Sunday, October 21, 2012
THE BELIZE TIMES
SUNDAY October 21, 2012
Issue No. 4818
Sedi Must Go! Belize Coalition for Justice demands Foreign Affairs Minister to RESIGN or be REMOVED Belize City, October 17, 2012 Newly-launched social movement, the Belize Coalition For Justice, has called on Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington to either resign or face removal. The group, made up of over 30 active organisations from across the country, says it has no confidence that Elrington can impartially and competently continue serving as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in light of increasing diplomatic tensions with Guatemala. BCJ has accused Elrington of making fatal blunders that could affect Belize’s defence against Guatemala’s territorial claim. From his remarks that the border with Guatemala is “artificial” to the more recent comments that Belize will acquiesce to demands to apologise and compensate for casualties from acts of defense against illegal incursions. The most recent shooting of Guatemalan trespasser Francisco Quin Yat which occurred on October 5th in the Ceibo Chico area of the Chiquibul forest nearly triggered a diplomatic disaster, according to Elrington. He claims that the Government of Guatemala threatened to shut down the Western Continued on page 4
The Prime Minister’s arrogance, lack of humility and his body politics, smacks of British snobbery as poverty continues to rise to almost 47 percent if we want to draw a parallel with the American Repubican candidate, Mitt Romney’s disregard for people like us.
Reid Between the Lines: When this government wants to remove, not even a Chief Justice or a Governor General is safe.
Bishop Philip Wright’s 47th Session of Synod Address So what is this context of Belize in 2012 that continues to determine the nature of our mission and ministry in the Church here?
Cost of living rises, hits Orange Walk the hardest
Health saw the largest increase as hospital accommodation fees and surgery costs increased by 6.8%.
Editorial: The anatomy of a colonial mind
KHMH privatisation Will UDP crony benefit?
Belize City, October 17, 2012 The Barrow Administration has approved a plan to hand over the security services of the country’s main referral hospital, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, to a private company.
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THE BELIZE TIMES
Sunday, October 21, 2012
“Murder Capital”… how did we get here?
Can the PM remove the DPP? Dear Editor With a dismal prosecution record that has kept more criminals roaming the streets and endangering the lives of Belizeans, public anger over the killing of yet another innocent Cayo female has zeroed in on the Director of Office of Public Prosecution, Chery Lyn Vidal. The anti-crime movement, made up of neighbourhood watch committees, concerned residents and youth groups in the Cayo District, has called for Vidal’s removal. The group is serious. They have laid the responsibility on no other than the Prime Minister, who will find it difficult to wiggle himself out of this one. The murder of 20 year old Suzenne Martinez has riled up Cayo residents. They have gathered in large numbers to protest and they are taking it a step more. Among a list of demands made to the Prime Minister, residents are saying they want an adequate Police Station, better equipped Police Officers and a more competent Director of Public Prosecution. DPP Vidal has survived an embattled term. She has stood at the helm of the DPP’s office with a prosecution rate between 5-7%. The infuriated residents believe young UB student Suzenne’s killing is the direct result of the serious
deficiencies at the prosecution department. The main suspect, Pedro Ical, had been detained for at least six previous sexual offences. They ask why he was still a free man. Residents are also fed up that the Police are inadequately equipped and prepared for crime-fighting. Ical’s arrest would have been impossible if were up to Police alone. A citizen had to lend the Police officials his private vehicle so that they carry out their investigations because theirs had been assigned for a special assignment 30 miles away. The Prime Minister may not have the power to remove the DPP as swift as Cayo residents would want to see her gone, but he has the capacity to get the transition started. Under Belize’s laws, the PM can refer the question of removal to the Governor General who then requests the Belize Advisory Council to examine whether the DPP is unable to discharge her duties and removal is required. It’s a straightforward process but it would have to wait until October 19th, when the Governor General returns from personal vacation. Signed, San Ignacio Resident/ Student of University of Belize
PUP Northern Caucus supports Cayo’s Anti-Crime efforts October 11, 2012 The Northern Caucus of the Peoples United Party expresses its solidarity with the Western Caucus and residents of the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena in condemning the gruesome murder of Suzenne Martinez one week ago. The Caucus also supports the various methods employed to bring awareness to the relevant authorities that residents have had enough and that government must operate effectively in order to reduce the crime rate. The Northern Caucus notes that last weekend, six murders were committed taking the total number of mur-
ders over the 100th mark, and this is only the 1st week in the month of October. Like San Ignacio and Santa Elena residents, the Northern Caucus calls on the government for justice and to equip the twin towns and the entire country with adequate Police Stations, appropriate equipment for forensics and crime prevention, to provide support for witness protection, and to better train Police Officers in handling scenes of crime and evidence gathering which would lead to an increase in conviction rates. (Press Release)
Dear Editor, As I sit and reflect on my childhood and teenage years, I remember the very rare instances when I would hear of someone being killed, raped or robbed. These incidents were big, terrible news. Then, I snap out and come to grips with the reality of our situation today. It is now big news when we DON’T hear of any such crimes being committed. They have become a part of our daily lives and it is disheartening. I remember one Monday evening on the news when the news anchor said “we are happy to report that nobody was killed in the city this weekend.” How did we get here? There are several factors that come to mind when I consider the causes of the societal decay. There is the television with American programs that we watch every day. This shows us criminal activities in the form of movies and documentaries. While these programs are meant to be taken only as entertainment, unfortunately they enlighten our citizens about things they could never have imagined. When some other factors come into play, the information received from the television is then put to use. Another factor is poverty. We find that mostly people from poverty stricken sectors of society are the ones who commit the most crimes. The television programs aid them to become more creative in carrying out their crimes. For example, before the introduction of the television to Belize, we never heard of people being kidnapped and held for ransom. We never heard of criminals being caught with weapons that are equipped with sound suppressors. We never heard of banks being robbed while the getaway boat waited in a nearby river. These are all things that we see almost daily on the news and they are all a result of people adopting things they see on the television. Another factor is technology. While new technology is developed to make life easier, it also has its drawbacks. For example, it is now often the case that parents spend less time talking to their children and coaching them about the game of life and more time on the internet and social networks like Facebook. As a result, the children are left to their own devices and often turn to the same television programs that were mentioned before. This causes them to head down the wrong road and eventually end up committing crimes. The investment on sporting programs for young people has also decreased over the years. While sports may be viewed as just for entertainment, it plays a much more crucial role than that. Sports provide discipline, a discipline the children
sometimes don’t get at home. It prepares them for adult life. As an adult, you go to work and you have a boss, similar to the coach who calls the plays on the sporting team. On a sporting team, you compete against other teams, just like at work as an adult, when you need to compete against other businesses. Sports also teaches you respect for others, fair play and hard work. If you do not work out and get into good physical condition, chances are that you will not be able to compete on as high a level as someone who did. This is the same with working as an adult, if you fail to prepare, you must prepare to fail. In addition to all these, sports also keeps children occupied when they are not in school. It is often said that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. This has proven to be true. All in all, our society is where it is because there needs to be more investment in our youth. It may be an investment of time and attention in the home, or an investment by the government or other relevant bodies in sporting programs, or an investment by each and every member of the community to ensure that children are raised the right way. We have seen more than enough examples of children being left for society to raise them. These children will more times than not end up on the bad road. We must each take responsibility for our children and for all the children around us. If we don’t, we will very soon have to deal with the terror we have helped to create. Signed: Kisha Flowers Habet (Chairperson, PUP Belmopan Women’s Group)
THE BELIZE TIMES serving Belize since 1957 as the longest continous newspaper. Founder: Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price, People’s United Party Leader Emeritus
Alberto Vellos LAYOUT/GRAPHIC ARTIST
Chris Williams Published By The Belize Times Press Ltd. Tel: 671-8385 #3 Queen Street P.O. BOX 506 Belize City, Belize Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, October 21, 2012
THE BELIZE TIMES
Cost of living rises, hits Orange Walk the hardest Belize City, October 15, 2012 The Government-sponsored Statistical Institute of Belize has confirmed what Belizeans already know: that the cost of living continues on a steep, upward trend. The economic depression currently affecting the country has dealt a severe blow to Belizeans who have had to struggle daily to afford the basic food supplies to feed their families. Whoever invented the phrase “stretch your dollar” must have been playing a sick joke on Belizeans who have had to do much stretching with fast increasing prices and wages that have not been adjusted in over four years. But recently, there is no more room to stretch. The Barrow Administration, who was elected on a mandate to reduce the cost of living, has turned a blind eye to the problem of the high cost of living. Like the ostrich that hides its head in the sand, they have ignored cries for relief in food prices. SIB’s data on the rising cost of goods throughout the first eight months of 2012 indicates that inflation stood at an average of 1.7%. The factors that af-
GOB pursues KHMH
privatisation Continued from page 1 Security at the KHMH is currently managed by over 30 Belizean security personnel who are overseen by the Director of Technical Services, Angela Wade. Over the years, security at the hospital has improved. There doesn’t appear to be any major flaw or urgency to scrap the Hospital’s management of its own affairs. But the Barrow Administration has other plans. With a blazing record of finding ways for UDP cronies to pilfer the nation’s resources, it is feared that the privatisation of KHMH’s security services is just another one of those cases. It is publicly known that one UDP Minister, Mark King, owns a security company. That company is currently providing services to the Government and is being paid with taxpayer’s dollars to do so. Conflict of interest? Whether King’s security firm is one of the companies being considered for hire at KHMH’s is not known, but seems likely. What is known is that the livelihoods of over 30 security personnel are on the line. A majority of the security was hired under the former PUP Government, one at least from as far back as 1991. Is this in line with the Barrow’s Administration policy that this is their time for UDP’s to benefit, while other Belizeans are simply considered “collateral damage”?
