The Belize Times THE BELIZE TIMES
26 OCTOBER 2014 | ISSUE NO: 4918
The Truth Shall Make You Free
www.belizetimes.bz | $1.00
BARROW BREAKS THE LAW PUP challenges illegal borrowing and spending
Prime Minister Barrow needs to explain WHERE DID THE MILLIONS GO
Belize City, October 22, 2014 Prime Minister Dean Barrow wants to get away with breaking the law. On October 2nd 2014, Barrow presented a loan motion before the National Assembly seeking approval for his administrationâ€™s borrowing of BZE$228,614,712 that occurred be-
tween September 2012 and August 2014. The funds came through the ALBA/Petrocaribe program made available by the generous Venezuelan Government in support of pover-
We noh ready fu Ebola!! Pg. 3
Mark Flowers and Human
Smuggling Pg. 6
A LEGEND PASSES: RIP PAUL NABOR
Hon. Julius Espat writes Auditor General on Petrocaribe loan
Auditor General responds to Hon. Julius Espat on Petrocaribe loan
8th October, 2014
October 17, 2014
Mrs. Dorothy Bradley Auditor General
Dear Madam, Re: Loans of U S $ 18 , 0 3 1 , 3 3 6 . 0 0 , US$76,331,016.00 and US$19,944,954.00 in 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 contracted from ALBA PETROCARIBE Belize Energy Ltd. (APBEL) As you are aware the Government of Belize (GOB) on the 2nd October, 2014, tabled a loan motion before the National Assembly seeking a resolution of the House, purportedly pursuant to section 7(2) of the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act 2005, “confirming and validating” the borrowing by GOB from APBEL of the total sum of $US114,307,356.00 during the period running from September, 2012, to August 2014. The motion is of significant concern to me firstly because it makes clear that the loan agreement, which was apparently settled and executed by APBEL and GOB in or about September 2012, was entered into without authority of the National Assembly and secondly, because if the loan was contracted without lawful authority, then so too must the use of funds derived there from be also without lawful authority. The sums involved are no doubt significant. I draw to your attention that by the provisions of section 12 (1) (b) of the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act you on behalf of the National Assembly are obliged to ascertain whether all public moneys disbursed have
LOCAL 23 Oct
THE BELIZE TIMES
Hon. Julius Espat Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Forest Drive Belmopan
Dear Chairman Espat, This is to confirm receipt of your letter dated October 8th, 2014 regarding the referenced loans from ALBA PETROCARIBE Belize Energy Ltd. (APBEL). At the last sitting of the House of Representatives the motion was introduced for consideration and deliberation. Assuming that the House of Representatives adopt this motion it will then have the force of the law. It is therefore premature for me as Auditor General to raise concerns about the correctness and the procedure for borrowing under the PETROCARIBE agreement (APBEL). Mr. Espat, as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, I am sure that the Committee is aware been expended and applied under proper authority and for the purpose or purposes intended by such authority. You are accordingly under legal duty to ascertain whether the proceeds of the loans in question were disbursed, expended and applied under proper authority. I also draw to your attention that section 7(2) of the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act permits the National Assembly by resolution to authorize the Government to borrow monies from
WEATHER 24 Oct
Hon. Julius responds to Auditor General - Loan Motion-Petro Caribe 21st October, 2014 Auditor General Attention: Mrs. Dorothy Bradley
Dear Madam, Re:Petro Caribe Loan Motion Thank you for your response of October 17th, 2014, to my letter of October 8th, 2014, regarding the captioned matter. You should recall that by the terms of my letter I raised two concerns arising out of the pending motion: (1) whether the particular borrowing can be authorized by the House pursuant to section 7(2) of the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act 2005 as the loan motion purports to do; and (2) whether there was any legal authority for expending the loan proceeds. While the loan motion proposes of the Office’s resource constraints. I am presently conducting the annual examination of accounts which is mandated. However, you can rest assured that I will do my duty as prescribed by law in respect to this situation or any other cited by the Committee. Respectfully, Mrs. Dorothy Ann Bradley Auditor General any public or private bank or financial institution or capital market in or outside Belize and that any agreement effecting any such borrowing shall only be validly entered into pursuant to a resolution of the National Assembly authorizing the Government to borrow the money. It is obvious that the Government is not seeking to borrow monies from any bank or financial institution nor from any capital market in or outside Belize but is seeking to retroactively validate borrowings from a private company Continued on page 12
to address the issue of authority to enter into the loan agreement, it is entirely silent as to authority to spend the loan proceeds. Even assuming that the motion will indeed have the force of law as you suggest and can authorize the borrowing (contrary to my own view), it can and will do nothing with regard to the authority to spend the loan proceeds which apparently have already been spent. Any issue as to authority to spend public funds comes squarely within your remit as Auditor General and given that there has already been significant expenditure over a number of years the issue as to authority to spend cannot properly be considered premature. In fact consideration of the issue after the fact of expenditure makes such consideration late. Accordingly I write to again ask, even if you believe consideration of authority to contract the loan premature in light of the pending motion, that you nonetheless address the matter of the authority to spend the loan proceeds so that transparency and accountability are secured in the expenditure of Petro Caribe monies in the public interest. This matter simply cannot properly be side-stepped but must be confronted squarely. It would be a complete abdication of responsibility, by both your office and mine, to sit and watch over two hundred million dollars in public funds expended in an unlawful manner and without the requisite level of transparency or accountability. Yours truly, Hon. Julius Espat Chairman Public Accounts Committee SCAN HERE
The Belize Times
14 APR 2013
The Truth Shall Make You Free
ISSUE NO: 4840
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THE BELIZE TIMES
We noh ready fu Ebola!! October 22nd 2014 By Norris Hall The drama that played out last week when the Prime Minister appeared to have stood-up to the attempted brinkmanship of the United States State Department that wanted to airlift two persons that were suspected of being exposed to the Ebola virus and who were on a cruise ship anchored off Belize City, though commendable, may have been orchestrated for political grandstanding. This was plain and simple, in the final analysis, just theatrics, a sidebar that for a while distracted from the real issue of incompetence that has placed many Belizeans, working at the frontline of the cruise ship industry at serious risk of exposure to this deadly disease. The Prime Minister, by his own admission, was ambivalent and therefore indecisive, in dealing with the State Department. This could be interpreted to mean that he is not up-to-speed with the national state of affairs and that he pretended not to be aware of the maladministration of the Ministry of Health. LOOMING DANGER It is very unlikely that the Prime Minister and his officials in that Ministry would have known of this looming danger, were it not for the US State Department’s call and the vigilance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Worse was the fact that at a press conference hosted by the Prime Minister, held last Friday, the same day the news broke, the media and the public were taken through a series of loops and spins and half-truths by those who flanked him at the Head table - his Minister of Immigration and the “Imperial” Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health. He jumped through loops to cover his behind with lies and half-truths to give the Belizean public a false sense of security and the appearance that the Health Ministry was prepared to deal with an Ebola crisis. He gave the impression that his Ministry’s Ebola emergency machinery was prepared to work like a Swiss watch. Bluntly put, this was and still is a lie. There is no comprehensive plan in Belize to deal with this pandemic. AMBIVALENCE The Prime Minister should have known this and hence his ambivalence. This was also asserted a few weeks earlier by the Director of Health Services in the Ministry of Health. He was noticeably not at the press conference. So was not the Minister of Health, who, without a doubt, would have taken serious heat from the media for recurring reports of incompetence and corruption in his Ministry. A pun leaked out of the Ministry is that the Minister initially thought that the Ebola was a new SUV. To support this assertion by the Director of Health Services that we were not prepared to deal with the Ebola virus, the Chief Executive Officer in the Prime Minister’s Office, in outlining the timeline of events, after the PM was contacted by the State Department, commented “as soon as we knew of this situation we immediately contacted PAHO and other international agencies for advice on what protocols should be put in place.” “NO EBOLA PATIENT ON SHIP” SAYS CEO The CEO in the Ministry of Health lied at the press conference when he said that there is “no Ebola patient on the ship” even though the situation was still fluid.
03 3 His assertion was premature since there was no diagnosis at the time! The two people who were suspected of possibly having Ebola on the ship were still in quarantine. Nobody knew then, or would have known, until days later, following the full incubation period of this highly contagious disease, whether or not the lab technician associated with the treatment of a person who had died earlier in a Texas hospital, and her companion on the ship, may have contracted the disease. We will not delve further into the numerous dangerous lies and half-truths that were promulgated at that press conference. However, we must add that it was unprofessional and deceptive by a persistently incompetent individual who has given the people of this country a false sense of security and in the presence of the Prime Minister. SHIP IN BELIZE AT DAWN - NO OFFICIAL INFORMED OF DANGER Were it not as a result of the call to the Prime Minister by the U.S. State Department when he was informed at 9:40am, it is most likely that all sorts of mistakes that would have endangered the public could have been made. Continued on page 31
4 04 04
THE BELIZE TIMES
The UDP Government: Fast Asleep On The Job By Francis W. Fonseca Over the past few weeks our focus and attention has rightly been on specific issues of national importance such as BORDER SECURITY, the ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS AT CHIQUIBUL, and the latest EBOLA SCARE. Each of these issues requires preparation, planning, dialogue and attention to detail. This is the responsibility of Government. Belize should never be caught unprepared or unable to respond to such challenges whether they are domestic or international. The response of the UDP Government to each of these issues has been reactionary and knee-jerk. There seems to be very little, if any, planning and preparation taking place within the hallowed halls of Belmopan. It is the PUP which has been consulting and listening to the voices of the people and responding to
these challenges. On Independence Day I used the National Stage to raise awareness about the environmental crisis at Chiquibul which I described as a “WAR WE ARE LOSING”. I have since visited Chiquibul to see first-hand the devastation taking place and hear from the frontline workers. Our Party has offered nine specific recommendations on the way forward. The UDP Government is asleep on this issue and offers no plan. In the National Assembly, following up on concerns brought to the nation’s attention by KREM’s Mose Hyde, I raised the very serious issue of a Forward Operating base at Hunting Caye being constructed for our Coast Guard by a Guatemalan Company and Guatemalan workers. The Prime Minister, who chairs the National Security Council, claimed no knowledge
of this contract. The Minister of National Security is seeking to deflect responsibility to his predecessor and amazingly is even trying to blame the former PUP government which signed the Status of Forces Agreement under which the bases are being constructed. Indeed the PUP Government, recognizing the need for and importance of such bases, did enter into such an agreement with the US government but that PUP government never abandoned its responsibility to the national security of Belize. The fact is that the first base built under the agreement was built at Calabash Caye, under a PUP Government, and that base was designed and constructed by Belizeans. Again here, the undeniable reality is that the UDP Government was asleep at the wheel.
