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sunday, January 24, 2010

The Belize Times

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Belize Times The Truth Shall Make You Free

SUNDAY JANUARY 24, 2010

Issue No. 4677

$1.00 www.belizetimes.bz

BASTA!

On Tuesday at 10:30am, the People’s United Party sat down to address the nation on the critical issues which

are affecting the lives of Belizeans each and every day. Facing a packed crowd of media personnel, supporters

and observers, representatives of the Party spoke on the issues of crime, the economy, the Belize/Guatemala situation

and the crises in the sugar and citrus industries. Speakers were the Party Leader (Continued on page 35)

BELIZE – Poorer under Barrow!

“Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom”. [World Bank 2008] One year, eleven months and twenty two days of a Barrow UDP administration, the report card is in. Their crowning moment is here. It is simply spectacular. In fact, it is remarkable, as they have done

what no other government was able to do. Make Belize the country with the highest poverty rate in the Caribbean. One hundred and forty three thousand, two hundred and seventy six [143,276] persons in Belize are now poor. This represents 43% of the population of Belize, estimated at 333,200 at 2009. Imagine, almost one half the population of Belize is poor, and this is under the management of Barrow and the UDP, who has the audacity to utter the words good governance whenever they grandstand and pontificate. How can good governance translate into snatching 32,000 Belizeans more (Continued on page 35)

PUP Leader John Briceño presenting a check for $10,000 to Red Cross Director Lily Bowman for the assistance efforts in Haiti.

. . . r e h et g o T e m Co

The Barrow’s Animal Farm

Dean Barrow's daugher Deanne Barrow On Monday, January 18th, 2010, a move by the GOB appropriated Belize

Dean Barrow's law-partner Rodwell Williams Telemedia Limited to summon justices of the Appeal Court to a special one day (Continued on page 35)

It's Time For The PUP!


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The Belize Times

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Blue Machine

For PUP supporters last Tuesday’s Press Conference was what most had been waiting for, a coming together of everyone to tackle the issues facing this troubled nation. As well it was a time when the Party could show the real contrast between the two major political parties in Belize. That contrast is a PUP loaded with talented people, offering real solutions to problems as opposed to the UDP, who are so devoid of talent that only the Party Leader dare speak. For those in the UDP, the response to the PUP Press conference created more than a murmur, judging from the reactions from some of their spin doctors. The PUP Press Conference created a scramble among those in the Party’s leadership. Since Tuesday the UDP talking heads have been launching verbal attacks which lack any merit or cohesion. Their responses are typical of the brutish behaviour often displayed by their leader, who when asked to respond to any issue, national or political, always launches an attack on personalities instead of addressing the situation in an objective manner. Belizeans will recall when pressed by the media about the problems in the Ministry of National Security and crime, the Prime Minister blamed corrupt police officers. When asked about the problems with the poor conditions of city streets, he responds that drivers should figure out which streets to drive on. When asked about the nation’s economy, he blames the global economy. When asked about how much money his ex wife Lois is making at BTL, he says it is less than what was being paid out before. There is never a straight answer from this Prime Minister. We are now seeing this kind of behaviour even in “Boots” Martinez, who in responding to concerns raised by a Belize City resident accused the woman of being a liar. Instead of offering some solution to the situation, the instinctive response was to attack the individual. What happened at Independence Hall last Tuesday was the total opposite of what Belizeans have been hearing for the past two years—excuses--or what the nation is subjected to at any UDP Press Conferences where the Prime Minister, the lone speaker, gets up and blames everyone and everything for his administration’s failure to deliver on their promises. Instead of a one man show Belizeans saw the leader of the PUP step out and together with his members of his executive identify the problems facing the nation, offer recommendations, and express their willingness to help. Never before has any opposition in Belize made so many overtures to work with or help rescue a government which seems to be headed for disaster. One would think if the Prime Minister really cares about the good of the nation, he ought to give this offer serious consideration; after all, the number of incompetent ministers he has sitting around him in his Cabinet must give no ease to his aches and pains. Tuesday’s press conference had to have been a crushing moment for the UDP, which has been trying desperately to peddle this idea of a quiet and wounded opposition. Judging from the reaction coming from the “foothills of the BelChina Bridge though, they may very well be asking themselves if it was at all wise to awaken the Blue Machine. For sure this will be their worst nightmare.

THE BELIZE TIMES EDITOR

Mike Rudon

DESKTOP PUBLISHER

Lucilo E. Alcoser

OFFICE SUPERVISOR

TYPIST

Fay Castillo-Mckay

Rachel Arana

PRINTING/PERSONNEL SUPERVISOR Printed & Published By

Doreth Bevans

The Belize Times Ltd. #3 Queen Street P.O. BOX 506 Belize City, Belize Tel: 224-5757

PRINTER

Oscar Obando

Peoples United Party Cane Farmers’ Intervention January 2010 The Peoples United Party stands in solidarity with the cane farmers and empathizes with them as they undergo hardships and inconveniences brought about by an uncaring and vindictive UDP Government. It is the position of the People’s United Party that the Barrow Administration has seriously neglected the Sugar Industry of Belize and as a result has placed the industry, one of the Nation’s largest foreign currency earners and the livelihood of over 8,000 farmers and their 30,000 plus dependents in crisis. The Barrow Government, and in particular the Minister of Agriculture, are out of touch with the issues facing the sugar industry, were unprepared for the potential problems of BELCOGEN and the pain that these problems could inflict on cane farmers, and most of all, seem to lack the leadership that is urgently needed to provide guidance to the sugar industry at this time. We hold the Prime Minister and his Minister of Agriculture fully responsible for ensuring the viability and sustainability of this very important industry and we call on the government to: 1. Demonstrate bold leadership through the Ministry of Agriculture and the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB); 2. Engage with all the stakeholders in the Sugar Industry to find meaningful solutions to the problems confronting the industry. 3. Ensure greater openness and transparency in the operations of BSI and BELCOGEN, and that a representative of the Cane Farmers be appointed to the Board of BSI; 4. Insist that the Belize Sugar Industries Limited and BELCOGEN urgently address the technical flaws of its new plant in order to reduce the economic losses being suffered by cane farmers; 5. Facilitate negotiations between BSI and the cane farmers on revenues from the sale of bagasse to BELCOGEN with a view to arrive at a just revenue sharing agreement that benefits both cane farmers and BSI; 6. Immediately release the results of the inquiry into the death of Atanacio Felix Gutierrez; and compensate the Gutierrez family for his unfortunate and wrongful death; 7. Approve and increase the fuel subsidy for cane farmers, especially as a second oil field has been declared commercial and an increasing amount of fuel is now being partially refined in Belize.


sunday, January 24, 2010

The Belize Times

If Da Noh Soh…

No rest for the wicked…

Was thinking about taking a little break this week, cause this bunch of idiots in the UDP sure can wear a body and mind down with their perpetual bleeps, bloopers and blunders show. Then a friend called and told me that she looks forward to her Friday ritual of coffee, a doughnut and If Da Noh Soh! Hell, who am I to disrupt an old, honoured and eminently worthwhile ritual like that. So my friend, here goes another episode of the dumb, dumber and asinine show, just for you… Dutty Bugga Gapi… My buddy Margarito Vega from OW just can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble. I was looking at the news tonight and lo and behold, there

was this gentleman Schakron telling the media how he was forced to bring charges against Joe Coye by no other than Mags. Apparently Mags through his Ministry had put a caution on a piece of property owned by Schakron, and the deal was that caution would be lifted if Schakron would point the finger at Joe Coye. Man, what a dutty bugga Gapi is, eh? But no worry, my friend – every slick fat fowl has its Sunday, and I predict that your Sunday is coming in next week’s issue of the Belize Times. Remember all those documents I mentioned – all the land giveaways, all the ‘facilitation of land transactions for a consideration? Remember Ceiba Realty? Pick up your issue of the Belize Times next week, cause sure as hell Gapi will be waiting to get his hot off the press…If Da Noh Soh! My way or the highway… Very, very reliable word reaching this columnist is that there was a big blow-up in Cabinet recently between the bald-headed one and the Mennonite

Arguelles brothers, including angelic looking Speaker of the House Emil Arguelles. Things apparently got so heated that Penner was told to shut up or he would be kicked the hell out. Ouch for poor Penner. Things are really looking up for the Arguelles crew. They got the multimillion dollar contract for the renovation of the ITVET in the Technical Compound and now the reportedly more than $20million contract for the building of the complex. It’s good to be a UDP crony…If Da Noh Soh! What’s up with that…?

What the hell is up with GOB behaving like a bunch of crackheads with the American who had the misfortune to bring his family to our shores? The red rogues descended upon him like a bunch of hyenas and are stripping him of all he had – including his boat, his money and all his

cramped unfinished plycem house. Even a blind man can see that. I haven’t gotten the full story, but it seems like all the materials provided through the Venezuela grant for the three bedroom cement house have also been seized by Boots. Man that just wrong. These are poor people that the UDP is messing with. Serious that just wrong! But no worry, by next week we’ll have the full story. And this just in! Word reaching this columnist is that Boots Martinez pulled a gun on the son of the woman in question (Myrna Ferguson) today after they apparently had some hard words at the house site. Not only that, but the Minister allegedly had the young man taken away by Police and locked down too…If Da Noh Soh!

the new Minister of National Security. Well it seems like Ramon Witz didn’t realize that we were joking and is now actively campaigning for that position. Sources inside the Police Department in Belmopan say he spends most of the week there snooping around, asking questions and issuing instructions. Not only that, but he has been telling people in his constituency that it will be only a matter of weeks before he’s the man at the helm in the Ministry of National Security, so he must have gotten some assurance from the big boss during their closed door meeting last week. See Ramon, you’re not the only one who can snoop around. You read it here first, Carlos…If Da Noh Soh!

Move over Carlos…

CHECK OUT OUR NEW WEBSITE

You know how we always deh run joke on the radio about Ramon Witz taking over from Carlos Perdomo as

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assets. We’ve been told that he entered the country legally, presenting his passport and that his only sin has been not declaring that he carried more than $10,000 in currency with him. Okay, fine that’s one thing. But now he’s being charged with money laundering. How the hell can he be charged with money laundering just because he had about $120,000 of cash on him? Could somebody point out that law to me? But the situation gets more tangled. The prosecutor from the FIU (another Arguelles, damn them) has apparently been caught up in a plot to take away this man’s assets by threatening him with his family. See, Arguelles is one of those who apparently telling the American that if he doesn’t plead guilty to money laundering his wife will go to jail for 11 years and his daughter will be taken away from them. If he pleads guilty to money laundering, all his assets will be taken away from him by GOB. That is some serious business. Really serious! That’s what we’ve come down to in Belize…If Da Noh Soh! Way past the mark…

Minister from out west. Seems like there were some very choice words passed over the awarding of a contract for the construction of the sporting complex on Princess Margaret Drive. My source says that Penner wanted to award the contract to Modern Company from his area (and which it appears he is very close to, if you know what I mean). But Barrow put his foot down and the contract went to I.E. Company instead. Reports are that I.E. Company is a cover for the

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Man, there’s some funny dealings going on with Boots. Everybody knows it, even the bald headed one though he’ll never admit it. Boots da mi bally, but even I get pissed this morning when I heard a kind of convoluted story about a woman getting a grant for a 3 bedroom house cement house and instead getting a two bedroom

Greedy Barrow

One of the first court case for BTL after the Dean Barrow government took it over occurred in the Court of Appeal this week. Court of Appeal hearings were not scheduled until March but the government flew in the Judges from the Caribbean to hear their application for the court to lift an injunction not to interfere with their rival Smart, as ordered by the Chief

Justice. Unfortunately for the Barrow government the Court of Appeal rejected their application. That by itself was bad enough news for the government. But it gets worse. BTL was represented in Court by Dean Barrow’s law firm. Also representing BTL was Dean Barrow’s daughter Deanne Barrow who works with Dean Barrow’s ex-wife Lois Young. (Lois Young is in England representing the Dean Barrow government in the Privy Council Court in a case in which Barrow is taking away the constitutional rights of Belizean without allowing Belizeans to hold a referendum). The Constitution of Belize does not permit members of the National Assembly to do any business or have any contracts with the government. Before this can be done, an elected member must inform the National Assembly. Failure to do so results in the member having to resign. Don’t for a moment expect Dean Barrow to resign. At next month’s meeting of the National Assembly Barrow will offer one of those convoluted explanations and pretend that he can do anything and get away with it. The Constitution of Belize also forbids members of the National Assembly and Ministers of Government from placing themselves in any situation which is a conflict of interest. Dean Barrow has disgraced himself and placed himself in violation of the Constitution. One obvious reason is his legendary greed for big bucks.


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The Belize Times

sunday, January 24, 2010

Get well

From the Desk of the Party leader

REF

OL/POL/02/2009 (4)

21 January 2010 Hon. Dean Barrow Prime Minister Office of the Prime Minister Sir Edney Cain Building Belmopan Dear Prime Minister: In about two weeks your Administration would have completed two years in office. Yesterday at our Party’s Press Conference, a number of issues were addressed. The People’s United Party believes that there are several important national issues which require the attention of your Government, and on which we are prepared to play a constructive role. On the Issue of relief for Haiti, we are calling on the Government, with the support of the United Nations, to give effect to a refugee program for a limited number of Haitian families. If your Government is prepared to pursue this initiative, we underscore the urgency that attends it. As it relates to the Belizean economy, there have been multiple calls for a national development plan, for multi-year and program budgeting, for radical tax and political reform, for a blueprint to attract legitimate foreign investment, for an injection of confidence – none of these have been given any consideration. Additionally, there appears to be no plan to address the impact of the recession. In this regard we call for urgent adjustment to monetary policy to provide lower interest rates to spur development. Also, given what has occurred so far in the Sugar Industry, access to the EU funds is needed in a timely manner. We recommend the creation of a revolving trust fund for farmers to access fresh and cheaper capital; that steps be taken to enable a cane farmer to sit on the Board of Directors of the Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. and that the you meet with the cane farmers, to listen and act on their causes, including the call for financial compensation for the family of the late Mr. Atanacio Felix Gutierrez. With respect to crime, we in the People’s United Party asks that serious consideration be given to the following recommendations: 1. Doubling the Police Recruit Intake for 2010; 2. Doubling the number of boots on the ground (officers on patrol) in Belize City; 3. Re-open all Police Booths and sub-stations that have been closed over the last two years; 4. Re-activate and adequately resource the Community Policing and Neighborhood watch programs. It is unacceptable when residents in their community organize themselves to join hands with the Police to fight crime, as was done by the residents of Belama, that they are ignored by the Belize Police Department. Finally, we are calling on your Government to prepare, within sixty days, a White Paper on Belize Guatemala Relations. This White Paper should have as its main elements, a factual description of the devastating effects of deforestation, cultivation, over-fishing and pollution and other illegal activities; it should elaborate a comprehensive strategy to immediately redress these urgent problems; and thirdly it should provide estimates of the resources – financial and otherwise – required to implement and fund the strategy. The White Paper should be given the widest possible circulation and be the subject of an informed national discussion before the strategy is adopted as a national plan to effectively deal with these problems As I have said before, our Party stands ready to work with you and your Government in any effort that is in the best interest of the Belizean People. Sincerely,

Hon. John Briceno Leader of the Opposition

Soon


sunday, January 24, 2010

The Belize Times

UDP Politics as usual

Award my A@#... Hey, no disrespect to the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies intended, but if you’re gonna make a big hullabaloo about giving out a supposedly prestigious award, the least you guys could do is give it to somebody who’s done good s@#t. Damn but I was pissed when I took a look at the Cabinet Briefing for this week, only to find that the main item of interest is that the PM and the first lady second wife are heading out to New York where our beloved (insert snicker here) leader will be bestowed with the distinguished legacy award. For what exactly, you ask? Well, that’s the thing. The PM is supposedly being recognized for his (get this) contribution to the social and economic development of Belize and the Caribbean region. While this information will no doubt launch Juliet, Joe and Fonso into orgasmic frenzy, let’s get real. I dare anybody to name just one major contribution that PM Barrow has made to social and economic development in Belize and the Caribbean region. JUST NAME ONE! In just about two years under Barrow, the economy is in recession with no light at the end of the tunnel and our poverty level has skyrocketed to 43%. Under Barrow, the old capital is in shambles, the corruption index has risen through the roof, urban terrorism has taken over our once peaceful land and there seems to be no light at the end of this here tunnel. Get what I’m saying? PM Barrow has singlehandedly presided over the hijacking of a private company which has destroyed investor confidence in our nation. And all this is just the tip of the iceberg. Social and economic development..? Give me a break. I’ve got to believe that the American Foundation for UWI just pulled a couple names out of a hat. That’s the only explanation. It’s called a recession…stupid! While Barrow has seen to it that poor Belizeans get the sense of this recession thing, it seems that he’s kept the news a secret from those close to him. Like we’ve said before – Belize’s economy is in recession, but Barrow’s economy and the economies of his friends and family are performing beautifully. Hell, while Barrow is tightening the belt around our necks, his first wife second lady Lois is in London on GOB’s payroll working hard to trample on Belizeans’ rights. Lois has been heard boasting that by the end of this year she will have pulled in the tidy sum of $12million. Damn, just how much would Lois have pulled in if the economy wasn’t in recession? And that’s because we haven’t even gotten to how much his son and daughter are sucking from the public teat.

One big unhappy family… The GOB/BTL/PUC has lost another big battle in the Court of Appeal, which upheld the injunction against BTL instructing that company to stop messing with Smart’s service to its customers. But there’s more to the story than that. The thing is that for the first time in history, the Court of Appeals was convened in a special session to hear BTL’s case for dismissal of the injunction. That means that the judges were flown into the country for a day at the whims of Barrow/Lois/BTL – how’s that for tampering with the judiciary? And according to Jules, whose dad is the financial wizard (chuckle, chuckle) of BTL, the judges were flown in at GOB’s expense. Can anybody say recession? Simply put, we Belizeans took another bukut in our bottom line just to make Lois and Dean happy. And s@#t mein, how sick is it that the Prime Minister’s own law firm was representing BTL in the person of Rodwell Williams. Remember that bukut, cause we just took another one. Not only is Lois et al getting rich off our heads, but the Prime Minister is now getting in on the action. Come on Dean, that is just sick! This is past conflict of interest, past corruption and way past Mada R! An environmental comedy… The news coming out this week that an 85 foot luxury yacht called ‘The Great Escape’ is stuck on our reef in the Sapodilla and Hunting Caye Range came as a big surprise to a lot of people. Even more of a surprise was the fact that it has been stuck on the reef since November 30, 2009. That’s right, almost two months now. Maybe the only reason it’s gotten in the news right now is because the constant action of the waves means that the yacht is coming apart on the reef. Why hasn’t the Department of the Environment stepped in, you might ask? Well, see, the Department of the Environment hasn’t been able to put together the $20,000 or so which it will cost to move the yacht from where it’s lodged. That’s how bad things have gotten in

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Belize. Remember the Westerhaven case, where Dean Barrow’s daughter Deanne was the attorney on record fighting for her share of the monumental $36million in damages to the reef GOB was claiming? Yeah, well, where’s all that love for the environment now, when the DoE can’t even scrape together a measly $20,000 for the precious reef ? Bet your bottom dollar if Lois or Deanne were representing GOB in this case they’d find the money quick, fast and hurry. I humbly apologize… Attorney-General Sedi Elrington did not only eat crow at the opening of the Supreme Court – he ate a whole flock of crows with humble pie for desert. Don’t get me wrong. It takes a big man to apologize, and boy did Sedi apologize for his attack on the Judiciary. He basically took back everything bad he said about the judiciary last year and expressed his utmost respect and affection for those serving on the bench. Ok, fine…no worries. So it took a whole year for Sedi to realize the error of his ways with his comments about the Judiciary. Does this mean we have to wait a year for Sedi to apologize to the Belizean people for calling the border between Guatemala and Belize artificial? The Opposition has called for the resignation of Minister of Foreign Affairs Sedi Elrington, and that call has been amplified a thousand-fold by public opinion. But as usual, Dean Barrow doesn’t seem to give a damn and plays the deaf mute to perception. The people have spoken and the Prime Minister must act, or he and his Foreign Affairs Minister will certainly get the sense. $40,000 for our youths I was pissed off back then when I heard about it and I’m still pissed off now. Back then the Cabinet in all its dubious wisdom got together and brainstormed and came up with the realization that crime is out of control and our youths need other forms of constructive recreation like sports. So Cabinet ever generous decided to allocate the grand sum of $40,000 to renovate sporting facilities countrywide. Imagine that – our youths were only worth $40,000 to those boboheads in Cabinet. Anyway, finally, some of the so-called renovation is being started, at least at a couple of the basketball courts in Belize City. But seriously, Barrow needs to get serious and get his priorities right. He doesn’t mind paying his wife millions in legal fees, but can’t seem to get together more than $40,000 to provide youths with an alternative to crime. Typical Barrow.

