The Belize Times
9 FEBRUARY 2014 | ISSUE NO: 4881
The Truth Shall Make You Free
www.belizetimes.bz | $1.00
CASTRO UDP Minister says he hustles, because he’s “Poor”!
Pg. 12 PUP Leader calls for urgent revision of Firearms Act
BTL “Friends & Family” Park Pg. 9
The law as it stands leads to “injustice”, declares Hon. Francis Fonseca
Mayor Bradley hides the “mother” of all nepotisms
TEACHERS DESERVE A SALARY RAISE
Dear Editor, Teachers lay the foundation upon which the educational system and our society stand. Teachers work unceasingly, spend extra hours preparing teaching plans, checking papers and preparing assignments at late hours in the night, giving extra classes to children when needed, even spending their own money to educate our children, our nation. The Ministry of Education overburdens them with so many additional requirements, subjects and topics to their already heavy laden syllabus. Too much is expected and demanded from teachers by the Ministry. To top it up, it was Ministry of Education who left teachers completely limp and at the children’s advantage when corporal punishment was removed. Today children without shame much less consideration stand up to teachers and tell them in their face: “You can’t do anything to me, just touch me and I’ll take you to court”; children disrespect and threaten teachers protected by law in Belize. No wonder so many teachers’ health are deteriorating with an increase of disorders and diseases like: high blood pressure, diabetes, stomach ulcers, colitis, high cholesterol and nervous disorders and breakdowns, due to the huge stress they go through in their overpopulated classrooms. All of these come as a result of the
Give the Teachers a Raise of Pay No Matter What!
THE BELIZE TIMES
No Justice for Men at Family Court?
Dear Editor, I used to believe that the Family Court was fair and my views were far removed from the perception that it was a “woman’s
UB Faculties lobby for activist Lecturer’s reinstatement
anyone of us. 3. Many other Faculty are rehired after they retire from UB or are hired after they retire from other organizations. 4. Mrs. Crawford is an experienced lecturer. She has been in this field for over 30 years. Letting her leave in this bitter manner is very demoralizing. Our request is genuine. We believe that injustice like these can create more division between UB administration and us the Faculty, especially at the expense of our students who have been severely affected. Sincerely, Faculty of Science and Technology Faculty of Education and Arts Faculty of Management and Social Sciences Faculty of Nursing and Allied Health
January 30th, 2014 Dr. Wilma Wright Acting Provost University of Belize
Dear Dr. Wright, We are hereby pleading to you to reinstate Mrs. Allison Crawford in her Chemistry teaching post in the Science Department up to, at least, the end of the academic year 2013-2014. We agree that Mrs. Crawford is being treated unjustly for the following reasons: 1. She was offered a full time post by the end of last semester for this semester by the Dean of FST. She was informed on the Friday before classes began that she would only be hired as adjunct this semester. This did not give her the opportunity to plan to be anywhere else but at UB. 2. She was offered 5 adjunct courses. Teaching 5 courses as adjunct is a full time job. That is highly unacceptable to
cc. Dr. Joaquin Urbina, Dean, FST cc. Dr. Cynthia Thompson, Assistant Pro-
cc. Mrs. Hertha Gentle, HR Director cc. Mr. Harry Pilgrim, Chair, UB Board of Trustees
2014 court”. Well sir, I have been wrong. Without a doubt, the Family Court is a woman’s court, run by women for women. A woman Acting Director, all women Magistrates, woman intake officers, women councilors, all women. As a client of the Court, I had applied for a restraining order against my estranged wife who had left the family home and is now with another man. The order was so she stops harassing me but at my hearing, it was as if I was the one on trial and the Court was against me. I was made to wait until my estranged wife felt like showing up and in Court I was the one being scolded, shouted at to answer “yes” or “no”. While the case was adjourned I was told that my estranged wife can visit the home any time she wants. What I found out later was that the person setting the policies at the Family Court, the Acting Director, is herself a client in her own Court. Clearly in the interest of justice and good administration, I believe that since the Magistrate is a victim in her Court’s eyes, and is going through her own family affair, that she should recuse herself from the job in order to allow for cases to finish impartially. I call on the Chief Justice to look into what’s going on over at the Family Court for all is not well. To have the Acting Director recused from hearing cases for at least the next six months in order to get over her own personal affairs, and beg of the Chief Justice to give us equal gender representation at the Family Court in hiring men Magistrates. For as long as it’s all women over there the perception becomes the norm and the norm becomes harsh reality for men. Yours sincerely, Justice for men too (Name withheld Fearing retaliation)
stressful conditions in the classroom; in addition not having enough money to pay their bills; yet GOB is playing deaf to their pleas. GOB refuses to give teachers a well-deserved raise of pay. Instead, the Minister ridiculously calls teachers all sorts of negative and offensive names. This is madness! This corrupt government refuses to concede a raise of pay without a sound good reason. They claim there is no money. But no one believes that stupidity; because there is money, remember about the almost 30 million in debt write offs to Social Security and DFC; almost 3 million in ham and turkey, 20 million setting up a National Bank to
weather 8 Feb
benefit their cronies, they bought out last General Elections which cost them millions of dollars; and millions and millions dollars more going into wrong pockets with their corruption, and financial scandals. So please, saying no money is insulting our intelligence. WE DEMAND NOW that GOB respect teachers and PROMPTLY give Caesar what is to Caesar, to God what is to God and to TEACHERS what is so LONG DUE to teachers. Cost of living is sky high while teachers’ salary is at a standstill. Wake up GOB, open your ears, your reasoning and your heart and give what is overdue to teachers NOW!! Signed, BNTU’s “LOVE BELIZE” Month Supporter
The Belize Times
14 APR 2013
The Truth Shall Make You Free
ISSUE NO: 4840
serving Belize since 1957 as the longest continuous newspaper. Founder: Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price, People’s United Party Leader Emeritus EDITOR
Alberto Vellos LAYOUT/GRAPHIC ARTIST
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THE BELIZE TIMES
PUP Leader calls for urgent revision of Firearms Act City of Belmopan, February 5, 2014 At Wednesday’s special sitting of the House of Representatives, Opposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca showed the type of compassion and leadership Belize direly needs when he called for an urgent review and revision of the gun laws. Hon. Fonseca pointed out that there has been a consisting harshOpposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca raises the important ness and inequity related issue at Wednesday’s House Sitting to the application of the Firearms Act, and that it could continue no more. Act, stripping away the right to of the law in good standing He cited several specific cases bail and making the sentence who was reportedly caught by where persons including young woma mandatory minimum of five Police with ammunition in his en, senior citizens and minors, at times years. The Opposition protesthome, helped to heighten the innocently caught in the wrong place at ed the amendments, but their campaign against the legislathe right time, have become victims of voices were ignored. tion. this harsh law. Recent events, however, The Opposition leader sugIn 2008, the Barrow Administration have resurrected the debate gested that while the law must with its supermajority in the House of about the harsh law. And more continue to be tough on crime it Representatives, rammed through drarequires review to ensure that it recently, the arrest of Police conian amendments to the Firearms serves justice and not injustice. Corporal Gino Peck, an office
The #1 Political Crony the Mayor won’t fire! Belize City, February 6, 2014 Mayor Darrel Bradley’ nose grew some inches as he babbled away in a desperate attempt to make sense of his cruel decision to fire more workers at City Hall. The 36 workers who have been fired, he said, were part of his mandate to not allow the Council to be “the higher bed for political persons…”! What a bunch of b.s. The main political person hired at City Hall has the Mayor’s Continued on page 31
Joe Bradley Sr.
PUP - Committed to Reform Agenda By Francis W. Fonseca The People’s United Party of 2014 is deeply committed to Reform. We recognize fully that the Belizean people are demanding that Belize is governed in a more accountable and responsible manner. The Belizean people do not expect their political leaders to be perfect but they do expect us to recognize that we are servants of the people and that each day we are honored with the responsibility of public service, we work hard on resolving the many serious challenges
THE BELIZE TIMES
facing our nation. It was in this spirit that the PUP through the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Julius Espat, tabled a Motion in the House of Representatives this past Wednesday, to reform the structure of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The Belizean people are justifiably concerned that political leaders, past and present, have not done an effective job of accounting for the use of public funds. The PAC
has direct responsibility for providing oversight of public funds but its current structure of 2 PUP Members and 4 UDP members has rendered it non-functional. The last PUP administration had allowed for the Chairman of the PAC to be an opposition member but this has clearly not served to resolve the political stagnation which has overtaken the committee. The new PUP Proposal for Reform will lead to
2014 a restructured PAC made up of 2 PUP Members, 2 UDP Members, 1 Senator representing the Business Community, 1 Senator representing the Unions, and 1 Senator representing the Churches. This new structure, we believe, has the potential to lead to greater and more meaningful oversight and accountability of public funds. The PUP has called on the UDP Government to work with us to implement this reform measure and to improve upon it if necessary. We call upon all Belizeans, particularly our unions, churches, and business community, to give their full support to this initiative and to join us in calling upon the Government to get serious about the reforms the Belizean people are demanding. As Hon. Julius Espat said, the PUP Reform Agenda will not go away. We will keep bringing it to the National Assembly and to the people of Belize. The work continues…
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THE BELIZE TIMES
EDITORIAL Importance of Political Leadership
n the 2008 general election the Belizean people were baited by the UDP Government to elect them into office. The political bait was the heralded mantra of transparency, accountability and good governance. The leader of the United Democratic Party assured the electorate that he would have engaged vigorously in the fight against corruption. This would have included the assistance of the international community in the investigating of money laundering and illegal acts by politician and those individuals brought to justice for the breach of the law. The UDP was successful at the polls in 2008. Subsequent to being elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 the UDP Government has been plagued with numerous allegation of corruption. Whilst recently visiting the diaspora in the City of Angels in California, Prime Minister Barrow told his audience “I believe that the lands department unfortunately is another [emphasis added] hot bed of corruption…” The statement was made on the heels of the allegation that UDP elected Area Representative Elvin Penner was involved in the issuing of a nationality certificate to a South Korean criminal, Kim Won Hong. The integrity of the jewel and its people was tarnished in the international spotlight. Similarly, upon the destruction of our national Heritage, Noh Mul, international agencies CNN, Fox News, NBC and National Geographic chided the Belizean People for losing respect for the kind of cultural heritage treated as treasures elsewhere. Minister Lisel Alamilla found herself amidst controversy when she resorted to the burning the precious Rosewood so the bad guys don’t get their hands on it. Minister Alamilla lamented about corruption in her ministry. Then she practically gave away the Rosewood to those same “bad guys”. There was also the evidence the Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega’s brother’s involvement in the exportation of rosewood. It was unnerving to watch our Prime Minister mendaciously uttering the buzz words “for God’s sake, stop it” and admitting that the sort of callous behaviour against better moral judgment by other members of his cabinet could topple his UDP administration. The chinks in his political armour as leader
was revealed. In my opinion, now is not the time to become mendicant especially when national integrity is at stake. This is certainly the time for Prime Minister Barrow to make good his 2008 promise to the Belizean people “to go to all lengths to fight corruption…or illegal acts by politicians and bring those involved in any unlawful acts to justice”. Corruption fosters the social ills that plagues our society. Experts have pointed to the correlation between crime and violence, inequality and joblessness which undermine the development necessary for the Jewel. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in 2012, adamantly warned that “the cost of corruption is measured not just in the billions of dollars squandered or stolen government resources, but most poignantly in the absence of the hospitals, schools, clean water, roads and bridges that might have been built with that money and would have certainly changed the fortunes of families and communities”. Carl Friedrich in his book “Pathologies of Politics” cites corruption as the pathology of politics. He drew illustrations of corruption from the simplistic form e.g. circumventing a license to allow trade to move and revenue to flow into the economy, to incidents such as the allegation within the higher administration office mentioned herein. However the Prime Minister continues to engage in the sort of “reckless abandon”, defending his political affiliates with highfalutin verbosity and utilizing the wily abilities of a proficient defence lawyer. Whereas the government has not been toppled at the electoral level, they have been toppled in the eyes of a vast majority of Belizean people. This is the time to begin the reparation of our natural identity. This endeavour necessitates political will to lead in a truly patriotic manner. For the sake of god, for the sake of this country and its people, restore the democratic principles and practices demanded of Political Leadership. Political leadership dictates that the leader returns the trust that he invites the populace to bestow on him. He must realize the dignity of his office and strengthen that dignity with his own. The leader, in his power, holds the interest and aspirations of the citizenry which by this actions or inactions could relegate them to a dying dream. That type of leadership, fellow Belizeans, will come with Hon. Francis Fonseca and the PUP.