I also shared with the nation the internal memorandum, dated January 2014, from the Commander of the Tourism Police Unit to the Commissioner of Police and copied to both BTB and NICH highlighting very serious concerns about the safety and security of the Special Constables assigned to provide security at the Caracol Archaeological Reserve. Again no response from the UDP Government. Fast asleep! On October 15th, the day before our EBOLA Scare, it was the PUP that called on the Government to share with our nation their plan to deal with the potential risk, “god forbid” of the Ebola Virus coming to our shores. I asked, “has NEMO been activated?”; “Have the relevant government authorities met and discussed our response?” Well the day after, Ebola, quite literally, came to our shores and we were unprepared. Our lack of planning and preparation made it impossible for the Prime Minister to make any decision other than say NO to the US Government. NOW there are meetings being called everyday. UDP fast asleep again!! I make these points because we are often focused on waste and corruption but forget the issue of incompetence which carries with it a very high price. This UDP government is wasteful and corrupt but it is also incredibly incompetent and our nation and people are suffering as a direct result. The UDP offer no plan to grow and develop our Country. It is time for a new beginning. A new PUP Government!
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THE BELIZE TIMES
EDITORIAL Mr. Barrow is in deep trouble
In September of 2005 the great leader of Venezuela Hugo Chavez was able to realize one of his dreams and aspirations for the region. Venezuela holds one of the world’s largest proven reserves of black gold-oil. Mr. Chavez, who grew up from humble beginnings to become the most popular modern leader of his nation, was of the vision that his nation’s oil wealth should be of some help to the struggling countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. Such a vision found its way into his government’s policy. That foreign policy initiative was the Petro Caribe program. Under the program Venezuela would sell oil at reduced prices and more than half the price could be held back and treated as a loan. In the case of Belize, the arrangement was for Belize to pay only 40 percent of the low selling price for Venezuela petrol. The remaining 60 percent was to be treated as a loan to Belize. That money, instead of being paid was to be used by Belize for worthwhile development projects and after 25 years would need to be repaid. The interest rate was ridiculously low at a mere one percent. Viva Hugo Chavez and the people of Venezuela. In September 2005 when the then government announced this marvelous program, it came under immediate vicious attack from you know who – then Opposition Leader Dean Barrow. In typical Barrow-style he berated Hugo Chavez, he belittled the program. He predicted nothing would come of it, and that it wouldn’t last. On taking office in 2008 guess who shut down the Petro Caribe program- new Prime Minister Dean Barrow. But the program was benefiting other nations in the region and it lasted. The benefits were tremendous. Some three years ago, American companies like Esso and Shell moved out of Belize and were replaced by regional companies of Uno and Puma. Where Esso refused to store Venezuelan oil, Puma had no such reservations. Guess who jumped on the Petro Caribe bandwagon? A certain Prime Minister Barrow. Today the government has over 300 million dollars hidden in the Central Bank. This represents 3 years of withholding the 60 percent that Chavez said Belize could treat as a loan for thirty years. The Constitution of Belize requires at Section 114 that “all revenues or other monies raised or received by Belize….shall be paid into and form part of the consolidated Revenue Fund.” “No monies shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund except to meet expenditure authorized by the Constitution or any other law” “No monies shall be withdrawn from any public fund other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund unless the issue of those monies has been authorized by a law enacted by the National Assembly” “No monies shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund except in the manner prescribed by law” The Constitution goes to great lengths to protect public monies. So why would Mr. Barrow, for the past three years, be hiding millions of dollars in Central Bank, away from the elected representatives of the people who are answerable in the National Assembly? The Workers Unions, NGO’s, Civil Society and students were up in arms some years ago when they were of the view that the
previous government was not honoring the Constitution and the laws which seek to protect public monies and provide for transparency and accountability. Out of their concerns a strengthened Finance and Audit (Reform) Act of 2005 was made the law of the land. That Act is very clear about what Mr. Barrow should have been doing with public monies. He has done none of the sacred requirements to protect and account for public funds, From 2012 Mr. Barrow has secretly and single-handedly been taking out millions of dollars from the Petro-Caribe monies without any accounting to the nation, the people, the Auditor General and the National Assembly. On October 2, 2014, having been called out on the matter by the media, Mr. Barrow introduced a Resolution for the House of Representatives to approve a Loan in the sum of 228 million dollars. One of the paragraphs of the Resolution called a Loan Motion in parliamentary jargon is as follows: “And whereas, during the fiscal years 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, APBEL lent to GOB the sum of US$18,031,386, US$76,331,016 and US$19,944,954 respectively, making a total of US $114,307,356.” These words and figures are put in such form in an effort to deceive. What it means is that in 2012 Mr. Barrow borrowed over $36 million Belize dollars without informing this nation and was using it at his whim and fancy with no accountability and on projects and programs he personally signed for. In 2013 Mr. Barrow without the knowledge or approval or any debate, borrowed over $156 million Belize dollars to do as he pleased without informing the National Assembly or the people of this country. And since 2014 began he has been dipping his greedy hand into some $39 million Belize dollars without any transparency, accountability or approval of any law or of the National Assembly. These things he has been doing are direct violations of the Constitution and the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act 2005. It smacks to high heaven of arrogance and rogue behavior, the likes of which are unparalleled in the Caribbean, Latin America and wherever democracy and Parliamentary government are in force. The total amount of money Mr. Barrow is messing with amounts to $228 million Belize dollars. This is more than a quarter of a billion Belize dollars that he has been using without any authorization or accountability. It is a shocking state of affairs. How could Mr. Barrow reach to such low levels of governance? How could he for the past 3 years violate the sacred trust placed on him by the people of Belize? To think, that only last year August in the National Assembly he was accusing his erstwhile counterpart of a cancer, a tumor growing on our governance. What a hypocrite, what a vile and arrogant hypocrite. Mr. Barrow is presently pretending that he is borrowing this money. Truth be told, he has already used out 60 percent of $228 million Belize dollars. Where did all this money go? How dare Mr. Barrow do such a thing? He will pay a heavy price for this political and financial skullduggery.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Mark Flowers and Human Smuggling Belize City, October 23, 2014 Leaked documents from the Police Department have revealed that current Gang Suppression Unit boss, Mark Flowers, was under investigation for suspected human smuggling in 2009. The documents indicate that Immigration Officials intercepted four Salvadoran nationals including two females, acting suspiciously and getting out of a vehicle at the Western Border. When interviewed by Immigration officials, the females told the Immigration Officials that they were brought to Melchor de Mencos in Guatemala by their relative. While there, they were taken to a small bar where they met and had a few drinks with three Belizean men. The women said that a short while after they were told to enter a vehicle that moved towards the border. There, their passports were gathered and taken into the Immigration office. As they exited the vehicle, they were taken into custody and warned that they needed proper travel documents to enter Belize. When Immigration officials checked who was driving the vehicle, they saw that it was Sergeant Mark Flowers, who was then attached to the San Ignacio Police Station. Statements provided by the two women to the Police Department indicate that they had no knowledge of
LIQUOR LICENSE NOTICES
Notice is hereby given that SHIXIAN MEI is applying for a Shop Liquor License to be operated at “Mei Mei Shop”, situate at #147 San Francisco Street, Orange Walk Town, Orange Walk District under the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Ordinance Revised Edition 1980. Notice is hereby given that ROSAMOND PEREZ is applying for a Shop Liquor License to be operated at “E&R Grocery Shop”, situate at Rancho Dolores Village, Belize District under the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Ordinance Revised Edition 1980. Notice is hereby given that SCOTT OSCAR ESQUIVEL is applying for a Restaurant Liquor License to be operated at “Scotty’s Tavern”, situate at 111 North Front Street, Belize City, Belize District under the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Ordinance Revised Edition 1980.
what was taking place, and had travelled at the invitation of their relative. That relative told the Police that he had been promised by an individual living in Belize that he could help them get into the country. When they turned up at the border, they were met by Sergeant Mark Flowers and others. When questioned by the media about this incident, Flowers got very defensive and claimed that it was a sensitive “police business” which he refused to discuss.
THE BELIZE TIMES
On the campaign trail in Orange Walk Town/OW North
Orange Walk North Standard Bearer Ramon “Monchie” Cervantes & Mayor Kevin Bernard listening to the concerns of residents
Pablo Marin incompetent where it matters
Belize City, October 19, 2014 Conspicuously absent from last Friday morning’s emergency press conference called by the Prime Minister Dean Barrow to calm public anxiety over the country’s possible exposure to Ebola was the head of the Ministry of Health, Pablo Marin. Marin, it appears, was not available and couldn’t attend the conference or just not invited and completely left out. Sources tell us it was the latter, as in the Barrow Administration the electrician member of Cabinet serves as “the Minister” only in a titular capacity. Certainly his poor vocabulary and weak presentations were not missed. The real authority and power is clearly held and wielded by the Chief Executive Officer, the British-born dentist Peter Allen. Allen chairs all press conferences regarding the Ministry of Health. When facing the press on scandals, it is also Allen who straps on his fire-fighter suit and wittingly outs the fires. Whether it is the controversial and illegal gifting of a politician’s daughter with a top regulatory post in the pharmaceutical sector, missing monies at our hospitals or the outbreak of disease that took the lives of over a dozen newborns at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, it is only Allen who can address the issues. Marin keeps his mouth shut and most times, doesn’t even show up to answer the tough questions. Some months ago, following
the tragic deaths of thirteen newborns at the KHMH due to a disease outbreak, Prime Minister Dean Barrow was asked whether it was a disgrace that Marin had not made any public statement on the matter. Barrow pompously responded that his Minister has no apology to give and that he still has confidence in Marin because he is competent “where it matters”. Barrow added that Marin had successfully campaigned and won village council elections in the Corozal South West area. Barrow suggested in his statement that while Marin has been a disastrous Minister of
Health, he delivers political victories and that is what “matters” to him. Well to the Belizean public, HEALTH matters and Marin has shown to be incompetent in every possible way. Marin’s absence at Friday’s conference was another reminder that he is not really significant to the Ministry. The Prime Minister even revealed that upon learning of the “Ebola situation” the first person in the Ministry of Health who he contacted was…not Pablo Marin… but CEO Peter Allen. Marin, apparently, was not competent enough to be called in the face of the Ebola threat. This is a serious situation, one which has led to disaster in the health sector. Belizeans deserve much better.