Hypocrite of the Week

For perhaps the first time ever, the decision on who would be knighted this issue’s Hypocrite of the Week was unanimous. It can be no other than Saint Sedi Elrington, Belize’s bumbling Minister of Foreign Affairs whose famous episodes of foot in mouth syndrome have left him in hot water more often than not. On Monday at the opening of the Supreme Court, Saint Sedi practically prostrated himself before the Judiciary, apologizing for his blatant attack last year when he launched a very personal attack on the bench. Back then, he spoke about the poor performance and high pay of the Judiciary, accusing the bench of dispensing injustice. It was a performance from the AttorneyGeneral of the country which was seen as an attempt to undermine the Judiciary and hey, looking at what has come since from the AG and from his boss the PM, there is little doubt that it was.

Anyway, so there was the apology. But our learned saint is making a feeble attempt to take the Belizean people for fools. He deliberately chose as public a forum as he could, the opening of the Supreme Court, to play on the sympathies of the public though a calculated act of humility. So basically we are supposed to forgive Saint Sedi all his transgressions because he was a big man and apologized to the bench. But Belizeans aren’t buying it. Sedi’s little poco-tiempo act on Monday does not take away from his monumental diplomatic and governmental gaffe. Far from it! Belizeans have seen through this attempt at distraction. No one is hurrying to forgive Sedi for his nonsensical declaration that the border between Belize and Guatemala is artificial and does not exist. Sedi was the one who pushed going to the ICJ to settle the Belize/Guatemala dispute not so long ago, saying that it was either go to the ICJ or pick up a gun and go to war. Now Sedi has done a complete backtrack. There will be no relaxing Sedi until he does the honourable thing and resigns. You can take that to the bank. So for pretending to be a Saint when he is anything but, and for attempting to distract Belizeans from the real issue with an ‘artificial’ apology, Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sedi Elrington is our Hypocrite of the Week.


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PaRTY PaGe

The Belize Times

PuP national executive Meets

sunday, January 24, 2010

THE BLUE MACHINE On Saturday, January 16th the National Executive of the People’s United Party met in Orange Walk Town to discuss the critical issues affecting the nation, issues which have been completely ignored by the United Democratic Party Government. The meeting symbolized a strong resolution within the Party to stand united in the service and protection of our Belizean people, even as this government guides the ship of state without a firm hand or charted course.

ANNOUNCING

Thursday Think Tanking @ Independence Hall Starting January 21, 2009

We Are The PUP


sunday, January 24, 2010

The

The Belize Times

Whip

Artificial…

Artificial is the border,that made me shudder Guatemala and we dah one he said, I nearly dead Can’t be Sedi, said I to me But it was he. Everyone get vex, we all perplex Dis ya man no di connex We dah no Guatemalan, we tell Sedi He turn round an get vex with we Charlatan Minister send we to we dictionary I guess he feel like we di play fictionary He says man-made is artificial meaning number two If that be so then my poo is artificial too Then Cabinet is artificial too, because deh lone pooh-pooh And Government is artificial too, da lone dat deh do What a thing, we live in an artificial country Everything artificial, even you and me Now I understand why we get bad oil deal See, down below the ground it is real Man takes it out and it turns artificial Man Sedi you point is crucial I just realized we got these artificial streets And artificial cars in artificial potholes to beat And artificial garbage we can’t smell or see It seems artificial is great way to be.. Artificial grenades exploding like popcorn Causing artificial death caused by man Babies dying artificial death, people with artificial pain All caused by a man and government with an artificial brain Artificial government nationalized artificial BTL Artificial debt was rationalized dead by the bell But when time comes to pay the bill Only real dollars will satisfy Ashcroft’s chill Went to the dentist to deal with this artificial cavity The artificial pain was not letting me think with clarity He did some artificial drilling, placed an artificial filling Believe me, When he finished it was not artificial billing Artificial Prime Minister, me thinks he is Regina Only Got the Glitter, thanks to accessories From the artificial Gucci made in China Why don’t you fix the economy you little whiner? Artificial Sedi, he may know his dictionary But foot in the mouth made him lose his glary What makes the whole artificial matter more scary Is that he really believes he is the tooth fairy

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The Belize Times

sunday, January 24, 2010

Barrow in the Line of Fire from angry Placencia Residents Isabel Vasquez Once again, residents of the Placencia Peninsula are up in arms against the government – and this time, their anger is being vented directly towards PM Dean Barrow following an interview aired on Love FM revealing that international cruise ships will soon be docking in Placencia village. PM Barrow revealed groundshattering plans that Placencia’s dock will receive hordes of cruise ship passengers in a bid to put the Peninsula on the map with international cruise lines. And yet, at a consultation with the Inter-American Development Bank to discuss proposals for the dock, residents of Placencia spoke with one voice against catering to cruise liners. The people specifically sought a dock “to enhance Placencia as an overnight tourist destination”, enabling local tour operators and fishermen to offer improved services to visitors; day trippers from cruise ships in no way

fulfil this criteria. Cruise ship passengers will literally “hop on” to the peninsula, have a quick browse around, and “hop back off ”. Studies throughout the world show that cruise ship passengers do not greatly

enhance a local tourist industry because costs involved with hosting the visitors greatly outweigh monies spent by them, with most of their spending going directly to the multi-national cruise line and – if lucky – a handful of locals

who might secure a contract with the company. Residents have raised concerns about waste disposal, water supplies, and infrastructural burdens, to mention but a few. Furthermore, according to Mary Toy, spokesperson for the Placencia Citizens for Sustainable Development, the introduction of cruise ships to Placencia will “hurt overnight visitor business to the point of extinction”. Returning tourists who choose Placencia for the tranquillity and isolation will have their holiday dreams shattered by the inundation by cruise ship passengers to the peninsula. Top-end sports fishermen, who provide the area with excellent rates of pay for fishing tours, plus are considered ‘good spenders’ within the community as a whole, have already allegedly threatened to pull out of the area if cruise ships are allowed to dock in Placencia, because the inherent value of Placencia as a fishing destination will be irreversibly destroyed. Numerous emails have already been sent to the Prime Minister seeking that he revoke his decision because, despite his misleading reassurances, the people of the Peninsula were in no way consulted on this matter. In fact, when the IDB conducted a survey in the area, they concluded that people of the village wanted a dock, but had specified that they did not want any provision for cruise ship passengers as they were not deemed to offer any advantages to the Peninsula’s tourist industry. The Prime Minister is in the line of fire from literally hundreds of angry residents who are voicing their anger as loudly as possible. Quotes from various letters to the PM include: • “WE WANT A PUBLIC MEETING TO DISCUSS THIS BEFORE A DEAL IS SIGNED, NOT AFTER, AS USUALLY SEEMS TO BE THE CASE! WE CONFIDENTLY VOTED FOR THIS PARTY BASED ON THEIR RHETORIC THAT THEY WERE "FOR BELIZEANS".... HOW MANY OF THESE CRUISE SHIPS ARE BELIZEAN OWNED?” • “PLACENCIA TOURISM WAS ORIGINALLY BASED ON THE IDEA OF GIVING A TRULY BELIZEAN EXPERIENCE TO THOSE WHO CAME SEEKING JUST THAT…LET US NOT DESTROY IT AND THE EFFORTS OF SO MANY” • “OUR FISH WERE LITERALLY GIVEN TO THE JAMAICANS RECENTLY, DON'T TAKE OUR DOCK” • “IF I WERE YOU, I’D KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON VILLAGE COUNCIL ELECTIONS THIS YEAR. THEY MAY VERY WELL BE A PREDICTOR OF THINGS TO COME” The people of the Placencia Peninsula have once again spoken – as they do regularly on matters of environmental concern. This time, however, the hundreds of local residents are united with one voice: a voice against the Prime Minister’s decision to allow Royal Caribbean cruises to come here. And with rumours that the PM has already definitely agreed to this contract, it seems the future looks a bit turbulent for our troubled leader right now.


sunday, January 24, 2010

The Belize Times

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HAAD TIME KECH AN KILL: CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT FUND AVAILABLE

Belize as one of the founding members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has been actively engaged in the process of fostering greater regionalism with the Community. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas of 2001 established the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), with the intent of creating a single economic space within the region. It was evident that member states at various levels of development would require varying levels of support if they are to be able to realize the benefits of further integration. It was recognized that in order to realize the objective of deepening regional integration as a means to achieving sustained economic development for member states, that new institutions would be required to support this objective. In an effort to address the dilemma identified; that of countries having varied levels of development and vulnerability of disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors, the Revised Treaty as contained in Article 158, called for the “establishment of a Development Fund for the purpose of providing financial or technical assistance to disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors.” Article 4 of the Revised Treaty listed Belize along with the small islands of the Eastern Caribbean, as less developed countries within the region. A review of the role and function of the Development Fund will be presented with an indication of how Belize can avail itself of this new opportunity. In July 2008 the Hon. Wilfred Elrington1, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed and executed on behalf of the Government of Belize the Agreement related to the operation of the Caribbean

Development Fund (CDF). The Fund in providing financial and technical assistance would address the following needs: i Attract new investments and new industries ; ii Ameliorate adverse social impact arising from the operations of the CSME; iii Improve efficiency and competitiveness of industry; iv Achieve structural diversification and infrastructural development needs; v Facilitating regional investment promotion and mobilization; and vi Enhancing business development and enterprise competitiveness, by assisting to achieve standards such as ISO and HAACP and best practices in production and marketing. Areas not to be financed by the CDF include: • Complex projects that have multiple objectives; • Balance of payment support for governments; refinancing activities and debt consolidation that does not create new or improved productive capacity; and • Working capital. The CDF is governed by a Board of Directors, with Dr. Carla Barnett as Belize’s representative on that Board as its deputy chair. The CDF has its own legal identity but as a CARICOM institution it reports to the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) and CARICOM Heads of Government. All parties to the CDF Agreement have an obligation to contribute towards the capitalization of the Fund. Belize’s assessed contribution is US$3.05M. Eligible recipients of the CDF are member states’ government and

subject to the approval of the member state government, any regional or private sector entities that are concerned with the economic development of their respective country. This therefore, means subject to GOB’s approval, private sector enterprise can access funding from the CDF. In the first contribution cycle (3 years), the CDF will focus on disbursing concessionary loans and grants that address objectives related to the implementation of the CSME. To ensure the sustainability of the Fund, loans would range between US$0.5M and US$4M. The minimum size of a grant would be US$20,000. Total grants would be limited to the sum of a country’s contribution. The CDF would charge a variable interest rate on loans, with rates set at 3% for government and 6% for private sector in this first contribution cycle. Repayment terms would vary from 15 years for government to 10 years for private sector; with maximum grace periods of 3 years and 2 years respectively. Lending is limited to 80% for government and 50% for private sector in the case of loans. A 1% commitment fee is charged on all loans. For grant funding, the limit is 90% of project cost for government and up to 60% for private sector. Therefore, in no case would a recipient be able to seek 100% funding from the CDF. PM Barrow, in his News Years address, indicated that GOB would be in receipt of some funding from CDF, but further detail was not forthcoming. It is therefore, extremely important that private businesses with the potential of increasing their productive capacity, seek to consider the CDF as a viable source

of low cost funding as the private sector plays a positive role in Belize’s economy recovery efforts. It goes without saying that the effort of Government and its representative on the Board, Dr. Carla Barnett, must be to spearhead efforts that would adequately inform and support Belizean businesses and their anticipation for funds. In a time of recession, a mark of failure on the part of Government would be that the productive sector, as a result of not being informed, did not access the facility. Our dilemma has been that Government’s support by way of proactively initiating creative measures whereby businesses can access cheaper finances, has been woefully absent. This situation cannot continue to obtain. 1 With respect to the Hon. Elrington’s statement of an artificial border, It is the view of this columnist that whereas it is understandable that the minister may have rethought his personal position on the Guatemala issue and other foreign affairs matters; the constitution provides for no greater responsibility than the protection of Belize’s sovereignty with all its territory intact. Clearly, sufficient time has elapsed for a national retraction and international clarification; it now behooves the PUP as a means to indicate seriousness of intent in this matter, that they should go further and indicate that they will withdraw from these talks until and unless Minister Elrington resigns. There must in my opinion be clarity on this issue if on no other. Send comments to GwynethNah@gmail.com


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Serious Rift threatens Citrus Industry “We are held totally at ransom without dividends from CPBL; we had no dividends last year when the company made $5.2 million. We are getting no dividends this year when they lost $10 million but still there is some $10 million of retained earnings when the company under the Companies Act can still pay a dividend. Without dividends we cannot service our debt with AIB and Social Security for the acquisition of those first ten percent shares. If that happens, CPBL, the growers will lose their 51% majority shareholding in CPBL. We have no other reason but to believe that that is a designed deliberate strategy.” Denzil Jenkins, Citrus Grower Belize City, Thursday, January 14, 2010 Citrus Products of Belize Limited General Manager Henry Canton is coming under increasing fire these days as a growing war of words between the Citrus Growers Association and a small group of growers ostensibly led by Canton, threaten to soon interrupt the 2009-2010 crop. At the root of the problem is the desire and decision by seven growers

to quit the CGA and form their own breakaway organization Belize Citrus Mutual Limited that Ernest Raymond is touting as some type of non-profit company. The papers have already been filed

with the Belize Companies Registry and it lists Raymond’s Belmopan home address as the company address. The group, which is comprised of Raymond and Canton, along with William Bowman, Mike Duncker, Sue Hafford,

Jorge Rosado and Roe’s San Miguel Farms Limited, and who represent 16% of the crop, disagree with the rest of the industry on the management and direction of the processing company Citrus Products of Belize Limited, which is the majority shareholder. CGA and Banks Holding, a strategic Barbadian investor that bought 47% of CPBL two years ago, are having serious differences that essentially David Jenkins outlined in the quote that opens this article. The CGA wishes to replace its directors on the board of CPBL and Banks and their Belizean allies led by Canton are preventing this. The CGA wants Banks to declare dividends and Banks and their Belizean allies led by Canton are preventing this. The majority of the CGA membership is unhappy with Henry Canton’s tenure as the General Manager of CPBL and want him removed and Banks and their Belizean allies led by Canton are preventing this. These issues and a few others are already before the Supreme Court of Belize are the parties seek legal clarification but what cannot be doubted is that the majority of Belize’s citrus growers feel their industry is being threatened by Banks and Canton et al actions, and are growing increasingly frustrated that their voices are not being heard. For its part the UDP Government tasked financial advisor Alan Slusher to review the matter and try to resolve the problems. Though no one will say so out loud, many of the growers seem to think that Slusher has already sided with the large grower group and has reported back to Cabinet that “personality differences” were at the root of the problems. Slusher’s mischaracterization may have been all the excuse the UDP GOB need to continue dragging its feet but as the CGA’s Henry Anderson noted during their turn before the cameras: “As I’ve said before, growers’ emotions are going high and they may take other measures to basically make their points known.” The grapefruit first crop has been almost completed, and the orange harvest is only a week old. Last year’s harvest was approximately 5.5 million boxes and the industry averages approximately $100 million in export earnings for Belizeans. Henry Canton may be a former PUP Cabinet minister but as has been published in this newspaper before, when it comes down to a choice between the many small growers and the few large growers it is not a matter for debate – the PUP champions the cause of all Belizeans but will always stand in solidarity with the Belizean working man and woman.

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sunday, January 24, 2010

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The PUP SUPPORTS SUGAR CANE FARMERS On the 18th of January 2010, the People’s United Party under the leadership of Hon John Briceno released a powerful statement in support of the Sugar Cane Farmers in the northern districts of Orange walk and Corozal. The release called on government to take bold leadership and to provide guidance to the sugar industry at a time when it is undergoing stormy days. It is important to note that the PUP’s radio station in Orange Walk has been hitting government daily, in particular the Minister of Agriculture for allowing the tense situation between the farmers and BSI to escalate to what may have been chaos. It is only because of this that Gaspar Vega rushed to intervene to try to find a solution to the numerous problems. Rene Montero, Minister of Agriculture was present at the sugar industry stakeholders meetings but as usual kept silent for fear of saying something irrelevant and out of context. His silence only confirmed farmers’ worst fears. Montero knows nothing and cares about nothing in the sugar industry. It is the PUP and its new leader, John Briceno that have called on GOB to ensure that BSI and farmers negotiate on the revenues from the sale

of bagasse to BELCOGEN. Farmers will recall that this has been a sensitive topic which BSI has been dodging ever since the farmers requested payment. When asked about bagasse payments to cane farmers on popular Orange Walk morning show “Despierta Belice”, BSI executives dipped and slipped the topic repeatedly. The PUP has told the GOB that no more slipping and dipping will be tolerated; BSI must negotiate and arrive at a fair compromise on revenue sharing for bagasse with cane farmers. The PUP has gone further to ensure that the interests of 6000 plus cane farmers and their families are safeguarded by requesting that the

farmers have qualified representation on the Board of Directors of BSI. This request is a result of past decisions taken by BSI allegedly being skewed making BSI the lone beneficiary at the expense of the cane farmers. The PUP has demanded that an end be put to this type of sinister behavior. Sugar Cane Farmers will recall that it was during the time of the PUP that 48 Million Euros (equivalent to approximately 140 million Belize dollars) was secured for the sugar cane industry from the European Union. All that is required from this UDP government is to spend it wisely by developing programs that would ensure

the survival of the sugar cane industry. Even this simple test they have failed. All they have done with the EU money is to upgrade a number of main roads in the Orange Walk and Corozal districts. No comprehensive, sustainable field rehabilitation program has been developed, much less implemented by the Ministry responsible for the sugar industry. At the lower level, farmers do appreciate the tireless efforts of the technical staff of the SICB. They can certainly acknowledge the long hours of work and weekends which the technical staff of the SICB dedicates to serving the farmers and they are most grateful. The problem lies at the highest level of the line - Ministries where policy direction and decisions are seriously deficient. The People’s United Party stands in solidarity with cane farmers and understands the hardships, frustrations and inconveniences that they have been undergoing recently. The People’s United Party will do its best to ensure that cane farmers are treated with all fairness, respect and the dignity they deserve and we demand that GOB and BSI do the same. After all it is the sugarcane farmers that are sitting at the wheel of the economic train in the north.