THE BELIZE TIMES
THE BELIZE TIMES
THE BELIZE TIMES
WOMAN IN THE HOUSE By Dolores Balderamos Garcia
DARREL’S FOLLY I have been wanting to write about the cementing of Belize City streets and the unfolding policies of the Mayor of Belize City, Darrel Bradley. I cannot in my own memory recall a time before now when the city’s streets and drains as well as its general appearance have been worse than they are today. At first glance the mayor seemed to have received points for the initiative of cementing main and other streets of the Old Capital. Many people were pleased that a significant project such as this was launched and had gotten off the ground. I don’t think that at first lots of people were focussing on the huge cost to taxpayers that this project entails, and many too were willing initially to put up with the inconvenience of diversions
and closed street arteries meanwhile the cementing was being done. I now believe that Darrel’s folly is beginning to unfold, and more and more persons are seeing that the massive spending on street cementing with no provision for drainage and upkeep is causing a major headache for city residents and taxpayers. A young woman who works on North Front Street and walks on Hyde’s Lane quite often told me that the project is certainly not pedestrian or disabled-persons friendly. Hyde’s Lane is now narrower with a steep dropoff of the cement. Woe be upon anyone or any vehicle that slides off the edge. Not to mention the awful flooding of homes in low lying areas of the city when it rains. Where is the provision for prop-
er drainage? Is it not hare-brained to be spending countless millions on cementing when you have not thought out or made provision for drains? Let us take the street that I am most familiar with – Queen Street. Taxpayers like myself endured much disruption while it was slowly being cemented in sections. The end product clearly made no drainage provision, and during heavy rains it is pure grief. Simon Quan has to put down sandbags, the Queen Street Police Station entrance has become a veritable swimming pool, and plants and all grow in the drain just outside the Post Office, my office, the BELIZE TIMES/Independence Hall and several other establishments. During heavy downpours we cannot even get out of our buildings. For the life of me I cannot understand why a significant portion of the monies could not have been spent ensuring that proper drainage was put in. Queen Street is nightmarish whenever it rains consistently. In dry weather it is a dustbowl. This never happened before. Where were the engineers and advisors? I suspect that they may advise, but it is Darrel Bradley and his political bosses and colleagues who override sound advice for perceived political gain. A few weeks ago it became clear that there was a major leak of water pipes just under a section of Queen
2014 Street. It took a long time, but eventually the cemented road was duly dug up and the leak patched. The only thing is that the huge gap has not been re-cemented, and vehicles are now dropping into the hole that was created. Whoever dug up Queen Street didn’t even bother to remove all the rocks and stones left on the roadway. They are still there and can trip someone. It is my feeling that the mayor and city council will share responsibility along with BWS if someone trips and breaks his/her leg. Like the rest of the massive spending on the abomination that is now Memorial Park and the few other chosen projects, the work and lack of work on Queen Street is in my view a folly. City residents and taxpayers deserve much better. What about the hundreds of other streets, and what about basic drainage, upkeep, maintenance and cleaning of drains, and clearing of garbage? Basic needs must come first. Instead we get a garrulous fellow who is turning out to be just like his big boss the Prime Minister and who has pretty much thumbed his nose at Belize City residents in his quest for political advancement and glory. Let’s see how far he will get. I call it Darrel’s Folly.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Mrs. Mary Tate
celebrates 100th Birthday
BTL “Friends & Family” Park Belize City, February 5th 2014 It appears that Mayor Darrell Bradley continues to try his utmost best to follow in the footsteps of his mentor, Dean Barrow, jostling with the likes of Patrick Faber for the title of “Mini-Dean”. Three weeks ago the BELIZE TIMES broke the story of a blatant case of Insider Trading at the BTL Park, where none other than the former Deputy Mayor and current City Councillor, Deon Leslie, was gifted with a lease for a bar, of all things, inside what is supposed to be a the family recreational space, BTL Park. Bradley’s grand opening of the park took an unexpected turn for the worse when the media questioned him about the apparent shady dealing, to which the Mayor responded with a bombshell of his own: it is not only Deon Leslie that has a license to operate a business in the park. Other city councilors like Michael Theus were also gifted with booths inside the Park. Instead of going through the tender or selection process to erase any possible suspicion of insider trading, the Mayor simply defended his council’s decisions to the bitter end. When asked whether he was afraid of public backlash for any perceived conflict of interest, he responded bitterly, “I don’t care how it is perceived”. But why did the Mayor get so defensive over these “special”, “not-so normal” Belizeans receiving rewards from the very same council on which they serve as current members? Could it be that the Mayor or one of his family members also got a hold of one of these special booths inside the park? Well, the BELIZE TIMES has been reliably informed that the Mayor’s mother-in-law, a Jamaican national, has also been bestowed with a business booth inside the BTL Park. If indeed true, this gross act of nepotism could solidify Darrell’s future as the second coming of Dean Oliver Barrow, a man who currently holds the title as the most power-drunk, arrogant and nepotistic Prime Minister Belize has ever had. Since the Mayor seems unable to mentally handle the lollipop questions without going berserk, we advise the media to take extra care when probing the Mayor about this latest scandal, as it could very well result in his committal to the Rockview Mental Facility.
call 650-8429 Mary Tate, a Pickstock Street legend, celebrated her 100th birthday on February 4th. PUP Chairman Henry Usher visited her at the Sister Cecilia Home and took her a cake and a little bag of goodies. Congratulations Ms. Mary! And may you live to see many more!
PUP NOTICE Cayo Central Standard Bearer Convention The People’s United Party Standard Bearer Convention for the Cayo Central Electoral Division is scheduled for Sunday, April 27, 2014. Application are available from the Constituency Committee Chairperson or the PUP Secretariat, Independence Hall, #3 Queen Street, Belize City. Completed applications must be filled and returned to the Chairperson and the Secretary General. The non-refundable fee is to be submitted to the Secretariat along with the necessary documentation to complete the application package. Deadline for submission is Thursday February 27, 2014.
PUP NOTICE Belize Rural South Standard Bearer Convention The People’s United Party Standard Bearer Convention for the Belize Rural South Electoral Division is scheduled for Sunday, April 27, 2014. Application are available from the Constituency Committee Chairperson or the PUP Secretariat, Independence Hall, #3 Queen Street, Belize City. Completed applications must be filled and returned to the Chairperson and the Secretary General. The non-refundable fee is to be submitted to the Secretariat along with the necessary documentation to complete the application package. Deadline for submission is Thursday February 27, 2014.
PUP NOTICE Standard Bearer Endorsement Convention for Cayo West The People’s United Party announces an Endorsement Convention for Cayo West Standard Bearer on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
Liquor License NOTICES Notice is hereby given that NIGEL A. MEJIA is applying for a Shop Liquor License to be operated at “NJ’s Store”, situate at Santana Village, Belize District under the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Ordinance Revised Edition 1980. Notice is hereby given that NIGEL A. MEJIA is applying for a Publican Special Liquor License to be operated at “NJ’s Cool Spot”, situate at Santana Village, Belize District under the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Ordinance Revised Edition 1980. Notice is hereby given that NIGEL A MEJIA is applying for a Shop Liquor License to be operated at “NPJ’s Store”, situate at 12 Miles Phillip Goldson Highway, Belize District under the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Ordinance Revised Edition 1980. Notice is hereby given that ZHU FENG LUO is applying for a Shop Liquor License to be operated at “Homever”, situate at 13 Miles, Phillip Goldson Highway, Belize District under the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Ordinance Revised Edition 1980. Notice is hereby given that MARVIN RIVERA & GLENDA SARAVIA are applying for a Beer Liquor License to be operated at “Cheaptown Hardware Store”, situate at #9171 La Croix Boulevard, Belize District under the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Ordinance Revised Edition 1980.
THE BELIZE TIMES
The Fleecing of BTL Barrow Screwing the People Again
Belize City, February 3, 2014 In 2009 when Prime Minister expropriated Belize Telemedia Ltd. (BTL) he did so under the guise as a national good. He spoke about reducing rates and increasing the telecommunication opportunities for the country. Five years later, the company is being run into the ground and the Prime Minister’s family and friends are at the helm of the company that was once the envy in the region for its progressiveness and profitability. After five years of UDP control, the Belizean people are wondering how long this once great company will last. After a series of really bad investments (Black Berry, WCDMA, HSPA, etc.) the company has now turned to shafting its customers. The writing was on the wall when the defacto CEO, Anwar Barrow announced at the company’s last Annual General’s Meeting that the company would no longer offer bonus promotion for 2013. Months later, on January 15, 2014 BTL announced that their customers would no longer be allowed to use their promotional credit to make international calls and local calls to smart customers. That harsh decision by the UDP-led BTL will definitely affect thousands of Belizeans. With 300,000 Belizeans living in the United States and many immigrants having family in Central America, the Barrow-led BTL is
not providing any benefits for its customers, especially since a large portion of their customer base is comprised of the poor and middle class people of Belize. This change in policy is symptomatic of how this UDP Government has managed the people’s business. The people’s interest is always secondary. The talk on the street is that people are totally frustrated and are seriously contemplating switching over to BTL’s competition, Smart. Reliable sources say that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on new vehicles for executives and board members. One source cringed when talking about the $10,000.00 office chair and $6000.00 flat screen TV the company had to buy for a board member. The pain was obvious on a longtime employee as he talked about the millions that have spent on second rated phones which BTL continues to purchase from a local vendor in which a Board member has financial interests in. Then there are the bloated contracts being issued to cronies of the UDP. Instead of making investments in projects that will benefit the Belizean people and help the country advance economically, the UDP-led BTL is being fleeced by the decision makers who have been hand-picked by the Prime Minister. I guess we continue to imagine the possibilities.
Support the February 14th Diamond Raffle – Call 620-9284
THE BELIZE TIMES
WARNING: DANGER AHEAD!