Peakvantage Holdings Ltd. # 52,800 (“the Company”)
Pursuant to Section 102(4) of the International Business Companies Act, Chapter 270 of the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2000, notice is hereby given that Peakvantage Holdings Ltd.: a) is in dissolution b) commenced dissolution on the 22nd day of October, 2014; and c) CHOI Shui Kuin whose address is 1301 Bank of America Tower, 12 Harcourt Road, Central, Hong Kong is the Liquidator of the Company Cititrust International Limited
THE BELIZE TIMES
WOMAN IN THE HOUSE By Dolores Balderamos Garcia
YOLANDA AND KIM Word started going around within the past four weeks that the Government of Belize may have contributed as much $300,000 towards the recent travels and engagements in New York and London of Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis Barrow. We even heard that the hotel suite that was reserved for her may have come in at a whopping $4,000 per night. Part of the allocation, we are hearing, went to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for certain well placed political supporters of the Special Envoy with last names like Williams and Longsworth. Now I do not have a diffi-
culty with genuine fundraising efforts for worthy causes. There is always a plethora of such pressing causes in today’s Belize. I do, however, have a problem with all this seemingly vanity-spending using taxpayers’ money. The Special Envoy must know of the dire situation of so many women, children and families. Canon Leroy Flowers reminded us just this past week that hundreds if not thousands of children throughout Belize are going to school with nothing in their little bellies. On May 13th this year Yolanda Schakron, President of our United Women’s Group and applicant for the post of PUP candidate for Mayor of Belize City, made a dy-
namic and hard-hitting statement at our PUP Women’s Press Conference. She began her statement by decrying the fact that taxpayers’ money was expended for the Special Envoy’s women’s rally and the vanity spread in Harper’s Bazaar Interiors Magazine. As an aside, I wonder what good has come for the women and children of Belize from the profiling in that publication earlier this year. Yolanda severely criticized such spending, which she said has done nothing about the serious situation of women and children. The Special Envoy, she said, is completely detached from the reality and suffering of so many women. Women suffer twice the unemployment of our brothers, and families are every day experiencing severe hardships. Why the unnecessary spending, when what we need is proper government programs for health, education, skills training and job creation for women? Where, she said, is the transparency and accountability for these monies that have been raised at the fancy dinners abroad? Yolanda, in no uncertain terms, challenged the Special Envoy to stop posing and to meet with real women; put aside the glamorous outfits and get on the ground; and experience first-hand the real problems of women and families. Yolanda also challenged Kim to use her position not for self-promotion, but
BARROW BREAKS THE LAW PUP challenges illegal borrowing and spending
Continued from page 1 ty alleviation initiatives throughout the region. But the borrowing was carried out in flagrant contravention of the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act which requires that any borrowing of more than $10 million must first seek the deliberation and approval of the National Assembly. The Act was introduced in 2005 for the purpose of regulating Government borrowing. According to the Barrow Administration, between 2012 and 2013, US$18,031,336 was borrowed through the Petrocaribe funds. Between 2013 and 2014 an additional US$76,331,016 was loaned. And between 2014 and 2015, GOB loaned US$19,944,954. The administration has further said that some $66 million has already been spent, but there has been no indication of how it was spent. At no point since 2012 has the Government sought the consent of the National Assembly for any of the loans. In fact, Prime Minister Dean Barrow appeared oblivious or perhaps found it expedient to appear confused when he was asked about the possible serious breach of the laws by the media.
Having been caught off-guard, Barrow attempted to counter by claiming that it was “a matter of how you interpret the rules” and added that “perhaps I have simply not paid enough attention”. But the Opposition has been very attentive and says that the rules are not vague at all. On Wednesday October 15th 2014, the National Executive of the People’s United Party charged Deputy Leader Hon. Julius Espat with the task of leading a challenge to the illegal borrowing and spending. Hon. Espat is the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, the watchdog for the public spending of the people’s money. In an effort to mount this challenge, Hon. Espat is receiving the support of a group of elite legal minds who are exploring the extent of the breach and advising on how to put a stop to it. They have advised, so far, that Barrow should be taken to Court for this illegal act. Hon. Espat has also called on Auditor General Dorothy Menzies to carry out her duty of investigating this abuse of Government’s authority. In a letter sent to Bradley on October 8th 2014, Hon. Espat explained the basis for his request. “The motion is of significant concern to me firstly because it
makes clear that the loan agreement, which was apparently settled and executed by APBEL and GOB in or about September 2012, was entered into without authority of the National Assembly and secondly, because if the loan was contracted without lawful authority, then so too must the use of funds derived there from be also without lawful authority. The sums involved are no doubt significant”, he said. Bradley responded on October 17th 2014, denying the request on the basis that the motion is still before the National Assembly therefore it was too “premature” for her to look into the correctness and procedure of the borrowing. Hon. Espat has not relented and once more wrote to the Auditor General on October 21st, emphasizing that it is very important not to side-step the issue. He underscored that while the Auditor General’s reluctance to intervene is on the basis that the National Assembly’s deliberation has not concluded, what isn’t “premature” is the spending. Tens of millions have already been spent with no accountability to the public. In fact, this secret spending
for the good of our Belizean women, children and families. Yolanda even offered to go with Kim to visit women and families on the Southside of Belize City. For argument’s sake, what is the use of raising a purported $300,000 in London or New York when the government had to put in that same amount to help sponsor the jetsetting, the hotels, the sumptuous meals and the cocktail parties? The sums cancel each other out!! What a difference between Yolanda and Kim. Yolanda, on a weekly basis, walks the walk. She doesn’t just talk the talk and pose and profile. She makes sure that she feeds needy women as often as she can. She is vocal and articulate on the grassroots issues of today, and you can feel her commitment to making life better for those most in need. Again, the vanity spending is NOT helping women and children. No doubt that money could have been used to fund several feeding programs at schools in areas where families have the grave challenges of unemployment, underemployment and poverty. I don’t know about Kim, but to me, Yolanda is FOR REAL.
done by Prime Minister Barrow is also in contravention to the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act which stipulates at section 7(8) when GOB borrows less than $10 million (as has occurred under the Petro-Caribe agreement), they MUST within 3 months of each borrowing, publish in the Gazette the date of the loan, the amount of the loan, the parties to the loan, the purpose of the loan; and the terms and conditions of the loan. No such information has ever made it to any of the Gazette publications. Section 7(9) requires that loans less than $10 million are also reported to the National Assembly within 3 months of making and in the report, the matters specified under section 7(8) must again be outlined, but once more, no such thing occurred. Hon. Espat urged the Auditor General not to abdicate her responsibility and “watch over $200 million expended in an unlawful manner and without the requisite level of transparency or accountability”. The Barrow Administration, which was swept into office under the guise that it would be the most transparent and accountable Government, has departed from its mandate to the people. Barrow is now trying to hoodwink the people of Belize.
Hon. Ivan Ramos
Dangriga Area Rep., Hon. Ivan Ramos listening to the concerns of residents
THE BELIZE TIMES
AND PUP Dangriga Town Council Team THE on the campaign trail
Dangriga mayoral Greg Ovado discusses plans to Dangriga Town
THE BELIZE TIMES
Rotten from the start…
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Elvin Penner Cayo District, October 20, 2014 These pictures are of Election Day 2012. The disgraced and corrupt Elvin Penner is seated in the black vehicle. He was reportedly signing notes which indicated how much each person would get after they have voted. They then lined up with the notes in front of Sankar Restaurant and waited to collect through the grilled window. Sankar was one of the UDP’s ‘safe house’. There were others in Esperanza and on Bella Vista Street. This was the UDP strategy to steal the elections in Cayo North East. This happened despite the fact that the OAS election overseers were all over the place. Earlier in the day, UDP candidate Salvador Fernandez was caught on camera luring people to vote with money in hand--caught by the very same OAS elections observers. They failed in Cayo North as Joseph Mahmud won. Mr. Landy Habet lost the election in Cayo North East by 14 votes because of Penner’s Fraudulent actions. Look at where it led Penner to…the Kim Won Hong immigration scandal. Look at where he is now..he belongs in jail. God noh sleep!
FOR SALE 2004 Volkswagen Jetta, 4-door, 2.0L, FULLY LOADED and in excellent conditions. Contact 601-0379/667-4043. Going at a giveaway price.
FOR SALE 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser, 4-door, 2.4L, 4 cyl, FULLY LOADED and in excellent conditions. Contact 601-3925. Leaving the country. Must Sell.
THE BELIZE TIMES
MORE RAIN IS COMING!! Belize City, October 22, 2014 Weather conditions across the country are expected to deteriorate over the next few days with heavy showers and possible thunderstorms as Tropical Depression Nine moves west-southwest over the Yucatan area of Mexico and Belize. TD9 formed in the Gulf of Mexico late Tuesday night about 160 miles west-southwest of Cancun, Mexico and tropical storm watches have been issued for a stretch of the Mexican coast. The opportunity for Tropical Depression Nine to strengthen into a tropical storm is waning, as it is moving into an area of wind shear as
well as land interference from the Mexican Peninsula. At 6:00pm today, the center of TD9 was located about 70 miles southwest of Campeche, Mexico. The depression was moving to the east southeast at 7 mph with maximum sustained winds of 30 mph. Forecasters expect that TD-9 will strengthen to a Tropical Storm in the next 24 hours at which time it will be named Hanna. This is expected when the system will emerge into the Caribbean Sea on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula as it continues on an easterly track into the central Caribbean Sea.
...BELIZE CITY BRACES FOR MORE CEMENT STREETS DISASTER With more rain, the flooding that follows can be expected across the country but in Belize City where the UDP Belize City Council has just spent $20 MILLION on infrastructure development it is baffling. At the beginning of the cement streets spree, Mayor Darrel Bradley said that residents donâ€™t need drains so his master plan does not include any drainage project. Now that the Mayor has spent $20 MILLION on pouring cement on our streets, he is rushing to break up streets and putting in drains because the streets are flooding.
Queen Street Police Station
THE BELIZE TIMES
HON. FRANCIS FONSECA A Leader who listens and cares
PUP Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca and Deputy Leader Hon. Julius Espat listening to Executive Director of FCD Rafael Manzanero
OUT Hon. Julius Espat writes Auditor General on Petrocaribe loan Continued from page 2 that is neither a bank or financial institution. It is accordingly fundamentally misconceived to think that authority for any such borrowing can be derived from the resolution tabled in the House. Further and in any event such a resolution cannot validate or confirm the 2012 loan agreement in accordance with the provisions of Section 7 (2) of the Act given that the agreement can obviously no longer be “validly entered into pursuant to the resolution”, it having already been entered into without authority of any resolution whatsoever. I am also particularly disturbed by the fact that the proceeds of the loans were intended for development purposes and were not treated as part of the Development Fund established by section 10 (1) of the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act. In accordance with section 10 (2) (b) of the Act the Development Fund shall consist of loans to Government for development purposes by any other government, body or
person. The loans described by the motion clearly fall within that category. Further by Section 10 (4) the Development Fund shall be operated in accordance with the rules set forth in the Second Schedule to the Act. Rule 2 (1) of the Second Schedule of the Act prohibits the withdrawal of money from the fund except upon authority of a warrant under the hand of the Minister of Finance and Rule 2 (2) prohibits the issue of any such warrant unless the expenditure has been authorized by the National Assembly. The Rule goes on to require approval by the House of estimates of revenue and expenditure of the Development Fund. As far as I am aware no such estimates have ever been produced to nor authorized by the House so the law obviously has been and continues to be flouted by the Government. Given increased emphasis on the need for good governance, I write to require that you ascertain the basis of the authority for the expenditures of the APBEL loan funds by the Government and report to the National Assembly your findings in any event before the House reconvenes for the consideration of the motion. As you will no doubt appreciate the position of your office on the issue will be critical to any useful resolution by the National Assembly on the issue. Yours truly, Julius Espat Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee
Hon. Francis taking notes about the challenges facing Chiquibul National Reserve
Public Auction Sale By Order of the Board of Directors of Gulf Caribbean Limited, Licensed Auctioneer Gudalupe Montejo will sell the following property: ALL THAT piece or parcel of land being the subject of a Land Certificate 1187/91 dated the 19th day of March, 1991, registered at the Land Registry Belmopan in the Consejo Road SE Registration Section, being Block 1 Parcel 172 containing approximately 63.690 acres situated off the Corozal – Consejo Road, Corozal District. All Land taxes on the property have been paid up to date of auction sale. The Auction Sale will take place on site of the property (on the roadside of the Corozal-Consejo Road) on Friday the 14th November, 2014 at 10:30 am. Terms: STRICTLY CASH. The successful bidder/ purchaser shall be responsible to defray auctioneer’s commission and All charges, fees, stamp duty and costs to effect the transfer of Title. DATED this 23rd day of October, 2014. MUSA & BALDERAMOS LLP 91 North Front Street Belize City Attorneys-at-Law for Gulf Caribbean Limited.