fected the inflation rate were increased prices in Food and Non- Alcoholic Beverages, Health, Recreation and Culture, and Miscellaneous Goods and Services.
Health saw the largest increase as hospital accommodation fees and surgery costs increased by 6.8% over the period.
The increases in Food prices were due mainly to higher cost of meat, and milk and cheese, which both hiked by 1.8% respectively. SIB’s data contained specific information of how communities were affected by the spike in cost of living. It pointed out that the Orange Walk District faced the highest inflation with increases in the prices of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Health and Recreation and Culture. Overall, Recreation and Culture, which speaks to the cost of admission to nightclubs, increased by 29.8%. The SIB statistics indicate that prices in Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance, Transport, Education and Restaurants and Hotels decreased. In comparison with the same period in the previous year, the Consumer Price Index increased from 101.2 to 101.8.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Sedi Must Go!
Continued from page 1 border at Benque Viejo del Carmen and expel all Belizeans from their country, if Belize didn’t provide an explanation for the shooting in 21-days and satisfactory compensation for Yat’s family. The BELIZE TIMES finds it strange that Elrington’s claim of a 21-day ultimatum was not covered by Guatemala’s mainstream media. Newspapers such as la Prensa Libre which covers every possible aspect of the Belize-Guatemala dispute has not reported on the alleged ultimatum at all. The notion that Belize should compensate for defending its territorial parameters was rejected by BCJ. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the statement of Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Mr. Wilfred Elrington – who plans to give hardearned Belizean tax-payer monies as “act of compassion[ate]” to the family of an official subverter of our sovereignty, the latest amongst many - as grossly uncalled for and not only reflecting the Belize government’s full position, but also reeking of international kow-towing and subservient behavior instead of strong, meaningful dialogue and forward thought,” stated
Accused murderer acquitted
Nimrod Tillett Corozal Town, October 17, 2012 Accused murderer, Nimrod Tillett, who Police say confessed to a vicious 2009 murder walked out of court a free man after the prosecution’s material evidence was made inadmissible. 44 year old Enrique Castillo has been beaten brutally with a baseball bat and had a large cut wound across his throat on February 13 2009. Police say Tillett, who was reportedly partying with Castillo the night before, was the main suspect. Tillett eventually turned himself into Police custody and he was charged for murder. It appeared to be a clear cut case, once Police claimed to have obtained a confession statement. But today, that main piece of evidence could not be used in trial as Tillett claimed he was beaten by Police and forced to give the confession. With that the prosecution lost its centrepiece evidence, and saw the chances of a prosecution slip away. The Judge granted a no-case submission which free Tillett.
a press release from BCJ. The release further said, “We condemn all the past and present actions of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He must be made to resign from the Ministry and be replaced”. BCJ also announced that it planned to launch a “NO ICJ” campaign to educate Belizeans on the highstakes involved in taking the dispute with Guatemala to the International Court of Justice.
COLA President Geovanni Brackett presents BCJ statement on Sedi Elrington & ICJ
Sunday, October 21, 2012
THE BELIZE TIMES
The anatomy of a colonial mind
elize’s Attorney General, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, last week, in the twin western towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, pulled off an acrobatic fete as he remained standing while putting both of his feet in his mouth. Elrington has managed to perform variation of his act to various audiences. The downside is that it affects his brain when he talks in doubtful terms of Belize’s territorial integrity, or more recently in San Ignacio when he did not see his sold-out audience walking out of his stupid entertainment of political incorrectness. “Sedi” was dispatched to the twin towns by his boss. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, to appease the town folks whose protest against the bolstering national crime rate, which was affecting them locally, had reached a crescendo. But the Attorney General launched out on a tirade, telling the towns’ people that the crime wave was all a part of their fault for not rearing their children properly. He also told the folks of San Ignacio and Santa Elena that they should stop their protestations and demands of the government and to do “what you want” to fight crime and to organize a telethon to raise funds for a forensic laboratory and other crime fighting tools. He made reference to the fund-raising telethon earlier this year by the Prime Minister’s second wife, for a special children’s home project, which received questionable pledges from various ministers of government. But Mr. Elrington appears to be far removed from reality. While these ministers were making these huge questionable money contributions to the PM’s wife pet project, the Prime Minister had earlier slashed from the government’s budget, allocations for a national forensic laboratory and the police budget. Yet, millions of dollars have been spent to enrich the Prime Minister’s lawyering family and friends in all sorts of government’s litigation, while the Solicitor General pulls off her own fete by sitting on her hands. Surely, the millions of dollars paid to the PM’s family and friends, if not corrupt, stinks. But “Sedi” is missing the landscape painted by his party’s propaganda organs: A manifesto which promised to deal with the national crime epidemic by a government that knows not how to govern and with unsustainable bribes to criminals. Certainly, if the Prime Minister did not arrogantly smash investor confidence, more of these unemployed youth could be gainly-employed rather than face a very dim future of rising unemployment and seeking comfort with crime-related gangs who are used as political operatives on the government’s payroll. Remember, Sedi told the people in San Ignacio that his constituency has the highest murder rate in the country. He said it as if it was a badge of honour. We could also have told you, although we wanted to be optimistic, that the hydra-headed, multi-layered bureaucracy, ”Restore Belize”, was doomed to fail for it was designed as a management nightmare and designed to fail but as a hand-out for political plums. But all this and “Sedi’s” assumption that he could have talked down to folks in an “Out District”- a Colonial reference to Belizeans, or the natives, who were not a part of the Belize City “Royal Creole” elite is a part of this government’s neo-colonist style. This has been exacerbated by Mr. Barrow who has been reconstructing his own gentry and privileged class, based on that Colonial mindset. The Prime Minister’s arrogance, lack of humility and his body politics, smacks of British snobbery as poverty continues to rise to almost 47 percent if we want to draw a parallel with the American Repubican candidate, Mitt Romney’s disregard for people like us. Mr. Barrow’s reference to Opposition politicians, who are representatives of constituencies outside of Belize City as “Village Idiots”, is therefore no coincidence. “Sedi’s” occasional tirade in the House of Representatives against George Price and the People’s United Party, is all a part of a residual colonial mentality. The United Democratic Party and its precursors, such as the National Independence Party, were, ironically, always opposed to the PUP’s nationalist movement and to the Constitutional advances achieved by the PUP, including our Independence. The Prime Minister and the Attorney General and others in that cocoon, are locked in a time warp. The big annoyance for them and their predecessors is that George Price worked to dismantle the Colonial establishment, threatened and dismantled the colonial status quo and the exclusive club of a creole elite civil service. Later, with his Deputy, Lindy Rogers, with the support of Evan X Hyde, dismantled the colour bar that existed in our commercial banks. It was George Price who brought dignity and equality to all Belizeans including the cane farmers and fishermen and the rural people who Mr. Barrow and Mr. Elrington continue, obviously, to perceive as fools who cannot give their children a proper upbringing. It was Price who demolished the racial demographic and divide so cleverly designed by the British colonial power. “Sedi’s” behavior and his disrespect for the people of San Ignacio/Santa Elena was not a gaffe, not a snafu. It was not even deliberate. It is simply a pathology that limits the present government in its ability to govern and in thinking creatively apart from how they can skin the cat to enrich themselves. The people of San Ignacio and Santa Elena have taken the lead. The rest of the country should follow their demand for their rights from our mostly inept National and local governments and in removing the political centre of gravity from Belize City. The people’s first arrest is to stop this Barrow administration from making us into a failed state. We are on our way to becoming.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Bishop Philip Wright’s Address to the 47th Session of Synod in the Diocese of Belize The Rt. Rev’d. Philip S. Wright on October 15, 2012