Belizean Farmers Face Growing Crisis

Isabel Vasquez For several weeks local farmers, retailers and wholesalers of fresh produce have been grumbling about a saturated market for certain commodities, making it almost impossible for hundreds of vendors

to reap the profits they so desperately need. The complaints are echoing the loudest around the Belize City market amid vendors who have already suffered more than their fair share in recent months, having been abruptly relocated

to inappropriate premises following the closure of the traditional market stall location. That injustice, it seems, was mild in comparison to the hardships vendors are now facing. The problem that is causing so much distress currently is that the domestic market is being flooded by imported Mexican products, which often appear more appealing in quality and price for buyers, leaving their local counterparts “on the shelf ” until they are discarded in desperation. A short trip to the market at any time of day, any day of the week, reveals just how serious this problem is, with an obvious surplus of various products stacked high in the backs of vans and under shop counters, with little potential of ever being sold. Those products produced locally that are most displaced by foreign imports are celery, carrots and lettuce. Farmers from Springfield, San Antonio (Cayo), San Carlos (Orange Walk) and Barton Creek are just a handful of those affected by what appears to be an apparent disregard for the Belizean people on the part of the UDP administration; the crux of the matter, it appears, is that while the government alleges to have ceased granting importation licenses, certain importers are still freely importing vast quantities of Mexican goods to compete on the market with local produce. One Springfield farmer alone

estimates that some 5000 pounds of celery has already spoiled in his field because there is insufficient demand to warrant harvesting it. Even worse, with another four months of peak celery season ahead of us, the future prospects look bleak for this farmer (like so many) for profiting from all his hard work over the past year. And an even louder cry from the many voices on the market is that they were encouraged by the government to increase their yields to reduce dependency on foreign imports. It is not surprising that most say they will reject any further pleas for planting excess quantities of produce, and some even threaten to leave the agricultural sector altogether, which could leave the Belizean market with a gaping hole between demand and supply in the future. Complaints are not merely idle words to the media. Many of these vendors have already visited Minister Montero on more than one occasion to discuss their predicament; they reported back to the masses that the Agriculture Department has apparently denied all accusations of this licensing blunder. The denial fell on deaf (or disbelieving) ears, however, as the market vendors see the evidence of lenient licensing every day when their local goods are forced to compete with excessive imports from Mexico. What little credit the Minister had sustained over the past year of blunders has now vanished almost overnight. It is not just a hope but an urgent necessity that Mexican import licenses are corrected to exclude those local products which are in such great supply right now. One more week of such heightened competition will undoubtedly cripple some retailers, and even more worryingly, threatens to undermine the very foundations of the agricultural industry for the future.


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COURT NEWS U.S. Citizen Remanded on Money Laundering Charge BELIZE CITY, Wed. Jan. 20, 2010

American national William Russell Jewett, 33, whose boat Lattitude Adjustment was seized along with $120,000 U.S. currency, was charged with money laundering and two Customs and Excise Department offences when he appeared today in the #1 Magistrate’s Court. The offences brought by the Customs and Excise Department were for failure to declare the importation of Lattitude Adjustment valued at $764,451.10 for which the Comptroller of Customs is asking for three times its value, and knowingly evading customs duty by not reporting his vessel as required by customs law. The prosecution, represented by Counsel Mikael Arguelles of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Bank of Belize, objected to bail on the grounds that Jewett is wanted in the Southern District of Alabama for failing to appear in court on August 31, 2009 on a gun related charge, that he entered Belize without a genuine U.S. passport, that he has the ability to obtain fraudulent documents to travel to another jurisdiction and that immigration charges will be brought against him because he entered Belize illegally. One of Jewett’s attorneys, Dickie Bradley, submitted that there is no evidence that his client will flee if granted

High School Student Charged With Dangerous Harm in Stabbing Incident BELIZE CITY, Wed. Jan. 20, 2010

William Russel Jewett

bail, that his client’s boat and assets are far beyond what is normally required for bail and that stringent terms and conditions can be set when offering bail. Ellis Arnold, who also represented Jewett, submitted that one of the conditions the Court needs to look at is the quality of evidence of the prosecution because the prosecution has failed to show the court that it has strong evidence. But despite the submissions of both counsels for Jewett, Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie denied Jewett bail on the grounds that there is a warrant for Jewett’s arrest for failing to appear in Court in the United States on August 31, 2009. She remanded him into custody

Mark Usher Jr.

until February 9. Police busted Jewett on Friday, January 15 when they went to Old Belize at Mile 5 on the Western Highway where Lattitude Adjustment was docked. They reported that when they searched the boat they found $120,000 U.S. currency, some Euro currency, some pesos and $23 Belize currency. According to a report, Jewett entered Belize on December 31, 2009, via Hunting Caye.

Mark Usher Jr. 18, a student of Gwen Lizarraga High School who allegedly stabbed Jiovanni Abraham, 20, was charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm when he appeared in the #6 Magistrate’s Court on Monday, January 18. Magistrate Sharon Fraser did not take a plea from him because the offences are indictable. She offered him bail of $5,000 which he met, and adjourned his case until March 4. The bail was offered on the condition that he stays away from the complainant. The incident occurred at around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 13. Abraham, a Tour Guide of 59 Fabers Road, reported to the Police that he was at the corner of Fabers Road and Dykes Road when he and Usher got into a misunderstanding. Abraham said Usher pulled out a sharp object and stabbed him in his abdomen. Usher said that Abraham and his father were trying to force him into a vehicle when the stabbing occurred. Usher said Abraham and his father wanted to force him into their vehicle because earlier that same day he was involved in an altercation with Abraham’s cousin and he was the winner.


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COURT NEWS Arthur Young and Errol Haynes Walk From Murder Charge BELIZE CITY, Wed. Jan. 20, 2010

Arthur Young , 35, and Errol “Butch” Haynes, 25, charged with the murder of Calvin Young, 20, were freed of the charge today in the Court of Justice Michelle Arana when a nolle prosequi, indicating that the prosecution cannot proceed, was entered by crown counsels Triena Young and Cecil Ramirez. The nolle prosequi was entered after Floyd Wade, 20, a.k.a Floyd Hyde, the chief witness for the prosecution took the witness stand and said he cannot remember what Errol Haynes happened on the night of November the prosecution did not have a case 2, 2007 when Young was fatally stabbed and he himself was stabbed so its case was aborted and the jury in his chest area and the right side of was discharged. Two witnesses, Scenes of his neck. Without Wade’s evidence Crimes technician Martin Rodriguez

Arthur Young

and Jennifer Alvarez who lived in the apartment next to Young, had testified before Wade. Wade in his statement to Police had identified Arthur Young and Haynes as the

persons who stabbed Calvin Young and himself. Calvin Young was stabbed 25 times. The jurors were shown 14 photographs of the crime scene in Calvin Young’s apartment in Belama Phase I, and one of the photographs showed Young lying face down with his boxer’s shorts down to his knees. Haynes was represented by attorney Hubert Elrington while Arthur Young was represented by attorney Dickie Bradley

Karim Barona Remanded On Attempted Murder Charge

Karim Barona

2010

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Jan. 20,

The police’s investigation of a shooting incident which occurred at around 4:30 a.m. on Christmas Day, December 25, 2009, has resulted in the arrest of Karim Barona, 27, an unemployed man of #2 Price Alley. Barona appeared in the #6 Magistrate’s Court on Monday, January 18. He was charged with attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. No plea was taken from him because the offences are indictable. Magistrate Sharon Fraser offered him no bail. She explained to him that the Court could not offer him any bail because of the nature of the offences. She remanded him into custody until February 25. The complainant Darrell Berry, 20, a student residing in Orange Walk Town, reported to the Police that he was walking on Castle Street when he was approached by a man wearing a mask and riding a bicycle. Berry said the man fired several shots at him and one of the bullets struck him in his left cheek. Berry was admitted to ward at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and he was discharged after his wound healed. Barona was detained by the Police at around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 17.

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sunday, January 24, 2010

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Belize Times l o ñ a p s En E

DOMINGO ENERO 24, 2010

Issue No. 4667

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The Truth Shall Make You Free

!

BASTA!

El pasado martes a las 10:30 am el Partido Unido del Pueblo (PUP) le informo a la nación en asuntos de suma importancia que hoy afectan el vivir de los beliceños. En un cuarto lleno de representantes del partido, la prensa y observadores el PUP reporto sobre cuestiones de crimen, la economía, el caso de Belice/Guatemala y sobre la crisis que se vive en la industria azucarera y la cítrica. Los exponentes fueron el Líder del Partido John Briceño, y los Vice Lideres Mark Espat y Francis Fonseca y el Senador Eamon Courtenay. Las presentaciones fueron claras y concisas e incluyeron planes de acción forjando un camino para salirse de esta depresión. Mientras el partido opositor PUP se ocupaba y discutía asuntos de suma importancia con los beliceños, los miembros del gabinete, la institución política de más alto nivel en el país, estaban en Belmopan entretenidos discutiendo un homenaje que se le presentara al Primer Ministro la otra semana en Nueva York. En la apertura de su discurso el Líder de la Oposición John Briceño entablo el tono y la política a seguir en los próximos meses diciendo que “por dos años hemos sido una oposición responsable y le hemos permitido gobernar a la administración del gobierno de Barrow. Nos hemos restringido al criticar. Pero hoy les digo ¡BASTA!” La percepción del público ha condenado la administración de Barrow por la aparente ineptitud de lidiar con asuntos muy importantes que afectan a la nación. Mientras los problemas de la industria azucarera pasan de ser críticos, el Primer Ministro aparenta no tener la capacidad o estar dispuesto a presentar recomendaciones concretas para resolver los problemas que existen entre los cañeros, la compañía Belize Sugar Industry (BSI) y la Junta de Control de la Industria Azucarera. Asimismo, a pesar del frio que azota la Florida y que le dará

un empuje inesperado a los precios del cítrico, esta industria hoy sigue en caos. Hay una grieta que se sigue abriendo entre la mayoría de los agricultores pequeños y la compañía CPBL. En su presentación Briceño sanciono la administración de Barrow comentando como “inefectiva en resolver los problemas de otro sector importante de nuestra economía y un generador de divisas importante y una industria que contribuyo sobre los $100 millones a la economía del país en el 2008.” En su presentación sobre la economía de Belice, el vice Líder Mark Espat recalco sobre el record espantoso de la administración Barrow y también sobre las profundidades reales del fisco bajo la administración del UDP. Según Espat “la actividad económica medida por el PIB se ha contraído consecutivamente por tres veces por 2.2%, 1.9% y .2% respectivamente. Estos son números tangibles que causan agonía humana y se convierten en una pérdida de miles de empleos, negocios cerrados, casas vendidas, niños fuera de la escuela y familias quebrantadas. Para gente real esto a veces a representado no tener ni que comer.” Y el resto de la historia económica de Belice es igualmente de espantosa con las importaciones de la Zona Libre cayendo un 50% y las exportaciones domesticas cayendo un 20%. Más de 20,000 beliceños buscan empleo y no encuentran y el 43% de nuestros residentes califican como pobres con 14% mas siendo vulnerables a la pobreza. Según Espat: 142,000 beliceños no pueden encontrar $5.50 al día para comer.” El vice Líder cerró su presentación diciendo “esta tripulación navego con prometiendo un crecimiento anual de 6%, 5000 empleos nuevos, costos de utilidades más bajos, impuestos más bajos y apertura de las acciones de la industria petrolera para las masas. ¿No es

tiempo ya que se cumplan esas promesas? Desafortunadamente esto permanece siendo un sueño como hace dos años.” Mientras el Ministro de Seguridad Nacional Carlos Perdomo ha empezado una campaña publicitaria tratando de convencer a los beliceños que el nivel de crimen se mantiene más bajo, la nación se encuentra en una gran onda de violencia. Esto ha culminado con la detonación de dos granadas en vecindarios en la ciudad de Belice. El vice Líder Francis Fonseca azoto contra el gobierno por la falta de una agenda para abordar el problema del crimen “existe mucha incertidumbre porque hasta hoy existen todavía más preguntas que respuestas. La respuesta del gobierno ha sido mucha retórica sin mucha substancia. El Ministro de Seguridad Nacional todavía ha de venir con un plan practico para rescatar a nuestra sociedad de estos que buscan destruir nuestro modo de vivir.” Fonseca fue muy claro al decir “el crimen y la violencia están desboronando nuestra sociedad y tienen el potencial de desgastar la confianza de una comunidad frágil y maltratada. El PUP está comprometido a luchar. Estamos listos para tomar parte en esta lucha.” El Senador Courtenay quien ha sido miembro veterano del equipo de negociación de Belice/ Guatemala también comento sobre las declaraciones arrebatadas recientemente hechas por el Canciller Sedi Erlington. Courtenay dijo “el asunto más importante que enfrenta Belice hoy como nación es la defensa de su integridad territorial y su soberanía sobre todo su territorio.” Últimamente ha habido protesta pública pidiendo la dimisión de cargo del Canciller quien declaro recientemente que la frontera entre Belice y Guatemala son artificiales. Courtenay reitero la posición del Partido Unido del Pueblo “el

Partido toma esta oportunidad para repetir la condena hacia la descripción de nuestra frontera hecha por el Canciller Wilfred Elrington. Rechazamos esa descripción. Afirmamos sin equivocación que siempre hemos tenido y seguimos teniendo una frontera con Guatemala como se define en la Constitución de Belice.” La atmosfera en la rueda de prensa no se pudo tergiversar. Ya no habrá más tiempo y ya no habrá tolerancia con las locuras peligrosas de esta administración incompetente, negligente y corrupta de Barrow. El UDP tuvo dos años para cumplir las promesas hechas al pueblo beliceño. Lo que demanda el PUP fue propuesto muy explícitamente por el Líder del Partido “Como el resto de la nación, nosotros estamos cansados de pretextos y de echar culpa. Queremos ver un plan que le devolverá la confianza a los inversionistas y es por eso que le hacemos un llamado al Primer Ministro a que baje los intereses en especial a los del sector productivo. Queremos ver un programa más agresivo que va a crear más oportunidades en las vecindades que están más al riesgo, en especial esas que están en el lado sur de la ciudad de Belice. Estamos demandando que encuentre manera de obtener capital para las pequeñas empresas en especial esas que están en el sector turístico…Queremos que el Primer Ministro reduzca el costo de vida y no vamos a tolerar ni un impuesto mas.” El Líder del Partido John Briceño no escatimo cuando dijo “Le digo a usted Primer Ministro…ya llego la hora de cumplir las 21 promesas hechas; efectivamente ya llego la hora de cumplir todas sus promesas.” ¡Estamos hartos! Señor Primer Ministro…. ¡Basta! ¡Ya llego la hora de cumplir!


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La Máquina Azul Para los partidarios del PUP, el martes pasado, la Conferencia de Prensa fue lo que más habían estado esperando, la unión de todos para hacer frente a los problemas que enfrenta esta nación. Así que era un momento en que el partido podría mostrar el contraste real entre los dos principales partidos políticos en Belice. Ese contraste es un PUP cargado de gente con talento, ofreciendo soluciones reales a los problemas en lugar del UDP, que son tan carentes de talento que sólo el líder del partido se atreve a decir. Para aquellos en el UDP, la respuesta a la conferencia de prensa del PUP ha creado más de un murmullo, a juzgar por las reacciones de algunos de sus spin doctors. La Conferencia de Prensa del PUP ha creado una lucha entre el liderazgo del partido. Desde el martes las cabezas parlantes del UDP han estado lanzando ataques verbales que carecen de todo mérito o de cohesión. Sus respuestas son típicas de la conducta brutal a menudo representada por su líder, que cuando se le pregunta acerca de cualquier cuestión, nacionales o políticas, siempre lanza un ataque contra personalidades en lugar de abordar la situación de manera objetiva. Los beliceños recordarán que cuando al ser presionado por los medios de comunicación acerca de los problemas en el Ministerio de Seguridad Nacional y la delincuencia, el Primer Ministro culpó a los agentes de policía corruptos. Cuando se le preguntó acerca de los problemas con las malas condiciones de las calles de la ciudad, él responde que los conductores deben aprender a conducir en las calles. Cuando se le preguntó acerca de la economía de la nación, el culpa a la economía mundial. Cuando se le preguntó cuánto dinero su ex esposa Lois está haciendo en BTL, dice que es menos de lo que se pagaba antes. Nunca hay una respuesta directa de este Primer Ministro. Ahora estamos viendo este tipo de comportamiento, incluso en, “Boots” Martinez, quien en respuesta a las preocupaciones planteadas por un residente de la Ciudad de Belice, el acuso a la mujer de ser una mentirosa. En lugar de ofrecer una solución a la situación, la respuesta instintiva fue atacar a la persona. Lo qué pasó en el Independence Hall el martes pasado fue todo lo contrario a lo que los beliceños han oído durante los últimos dos años, Excusas - o lo que la nación está sometida en cualquiera de las conferencias de prensa del UDP donde el Primer Ministro, el orador único, se levanta y culpa de todo y a todos del fracaso de su administración de no poder cumplir sus promesas. En lugar de mostrar el show de un solo hombre el líder del PUP salio junto con los miembros de su ejecutivo a identificar los problemas que enfrenta la nación, y a ofrece recomendaciones y expresar su voluntad de ayudar. Nunca antes ninguna oposición en Belice hizo propuestas para trabajar con o ayudar a rescatar a un gobierno que parece estar dirigido para el desastre. Uno pensaría que si el Primer Ministro realmente se preocupa por el bien de la nación, debería de dar a esta oferta seria consideración, después de todo, el número de ministros incompetentes que ha sentado en torno a él en su gabinete deben dar ninguna ayuda a sus dolores y molestias. La conferencia de prensa del martes debe de haber sido una trituración en el UDP, que ha estado tratando desesperadamente de vender esta idea de una oposición tranquila y herida. A juzgar por la reacción procedente de los, pies del Puente BelChina sin embargo, pueden muy bien preguntarse si fue del todo sabia la idea de haber despertado a la Máquina Azul. Por seguro esta será su peor pesadilla.

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El Bejuco Artificial… Sedi Erlington ha declarado que la frontera con

Guatemala es artificial. El hecho de que por unos tragos y una buena comida se haya dispuesto a declarar tal desfachatez es falta de sensatez y resulta perturbador. Sedi es sedicioso, artificioso, latoso y abaratado cuan piruja de peseta. Artificial y falsos serán sus famosos atributos de patriota. Artificial son sus comentarios que demuestran falta de prudencia. Artificial su sentido de responsabilidad. Artificial su lógica. Artificial su formalidad y su discreción. Sedi es artificial. Así como artificial es todo el gobierno del UDP. Falsos son el sofistico primer ministro y los espurios de su gabinete. El parloteo de este ido todavía nos habrá de atormentar en tiempos venideros pues los chapines nos han de restregar en la cara todavía que nuestro más ilustre nacionalista y ministro de Relaciones Exteriores ha sostenido que la frontera es artificial, que somos un solo pueblo con Guatemala y que el primer ministro Beliceño Dean Barrow y su gobierno estuvieron de acuerdo… Y lo que es peor que será utilizado en la Corte Internacional de justicia a la cual tarde o temprano acudiremos para resolución del caso.. La resolución favorable para Belize dado el calibre de gobernantes que tenemos en este momento, es una quimera..