26 26 OCT OCT
THE BELIZE THE BELIZE TIMESTIMES
09 TOPMODEL 13
NEWS REGGAE LEGEND
JOHNHOLT DEAD AT 69
John Holt, one of Jamaica’s most well-loved vocalists, died early Sunday morning in London at the age of 67. Holt, who was initially known for his career with the Paragons in the rocksteady era of the 1960s, had 40 albums under his belt alongside his reputation for strong live performances. As a pre-teen, Holt was tremendously successful at local talent competitions in his native Kingston, quickly drawing the attention of equally legendary Jamaican singer and songwriter Bob Andy. Andy had begun performing as a duo with Tyrone Evans just after independence in 1962. Deciding that the field was flooded with strong twosomes, Andy and Evans decided to reach out to some potential singers, including Holt, that would eventually become The Paragons. His 1973 album Stick by Me was a hit, as well as his series of unique covers of wellknown pop songs, 1,000 Volts of Holt. Holt demonstrated talent for roots reggae in the 1980s, making “Police in Helicopter” a 1983 hit while continuing to steadily tour. He was also the first Jamaican artist, alongside fellow singer Freddy McGregor, to perform with London’s Royal Symphony Orchestra. 11 July 1947 – 20 October 2014
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THE BELIZE TIMES TIMES THE BELIZE
as he wins Mr. Belize title Belize City, October 18, 2014 Since winning the Mr. Belize bodybuilding title in 2012, Rigo Vellos has dominated the arena and on Friday October 17th 2014 he continued to rule by winning his third consecutive title. Vellos won the Light Heavyweight category and advanced to the Overall Category against the winner of the Masters and Middleweight Categories, Clayton Greenidge, and Lightweight Category newcomer Oyinkro Okpobodor who settled for 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Vellos has been showing significant growth in body mass and muscle size, outsizing and overshadowing the competition. Gina Lovell made a comeback in the Ms. Body Figure competition to defeat Ann Lyn Apolonio and Josephine Gault who settled for 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Oyinkro Okpobodor, Rigo Vellos & Clayton Greenidge
Josephine Gault, Gina Lovell & Ann Lyn Apolonio
In the Light Heavyweight category, Deon “Tosh” Banner won second and Oyinkro Okpobodor won
In the Masters Category, Clayton Greenidge won 1st place, Deon “Tosh”
Banner was 2nd place and veteran bodybuilder Guy Neal was 3rd. In the Middleweight category, Clayton Greenidge won 1st place, Guy Neal won 2nd and Eduar Burns won 3rd place. In the Welterweight category, which saw the most competitors, Dion “Spider” Ortiz surpassed 2013 winner Edgar Carballo who took 2nd place. Chris Carter won 3rd place.
SJC win 4 games SCA girls win 4 games
SCA & BHS lead high school volleyball Belize City, October 21, 2014 The St. Catherine’s Academy girls are undefeated as they lead the high school volleyball competition with 5 wins, while the Belize High School girls also have 5 wins and a loss at the Stars’ training gymnasium last week. The SCA girls completely dominated the Pallotti High School girls: 25-2, 25-2 for their 5th win on Tuesday evening. Kevanna Sebastian hammered the Wesley College girls last Wednesday for their 3rd win, and with Karen Quan, Mya Musa and Juel Lewis serving up aces they dominated 25-4, 25-4. The Belize High School girls posted their 5th win against the Anglican Cathedral College girls last Friday: 25-11, 25-3. Other Matches: SCA vs. Maud Williams High - 25-11, 25-5 Wesley College vs. Sadie Vernon Technical High - 25-5, 25-10 Maud Williams High vs. Sadie Vernon - 25-15, 25-9 Ladyville Tech vs. Wesley College - 25-18, 25-13 Ladyville Tech vs. Pallotti High - 25-12, 25-1
SJC’s Miguel Rosado serves
In the Novice category, Oyinkro Okpobodor won 1st place, Keion Griffith was 2nd place and David Requena was 3rd place. In the Mr. Physique category, Tucker Dean Hemmans was 2nd place and Carlton Richards was 3rd place. The Ms. Bikini Fitness was a repeat of 2013 with Ann Lyn Apolonio winning 1st place and Christina Requena settling for 2nd place.
BHS & SJC boys lead high school volleyball Belize City, October 21, 2014 The undefeated Belize High School boys enjoyed their 5th win: 25-13, 25-18 against the Maud Williams High School boys on Monday at the Stars’ training gymnasium on Tuesday, October 22. The BHS boys had posted their 4th win: 2518, 25-20 against the Wesley College boys last Friday night. The Ladyville Tech boys had posted their 3rd win last Tuesday: 25-18, 25- 11. St. John’s College posted their 5th win 25-20, 25-17 against the Sadie Vernon Technical High School on Tuesday evening. SJC has one loss to BHS. They had won 25-16, 25-17 over the Ladyville Technical High School on Monday. They had to go to extra points to take out the ACC boys: 28-26, 25-15 last Wednesday. The SJC boys also enjoyed their 3rd win against the Wesley College boys last Thursday: 25-9, 25-13.
26 26 OCT OCT
THE BELIZE THE BELIZE TIMESTIMES
DFC Gentle Touch bombs Sugar City Girlz 6-0
Kim Perez scored Gentle Touch 6th goal
Trial Farm Village, October 19, 2014 DFC Gentle Touch of Esperanza bombed the Sugar City Girlz 6-0 in the FFB President’s Cup national women’s football tournament at the Trial Farm field on Sunday evening. Gentle Touch’s Abbi Halliday scored the 1st winning goal in the 8th minute. It was sweet revenge for the Esperanza girls as the Sugar city girls had humiliated them on their home turf: 3-2 in their first encounter in Esperanza. Cynthia Salazar added a 2nd goal in the 18th minute, and Sheriann “Baby” Tracy made it 3-0 in the 24th minute. Shanell Gentle scored a 4th goal in the 30th minute for a 4-0 lead at the half. In the 2nd half, Abbi Halliday added a 5th goal and Kim Perez scored a 6th goal to complete the rout in the 80th minute. In other action around the league, the former national champs, Triple B’s of Belmopan picked up an easy 3 points by the Dangriga Pumas’ forfeit of their scheduled match at the Carl Ramos Stadium on Sunday.
UB men win ATLIB national volleyball champs
SJCJC girls win ATLIB volleyball championships
San Ignacio’s Joel Guzman wins header
Verdes FC, BDF & Wagiya win in PLB football openers San Ignacio, October 19, 2014 Verdes FC bombed San Ignacio United 4-2 at the Norman Broaster Stadium; the Belize Defence Force stopped FC Belize 2-1 at the Peoples Stadium, and Wagiya stomped the Paradise Freedom Fighters 2-0 at the Toledo Union field in Punta Gorda in the Premier League of Belize football tournament openers on Sunday, October 19. Richard “Cheety” Jimenez struck first for Verdes, blasting in a low level cruis missile past goalie Gerardo Vanegas in the 20th minute. Joel Guzman equalized for San Ignacio in the 29th minutes but Vanegas could not stop Nahjib Guerra’s left foot shot in the 46th minute as Verdes took a 2-1 lead into the break. Gilroy “Bredda” Thurton set table for Jarret Davis to drive in Verdes’ 3rd goal in the 56th minute, and it was not until the 81st minute that Julian Maldonado added a 2nd goal to the home squad’s tally. Not for long as only 3 minutes of regulation remained when Jarret Davis struck again for Verdes to post a big 4-2 win. The BDF have chosen the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk as their new home turf for this season, and FC Belize goofed into giving up a penalty when Flooyd Jones tackled Jesse Smith inside the goal area in the 30th minute. Vallan Symns converted to give the soldiers a 1-0 lead and Shane “Chucky” Flores’ right foot shot added a 2nd goal for the soldiers to lead 2-0 at the half. Ricky Ricketts goofed into also giving FC Belize a penalty and Oliver Hendricks converted to give FC Belize a consolation goal in their 1-2 loss. The defending champs, the Belmopan Bandits had their Saturday night confrontation with Police United at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium postponed due inclement weather, that match was rescheduled for Wednesday night. This weekend Verdes FC travel to challenge FC Belize at their new home pitch, at the newly refurbished Louisiana field in Orange Walk on Saturday afternoon, while the Placencia Assassins will try to arrest the Police United at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium on Saturday night. The Bandits will raid Wagiya at the Carl Ramos Stadium on Sunday afternoon, while the Paradise Freedom Fighters host the BDF at the Toledo Union field.
Verdes’ Jarret Davis scored 3rd & 4th goals vs Rafael August
THE BELIZE TIMES
THE BELIZE TIMES
Hon. Dolores keeps working for BRC
Protesters at the Western Border
Belize City, October 9th, 2014 On Tuesday September 30th Hon. Dolores and a small group of her constituents attended the rally at the Western Border in support of the mother and family of Danny Conorquie and in protest of G.O.B incompetence in handling this and other matters.
