sunday.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Discrimination will be in order. Con-
trol your temper when dealing with your
emotional partner. New relationships
could evolve through group activities.
Try to find another time to present work
or ideas this week. Financial difficulties
may be worrying you.
Your lucky day this week will be Thurs-
AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
Your devotion will be persuasive.
Keep on your toes when dealing with
others. Luck is with you. Take things
slowly, especially for the sake of those
you love. Your lucky day this week will
be Thursday.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
Think about your budget before
booking a trip. Your mind may not be
on thej ob. You will be relentless when
it comes to getting yourself back into
shape. Consider a trial separation if you
and your mate just can't come to terms.
Your lucky day this week will be

Our intrepid Teen Page writer beneath the azure waves of the Caribbean!

Your weekly

Friday, August 3, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 13

Guatemalan Commission to

investigate Organized Crime

Associated Press Writer
Guatemala's Congress has voted to
create a commission of foreign experts
to investigate organized crime and po-
lice corruption.
The commission, first proposed by the
United States, is an attempt by the Cen-
tral American nation to counteract ram-
pant drug smuggling often aided by of-
The so-called International Commis-

sion Against Impunity in Guatemala will
be made up of a team of international
crime experts who will investigate or-
ganized crime and its links with
Guatemala's police and government. It
will then issue recommendations to au-
The United States, Sweden, Norway
and Spain have offered to help finance
the commission, which is expected to
start work in November.
"The commission's goal of helping

Guatemalan authorities to investigate
criminal groups and take them to trial
... will help to strengthen the rule of law,"
the U. S. Embassy in Guatemala said in
a statement Wednesday.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-
moon also applauded the commission
as "a clear commitment by Guatemala
to fight organized crime."
Guatemala and the U.N. agreed on
the international commission in Decem-
ber, but its establishment took on a

sense of urgency in February when six
police officers were accused of killing
three Central American Parliament
Guatemala is a main corridor for Co-
lombian cocaine heading to the United
States. Compounding the problem is a
culture of violence, fueled in part by
youth gangs and a brutal civil war that
ended 10 years ago and claimed more
than 200,000 lives.

What about our Oil Resources?

A statement from the NIP

When you are in Spanish Lookout
on a hill around the Esso gas station at
night and you look towards the east you
see in approximately 2 miles east the
air light up of a flame where Belize
Natural Energy is wasting natural gas
from the 5 producing oil wells all joined
by a pipe underground. At times you
can see the flame arising above the
bushes from 2 miles away and the toxic
smoke covering the whole area and the
breeze blowing it towards residential
areas. This has been going on since they
open the first well and the complaints
made and sickness caused by this
waste have been completely ignored by
BNE and other authorities.
The BNE is sending in various news-
papers a colourful release on how much
they have benefited Spanish Lookout,
by sales of goods and fees, and how
the have one person working from
Spanish Lookout Also how they have

Reuters-the light from the cell phone
screens allowed surgeons to complete
an emergency appendix operation dur-
ing a blackout in a city in central Argen-
Leonardo Molina, 29, was on the
operating table on July 21, when the
power went out in the Policlinico Juan
D. Peron, the main hospital in Villa
Mercedes, a small city in San Luis prov-
"The generator, which should have
been working correctly, didn't work,"
a hospital spokesman, whose name was
not given, told TN television news sta-
"The surgeons and anesthetists were
in the dark... Family member got some
cell phones together from people in the
hallway and took them in to provide
light," he said.

pleased Spanish Lookout by removing
the gas burning flame from near the
houses which was sickening them over
one year, to 2 miles down the road to
where it blows over Spanish Lookout
in a wider area than before and how
they are promising once more that they
will get the royalty fee some day.
Then there are questions about the
actual amount of oil being produced: the
Spanish Lookout committee reports
BNE informed them they are extracting
3200 barrels per day. But the record
we have from the truckers indicates
they are hauling 24 tankers per day
which equals to 4800 barrels of oil per
day. What is BNE trying to hide? Do
they think they can hide a big semi-
truck? And what is exactly the reason
they bring out a colourful release of how
great they are, while they are intoxicat-
ing our air and wasting our irreplace-
able natural resources? They seem to

Ricardo Molina, 39, Leonardo's
brother, told La Nacion newspaper that
the lights were out for an hour and his
brother's anesthesia was wearing off.
Hospital Director Dario Maurer told
LaNacion the surgery was without light
a maximum of 20 minutes.