Another Road to
By Norris Hall, January 29th 2014 This time it is the death of democracy in this peaceful haven. The Government of Belize, the Barrow Administration, has begun to display all the vital signs of wanting to become a dangerous political dictatorship. After two bruising defeats by the People’s United Party in successive general elections in 1998 and again in 2003, the current Prime Minister ensured that he would not be humiliated a third time. During the elections of 2008, he and his Party resorted to intimidation, and called for civil disobedience and street violence to win that election. He and his Party won by an overwhelming majority. This gave him his first taste of power. His government has since evolved into a nasty and corrupt administration - perhaps the worse in the English-speaking Caribbean today. The Prime Minister continues to carry a grudge, an obsessive hate against the PUP for damaging his super ego. While he has obviously lost that bounce to his step because of his government’s increasing unpopularity, he has not lost his cockiness. He continues to assert, by any means necessary, his desire for ultimate power. For a while he held a tight grip on his Cabinet. But now, with mounting corruption and the abuse of power, it’s all unravelling. PM DISPLAYS SYMPTOMS OF PSYCHOSIS A cursory observation of the man would suggest that he is displaying a symptom of psychosis. That he is, perhaps suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as he tries by any means possible, to reconsolidate his grip on power. It appears to be slipping away and he cannot afford a single sacrificial lamb in his Cabinet to maintain any semblance of honesty and integrity in his government. If we make comparisons with African leaders with a similar DNA and a common colonial past, it becomes scary that we are slowly and subtly travelling down a familiar route of some African nations with similar post-colonial experiences with Despots on the African Continent. Some that come to mind are Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Idi Amin of Uganda and others in the Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia, where our Prime Minister’s absent son and “Music Ambassador” for Belize and of jailhouse rap fame. He claims that the origin of his roots is in Ethiopia. This is what he told Jet magazine in an interview. A WANNABE DICTATOR Belize’s Prime Minister has dis-
played all the classic signs of a wouldbe and wannabe Dictator. There are numerous indications of this trend during his six years in office, including his current second five-year term with a drastically reduced majority in the Legislature after he called early elections in 2012. This has inhibited his penchant for seeking Constitutional amendments to meet with his personal political agenda. With that power taken away from him, he is clever enough to the re-define rules and give new meaning to words like corruption that is inconsistent with the international definition. There is cause for hope. But it is risky to think that an unpredictable electorate and with the increase in poverty and thus poor voters, they may not still be lured into selling their sacred votes for a cold drink, a plate of rice and beans and a $100 bill and are prepared to be held hostage and in poverty and unemployment for yet another term in office for a vindictive, confrontational and corrupt government along with the continuous dictatorial arrogance by a Prime Minister. We can expect to see much more of this as this government continues to disintegrate with mounting corruption and cover-ups. We will begin to see attempts at the re-invention of its personalities as they dismount their high horses and as they again begin the pandering for votes with creative lies and regurgitated promises. THE DEATH OF OUR DEMOCRACY There is a growing and frightening list of dictatorial actions by our Prime Minister that continues to pave the path down the dangerous road. Our road is toward the death of our democracy and the forfeiting of our sacred rights that are guaranteed to us, as Belizeans, by the UN Charter and the Constitution of Belize. Along the way are rising poverty and hopelessness, rising cost of living, unemployment, a politically manipulated public service, a corrupt government, a crumbling infrastructure and all the evils associated with a corrupt government. There is a very long and growing list of the abuses of power, the disregard for law and order and the ominous mushrooming cloud of the Barrow dictatorship. The Prime Minister has appointed himself as Judge, Jury and Executioner. He is the Decider of what is corrupt and what is not. Let’s start will the recent charade in the House of Representatives, when bending unusually under pressure by the National Trade Union Congress, he was forced to introduce a Bill for the enactment of the Occupa-
Barrow continues to take Belize down a slippery slope
tional Safety and Health Act. But in his introduction of this Bill, the PM spoke like a spitting viper about the financial obligations of the government and the private sector for the protection of workers. Then, making a pretense of democracy, he announced that there will be public consultations. Is it not the responsibility of the government to provide for the safety of its citizens from the protection of the country’s borders to safety in the workplace? Why else were you elected? Here is a hint: You were elected to govern for
the people, not to rule them. A FARCE OF “PUBLIC CONSULTATION” On the other hand, while there were recent “public consultations” on the multi-million dollar Norwegian Cruise Line port development in the environmentally sensitive waters in the south, the Prime Minister has long indicated that he did not care about public consultations. He has already declared, long ago, that it is a “done deal” and that we must “get over it”. Continued on page 19
CASTRO Minister says he hustles, because he’s “Poor”! Belize City, February 6, 2014 Edmond Castro, the latest UDP Minister to become a political pariah as a result of scandals, has blamed his nefarious actions as an elected public official on the assertion that he is a “poor man”. According to Castro, who spoke at a Special House Sitting called on Wednesday February 5th for the first time since the BELIZE TIMES broke the scandal, serving the people of Belize Rural North is too much a financial burden for him as he gets a “take home pay of $2,900”. This is why, he claims, cheques were written out to him for his personal use, to pay for his son’s high school fees at St. John’s College high school, to pay for his mother’s funeral, to pay for dental services and to settle a bill at a bicycle repair shop. Castro, it appears, has a terrible misconception about the role of an area representative. He apparently believes that being an area representative means he must personally pay for the wants of his constituents. He believes he must feed his people the fish instead of teaching them how to fish. He apparently doesn’t subscribe to creating meaningful opportunities for his people to make them less dependent on the political system. Castro is a classic pro-poor UDP, who helps to keeps one poor. That is why, he said, he had to turn to the public coffers from where he has been collecting tens of thousands of dollars with no proper accounting of how he spends that money. And like Barrow, he saw no corruption in it. “I am not saying that I have not made mistakes. None of us is inflammable. While I have committed errors, I am not guilty of corruption,” he cried out with dry tears. Castro was not remorseful. He attacked those who have criticized him including the Opposition, the Unions and the media, calling them “Pharisees” and accusing them of hypocrisy. He read a verse of the bible which relates the story of Jesus Christ defending a prostitute against sinners when he told them “he who hath no sins cast the first stone”. In Castro’s analogy, he was the prostitute who deserved clemency. But to Belizeans, Castro and Elvin Penner are the UDP Barabbas. UDP Leader Dean Barrow is willing to spare Barabbas to hold on to power for himself and his corrupt Ministers instead of saving Belize from the wrath of the UDP.
THE BELIZE TIMES
PRESS RELEASE Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is the implementation agency for Japan’s official Development Assistance (ODA). JICA works with the overarching aim of making the world more peaceful and prosperous by supporting the endeavors of developing countries for socio –economic development, and is pleased to announce that in collaboration with the Government of Belize, three (3) new young volunteers and one (1) senior volunteer arrived to Belize on January 7, 2014 for technical cooperation project. At the completion of their one (1) month training at the Regional Language Center at the University of Belize the volunteers will be dispatched to their respective host organizations for the remainder of their two years term. Currently there are fifteen (15) young volunteers and four (4) senior volunteers place thru out the country. Mr. Yosuke MASUDA is assigned to the Corozal Town Council in the field of environmental education Mr. Shinya NABATA is assigned to the Football Federation of Belize as a football instructor Mr. Haruhide OSUGI Is assigned to San Roman R.C. School in the field of computer technology Mr. Mamoru OSADA is assigned to the Ministry of Tourism & Culture in the field of city planning
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THE BELIZE TIMESTIMES THE BELIZE
NEWS Ras Indio release “Let wih down” song
Location: Memorial Park, Belize City
Belize Reggae artist Ras Indio has released a new song and video that mirrors the sentiments of the Belizean people towards the state of political leadership in Belize. The “McAfee Riddim” reggae/dancehall track titled “Let wih down” speaks about the disappointment and frustration “Government” letting down the people of Belize. Ras Indio cites specific examples of corruption such as the recent passport scandal and the abuse of resource by ministers while Belizeans are left waiting for opportunities and assistance. Ras Indio is on a local media tour to promote the new song and video. The new work was produced by Silas Sabal and edited at Price Box Films. Ras Indio will also embark on an international tour California in March, and other cities in the United States.
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THE BELIZE TIMES TIMES THE BELIZE
FC Belize & Belmopan
Bandits draw 1-1 Belize City, February 2, 2014 Belmopan Bandits is hoping for a big win at home at the FFB Stadium in the City of Belmopan this coming Saturday night to take the opening season of the Belikin Cup football championship. The Bandits must win Game 2, or face elimination, after they drew 1-1 with FC Belize in Game 1 at the MCC Garden on Sunday afternoon. Sunday’s match-up was Game 1 of a clash of the titans. Deon Macaulay finished a pass to center from David Trapp with an immediate, turn-around kick to embarrass FC Belize goalie Glenford Chimilio with the 1st goal in the 5th minute of play. Jerome “Jaro” James looked to make it 2-0 when he connected with a header to another pass from Trapp, but it was a bit too high. The visitors led 1-0 at the half, but after the break, FC Belize’s
Steven Baeza got into a foot-race with the Bandits’ defense when he picked up a forward pass from Mark “Kelo” Leslie. Baeza brought the ball to the goal-line then centered to Leslie. Bandits’ goalie Woodrow West was outplayed as the ball zipped past him to Leslie behind him and Leslie booted it into the empty net. Deon Macaulay and Deris
Kevin Lino tackled by David Trapp “Colombia” Benavides connected with some hard shots on goal in the 2nd half, really making Chimilio work, but the long whistle sounded to a 1-1 draw.
Woodrow West with a spectacular save
Interesting Stats: FC Belize bombed the Bandits 3-2 at the Isidoro Beaton in mid-November. FC Belize and the Bandits drew 0-0 in the opening game of the regular season at the MCC in late September last year.
Gwen Liz girls defeat Wesley in football finals
Belize City, February 3, 2014 The Gwen Lizarraga High School are the 2013-2014 Belize District high school football champions.
Gwen Liz girls
SCA’s Genecis Canizales
After drawing 0-0 in Game 1, Gwen the Liz girls bounced back to win Game 2 on Wednesday against the undefeated Wesley girls, with goals by 1 nil in a penalty shootout with Leolynn Martinez scoring the winning penalty . The Wesley girls had qualified to the finals by a 3-0 win
against the Excelsior High School girls in last Thursday’s semifinals. Denisha Thurton scored Wesley’s 1st goal, and Rosie Matute embarrassed Excelsior goalie Diana Lopez with a 2nd goal for a 2-0 lead at the half. After the break, Denisha Thurton set table for Shanice Neal to score a 3rd goal and put the 3-0 win on ice. The Gwen Liz girls advanced to the finals by back to back win over SCA in Tuesday’s and Friday’s semifinals. Kishay Bevans scored Gwen Liz’s winning goal in Game 1, and in Game 2 Tyra Moreira converted a penalty to lead 1-0 at the half. After the break Kishay Bevans added a 2nd goal to seal the 2-0 win.
99 FEB FEB
Wesley girls whop ACC 15-7 in softball
Belize City, February 1, 2014 The Wesley College girls whopped the Anglican Cathedral College girls 15-7 as the Belize District high school softball competition continued at the Roger’s Stadium last Saturday morning. The Wesley girls walloped 12 hits off ACC’s Ashaly Alarcon who also walked 7 batters, even though she struck out 7 hitters. This allowed Wesley’s Shanice Humes, Kristy Terry, Asia Pitts, Brianna Meighan, Ayla Franklin and Ianna Wagner to come home in the 1st inning. The ACC girls got only 5 hits off Wesley’s Brianna Meighan, who also struck out 9 batters and walked 4. ACC’s Avis Guydis came home in the 1st inning, but Kristy Terry came home in the 2nd to lead 7 -2 as only ACC’s Susannah Matura came home in the 2nd. The Wesley girls committed 4 errors, as Guydis, Roxanie Pook and Raydene Belgrave came home in the 3rd inning. The Wesley girls soon led: 13-5 when Humes, Jahnecia Marsden, Pitts, Meighan, Franklin and Wagner came home in the 4th inning. ACC’s Avis and Pook came home in the 4th inning but Terry and Pitts came home in the 5th for the 15-7 win. Other matches: Gwen Lizarraga High vs. Excelsior High 7-0 (by default) Excelsior High vs. St. Catherine’s Academy – 7-0 (by default) Ladyville Technical vs. Gwen Liz girls – 5-4
Wesley boys win 2-1 in football finals Belize City, February 3, 2014 Wesley College boys won the Belize District championship finals: 2-1 over Gwen Lizarraga High School held on Wednesday at the M.C.C. Grounds. Gwen Liz and Wesley College had tied 1-1 in Game 1 after Kenyon Lewis outran the Wesley defense and embarrassed the goalie with the 1st goal, and Wesley responded with a penalty goal by Clinton “Popa” Dawson. The Wesley College boys advanced to the finals by a 2-0 win against the St. John’s College boys in Thursday’s semifinals. The Gwen Liz boys posted back to back wins: 1-0 and 3-0 against the Anglican Cathedral College boys in last Tuesday and Friday semifinals.