Hon. Dolores handing a cheque to Keishalyn Estell
THE BELIZE TIMES
I’m a Hazmat-Trained Hospital Worker: Posted: 10/17/2014 10:18 am EDT Updated: 10/19/2014 3:59 pm EDT Ebola is brilliant. It is a superior virus that has evolved and fine-tuned its mechanism of transmission to be near-perfect. That’s why we’re all so terrified. We know we can’t destroy it. All we can do is try to divert it, outrun it. I’ve worked in health care for a few years now. One of the first things I took advantage of was training to become FEMA-certified for hazmat ops in a hospital setting. My rationale for this was that, in my home state of Maine, natural disasters are almost a given. We’re also, though you may not know it, a state that has many major ports that receive hazardous liquids from ships and transport them inland. In the back of my mind, of course, I was aware that any hospital in the world could potentially find itself at the epicenter of a scene from The Hot Zone. That was several years ago. Today I’m thinking, by God, I might actually have to use this training. Mostly, though, I’m aware of just that -- that I did receive training. Lots of it. Because you can’t just expect any nurse or any doctor or any health care worker or layperson to understand the deconning procedures by way of some kind of pamphlet or 10-minute training video. Not only is it mentally rigorous, but it’s physically exhausting. PPE, or, personal protective equipment, is sort of a catch-all phrase for the suits, booties, gloves, hoods and in many cases respirators worn by individuals who are entering a hot zone. These suits are incredibly difficult to move in. You are wearing several layers of gloves, which limits your dexterity to basically nil, the hoods limit the scope of your vision -- especially your peripheral vision, which all but disappears. The suits are hot -- almost unbearably so. The respirator gives you clean air, but not cool air. These suits are for protection, not comfort. Before you even suit up, your vitals need to be taken. You can’t perform in the suit for more than about a half hour at a time -- if you make it that long. Heat stroke is almost a given at that point. You have to be fully hydrated and calm before you even step into the suit. By the time you come out of it, and your vitals are taken again, you’re likely to be feeling the impact -- you may not have taken more than a few steps in the suit, but you’ll
Here’s What No One Is Telling You About Ebola
feel like you’ve run a marathon on a 90-degree day. Getting the suit on is easy enough, but it requires team work. Your gloves, all layers of them, are taped to your suit. This provides an extra layer of protection and also limits your movement. There is a very specific way to tape all the way around so that there are no gaps or “tenting” of the tape. If you don’t do this properly, there ends up being more than enough open pockets for contamination to seep in. If you’re wearing a respirator, it needs to be tested prior to donning to make sure it is in good condition and that the filter has been changed recently, so that it will do its job. Ebola is not airborne. It is not like influenza, which spreads on particles that you sneeze or cough. However, Ebola lives in vomit, diarrhea and saliva - - and these avenues for infection can travel. Projectile vomiting is called so for a reason. Particles that are in vomit may aerosolize at the moment the patient vomits. This is why if the nurses in Dallas were in the room when the first patient, Thomas Duncan, was actively vomiting, it would be fairly easy for them to become infected. Especially if they were not utilizing their PPE correctly. The other consideration is this: The “doffing” procedure, that is, the removal of PPE, is the most crucial part. It is also the point at which the majority of mistakes are made, and my guess is that this is what happened in Dallas. The PPE, if worn correctly, does an excellent job of protecting you while you are wearing it. But eventually you’ll need to take it off. Before you begin, you need to decon the outside of the PPE. That’s the first thing. This is often done in the field with hoses or mobile showers/ tents. Once this crucial step has occurred, the removal of PPE needs to be done in pairs. You cannot safely remove it by yourself. One
reason you are wearing several sets of gloves is so that you have sterile gloves beneath your exterior gloves that will help you to get out of your suit. The procedure for this is taught in FEMA courses, and you run drills with a buddy over and over again until you get it right. You remove the tape and discard it. You throw it away from you. You step out of your boots -- careful not to let your body touch the sides. Your partner helps you to slither out of the suit, again, not touching the outside of it. This is difficult, and it cannot be rushed. The respirators need to be deconned, batteries changed, filters changed. The hoods, once deconnned, need to be stored properly. If the suits are disposable, they need to be disposed of properly. If not, they need to be thoroughly deconned and stored safely. And they always need to be checked for rips, tears, holes, punctures or any other even tiny, practically invisible openings that could make the suit vulnerable. Can anyone tell me if this happened in Dallas? We run at least an annual drill at my hospital each year. We are a small hospital and thus are a small emergency response team. But because we make a point to review our protocols, train our staff (actually practice donning/doffing gear), I realized this week that this puts us ahead at some much larger and more notable hospitals in the United States. Every hospital should be running these types of emergency response drills yearly, at least. To hear that the nurses in Dallas reported that there were no protocols at their hospital broke my heart. Their health care system failed them. In the United States we always talk about how the health care system is failing patients, but the truth is, it has failed its employees too. Not just doctors and nurses, but allied health professionals as well. The presence of Ebola on American soil has drawn out the true vulnerabilities in the health care system, and they are not
fiscally based. We spend trillions of dollars on health care in this country -- yet the allocation of those funds are grossly disproportionate to how other countries spend their health care expenditures. We aren’t focused on population health. Now, with Ebola threatening our population, the truth is out. The truth is, in terms of virology, Ebola should not be a threat to American citizens. We have clean water. We have information. We have the means to educate ourselves, practice proper hand-washing procedures, protect ourselves with hazmat suits. The CDC Disease Detectives were dispatched to Dallas almost immediately to work on the front lines to identify those who might be at risk, who could have been exposed. We have the technology, and we certainly have the money to keep Ebola at bay. What we don’t have is communication. What we don’t have is a health care system that values preventative care. What we don’t have is an equal playing field between nurses and physicians and allied health professionals and patients. What we don’t have is a culture of health where we work symbiotically with one another and with the technology that was created specifically to bridge communication gaps, but has in so many ways failed. What we don’t have is the social culture of transparency, what we don’t have is a stopgap against mounting hysteria and hypochondria, what we don’t have is nation of health literate individuals. We don’t even have health-literate professionals. Most doctors are specialists and are well versed only in their field. Ask your orthopedist a general question about your health -- see if they can comfortably answer it. Health care operates in silos -- we can’t properly isolate our patients, but we sure as hell can isolate ourselves as health care workers. As we slide now into flu season, into a time of year when we are normally braced for winter diseases, colds, flus, sick days and cancelled plans, the American people have also now been truly exposed to another disease entirely: the excruciating truth about our health care system’s dysfunction -- and the prognosis doesn’t look good. Note: In response to some comments, I would like to clarify that I am FEMA-trained in level 3 hazmat in a hospital setting. I am a student, health guide and writer, but I am not a nurse.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Do The Right Thing! By Gilroy Usher, Sr. “I didn’t tell you to go and mek so much pickney”, “I am not your pickney pa”, “I can’t mine yu”, “I am not yu man”, “Money nu the grow pan me”,“A nu de se nobody till wa mont fra now”, and “A done gi yu $50.00 fi election. A nu gat notun mo fi gi yu.” are only a few of the many insults a lot of our Port Loyola residents have to endure often in public, when they seek assistance from many UDP Area Representatives especially one who is notorious for building large yellow concrete houses all over Belize City. After neglecting the most basic needs of their people for five long years, and seeking reelection, those same politicians do a few minor things in their area one to two months before an election and ask the same people to vote for them again with the promise that next time things will be better. “A wan gat you back dis time if u elect me again”, they tell the people. “This time you will be able to see me anytime, I will make sure you get the land, the house, the scholarship, the full time job, a “nice” money free every week, or whatever you need, and on election day I will give you $100.00 after I win my seat”.That’s the sale pitch of many of the current UDP politicians seeking reelection after turning their backs on the people in Port Loyola and other areas of the country shortly after they were victorious at the polls. Unfortunately for a few dollars on election day, a lot of people seem to suffer amnesia, forget the years of neglect and
Boots Martinez insults by the governing Area Representatives, and reelect those same uncaring politicians to office. Those people forget that just as how a hawk will never stop catching chickens, such politicians have become set in their ways and will never stop the massive neglect of their divisions. We must all remember that most of the money many of the ruling politicians use to entice voters on election day is not their personal cash by any stretch of the imagination, but taxpayers “dough” that are channeled to them through Christmas cheer and other giveaways orchestrated by the administration. Most of the ruling politicians will not spend even a copper of their own personal money to do anything for the residents of their constituency. They are just simply mean with the people who elected them to office. Municipal elections will be held in early March next year, and general elections will be held either at the same time or by sometime in 2017 the latest. Whenever such polls are held, the people should take the money from the ruling politicians who have neglected their divisions and vote them out of office. To avoid suffering three or five more years of insults and neglect from ruling politicians who have a well-known record of totally neglecting the people, we must all do the right thing at the polls next time- take their money and vote them out of office for betterment for ourselves, our families, and our communities. *** Send comments to Facebook at gilroyushersr
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The Belize Red Cross announces that Mrs. Winnie Parchue, former National First Aid Trainer for the Belize Red Cross, is no longer employed by the Belize Red Cross and is therefore NOT AUTHORIZED to conduct First Aid training on behalf of the Belize Red Cross. The public is asked to note that any trainings conducted by Ms. Parchue will not receive certification by the Belize Red Cross. All training requests must be made directly to the Headquarters in Belize City or our branch offices in every district.