Real…

Real es nuestro sufrimiento, y nuestro descontento Real es la falta de trabajo, y la violencia no es relajo Real son las granadas, que nos tiran a manadas Real son las muertes infantiles, ya son más que mis dátiles Real es la corrupción del gobierno, y eso que esta tierno Real es la ineficacia del gabinete, lleno de puro mequetrefe Real es lo jodido de la economía, ya no da para lo que uno comía Ay de mi, ay de ti, esto ya parece Haití Real es nuestra frontera, Aunque Sedi así no lo quiera Real la intransigencia, a pesar mantendremos la independencia Real es la diferencia, después de la línea es otra regencia Real es que este ido, la cosa ha jodido


Sunday, January 24, 2010

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UDP Políticas, como siempre

Premio mi c#... Hey, sin falta de respeto a la Fundación Americana para la Universidad de las Indias Occidentales, pero si vas a hacer un gran escándalo de dar un premio, supuestamente de prestigio, lo menos que ustedes pueden hacer es dárselo a alguien que ha hecho una buena m @ # a. Demonios pero yo estaba enojado, cuando me puse a mirar en la sesión informativa del Gabinete de esta semana, sólo para encontrar que el principal tema de interés es que el PM y la primera dama y segunda esposa se dirigen a Nueva York donde nuestros amado (inserte risas aquí) líder será otorgado con el premio del legado distinguido. ¿Por qué exactamente, usted se pregunta? Bueno, eso es la cosa. El PM se supone que se reconoce por su (¿va usted a creer?) la contribución al desarrollo social y económico de Belice y la región del Caribe. Si bien esta información, sin duda, lanzara a Juliet, Joe y Fonso en un frenesí orgásmico, seamos realistas. Me atrevo a que nadie puede nombrar una sola importante contribución que ha hecho el PM Barrow para el desarrollo social y económico de Belice y la región del Caribe. ¡Nombren solo uno! En sólo dos años en virtud de Barrow, la economía está en recesión, sin luz al final del túnel y nuestro nivel de pobreza se ha disparado al 43%. En virtud de Barrow, la antigua capital está en ruinas, el índice de corrupción ha aumentado a través del techo, el terrorismo urbano se ha apoderado de nuestras ¿Entienden lo que estoy diciendo? El PM Barrow sin ayuda ha presidido el secuestro de una empresa privada que ha destruido la confianza de los inversores en nuestra nación. Y todo esto es sólo la punta del iceberg. Social y el desarrollo económico...Por favor!!!. Tengo que creer que la Fundación Americana para la UWI simplemente sacó un par de nombres de un sombrero. Esa es la única explicación. Se llama recesión... estúpido! Mientras que Barrow se ha ocupado de que los beliceños pobres entiendan el sentido de lo que es una recesión, parece que ha mantenido la noticia en secreto a las personas cercanas a él. Como hemos dicho antes, la economía de Belice se encuentra en recesión, pero la economía de Barrow y las economías de sus amigos y familiares se están realizando maravillosamente. Por un demonio, mientras que Barrow se está apretando el cinturón alrededor del cuello, su primera esposa Lois y segunda dama está en Londres en la nómina del GOB, está trabajando duro para pisotear los derechos de los beliceños. Lois ha sido escuchada jactándose de que a finales de este año se embolsara la bonita suma de $ 12 millones. Maldita sea ¿Entonces imagínense cuanto Lois se embolsaría si la economía no estuviera en recesion? Y eso es porque aún no hemos llegado a la cantidad que su hijo e hija están chupando de la teta pública.

Una gran familia infeliz... El GOB / BTL / PUC han perdido otra gran batalla en el Tribunal de Apelación, que confirmó la orden judicial contra BTL que instruye a dicha sociedad a dejar de jugar con el servicio de Smart a sus clientes. Pero hay más en la historia que eso. La cosa es que por primera vez en la historia, el Tribunal de Apelaciones se reunió en una sesión especial para escuchar el caso de BTL para el despido de la orden judicial. Eso significa que los jueces fueron trasladados al país por un día por los caprichos de Barrow/Lois/BTL - ¿Cómo es eso de interferir con el sistema judicial? Y de acuerdo a Jules, cuyo padre es el mago de las finanzas (risa, carcajada) de BTL, los jueces fueron llevados a expensas del GOB. ¿Puede alguien decirles acerca de la recesión? En pocas palabras, a los beliceños se nos dio otro bukut en nuestra línea de fondo sólo para que Lois y Dean sean felices. Y m@#, como es de enfermo el primer ministro que su propio bufete de abogados estaba representando a BTL en la persona de Rodwell Williams. ¿Recuerda del bukut anterior?, pues ahora nos acaban de dar otro. No sólo esta Lois haciendose rica a nuestras costillas, sino que el Primer Ministro se está sumando a la acción. Vamos Dean, ¡que enfermo eres! Esto va mas allá de conflicto de intereses, esto va mas allá de corrupción y es mas que pura m@#$%a. La comedia del medio ambiente... La noticia que salio esta semana de que un yate de 85 pies de lujo llamado "The Great Escape” está atascado en nuestro arrecife en el Sapodilla y Range Hunting Caye, fue una gran sorpresa para mucha gente. Incluso más que una sorpresa fue el hecho de que se esta atascado en el arrecife desde el 30 de noviembre de 2009. Así es, casi dos meses. Tal vez la única razón de que ha aparecido en las noticias ahora es que la acción constante de las olas, a provocado que el barco se este desmoronando en el arrecife. ¿Por qué el Departamento de Medio Ambiente no ha intervino, usted puede preguntarse? Bueno, verá, el Departamento del Medio Ambiente no ha sido capaz de reunir los 20.000 dólares, que le va a costar mover el barco de donde se encuentra. Eso es lo mal que hemos llegado ahora en Belice. ¿Recuerda el caso Westerhaven, donde la hija de Dean Barrow Deanne fue la abogada de registro que

luchaba por su tajada de los monumentales 36 million en daños a los arrecifes que el Gob pretendía? Sí, bueno, ¿dónde está todo ese amor por el medio ambiente ahora, cuando el Departamento de Energía ni siquiera puede reunir unos míseros 20.000 dólares para el valioso arrecife? Apuesta tu último dólar a que si Lois o Deanne representaban Gob en este caso se encontraría el dinero fácil, rápido y de prisa. Disculpas humildemente... El Procurador General Sedi Elrington no sólo comio cuervo en la apertura de la Corte Suprema - se comió toda una bandada de cuervos con Pie de humildad de postre. No me malinterpreten. Se necesita un hombre grande para disculparse, y hombre! Sedi se disculpo por su ataque al Poder Judicial. Básicamente, él se tomó de nuevo todo lo malo que dijo sobre el poder judicial el año pasado y expresó su máximo respeto y afecto por los que prestan sus servicios en el banco. Ok, está bien... no se preocupe. Así que tomó un año entero para que SEDI se diera cuenta del error de sus caminos con sus comentarios sobre el Poder Judicial. ¿Significa esto que tenemos que esperar un año para que SEDI pida disculpas al pueblo de Belice por llamar a la frontera entre Guatemala y Belice artificial? La oposición ha pedido el despido del Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores Sedi Elrington, y la llamada ha sido amplificada mil veces por la opinión pública. Pero, como de costumbre, a Dean Barrow le importa un bledo y se hace el sordomudo. El pueblo ha hablado y el Primer Ministro debe actuar, o él y su Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores tendrán ciertamente la idea. 40.000 dólares para nuestros jóvenes Yo estaba enojado en ese entonces cuando me enteré de ello y todavía estoy enojado ahora. En ese entonces el Consejo de Ministros en toda la sabiduría de sus dudosos se reunieron, discutieron y se acercó con la constatación de que la delincuencia está fuera de control y nuestros jóvenes necesitan otras formas de recreación constructiva, como los deportes. Así que el siempre generoso Gabinete decidió asignar la gran suma de $40.000 dólares para renovar las instalaciones deportivas en todo el país. Imagine que - nuestros jóvenes sólo tienen un valor de $ 40.000 para los cabeza-hueca en el Gabinete. De todos modos, finalmente, algunas de las renovaciones se están iniciando, por lo menos en un par de canchas de básquetbol en la ciudad de Belice. Pero en serio, Barrow tiene que tomar en serio y poner sus prioridades correctas. No le importa pagar a su exesposa millones en honorarios de abogados, pero parece que no puede llegar a más de 40.000 dólares para ofrecer a los jóvenes una alternativa a la delincuencia. Típico de Barrow.

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Partido Unido del Pueblo P.O. Box 506 Belize City, Belize Tel: 671-8385, Fax: 223-3476

La posición del Partido unido del Pueblo sobre los agricultores de cana El Partido Unido del Pueblo manifiesta su solidaridad con los agricultores de caña y se identifica con ellos mientras son sometidos a las dificultades y los inconvenientes provocados por un Gobierno UDP insensible y vengativo. Es la posición del Partido Unido del Pueblo que la administración de Barrow ha descuidado gravemente la Industria Azucarera de Belice, y como resultado ha colocado a la industria, una de las mayores de la Nación como fuente de divisas y el sustento de más de 8.000 agricultores y sus 30.000 dependientes más en crisis. El Gobierno de Barrow, y en particular el Ministro de Agricultura, están fuera de contacto con los problemas que enfrenta la industria azucarera, no estaban preparados para los problemas potenciales de BELCOGEN y el dolor que estos problemas podrían causar a los agricultores de caña, y sobre todo, parecen no tener el liderazgo que se necesita con urgencia para proporcionar orientación a la industria del azúcar en este momento. Consideramos que el Primer Ministro y su Ministro de Agricultura son plenamente responsables de garantizar la viabilidad y sostenibilidad de esta industria muy importante y hacemos un llamamiento al Gobierno para que: 1. Demuestren un liderazgo audaz a través del Ministerio de Agricultura y la junta directiva del control de la industria azucarera (SICB) 2. Colaboren con todas las partes interesadas en la industria azucarera para encontrar soluciones significativas a los problemas que enfrenta la industria. 3. Lograr una mayor apertura y transparencia en las operaciones de BSI y BELCOGEN, y que un representante de los cultivadores de caña sea> nombrado a la junta directiva de BSI. 4. Insistir en que Belize Sugar Industries Limited y BELCOGEN aborden urgentemente las fallas técnicas de su nueva planta a fin de reducir las pérdidas económicas que sufren los agricultores de caña; 5. Facilitar las negociaciones entre BSI y los agricultores de caña en relación a los ingresos de la venta de bagazo para BELCOGEN con miras a llegar a un acuerdo de reparto de los ingresos que beneficie tanto de los agricultores de caña como a BSI. 6. Que publiquen inmediatamente los resultados de la investigación sobre la muerte de Atanacio Félix Gutiérrez, y que se compense a la familia Gutiérrez por su lamentable muerte. 7. Aprobar y aumentar el subsidio de combustible para los agricultores de caña, sobre todo cuando un segundo campo petrolífero ha sido declarado comercial y una creciente cantidad de combustible está siendo parcialmente refinado en Belice.

Declaración de Orange Walk En la reunión del Ejecutivo Nacional

El día sábado, el Ejecutivo Nacional del Partido Unido del Pueblo se reunió en Orange Walk Town. En su primera reunión del 2010, el Grupo adoptó las siguientes decisiones: I. El PUP reconoció los esfuerzos de el Excmo. Cordel Hyde y el Excmo. Mark Espat, dos de sus dirigentes adjuntos del partido, al proponer al Primer Ministro que el Gobierno trabaje en conjunto con las Naciones Unidas para conceder el estatuto de refugiados a algunas familias de Haití. El Ejecutivo Nacional, por tanto, apoya esta iniciativa y pide al Gobierno a actuar sobre esta recomendación. El partido también hará una donación a la Cruz Roja de Belice para su Fondo de Haití. II. Preocupado por los problemas crecientes en la industria azucarera, el Grupo ha pedido al Gobierno que se comprometan con todos los interesados en la industria azucarera para encontrar soluciones significativas a los problemas que enfrenta la industria. El Grupo emitió una declaración por separado sobre este tema. III. El Ejecutivo Nacional de el PUP también tomó la decisión de condenar enérgicamente la declaración del Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores que nuestras fronteras con Guatemala son "artificiales". En respuesta a esto, el líder del partido y líder de la oposición, el Excmo. John Briceño, ha escrito al Primer Ministro pidiendo una retractación completa de la declaración del Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores y que el Ministerio de relaciones Exteriores escriba a la Organización de Estados Americanos para eliminar cualquier lenguaje de sus comunicaciones. IV. El Grupo también mantuvo conversaciones sobre el estado de la economía de Belice y está seriamente preocupado por un tercer período de crecimiento económico negativo. Asimismo, el Grupo sigue preocupado por el aumento de los niveles de delincuencia y violencia en Belice. V. El líder del partido convoco a una conferencia de prensa el día martes 19 de enero de 2010, en la sede del partido para discutir estos y otros problemas que enfrenta nuestra nación. ---fin---


Sunday, January 24, 2010

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NATION BUILDERS

MS ELIA ADELA CANSINO Elizabeth Pridgeon Ms Elia Cansino (nee Godoy) has spent decades striving towards helping people in her local community of Orange Walk. She has actively involved in ministerial activities of the church, community activism on behalf of women’s rights, and latterly she has represented the judicial system as both a Justice of the Peace and a Commissioner of the Supreme Court. Her participation in communal affairs is admirable, and as she looks to ‘hand over’ her responsibilities to younger generations, it is hoped that young Orangewalkaños may be inspired to follow in her footsteps. Ms Elia was educated at the town’s La Inmaculada Primary School, g rowing up alongside her three siblings and six halfsiblings, under the guidance of her grandmother, Ms Priscilla Alpuche. Due to financial restraints on the household, the opportunity for Ms Elia to further her education at high school was unavailable to her – until, that is, she acquired a scholarship to attend classes at a Guatemalan high school. After a year in Guatemala, Ms Elia returned to Orange Walk and found employment with staff of the newly-established Tate&Lyle company, offering domestic services to the foreign employees of the company. After a couple of years at this, her charm and charisma so impressed her employer, Mr Bill Wildman, that his family offered her the opportunity to continue her schooling in Canada, which she gratefully accepted and accompanied them to Canada to enrol in a further two years of classes. When she returned to Orange Walk, she resumed work with the sugar industry, this time as a book-keeper for BSI. Shortly afterwards, she met and married her husband, and was quickly consumed with domestic responsibilities of raising four children. It was during this time that she began attending the Bible Chapel in town, and quickly she assumed responsibilities as President of the Chapel’s Ladies’ Group . This involved the comprehensive organisation of rotas to visit hospital patients, care for the sick and elderly, and support those whose families were absent or abroad. She also attended conferences throughout the country with similar women’s groups, all of which motivated the creation of the WAV movement: Women Against Violence. By the 1990s, Ms Elia’s campaigning with WAV had reached such a level that she was elected as Chairperson,

falter her devotion to her community and her Church, and even in times of crisis, she always maintained a professional approach to her duties to society. There are few greater traits in human nature than to selflessly put others above oneself, and this is something that Ms Elia has demonstrated throughout her life, and continues to do so today with the concern she demonstrates for the future generations of Belizean society (including her family). If women of this upcoming generation were half as much woman as Ms Elia, then the future looks bright for Belize and its nation builders in the future.

CHECK OUT OUR NEW WEBSITE receiving a certificate of appreciation in 1991 for her work with the movement as councillor. This role involved a variety of tasks, including providing emotional support for abused women, and participating in court attendance initiatives designed to pressure magistrates into making constructive, just verdicts. Ms Elia’s active support and determination, throughout times of trial and tribulations for many of her peers, were praised by her colleagues, and in 1992 she was chosen to represent Belize in Costa Rica at La Comision para la defensa de los derechos humanos en Centro America. Soon after this, Ms Elia’s time became almost wholly consumed with the active role she took in the rearing of her grand children. She did, however, manage to retain sufficient time to continue her role with the Church, which was crucial in the development of the Spanish aspect of her Church which, 17 years ago, was officially opened as Ministerio Luz Divina. Throughout her service and dedication to the Church, Ms Elia considers the Lord’s workings to have been miraculous in her own life, and she continues to serve as Secretary of the Ministry (a role which involves far more than just paperwork as she is often required to fill in as teacher, cleaner and even preacher in the pastor’s absence!). Ms Elia is now of the opinion that she, and her generation, have given all they can to the Ministry, and it is time to hand over to the younger generations who appear full of potential in aspects such as leadership, ideas and motivation. She continues her work as one of the town’s JPs, however, and she also received the honour to be one of the handful of Commissioners of

the Supreme Court in Orange Walk, and these two roles do not look likely to be ‘handed over’ to the younger generations just yet. Despite a series of illnesses (including cancer), Ms Elia never let

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VOICES Village

from the

MASKALL Elizabeth Pridgeon Nestled in the once-wellfrequented catchment area of the Old Northern Highway, Maskall village is now once again appropriately considered “off the beaten track”. Yet, despite the main infrastructure between Orange Walk and Belize City having been improved and relocated to the current Northern Highway, the village has not noticably suffered nor slipped in its developmental targets over recent decades. Maskall today is a village of approximately 2000 residents, dispersed throughout several square miles of habitation, which is far different from how early settlers would have experienced the village several hundred years ago. Maskall has an enviably important history of a greater length than many Belizean villages, and perhaps aspects of this history are shrouded in mystery because of the sheer age of the village. Take the name itself, for example. Villagers disagree as to whether the first settler of the village was a man named William Maskall, or whether a man of this name was merely the land surveyor who was first employed to officiate the village boundary. However, perhaps the most persuasive argument as to the derivation of the name comes from a time when the village was of predominantly Mayan descent, and the villagers used to trade their milpagrown corn for white limestone (“kall”), to be used as a building material and (it is thought) to enhance the productivity of their subsistencecrop land. Bartering systems were used with the Spanish limestone traders, and the villagers learnt to demand “mas” (as in more) “kall” for their corn, hence the birth of the village name, Maskall. The village remains a predominantly agricultural society today, producing almost its entire consumption-demands of fresh fruit and vegetables. Produce such as plantain, cilantro, tomatoes, lettuce, sweet peppers and cucumber are produced in such large qualities that many farmers sell in either Belize City or Orange Walk market to utilise their surplus products. The other major industry of the area is wood carving, which is a handicraft handed down through the generations, but one which has found a new niche since the development of the tourist industry in the area. Several tour guides operating out of San Pedro access the nearby Mayan ruins of Altun Ha and Lamanai through the coastal village of Bomba (approximately 3 miles

an unrefuted neighbourhood of the village. Since this dilemma faced by the community, few problems have arisen in Maskall until over recent months, when it has become increasingly apparent that the current UDP chairman ostensibly fails to fulfil his public duties to the village. It looks likely that the current village council officials will be replaced with more promising PUP candidates in the upcoming 2010 elections. Maskall was once one of the major commercial centres of northern Belize, and it seems that – for residents at least – pride in the village has never faltered, despite its dwindling significance in national affairs today. For this reason, Maskall will continue to flourish and provide for its offspring – and it must be gratifying for village elders that many of the village’s youth do not choose to emigrate, like many of those from other villages in Belize, but instead they choose to continue the village’s survival tradition of generations. Whatever their tactics may be, Maskall residents have ensured the continued positive development of Maskall in to appreciate the contribution these the past, and there is little doubt that (mainly agricultural) Salvadorians future generations will continue to do provide, and ‘Spanish Town’ is now so into the future.

that the best attribute of the village is “freedom”, “peace”, “tranquillity” or “safety” . A couple of decades ago, there were tensions in the village due to the increasing number of Salvadorian refugees settling in the area and east of Maskall). Tourists are given seeking land titles. However, longthe opportunity to stop at Bomba and standing village residents have grown view “local, authentic artwork”, much

of which is made and sold by Maskall residents. For those villagers who are not employed in the two major sectors - agriculture and tourism – there is a regular bus schedule allowing passengers to commute on a daily basis to Belize City. The local ‘Faith & Hope’ bus also offers a line transporting travellers to Orange Walk four days a week, which is used by a minority of people seeking to trade their fresh produce. Maskall is a village that, despite having no apparent modern industry, effectively sustains its income through the hard work and determination of its villagers. The village even supports 4 bars, 3 restaurants, and 5 grocery shops, all of which make a sufficient living without having to seek alternative employment opportunities. Sceptics stipulate that Maskall only maintains its relative wealth through the illegal production and sale of marijuana, but there is little evidence of this to the outsider. Be this as it may, drug-related problems are minor in the village, and the greatest ‘vice’ is marijuana-smoking, which suggests that somehow the villagers have managed to steer away from problems of crack cocaine abuse as is so common elsewhere in northern Belize. Perhaps the minimal crime level is also representative of better opportunities and healthier mindsets: it seems village youth are more eager to participate in local sports matches (particularly basketball and football) than organise petty crime and mischievous acts, which is a blessing for all residents. There is a sense of security throughout Maskall, and several people (when asked) believe


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sunday, January 24, 2010

Mariposa'sKid's Corner “Mi Nayba” Di Orange Walk Road Trip!