sell their public image relations real
Information from other countries
has also arrived. We happened to get
a visit from an oil specialist from
Houston Texas. He said that even in
Nigeria, a country with little social and
health control, they do not allow the
burning of toxic gas at the oil wells,
but they re-inject it back, not to dam-
age the gas cap in the earth. He says
the gas cap over the oil must stay there
until the well is depleted so we can
expect approximately 60% of the de-
posit, in the case of letting the gas out
maybe only 40% can be extracted. It
is also important how fast the oil is
extracted not to damage the core. He
also stated that the gases should be
pumped back into the gas cap in the
earth in any case to get 20% more oil
One must ask the question: Are we
so broke that we have to rush and get
the 40% of our oil resource and run
and not able to keep a record closer
than 30% from 2300, to 4800 bar-
rels and no matter who gets sick, who
loses and what is wasted, and to dis-

regard peoples health, rights, environ-
ment and international rules? Some
one sooner or later will have to an-
swer these questions. Before to much
negative vibes are created.

INow available

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I R e a d In d e p e n d n t O n l i e a t h t p : / / b eize n e w c o m i n d e p n d e n o r h t p / / i y u l c* Ap P g 1



I The tomb of Chiang Kai-Shek in Taipei is ablaze with light during the Taiwan's National
Day celebrations. The presidential palace is across the square in the background.

Dancers hedecked as dragons perform during Taiwan's 'Douhle Ten'National Day
celehrations in Taipei on Octoher 10th.
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

I its
I, V,


Happy hirth day to Alfred Vernon who celehratedh is hirthday August Ist.

Friday, August 3, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 15

i'~ IA

-I. (Continued From Page 2)
What Is The
To the Editor,
That is the big question on some
people's mind today. The MusaAd-
ministration is crooked and corrupted
to the core, what is the alternative?
The answer to that question brings
the focus on the UDP and third par-
Those who seek to promote a third
party will tell you that they are the best
alternative. They will say that UDP and
PUP are the status quo. They will say
only the third party will bring reform.
But we really do not know what the
third party will do, do we? In many
cases the leadership of the third par-
ties is unknown. History has also
thought the Belizean people that any-
thing can look on paper. Reality tends
to be quite different.
Take for example, the elected Sen-
ate debate. Has anyone factored in
what it would cost to run additional
elections? If the UDP can barely keep
up with municipal and general elections
will the elected Senate favor the PUP
that has the millions to pay for anything
that come their way? The third parties
may be seeking more elections but they
have not been able to finance a single
successful election. What would hap-
pen if they actually won an election?
None of the third parties are ready
for general elections for 2008; it seems
that the UDP is the only alternative.
Is the UDP a good alternative?
Most people who say the UDP are
not a good alternative quickly agree
that under a UDP leadership the cor-

ruption would be reigned in and they
would probably offer a better solu-
tion to the nation's debt crisis. If the
UDP can do that, that alone would
qualify them as a good alternative for
Election 2008.
The strength of the UDP has always
been good governance; but their
weakness has always been the lack
of good politics. The UDP propa-
ganda is weak, and they lackthe ability
to maintain momentum. The UDP
policies have been good for Belize,
even when it has hurt us individually.
Take the VAT, the Musa Group cru-
cified the VAT, but Prime Minister
Musa has implement a new VAT that
raked in $30 million more than ex-
pected. Are Belizeans paying $30
million more that under the old VAT?
Which VAT is now the Killa?
Then there is retrenchment. The
PUP Administration was the first to
retrenched pubic officer back in the
early 1980's when the Price Admin-
istration had to place Belize under an
IMF standby arrangement. Basically,
the IMF was running Belize finances
in order to get their assistance after
the PUP Administration had run the
country into the ground. It was the
UDP who restored the economy and
placed Belize on the path to sustain-
able growth and development.
Just before the elections of 1998,
when the PUP Leaders realized their
inability to keep Belize afloat, they
called an early election. The PUP Ad-
ministration had promised salary in-
creases to public officers, but knew
they have wasted the resources to pay
for it. Fortunately, the UDP won the

election, but it was the UDP left hold-
ing the bag to pay for something which
the PUP has no intentions to pay. The
UDP made a decision to retrench
rather that to run budget deficits,
hence avoiding the need to increase
the national debt. Why can I say the
PUP Leaders had no intention to pay
salary increases in 1998? The Musa
Administration did the very same thing
in 2003. Before the election, the
Musa Administration promised all
kinds of things, including raises for
public officers. What happened after
the election? The Musa Administra-
tion told the Union "no money deh".
Musa had effectively failed to pay the
promised raise of pay. That was pre-
cisely what the PUP Administration
had done in 1998; only that it was the
UDP that had won after PUP's false
promise. It took the Unions about
two weeks of strike actions and pro-
tests to bring the Musa Administra-
tion to its knees. The MusaAdminis-
tration finally borrowed the money to
pay the promised raise. Borrowing
to pay salaries had been one of the
failed policies of PUPAdministrations