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Sadly missed by his Mom, Brothers & Sisters, his kids: Renee & Daniel and there mother: Yolanda, Family and Friends. Management and staff of: J.E.C., MEGA BINGO & GADGETS would like to inform their customers that these establishments will be closed on: Friday October 24th.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Reid Ebola Scare By G. Michael Reid I was for the most part, incommunicado when the main shock from the Ebola quake hit Belize. I returned to the country on Sunday morning but immediately began feeling aftershocks. I had spent the past week in Cuba where internet access was at best, sporadic. I grabbed whatever I could read because it seemed that something big had happened, or had almost happened. From what I could gather a health care worker (to this point unnamed) who had handled a blood sample of Thomas Duncan the Liberian man who died from Ebola in the US on October 8th, was on board a cruise ship and was attempting to enter Belize. Now given what we know about Ebola, which is little enough, one can understand the apprehensions and concern felt by not only Belizeans but Mexicans and citizens of every other country, including the US. Upon arriving in Cuba, the first questions asked were, “have you been to Africa” and “have you been to Texas”? I’m not sure what procedure would have followed had I answered in the affirmative but I imagine it would have been immediate quarantine. What we do know about Ebola is that it is a “virus disease formerly known as Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever” and is described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “a severe, often fatal illness in humans.” Ebola has been around since 1976 when there were simultaneous outbreaks in two African countries; Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name. What has frightened the world is that Ebola can have a mortality rate of as high as 90 percent and so far, 60 percent of all persons who have contracted the disease have died. The current outbreak remains confined primarily to three countries in West Africa, namely Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Of the 8,300 confirmed cases so far, 4,000 have resulted in death according to World Health Organization figures. So far, the only other countries outside of Africa that have seen any cases of Ebola have been Spain and the United States. In the opinion of everyone that I have spoken to, Prime Minister Dean Barrow did absolutely the right thing in
and expertise with the world; even at risk to its own people. They were among the first to Haiti following the devastating earthquake of 2010 and even offered doctors to the US in the wake of the destructive 2005 Hurricane Katrina. The US refused of course, but Cuba continues to send doctors to countries throughout the world including Belize. In 2006, under past president George W. Bush, the US created the “Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program”, specifically to target Cuban medical denying that individual entry into Belize; personnel who are working outside of regardless of how low the risk. In fact, Cuba and to encourage them to defect. given the tense atmosphere created Of an estimated 40,000 eligible medical by this scare, any other decision would personnel, some 1000 have taken the have most likely resulted in countrywide opportunity but unfortunately for them, riots. Any other leader in Barrow’s posithe promised of fast-track visa has not tion would have had to exactly the same always materialized. Many of the applithing. The only surprise is that given Barcants get caught in limbo; unable to enrow’s usually cozy relationship and docilter the US and unable to return to Cuba. ity to US demands that he was able to Few countries encourage the practice find the cojones to say no. But he did and and some have even arrested doctors we Belizeans are united behind that deciand sent them back to Cuba. sion and support it unconditionally. If the With 83,000 doctors, Cuba has 7.2 PM did anything wrong it was in allowphysicians per 1,000 people, one of the ing the almost 4,000 other tourist to dishighest ratios in the world. Cuba curembark and mingle in our country. This rently has 30,000 health care workers in is apparently a highly infectious disease 103 different countries, of which 19,000 and given the fact that two other nursare physicians. Cuba provides more medical personnel to the developing world than all The Cuban president warned the world not to the G8 countries combined and healthcare workers have wait for Ebola to come to us but rather to conbeen described as “Cuba’s front the disease in West Africa and prevent it most important export comfrom becoming the “gravest pandemics modity”. A recent New York Times editorial opined that in human history”. In backing up those “While the United States words, Cuba has sent 461 doctors and and several other wealthy countries have been happy to nurses to West Africa, the largest medical pledge funds, only Cuba and contingent of any single country. a few nongovernmental organizations are offering what is most needed: medical professionals in es were infected merely by coming into Ebola “transcends borders and politics”. the field.” According to Dr. Jorge Perez contact with the victim, makes one won(Are you listening Dean Barrow?) AccordAvila, the internationally acclaimed and der what would have happened if that ing to Castro, “We should try to avoid respected head of Cuba’s infectious disnurse was indeed infected. Latest word the politicization of this grave problem, ease institute, “Our principle has been is that she has recently been cleared but which distracts us from the fundamental to share what we have and not to give is now planning on suing somebody. The objective: helping to stop the epidemic in what we don’t. The important thing is to question is though, why would the US alAfrica and stop it from spreading to othsave lives.” low her on a ship of all places and before er regions.” The Cuban president warned “Why are Cubans going to Africa”, the completion of the recommended 21 the world not to wait for Ebola to come asked Dr. Avila, “To save lives!”. days incubation period? While Belizeans to us but rather to confront the disease in This whole Ebola situation is seriwere understandably nervous, one can West Africa and prevent it from becomous; very serious. Belize must continonly imagine the consternation experiing the “gravest pandemics in human ue to be vigilant and carefully monitor enced by those tourists aboard that ship. history”. In backing up those words, Cuba all visitors. We must keep our eyes on One tourist described it as a “floating has sent 461 doctors and nurses to West these greedy politicians who will sacriPetri dish”. Africa, the largest medical contingent of fice our very wellbeing for “a few dolNow, situations like these can usuany single country. lars more”. Let’s not sleep on this one ally serve as unifying factors and given Cuba is big on medicine and has Belize; our very lives depend on it! our normally ridiculous and obsequious shown a willingness to share its experts political tribalism, it was refreshing to see Belizeans come together; if only on this one issue. The opposition PUP in no way attempted to play politics but one can only wonder if the response would have been the same had the shoe been on the “red” foot. The answer came in way of a press release from the government which reads, “PM Barrow and the UDP government have finalized preparation for the eventuality of an Ebola outbreak in the country of Belize”. Now really folks, would this not have been more appropriately put: “The government and people of Belize….?” When will these people get it that the Opposition is an integral component of government? In particular given that the Opposition controls almost fifty percent of the seats in Parliament and considering with all that has transpired under their watch, a majority of the voters are disgruntled and clamoring for a change. The release shows a few pictures of softwall shelters and goes on to state, “The following images are only a taster of the new golden age of infrastructure and National Reconstruction that the UDP will bring. ‘Money is no problem’, boasted PM Barrow, ‘with economic growth at 8.2 in the second quarter of 2014, we are rolling in it’” This is in response to an Ebola threat folks! Can we in any situation, put our grandstanding and petty political game-playing aside? Apparently the UDP cannot and will not. Here was another golden opportunity for unity squander in the selfish quest for political mileage. It was interesting that I was in Cuba during this Ebola drama for Cuba’s approach to this crisis has been interesting. In an emergency summit called on Monday in Havana, Cuban President Raul Castro said that the danger presented by
22 In my perspective…
THE BELIZE TIMES
Don’t be so cocky!
by Rayford Young One of the proudest moments in my life was in June of 2013 when I learned that the Belize Jaguars football team was coming to the United States of America to play in the gold cup in Salt Lake City. Like most Belizeans I felt proud and this event brought the whole country together. Everyone was rooting for the Jaguars. We wanted to see them win. Nothing has united the country like this. Then a post on social media started to circulate and soon it took hold all across the country of Belize – let’s humiliate the USA – and that became the crying theme. Many Belizeans think the USA is a bully and because they give us aid they can push us around is the concern I hear time and time again. No one can give me an example of anything wrong the USA did to them or to the country of Belize but this is the feeling most Belizeans have. If the Jaguars could beat the USA team that would make us feel good. Well, ten minutes into the game it was clear the USA team was a more superior team to the Jaguars and the USA went on to win 6-1. It was a big disappointment for so many Belizeans including myself. This idea that the USA is a big bully and the hatred I see and hear towards the USA is baffling to me. The USA gives Belize millions of dollars in aid each year and many Belizeans living in the USA send millions of dollars to their relatives and friends. The USA considers Belize a friend and ally. This week this attitude manifested itself again. A cruise ship five miles outside Belize harbor had a nurse on board who treated Eric Duncan, the first patient to die from the Ebola disease in the USA. She might have been infected and they wanted to get her and her companion off the ship and air ambulance them back to the USA. That request came from the State Department. My understanding is that the PM said no. Later that day the Secretary of State John Kerry called the PM urging him to reconsider and once again the PM said no. Once this news got out, the social media outlets were on fire. No one had all the facts but that did not stop Belizeans from calling the USA all kinds of names and making all kinds of accusations. The hate towards the USA was on display again. I understand people are scared. This is a serious disease that kills quickly if not treated right away. Belize has no protocols for dealing with infectious disease. So the concern is understandable and real. But I don’t understand the hate. At the risk of getting kickback from your emails and postings, here is what I would have done. I would have told
the Secretary of State John Kerry that most, if not all, of the Belizean people are against allowing the nurse to disembark from the ship and be transported to the airport. But I would take the heat if we could come to some agreement that will benefit both countries. 1. The nurse would have to be air lifted from the ship to the airport. 2. No Belizean health professional, security personnel or any Belizean would assist the patient boarding and transporting from the ship to the airport and then to the USA. We don’t have the necessary protective clothing or training to do this. You will need to bring your own medical staff to make this happen. 3. For the Belizean government to give you permission to enter our shores we are requesting the following: a) medical centers set-up like the ones the US military installed in Liberia so if anyone has the disease in Be-
lize they can be quarantined. b) protective clothing and CDC staff to train medical staff and personnel in Belize on how to handle this Ebola epidemic. Mr. Kerry, if the USA is willing to help us with these emergency equipment, then I would allow you to air lift the nurse and her companion to the airport and then on to the USA. This kind of negotiation would have been a win for both sides. All we’ve done so far is receive criticism for not allowing the nurse to leave the ship. After all there were over 4,000 people on that ship that could have been infected if the nurse was indeed coming down with the Ebola disease. I don’t see what was so bad or risky asking the Belizean government for the US to remove the nurse from the ship and air ambulance back to the USA. Is this the way you treat a friend? Or was this expediency to get a win after so many months of bad news for this administration. At the PM’s press conference the following morning you could see the smirk on his face. Like he was saying I smacked the USA, I stood up to the bully, I’m
tough. Well let’s see when another person shows up with the Ebola sickness? What then? We have nothing in place, no trained personnel, no place to quarantine them, no protective clothing, what then Mr. PM? Saying no is easy, thinking through problems and coming up with sound solutions takes time, experience and thoughtfulness. No one is saying the USA is perfect. Every country makes mistakes. But for the life of me I don’t understand why so many Belizeans hate the USA. Whenever there’s a hurricane the USA is first to show up with water, food and medicine. With Guatemala always making noise of invading Belize why would you behave this way towards the USA? They are still the most powerful military might on this earth two hours from Belize. Don’t be so cocky, you may need the USA one of these days; I hope they will still pick up the phone when we call. Rayford Young is a Belizean-American, who currently lives in Michigan, U.S.A. Send comments to rayfordyoung@ comcast.net
THE BELIZE TIMES