‘Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’ Matthew 9:35-38 The selection of a theme for a significant event in the life of a diocese, such as the meeting of synod, is not as simplistic or straight-forward a process as we might be inclined to believe. It is not about coming up with a catchy slogan or a memorable phrase or something that would grab people’s attention only for the moment. Rather, much thought has to go into the process of selection in an attempt to capture, in a rather succinct way, how we see ourselves as a diocese at this point in time. It is about how we view the challenges and opportunities we face; and, subsequently, how we must respond to such a reality. It is about what we need to do in our efforts to fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to ‘go into all the world and preach the good news of God’s salvation in Christ’. It is about laying out a priority for mission and ministry in the diocese as determined by the very context within which both must be exercised. The Theme for our Synod this year is: “Equipped for Ministry – Empowered for Service” [repeat] The obvious emphasis here is on the need to ensure that we are always ready and fit for the task at hand; that is, to play our part in the mission and ministry of the Church. We recognize that we can only impart to others what we ourselves possess. And so this year’s theme speaks to a process that begins with our own self-examination – both individually and collectively as a
diocese. It is a kind of soul-searching and introspection that we hope will ultimately lead to our renewal and re-commitment to God, to His Church and to each other. It therefore must be an honest appraisal of where we are and where we say we want to be in the future – an appraisal that takes on board the spiritual, physical, mental, psychological, emotional and other aspects of our being. In other words, it must be an honest and comprehensive look at ourselves, our ideals, and our understanding of the context in which we are called to minister. The truth is we are co-workers in mission with the goal of fulfilling what we believe God has called us to be, and to do, for the establishment of His Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven, for so prayed our Lord Jesus. We know it is a kingdom where God’s will is perfectly done, and hence it is something we must constantly strive to achieve in our daily lives. The giving of our whole self (body, mind and spirit), our participation in the life of the Church, and the good we do for the wider community on a whole, are critically important, especially given the times in which we live. Undoubtedly, the mission and ministry of the Church find their source in the Great Commission given by Jesus; but they still have to be exercised (lived out and demonstrated, if you will) in the context in which the Church finds itself at any point in time. Our context inevitably shapes and defines the mission and ministry we are called to do. So what is this context of Belize in 2012 that continues to determine the nature of our mission and ministry in the Church here? What are the things we must seek to understand if we are to be as effective as possible with our preaching and living of the Gospel in this jewel of ours? Recent developments, such as the ‘Ignite the Peace’ rally held out west today, certainly point to a growing concern among a widening cross-section of our society regarding the impact of crime. I suspect there will be more such gatherings in the future. Yet, I do not, on this occasion of the opening service of synod, intend to list the ever-expanding litany of woes to which we can readily point our fingers and focus our attention. Such an approach will amount to perhaps nothing more than stating the obvious; saying what we already know. Moreover, we already have an adequate supply of sources in this regard – every morning, every evening, every day, in the media. Speak of information overload; but unfortunately of the negative kind. Instead, I desire to frame the assessment of our current reality with a series of
questions; questions for which we cannot afford to tire in our efforts at finding answers if we are to ever find a solution. For instance: What enters the mind of an individual to think that they can simply take what belongs to someone else with no regard for the hard work and sacrifice that person might have had to make in order to get what they have? What squalid mind would think it ever okay for a grown man to sexually molest and rape especially a child, or anyone for that matter? What thwarted mind, what unenlightened attitude, would find pleasure in acts of violence and crime in order to settle a score, and yet be convinced that such actions lend to a demonstration of respect or belonging to a group? What estimation of the value of human life would make it possible for someone to gun down another for mere pennies; or seek an abortion simply because of an inconvenient pregnancy; or allow a medical procedure to go sadly wrong without anyone being held accountable? What sense of justice or assumed moral high-ground would allow anyone to be
excluded from the rest of society or the community because they were different, or perceived to be different, and did not hold to the same set of beliefs as others do? What sort of society would we have become when we look lightly upon or turn a blind eye to injustice (in all its undesirable forms), the neglect of the poor, the elderly and vulnerable, the abuse of power, blatant corruption, and the need to hold all in leadership positions (both civil and religious) to be accountable for the authority they have been given to make decisions or pronouncements on our behalf ? What kind of church would we be if these and other similar issues did not generate in us a passion to get up and do something about the situation in an attempt to make a difference? One may ask, Why frame the assessment of our context with questions of this nature? On the one hand, it is to illustrate that the challenges we face as a nation must not be looked at solely in quantitative terms, but also by means of a qualitative analysis that takes into account the possible driving forces behind these contemptible acts, and Continued on page 12
Sunday, October 21, 2012
THE BELIZE TIMES
in UDP Politics! The CabSec was asked to give a report on Sedi’s visit to Cayo. The CabSec first explained that Sedi was their best choice because Penner was dealing with Visas and Montero was out on his farm. In summary, he stated, “Sedi was doing his best to represent the views of the Barrow Administration and let the Cayo people know they have responsibility as well”. But as soon as Sedi left on a bathroom break, the CabSec whispered… “let me be really honest for once, Sedi was anti-climactic, disgraceful, downright arrogant, and didn’t seem to have a clue as to how much he was throwing fuel on blazing fire”. ……………………. When Prime Minister Barrow said in a news interview that he stood by his DPP, the question that should have followed was “which one, the wife of husband?” ……………………. Gapi Vega’s first act as Acting PM was to put up his feet on the PM’s desk. He then tilted the seat back and sipped a glass of Barrow’s Miami whisky. He then said to himself, “I deserve to be here, I do really work harder than all the others”. Just then, the cleaning lady walked in an Gapi jumped up. She looked at him and said, “I see you also really like that lazy boy chair!” …………………….