Kenyon Lewis scored Wesley’s 1st goal
Gwen Liz boys
Nazarene High boys clobber ACC 13-3
Wesley’s Brianna Meighan
THE BELIZE THE BELIZE TIMESTIMES
Wesley’s Keeron Young
Telemedia’s Joel Borland wins BCA individual time trials
THE BELIZE TIMES
THE BELIZE TIMES
Strengthening Democracy through Governance Reform
Hon. Julius Espat – Chairman, Public Accounts Committee, Belize February 5, 2014, Trinidad and Tobago Governance is the hallmark of a democratic, peaceful, just society and is fundamental to eradicating poverty, economic growth, social progress and the preservation of the nation-state. It is concerned with the rules, regulations, and procedures that apply to the decision-making processes. It is about who makes decisions on behalf of the people, how those decisions are made, where those decisions are made, why those decisions are made and who benefits from the decisions taken. Decisions taken in our governance system and structure determine how the collective wealth and resources of the nation is managed, allocated and distributed and ultimately the quality of life that each and every one of our citizens enjoys. Governance is about you, your family, your community, and your country. The Governance Reform and Change Agenda we advance must strengthen and enhance our democracy and systems and structures of government by ensuring that public officials are: 1. Fully answerable to the people in the execution of their duties and responsibilities 2. Mandated to fully share, report, and explain the decisions of government in a timely and consistent manner 3. Provide opportunities for meaningful participation of the people in decision making at all levels of government. 4. Give value and afford equity in the allocation and distribution of the nation’s wealth and resources. 5. Respect and embrace the role of civil society, media, and political parties as vital stakeholders in our democracy 6. Adhere to the principles and philosophy of social justice and democratic
Deputy PUP Leader & Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Hon. Julius Espat speaks at the regional meeting, discussing the challenges Belize faces in having PAC function as a meaningful oversight body
nationalism in the execution of their public duties. The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Parliament of South Africa, Hon. Max Sisulu, described the role of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as follows: “Public Accounts Committees play an important role as oversight mechanisms, and have helped legislatures to fulfill their mandate of overseeing executive actions particularly in financial management and administration. These committees must ensure that a high standard of ethical practice is maintained by all in the public sector and that public resources are used efficiently and in the manner intended to ensure that the development needs of our people are attained.” The oversight processes and mechanisms must therefore ensure and assist our
governments in deepening democracy by delivering on the developmental needs of our people. Given our developmental challenges, it is critical that our oversight function places strong emphasis on financial accountability to ensure that the limited resources of our country are dedicated to improving the lives of our people. Within the context of the global economic downturn our oversight must therefore emphasize the pursuit of value for money to ensure that governments do more with less. Parliamentary oversight must be precise and we need to change the manner in which we engage the executive. The oversight function of Parliaments is the most important power we have to ensure and assist our Governments to meet their commitment to im-
17 plement strategies that eradicate poverty and inequality over time.” Standing Order 72(1)(k) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives of Belize establishes the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Standing Order 74(1)(11) sets out the powers and duties of the PAC as follows: “ The Public Accounts Committee shall have the duty of examining, considering and reporting on – (a) The accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by the National Assembly to meet the public expenditure of the country; (b) Such other accounts as may be referred to the committee by the House or under any law; and (c) The Report of the Auditor General on any such accounts.” In Belize, the PAC is comprised of six (6) Members, four (4) from the Government and two (2) from the Opposition. Standing Order 75(2) provides that the Chairman of the PAC shall be chosen from among the Members who do not support the Government. This is the PAC of Belize, which I currently Chair. It is a structure that does not and has not worked since Belize attained its Independence in 1981. The sad reality is that in almost 35 years as a sovereign, independent nation, Belize has not had a functioning, effective PAC to provide oversight of Government spending. Despite five changes of Government during that period, neither of the two major Political Parties (PUP or UDP) has properly appreciated the critical importance of a working PAC. The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives in Belize, cannot discharge its duties because of partisan brinkmanship that is fuelled by a political culture that still places a premium on short-term political expediency over the national good. This has helped to create a perception that the Committee system is merely designed to rubber stamp government sponsored legislation and policy-based initiatives. However, when it comes to the core, fundamental role of the legislature to provide oversight and to play an active role in informed criticism and scrutiny of the policies and actions of the executive, which is central to the committee system, the legislature is impotent. In 2014 this is no longer acceptable. The Party that I repreContinued on page 28
THE BELIZE TIMES PUP NOTICE Queen Square Standard Bearer Convention
The People’s United Party Standard Bearer Convention for the Queen Square Electoral Division is scheduled for Sunday May 18, 2014. Application are available from the Constituency Committee Chairperson or the PUP Secretariat, Independence Hall, #3 Queen Street, Belize City. Completed applications must be filled and returned to the Chairperson and the Secretary General. The non-refundable fee is to be submitted to the Secretariat along with the necessary documentation to complete the application package. Deadline for submission is Tuesday March 18, 2014.
PUP NOTICE Albert Standard Bearer Convention The People’s United Party Standard Bearer Convention for the Albert Electoral Division is scheduled for Sunday May 25, 2014. Application are available from the Constituency Committee Chairperson or the PUP Secretariat, Independence Hall, #3 Queen Street, Belize City. Completed applications must be filled and returned to the Chairperson and the Secretary General. The non-refundable fee is to be submitted to the Secretariat along with the necessary documentation to complete the application package. Deadline for submission is Tuesday March 18, 2014.
PUP NOTICE Caribbean Shores Standard Bearer Convention The People’s United Party Standard Bearer Convention for the Caribbean Shores Electoral Division is scheduled for Sunday, June 1, 2014. Application are available from the Constituency Committee Chairperson or the PUP Secretariat, Independence Hall, #3 Queen Street, Belize City. Completed applications must be filled and returned to the Chairperson and the Secretary General. The non-refundable fee is to be submitted to the Secretariat along with the necessary documentation to complete the application package. Deadline for submission is Friday March 28, 2014.
PUP NOTICE Lake Independence Standard Bearer Convention The People’s United Party Standard Bearer Convention for the Lake Independence Electoral Division is scheduled for Sunday, June 8, 2014. Application are available from the Constituency Committee Chairperson or the PUP Secretariat, Independence Hall, #3 Queen Street, Belize City. Completed applications must be filled and returned to the Chairperson and the Secretary General. The non-refundable fee is to be submitted to the Secretariat along with the necessary documentation to complete the application package. Deadline for submission is Friday March 28, 2014.
2014 PUP NOTICE
Corozal Bay Standard Bearer Convention The People’s United Party Standard Bearer Convention for the Corozal Bay Electoral Division is scheduled for Sunday, March 30, 2014 from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
PUP NOTICE Joint Endorsement Standard Bearers Convention for Orange Walk Central, Orange Walk East & Orange Walk South The People’s United Party announces a Joint Endorsement Standard Bearers Convention for Orange Walk Central, Orange Walk East & Orange Walk South constituencies on Sunday, March 8, 2014.
PUP NOTICE Mesopotamia Standard Bearer Convention The People’s United Party Standard Bearer Convention for the Mesopotamia Electoral Division is scheduled for Sunday May 18, 2014. Application are available from the Constituency Committee Chairperson or the PUP Secretariat, Independence Hall, #3 Queen Street, Belize City. Completed applications must be filled and returned to the Chairperson and the Secretary General. The non-refundable fee is to be submitted to the Secretariat along with the necessary documentation to complete the application package. Deadline for submission is Thursday March 18, 2014.
PUP NOTICE Collet Standard Bearer Convention The People’s United Party Standard Bearer Convention for the Collet Electoral Division is scheduled for Sunday May 4, 2014. Application are available from the Constituency Committee Chairperson or the PUP Secretariat, Independence Hall, #3 Queen Street, Belize City. Completed applications must be filled and returned to the Chairperson and the Secretary General. The non-refundable fee is to be submitted to the Secretariat along with the necessary documentation to complete the application package. Deadline for submission is Tuesday March 4, 2014.
THE BELIZE TIMES
WARNING: DANGER AHEAD!
Another Road to
Continued from page 11
He has not made any public utterance against the racist remarks made by NCL’s representatives and the disrespect shown by them, for the sacred rites and cultures of the people in Southern Belize. The project has been overwhelmingly rejected by the people but yet “Papa” Barrow continues to dictate that it is a done deal. In defiance of a Supreme Court ruling that prevented him from high-jacking the utility companies, he amended the Belize Constitution to achieve his whims for a hostile grab of these companies without paying any compensation by tying the claims of the investors in the Courts which, from perception, he now controls. The Prime Minister’s redefinition of corruption because of his paralysis in dealing with rampant corruption is an indication that he can no longer hold his Cabinet under siege following scandal after scandal after scandal. But there are very significant matters that we need to seriously analyze if we are to deal with this ominous cloud of a possible imminent dictatorship looming over us. After being sworn in for the first time as Prime Minister to serve all the people of Belize without fear or favour, his first public pronouncement as Prime Minister was to declare unconstitutionally to his supporters: “It is our turn”. He then proceeded to announce in Parliament that he intends to destroy the People’s United Party and every member of that party. As he stamped his feet and beat his chest in House debates and on his bully pulpit, and continued to tamper with the Constitution (when he enjoyed a super majority in the Legislature) to defy a Court order, one of his Solicitor Generals even supported his action to interfere with the Belize Constitution. But his disrespect for the rule of law resulted in her resignation and that of her predecessor during his six years in office. His legal henchmen now include his family and close friends whom he has made wealthy by defending the government in numerous cases real or imagined. His first wife is now Belize’s Ambassador to the United Nations. It is indeed their turn but he continues to deny political nepotism with his famous declaration: “You know me!” (I don’t do that nor am I corrupt). Obviously the electorate did not! THIRD PARTIES MUST COLLABORATE This rough shod approach to governance should not be allowed to continue. There has to be a national collaborative effort to deal with the
tyranny that the people have invited among themselves and with more to come if we allow Mr. Barrow to entrench himself as Belize’s penultimate leader and dictator - Mugabe style and to have his swine continue to feed unapologetically from the public trough and stealing more and more of our money. This writer will go out on a far limb by suggesting that the fledging political third parties are failing in their approach in dealing with this serious national issue by trying to create a hybrid PUDP (suggesting that the PUP and the UDP are the same). They are certainly not. A serious analysis, and with sincere and honest respect, would suggest that none of these third parties has the wherewithal, national profile nor viability to, at this crucial time, mount any serious challenges against this unpopular and confrontational government. INSIDE THE BELLY OF THE REVOLUTION At the same time, having been a small player in Belize’s struggle for Constitutional reforms leading up to the attainment of Independence, and having been inside the belly of the political revolution as a part of the nationalist and towards nationhood, this writer also feels that the PUP needs to quickly mobilize, to get its act together and to get in the trenches, revive the grassroots and support its labour foundation from whence it came, and by taking the hint from its prodigal son, Cordel Hyde to return to basics. The PUP needs to wake up and work! It is now time to put up the big tent and for the enemy of the enemy to be friends and to save Belize from imminent tyranny. A case could be made for collaboration and dialogue among all people and all political parties to stop the downward spiral and to restore the gains made in the first twenty five years of the country’s independence and in restoring the international integrity of our homeland. This is a time for the consolidation of our efforts to save Belize from the despots and tyrants who were elected to serve us but instead have tried to RULE us. It is worth drawing from the example of Syria under the Dictator and butcher, Bashar al-Assad who is waging a bloody war against his people and a divided opposition at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. History is rife with the nature and emergence of dictators. Mr. Barrow fits that cloth; his behaviour fits that pattern. Be forewarned.