Hey, guys. Guess what? My dadi took me to Orange Walk. I did not want to go. Why Orange Walk, yack! Orange Walk! Boarin! Notn no deh deh! Di day mi bright and sunny, so I loved looking out di window as dadi drove. Surprise!!! When wi reach dadi seh he was goh tek mi to a special place. Hurrrayyy!!! I love surprises. Don’t you? Jumping up and down I asked him, “Where, Dadi, where?” Dadi seh, “A museum…” I thought , “What!!? A museum? Boarin! Boarin! I mi know there had to be some trick. Why Dadi taking me to see some place that kip ole piple things? Thing wid cabweb pan deh! Dats for tourists! Not me. “ I neva seh dat though. Dadi looked on my face and he could see I wasn’t excited. He asked me to give it a chance. As I looked up at him, he said smiling, “Who knows you may not want to leave.” We went to this museum place called Banquitas. Dadi said “Banquitas” was a spanish word that means little benches. Inside I saw some cool things. It was like a magical adventure where I got to walk through a time machine. I was lost in the world of the Maya, I learnt about chicleros, riverboats and other fun stuff about our history and Orange Walk. When we were leaving Dadi asked me if I understood why he took me to Banquitas. Smiling, I said, “To spend time with me?” Dadi, smiled and hugged me, he said, “Yes baybi, but I also wanted you to learn as Marcus Garvey said, a people without the knowledge of their past history is like a tree without roots. I want you to grow into a tree with strong roots baybi, to understand who you are as a Belizean, to appreciate our country, our people and everything God blessed us with.” I did not know who the Marcus Garvey man was. But Dadi told me he mi wah tell me wah really cool story bout him wah nada time. Dadi really got me thinking. Banquitas and Orange Walk was really really awesome. Don’t you want to goh visit Baquitas, too? I did. Well, I can’t wait to see where Dadi is gonna tek me next. But I promise you that when he does I will write you again and tell u all bout it…

KRIOL - ENGLISH JUMBLE #2

Connect the Dots

“Belize Da Fu We” Folktale Characters

Across

5. In our folktales he is a small dwarf-like man with a big hat. He can be mischievous. He can be a guardian. 6. He protects animals from hunters who are not moderate when hunting. 8. She is a ghostly temptress, who tricks drunken men to follow her into the forest and then allows them to get lost or very ill. 9. When someone is about to die this creature with the body of a bird and human face flies over a house at night to announce that someone in the house may die. 10. They are shape shifting humans who can turn into animals to rob or attack people.

Down

WORLD - YEHRISO

ANSWERS to last week's cross word puzzle: 7. Ambergris Caye 9. Caye Caulker 10. PG 11. Altun Ha 1. George Price 2. Dangriga 3. Orange Walk 4. November 19 5. Phillip Goldson 6. Hattieville 8. Belmopan

ACCEPT - AKSEP - BALI - BROKDONG - CHIRP - CHRED CHRIP - DAHN - DALA - DOLLAR - EGZAK - EXACT FOZI - FUZZY - HAAD - HARD - NEWS - NYOOZ OAL - OLD - ROAS - ROAST - ROFYAN - RUFFIAN - SHEL SHELL - THAN - THREAD - TRIP - WERL

1. She is a wicked old woman who leaves her skin behind after she kills babies by sucking their blood. 2. He is a trickster and our tales about him came to our land from Spain, through Spanish-speaking immigrants. 3. This resembles a large goat or dog that chases and frightens people at night. When chasing you, you may hear dry bones rub bing against each other! 4. Our folklore term for spirits. 7. He is also a trickster. In Jamaica his name may be spelt as Anancy.

Answers to Last week's Puzzle: 9-letter word - EDUCATION Here are a few words of five letters or more containing the hub letter I: action, adieu, auction, audio, audit, caution, cited, coined, conduit, detain, dicta, edict, induce, induct, nicad, notice, noticed, tonic, tunic, unite, untie, united, untied.


sunday, January 24, 2010

The Belize Times

26

Belize #1 Sports Page

Czl leads F.F.B. U-16 football quarterfinals – Toledo leads F.F.B. U-19 football

Belmopan City, January 17, 2010 Dangriga Eseini, Corozal F.C., and Guinea Grass U-16 each posted wins to lead the Football Federation of Belize under-16 football competition which is into quarterfinals, while F.C. Toledo leads the under-19 quarter finals, in which Griga Eseini and Corozal FC also posted wins over the weekend. The Corozal F.C. U-16 squad posted a big 6-0 win when they hosted Palmar at the Ricalde Stadium in Corozal on Sunday. Roy West led the attack with

2 goals while Jesusito Williams, Urbano Rivero, Nelson Rivero and Dennis Charley added four more goals. The Guinea Grass U-16 squad posted a 3-2 win when they visited Trial Farm F.C. at the Louisiana field in Orange Walk. Brian Westby, Jason Coh and Carlos Landaverde scored for Guinea Grass; while Steve Fuentes and Wilbert Larios scored a goal each for Trial Farm. The Griga Eseini bombed San Martin Meds 4-2 at the FFB field in Belmopan

on Sunday. Shante Castillo led the Griga attack with 2 goals while Raymond Ramos and Keshane Swaso added one goal each for the win. Only Jose Martinez scored for San Martin. The Toledo U-16 F.C. drew 2-2 with Las Flores U-16 FC at the FFB field in Belmopan on Saturday. Erick Gonzalez scored Las Flores’ 1st goal in the 8th minute and Kaylon Hewlett added a 2nd goal in the 19th minute to give Las Flores a 2-zip lead at the half-time break. Toledo’s Ernie Johnson scored the visitors’ 1st goal when he blasted in the rebound on a free kick by Toledo captain Ardell Avila, which had hit the cross bar. Ardell Avila made good on his next try to equalize the score at 2-2. Gilbert Lopez scored 2 goals late in the ball game as he brought Griga Eseini back from a 1-0 deficit to Exodus U-19 F.C. to post the 2-1 win at the FFB field of Belmopan on Sunday. Michael Whittaker scored a hat trick plus one as he led the Corozal U-19 F.C. to a 4-3 win over Santa Cruz FC at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio on Sunday.

The home field advantage did not help the Julian Cho Warriors, who simply could not get a goal as they struggled to a scoreless draw with Atletico F.C. of Belmopan at the Toledo Union field on Sunday. Franz Vernon Jr, Aduan Usher and Teryl Flores scored one goal each as they led Toledo U-19 F.C. to a 3-0 win over Benque F.C. at the Toledo Union field last Saturday

Ebony Lake FC leads Over-35 football 5-0 Maurice “Magic” Francis came off the bench, intercepted Plaza’s errant pass and set table for Lance “Shyne” Usher to embarrass Ferguson with the winning goal in the 87th minute of play. In the other over-35 match up, Kulture Yabra burned City Stars 4-1 in the nightcap. Emerson Jones drew first blood

for Yabra, and Charlie Slusher made it 2-0 with a penalty conversion as Yabra took a 2-0 lead into the half time break. Slusher converted a 2nd penalty in the 2nd half to lead 3-0, and Jaime made it 4-0. The City Stars finally got on the scoreboard when Anthony Michael scored a late, consolation goal.

St Martin’s girls lead primary schools basketball 5-0

Belize City, January 17, 2010 The Ebony Lake FC posted their 5th win 1-0 over Plaza United at the MCC garden on Sunday, to lead the Belize City over-35 football competition with 15 pts. The Ebony Lake took the game to Plaza United from the getgo with Paulie “Fabulous” Bradley and Bernard “Dubu” Thomas leading the charge, backed up by Kenton Graham and Erlin Usher on the flank. Herman “Chicken” Gentle and Floyd Burgess were doing their best to break up the plays by Plaza midfielders Brian Kelly, Stanley “Jordan” Reneau and Dave Flowers to renew their attack, winning a corner kick which almost allowed “Dubu” Thomas to score with

a header, but Plaza goalie Valentine Ferguson handled the challenge. Guillermo Fuentes, Benjamin Mejia and Rudolph “Super” Humes led Plaza’s counterattack with rocket shots on goal that skidded over the crossbar, much to goalie Glenn Arzu’s relief. Francis Dunn, Ronald Usher, Kenrick Parchue and Lance “Shyne” Usher anchored the Ebony Lake defense to keep Mejia and Fuentes in check, while Arzu grabbed a save to deny Humes’ attempt to head in a goal. Ferguson easily handled Paulie Bradley’s first “soft pop” shot on goal and the Plaza defensive line: Marcus Swazo, Cardell Bernardez and Richard Lopez took care of all other challenges to hold the game to a nil-zip draw up to the half time break. Meantime Plaza beefed up its offensive line with Michael “Water Plait” Flowers taking over from a banged-up Fuentes and Evan Neal entered the ball game for Brian Kelly; later Maino Bevans came off the bench to relieve Flowers. Eian Henry also entered the game as Plaza sought to put away the game with a1-0 win, but it was not to be. Plaza blundered in passing the ball backward, instead of exploiting the space on the sideline to move the ball forward, an error that cost them dearly when

Belize City, January 19, 2009 The undefeated St. Martin’s RC School girls ran over the Holy Redeemer RC school girls 12-1 to post their 5th win and lead the Belize City primary schools basketball competition at the Belize City Center on Tuesday. Gilda Moguel led St. Martin’s with 6pts while Tyra Moreira scored a single free throw for Holy Redeemer School. The other leading girls’ team: St. Luke’s Methodist girls got the easy bye to their 5th win when the Queen Street Baptist School girls were a no show for their scheduled game on Tuesday. On Monday, the Queen Square Anglican girls also got the bye to their first win when the St. Mary’s Primary School girls were a no show for their scheduled game. Balika Meighan led the Belize Elementary School girls with 13 pts as they blew away the St. John’s Anglican Primary School girls: 19-5. Ashley Bailey top scored for St. John’s Primary School with 5 points. The Holy Redeemer RC school girls had posted their 3rd win last Thursday, when Shanice Neal scored one basket for a 2-0 win over the St Mary’s Government School girls. The St. Luke’s Methodist School girls ran over the Holy Redeemer School girls 7-1 last Friday. Shadine Young, Jenelly Lamb and Brianna Meighan scored 2pts

each for St. Luke’s while Indie Dixon scored a single free throw for Holy Redeemer School. The St. John’s Anglican Primary School did better last Thursday in a 4-2 win over the Queen Square Anglican School girls. Ashley Bailey scored 4 pts for St. John’s Primary, while Kayla Bowen and Aaliyah Perez scored a free throw each for Queen Square.


sunday, January 24, 2010

The Belize Times

27

Belize #1 Sports Page

Tubal Institute & Ladyville Tech boys lead CSSSA football Belize City, January 18, 2010 The TUBAL Institute and Ladyville Technical High School boys lead the 2010 Central Secondary schools Sports Association Belize City high schools’ football competition, each with two victories at the M.C.C. grounds last week. The undefeated TUBAL Institute boys posted their 3rd back to back win 5-0 over the Nazarene High School boys on Tuesday evening. Clinton Jorgenson led the attack with the first winning goal, and Elston Staine soon added a second, Alden Bradley delivered a 3rd goal, and John King picked up a rebound of the upright to drill home a 4th goal before the half time break. Dion Gutierrez iced the win with a 5th goal in the second half. The TUBAL Institute boys had scored their second win 2-0 over the Sadie Vernon Technical High School boys last Tuesday, on 2 strikes by Clinton Jorgenson. The Ladyville Technical High School boys posted their 3rd win 2-0 over the Sadie Vernon Technical High School boys on Monday, on 2 strikes by Denroy McCord. Jael Ottley had controlled the ball at midfield and set table for David Ramos who then crossed to McCord for the finish. McCord also cleaned up after Joseph Pandy’s attempt on goal to blast in the deflection from the goalie for the 2-0 win. The Ladyville Technical High School had posted their second win 2-0 over the Anglican Cathedral College boys last Saturday. Ladyville’s Elton Metzken left his teammates playing a man short when he was ejected with a red card in the 1st half, but Denroy McCord scored the winning goal in the 2nd half and McCord picked

up a deflection off the A.C.C. goalie on a shot by David Ramos to ice the win with a 2nd goal. The A.C.C. boys did better when they held the 4th ranked Gwen Lizarraga High School boys to a 2-2 draw on Monday. Roy Bonnel scored first for ACC, but the Gwen Liz boys equalized 1-1 before the half time break. Mark Smith scored ACC’s 2nd goal in the 2nd half and again the Gwen Liz boys tied up the ball game at 2-2 before the long whistle. The A.C.C. boys had also struggled to a scoreless draw with the Nazarene High School boys last Thursday evening. The Nazarene boys looked to post their first win with a 3-0 lead over the St John’s College boys last Saturday morning, with Wilhelm Leslie scoring on a free kick to lead 1-zip at the half, and. Nathaniel Sedacey added a 2nd goal and Eldon Myvette headed in a 3rd, but the SJC boys came right back to salvage a draw with goals by Pedro Catin, a penalty conversion by Avian Crawford and a miraculous corner kick that Misael Canul bent like Beckham for a 3rd goal and the 3-3 draw. The SJC boys did not do so well on Tuesday when they gave the 3rd ranked Wesley College boys their second win: 1- 0 with Michael Perera scoring the winning goal for Wesley. The Edward P. Yorke High School posted their first win 2-1 over the Wesley College boys on Saturday afternoon, with Ceto Martinez scoring 2 goals, one in the 1st half and one in the 2nd half. Again it was Michael Perera who scored a consolation goal for Wesley. The Wesley College boys posted their 1st win 3-2 over the Gwen Lizarraga High School boys last Friday. Emiliano Oliva

scored 2 goals for Wesley and Michael Perera added a third. Michael Myvette and John Valerio scored for Gwen Lizarraga. The Gwen Lizarraga High School girls lead the female competition with 2 wins, while the Wesley College girls posted their first win 1-0 over the girls of Edward P. Yorke High School on a strike by Shantia Garnett on Friday. Gwen Liz captain Candice Neal scored the winning goal to lead the Gwen Liz girls to a 1-0 win over the Edward P. Yorke girls last Wednesday. The Pallotti High School girls battled to a nil-sip draw with the Wesley College girls last Wednesday.

Stella Maris boys lead primary schools basketball 7-0 Belize City, January 19, 2009 The undefeated Stella Maris School boys lead the Belize City primary schools basketball competition with 7 wins, while the Caye Caulker School boys posted their 6th win of the competition at the Belize City Center last Thursday. The Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School boys also got the easy bye to their 4th win when the Queen Street Baptist School boys were a no show for their scheduled game on Monday. The Buttonwood Bay boys had posted their 3rd win last Wednesday: 28-27 over the Trinity Methodist School boys. Ricardo Pavon had led Buttonwood Bay with 12 points while Elwin Pollard scored 13 points for Trinity Methodist. The St. John Vianney RC School boys also picked up their 4th win 2017 over Belize Elementary; Raheem Richardson top scoring for St. John Vianney School with 9 points while Belize Elementary’s Zachary Usher shot a game high of 11pts. The Grace Primary School boys handed the Caye Caulker School boys their 1st loss: 38-5 on Monday. Trevor Jones led Grace Primary School with 13

pts while Christian Magana and Carlos Verde scored 2 points each for Caye Caulker. The St. Luke Methodist School boys outlasted St. Martin De Porres School boys 12-11; Alex O’ Brian led St. Luke’s with 6 points while Stanley Lambey scored 6 points for St. Martin’s. On Tuesday, the St. Ignatius School boys posted their 1st win 30-16 over the Central Christian School boys. Keimar Nicholas led Nashus with 14 points while Anfernee Brooks top scored for Central Christian with 10 points. The St. John’s Anglican Primary School boys blew away the Queen Square Anglican School boys: 41-21 on Tuesday with Karl Arnold leading St. John’s Primary with 14 pts while Tevin Ferrell and Devaun Zuniga scored 6 points each for Queen Square. The St. John’s Anglican Primary School boys had also won 21-17 over the St. John Vianney RC School boys last Thursday. Karl Arnold led St. John’s Primary with 11 pts while Raheem Richardson led St. John Vianney with 7 pts. On Tuesday the St. John Vianney School boys did better with 29-21 over the Holy Redeemer School boys;

Raheem Richardson leading Vianney with 7 pts while Jordan Usher top scored for Holy Redeemer with 9 points. The Grace Primary School boys also enjoyed their 4th win 25-11 over the Wesley Upper School boys. Raheem Staine led Grace Primary with 11 points while Shaquille Crawford top scored for Wesley Upper School with 4 points. The Grace Primary boys also won 3819 over the Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School boys last Thursday. Raheem Staine led Grace Primary with 13 points while Trevor Jones added 7pts, Malcolm Nunez had 6pts and Julian Perriot and Rasheed Adolphus scored 4 pts each. Ricardo Pavon hit 4 treys as he led the Buttonwood Bay boys with 14 points. Jamal Cherrington led the Stella Maris School boys with 13 pts in their 7th win: 35-12 over the St. Mary’s Primary School boys last Friday. Clinton Dixon scored 7 pts for St. Mary’s. The Stella Maris boys also posted their 6th win 24-7 over the Queen Square Anglican School boys last Thursday. Michael Graham and Jamal Cherrington had scored 8pts each for Stella Maris, while Devaun Zuniga scored three points for Queen Square.