Home Economics Current and Future State of Tourism in Belize By Richard Harrison The World Bank estimated that tourism arrivals in Belize in 2000 were 196,000 visitors, with total spending of US$111 million. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) estimated that in 2013, a total of 294,177 tourists visited the country. This reflects an annual growth of between 4-8%. The Center on Eco-Tourism and Sustainable Development (CETSD) informs that, after starting in 2002, cruise tourism peaked in 2005 at 800,331 visitors, and BTB estimated that in 2013 a total of 677,350 cruise tourists visited the country. The CETSD estimated that at its peak in 2005, cruise tourists spent a total of US$30.6 million (90% from USA origin), and that overnight visitors (60% from USA origin) spent US$144.1 million…and that cruise tourism provided 1 out of every 10 jobs in the tourism industry, while overnight tourism provided 9 out of every 10 tourism jobs. The tourism industry has been estimated to account for 20-30% of GDP....depending on motives and methodology used by the proponents. Most overnight tourism investors view cruise tourism as a threat to their business, mostly due to competition for the accessible attraction sites, and cruise tourism investments have faced significant opposition from overnight investors, in general. Belize’s overnight tourism includes low, middle and high-end customers… with campers and backpackers an estimated 20%, budget travelers (students, charities, group travel, etc) 50%, middle-level eco-tourists and events/business/conference goers 15%, and higher-end boutique jungle and diving/fishing/ sailing enthusiasts (15%). These are my own estimates from rapid scan of the type and scale of establishments and services available in the country. Belize’s tourism demand is directly related to the product offers….and can be classified as: (1) sun, sea and sand recreation tourism (2) gastronomic tourism (3) inland and coastal nature-based adventure tourism (4) Mayan and cultural tourism (5) sex, drugs and ragamuffin tourism (6) Diaspora and ex-pat family and friends visits (7) events and conferences (8) specialized fishing, diving and yachting expeditions (9) regional “Mundo Maya” tourism (10) business, charities and retirement/resettlement scouting (11) natural-history/cultural education and charity travel. Each tourist might choose one or more of these offers during a particular visit. I could not find any reliable data on visitors to Belize by age range, male/female distribution, marital status, lifestyle preferences, economic status, traveling alone, accompanied or in group, etc., or how many are first-time or repeat visitors, what they are seeking or expect…. and their levels of satisfaction with their experiences.....all of which are vital for more substantial product-market and economic analysis. In 2013, overnight arrivals ranged from 10-12,000 in September, to 3236,000 in March…with December to March being high season, April-July medium season and August-November low season. Cruise tourism could be described as high season from November-April, with its low season between
May-October…the lowest being around 22,000 visitors each for June and September, the highest being around 90,000 each for December and January. Hence, tourism is pretty much a seasonal business for Belize, with the peaks and troughs following similar trends for overnight and cruise tourism….and this reflects the fact that demand for Belize tourism offers is currently primarily motivated by sun, sea and sand seeking, mostly from USA buyers during their winter months. Being that the country depends so much on tourism, this seasonality has all kinds of social, cultural, political and economic implications that need to be better researched and understood. Many years of “efforts” have not yielded the desirable result of reducing this large variance between peaks and troughs....and the euphoria and trauma that accompany them. There is a National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan for Belize 2030, which was officially approved by the Government of Belize on October 30, 2012….. which sets an ambition to almost triple the amount of overnight tourism arrivals while enhancing their length of stay and daily expenditure, and to double the cruise tourism arrivals by the year 2030. It also aims to increase the annual economic contribution from tourism to fivetimes its current level. It suggests that the number of hotel rooms will need to increase from 6,885 in 2010, to 13,754 in 2030. It envisions a countrywide expansion in inland and coastal tourism offers, with a more diversified portfolio. Its expectations seem to lean heavily on significantly growing European travel to Belize, while maintaining current rates of growth from existing North American markets....a strategy perhaps adopted hoping that it will help with reducing seasonality, as there is a perception that many Europeans travel during the Belize slow-season....but which might be unrealistic, if the competitiveness gaps are not resolved. When placed into context of Belize’s development as a whole, tourism has outpaced the rest of the economy in terms of growth…and if this ambitious plan is realized, Belize’s future will lean much more heavily on tourism...which raises the question of whether tourism planning that is not anchored in national economic plans makes for practicality, sensibility and optimal balance. Tourism, however, finds itself sharing the same principal challenge as other sectors in the economy…..COMPETITIVENESS....especially relative to COST/ QUALITY, PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE, CULTURAL/SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, and SAFETY/SECURITY. The COST/QUALITY COMPETITIVENESS challenge can be analyzed at various stages of the value-chain: 1. The cost and quality of marketing and SELLING to potential visitors (includes collections) 2. The cost and quality of moving the buyer from home to destination and back (includes time, effort, convenience, flexibility, ticket price, etc) 3. The cost and quality of the stay, moving around and experiences 4. The cost and quality of post-sale follow up, reinforcement and repeat sale. RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Management (planning, organization, leadership and control) needs drastic improvement….at the level of national policy/regulatory/planning, local community management, stakeholder representations and individual properties/service providers. Infrastructure development planning and zoning blue-prints [along the lines used by Mexico of Planned Integrated Centers] should allow for product-development options that fit the environmental and sustainable development criteria such that they should not have to face all the current obstacles, especially for medium-large-scale projects. Marketing and sales [mostly currently in-house] can be consolidated to pool human and material resources for greater efficiency and effectiveness [mostly outsourced based on retainer and commissions], and to integrate more appropriately with marketers and sellers that have already developed integration and confidence/ credibility among higher-quality buyers in the target markets. 2. Belize needs to scale up its infrastructure for receiving more varied landing crafts, from more varied destinations, with more flexibility, at much more competitive costs. The existing organizational and financial formula for ports and airport management and expansion investments is not working and needs complete rethinking and overhaul…because the national interest is subservient to narrow monopoly interests…too many hands in the cookie jar, and too little allocated for reinvestments in expansion. The cost and quality of moving a visitor from North America or Europe to Belize should not exceed the cost of moving them to Cancun. A more integrated approach to providing service for airline operations need to be considered….such as overnight parking; hotel, shopping and entertainment for airline employees; refueling, service and maintenance of airplanes; catering services; hanger services, etc., such that Belize becomes competitive with Miami and El Salvador for over-all cost of a menu of required services for airline operations. Off-peak, night-flights to Belize could reduce the ticket cost by a significant amount…but would require a range of cost- and quality-competitive 24-hour services, which would have to be structured so that the cost-benefit is positive for all concerned. 3. Belize needs to attract and facilitate major investments in marina and marina services, which would allow many more high-end customers to choose Belize for vacations, parking, service and maintenance of boats/yachts, etc. It would have to invest in increasing security on the seas, with radio and satellite communications and surveillance capability….and rapid response aerial and sea-based rescue services. 4. There is a need to diversify the range of experiences, especially for high-end visitors in nature/adventure (such as mountain climbing, biking, skydiving, etc), charity and education/ research/training, health and wellbeing, sports and entertainment [including differentiation and refinement of nightlife experiences], shopping and community civilization, business and conference/ expositions, beauty and fashion…such that our tourism can be more highly relevant to our collateral interests in areas where we can enjoy comparative and competitive advantage….using our location, genetics, natural and multi-cultural resources to our greatest advantage. 5. Cultural and social life at the community level must be compatible for both the locals and the tourism experience. For example, a sex-drugs-raggamuffin lifestyle may not be compatible with high-end or family tourism. Communities need to define what they want to look and feel like in the medium-long term, set standards and enforce them
23 according to the kind of life the locals want to live, and ensure that it is compatible with the type of visitors that they expect to consistently attract now and in the future. This important aspect of tourism and local development is grossly underestimated and thus overlooked in Belize, in general. Because of negligence in this area, we have allowed trash tourism, TV/internet and ghetto Caribbean culture to have grave negative impact on the cultural and social life of Belize thus far...a trend which needs to be halted and reversed. 6. The fiscal structure of the economy demands too much taxes from some sectors, and too little from others. Taxes need to be more evenly spread across the economy, including, but not limited to, the elimination of the Hotel Tax, broad-basing the GST at a lower rate of 10%, removing all taxes except GST from fuel so that the priceper-gallon of premium fuel is lowered to around BZ$7.50/gallon, lowering the Business Tax to 1% and broad-basing it to include ALL businesses operating in Belize, and removing all taxes from foreign exchange transactions. This will allow ALL tourism investments to become more competitive in their offers, significantly increase their net profits, increasing their potential to invest in quality and quantity. 7. The fiscal measures proposed above would allow for two major decentralization efforts that are important to the overall development of Belize, but much more so to the tourism industry: (a) the annual allocation of BZ$20 million to a municipal development fund by way of towns and cities charging a road maintenance fee on private and commercial vehicles at the time of licensing, and (b) the annual additional allocation out of the national budget of BZ$20 million to enhance safety and security in the municipalities and visitor sites. 8. These fiscal measures would also allow for significant and faster reduction of national debt, while increasing provisions for capital investments, allowing for a more stable long-term economic outlook conducive to a more attractive domestic and foreign investment climate….which would set the stage for lowering of country-related risks that have contributed to keeping cost-of-capital [interest rates and related costs of financing and financial services] relatively high for Belize investments. 9. There is a need to continuously conduct research aimed at better understanding the market and its stakeholders, especially current and potential customers....with a view to continuously refining our ability to more closely meet their wants and desires. For example, there is the need to know who and how many are making repeat visits to Belize, and why? Working with outdated, incomplete, irrelevant quantitative and qualitative information is like shooting from the hip.... tourism is so vitally important to the future of Belize, and our human and material resources are so limited, that we need to aim and fire with greater precision.
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 email@example.com
THE BELIZE TIMES
The Petrocaribe Trap by Alexis Caraballo, who makes her living as a Caribbean regional analyst. A failing economy, where everything for sale in the shops is imported, with dwindling foreign reserves and on the brink devaluation. Sound familiar? It does to folks in Jamaica, a country that breaks records not just in the 100-meter dash (9.58 seconds) but also in debt-to-GDP ratio (139%) – and whose beaches, stunning though they may be, just can’t bring in enough money to keep the island’s economy afloat. Venezuelans tend to have some vague notion that the government has basically bought up these struggling Caribbean island states through oil subsidies, but seldom do we really stop to understand just how dependent places like Jamaica are on our petro-largesse. So let’s go there. Jamaica is currently in austerity-land as it fights to achieve IMF targets. To IMF reform package means the usual mix of higher taxes and lower public spending, in return for USD $345.8MM loan. That’s peanuts compared to its outstanding debt with Petrocaribe, which the Government of Jamaica estimated at USD $2.5B at the end of January. True, for a bigger country US $2.5 billion is a mere rounding error. But for Jamaica, US $2.5 billion is 2.4 times the country’s international reserves. In fact, international reserves have only surpassed the billion dollar mark in three of the last 12 months. Jamaica’s total exports are also peanuts next to what it owes to Petrocaribe. The nation’s exports were just $1.4 billion between January and November of last year. And they’re falling fast, with a 7% year-on-year drop during these eleven months. The country’s access to international credit markets remains extremely precarious: its credit rating was taken out of default category by S&P only 12 months ago, after a successful NDX debt swap that had an impact on domestic bonds worth no less than 64% of GDP. Into this extremely fragile macro environment comes Moneybags Uncle Ramírez offering to finance up to 95% of their fuel tab for periods of up to 25 years, at a bargain basement 1% interest with a manguangua-del-siglo twoyear grace period. Of course, as the debt under the Petrocaribe mechanism grows, so do the stakes for Jamaica. Never forget, the second-to-last article of the Petrocaribe Agreement explicitly states the deal be changed or terminated by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela unilaterally, with just 30 days’ notice after notification through standard diplomatic channels. In effect, the Venezuelan government has a fiscal gun pointed at Jamaica’s head at all times, with a 30-day trigger. What happens if that trigger gets pulled? It’s simple, really: if Petrocaribe stops, the lights go out. Literally. Because – did I mention? – Diesel-powered powerplants make up almost 95%