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PRESS RELEASE Reynaldo Verde I have been restrained in the last few weeks hearing my name brought up in an attempt to charge me for an apparent crime I did not commit. I can no longer sit quietly by and accept the defamatory statements to be repeated. The media has also perpetuated mistaken facts and have become an unwitting vehicle to achieve a third party’s aim of having me removed from office. In my line of work, (tax collections) there have been instances of large business interests that make threats from time to time. It seems (coupled with actual threats to have me removed) that a recent charge and court proceedings while merely collecting tax for the Government of Belize and in the line of carrying out my job has now caused this whole matter to come to light and for which I have reported as is proper, rather than to utilize the media for various spins, angles, conspiracies and hidden objectives/motives. I will say no more on that at this point as that threat is under investigation at this time. Unlike what has been reported, no gun was ever found in my home. It was found on the outer wall of an outer shed on the property line that adjoins 3 other properties and which was accessed from another person’s property. It could not have been reached from through my property. In fact, the posts near the shed (where the Police observed recent footprints from the night before), on another’s property were broken in gaining access to plant the weapon. On that night in question shortly after midnight, I heard my dogs barking, looked out and saw the person I suspected was a thief. I immediately called my neighbor to alert him that a “thief ” was climbing his fence (where he broke the fence posts). We both stayed inside our respective homes. I saw the person exit in the adjoining church yard and went to bed thinking the matter was at an end. At 6:30 that morning, the police came and my first response to them was to ask if they came “to investigate the thief last night?” They said they got a call about an illegal weapon and had to search the shed and they knew where to find the weapon. I immediately relayed what had happened with regard to my call to neighbors and they confirmed with said neighbors right away. These neighbors even stated this in their reports to the DPP. It is no part of the law of Belize that Police must blindly charge persons without even asking the most basic questions to ascertain whether the “tip” can even be true. They saw it for what it was and exercised proper judgment. I have been a Public Servant for 23 years - as long as Gino Pech - and agree with all those people rallying on his behalf who wish to change the gun laws of Belize. None other than the Director of Public Prosecutions’ press release dated February 3rd, 2014 corroborates that Police should investigate before charges are laid. This is precisely what occurred in my matter. I have always fought for the best interest of public officers and have recently negotiated for increased benefits and improved public service as Chairman of the Public Service Union, Belize District. I also earned many promotions for doing my job without fear. I have used my licensed weapon in the past to defend myself and after a full trial, have been found “Not Guilty” by a Magistrate. In fact, due to what has previously happened, I chose not to do more on that fateful night precisely because the gun laws would have caused me to get arrested if I had done more. I, like all other law abiding citizens with licensed weapons, are restrained while the real criminals do far worse without a license at all. This is one clear example where a criminal with a weapon to plant, got away Scott free because I felt restrained I continue to assist the Police, the Department of GST and other agencies to uncover the real criminals especially those that continue to hide behind their facade of business legitimacy. I will say no more on this matter and have instructed my attorney to commence legal proceedings for defamation against the next person that chooses to slander and defame me. -end-
THE BELIZE TIMES
THE BELIZE TIMES
tion, however, and that appears to include making a public fool of himself.” The editorial went on to state that, “The present administration remains in constitutional power, but it has lost its moral authority.” Lo and behold, the following week on Tuesday January 28th, the entire board of the BAA is asked to resign. Coincidence; blows away like a little breeze. you be the judge! Not only did When the scandals are numerthey not write another check to ous however and when they the minister but the board itself come as fast and furiously as went out on the limb to endorse they have been coming from Barrow’s premise. The portfolio this government, murmurings for the Department of Civil Aviabegin and become loud. tion, which has responsibility for Belize’s biggest and most Airports, was also taken from influential media machine by Castro’s Ministry of Transport far is the Amandala. It has the and put under Heredia’s Miniswidest circulation and it is the try of Tourism and Culture. Albeonly newspaper that does a it a slap on the wrist for Castro biweekly publication. For the but action nonetheless! Action entire first term of the Dean that most certainly would not Barrow’s administration and have happened, had it not been for the first part of this current for the pressure from Amandaterm, the Amandala has been la! This observer is at least happy to see the Amandala adding its Prime Minister Dean Barrow is in an unenviable povoice to the choir callsition. He sees what is happening, knows that it is ing for justice and good governance. The teachwrong but his love of power supersedes his love of ers have shown that they country. He had no qualms about admitting to have our backs and the this and made it crystal clear when he pledged business community has “millions and millions” to keep Penner in the added their voice. The media has to begin playHouse even after being presented with plenty ing its role as watchdog evidence of wrongdoing. of democracy and stop being this toothless pupmore a lapdog than a watchpy that seems to be serving as of assistance must be given to dog. While there has been no simply a propaganda arm for the minister.” The Prime Minispaucity of scandals and reports ter obviously had no intentions of government. It appears that the of wrongdoing, the Amandala’s puppy is finally growing some punishing anyone. approach has been mostly soft teeth. Enter now the fourth estate! and tempered. Their editorials Edmund Burke also said In the Amandala dated Sunday have been more focused on that “the status of the ‘wagJanuary 26th, the editorial read, the PUP and the inner work“Mr. Barrow had been making a ging’ tongue doesn’t matter but ings of that party than on the the power which the tongue lot of noise about running a tight wrongdoings of the party in ofholds over the wide audience ship after he first came to power fice. As a result, Ali Baba and in 2008. But he only had a 17-14 listening to it is the key.” I have his 16 thieves have been opencriticized the publisher of the seat margin. This is now a governing sesame and wreaking havment which really should go back Amandala on many of occaoc on our nation’s finances and sions but his talent to write and to the electorate in quest of anothresources. er mandate, we think. The Prime his ability to drive home a point Prime Minister Dean Barrow gets my maximum respect! Let Minister will do all he can to preis in an unenviable position. He vent the collapse of his administrathem dogs out…..wow wow!!! sees what is happening, knows that it is wrong but his love of power supersedes his love of country. He had no qualms about admitting to this and made it crystal clear when he pledged “millions and millions” to keep Penner in the House even after being presented with plenty evidence of wrongdoing. Mr. Barrow had the luxury of sitting on his hands because to that point, while a few media houses were tossing pebbles, the man with the big stones was busy attacking the PUP. At a meeting of the House of Representatives on Wednesday January 22nd, Mr. Barrow spent plenty of words and energy defending Edmund Castro. The
Reid Enter the FOURTH!! By G. Michael Reid ”Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” - Thomas Jefferson. A government unchecked by honest reporters will become an absolute power, enslaving it citizens to enrich itself. - Bill Britt During a political debate in England’s House of Commons in 1987, British politician Edmund Burke is said to have looked up at the gallery and noted, “Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all”. Burke was referring to the media and comparing them to England’s three existing estates; the nobles, the commoners and the clergy. For us in Belize, there seems to exist only two estates; the politicians and the proletariat. Fortunately, we also have that other influential estate; the media. The media is considered a watchdog for the people against corruption and the excesses of power, in particular from those in government. The media’s ideal role is to take that which is done in the dark and holds it up to light for the people to see. In particular in Belize, where the media cannot afford the money for lots of staff and reporters, they must mostly rely on those on the inside who are willing to blow a whistle and leak information. Unfortunately, Belizeans are for the most part, forgiving and rarely will the report of any scandal outlast the “nine-day wonder”. It
BELIZE TIMES had broken a story just before Christmas, publishing copies of a number of checks written to Castro, friends and family members. The checks were drawn on the account of the Belize Airports Authority, which is a department in Castro’s portfolio. After the holidays, checks continued to surface and at the House meeting in January, the Leader of the Opposition produced sixty checks. The Prime Minister scoffed at the idea that there were actually sixty checks but it turned out that there were even more than that; 78 to be exact. But still, the Prime Minister refused to accept that it was corruption, calling it instead “ill-advised” and “completely wrong”. Mr. Barrow bristled when it was suggested that maybe Castro should repay the money from the checks. He did state that “I have spoken to the members of the airport authority, and I have told them that upon pain of being fired, not another check or form
The Life of a Single Parent
By Dr. Angela Banner Joseph I write to share the story of a young woman who I will call Faith. Faith is a single mother of a fiveyear-old daughter. Faith was enrolled in college when she became pregnant. During her tenure in school, she would often hear from her aunt and family members the importance of obtaining an education. However, Faith did not listen to her family and one day began dating a young man she met through her friends at school. Faith and this young man dated sporadically, and one day Faith found out she was pregnant. She was scared to tell her family, especially her aunt, who had just paid her college tuition, because Faith dropped out of college in her third semester, just two days after her aunt made the tuition payment. Fast forward: Faith gave birth to a healthy daughter who she named Leonie. After the birth of her daughter, Faith moved in with her family. The father to her child came by to visit her on occasion; she lived a few hours away from him. When the child was two years old, Faith moved closer to her child’s father, against her family’s advice. During the first two years of her child’s life, the child’s father never gave her a single penny to support the child; he was unemployed and did not look like he was planning to search for a job anytime soon. Faith and her family felt the pressure of raising her daughter. With only a high school education, Faith had a difficult time finding a job. Her first job was parttime and the pay rate was low. She soon realized that the responsibility for this baby was all hers. She was thankful for her family’s support, but didn’t know how long they could continue to assist her. During her job search, her daughter’s father and his family agreed to babysit Leonie while Faith searched for a job. The crazy part about this story is that the baby’s father remained unemployed while Faith struggled to support herself and their child. Again, she defied her family and remained with the non-working boyfriend. Faith’s struggles became too
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much for her to handle. She was stressed out and became ill. She was angry with herself for not listening to her family. She realized that she could not raise her daughter without her extended family. She shared that she “thought he would have been more supportive and contribute financially,” but realized the father had an excuse each time she asked for his support. One day, she called her aunt to apologize and promised to one day repay her. Faith is trying to rebuild her life. She is an excellent mother. She enrolled her daughter in preschool at age two and a half, and at age five, the little girl is an exceptional student. Faith still struggles financially, but she is trying. She is aware that at present, she will have no fancy trips or big purchases. Faith is trying to get back into school to become a nurse. Her family is giving her a specific time frame to get her act together. She finally broke up with the unemployed boyfriend. He was angry that she broke off the relationship and he attacked Faith, punched her in face, and beat her badly in front of his daughter. Faith was hospitalized and recovered. The boyfriend had already moved on to another girlfriend and Faith’s daughter did not want to see him. It will take some time for Faith to heal emotionally. She pressed charges against the man and he was arrested. It was his first arrest, and she hoped his last. Faith faces many financial hurdles as a single parent. She is aware that it is much riskier for her child and she expects many life challenges in raising her daughter. For Faith, the change in family structure is the change in relationships between men and women. It seems that in the last few years, couples find it difficult to commit and follow through on lifelong marriages. Faith has learned that the ability of couples to love each other seems to have diminished and she realized that it is the children of the single parents who suffer most. If there is one thing that a child needs more than anything else, it is two parents who love and care for each other. The number of children growing up in single-parent families is on the rise, and the majority of such homes are headed by a mother, which means the children are being raised in homes without a father. Children are