Herredia brought up a concern that he was not sure if Shyne was hurting or helping Belize’s image as Musical Ambassador. He said he knows Shyne is getting media attention, but for all the wrong reasons. “Now he’s dissing Obama and supporting Romney,” said the CabSec. Herredia added, “It must be because Barrow is more Romney than Obama”. In other related matters: A lady was asked what she thought of Sedi’s visit to Cayo. Her response was, “First he came and told us a story then he talked down on us and told us we got bad kids and only four murders. That’s when we had to walk out”. But why, Jules asked, “Because he was just so artificial”. ……………………. A Minister called the CabSec because he couldn’t remember the password to access the Cabinet notes on the internet. The CabSec said he wouldn’t share the password over the phone, because he didn’t know if his phone was tapped. “But I can give you a clue,” he said, “It is Ha”. “Do you mean food HAmpers?” asked the Minister. “No, HA-LOW” “Do you mean HALLOW BARROW?” “No, dumb, dumb, HALLOWEEN. No wonder we can’t get anything done with you inebriates”. ……………………. Sedi was asked what he thought about COLA and the heat they are bringing on him. Sedi responded that he was the least worried because he likes Coke over Cola.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Sunday, October 21, 2012
BELIZE'S #1 SPORTS PAGE
Eduardo Carmona’s “Golden Glove” at CODICADER Games
San Pedro High School baseball team
Mexican Donizetti Vasquez wins O. W. Bypass Criterium
Panama, October 15, 2012 Belize has gained one more regional Gold medal as the San Pedro High School baseball pitcher won the an individual medal for Most Strikeouts at the XVII Central American Students Games (COCICADER) hosted by Panama from October 12 to 15. Carmona led the baseball team to 2 victories of their 5 games. He had an overall 18 strikeouts. The San Pedranos had to adjust their game drastically to partake in the COCICADER games. CODICADER does not have male softball only female softball as the boys play baseball. So the Belize team had to prepare specifically for baseball, re-marking their field with the bigger baseball diamond, using a smaller ball and learning the faster game. The team played friendlies in Quintana Roo and Yucatan before leaving for Panama. Game results: San Pedro vs. Panama – 0-21 Costa Rica vs. San Pedro – 1-13 San Pedro vs. Nicaragua – 1-11 San Pedro vs. Honduras – 2-11 San Pedro vs. Guatemala – 6-2
Bandits clubber San Ignacio United 2-1
Mayor Kevin Bernard (Far Right) & Councillors Neri Ramirez & Josue Carballo present Kaya Cattouse with 1st Female category trophy
Donizetti Vasquez rides across finish line
Orange Walk, October 15, 2012 Mexican rider Donizetti Vasquez of Chetumal’s Team Depredadores team won the annual Orange Walk Central bypass criterium held under the auspices of the Belize Cycling Association on Monday, October 15. Donizetti completed the 6 laps over the 10-mile course in 2:25:26 to win the $400 1st prize and trophy. By the time they were completing the 3rd lap, the half-way point of the race, Vasquez and Team Western Spirits’ Peter Choto had opened up a 25 second gap from the nearest chase group. They gradually widened the gap to a minute by the end of the 4th lap and to a 1 minute 40 seconds at the end of the 5th lap. Vasquez out-sprinted Choto at the finish for a five second lead at the line. Other finishers: Team Telemedia’s Greg Lovell – 3rd place Team M&M’s flying Scotsman Liam Stewart – 4th place Team Capital City’s Geon Hanson – 5th place Team Western Spirits’ Jose Choto – 6th place Team Benny’s Megabytes’ Jairo Campos – 7th place Team Benny’s Megabytes’ Mark Staine - 8th place Team C-Ray’s Philip Leslie – 9th place Yucatan’s Julio Dzul – 10th place Santino’s Ernest Meighan – 1st Place Master’s Category Unattached Manuel Yapur – 2nd Place Master’s Category Team C-Ray’s Kaya Cattouse – 1st Place Female Category Team C-Ray’s Kerah Eiley – 2nd Place Female Category Team Cayo Uprising’s Zahir Figueroa – 1st Place Juniors Team Telemedia’s Joel Borland – 2nd Place Juniors Roque Matus Jr – 1st Place Tiny Mites Jerson Lovell – 2nd Place Tiny Mites
Harrison Tasher scored BDF’s 1st goal
Belize City, October 7, 2012 The Belmopan Bandits defeated the San Ignacio United 2-1 when they met at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio on Saturday night. The Bandits drew first blood, as David Trapp sank the first goal promptly at the 31st minute. The first half was two minutes into its extra time when Denmark Casey Jr. scored a 2nd goal. San Ignacio United didn’t relent and a minute 68, their efforts paid off when Carlos Vasquez scored a goal for the squad. With this win, the Bandits remain as team leader in the 2012 Premier Football League of Continued on page 9
BELIZE'S #1 SPORTS PAGE
Sunday, October 21, 2012
THE BELIZE TIMES
Sensei Leon Guild seeks funding for 21st World Karate Championships Belize City, October 15, 2012 Belizean karate trainer/athlete Leon Guild is seeking help to sponsor his participation in the 21st World Karate Championships to be held in Paris, France from November 21st to 25th. Leon will compete in the 75 kilograms male kumite and Male Kata (Form). He will be accompanied by Coach Audrey Curling Newsham and BKF President Herman Pastor Jr. who will be attending the World Karate Congress. Leon has been preparing for the tournament. He returned to the competitive sport in the National Karate Tournaments, regional Central American Championships, and Central American and Caribbean Championships. To further train, Leon will travel to Guatemala City from October 22nd to 28th. The Belize Karate Federation is seeking to raise $15,000 to participate in both the Karate Championships and the World Karate Congress. The Federation has special T-Shirts for sale at $30 to raise funds. Interested persons can call President Herman Pastor at 601-1158/6781158 or Leon at 666-5084.
Japan & Bombers draw in Mundialito football Belize City, October 13, 2012 The Brown Bombers lead the Smart Mundialito Under-15 football competition, as the Ladyville “Japan” team failed to steal their shine when they met at the MCC grounds on Saturday, October 13. Luckily, the Ladyville Japan team also didn’t give in to the pressure, as they held
Bandits clubber San Ignacio United 2-1 Continued from page 8 Belize competition, along with Placencia Assassins who also has 19 points. The Placencia Assassins defeated Juventus 2-0 on Sunday. Other games: Verdes vs. FC Belize – 1-0 Goal by Julian Maldonado Belize Defense Force vs. Paradise Freedom Fighters – 3-2 Goals by Leonard Valdez, Harrison Tasher, Alex Peters, Luis Mendez, Richard “Cheety” Jimenez Police United FC vs. San Felipe Barcelona FC – 3-1 Goals by Josue Acevedo, Amin “Tacos” August, Evan Mariano, Danny Jimenez
off the Bombers to a nil-nil game. But that meant Bombers snatched an additional point, taking their total to 7points, and which meant that they remained as the tournament leaders. Japan and the St Martin de Porres Third World are tied at 2nd place. Other Games: Third World vs. Unity Rangers – 2-0 Goals scored by Marquis Conorquie Hattieville United Youth Sports Club vs. Young Stars – 1-0 Goal scored by Kenyon Lewis City Boys Juniors vs. Ladyville Jaguars – 1-0 Goal by when Keron Patnett St John Vianney vs. Jane Usher Blvd – 1-0 Kenroy Linarez scored the winning goal.
Young stars control
Moen Stars, SQ Devils & Telemedia win volleyball championships Belize City October 11, 2012 The Moen Stars, Simon Quan and Belize Telemedia each won the championship in their respective divisions, when female, male and interoffice volleyball competitions concluded with a trophy night at the Belize Elementary School auditorium on Thursday, October 11. Belize Telemedia outlasted Scotiabank in three sets to win the third game of the firms’ finals. Scotiabank won the first set 25-14. Telemedia counterattacked and won the second and third sets 25-21 and 15-9. Telemedia had also won the first game of the finals in
Sensei Leon Guild
three sets, as again the bankers had won the first set 25-12, before Telemedia rallied to take the next two sets 25-22 and 18-16. Scotiabank had won the second finals also in three sets as this time Telemedia won the first set 25-18, before the bankers took the rest 25-20 and 15-12. The male competition also went to three games as the Simon Quan Devils rallied from a loss in the second final to triumph over the UK Hitters in three sets in Thursday night’s climax match: 25-17, 25-20 and 15-12. The Moen Stars dominated the women’s finals which only went to two games and concluded the Saturday before: 25-15 and 25-16.