The Holy Redeemer School boys posted their 4th win 31-27 over the Queen Square Anglican School boys last Friday. Malick Francisco led Holy Redeemer with 11 points, while Jason Anderson led Queen Square Anglican with 10 points. The Trinity Methodist School boys were a shoo-in their 4th win when the Queen Street Baptist School boys were a no show for their game on Friday. The All Saints’ Anglican School outlasted the St. Ignatius RC School boys 14-12 on Friday. Keyvon Evans led All Saints’ with 8 pts while Keimar Nicholas scored 12 pts for Nashus. Osmin Arana had led the Caye Caulker School boys to their 6th win 1614 over the Wesley Upper School boys. Fredrick Williams led Wesley Upper with 10 pts. The St. Martin’s RC School boys had won 33-28 over the St. Mary’s Government School boys last Tuesday. Isise Leslie led Martins’ with 8pts, Kirkland Lambey hit 2 treys as he added 7pts and Stanley Lambey added 6pts. Steven Goff led St Mary’s with 11pts, Lismo Williams hit a trey to add 7pts and Jordan Williams added 6pts.


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The Belize Times

Sober

Reflections We owe it to them…

fight when our diapers were still being changed. People like Miss Louise and Joe Eralez and Miss Birdie – who were in the trenches decades ago and even now, when the younger heads become embroiled in turmoil and trials, remain dedicated to the cause of the People’s United Party – ready to kick butt and take names for the blue machine. We owe them so much. I decided to go off on this tangent today because of the press conference

By: Mike Rudon Jr. Just after Christmas a stalwart of the People’s United Party, Louise Bevans, passed away. She was laid to rest on January 2nd. Her daughter who is my dear friend and co-worker says that she was fondly called ‘PUP Louise’ until the day she closed her eyes for that final time and she will be remembered as ‘PUP Louise’ by her family and friends. Doreth also remembers times when her father was left without food because her mother was cooking for some PUP function or the other. This morning I had the opportunity to speak to Ms. Birdie at PUP headquarters, and she was telling me just how bad things are on the streets for our people. Like Miss Louise, they don’t come any more PUP than Miss Birdie. There has been no PUP function in recent memory at which Miss Birdie has been absent. She paid the price for her love for the PUP when she was victimized by Mayor Zenaida Moya. She has not said so in my hearing, but I know that Miss Birdie has suffered real financial hardship since the UDP punished her. But her love for the PUP has remained strong and bright for all to see – no ifs, ands, buts or maybes…! Today I also had the opportunity to observe a man I have not seen for some time. Joe Eralez was helped up the steps of PUP headquarters this morning to lend his support at a press conference. Joe is sick, and has been sick for some time now. He is a far cry from the firebrand he once was, but his love for the PUP remains as bright and brilliant as ever. As physically painful as it must have been, Joe was there with his party today - in solidarity, in support and in love. There are many such stories and many such persons whom we young ‘uns tend to disregard and yes, in a way disrespect. Many of us from the 90s on think that we are the soldiers who keep the fight alive and we are the ones that this thing is all about. Hey, taking nothing away from those of us who are ready at all times to get down and dirty and battle in the trenches. But see, there were so many others before us who were fighting the

held this morning at PUP headquarters. Hell, I’m one of the biggest cynics I know (by biggest I mean degree of cynicism as opposed to size of body, for you clowns and haters out there). I’m not sure how long I’ve been this way, but I can say that even if I wasn’t a cynic before I got tangled up in the political game, I would still be a fullblown certified cynic after my experiences. I say that to say this – I saw a People’s United Party today which was united – no lip service, but real unity. I saw a PUP with representation from the older heads and the younger bright minds. I saw representation from the old warriors and the new young upstarts who are ready to wage war. And I say this with all frankness and sincerity – when you get the caliber of people and caliber of intellects that was in that room this morning representing the PUP, the UDP doesn’t stand a chance. I think I am being too charitable when I say that the combined brainpower in the UDP wouldn’t be enough to light an 8 watt bulb. Seriously! I have no doubt that the UDP is now sitting up and taking notice. In fact, as I expected, Joe and Fonso were hard at work this morning attacking all and sundry involved in the press conference. See, I’ve learned that the UDP

sunday, January 24, 2010 modus operandi is to attack what they fear and tear into anything which threatens them. So apart from Fonso and Joe providing the usual comic relief, they are also sending out a message that the UDP is very fearful and very threatened. That’s a good thing for us. I end by saying that fighting this good fight should never be about egos and power and petty crap. In fact this isn’t even about the handful of people whose names will be on a ballot come general elections. In the end, what should make politics worthwhile and fulfilling should be service to our people. If it’s not about that then you’re in the wrong field, buddy. If you’re not doing it for all those tens of thousands of people who have given and continue to give their all to the PUP in good times and bad then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Some of those who fought the good fight for the blue machine have passed on. Many of them are still waging war for the blue machine. And many of us young ‘uns are learning from those old warriors valuable lessons in dedication, in commitment and in political battle tactics. We owe everything to them. YOU owe it to us.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Belize Times

Strictly Personal Barrow is bogus!

by glenntillett@yahoo.com "The problem with this government is the fact of their undiluted corruption. Promises have been made by them that they have no intention of keeping; that they're incapable of keeping. But I tell you any UDP government that I lead will never be engaged in corruption. As soon as it rears its ugly head, I personally will cut it off. And I will tell you I will sharpen a special machete with blades on two sides so that every time it springs up 'right so' I will chop it off. And if it means the government has to fall then so be it. Let the consequences be damned, the people of this country deserve better and I am determined to give them better." Hon. Dean Barrow, November 18, 2004 "… Pass an unjust enrichment law that will make ministers of government and elected officials liable to prosecution, conviction, and incarceration for the acquisition of assets and visible wealth, or the practice of a lifestyle, that cannot be sourced to or justified by with the onus of such justification on the ministers and elected officials reference to official salar y or private means that are established, legitimate and without conflict of interest." Hon. Dean Barrow, May 11, 2005 The pages of our recent history are replete with examples of Dean Oliver Bar row’s siren songs of sickening hypocrisy when he was Leader of the Opposition, so much so that the two quotes above turned up after the most casual of searches of the record. The counterpoint of the reality to the imagined intention of both is that we now have several UDP ministers who are visibly and apparently wealthy beyond the means of their salaries and perks, and visible wealth that cannot be justified by their economic and other financial status before their ascendancy to political office. The consequence of Barrow’s naked hypocrisy is that we have been damned to economic, social, financial and political oppression by the FOB’s and SOB’s. An entire nouveau riche class of privilege has been created in just the last two years, even as a much larger class of those who are being deprived of the “essential assets and opportunities to which every human

being is entitled” has grown by leaps and bounds. According to the soon-to-be officially released Government of Belize and the Caribbean Development Bank Country Poverty Assessment Draft Final Report 2009, 43% of us live in poverty as defined by the World Bank as “The inability to attain a minimum standard of living.” In simple dollars and cents, the report says its assessment has found that over 140,000 Belizeans have trouble regularly finding the $5.50 minimum they need to meet their daily dietary requirements. The study is shocking in its comprehensive detailing of Belize’s poverty – oh how it does count the ways and means! But even more shocking is the realization that those figures are already obsolete since Belize has been in the throes of a fullblown recession for over a year. Dean Barrow’s financial brain rust (and yes, I have deleted the “t”) has decreed an across the board 15% cut for all ministerial budgets but he has not and will not do anything to stop the money hemorrhaging from the government’s coffers due to the corruption of cronyism, nepotism, insider dealings and plain old bribery and extortion that is so rampant. Dean Bar row promised a “National Oil Company” but except for a nonsensical windfall tax he has done absolutely zero even as the windfall from our discovery of the black goal is being expatriated literally by the tanker full. The least he could do is declare that all revenue from oil must be deposited in Belize before it is expatriated to Belfast. The net effect would add a few more dollars to depleted coffers. But what should we expect when our leader is a snake oil salesman? Go on my friends, my colleagues, my readers, especially you Colin bh, go check Dean Oliver’s record of public utterances and match today’s realities with yesterday’s imagined possibilities for yourselves. One reality today is that the promised sharpened double blade is the addled and doddered two heads that are supposed to steer the official watchdog integ rity commission. These two former UDP House of Representatives members will now lead the charge against their erstwhile colleagues? No play wid mi – Barrow is bogus!

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The Belize Times

S

PON DI GULLY

D What about Haiti? E

Caribbean sister nation of Haiti, Dean Barrow and his government, like with everything else that matters, has done nothing. Surely, that flippant press release the government issued last week about “monitoring the situation” cannot be serious: that is a cruel joke and an insult to the Haitian people. Even my little six year old daughter’s primary school class has done a faster and better job of monitoring the situation in Haiti in giving their little donation. Not a dollar, not a word yet from Barrow. Compare our government’s response By anthony sylvestre History records that the Haitian to that of our Caricom colleagues. Within 48 hours of the earthquake, people are a resilient and strong people. They were the first former European predominantly black colony to become independent, having done so on the 1st January, 1804. They fought off and exiled from their land, under the leadership of generals like Toussaint L’Ouverture and Dessalines, the Spanish, British and French. Even the famed European 18th century General, Napoleon Bonaparte succumbed to the Haitian strength. Bonaparte had sent his brother in law Charles Leclerc and 20,000 French soldiers to retake the island following the Haitian Revolution in 1791. Although Leclerc and the French were able to capture L’Ouverture, the Haitian people did not despair. A new leader emerged, Dessalines, who was a long time ally of L’Ouverture and the quest for emancipation and independence continued. Eventually, the Haitian people under Dessalines’ command, defeated the French troops and on the 1st January, 1894, former slaves proclaimed their independence declaring the new nation be named Haiti in honour of the indigenous Taino name for the island. Haiti, after its independence, was an economic and military force to reckon with in the Americas. The famed South American leader, Simon Bolivar, received military and financial assistance from Haiti. In 1817, Bolivar was provided with soldiers, weapons and financial assistance from Haiti which was vital in enabling him to liberate Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama and Peru. Today we see being transmitted in our homes on television, in the wake of the January 12th, earthquake, heart wrenching images of a nation ravaged with destruction and death. It is estimated that the death toll in this catastrophe could reach 200,000 people. It is an incomprehensible thing for us, a country of 300,000 people, to fathom the incredible resources needed to begin to deal with the disaster in Haiti: the burial and disposal of hundreds of thousands of bodies, the hundreds of thousands of medical supplies, food and water items that are needed. We no doubt feel the sheer pain and sorrow of our brothers and sisters in Haiti. In spite of the difficult economic times, Belizeans are giving what little they have to donate to our Haitian brothers and sisters. But, while just about every imaginable organization (the Red Cross, schools, the media, churches, NGOs) in Belize is flexing and scurrying around gathering stuff and raising money to donate to our

Jamaican Prime Minister met with the Haitian President in Haiti. Additionally Prime Minister of Barbados and Prime Minister of Dominica (who is the present Chairman of Caricom) were enroute to Haiti but had to stop off at Jamaica as they were unable to land in Haiti because of congestion. Compare too our government’s response with that of the PUP. Within 72 hours of the earthquake, PUP Deputy Party Leaders and Area Representatives, Hon. Cordel Hyde and Mark Espat wrote to Barrow proposing that the Belizean Government work with the United Nations to grant refugee status to some Haitian families. This proposal was endorsed by the party at its executive meeting last Saturday and additionally, the PUP has donated $10,000 to the Red Cross. Government has said it will consider the proposal, which really sounds like saying “go to hell.” So now, after a week of monitoring the situation, the government finally sent out a press release on Monday saying it is pledging the assistance of the BDF. Now I am trying not to read too much into government’s nonchalance in responding to Haiti, but it is extremely upsetting when you think of the scant regard they have given to the humanitarian efforts in Haiti. Haiti seems to have no

Sunday, January 24, 2010 place on government’s agenda. Just about every nation has pledged monetarily to the humanitarian efforts, yet ours has not. Government has said in its press release that it “along with other partners within the country, including the Red Cross, media houses, businesses, churches and private citizen has embarked on various activities to assist the country of Haiti.��� What a bold faced lie. Government, again, having done nothing, is trying to claim credit for the commendable efforts of all Belizeans. Government’s response to Haiti is very telling. It reveals the personality of a government that lacks compassion and empathy. It is true that we here in Belize already know too well that we have a government of pain and sorrow. But, you would have thought that this Prime Minister, who prides himself in maintaining façades, would have done something tangible towards the relief efforts in Haiti, knowing too well that the eyes of the Caribbean and the world are watching. Helping the people in Haiti won’t help you to win the next general elections, Mr. Prime Minister, but it would have shown Belizeans and the world that you have a heart. It would have disproved your naysayers. Alas all the naysayers may just be right.


sunday, January 24, 2010

The Belize Times

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THE PATRIOT

What is in an apology? “Perhaps it does not understand English” thought Alice. “I daresay it’s a French mouse, come over with William the Conqueror.” (For, with all her knowledge of history, Alice had no very clear notion how long ago anything happened.) So she began again: “Ou est ma chatte?”[ English translation “where is my cat?] which was the first sentence in her French lesson book? The Mouse gave a sudden leap out of the water, and seemed to quiver all over with fright. “Oh, I beg you pardon!” cried Alice hastily, afraid that she had hurt the poor animal’s feelings. “I quite forget you don’t like cats”… “And yet I wish I could show you our cat Dinah. I think you would take a fancy to cats if you could only see her. She is such a dear quiet thing…and she is such a nice soft thing to nurse – and she’s such a capital one for catching mice – oh, I beg your pardon!” Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. As I sat in front of the television set watching the evening news, eating a bowl of ramen noodles, my stomach turned as I watched Sedi recite his scripted version of a shotgun “apology”. Apology? One year stale but an apology right? Yeah, he did say “My Lord I have been aware that there have been persons present in last year’s opening ceremony who took offense to some things I said in that presentation and I wish on this occasion to express my deepest regret that I was the cause of anyone on that occasion. That was never my intention and I humbly beg that any unhappy remark I made be attributed solely to inadvertence, ignorance, and perhaps inexperience.” That is what he said right? I search myself as to why this mea culpa went down as sincerely and smoothly as swallowing broken glass. So I dusted off my Webster’s because I did not want to be dismissed with the band of ignorant cruffys who Sedi said don’t even read the dictionary. That is how I realized that Sedi’s mumblings before the Chief Justice were more in the way of “a formal justification” than it was “an expression of regret”. But, hey, after all, like Sedi said, the dictionary is manmade too. So he did “apologize”. Technically, at least. See, I realized that an apology is not intended to work on everyone. Most people, especially Belizeans, are very reluctant to reject apologies, and those who do reject one are viewed negatively by others. This psychological fact creates social pressure to accept an apology even if it is not entirely satisfying. Politicians, therefore, only have to convince some people of their sincerity -- those people will do the rest of the work. Unfortunately, I am in the group of the “not satisfied” so I read up on

a group of linguists, psychologists, and anthropologists who had begun, over the last several decades, to understand why we say "I'm sorry" and what a successful apology looks and sounds like. Research shows that generally, politicians do bad things, they get caught, and they jiggle behind the confused shadow of an apology. For the most part, these apologies fail to satisfy anyone because, as a rule, politicians apologize very badly. According to American anthropologist Joan Silk, “an apology is a way of returning a relationship to where it was before it was damaged. Good apologies reduce the desire for retribution, make the victim more likely to act positively towards the offender, and increase the victim's willingness to forgive.” What is equally interesting is that she defined a successful political apology as one which minimizes the effect of the transgression in the next election by restoring a damaged relationship between a politician and voters. Eureka!!! There it is. A good apology must contain five elements: an expression such as "I'm sorry" or "excuse me" that indicates the statement is an apology; second, an admission of responsibility; third, an offer of restitution or repair; fourth, a promise not to repeat the offense. Finally, an apology should be prompt -- ideally coming before the public learns of the misbehavior or, if the transgression was public, as soon as possible after it occurred. Each element inde-

pendently makes the apology more effective, so a good apology should have all of them. I finally understood why Sedi’s “apology” was so hollow. It was not a true apology. What makes it bad is that he had a full year to doctor and rehearse it, but this was a poorly staged performance. It utterly failed to convince anyone that he was truly contrite and not sorry he got caught out and has to apologize. Sedi’s apology failed to go beyond simply acknowledging that some people "may have been hurt " or "may have misinterpreted" his point on that occasion. I challenge you to read it again. His apology was a qualified one and only directed to a few people. When by savagely attacking the justice system he traumatized all of Belize. The man failed to accept full and complete responsibility for his offensive comments. In fact, the biggest thing missing from the apology was at least some meaningful form of restitution -- an offer, for example, to increase the budget of the Judiciary but by their fruits you shall know them my Father likes to say. Sedi was crossing his fingers behind his back during his apology and conspiring the opposite. Remember last year at the ceremonial opening of the Supreme Court when the Chief Justice had pleaded with Dickensian flare for “more”?. Well, in a Machiavellian response, Sedi and his Government gave him an equivocally clear assurance that he should consider cherishing his remaining trips down Treasury Lane. Apparently, their political plans for his replacement needs to be a fully red bloodied brethren, after all who can imagine the possibilities of having an impartial judge remain under this despotic UDP government. Saying “leave”, is not an apology. In fact, as a parting gift Sedi and this UDP Government is cutting off their nose to spite their face by amputating the CJ’s financial ability to administrate over the justice system by ten percent. In an unfair, hypocritical and backhanded way, they are resolved that they want him to look bad

31 on his way out. His offense is keeping his oath as a judge. But just ask the people of Belize whether they want Sedi or the Chief Justice to leave and every two-cent-camer will give Sedi a multiple indefinite visa for the other side of his artificial border. Now, the Chief Justice’s diplomacy may have finessed his sincere cries over the heads of most casual news watchers when he warned that the Government’s devaluation of the Court’s financial allocation could endanger the administration of justice to the extent of crippling it. Yeah, in small change it means ten percent more chance that murderers, home invaders and grenade shot-putters are on your street. This is surely the best apology ever. That apology was at best tepid, unconvincing, and rightly derided. Taken together, these flaws make Sedi's apology almost completely useless. Truth is Sedi doesn’t do apologies. His political career is on death row after conviction for charges of molestation to our territorial integrity and aggravated assault to our national intelligence. His apology to the Chief Justice is as good as his apology to the country for calling the borders artificial. But this is his loss because a real apology is not always enough to resuscitate a career, but a notional one certainly isn't helpful. I will tell you the reason he apologized to the Chief Justice; and it was because either he had to publicly apologize for a local political fart or let the world know he made an international boo boo. This is the case of a choice between confessing to be the village idiot or admitting to be a world class fool. Sedi Elrington’s pride and geography learnings made him choose to say “my bad” for local political flatulence released in the face to the Supreme Court of Belize but not “I was wrong” to protect the reality of our borders to a listening International Court of Justice. We the people of Belize apologize and ask you, Mr. Sedi in Wonderland, to please, tender an artificial resignation.


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The Belize Times

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Message for Our Readers

I have a message I wish to share with your readers, and Mr Barrow too: the honour of being Belizean has been trampled and diminished because Mr Barrow single-handedly has allowed our resources and services to become nothing more than a commodity open to “grabbings”. He and his phoney government have shown no diligence whatsoever in looking after the welfare of the masses, and instead have been entirely preoccupied (to the state of obsession) with the personal

gratification of unlawful wants and desires. He uses the privileges of government, its power and resources only to suit himself, seemingly forgetting the Belizean people who put him in government in the first place. I want Mr Barrow to know that the people have carefully considered his doings. The people, having weighed out the facts and arguments of the current crisis, are left to reflect on the atrocity which is the UDP in government.