missing the experience of having a committed male parent and role model. Recent startling statistics show that a child growing up in a one-parent household is more likely to fail in school, more likely to have a drug or alcohol problem, and more likely to be unemployed as an adult. Today, Faith is working hard to instill the right values and morals in Leonie; she has excellent resources for emotional support. She believes that Leonie has received plenty of love and guidance from her family. She wants to be a good role model for her daughter and to
teach her from her own mistakes. Faith’s family is helping her overcome the barriers that have held her back in getting a better job by providing her with options and discussing her situation and goals to find out what best works for her and Leonie. They look forward to the day when she graduates and becomes a nurse and supports her family by herself or with a partner. Dr. Angela Banner Joseph holds a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Change from the Fielding Graduate University
NOTICE Be it known that PASSAGEWAY INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, a Belize International Business Company, is now dissolved and has been struck off the IBC Register. Global Formations and Management Limited
PUBLIC AUCTION SALE BY ORDER OF THE CHARGEE HOLY REDEEMER CREDIT UNION LIMITED, a Licensed Public Auctioneer will sell the following property at the place and time listed. At the Parking Lot across the street from the office of Holy Redeemer Credit Union Limited, No. 1 Hyde’s Lane, Belize City on Monday February 17, 2014 at 2:00p.m. ALL THAT parcel of land together containing 20.703 acres being Block 24, Parcel 1776/1 situate in the Society Hall Registration Section (Blackman Eddy Village) TOGETHER with all buildings and erections standing and being thereon the leasehold property of GEORGE DAVIS (Deceased). DATED this 22nd day of January 2014 All sales are strictly cash and deemed final. For more information contact: HOLY REDEEMER CREDIT UNION LIMITED 1 HYDE’S LANE, BELIZE CITY, BELIZE Phone: (501) 224-5644 Fax: (501) 223-0738
THE BELIZE TIMES
Home Economics How to improve competitiveness of the economy By Richard Harrison Competitiveness and productivity of the economy is central to sustainably growing the wealth of the nation. Without developing these, profits will stagnate or decline...and profit generation is what grows wealth. This article will deal only with the issue of competitiveness. The wealth generated by a nation is the sum total of the wealth generated by all its economic participants. Thus the competitiveness of each individual/business is what gives a country competitive advantage. Competitive advantage is creating and sustaining superior performance relative to competitors. Belize is not doing so well, importing almost four times what it exports… ranking 93rd in the world in terms of “ease of doing business”… public debt to GDP ratio of 90% (compared to USA 72%, Guatemala 30%, Trinidad 46% and Mexico 35%, 2012 est.)… unemployment at around 20% (even if SIB says it recently fell from 16% to 14%)…and poverty rate at around 40%. Competitive advantage can be achieved by differentiation, cost-leadership, and/or segmentation and a strategy that combines these usually yield better results. This is a model suitable for the stage of development where Belize is. Other, newer models have been developed for developed country economies.... but those are not yet applicable to Belize. We need to do exactly what THEY used to do when they were at our stage of development….but we can do it better, since we can learn from the mistakes they made. Since Belize does not yet invest much in research and development (R&D)....differentiation and segmentation options are limited. Thus, Belize MUST do everything it can to make participants in its economy produce goods and services at the lowest-cost possible. Belize is unique in that it has a very small surface area, relatively small population (domestic market) and population density, and relatively large amount of valuable natural resources. Its population is made up mostly of unskilled and semi-skilled persons at this stage in time….with half of the population still living in dispersed, rural areas. To achieve the goal of making Belize’s economy more competitive by adopting lowest-cost strategies, economic structures must be put in place that take into account the bottom line (profits) of businesses and individuals. The policies of a country can influence the profits that its economic participants make in various ways: 1. By influencing the competition arena and price via various instruments, including the Customs Tariff Law (CTL)....for example, if the CTL sets import duties at ZERO....it is opting for NO barriers-to-entry, and making the price of imported competing goods and services lower, hence domestic producers of equal, similar or substitute products and services must price lower to compete…and make less profits. If it sets a higher barrier-to-entry, its economic participants can price higher, with a chance to make more profits or gain more market-share. When the US and other developed countries were at our stage of development, they used Effective Rate of Protection (ERP) models to set import duty rates that allowed for their economic participants to make optimal profits and grow their
investments, with an enabling environment that encourage developers to reinvest profits in expansion, essentially by limiting import competition and facilitating low-cost import raw materials used in the manufacture of value-added products and services. Belize currently charges an average rate of import duty of 9%, calculated by dividing the amount of import duty collected by the total value of imports. Since it is known that there is a large percentage of imports that either evade or avoid the CTL, the real current average is actually lower than 9%. This average needs to be increased to 15%...with a higher capture rate….by lowering import duties on all inputs for production (no taxes should be levied on fuel, which is the foundation of every production chain) and most goods/services where we cannot or do not desire to compete and raising import duties on select tariff headings in which we desire to produce and compete, either for domestic or export consumption, while electronically integrating customs services with our major trading partners. The CTL has been a “holy cow” for all governments since Independence, since it is a major contributor to revenue. All our governments have been cautious not to interfere with it but this law is like a set of calibrating valves to control what flows into and out of our country….and at the moment, there is too much flowing in, and too little flowing out. We should be willing and able to use this “equalizer” to fine-tune our “music” by opening and closing valves, continuously taking into account the needs and ability of the country. We cannot live higher than our means….we cannot continue to spend more than we earn…because that means there will be growing poverty and higher debts, a negative feedback cycle….exactly the opposite of where we want to be. By taking action to implement this, Belize will slow down the rate of growth of imports, and rapidly increase the rate of domestic production and jobs, reducing our deficits. It will be shifting Belize from an import-consumption economy to a production-consumption economy….and thus towards full employment, with decreasing foreign debts and more stable macro-economic fundamentals that are conducive to rapid growth in investments and savings. 2. By influencing the cost-of-doing-business to be the lowest it can possibly be… while raising the optimal amount of revenues that are required for the government to provide quality services that are best provided by government…not for government to be all things to all people. This means burdening the economic participants with the least amount of taxes, fees, and other costs so that profits are optimized. Social security, land/property taxes, license fees, BAHA fees, Border Management Fees, hotel tax, tour operators and tour guide licenses, Port fees, court fees, transportation (axle) fees, trade licenses, company registry, General Sales Tax, Business Tax, business facilitation fees (Beltraide), Environmental Tax (ET), special permits (central building authority, Fisheries permits, Forestry permits, Environment fees, Geology fees, Lands fees, Immigration fees, BTB, Trade import permits, etc). Between privatization and formation of so many luxury-status statutory bodies that now charge fees for every little thing that
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For Sale By Order of the Scotiabank (Belize) Ltd., a company duly registered under the Companies Act, Chapter 250 of the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition, 2000, and having its registered office at Cor. Albert and Bishop Streets, Belize City, Belize, hereby gives notice of its intention to exercise its power of sale as Mortgagee under:1) A Deed of Mortgage made the 15th day of January, 2007, between CARLOS R. ACOSTA of 9 Miles Stann Creek Valley Road, Stann Creek District, Belize of the one part, and SCOTIABANK (BELIZE) LTD., of the other part, and recorded at in Deeds Book Vol. 3 of 2007 at Folios 555 – 582;
THE SCHEDULE ALL THAT piece or parcel of land being Lot No. 106 comprising of 766.202 S.M. situate in Hope Creek Village in the Stann creek District bounded and described as shown by Plan No. 490 of 2006 attached to Minister’s Fiat No. 490 of 2006 TOGETHER with all buildings, erections and developments standing and being thereon. 2) A Deed of Mortgage made the 19th day of February, 2002, between CARLOS ACOSTA, of 9 Miles Stann Creek Valley Road, Stann Creek District, Belize of the first part and JOSEPH ACOSTA of 13 ½ Miles Stann Creek Valley Road, Stann Creek District, Belize of the second part, and Scotiabank (Belize) Ltd., of the third part, and recorded in Deeds Book Vol. 7 of 2002 at Folios 1027 – 1052;
THE SCHEDULE ALL THAT piece or parcel of land being Block No. 365B comprising 19.76 acres situate North of the Stann Creek Valley Road, Between Miles 13 & 14, Stann Creek District, bounded and described as shown by Plan No. 101 of 1998 attached to Minister’s Fiat Grant No. 101 of 1998 TOGETHER with buildings and erections standing and being thereon The said Scotiabank (Belize) Ltd. will at the expiration of two months from the date of the first publication of this notice sell the properties described in the schedules hereto. All offers to purchase the said properties must be made in writing and full particulars and conditions of sale may be obtained from the said Scotiabank (Belize) Ltd. DATED this 24th day of January, 2014. MUSA & BALDERAMOS 91 North Front Street Belize City Attorneys-at-Law for
Scotiabank (Belize) Ltd.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Recipe of the week
Molten Lava Cakes It’s the month to indulge your sweet tooth a little. Try this hot recipe as a pre-Valentine’s Day treat. Ingredients • 2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for the ramekins • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon • Pinch of cayenne pepper • Pinch of nutmeg • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped • 1 cup all-purpose flour • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting (optional) • 6 large eggs plus 6 egg yolks • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract Directions • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. • Butter eight 6-ounce ramekins and sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar.
• Combine the butter, cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Cool slightly. • Whisk the flour, confectioners’ sugar, eggs and yolks, vanilla extract and almond extract in a bowl until creamy. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture. Divide among the prepared ramekins. • Bake the cakes until the tops are stiff and the edges darken, 12 to 14 minutes. • Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. • Loosen the edges of the cakes with a small paring knife and transfer to plates while warm. • Dust with confectioners’ sugar. • Yields eight mini cakes.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Celebrating Black History Month
African American Inventors
African – American
Dr. Patricia E. Bath (1949– ) invented a method of eye surgery that has helped many blind people to see.
Do you know?
Fast Fact: Dr. Bath has been nominated to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Granville T. Woods (1856–1910) invented a train-to-station communication system. Fast Fact: Woods left school at age 10 to work and support his family.
Otis Boykin (1920– 1982) invented the electronic control devices for guided missiles, IBM computers, and the pacemaker. Fast Fact: Boykin invented 28 different electronic devices.
Jan Ernst Matzeliger (1852–1889) invented a shoemaking machine that increased shoemaking speed by 900%. Fast Fact: In 1992, the U.S. made a postage stamp in honor of Matzeliger.