Airport & BWSL lead firms’ basketball Belize City, October 13, 2012 Undefeated Airport and Belize Water Services Ltd are leading the Belize City firms’ basketball competition, each with 10pts from five victories and no losses. The Airport team enjoyed their fifth victory 72-60 over Telemedia Digicel on Friday night. Vince “Postman” Lamb hit four 3-pointers as he led Airport with 23 pts, three boards, while also dishing out eight assists. BWSL also enjoyed a win over Belize Electricity Limited 46-37. Travis Lennon scored 12pts and eight rebounds for BWSL. Other games: Port Belize Ltd vs. Smart – 65-37 Central Bank vs. Belize Bank – 60-47 Bowen & ‘Bowen vs. Atlantic Bank – 6258 Tuff e’Nuff vs. Belize Bank – 58-51 Tigersharks vs. Cellular World – 59-58
THE BELIZE TIMES
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
THE BELIZE TIMES
Eternal Flame of Peace Declaration The current crime situation in Belize is instilling fear and a feeling of insecurity within our society. It is affecting our emotional stability, educational achievement, our leisure and recreation. In good faith, we the students of the western tertiary institutions have gathered in San Ignacio, Cayo to Ignite the Peace, to proclaim the Eternal Flame of Peace Declaration. We hereby declare that the following are the issues that we call on the Prime Minister of Belize and our leaders in the public sector, private sector and civil society to address: 1. Uplifting our Law Enforcement Agents: Equip police officers with the necessary tools, training and programs needed to carry out their duties effectively in all areas including increased wages, as well as, a fitness and health program. Accredit the Police Training Academy to function as a tertiary-level law enforcement institution that will provide a comprehensive curriculum and graduate professional officers. Instilling integrity in our police officers should improve mutual respect, it will allow our officers to be alert to the needs of our citizens, reduce delay in response and increase community ties and presence in urban and rural areas. 2. Increased conviction rates and forensic technology: We feel that the laws of Belize are not properly enforced and punishments for crimes are too lenient. The law such as the Evidence Act must be amended to allow various types of evidence including circumstantial evidence. Frontline officials must be trained in proper procedures for gathering evidence and building cases. Recognizing that the crime has instilled fear in our citizens, it has become imperative to establish a sensitive and responsive witness and victimâ€™s protection program. The current practice of allowing only the physical presence of witness as the sole source of evidence must be amended to include various types of testimony. We call on our leaders to invest efforts, human resources and increase budget in forensic technology. Train crime scene investigators in order to acquire relevant knowledge and resources. Develop a finger print database system that is accessible to all divisions of law enforcement. Using the acquired forensic technology, unsolved cases and inconclusive deaths must be reopened and reexamined. 3. Protection of minors: In order to prevent further crime on our children and young people, bars and nightclubs must be monitored to ensure that an ID requirement system is established. It is necessary to ensure that these establishments do not capitalize on our minors by providing them with alcohol. Furthermore, it is necessary to establish a ceiling for the amount of liquor licenses in each area. 4. Official Corruption: The current practice of political intervention in the judicial process must be stopped. An equitable system of treatment as well as standard operating procedures for public service can be implemented in all government agencies. Law enforcement agents, public servants and government officials must be held accountable and dealt with severely for any acts of corruption or victimization of citizens. 5. Monitoring of perpetrators: We believe it is reasonable to request a standardized system to monitor released criminals, parolees and those on bail. There must be a proper monitoring of suspects to ensure they do not commit other crimes, abscond nor evade the judicial system. Repeat Offenders and those who violate their bail stipulations must be monitored, held accountable and must be punishable by law. We believe once given bail, no other bail should be granted until proven not guilty for previous bail. 6. Crime, violence and penal reform as priority: Recognizing that resources and efforts are currently focusing on homosexuality and the decriminalization of marijuana, we believe that the time has come to halt these agendas and begin the discussion on reinforcing the fact that our prison system must comply with international standards. We feel that the current penal system focuses on rehabilitation as opposed to punishment for crimes. We suggest that rehabilitation efforts focus on community work and in providing manpower for street and public works. 7. Missing persons: The current practice of lengthy delays in considering a person missing after 48 hours can be decreased. It is important to prevent further crimes on those in situations of vulnerability. When a person is reported missing, preliminary search should be conducted if missing for 32 hours. If still missing for after 48 hours, official search should be conducted including police officers along with police dogs, coast guards, volunteers and as much available resources as possible. 8. Sexual offenses upon minors: It is time for all partners to focus on issues related to sexual offences. There is need to review the current Sexual Offense Act to ensure that it reflects all types of sexual offenses including but not limited to child sex tourism, child pornography, human trafficking. This act must reflect punitive sentences. There is need to establish a registry of sex offenders through an electronic database as well as a monitoring and reporting mechanism that is available to all law enforcement agencies. 9. Gang truce: It is our prevailing belief that incentives currently being given to gang members as a result of the current gang truce are bad investment. We see it as an encouragement for their current lifestyle and as a contributory factor to the raising violence in our nation. 10. Judiciary system: We want to see a strengthening of the current prosecutorial process, one where Judges and Prosecutors look out for interest of the citizens above all. It is necessary to invest in more qualified individuals in the court system, as well, as judges with specialized training. There is urgent need to ensure that cases are heard promptly and that delays are minimized. Finally, we call on our partners to provide our youth with: employment opportunities, affordable education including after school activities for children and youth: drug awareness education and a drug eradication plan, reproductive health education to prevent youth pregnancy, crime reduction education, sporting activities and athletic opportunities, rehabilitation and counseling for troubled and at risk children, youth and adult. Signed this 11th October 2012 San Ignacio, Cayo Belize, Central America Hope Amadi University of Belize- Student Government Raven Galvez Galen University- Student Government Zoila Palma Sacred Heart College Junior College- Student Government
THE BELIZE TIMES
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Bishop Philip Wright’s Address to the 47th Session of Synod in the Diocese of Belize Continued from page 6
how they affect the lives of our people. Crime statistics, poverty estimates, economic numbers, employment figures, and the like, tell only one side of the story. There is the deeper issue of why things are the way they are. We need to be reminded that, at the end of the day, in all these things, we are talking about human lives – human beings created in the image and likeness of God and deserving of all which constitutes a life worth living. As a Church, as believers in the Gospel of Christ, we cannot be a party to any ideology or belief system that seeks to dehumanize the other or, in any way, rob them of their God-given human dignity. On the other hand, a diligent and honest search for the answers to these and other such questions can be refreshingly revealing in that what formally might have looked like a challenge can now be seen as an opportunity for something good and positive to emerge. We may yet discover that the real issue is a matter of the human heart that can be touched by the love of God as revealed in Christ, and in us who know Him to be a God of love, not of hatred; a God who invites and does not dismiss: a God who values every human life. The gospel reading we heard this evening spoke of Jesus as he carried out his mission and ministry (not unlike that of the Church today) among the people. We heard of Jesus moving among the people, in touch with their realities and understanding the context in which he was operating. ‘Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. And as he moved among the people, the gospel records Jesus did three things: He taught them; he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, and he healed their diseases. He taught them as one with authority, something the Scribes and Pharisees themselves had to admit. We are left to conclude that this meant he taught with confidence, with certainty, with conviction, and with a sense of purpose. This is a feature of Jesus’ teaching ministry we would do well to take note of, for we ourselves live in a world of great uncertainty; a world where an increasing number of persons who are unsure of many things. Jesus’ style of teaching, the use of parables for instance, reflected the fact that Jesus was aware of the circumstances of people’s lives. He was in touch with what mattered most to them. His illustrations betrayed a kind of intimacy with their reality – the sort of knowledge which comes from shared experiences, shared aspirations and a shared hope. Jesus is also described as a preacher of the kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, central to his message (and therefore to his sense of mission and ministry) was his concept of God’s kingdom. He saw the kingdom as a state of existence where the will of God was central in people’s lives; and where the things of God acquired the highest priority. So much so that Jesus ex-