My word to the people is to keep together for the New Year, and not to give up hope. Yes, we made a mistake in electing the UDP government, but we can correct it come 2013. The success and prosperity of Belize depends on us, and we will not fail our fathers and children: we have learnt a good lesson. The UDP has embarrassed us in every aspect of political, economic, social and environmental decisionmaking. They have caused disaster

to strike our education and health services, our lands commission, and our business and tourism sectors. We abused our country in electing an incompetent UDP government, and the government has added to this abuse by entirely mishandling the responsibilities of leadership. However much we repent our decisions now, we must wait until 2013 in order to pave a smoother road for the future under the leadership of our country’s real patriotic party: the People’s United Party.

EARTHQUAKE SURVIVAL TECHNIQUES TAUGHT IN BELIZE ARE OPPOSITE TO RECOMMENDED SURVIVAL STRATEGIES Isabel Vasquez With one of the greatest death tolls for any earthquake ever to have hit our region, the families and friends of the estimated 200,000 dead in Haiti are in all of our thoughts right now. Circulating the internet at the moment is an extract from Doug Copp’s proven survival strategy using the ‘triangle of life’: this method of survival is sadly the very antithesis of what many of we Belizeans were taught in school and on the street. And so I quote, from Doug Copp’s article, about the most effective method for escaping death

in an earthquake – and it is most certainly not by standing in a doorframe, or seeking cover under classroom or office desks and furniture. “Almost everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' under objects, like desks or cars, when buildings collapse is crushed to death. Almost everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed: if you stand under a doorway and the doorframe falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the doorframe falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you

will be killed” Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the 'triangle of life’.” The ‘triangle of life’ refers to the protected space that forms around sturdy objects (such as beds, sofas, and cars) as buildings collapse in an earthquake. If a person curls in a foetal position and lies on the floor beside one such of these sturdy objects, it is likely that the void created

around them will shelter them from the crushing impact of the building collapse. Doug Copp worked with the United Nations as the Disaster Mitigation Expert for two years, before joining the American Rescue Team International (ARTI) as Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager. He has attended the site of almost every major disaster for the past 25 years. His advice could likely make the difference between life and death if another, more serious earthquake were to hit Belize. Please – spread the word.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

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Haiti's main port reopens for relief vessels Reprinted from the Miami Herald - Friday, January 22, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- The largest port in Haiti limped back to life Thursday, with cargo being unloaded at the lone usable pier and hope that by the weekend relief supplies arriving by sea will help take the pressure off the city's clogged airport. Although only a single truck at a time could navigate the pier, the reopening of the port was a prelude to what authorities expect will be a much larger marine operation starting Friday. That's when shipping operator Crowley Maritime plans to use motorized barges to unload

merchant ships anchored offshore. That could mark a long-awaited turning point when ships can regularly bring cargo to Port-au-Prince. In one hour, Crowley's barge operation is expected to unload enough cargo to fill 12 planes. As military officials officially declared the port open Thursday, Jesus Pino had tons of relief supplies waiting in his terminal on the Miami River. ``We haven't shipped anything over there'' yet, said Pino, operations manager for Antillean Marine. ``Right now, I'm looking at eight 50-foot trailers of Red Cross ready-to-eat meals. We have containers full of donated goods.'' At the Aeropost freight company in Miami, workers have cleared out an entire warehouse to store the Haitian relief supplies and private cargo that has been stacking up since the quake. ``I still have 37 pallets of water that isn't going anywhere in a while,'' said General Manager Eliza Fendell. ``I still have 8,000 sleeping bags.'' The port repairs were one front in a widening campaign to resuscitate Haiti's badly damaged cargo and transportation networks -- both for relief efforts and private industry. Varreaux, a private port that is critical to Haiti's fuel supply, is expected to reopen next week. Currently a jetty is underwater and a boom from a crane is blocking access to Varreaux, said Youri Mevs, the managing partner of familyowned WIN Group, whose holdings include the Varreaux port, another port in Gonaives and extensive maritime and commercial interests. T he fuel ter minal next to Varreaux supplies more than 70

percent of Haiti's fuel and heating oil. The 18 storage tanks at the site, also owned by the Mevs family, are now drawn down to about a week's supply of liquid fuel -- and opening Varreaux to tankers to resupply them is crucial, Mevs said. ``We need fuel. Otherwise we'll have panic,'' she said. ``We are confident that there will be no interruption of supply and we'll meet the necessary timeframe.'' W I N h a s h i r e d S E AC O R Holdings -- a Fort Lauderdale company -- to evaluate the tanks and damaged fuel pipeline. A barge with pipes needed to repair the pipeline is expected Saturday, Mevs said, and the repairs should be finished by late next week. By then, she said, the channel leading to Varreaux should be cleared enough to allow tankers to tie up before the depot runs dry. About two miles south of Varreaux, at the city's main port, a Crowley executive said a barge or ``lighterage'' operation will begin Friday. That involves unloading 12 cargo containers from the merchant ship Marcajama, which sailed from Fort Lauderdale Sunday and is scheduled to arrive off Port-au-Prince from the Dominican Republic. The shipping containers are filled with about 300 tons of readyto-eat meals, blankets, tents and other relief supplies, a spokesman said. Crowley is running the lighterage operation under a contract with the U.S. Transportation Command, a military outfit.

The earthquake left the city's main port barely functioning: It toppled two cranes -- leaving them listing in the water -- and left the port's primary pier unusable. The quake also turned the main road to the port into a sea of buckled concrete. Although some ships made limited deliveries earlier this week, a U.S. Army task force specializing in port repairs arrived from Port Canaveral Wednesday, bringing a 40-ton crane and a lift for cargo containers. ``We hit the ground running,'' said Army Lt. Col. Ralph Riddle, commander of the 27-member

squadron. The port will remain closed to commercial traffic so that relief supplies can have priority. Riddle, the port task force commander, said private shipments will continue arriving by road from the Dominican Republic. On Thursday, Haiti's government told business leaders of a program to speed deliveries from the Dominican Republic, which has been a popular alternative for cargo and aid bound for Haiti. A special land corridor will allow trucks with commercial shipments for Haitian businesses to drive from the Dominican directly to Haiti cargo terminals without stopping for

customs inspections at the border, according to Bernard Craan, a Haitian businessman who attended the briefing. ``Nothing will be opened at the borders,'' he said. They will go straight through to the terminals.''


Sunday, January 24, 2010

BASTA

(Continued from page 1) John Briceno, Deputy Party Leaders Mark Espat and Francis Fonseca and Senator Eamon Courtenay. Presentations were clear and concise and included plans of action on the way forward through this time of depression. While the Opposition PUP were engaged in this critical discussion with the nation, the members of the Cabinet – the top policy-making body in the land – were in Belmopan engrossed in a discussion of an award which will be presented to Prime Minister Dean Barrow in New York next week. In his opening address, the Leader of the Opposition John Briceno set the tone and policy for the weeks and months ahead – “For the past two years we as a responsible Opposition have been restrained in our criticism of the Barrow administration. I say to you now - Enough is Enough.” Public perception has condemned the Barrow administration for its apparent inability to address any of the critical issues which affect the nation. As the problems in the sugar industry surpass crisis stage, the Prime Minister appears unwilling or unable to present any concrete suggestions to resolving the many issues on the table between the sugarcane growers, the Sugar Industry Control Board and the Belize Sugar Industry. Likewise, despite weather conditions in Florida presenting citrus growers with an unexpected boon in the form of a favourable price hike, that industry is today in turmoil with a widening rift between the majority of small growers and CPBL. In his address, Briceno condemned the Barrow administration as ‘ineffective in dealing with another important sector of our economy, a major foreign exchange earner and an industry that contributed over $100million to the country’s economy in 2008.’ In his presentation on the economy

The Belize Times of Belize, PUP Deputy Leader Mark Espat highlighted the dismal record of the Barrow administration, and the real fiscal depths to which we have sunk with the UDP at the helm of the ship of state. According to Espat, ‘economic activity as measured by GDP has shriveled for three consecutive quarters – by 2.2%, 1.9% and .2% respectively. These are not intangible numbers bereft of human agony. They convert to thousands of lost jobs, businesses shuttered, houses re-possessed, children booted out of the classroom and families broken. For real people it has even meant mealtimes without meals.’ And the rest of Belize’s economic tale is just as ugly, with imports in the Corozal Free Zone falling by 50% and domestic exports in the country falling by 20%. More than 20,000 Belizeans actively seeking work cannot find employment and 43% of our residents are below the poverty line, with 14% more Belizeans vulnerable to poverty. According to Espat, ‘142,000 Belizeans are unable to find $5.50 per day for food.’ The PUP Deputy Leader closed by stating that ‘this crew took the bridge pledging 6% annual growth, 5000 new jobs, lower utility rates, reduced GST, income taxes and mortgage rates and shares for the masses in a National Oil Company. Is it not right and reasonable to have seen by now those pledges draw nearer on the horizon? Sorrowfully, they remain as elusive as two years ago.’ While Minister of National Security Carlos Perdomo has embarked on a media campaign in an attempt to convince Belizeans that crime is down, the entire nation has been gripped by the wave of violent lawlessness, culminating with not one but two grenades being detonated within days of each other in Belize City neighbourhoods recently. PUP Deputy Leader Francis Fonseca lashed out at the Barrow administration for its complete lack of a concrete agenda – ‘There is great uncertainty because to date there have been more questions than answers. The Government’s response has been long

BELIZE – Poorer under Barrow!

(Continued from page 1) people, without their knowledge, from the confines of the world they know, and transport them into poverty to join those who were already poor? How can good governance mean making the people of a country poorer, and moving the poverty rate from an already troubling 33% in 2002, to what can only be considered stratospheric levels in 2010, 43%. It is a crying shame, that in a country that is so rich, that in a country whose gross domestic product [GDP] is 2.8 billion dollars, that 143,276 or almost 5 out of every 10 persons cannot find $5.50 a day to survive, to exist, not even to live, as $5.50 only provides for the bare minimum. And to make matters worse, of that 143,276, 16% of the population or

55,512 persons are indigent. That means they are destitute. They are not eating as they should. They are living with rats and roaches. However, it does not end there. An additional 14% or 46, 648 persons are vulnerable to becoming poor. This is saying that a total of 189,924 persons in Belize or an astronomical 53% of the population in Belize is at risk. This is more than half, more than 1 in every 2 persons. This is unbelievable. This is Belize. But perhaps, what can be considered nothing less than apocalyptic, is that 58,909 or 52% of all children in Belize below the age of 15 are living in poverty, and of that, 23,790 or 21% are indigent, living in abject poverty. Only in Toledo has poverty not increased. Corozal, Orange

The Barrow’s Animal Farm

(Continued from page 1) sitting in Belize out of session has raised eyebrows. In fact, the move has raised serious questions about the Government tampering with the processes of the Judiciary to benefit one entity, in this case BTL. Normally, the Court of Appeals is convened only three times a year – in March, June and October. But that’s in the normal course of things, during the normal administration of justice. Under the Barrow administration, things have certainly changed. The Justices were flown into the country to hear an appeal by BTL to have an injunction granted by the Chief Justice on December 10th lifted. That injunction prohibits BTL from tampering with

Smart’s services to its more than 90,000 customers. The trial is supposed to go before the Chief Justice on February 10th, but it appears that BTL can’t wait, or at least doesn’t want to wait. But wait they will, as the Court of Appeal upheld the injunction. The case has raised eyebrows because it seems to be a classic case of animal farm, where some animals are more equal than others. BTL has been in the spotlight since it was hijacked by GOB in August of 2009 and the Prime Minister placed his ex-wife and his son on the Board of Directors. BTL has become somewhat of a Barrow family business, so the unprecedented occurrence of a special sitting of the

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on rhetoric and short on substance. The Minister of National Security is yet to set out a clear, common-sense plan to take back our society from those who would seek to destroy our way of life.’ While the ‘official’ statistics produced by the Minister of National Security and the Police High Command are indicating a total reduction in crimes, they have been publicly accused of playing with the statistics. There are few who would disagree that this has been the bloodiest year in Belize’s history, with the introduction of a new era of urban terrorism which has reduced law abiding citizens to fear and a sustained sense of hopelessness. Fonseca made his point clear – ‘Crime and violence are eating away at our nation’s social fabric and have the potential to further erode confidence in an already fragile and battered community. We in the People’s United Party are committed to this fight. We stand ready to do our part.” Senator Eamon Courtenay, who has been a longtime member of the Belize/Guatemala negotiating team, weighed in on the issue of sovereignty which has been on the front burner since Foreign Affairs Minister Sedi Elrington’s incendiary statements recently. Courtenay stated, quite rightly, that ‘the single most important issue facing Belize, as a nation, is the defense of our territorial integrity and sovereignty over all our territory.” Recently, there has been widespread public outcry for the resignation of UDP Minister of Foreign Affairs, who stated during public discussions that the border between Belize and Guatemala is artificial. Courtenay reiterated the position of the People’s United Party – ‘the Party takes this opportunity to repeat our condemnation of Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington for his description of our border with Guatemala as artificial. We reject that description. We assert without equivocation that we have had and continue to have a real border with Guatemala as defined in the Belize

Constitution.’ The Senator continued, stating that ‘We will not sit idly by and allow this government to undermine our national position and to risk our national interests. We demand a retraction of the statement, a public declaration of the true and correct position and the resignation of Minister Elrington. The national interest requires immediate action. Prime Minister Barrow – the nation expects you to act; to do what’s right and to do it now.’ The mood at the press conference could not be misrepresented. There will be no more leeway granted and no more patience with the very dangerous follies of this incompetent, negligent and corrupt Barrow administration. The UDP has had two years to deliver on their commitments to the Belizean people. The demands of the PUP as outlined by the Party Leader could not be more explicit – “Like the rest of the nation, we are tired of the excuses and the blame game. We want to see a plan that will bring back confidence to investors and this is why we are calling on the Prime Minister to cut interest rates especially for those in the productive sector. We want to see a more aggressive program to bring opportunity to at risk neighbourhoods, especially in the south side of Belize City. We are demanding that he finds a way to access capital to help small businesses, especially those in the tourism sector…WE WANT THE PRIME MINISTER TO BRING DOWN THE COST OF LIVING NO MATTER WHAT. AND WE WILL NOT TOLERATE ANY NEW TAXES.’ Party Leader John Briceno made no bones about this when he stated – ‘I say to you Prime Minister – it is time for you to deliver on those 21 pledges; indeed it is time for you to deliver on all your promises.’ ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. ‘Senor primer ministro – BASTA! Ya llego la hora de cumplir.’

Walk and Cayo have been the hardest hit, with increases from 19.9% to 46%, 23.3% to 36% and 20.5 to 31.4% respectively, with Belize and Stann Creek not too far behind. To exacerbate this situation, employment has also risen from 8% in 2008 to 14% in 2009, and it is women and young people who are bearing the brunt of the UDP administration brutal policies, particularly our young women and men [43% and 26% respectively], and we wonder why crime and violence is now a way of life. The statistics revealed by the Country Poverty Assessment is frightening. It is alarming. It is unprecedented, and it is happening under Barrow and the UDP, and they seem to have neither the political will nor the capacity to do anything to change the circumstances of

the poor. These are the same people who claimed they were there for the poor. I am convinced that they are nothing less than political manipulators, who have shamelessly abandoned the poor, and placated them with crumbs from the table, as they pander to family and close friends. They now find the poor politically useless. I hope that the 143276 poor persons appreciate how Barrow and the UDP government have deprived them, ignored them and denied them the basic right to live, not exist, in a country, with so much wealth. I have no doubt that come the next election they will send them en masse to political oblivion. For I know, that little did they know, that with Barrow and the UDP, POVERTY WAS THEIR DESTINY….….

Court of Appeal is largely seen as the Prime Minister giving in to the whim of his ex-wife, Lois Young, who certainly holds a special place in his favour. It remains to be seen if now regular Belizeans and regular organizations will be able to summon the justices of the Court of Appeal whenever they choose and out of session, as GOB and BTL have done. In addition, taxpayers have taken a brunt of this Barrow love affair, as the justices were flown into and out of the country at government’s expense. The Belize Times understands that the Barrows/GOB/BTL had attempted to call the special sitting of the Court of Appeal near the end of December, just after the Chief Justice granted Smart

an injunction against BTL. The notice given to Smart was exceptionally short, however, and Smart’s lawyers were able to successfully argue against a sitting then. BTL was represented by attorney Rodwell Williams S.C. of the Prime Minister’s own law firm and the Prime Minister’s daughter, Deanne Barrow, operating out of the PM’s ex-wife’s law firm. So in calculating the winners and the losers, our tally reads something like this – the Big Loser – taxpayers who are footing the entire bill; and the big winners – Lois Young Barrow, Deanne Barrow, Dean Barrow and Rodwell Williams, who have all managed to rake in a hefty share of the public purse through these latest legal shenanigans.


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n o i t i d E l Belize Times a i c e p S The Truth Shall Make You Free

State of the Nation Address Hon. John Briceno Leader of the Opposition January 19, 2010

HELP FOR HAITI I wish to begin this morning asking all of you to keep in your thoughts and prayers the people of Haiti. The situation in our sister nation is desperate and I feel that our Government and we as a caring people must come to the aid of the Haitian people in this time of such immense human suffering. Tomorrow I will present to the Belize Red Cross a cheque for $10,000 on behalf of the People’s United Party. All 31 constituencies of the PUP have contributed to this sum. I hope that by now our government has concluded their assessment and that the Prime Minister will tell us how our government will contribute to the relief and rebuilding efforts in Haiti. I also wish to reiterate what is now an initiative by our Party. First proposed by two of our Deputy Leaders the Hon. Cordel Hyde and the Hon. Mark Espat, we are calling on Government, with the support of the United Nations, to give effect to a refugee program for a limited number of Haitian families. STATE OF THE NATION Turning now to problems here at home, I begin with the economy -- Ladies and gentlemen, OUR ECONOMY IS IN A MESS! For three quarters in a row our economy had negative growth. Should the next quarter show similar results, we will be in a depression. In our streets and in our neighbourhoods, we live in fear, in some areas it is fear and terror. Crime is out of control and in the face of all this, our Government seems paralyzed. Their lack of competence is evidenced by the fact that they are incapable of coming up with a gang truce that can be sustained for more than 4 days. Eighteen days from now the Barrow government will complete two years in office. Two years in which the Belizean people were made to suffer through escalating rise in the cost of living, broken down infrastructure from bridges to roads and streets and a health system where normal deliveries of babies in our public hospitals have become risky. The suffering by poor Belizeans persists, our nation is slipping deeper into poverty and our middle class is rapidly disappearing. Meanwhile our government continues to make excuses, blaming everything on the past administration, the world recession and everyone but themselves. In two years they have failed to fulfil a single promise they made to the people. And as for stomping out corruption, Mr. Barrow’s promise of not so much as a whiff of corruption is now a joke, for the word out there is that the government is rank with corruption, a stench that leads all the way to Belmopan. It is time to hold this government to task. For the past two years we as a responsible opposition have been restrained in our criticism of the Barrow administration. I say to you now - Enough is Enough.