Lonnie G. Johnson (1949–) is a rocket scientist and also a toy inventor. He invented the world-famous water-gun, the Supersoaker. Fast Fact: For his contributions to science, and his great success with the Super Soaker, Johnson was inducted into the Inventor Hall of Fame in 2000.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Home Economics How to improve competitiveness of the economy Continued from page 23
they do (even though they still draw big government subventions from tax payers money, but do not come under public scrutiny nor are required to publish annual reports as is required from private corporations), many functions of government now charge these fees as “cost recovery” that pile up on top of the “cost-of-doing-business”….effectively taxing on top of taxes….and making investments in Belize less competitive and less profitable. The three principal ones are GST, Business Tax and Environmental Tax….because they bring in the bulk of public sector revenue…. and the uneven way how these are distributed across the economy, is the principal cause why a favored few in the economy are doing extremely well, while most not-so-well. If GST was reduced to 10%, from the current 12.5%, and charged across the board on ALL goods and services (no exemptions nor exceptions, no Hotel Tax)….Business Tax was reduced to 1%, from the current 1.75%, of sales of ALL businesses (no exceptions nor exemptions)…. ET of 2% on ALL imports (no exceptions nor exemptions)…..then many of these other taxes and fees could either be drastically reduced or eliminated altogether…..and the burden of taxes would fall evenly across all shoulders, each carrying a lighter burden….and winners and losers would no longer be predetermined by government favors or punishment….but rather left to be determined by ability, merit and integrity, as prescribed by our National Constitution….and the wealth of the nation would become more evenly distributed. We would have an oval-shaped economy, with the bulk of the population being in the middle-income group, and very little if any below the poverty line. Not that the rich should have less, but that the poor and middle income should have more!! 3. By influencing providers of services outside of government to provide vital services at the least cost possible. The principal of these include commercial banking services, home mortgage financing, insurance services, education fees, health service fees, energy services, telecommunications services, transportation services. For example, there is no greater benefit to Belize from having five commercial banks instead of two…. there needs to be consolidation with reduction of administrative and overhead costs, which are passed on to the economic participants through reduction of cost of providing every service that these commercial banks provide….from setting up a loan, to money transfer costs, to liquidating via foreclosure. There is no advantage to having 10 insurance companies, instead of two….there needs to be consolidation that yields cost benefits to buyers of insurance. There also needs to be facility for internet-based insurance service to
be sold and bought, so that insurance costs are drastically reduced….essentially greater competition through deregulation/segmentation, of this important sector. There is absolutely no benefit to Belize from having three brands of fuel distributors in the country…..two would be sufficient….and the domestic storage and distribution portion of fuel price should be reduced by a significant percentage. Few jobs would be lost in these oligopolies with regulated profits, and many thousands of new long-term jobs would be created from investments being more competitive and profitable in our productive sectors. Belize should put in place COMPETITION LAW, BANKRUPTCY LAW, ANTI-DUMPING and ANTI-TRUST LAW….even if basic at start, and we develop them as our needs expand and as we learn from others, without reinventing the wheel. In essence, what this is saying, is that there are too many regulated profit makers in the economy….arranged in oligopolies that price for super-normal profits….creating a few fat cats…and an environment that over-burdens the mass of individuals and businesses, making them highly inefficient and unprofitable…which is the reason why there is so few new investments in production taking place…growing levels of stagnation and default among existing investors….and so few new jobs being created in the economy. 4. By putting in place a justice system that is fair, balanced and impartial where justice is done, and seen to be done…expeditiously…and where the attainment of justice is not unduly prohibited by exorbitant costs that are way over and above what the average individual or business can afford, to abide by, and uphold the rule of law. There is more to be said on this topic, but if government would consider and start to adopt these points of reference, individuals and businesses in Belize will see much bigger bottom lines in their PROFIT & LOSS STATEMENTS, and Belize would be well on its way to becoming the “bread basket of the Caribbean”, the “the bridge between the Central American and Caribbean sub-regions”, and the “little Switzerland of the Americas”….three realistic POTENTIAL that has long been touted….but which has been evading our REALITY since political Independence in 1981….due to lack of cohesive, pragmatic, objective-driven strategies, policies, practices and laws....and lack of the exercise of its rights and responsibilities as a politically and economically independent nation....to think and act in the best interest of Belize and its citizens. Richard Harrison is a local businessman and investor in the manufacturing and service industries. Mr. Harrison holds a Masters in Business Administration degree from Lancaster University, United Kingdom. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Answers for last week’s puzzle
Answers for last week’s puzzle
SUDOKU PUZZLE SOLUTION #51/2014
SUDOKU PUZZLE #52/2014
See answers NEXT WEEK
See answers NEXT WEEK
THE BELIZE TIMES
THE BELIZE TIMES
Strengthening Democracy through Governance Reform What Do You Love
e are now in the month of February, a month better known as the “love” month. It’s a time when both young and old, male and female look forward to some interaction from the opposite sex! Some will be giving affection and others will be receiving. Have you ever sat and thought about the reason why love is such a big thing with the human race? Why has Valentines Day gotten so popular, to the point where lonely women sometimes go crazy because ‘no one has sent them flowers’ and so they think they are no longer important on earth? Whether you are telling your nine month old baby or your ‘baby’ who you have been with for fifteen years, these words will eventually flow from your lips: I Love You. We tell our dogs, cats, special television programs, students, teachers, family members, church sisters, pastors, and friends this same word. Well, my question is where is all this love coming from? The first place I would like to start is with the Manufacturer (God). He claims to be the love “pimp” (1 John 4:8)! A “love drug” dealer who not only produces but also tries to get everyone hooked on His product. He has people working for him on the streets and in cities and towns selling this product. In fact, they will give you the first tries for free to get you hooked on it. He claims that you will know His runners and dealers as they all have to both sell and use this product called love! I mentioned many things that humans love, and I know there are many that can be added to this list so I will not venture down that area but rather tell you some of the words of this “Drug Dan” who sells love! He says, of the many things that you can love he only requires you to love two main things (Luke 10:27). First is that you love Him with everything you got and then some! To do this is quite simple, and let me show you how. He explains this in another part of his constitution! In (John 14:15) He says: to love me is simple! Obey my commandments. Here comes the second main thing that is required for us to love. He says we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Man, I cannot imagine how this world would be if we were all following these two simple instructions! Imagine if the thief breaking into your home would love you as himself and therefore would not break in to steal from you so that he can give his girlfriend a gift for Valentines Day. Imagine if the young man with a gun would not shoot at your child because he thinks, “well I have a nephew too and would not like for anyone to injure or harm him”? What would this world be like? What do you love? Regardless of what it is, keep in mind our Manufacturer requires that we keep two main things at the forefront. That we first love ‘Him’ with everything and then some, and secondly that we love everyone else the same way we love ourselves. Until next week, God bless!
Continued from page 17
sent, the People’s United Party, is fully committed to changing and strengthening the structure and powers of the PAC. The current structure of the PAC has led to paralysis. Despite being the Chairman of the PAC, I have been powerless to advance any meaningful review and oversight of the Public Accounts of Belize. In fact, the Government majority on the PAC has refused to even agree on and Agenda for the PAC. This reality exposes in very real and clear terms the dangers inherent to Government majority control of PAC’s. In 2013, as Chairman of the PAC, I introduced a Motion in the House of Representatives to reform and restructure the PAC by establishing a Joint Select Committee of the House and Senate to form the new PAC. My Party sought and received the support of the Social Partner Senators representing the Unions, Churches, and Business Community. We also received tremendous support from the local media, and the populace at large. Our proposal was for a newly constituted PAC made up of 2 Government Members, 2 Opposition Members, and 3 members representing the Social Partner Senators. The slim parliamentary majority of the governing party rejected this proposal. Despite this rejection of reform, we have pushed forward and the Social Partners have now put forward a new proposal for a PAC comprised of 4 Government Members, 2 Opposition Members, and 3 Social Partner Senators. The Opposition would continue to Chair the PAC. This proposal has our support but is yet to get Government support. The proposed amendment to the Standing Orders of the House and the Senate is a serious attempt at ameliorating a problem that is vexing and frustrating to a public at large that want to see meaningful reform to a system they deem corrupt and a forum for politicians to grandstand with empty gestures. First, the amendment is supposed to remove control of the affairs of the Committee from any one particular grouping thus enabling it to operate on the basis of compromise and rational decision-making. It also
seeks to remove undue executive pressure on the Committee by not allowing ministers of government to be members. Ministers, by virtue of being in cabinet, are bound by the principle of collective responsibility – they cannot go against cabinet’s decisions thus they cannot police themselves. The inclusion of the three senators representing the business community, the churches and the Unions is designed, hopefully, so that those three non-state actors can have a moderating influence on the hyperventilating, partisan political culture that is so pervasive in the House that has made ‘compromise’ a non-existent word in the lexicon of the House of Representatives. The Opposition’s main role in the House is to keep the governing party in check. It is on that basis that the Standing Orders were amended to allow the Opposition to chair the Public Accounts Committee. However, the present composition of the Committee in a bitterly divisive environment in the House of Representative has relegated such a very important committee to irrelevance. Therefore, the proposed new arrangement with the inclusion of the three Senators will remove political control of the Committee from any of the two political parties. Indeed the path of change and reform is often a very difficult and challenging one to travel but countries like ours have very little time left to get it right. We have already wasted a lot of time and in the process wasted a lot of the people’s resources. The absence of oversight means waste, inefficiency, and corruption. In our jewel that we call Belize, corruption has become viral at the highest levels of government. Every night that we put on the television or read the newspapers, that is all we hear. The people believe that our system of Government is designed to keep them oppressed. They have witnessed how the poor man is immediately incarcerated for minor offenses, while the politicians are above the law and are not even investigated of any wrongdoing. We believe that the time to make these fundamental changes in our system of governance is now, and we believe that oversight is one of the most critical steps to be able to regain the credibility of our politicians and our Government. We can get it right and turn things around but we must be bold and clear in our objectives.
99 FEB FEB
THE BELIZE THE BELIZE TIMESTIMES
REGIONAL & INTERNATIONAL
5 Feb 2014 Expansion work on the Panama Canal has been suspended as negotiations between the Spanish company leading the works and the waterway’s authority broke down. Scheduled to be completed next year, the project has
been bedevilled by disputes over costs. Negotiations over who should pay an extra $1.6bn for over-runs, has put the project and up to 10,000 jobs at risk, the Spanish firm Sacyr said on Wednesday. The completion date could be delayed by three
to five years if no agreement is reached, Sacyr warned, citing an estimate by insurance group Zurich. The EU’s executive deplored the breakdown in talks as bad news for jobs and the global economy and urged the parties involved to reconsider “in the coming days,” the AFP news agency reported. Ana Pastor, Spain’s public works minister, called for an agreement
US couple denied request to leave Qatar
Panama Canal expansion halted amid dispute Work suspended as negotiations between Spanish company leading works and waterway’s authority break down over costs.
Matthew and Grace Huang, arrested over the death of their adopted daughter, say they feel “kidnapped” by the emirate. be found quickly “what is at stake is infrastructure that has an impact not only on the economy [of Panama] but also the world”. The canal facilities are being widened to permit the passage of ships carrying up to 12,000 containers, twice the current limit.
Hundreds of dolphins washed up on Peru coast Mystery surrounding the reasons why nearly 400 dolphins were found dead along 100kms of Peru’s northern coast.
5 Feb 2014
A US couple accused of murdering their eight-yearold daughter say they feel “kidnapped” by the Gulf emirate, with no verdict expected in their case until late March. Matthew and Grace Huang, Americans of Asian origin, were arrested in January 2013 after the death of their adopted daughter Gloria, an eight-year-old girl from Ghana, and accused of causing her death in order to sell her organs. The couple were released in November pending trial, but on Wednesday the court denied their request to leave the country to join their other two adopted children in the US, and said a verdict would be announced March 27, according to a judicial source. The defence said the public prosecutor is pushing for the death penalty, although there has been an effective moratorium on executions for several years, the AFP news agency reported. The couple’s supporters describe them as a loving family and say the girl died of an eating disorder caused by the “extreme poverty” she suffered at a young age in the West African country.
Mexico energy reform sparks mass protest US warns Russia Olympics of ‘toothpaste’ bomb
At least 2,500 police officers were deployed but there were no incidents of violence [AFP]
At least 65,000 people take to the streets after government opens oil and gas industry to foreign investment. 1 Feb 2014 Tens of thousands of people have marched in Mexico City to protest against constitutional reforms pushed through by President Enrique Pena Nieto to open the oil and gas industry to foreign investment. An estimated 65,000 people gathered for the protest on Friday in the Zocalo - a main square in the cap-
ital city - an official at the Secretariat of Public Safety told the AFP news agency. At least 2,500 police officers were deployed but there were no incidents of violence, the official said. The march was organised by the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), the leftist opposition to the president’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). One of PRD’s founders, Cu-
auhtemoc Cardenas, claimed that the foreign investors “will be interested in extracting the largest amount of petroleum possible in the shortest amount of time”. The reforms, which open Mexico’s oil industry to foreign investment for the first time in 75 years, were approved in Congress and ratified by a majority of Mexican states in late 2013.
Airlines flying to Sochi told to watch for toothpaste tubes that could hold bomb ingredients, US official says. 6 Feb 2014 The United States has issued a warning to airports and to some airlines flying to Russia for the Olympics to watch for toothpaste tubes that could hold ingredients to make a bomb on a plane, a senior US security official said. The official on Thursday did not say whether any specific intelligence led to the warning, which was not issued to the public, according to Reuters news agency. ABC News first reported the warning. Russian forces are on high alert to head off possible attacks at the Winter Olympic Games, which begin on Friday in Sochi.