pected nothing less than full commitment and dedication from those who choose to follow him. Jesus’ own take on the issue of commitment is perhaps best captured in Luke 9:57-62. The passage reads: “As they were going along the road, someone said to Jesus, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus* Another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’” Certainly, in this passage, Jesus seeks to elevate the notion of commitment to God, and to the things of God, to a whole new level. He makes no apology for the high demand that accompanies our commitment to God, and to His Church. Jesus effectively says that nothing should really take precedence over that commitment. Ultimately, my sisters and brothers, for Jesus this commitment to God must move beyond mere words and be ushered into corresponding action. The gospels do record that Jesus spent more time healing the sick, comforting the sorrowful and feeding the hungry than he did simply talking about God. And, given the circumstances of his day, when Jesus healed someone, he literally gave them back their lives and their livelihoods, because to be blind or lame or deaf or diseased in those days, was often to be denied an opportunity to have a life. It would appear that Jesus could hardly encounter a need that he did not feel compelled to help satisfy. He was moved with compassion by what he saw in the people, and in the original Greek, the word used is the strongest word for pity. It was far deeper than sympathy and more akin to empathy. At times, Jesus seemed more astonished by the person’s inability or unwillingness to accept the help he freely offered rather than by the nature of the circumstance itself. No small wonder that, as recorded in the gospel, Jesus reached the conclusion that the crowds looked “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” It is a rather sad picture when you think about it. In offering a summary of the context in which Jesus ministered, the commentator, William Barclay, wrote (and I quote): “The Jewish leaders, who should have been giving men strength to live, were bewildering them with subtle arguments about the Law, which had no help or comfort in them. When they should have been helping them to stand upright, they were bowing them down under the intolerable weight of the Scribal Law. They were offering them a religion which was a handicap instead of a support.” He goes on to say, “We must always
remember that Christianity exists, not to discourage, but to encourage; not to weigh men down with burdens, but to lift them up with wings.” (end of quote) My sisters and brothers, the sobering closing remarks of Jesus in this gospel reading are what must now grab our attention. More than that, they are words that should cause us great unease and serve as a motivating factor for us to get up and become involved in the work of the Church. Jesus said to his disciples: ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’ Having heard these words from our Lord, no more can we be comfortable with the bare minimum, with mediocrity, with a lukewarm response to the invitation to get engaged in the work of the Church. Here and now we must be ready to be counted among those who have joined God in His mission to this world, to make a difference in the lives of all God’s people. The harvest is plentiful, there is a lot of work to be done, but are we ready to counted among the labourers? Someone once commented: ‘Ministry exists to make the willing able, and the able willing.’ This is very true, and speaks to our theme for this synod: “Equipped for Ministry – Empowered for Service”. The Church recognizes that to be able to respond to our Lord’s solemn call; to be able to be effective labourers of the harvest, one does need to be equipped. And, with this equipping of our people will come the empowerment necessary for them to perform to the best of their ability. Gone are the days when we are comfortable asking members of the church, and others, to do things for the church without, at least, first ascertaining whether or not they are adequately equipped for the task. And let me hasten to add that ‘equipped’ does not mean we have determined that you are rich enough, smart enough, or even pretty enough, to do the job. Rather, and perhaps even more im-
portantly, it is that you bring with you the right attitude, the right sense of commitment, and the right motivation. It is that together we are responding to the love of God we have experienced in our lives – a love we have come to realize makes all the difference in the world; a love that saw the incarnation of God’s greatest gift to humanity, his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Over the months and years ahead we will create opportunities for our people to receive the training and experience to be effective in their work in the Church. Through workshops, retreats, study opportunities, and refresher courses, clergy and laity alike will be able to avail themselves of these opportunities. And finally, if we are to make the willing able by providing them with the opportunity to be equipped, we must also work to make the able willing. Our theme therefore is also an earnest call to our members, and those in the wider community, who share our vision and who desire to work for a better Belize, to join us in our work in the Church. The invitation is extended for you to bring with you your skills, your experience and knowledge; bring them and utilize them in the service, mission and ministry of the Church. Are you willing to embrace the possibility that the years of training and study and experience might have been God’s way of preparing you for a good work in the church? And less you think I am talking only to those in the ordained ministry, not so! With your respective field of expertise, the Church needs you. So come, join us, and together let us work to make a difference for the cause of God’s kingdom on earth. Let us together, equipped and empowered, be effective labourers for the harvest of God in this part of the vineyard of God. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’
Sunday, October 21, 2012
THE BELIZE TIMES
Reid reason for if statistics were available we’d be horrified at the number of witnesses that have come up murdered just for even thinking about giving testimony. While eyewitness testimony is still assumed to be the more reliable form of evidence, modern technology provides us with other means of solving crimes. That is why a National Forensics Laboratory was constructed during the last administration. It sits in Ladyville adjacent to the BDF Price Barracks; practically vacant and unused for the past six years. An existing building on the property was By G. Mike Reid Last week’s closedown and to be used for a Police Morgue; a demonstration in El Cayo might very service that is still sorely lacking. well be, as one former politician put Apparently, this government has it, “previews of coming attraction”. refused to allocate the funds necessary to furnish Belizeans all over the lab with neiare very fed up ther equipment nor with the high rate trained personnel. of crime and the As for the Police low rate of convicMorgue, it is hardtion. Over the past ly even discussed five years we have anymore. The last had well over five budget saw cuts hundred murders. for forensics, the Barely into the courts and for commiddle of October munity projects; and we are already and we can almost way past a hununderstand for dred for this year things have been alone; with no sign tough. There was of the violence letno paucity of funds ting up anytime however, for posh soon. While the vehicles, lavish Police have been junkets abroad and quick to make arbloated contracts rests in most casfor cronies; seems es, very few of our priorities are those suspects way out of whack. ever get convictDuring the time ed. In most cases, I spent with the Police are sure that Police Department, they have the right person but more than 90% of the much progress was made in the time, they are unable to secure a field of forensics. A Scenes of Crime conviction. The reasons given for department was established and the dismissals run the gamut from many persons were sent abroad incredulous to ludicrous. As Tom for training. A modern Automatic Greenwood once said, “we have re- Fingerprinting Identification System placed ‘sub umbra floreo’ with ‘nolle (AFIS) was bought and brought onstream and all stations and substaprosequi’”. Of course, murder is only one tions were computerized and conof the serious crimes currently nected to Headquarters via internet. plaguing our once peaceful haven An Information Technology (IT) unit of democracy. Attempted Murder, was established and given required home invasions, robberies, rape and funds to bring the Police up to date burglaries are common place and with modern technology. Much of even when someone is caught, the this was abandoned and left by the chances of getting off are far better wayside following the 2008 electhan average. Many of these crimes tions. One of the demands handed to are committed in broad daylight the Prime Minister by the people since most folks are terrified of going to court to testify. And with good Cayo is that this government “create
When this government wants to remove, not even a Chief Justice or a Governor General is safe.”
a DNA equipped Forensic Laboratory”. The Prime Minister has promised to comply and if he keeps this promise, it will mark a milestone as the first that he has ever kept. Even so, it seems that he is now set to go about re-inventing a wheel that was already around and rolling. We are pleased that the Canadian people have seen fit to donate an Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS). Interestingly it seems that this gift was apparently already in country but neither Sedi nor CEO Lovell had a clue. It was apparently only after the ill-fated and infamous meeting in San Ignacio that either became aware of this. Nevertheless, I do not think that it will be enough to satisfy the people’s demand for it will be years before it can be brought on-stream. The people of Belize are looking for immediate action. The IBIS is able to match slugs and expended shells to firearms but the Police must first compile a data base. Again, just before the last election, a plan was in place to create such a database but that was also abandoned. Unfortunately, this will take lots of years, lots of effort and lots of money to realize. The UDP simply do not have the will, the brainpower or the time. Another requirement from the people is that sex offenders be registered. That certainly should not be difficult and one can only wonder why such a plan was not already in place. The demand that will give us some trouble will be the demand for the death penalty. Too many people in too many countries around the world are now dead set against the death penalty. (pardon the pun) This might have been the only point on which Sedi could have made some sense and some headway, but he did a piss-poor job of explaining himself. He was too busy being condescending and insulting to the people in the audience. The matter of capital punishment is rather complicated and will require much more thought and dialog.
13 A demand that can be met, but one which the government seems intent on not even considering, is for the removal of the DPP. This took center stage at meeting in El Cayo and the people seem unyielding on this one. The Prime Minister and Sedi Elrington seem equally inflexible and are trying to convince us that the constitution does now allow for a removal of the DPP. Is that a fact? Then what happened to Lutchman Sooknandan and to Kirk Anderson and to a number of DPPs before them? When this government wants to remove, not even a Chief Justice or a Governor General is safe. Another demand from the people out west is that bail be denied for any person accused of a sexual offense or other serious crime. Seems lately, quite a number of persons have been accused of repeat offenses, shortly after meeting bail. Something has to be done but let us be sure that the terms are clearly defined. This one too closely resembles Barrow’s “preventative detention” proposal. Benjamin Franklin who once wrote, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Be careful how we surrender liberties. This government has shown too much of a propensity to play politics and to misuse whatever authority is place in their hands. Maybe a “three strikes and you’re out” rule would be more in line with what is needed. Let us keep our eye on the ball and make sure that in this “coming attraction” that we preview, we will feature us as the stars and not as the “cast of thousands”.