THE STATE OF THE BELIZEAN ECONOMY In a few minutes the Hon. Mark Espat will provide you with a more detailed picture of what is happening in our economy, he will tell you how our people can’t find jobs, and how those who have jobs are being made to work less hours and as a result earn fewer dollars to take care of their families. He will tell you how our major foreign currency earners like tourism have nosedived. And he will let you know why the Prime Minister’s so called stimulus package is a lie. Likewise, I want you to understand how urgent the situation is for many in the agro productive sector as well as in other areas in the private sector. We will tell you how we would have implemented measures like lowering the interest rates for the productive sector, instead of throwing our hands up in defeat. We had hoped for better from Mr. Barrow and his government; by now we expected real solutions and what we got instead is a promise that the world economy is turning around and a prayer that we will benefit from this. Not a single initiative from the Barrow Administration. For sure, Belizeans would have expected to hear more about our oil, like greater transparency in the accounting of oil revenues. We now know that Irish investors collected a windfall at Christmas. But the oil Santa never made it to Belize; in fact he has not been here for a single Christmas while our Belizean oil is being exploited. We believe that twenty-five cents out of every oil dollar is just not good enough. It just doesn’t cut it! CRIME Turning now to crime; as I said before, in our neighbourhoods’ crime and criminal activity are out of control. When grenades are exploding in our streets; when the potential for 17 more grenade explosions exists and when the government’s only response is to try and buy them from the criminals, something is seriously wrong. This is urban terrorism and I would never negotiate with terrorists. Last Friday I met with the British High Commissioner and the Head of BATSUB. We had a frank and meaningful discussion about this and other issues. I am assured that BATSUB is working with the local authorities to ensure that weapons and ammunition are kept safe. I was also informed by Commander Lindsey that BATSUB, the BDF and police are working together in an effort to get the grenades off the streets. Shortly, the Hon. Francis Fonseca


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will expand on the issue of crime and the problems affecting our ability to prosecute criminals and keep them off the streets. SUGAR I must tell you that my Party is growing increasingly concerned about the crisis in the sugar industry. Yesterday we released a statement that puts the problems in the sugar industry squarely on government’s neglect of its responsibility to the 8000 cane farmers and their families. The growing rift between the farmers and Belize Sugar Industries Limited is one that has been going on for some time now. I believe this situation is being made worse because of Belmopan’s refusal to seriously sit down with the cane farmers and work out a solution that is in their best interest. We in the People’s United Party believe that: 1. the time has come for the farmers to have a greater say in what is going on in the Industry. It is time for a cane farmer to sit on the board of directors of BSI 2. In 2006, our Government successfully negotiated with the European Union for funding of 48 million euros for improvements in the sugar cane industry, especially in areas of infrastructure and cane productivity. As much as 48 million more euros could be made available between 2011 and 2013. Added together this would amount to over $240 million in investment in the industry. We must ensure that this money is being used for the benefit of the cane farmers. Given what has occurred so far, we have seen no benefits to the cane farmers and therefore demand that: I. Government find the necessary technical expertise to access the EU funds in a timely manner and II. That Government set up a revolving trust fund for farmers to access fresh and cheaper capital. 3. That the Prime Minister find the time to sit with the cane farmers; to listen and act on their causes, including the call for financial compensation for the family of the late Mr. Atanacio Felix Gutierrez. CITRUS Also I want to take a moment to address what seems to be an escalating problem in the citrus industry. At a time when we should be taking advantage of the fact that citrus prices will be increasing as a result of the freeze in Florida, there seems to be a growing rift between the growers and the management of its subsidiary company the Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL). Here again the Barrow Administration is ineffective in dealing with another important sector of our economy, a major foreign exchange earner and an industry that contributed over $100 million to the country’s economy in 2008. The Citrus Industry accounts for 19 percent of total exports and is also a vital part of the life of people in the south, providing for 500 growers and their families. We must do everything possible to protect this industry for Belizeans, primarily the small growers. Current actions by the Government should include ensuring that the Citrus Growers Association, the CGA remains viable and that it is not marginalized in the revision and updating of the Citrus Production and Processing Act. We want to see growers

participating fully in the administration of the price formula agreement. We also expect that the CGA will be able to appoint their representatives to the CPBL board and we expect everyone to work for the development of this important industry. BELIZE/GUATEMALA Yesterday I sent a letter to the Prime Minister condemning the statement by his Foreign Minister that the border between Belize and Guatemala is “artificial” and called on the Prime Minster to instruct Minister Elrington to retract his statement and request that the OAS remove this from their website and that he ask Minister Elrington to step down as Foreign Minister. I believe the Belizean people are seriously concerned about Minister Elrington’s statement and the implications of what he said. Our Party’s representative on the negotiating team Senator Eamon Courtenay will provide you with an update on where the negotiations are and how such a statement can influence or impact our position. CONCLUSION After almost two years of this UDP government, we in the PUP believe it is evident that this Barrow administration lacks the capacity to govern. We believe they lack the competence to lead and the vision to move this country forward. Like the rest of the nation, we are tired of the excuses and the blame game. We want to see a plan that will bring back confidence to investors and this is why we are calling on the Prime Minister to cut interest rates especially for those in the productive sector. We want to see a more aggressive programme to bring opportunity to at risk neighbourhoods, especially in the south side of Belize City. We are demanding that he finds a way to access capital to help small businesses, especially those in the tourism sector. We want more police officers on our streets and we want the Prime Minister to bring down the cost of living no matter what. And we will not tolerate any new taxes. When the Barrow administration came to office they found a government with a budget surplus; we took care of the people’s business. We had more than 90,000 Belizeans in school. We started NHI, stimulated growth and we kept the lights on. We doubled the economy, worked as respectful and meaningful partners with the private sector and we provided for our elderly. This is an amazing contrast to what we must face today. Belizeans continue to lose their jobs, their homes and their land. Their scholarships have been taken away and the victimization continues without mercy. We need a Belize that is more inclusive. I have said again and again that the PUP is prepared to work with the government to find solutions to the serious problems facing this nation. We are prepared to work. We have the talent, the experience and the vision that are needed to move this country forward. And so I say to you, Prime Minister - it is now time for you to deliver on those 21 pledges. In fact it is time for you to deliver on all your promises.

Señor Primer Ministro, basta! Ya llegó la hora de cumplir.


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STATEMENT ON THE ECONOMY Hon. Mark Espat - January 19, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, It is right and reasonable, after two full years in office, for citizens – individual, corporate and NGO – to expect better results from the economic policies of our government. On behalf of the NE of the PUP, I wish to briefly sketch the outlines of our great recession. Economic activity, as measured by GDP has shriveled for three consecutive quarters – by 2.2%, 1.9% and .2%, respectively. These are not intangible numbers bereft of human agony. They convert to thousands of lost jobs, business shuttered, houses re-possessed, children booted out of the classroom and families broken. For real people it has even meant mealtimes without meals. It would be unsurprising for the fourth quarter, traditionally the high season for consumer spending and the start of the tourism peak period, to have shrunk even further. A gruesome example of the great recession is the CFZ, where imports have crashed-landed, falling by 50%. Burning in the crash have been hundreds of jobs. Those workers still collecting a paycheck are now stamped as part-time, effectively underemployed. Domestic exports, one of the pillars whereupon rest the value of the Belizean dollar, shrunk by a breathtaking 20% in the January to October 2009 period alone. By comparison, the WTO projected that global trade would contract by 9%, less than half the height of Belize’s fall. 20489 Belizeans who actively seek work cannot find a job; for women and youth, the unemployment rate at September 2009 was one in four or twice the national average. At the peak of the Great Depression in 1933 in the US, unemployment stood 24.9%. And while the inflation tiger had been tamed, after chomping 6.8% of the Belizean Dollar’s purchasing power in 2008, the demon of deflation has now reared its head. Deflation depresses profits, devours jobs and stymies growth. Just ask the Japanese how deflation lost them a decade. Perhaps most startling, though, is that today, 29% MORE Belizean fathers, mothers and children now find themselves mired below the poverty line, compared to 2002. 32000 MORE citizens snatched from the comfort of the middle class, and shoved to the dark and damp basement of the poor or the indigent. 142000 Belizeans, a total of 43% of the population are unable to find $5.50 per day for food. Unmistakable as the deep contours of this great recession are, the greater calamity is that the relief brigade in Belmopan is grounded, its wings broken by uncertainty and ineptness, its fiscal fuel tank reading “empty.” The decline of imports, measuring 23% thru October last year, will slice 20 to 30 cents from every dollar that was forecasted for the consolidated revenue fund for this Budget Year. The primary surplus, projected at $54.2m will evaporate by March 31, while the overall budget deficit will surely be more imposing that the $123.1m figure approved by Parliament. If only this government of transparency would provide quarterly financial updates, the precise numbers would be available. To the extent that the Managers in Belmopan can contain this unseemly spill, it will, as it was in the 2008/09 budget cycle, be at the expense of Capital Investments. Already, you may recall, the Capital II Budget for this year was $15m LESS than the 12 months prior. Capital investment by the public sector is the lifeblood of recovery from recession. Not only was the relief brigade in Belmopan distracted by their election after-party, when the first mayday calls were sounded in March 2008, the record now shows that the much trumpeted “stimulus package,” that life raft that was to rescue a drowning economy, was riddled with holes. $200m. Which $200 million, we ask? There is no solid waste management station, no upgrading to the tourism product in Belize City, no improvement to the drainage in Belama, no major works on the Western or Northern Highways, no municipal renewal programs,

no relief to the potholes, craters and garbage dotting our City streets. Their stimulus, held up to light, is exposed as counterfeit hope. They speak Keynesian but act Miltonian. Maybe the currency of recovery would have carried more than the weight of words had the administration set the trigger for the petroleum windfall tax at US$50 instead of 90. That measure alone would have transformed this year’s overall deficit to a comfortable surplus position. According to The Amandala Newspaper of Sunday, January 17, 2010, a scandalous 18 cents of every dollar of oil exports is all that goes to the people of the Belize. That’s $101m of $559m at October 2009. Had our stewards collected just 50 cents on each dollar, there would have been money sufficient to provide every needy village with a water system, school building, clinic, electricity expansion and access road. For every additional penny collected on each dollar of extracted oil, there would have been $6m in genuine stimulus currency. Alas, there are additional adverse currents: Social Security requires an urgent injection of fresh funds. The 2008 Actuarial Report, tabled in the House in October 2009 commands an immediate increase in the ceiling for insurable earnings, a tax hike for both employers and employees. SSB’s Long Term Branch now operates at an annual deficit. This, the largest institutional investor in the country, with over $300m in assets, is chewing its own cash to survive, rather than depositing surplus cash at the commercial banks for on-lending. And this administration, after 2 years, is yet to grasp the steering wheel of the NHI Program. A gleaming example of the apparent powerlessness of those lent power is the issue of interest rates. Incredibly, neither the Minister of Finance nor the Governor of the Central Bank could offer the productive sector, small businesses, farmers and entrepreneurs even a glimmer of hope that usurious rates would come down anytime soon. Saddled with commercial prime lending rates of 16%, the Managers are incapable of peddling hope, much less peddling prosperity. Therein, ladies and gentlemen, on that matter of hope, I wish to construct my conclusion. Every ship of state springs a leak I submit, at times multiple, uncontrollable leaks. As that water rose to alarming levels two years ago, the electorate, with just cause, opted for a new crew and a new captain. This crew took the bridge pledging 6% annual GDP growth, 5000 new jobs, lower utility rates, reduced GST, income taxes and mortgage rates and shares for the masses in a National Oil Company. Is it not right and reasonable to have seen by now these pledges draw nearer on the horizon? Sorrowfully, they remain as elusive as two years ago. Today, the repairs have faltered and the ship springs new leaks. More ominously, the ship lacks a clear course. We put the question: from whence will economic growth derive, how will we reverse the rising rates of poverty, how will we leverage our assets to access capital, how will we put our youth and women to work, how will we nurture, educate, protect and nourish our communities? The multiple calls for a national development plan, for multi-year and program budgeting, for radical tax and political reform, for blueprint to attract legitimate foreign investment, for an injection of confidence – none of these summons have been answered. None of us should relish the prospect of our ship taking on more water – the lifeboats are too few for that kind of partisanship, the cheap, cyclical politics that more and more Belizeans disdain. Today, in calling out the administration on their flawed and failing economic policies, we simply fulfill our Constitutional obligation to the citizenry as vigilant watchmen of the public estate. In the days to come though, our Party must bundle the best minds so that a practical and binding economic covenant can be considered and then advanced by all Belize’s social partners. The stakes for Belize rise with each day of inaction. Thanks for your attention.


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STATEMENT ON CRIME Hon. Francis Fonseca - January 19, 2010

As we meet this morning at historic Independence Hall our fellow citizens, particularly those who reside here in the Old Capital are gripped with fear and uncertainty. Fear following a 2009 in which our nation experienced and witnessed some of the most brazen and graphic acts of violence in its history punctuated on December 28th by a vicious and callous grenade attack on a Yarborough residential community in Belize City which claimed the life of 14 year old Rudolph Flowers. Regrettably, 2010 has picked up where 2009 left off with another grenade attack in the early morning hours of January 11th on Caesar Ridge Road. There is great uncertainty because to date there have been more questions than answers. The Governments response has been long on rhetoric and short on substance. The Ministry of National Security is yet to set out a clear, common-sense plan to take back our society from those who would seek to destroy our way of life. The findings of the much touted Crooks report have yet to be made fully available to the public. The Prime Minister has been summoned to a meeting by gang leaders meanwhile the Belizean people have lost confidence in his Minister of National Security. And while the uncertainty continues, life in Belize grows increasingly dangerous. People who once feared having a gun in their homes now believe they need one. Alarm systems are big business but offer limited comfort only to those who can afford them. Entire communities are being held hostage by criminal gangs while individuals are being targeted in their homes, at ATM machines, beauty salons, and even their workplaces. Neighborhood Grocers are a favorite target of the criminals. The intimidation and execution of potential witnesses in criminal trials has become far too commonplace and strikes at the heart of our system of justice. We make these points today not to score political points or to cast blame but rather to give voice to the cries of frustration and fear we hear each and everyday from so many hard working Belizeans across this country who want and deserve to live in peace, free from fear and violence. Crime is a national issue and all Belizeans have a responsibility to put our energy and resources together in this fight for our society but the Government and the Ministry of National Security, in particular, must lead this effort, build consensus on the way forward, and inspire confidence in the process. This they have thus far failed to do. As the Leader of the Opposition has consistently stated, the PUP is committed to a meaningful and serious collaboration with the Government and all other stakeholders on this issue. We want the work of the Ministry of National Security and the Belize Police Department to be a success story.

In this spirit, we have over the last two years offered meaningful proposals to the relevant authorities, which we believe can assist in the fight against crime and violence. The Leader of the Opposition speaking in the National Assembly more than one year ago laid out the framework for a 10 point plan to combat crime. We have called on the Government to fully engage the Belizean people on the findings of the Crooks Report. We have urged the Government to seek immediate technical assistance from the relevant British Agencies to address the new threat of urban terrorism by way of grenade attacks. And perhaps most important, we have called on the Government to share with the Belizean people our nations plan to win this war on crime, drugs, gangs, and violence. Today we repeat these calls on behalf of our people. It is well established that crime and violence in Belize is in large measure directly linked to the drug trade. Almost one year ago speaking in the National Assembly on behalf of our party, I called on the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to direct the Minister of National Security to prepare and present within 90 days a plan to combat this growing threat to our society and economy. To date there has been no response. Further, given the urgency of the current crisis we call on the Government to give serious consideration to the following recommendations: 1. Doubling the Police Recruit Intake for 2010. 2. Doubling the number of boots on the ground (officers on patrol) in Belize City. 3. Re-open all Police Booths and sub-stations that have been closed over the last two years. 4. Re-activate and adequately resource the Community Policing and Neighborhood watch programs. It is unacceptable when residents in their community organize themselves to join hands with the Police to fight crime, as was done by the residents of Belama, here in Belize City, and they are ignored by the Belize Police Department. 5. And we must of course never lose sight of the root causes of crime particularly at a time when job and economic opportunities are hard to come by. Ladies and Gentlemen, Crime and violence are eating away at our nations social fabric and has the potential to further erode confidence in an already fragile and battered economy. We in the Peoples United Party are committed to this fight. We stand ready to do our part.

STATEMENT ON BELIZE-GUATEMALA RELATIONS Hon. Senator Eamon Courtenay - January 19, 2010

The single most important issue facing Belize, as a nation, is the defence of our territorial integrity and our sovereignty over all our territory. Despite all our effort at negotiations, facilitation and other means of peaceful settlement of the unfounded claim by Guatemala to Belizean territory, no settlement has been achieved. Both countries have agreed to seek the approval of their respective peoples to submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice for determination. The People’s United Party wishes to express its serious concern at the lack of progress of the referendum process to date. More than one year has passed since the December 8th 2008 signing of the Special Agreement and we appear no closer to the referenda. In light of the electoral cycle in Belize and Guatemala, the prospect of holding a referendum is at least four years away. It now seems impractical and unlikely for a referendum to be held until after the 2013 general elections in Belize. This means that the earliest possible time that a court hearing can be begin, if approved by our respective peoples, is in 2017. We believe that this delay calls for a reassessment of the Belize Guatemala relations. Public records reveal that illegal migration by Guatemalans into Belize is on the increase. The number of illegal settlements in the border area has also increased. Additionally, deforestation and cultivation in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve by Guatemalan nationals has reached unprecedented and unacceptable levels. The Gulf of Honduras continues to be exploited by over-fishing by unlicensed fishermen, and pollution increases unabated. Trafficking in persons, drugs and illegal arms as well as smuggling of goods across the border continues to be a cause for serious concern. These new levels of illegal activities by Guatemalans with the resultant stresses on our land and sea demand a new focus, special attention and urgent remedial action. In short, the People’s United Party calls for a recalibration of our national policy in our relations with the Republic of Guatemala. This new policy must be designed to protect and preserve our land and sea from illegal activities which have deleterious effects on the environment.

Illegality along the border and in our southern waters demands a dramatically new strategy by our security forces. No longer can we dedicate millions of dollars to diplomatic and legal efforts to solve an unfounded claim by Guatemala to Belizean territory, whilst we say we have insufficient resources to address the pressing problems of illegality and environmental degradation. It is time to emphasize the defence of our country from physical attacks whilst at the same time remaining engaged in defence of the Guatemalan Claim. The People’s United Party calls on the Government of Belize to prepare a White Paper on Belize Guatemala Relations within sixty days. This White Paper should have as its main elements, a factual description of the devastating effects of deforestation, cultivation, over-fishing and pollution and other illegal activities; it should elaborate a comprehensive strategy to immediately redress these urgent problems; and thirdly it should provide estimates of the resources – financial and otherwise – required to implement the strategy. The White Paper should be given the widest possible circulation and be the subject of an informed national discussion before the strategy is adopted as a national plan to effectively deal with these problems. We say that nothing less than this new national effort is required at this time. The PUP stands ready to play a leading part in this new effort. Before closing, the Party takes this opportunity to repeat our condemnation of Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington for his description of our border with Guatemala as “artificial”. We reject that description. We assert without equivocation that we have had and continue to have a real border with Guatemala as defined in the Belize Constitution. History reveals that it is the PUP that has successfully led the national effort to maintain our sovereignty and to preserve our territorial integrity. We will not sit idly by and allow this Government to undermine our national position and to put at risk our national interests. We demand a retraction of the statement, a public clarification of the true and correct position, and the resignation of Minister Elrington. The national interest requires immediate action. Prime Minister Barrow the nation expects you to act; to do what’s right and to do it now.


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