THINK ABOUT IT Alleluia! The gun law will be changed. The commitment to do so was made by Police Minister John Saldivar in the House of Representatives at its meeting on Wednesday 5 January, 2014. The Minister was responding to an issue of public interest raised in the House by leader of the Opposition, Hon. Francis Fonseca, who catalogued numerous instances of the oppressive and unjust results of the sweeping sections of the gun law. The momentum to change the gun law saw a new upturn when Russell Roberts and Delroy Herrera announced they had formed F.I.S.T to fight the injustice occurring weakly from the gun laws. F.I.S.T. (Fighting Injustice in the Streets Together) quickly attracted another more we’ll known organization, C.O.L.A. led by the eloquent and fiery Giovanni Brackett, Rufus X, Jihad McLaren and others. They held meetings three weeks ago with three attorneys. Then came the tears of popular “Miss Cuna” whose son the notorious GSU had arrested on frivolous gun charges and when he won the case was immediately rearrested on gun charges for the same gun. The morning talk shows ignited with indignation F.I.S.T called another press conference Then two Mondays ago, an unassuming, humble Corporal of Police - Gino Peck, was convicted of having three bullets. His case was prosecuted by the wife of the Head of the G.S.U. Citizens cried foul. Peck who had 22 years of service in the Police faced the mandatory five years sentence in jail. Krem TV aired an interview with wife Loretta Peck. Her tears moved the nation. Channel 5 aired a second interview with Mrs. Peck and one of her sons. Their strong Christian faith was on powerful display. They believed their God would not allow Cpl Peck to go to jail for 5 years. They recounted the terrible hardship that his one year suspension had caused the family financially. Police Commissioner Allen Whylie, with the support of his Minister, issued a public statement that Cpl Peck’s infraction was to have 3 bullets. On the Monday that Cpl Peck was convicted his attorney asked the court to delay sentencing to allow him to call character witnesses. The chief magistrate responded - to what end as her hands were tied; meaning it made no difference as the law called for mandatory five years in jail. But lo and behold! Miracles do happen. On the Friday that Cpl Peck was to go to jail, the hands of the almighty entered the land. F.I.S.T. turned up at the Court with COLA with placards calling for Peck to be freed. Citizens started gathering and they were joined by police officers of various ranks. This has never happened in the history of Belize that a police officer and his wife and family have brought together such a combination of activists, ordinary citizens, and police officers in one cause.
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Inside the court room Rev. Oliver Ottley of the Nazarene domination was joined by Commissioner of Police Whylie and Manager of the Belize Bank Lyndon Guisseppi to testify to Cpl. Peck’s excellent character and regular church attendance. Then this happened: a foreign Chief Magistrate who is accused of being extremely harsh and who has jailed everyone under the fire arm act, a DPP who was accused for fronting for her husband (head of the GSU) and who left the high domain of the Supreme Court to personally prosecute Peck came up with a law that supposedly provided that Peck need not go to jail. In violation of the firearm law Peck was fined $600 for three bullets and not sent to jail for five years as everyone who has been charged under the fire arm law. Lyndon Flowers, Inspector of the Police Academy in Belmopan, emerged from court number one and announced to the chanting persons of over three hundred person that Peck was not going to jail. Jubilation On Monday morning 3 February former Magistrate and now practicing attorney Richard Bradley appeared on channel 5 open your eyes with host Marleni Cuellar and William Neal and exposed section by section many of the things that were wrong with the gun laws. On the same Monday night attorney Kareem Musa lashed out at the unconstitutional nature of the gun laws and how it had been violating the rights of Belizeans. On Wednesday 5 February two days from Bob Marley’s birthday Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca addressed the nation’s parliament, calling for a comprehensive revision and highlighting the many wrongs that the gun law has done to innocent citizens. In response the UDP government, for the first time in its history, bowed to public pressure and admitted that the gun laws were in need of being revised Wrong and Illegal The scandal surrounding Minister Castro and the multitude of checks paid to him by the Belize Airport Authority helps to highlight further deficiencies in how our country is governed. These monies belong to the taxpayers of this country. There is no law that gives the Board of the BAA any authority to use public monies for the minister’s private gain or use. Of course the government will not ask the police to investigate or the DPP to investigate. It will pretend as it has done with other recent scandals, that what Castro and the board did was “wrong but not illegal”. Misappropriation of public money is a serious matter. The fact that the Board authorized does not make it proper or legal. There should be a demand for Minister Castro to return those monies. When you think about it, it is absolutely unacceptable for a minister of government to have a board under his portfolio to be
giving him public monies for his private use and for his family’s use. The decent thing for the minister to do and the prime minister to insist on is the monies be returned. If this is not corruption then the English dictionary is wrong and the citizen of Belize are fools. The same thing applies to the members off the Board at the Airport Authority. How dare they use public money as a giveaway to their ministers and to themselves? To misappropriate money is a criminal offense and Minister Castro and the Board Members should be publicly told by the Opposition that when the government changes if they do not return those monies they will be arrested and prosecuted. There is another serious issue that this scandal highlights. It is the abuse of the Prime Minister’s sacred duty when he is appointing public bodies, boards and committees and even individuals. In a democracy, the appointment of public bodies, boards and committees is an important function in ensuring fairness, openness, accountability and public trust. Those appointing such bodies should insure that individuals are persons of integrity and who feel a commitment to what is right and in the best interest of our beloved country. The membership should comprise of persons of interest or knowledge in the various areas of which they are appointed. They should come from a cross section of the community, from the churches, labour unions, civil society groups, young people, students and so forth. Stocking up community with Party hacks and UDP cronies is a disservice to Belize and is one of the reasons the Prime Minister is such a disappointment in carrying out his duties as a leader of the country. He should have been bigger and better than what he has now become. Finally in a proper democracy there should be a quick audit of all the appointed board and committees to find out if other BAA-type hustling and misappropriation have been going on. Since we cannot depend on the Prime Minister to do the right thing, it is the union, civil society and opposition who must least this charge supported by the church and those sections of our media who are not bought and paid for by commercials from BTL, social security, BTB and the host of other government agency whose public money are being used to bribe the media. Hear comes the sun It is February and already we are getting a taste of good things to come weather wise. In the words of Bob Marley “the sun shining, the weather is sweet, makes you want to move your dancing feet”. Soon it will be March, April and May. The best time of the year to go to the Cayes, to be on the seas, to be at the river to be in the country side. Sky’s will be blue, the sun will be hot, the fruits will be out in all their glory, coco plum, custard apple, sugar cane, coconut, mangos, sapodilla , bread fruit, sour sap, and a wide variety too numerous to mention. April is especially precious. For Christians it is the holy weekend Good Friday to Easter Monday for sport enthusiastic it is the annual cross country cycling classic. For the middle class and upper class
2014 who spend their Easter weekend at Cancun, Miami and other foreign destinations we would want to suggest to them to keep their dollars at home and enjoy the many beautiful areas the country has to offer. Did you know? Did you know that shoes were made in Belize one time? They were sold at a store called “Waldman” on Albert Street, Belize City. Did you know that peanut butter was processed and bottled and sold out of Cayo? Did you know that local jam were processed and sold from a building on Dolphin Street in Belize City? Did you know that a lot of our clothes were sewed by local seamstresses and tailors in our neighborhoods? Did you know that we used to eat meat, fish, vegetables, beans and all our food stuffs that came right from our country? That our grandparents lived long and healthy lives and they were hardly any persons living with cancer or diabetes? February February is black history month. February is Bob Marley month. February is also the month of Valentines. February is also the shortest month of the year. Why we are poor? Everything the Chinese merchants and business people collect they hold on to. The Indian merchants likewise do the same. The large pool of migrant workers and Central Americans in our midst save their monies for their family in El Salvador and so on. The same goes for the foreign players in the tourist industry as well as the foreign investors. They collect their monies and send into their foreign accounts. Money is not circulating in Belize. The one people who like to spend don’t have large amounts of money to invest. They are a people without capital. These are the Creoles. The best consumers in the land. Don’t care how they are broke or underpaid, they will spend every dollar they can get their hands on. Imagine what Belize will be like without the creole consumers. Now it’s water Last year the electricity rate jumped to 17 percent and leveled off at 14 percent. Last month butane gone up and now its $125 for a cylinder. This month, water of all things will increase by six percent and “will go up again next year”. And the government wants us to believe that life is not getting harder. Que Paso PSU? The leader of the Public Service Union needs to do better than this. They can’t be falling for four percent increase so quietly. The PSU was the strongest, most-effective public service union and now look how they have gone out. With a whimper and not even one single bang.
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Faber – the Great Pretender!! Belize City, February 6, 2014 It was strange to see the Minister of Education Patrick Faber in such a sedated state on television on Tuesday and at the House meeting on Wednesday, days after he was foaming from the mouth and verbally assaulting teachers and union leaders. Faber must have injected himself with some strong dosages of “shut yu mouth” serum because he said not a single word at a politically-charged House Meeting, this despite the Union’s continued assault at his poor leadership. But we found out the real reason why Faber was on good behavior or at least pretending to be. According to the Speaker of the House, Faber’s mentor and teacher from Valdosta State University was visiting the country and even attended this week House sitting. If only the good gentleman had arrived in the country a few days earlier, particularly at the last House Meeting when Faber was his usual self, attacking teachers, union leaders and the chamber of commerce. Faber should be ashamed, trying to mask his disgusting behavior for a foreigner, but willing to act childish, immature and like a nasty bully before Belizeans.
The #1 Political Crony the Mayor won’t fire!
BNTU vows to keep up the pressure
February is “Love Belize” Month, March will be “March On” Month Belize City, February 5, 2014 The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) has vowed to keep the pressure on the Barrow Administration until they are satisfied that their calls for respect and just treatment for their membership and for good governance in the running of the country’s affairs is fully heard and met. National BNTU President, Luke Palacio, was joined by members of the union executive on Tuesday morning to announce that Union’s activities will continue, including special initiatives this month which is considered “Love Belize” month and then revving up in March, which will be considered “March On” month. Coincidentally, during “March On” month, it is expected that the 2014-2015 Budget Reading will be done by the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and it is expected that the PM will concretely indicate what level of salary adjustment teachers should expect come July. The BNTU remains cautious, and with good reason. They have waited
for a salary adjustment with bated breaths since 2008, when Barrow had initially promised that teachers would be getting a “salary raise”. But the pledge was really a political promise, or rather, a trick to get their votes. Once in office, the Barrow Administration delayed and delayed any possible increase in teachers’ salaries with all sorts of excuses. The last BNTU national president tried but failed miserably to convince Prime Minister Dean Barrow that the Union had the numbers and the might to get him to keep his administration’s promise. Current President, Luke Palacio, is not about to repeat his predecessor’s errors. The BNTU is moving and they are focused. Now they take the PM’s word with a heavy dosage of salt. “The salary adjustment comes into effect in July but we want the Prime Minister to indicate this in writing,” asserted Palacio. The BNTU also continues to demand that the Barrow Administration commits to a sensible floor so the teachers can be satisfied in knowing that they can’t be simply dismissed. “The PM says no the proposal for a floor, but we are sticking to it. We can-
31 not be playing this game that one year we get something and then next year we are left in limbo,” Palacio declared. Following successful rallies in all districts, held by the BNTU in protest of the level of corruption in public office, the union leaders claimed that it is their agitation that jolted the Prime Minister to act in the cases of the fleecing of funds at the Belize Airport Authority and the fraudulent issuance of Belizean nationality and passport. Palacio said that while the PM acted to an extent, the BNTU is not fully satisfied. They said Castro was untouched while he was prominent in the scandal regarding cheques written out by the BAA board to him for personal and political purposes. As for Penner, while his Government vehicle was stripped, he continues as a member of the House of Representatives and it seems the Prime Minister just shoved him in a corner. Other issues that concern them include the full passage and implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, the repercussions of an announced change in Social Security’s policy regarding coverage for employees commuting to work, the functions of the Public Accounts Committee and resurrected Integrity Commission, and issue in education including the state of schools and classrooms for teachers. Palacio said the BNTU was aware that the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Education have launched scurrilous attacks against them and their members, but they said that the words will not faze them from their mission. They did call on the Government to show maturity and respect, however.
biggest approval, and that person is his own loudmouth, filthy mouth, unqualified father, Joe Bradley Sr. Joe was hired under Zenaida Moya at city hall as a sanitation supervisor. Joe is a political crony. While being a professional deadweight, Joe plays a key role for the UDP. He is the host of the Wus ting da morning show, which is on the UDP’s official radio organ. Joe’s main role is to attack political opponents and talk down on anyone who might not support the policies of his party. While on Wave Radio, Joe defends his Mayor against anything and anyone. Upon taking office, Mayor Bradley was asked about this #1 political crony, but the Mayor resisted the idea of getting rid of him claiming that his father was evaluated like anyone else and found to be qualified for the job. But the question is, what job is that? Before going after innocent and hardworking employees, the Mayor should look right across his bedroom if he wants to find unnecessary baggage at City Hall.
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