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THE BELIZE TIMES
Belize has too many holidays By Richard Harrison New “across-the-board” $0.10-mileThe following are Official Holiday Dates in Belize: * New Years Day – January 1 * Baron Bliss Day- March 9 * Good Friday * Holy Saturday * Easter Monday * Labour Day-May 1 * Commonwealth Day- May 24 * St. George’s Caye Day- September 10 * Independence Day- September 21 * Pan American Day- October 12 * Garifuna Settlement Day- November 19 * Christmas Day- December 25 * Boxing Day- December 26 Holidays are very expensive undertakings. They cost millions and millions of dollars. Domestic trade in Belize is approximately $15 million daily. Assuming that 50% of trade is lost during a holiday, this would suggest a loss of $7.5 million per holiday. Since we have 13 public and bank holidays, this amounts to around $100 million in one year. We should really reconsider these holidays. My recommendation would be to celebrate the following, without a public and bank holiday. (1) Baron Bliss Day (2) Easter Monday (3) Commonwealth Day (4) St George’s Caye Day (5) Columbus Day (6) Garifuna Settlement Day (7) Boxing Day These should be celebrated voluntarily by those who want to celebrate it....there should be some official ceremonies and public addresses....but not public and bank holidays where everyone is by law allowed to stay home and still get full pay. This would save us around $50 million of trade annually. Holiday pay amounts to over $5 million per holiday..... which has to be paid. It’s a heavy burden on employers. Annually, this amounts to $65 million being paid out to employees, without any production to show for it. By comparison, the USA only celebrates 10 federal holidays for its own federal employees....it is not required by law for businesses to give employees these days off as free. Individual states set their own standards. They are a very rich country that can afford more holidays....but they choose not to bear these costs. Belize needs to increase its production and productivity....to pay its bills....and to invest in its growth. Even the workers in Belize agree that we don’t need all these holidays. Richard Harrison is a local businessman and investor in the manufacturing and service industries. Send comments to email@example.com
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
THE BELIZE TIMES
BELIZE TIMES WEEKLY
SCIENCE & TECH R
Selected By Chris Williams
Bizarre-looking oarfish washes ashore on Cabo San Lucas beach By: Pete Thomas In Florida, scientists have their hands on a large and mysterious eyeball, which washed ashore Wednesday, and are trying to determine what kind of sea creature it belonged to. That could take a few days. But in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, another bizarre find was made Friday: that of an oarfish, which washed ashore on bustling Medano Beach, which features a view of the end of the Baja California peninsula. Oarfish are deep-water denizens that are rarely seen. But because of their long, slender appearance, and their bright-orange dorsal fins and manes, they helped spawn myths of sea serpents and sea monsters among ancient mariners. They’ve been known to reach lengths of 30-plus feet. Pisces Sportfishing reports that an employee from Pisces Real Estate helped discover an estimated 15-foot specimen that washed up in the gentle breakers. Gonzalez “was working very hard, sitting under an umbrella on the main beach of Cabo-El Medano at an open house we are hosting today at Hacienda,” states the Pisces blog. “He was right in front of Villa 2 when he saw a commotion on the beach and a small crowd gathered at the water’s edge. His first thought was, ‘There’s been an accident.’ “Then he saw three locals supporting what appeared to him as a monster from the deep. He ran down to get a closer look and saw three locals assisting the strange creature, which appeared to be in distress as it struggled for air.” Unsuccessful attempts were made to revive the oarfish and return it to the Sea of
Cortez, and ultimately it was collected for scientific study. Oarfish inhabit the world’s oceans but are found in the dark depths between about 600 and 3,000 feet. On the rare occasions one is seen on or near a beach--this happens very
rarely and sporadically--it’s either sick or injured, dying or already dead. Their silver bodies have no scales and the fish swim with undulating motions, serpent-like. Tracy Ehrenberg, who runs Pisces Sportfishing, said this is the first known oarfish to have washed up on Cabo’s main beach. She discussed the discovery Friday morning on the “Baja Now” Internet radio show with Phil Friedman.
Scorpion raising: nurtured under a deadly sting 15 October 2012 WHAT’S not to love about this photo? In one fell swoop it inverts the reputation of a much-feared invertebrate. For the defenceless newborns sitting under the vicious sting are the scorpion’s own offspring, tended by their mother until they are big enough to survive on their own. It’s not just me who likes the shot - it has won German photographer Ingo Arndt the Fritz Pölking award for the second time. There’s a good reason why scorpions are one of the few instantly recognisable inverte-
brates: that bulb at the end of the abdomen is full of deadly venom. What is less well known is that unlike most other arachnids they are viviparous: rather than laying eggs they give birth to live young. The juveniles are unable to feed or defend themselves, or regulate their moisture levels - they need their mother’s protection. It’s all really quite cute. Buthidae family - to which the animals pictured here belong - have venom that is deadly to humans. Cuddly they ain’t. “The owner of the scorpion mentioned that the animal is very dangerous,” says Arndt. “I just kept a safe distance, around 10 centimetres. The good thing is that they can’t jump.”
THE BELIZE TIMES
Small Caribbean states canâ€™t afford to follow Greece Editorial reprinted from the Jamaica Observer, Sunday, October 14, 2012 SOME small Caribbean countries are in danger of acquiring the reputation as failed pariah states. States are regarded as failed for three reasons: First, they have shown themselves to be incapable of successfully performing the first task of a state, which is to keep law and order within the national borders of their territories. Second, they are incapable of protecting their populations from external aggression and invasion, as is evident in the uncontrolled penetration of transnational crime and drug trafficking. Third, they are not able to achieve self-reliant sustainable economic development. Their foreign policy is usually to seek external assistance from Taiwan to Venezuela, dependent on foreign aid, lobbying for special trade arrangements and pleading for debt cancellation. They are pariah states because they default on their debt-servicing and sell economic citizenship to persons of dubious reputation, providing safe haven to questionable off-shore financial institutions active in drug production and transshipment. In addition, like in many other countries, there is corruption, tax evasion and human trafficking. Now, some of our small Caribbean countries are doing further reputational damage by defaulting on servicing their debt. The list of defaulting states includes Belize and Grenada, who have made a fundamental error in strategy by following Greece. They failed to appreciate that Greece could default because they, given the need for viability of the Euro and the political unity of the European Union (EU), matter to the EU. When a small Caribbean state defaults it does not matter to anyone, it does not threaten any financial institution and the markets cannot afford to be merciful because it sets a precedent that perennial bad debtors would seek to emulate. When a small Caribbean state defaults it gives up the already limited leverage which is the threat of default, thereby weakening its bargaining position. To default is to give up any possibility of bargaining with creditors. After the default, creditors let these small states sweat, then the financial institutions and consultants charge exorbitant fees to arrange a restructuring of the debt which, when accomplished, involves a new higher interest rate and a long repayment schedule and maybe a small write-down of the debt. Meanwhile, the prime minister and the finance minister (if they are not one and the same person) and the financial secretary and governor of the central bank, are forced to do the diplomatic rounds in Washington, DC; New York; and London, making earnest, if not credible, pleadings of their inability to pay because of the global economic crisis.
They express their contriteness and willingness not to do this again if they get a fresh start. They pledge to accomplish what they have never done, which is to practise proper fiscal management and accept all technical advice from the International Monetary Fund. Default is not a workable negotiating strategy for small states because the actuality of default affects no government, financial institution or financial market. Whereas all lending countries know they must beware of Greeks bearing debt, the only people affected by a default by Belize and Grenada are Belizians and Grenadians.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
The New UDP in Cayo – Nothing like the Legends! By Orlando Habet A friend was asking me over the weekend, why it is that the UDP has dominated the Town Council in the Twin Towns. My answer was the following: there were once Honourable local leaders in the UDP who became legends in Cayo but principally in the Twin towns. Among these legends were Joseph Stanislaus Andrews, Domingo Cruz Sr. and Theodocio Ochoa. The gentlemen cared for their town, for their country. To me their politics of red and blue was noted only around elections. After being elected they dedicated themselves to work for the betterment of all. There was no vindictiveness toward the PUP supporters. Joe Andrews was everybody’s friend. Mr. Domingo Cruz was not selective in developing only in front of the UDP lots and yards. I recall when we got our water system donated by the Canadian government with the condition that the residents would be charged a minimal fee to cover maintenance and replacement costs. After a flood, we were without water. It was Joseph Andrews who dived down in that dirty water to get the water pump by the river repaired and working. These legends won the people’s heart and consequently won the elections, one behind the other. I believe that other leaders like Domingo Cruz Jr. and Victor August did a good job and tried to be like their seniors. Far later came Alvaro Palencia aka “Packers.” Packers was simply a hard worker. Friendly, popular and a worker. As mayor he would drive the garbage truck if the driver did not appear on a given day. Ask about the current mayor-- he is
THE BELIZE TIMES
Mayor in absentia. Then came the new breeds of UDP: vindictive, self centered, vision-less, clueless, detached from the true needs of the people and of what they should do to govern the communities they serve. However, they knew and know how to take advantage of the name of the “Legends”. Some got married into the Legends’ family and used the names of the Legends to propel themselves and to win support of the people who supported the Legends. But, they themselves have done a disservice to our communities. My take is that in the next 20 years we will be so many years behind the rest of the country that it’s not funny. We have the worse infrastructure in the entire country. Our streets are a real mess and no one cares. There are so many poorly-lit areas where criminal activity lurks, with drug dealers peddling their stuff to young people who are the targets of these hoodlums. The worse thing is the vindictive nature of the UDP in Cayo. I don’t know how severe is this problem in the rest of the country but the Twin Towns is capital. This type of attitude is not conducive to development. I believe the people of the Twin towns should stage a Demonstration on the Council to show their disapproval of their inactivity, lackadaisical attitude and the decadence overtaking us. Message to the current UDP: You are no Joseph Andrews or Domingo Cruz or Theodocio Ochoa but at least you could try to be like them.