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that the IMF has identified as leading
to the Belize's economic downfall.
But, Musa is not concerned about
Belize economic downfall, Musa only
want to be Prime Minister.
Since 1984, the UDP has always
been considered the better manag-
ers of the affairs of Belize. The
Musa Administration has raided and
raped the resources of this country,
leaving very little to work with. It is
time for seasoned leadership; it
would seem it is time for the best
managers we can find. It is time for
the next best alternative, the UDP.
Signed: By Patrick Tillett

bedroom flat located in King's Park,
Belize City $800/month
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Computers $800/each Call: 223-
Free Ads! The INdependent Re-
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Voting Rights, or Bight to Vote

IME (Continued From Page 4)
cannot claim to be governed either
... but at least they are still considered
American citizens wherever they reside.
Nor are they considered a "risk" to the
democratic process! Quite the contrary.
I must admit myj aw dropped when I
read these comments from our Political
Reform Commissioners. I had to won-
derwho among them influenced this rec-
ommendation and if the rest of them just
went along with it, taking this person or
person's arguments against it at face
The key phrase of course is "the ex-
treme situation of when a government
has minority support at home." Clearly
some political interests were worried
that should their government find itself
hanging on by its fingernails (such as the
current Musa administration) they would
lose for sure iffBelizeans abroad were
allowed to vote.
Butwhat is this fearbased on? Might
that tenuous government actually be
strengthened by the votes from the ab-
sentee ballots? From voters not on the
ground, not taking the lick under their
day to day rule, but a little more dis-
passionate or even nostalgic about a
party as it was when they left Belize?
How could we possibly predict how
the election would go if Belizeans
abroad were allowed to come home
and vote or send proxy ballots? It could
go either way.
To argue that these people can already
vote after two months residence in
Belize is absurd. How many Belizeans
living and working or studying abroad
can abandon their jobs and schooling
to come reside in Belize two months
before an election, especially when we
have a floating date for general elec-
tions? This requirement effectively elimi-
nates all but retirees from qualifying and
the shapers of the law knew it.
How astonishing that born Belizeans
who have emigrated to other coun-
tries but send back millions of dollars
in cash and goods each year, are frus-
trated from voting in our elections
while thousands of newly arrived for-
eign nationals who send money out of
Belize are fast tracked through the im-
migration and voter registration pro-
cess in an attempt to swell the voting
lists precisely because "elections in
Belize are sometimes determined by
one vote."
Why is there no concern over the
influence of large numbers of foreign-
ers living in Belize as there is over the
"Influence of Belizeans not living in
Belize" on our elections? Unlike many
immigrates who speak neither English
nor kriol and do not watch or read
local news or keep abreast of current
events, Belizeans abroad tend to pay
keen attention to happenings back
home, reading and watching news

online or through paid subscription
They also know the names, reputa-
tions and track records of people run-
ning for office-or ask around to find
out, unlike so many of the people be-
ing naturalized right now, who only
know the political candidates through
the agents who hustle to get their pa-
pers approved, pay them cash for
votes, and scare them into thinking if
they do not vote for the man who gave

.11 m.

them their papers his opponent will
have them deported.
A Belizean living abroad cannot be
manipulated like this and is far more
likely to be deeply concerned about
political, economic and social issues
in Belize. No matter how long they
have lived away.
The Political Reform Commission
report does highlight significant re-
forms that should be adopted to en-
sure Belize is governed in a more open,

transparent and fair manner. But on
recommendation 82, sections 13:24
and 13:24, I think they let Belizeans
down, all of us, not just those living
away. And both mass parties signed
off on that report!!!
We can only wonder who might
have won or lost before, or who might
win or lose this time if even a fraction
of the over 200,000 Belizeans abroad
could send in their ballots in time for


Change of EectoraDivision

Two months are set aside each year by Law for transfer of electors
from one electoral division to another.

These two (2) months are July and August.

Application for a change of electoral division from one electoral
division to another, will be processed during normal working hours
as of

July 1,2007 to August 31,2007.

Requirements to change from one electoral division to another are:
Be a registered voter
> Reside at the new address for not less than two months

Visit an Elections and Boundaries District Office in the Electoral
Division where you reside, for more information.


TEL: 222-4992/4042


A- .-


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