…while Belizeans struggle & suffer This is how the UDPs roll…
Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s new Law Firm Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega’s 2012 Land Cruiser valued at $180,000
Ministry of Energy and Science CEO Colin Young’s 2011 Toyota Hilux – valued at $65,000
Minister of Gangs Mark King’s Ford 150 - valued at $74,500
Minister of Works Rene Montero’s 2012 Toyota Prado – valued at $96,000
THE BELIZE TIMES
Concerns in Belize: Why the U.S. and Mexico Should Pay Attention October 17, 2012, Published in the Quarterly Americas by Juan Manuel Henao In the fight against organized crime, Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras grab the headlines—but politicos and analysts neglect to mention Belize. This Central American country of 330,000 bordering Mexico and Guatemala is fast becoming fertile ground for organized crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and piracy. At 39 murders per 100,000 persons Belize is the fifth most dangerous country in the world, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Honduras is the most dangerous with 86 homicides per 100,000, and Venezuela registers fourth at 67 per 100,000. UNODC also adds that “intentional homicides” have doubled in Belize City, the country’s coastal commercial capital, since 2004. Gangs working for Mexican cartels are to blame: according to the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), 43 percent of youth aged 14-24 are unemployed, while 46 percent of the total labor force is illiterate. Moreover, only 12 percent of the total labor force has completed high school. Poor education quality and lack of economic opportunity are variables that push youth into environments of crime. Initiation into a local gang could lead to contract work for Mexican cartels that promise anything a young man could ever want: money; drugs; status; and power. Aside from routine murders and robberies, these same gangs are also responsible for the 2011 raid of the Belize Defense Force (BDF) armory in Ladyville, taking M-16 and M4 military issue riffles, 9 millimeter handguns, and grenades. Gangs are, however, only part of the equation. Belize’s topography supports the growth and transportation of illegal substances. Jungles provide natural cover for drug laboratories. Cocaine is easily brought to Belize through unguarded air strips and exposed waterways; along the coast, speedboats deposit uncut cocaine. Airstrips alongside the northern border with Mexico and the western border with Guatemala allow criminals to introduce loot for passage through Mexico and into the United States. There are also signs that police forces are involved with narcotraffickers—especially with Mexico’s elite Zetas hit squad. In 2010, police stopped traffic and lit a highway to allow a night landing for a twin-engine Beechcraft crammed with $130 million worth of cocaine. The cargo was seized by national authorities with aid from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after the craft clipped a wing. A meeting between Mexican and Belize officials under the auspices of the Mexico-Belize Binational Commission took place in August. Relaxed chemical import laws in Belize and drug smuggling were central to the meeting.
The group has met seven times and is in the process of boosting intelligence sharing, coordinating border patrols and modernizing border infrastructure. The United States is also demonstrating its concern. The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklisted two associates of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel for operating in Belize. In addition, the White House placed Belize on its Majors List for uncontrolled transit of illegal substances through its territory. Moreover, Belize’s military lacks the basic hardware and training to intercept air and water shipments. Helicopters,
boats and updated radar systems are lacking despite increased U.S. technical and tactical assistance through the Mérida Initiative. Another issue of concern is Belize’s level of corruption and frail rule of law. Here, Belize shares its current fate with the remainder of Central America. Poor training and low pay for civil servants leaves the system vulnerable. Bribes are common as are case dismissals for lack of evidence in the justice system. Training in forensic science, crime scene protection and legal protocols are just some of the basic training needs for the country’s police
Sunday, October 21, 2012
and judicial officers. All of this, unfortunately, presents a golden opportunity for narcotraffickers. Belize’s institutions are weak, police corruptible and unemployed population aplenty. Cartels appreciate the fact that the U.S. and Mexico give this nation little attention—allowing them to cultivate, package, transport and sell everything from cocaine to prostitutes and child workers to anyone willing to pay the price. It’s time for North America to reverse course and act on the deepening crime rate and narcotics activity in Belize. *Juan Manuel Henao is a contributing blogger to AQ Online. He is a consultant based in Mexico City and former Mexico Country Director for the International Republican Institute (IRI), a Washington DC-based not-for-profit democracy promotion organization.
Length and Strength By Di Chastiza Shabba Ranks had a song weh seh that a man is not a man unless he has “length and strength”. Inna Belize right now, di women are complaining that a lot of our men nuh have length and strength and that, well… they have had to be looking elsewhere for a little length and strength. Now this is no laughing matter, of course. It’s serious business. Se-
rious big pipple business as Ms. Jane, the lady round di lane, down the street woulda say. And of course, di women’s complaint is a valid one. For as Shabba Ranks sey: wah man dollas haffi long and strong; he has to have some economic length and strength fi be wah man. And this is the dilemma we have in Belize these days. Which men among us have dollas weh “long and strong”?
And of course, understandably, the women are talking. As the story goes, the women deh di seh: “Yuh nuh find man with longitude and durability these days.” “Da so so smallness and weakness deh man have inna they pants pocket these days.” But in fairness to our men, it’s not their fault. It’s really Barrow’s Continued on page 19
Sunday, October 21, 2012
THE BELIZE TIMES
UDP Mayor – bad for business Belize City, October 17, 2012 We know already there ain’t nothing grassroots about UDP Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley. He was raised as a pampered child in a middle class family, with working parents. He studied law and returned home to a two-storey home outside of Belize City. But lest you can’t see the falsehood in his long-sleeve shirts and necktie-wearing media stunts, you’d believe Bradley is a pro-business middle class type of guy. Well, apparently he isn’t either. Since taking office, Bradley has done everything possible to hurt the middle class and impose even more tough tax measures. The garbage tax which businesses, especially small ones, complained was not working and ridiculous, has been maintained by Bradley and the UDP Council. In fact, they want to expand it to cover city residents. Bradley has also brought tremendous pressure on businesses to pay their taxes to the Council, at a time when they can barely afford to pay their employees. Bradley is flat out anti-business. Since March 2012, businesses have continued to shut down. From the corner tacos vendor, to iconic business like Macy’s, and innovative newcomers like Jamborees, they have fallen victim to the ill-advised economic policies, high levels of crime, and poor regulation under the UDP And then there is the most glaring
Mayor Darrell Bradley
The Horse & Buggy business came to a halt this week, hampered by the UDP City Council
Length and Strength Continued from page 18 fault. He has created a Belize weh only he and his crony UDP have length and strength. Just pass by Brads, by Farmers Market any day and you will see them…some ah deh old and mash up, some ah deh deformed, some with big belly, some with none, but all ah deh merrymaking, drinking, laughing, gloating, because they have length and strength- because deh dallas long and strong. Now, the rest of men inna Belize, well, Barrow has made it virtu-
ally impossible for you to find a work, to find money for you to take care of you and yuh family. Barrow has made life inna this country even more painful and haada than we could have thought when he dared us in 2008 to imagine the possibilities. Barrow has caused more of our Belizean men to flock to the casino, to resort to buying lotto, boledo and fantasy 5 (which by the way are all owned by UDP men with length and strength). He has caused more men to resign themselves to drinking and sulking in their problems.
He has caused more Belizean men to rob and steal fi find a few dollas to put food on the table. And all this is made crystal clear every night at news time. Crime and violence, that is all our men and young boys seem to be doing these days, with murder being the order of the day and prison their new found home. All of this in turn has caused many homes to be broken up because, as we said, many of our men simply don’t have the length and strength these days and the women, through no fault of theirs, have had to look elsewhere.
evidence that Bradley is anti-business – his direct involvement in the closing of multiple businesses in the city. Just ask veteran, popular disc jockey Lennox “DJ Tambran”0 Young. DJ Tambran had leased space for his business from the Council for over 15 years. Enter Bradley as Mayor, and suddenly Tambran is getting eviction orders personally announced to him by the Mayor himself. This week even more businesses nearly bit the dust. The Horse and Carriage businesses that have been operating in the city for years, say they were being squeezed out of business by the UDP Council. The owners said the Council had kicked them out of the city, and had suggested that they find a way to erect proper stables on swamp land. Such facility would cost about $35,000. When the horse and carriage turned to the media to cry out, the Mayor responded, “it’s their problem”. Don’t be misled by the necktie and pretty language. Behind that is a confused and cruel man who believes the right way to do thing is always his way.
And while all this is happening and Belize di go to destruction, Barrow and his UDP merrymen have been busy making fi deh dollas longer and stronger- millions upon millions upon millions have been gobbled up by Barrow over the past 4 ½ years. And so Mr. Barrow…yes, over the past 4 ½ years, you have gotten longer and stronger. Every opportunity you get in your little circle, you beat your chest and boast bout your length and strength. But when you look around Belize, it is crystal for all to see that you are still IMPOTENT on crime you still nuh know fi PERFORM. A tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.
Published on Oct 18, 2012