of the country’s installed power generation capacity. This is a country whose political economy just doesn’t work without Petrocaribe. Already the fiscal accounts barely work with the Venezuelan subsidy. Without it, it’d be just fiscal carnage. Now you start to see why, when
Roy Chaderton says “jump” to Jamaica’s ambassador at OAS, the guy barks back “how high”? Though Nicolás Maduro makes the friendly promise to his Caribbean neighbors that Petrocaribe is here to stay, he was not smiling on March 8 when he said that “any country that intervenes in Venezuelan affairs will go dry, sink, and pay a high price.” It’s…not exactly
subtle. Under the Petrocaribe ‘goods for oil’ arrangement, Jamaica has agreed to supply Venezuela with 100,000 tons of clinker – a key input for cement-making – over the five months to May. With the deal valued at only USD $8.5MM, it will barely make a dent in the USD $2.5B debt. In fact, the cement company involved in the
deal, Caribbean Cement Company Limited, could decide to repatriate profits to Trinidad & Tobago anyhow. Termination of the Petrocaribe agreement or an increase in the interest rate would mean more pressure on the currency, more inflation, and more strain on the private sector. In fact, the Petrocaribe countries are already feeling the pinch, as 2013 shipments were down by 4.6% and Rafael Ramirez stated in December that only 84% of Petrocaribe quotas had been fulfilled last year. As the OAS Ambassadors sat around a table on March 21 to decide on a motion to have the meeting held behind closed doors (since Venezuela’s opposition would speak from Panama’s seat), it was hard to hear when Jamaica’s representative muttered his vote. In fact, he didn’t even look up to say “closed”. Personally, I don’t think the Ambassador was avoiding the camera. As his country’s economy hangs in a delicate balance and Nicolás Maduro threatened to sink deserters, it seems to me that he may have been looking around trying to find his own “Salida”.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Eulogy for Karl H. Menzies Sunrise: February 14, 1928 - Sunset: October 11, 2014
Read by Mr. Marion Usher As I begin, I would like to thank all of you here today, on behalf of Ms. Dorothy, Ms. Kay, Family members, Karlie’s Angels, Ms. Simplis, Ms. Pas and the entire Staff of Karl H. Menzies Co. Ltd., and myself, for coming to help us celebrate Mr. Karlie’s life. I am honored to be here to speak to you about Mr. Karlie, who I considered a mentor and a role model. Mr. Karlie may not have written any works that made it into the Harvard Business Review, the Economist or the Wall Street Journal, but there was no need to publish his words of wisdom. We all knew, he had a Stellar set of Core and Common Sense Values, which he developed in the Belize school of hard knocks, and which he willingly shared with all of us. When he spoke his words of Wisdom I listened. I will always remember my discussions with him and his response as I considered venturing into business. He raised his head slowly looked me squarely in the eyes and said “My brother, Measure Twice and Cut Once”. At first I was taken aback, but those words have stuck with me. I remember his deep, inner wolfish, chuckle that accompanied this and most of his words of Wisdom, punctuating his point and softening his message. Mr. Karlie was a strong person through and through, in character, in personality and in presence. I believe that he would have been a Master at whatever dream he pursued; imagine Mr. Karlie a superb lawyer or a formidable politician, but no, his passion was Commerce. Karl Hugh Joseph Menzies, or Mr. Karlie, always spoke of counting his blessings. Those blessings were many, including a beautiful wife, three loving daughters, and a successful business. But, it did not start out that way for Mr. Karlie as he grew up poor, one of eight children born to Elna and Edwin Menzies. Mr. Karlie loved to tell stories of his upbringing in extreme poverty, with outdoor latrines and hand-me-down shoes. One story he loved to tell is of his first foray into entrepreneurship. At the age of seven, he began picking up horse and mule dung from the streets, selling it as fertilizer, but keeping some and using it to fertilize his okra patch, then selling the okra. Combining his flair for entrepreneurship and his love of pranks, he also told the story of selling iguanas. He caught the iguanas, stuffed them with small guavas so that it appeared they had eggs, because the ones with eggs fetched a higher price. Needless to say, he didn’t get away with this for very long. One customer almost delivered to him a very harsh lesson in customer service and quality control, but fortunately young Menzies was a fast runner. Never afraid of hard work, Mr. Karlie always talked proudly about riding 9 miles each way daily to AgStock to earn 30 cents a day. He worked on the Shulister, he drove a taxi in partnership with his brother, and he taught many people to drive. Mr. Karlie never forgot his humble beginnings, and in fact spoke of them with pride. We all admired Mr. Karlie for never hiding anything about himself. What others treated with shame he boasted about with pride. For example, his formal educa-
tion ended at Standard Six, and he often joked that this was his key to success. In response to queries about where higher education would have taken him, he said he would likely have been a civil servant. At the age of 17, he began his career in commerce at John Harley & Co., earning five dollars a week, and climbed his way up the ladder from grocery clerk to travelling salesman to warehouse manager. He took a pay cut and left John Harley to go work at British Honduras Distributors, and became the company’s first local sales manager. Recruited by Hofius Ltd., Mr. Karlie informed Heineken that he was leaving B H Distributors. Heineken, recognizing that he was the person who put their beer in the market, offered him the distributorship if he wished to go into business for himself. So it was, that Karl H Menzies Co. Ltd. was founded, 45 years ago this month (on 2nd October, 1969) with nothing more than a small loan from the Holy Redeemer Credit Union, an overdraft facility, and an old truck. That loan from HRCU, which started his business, was given on the strength of his consistent record of saving. He always reminded all of us, that “a penny saved is a penny earned”. He practiced what he preached, even when he was earning $5 a week. Mr. Karlie saved faithfully. In time, because of his loyalty and strong involvement with HRCU, Henry ‘Eagle’ Usher recruited him to the Board of Directors in 1989. He eventually succeeded Mr. Henry as President, becoming the longest-serving President in HRCU’s history, from April 1997 to August 2014, when he stepped down due to health reasons. Everyone who attended an Annual General Meeting remembers his jokes and rousing announcements of prize winners. Mr. Karlie had a strong loyalty to his country. He firmly believed that for all that he was given, he must give back. He was known for his public service, illustrated by his appointments to serve on numerous boards, including the Belize Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Belize, the Sugar Board, the Citrus Control Board, BTL, Protected Areas Conservation Trust, Chairman of the Elections & Boundaries Commission, to just name a few. He was, however, best known for Chairing the then Belize Electricity Board and bringing it back to solvency, remaining on the board
of the new entity, Belize Electricity Limited, for many years. He was a staunch and vocal supporter of their debenture program to the very end of his life. The organization that he served the longest, and to which he was most devoted, was the 4H Foundation. He always felt that it was an excellent way to educate our nation’s youth in entrepreneurship. He freely and generously shared his wisdom with the 4H youth, telling them that 4H was about “helping the needy and not the greedy,” and encouraging them to “learn to earn and save.” He urged them to “work and save your money when you are young, so that, when you get old, your money will work for you.” He served at 4H for 58 years, until declining health forced him to retire. Mr. Karlie also served as a Senior Justice of the Peace and a Commissioner of the Supreme Court. In 2003 at the annual Tribute to Belizean Patriots, he was recognized with a Meritorious Service Award for the long years of service he has given to his beloved Belize. THAT was what Mr. Karlie did, but we are also celebrating his life today because of who he was. For many, Mr. Karlie was a financial advisor and a mentor. If you had an entrepreneurial idea, you could count on his enthusiastic encouragement and support, promptly followed by him asking whether you save at HRCU. He was the credit union’s biggest fan, never shy about telling anyone that his business success was made possible by the credit union. His persistence was legendary, and one frequent piece of advice was “don’t ever give up”. Notwithstanding his youthfully misguided iguana sales efforts, Mr. Karlie was a champion of integrity and ethical business. In all the business advice he gave, he invariably advocated against compromising moral integrity in order to succeed. He never felt that success by cutting corners was truly success. There was also a lighter side, as we all knew. Mr. Karlie had the largest collection of fax numbers in the country. How many of you were lucky enough to be on the list for his jokes? He was also an early adopter of technology and when the internet came to town he promptly moved to email circulation. Many of the jokes were, of course, not for discussion in this forum, but they often arrived in the middle of a hard day, never failing to provide much-needed comic relief. No one loved the sea and the cayes more than Mr. Karlie. He always joked that if anyone heard that a Menzies was lost in the bush, it wasn’t him, but if a Menzies was lost at sea, it could be him. He used to run away to sail as a young boy, and often raced sailboats with, and against his friends Barney Mahler, Denys Bradley, Willie Longsworth, and many others. He even apprenticed for a short time as a ship’s pilot before being bitten by the Commerce bug. Hard work afforded him the privilege of owning a boat and a house at the caye. This was a great source of happiness and relaxation for him during the most stressful years of growing and running his business. On virtually every weekend, Mr. Karlie could be found at St George’s Caye with his family, fishing for kingfish, waterskiing, or just lying in the hammock sipping
25 a gin and coconut water…or a Heineken, of course. Mr. Karlie was born on February 14, Valentine’s Day. This gave him bragging rights to be Valentino, which he boasted frequently. During his last hospital stay, he continued to show his appreciation for the ladies and would still be heard calling them “Dawling”. He was, of course, completely devoted to Ms. Dorothy, yet never failed to appreciate a good looking woman, saying, he could ‘look, but not touch.’ Valentino set his heart to capture Ms. Dorothy, and gleefully told the story, that because of his reputation, she declared, she would have nothing to do with him, saying, “I could never love a man like you.” However, his response was, “what Menzies wants, Menzies gets”. Sure enough, Ms. Dorothy eventually gave in to his charm. Four decades later, Mr. Karlie was very fond of saying “I was her boss for four years; and now, she has been my boss for over forty.” Mr. Karlie greeted everyone with a smile, a laugh and a joke. He never failed to find the right joke to relieve a tense moment. During his last term on the BEL board, it became the ritual for meetings to begin with one of his jokes. He was a legendary prankster, and a great storyteller. Despite that, Mr. Karlie was no clown. He was also a repository of great wisdom, having benefitted from his own life’s lessons as well as experiences of his elders. He was deadly serious when it came to his family, his business and his service to his country. He knew when it was time to play and when it was time to work, and could do both equally well. Belize has lost one of her most devoted citizens, one who never wanted to leave her for even a moment, until such time he had no choice. He served his country in more ways than we can count, and believed in her potential to the very end of his life. He lived, he loved, and he enjoyed life to the fullest. He taught us that laughter truly is the best medicine. We will need to remember his lessons in these moments. ‘Ms Dolly pickney’ has left us, but we are all the better for having known him. In 1982, my father, Henry “Eagle” Usher, shared with me a poem by Bessie Anderson Stanley. He must have had a premonition, that I would have the honor of speaking to you today, and have the opportunity to present this poem about his friend. The poem is titled “Success”, and my mentor and my role model Mr. Karlie, was a “Success”. In closing, I will read this poem. SUCCESS He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction. Mr. Karlie truly believed that if you worked hard, laughed daily, saved faithfully, treated people humanely, and, with a little help from God, you could enjoy the blessings of this life. Recognizing his life could easily have taken a different path, he often declared “me da God pickney.” Mr. Karlie is indeed, truly, a child of God. Rest in peace, Mr. Karlie, and rise in Glory.
THE BELIZE TIMES
by Katie Usher
Minds VS Hands Art by Inga Woods
Shadow and light dance. Will you seek balance? Even in this tense and tight environment, one can forge out a tiny space of reflection and create big works. A new artist completely burst a reflective space in the art gallery last week. When I went back to take a peek at the progress, I was greeted by a drying paint puddle at the entrance. On first glance it looks like a heart, if you respect it, in the Latin sense, the etymological sense, then you look at it again, and you see her footprints. This is the heart of Mind VS Hands that makes one ‘look again’. Seeing is one, revising is another, but really looking (respecting) is a whole other activity which the artist Inga Woods has demanded from us, even upon entering the space she has developed. But she demands things so gently, that you would not notice. Beauty has that ability. Woods harnesses it for her purposes. We could all benefit from doing the same. I asked Inga, of course my general pedestrian thought-process question, if she was presenting Mind VS Hands because she is a masseuse, “no” she said, “you know sometimes, when you have a vision and your hands, they are just not making what you have in mind?” Yes, I responded. I am a weak drafts woman and I am all too acquainted with this phenomena. “Well it’s like that” she continued. The pieces in Inga’s display spill over from one genre to the next, showing mass experimentation not only in concept but in media. She paints, sculpts fashion glass rods to crowns (which you may have seen at a Joris Hendricks fashion show) or trophies (which you might have seen on the news as Oceana awarded them to guardians of our seas and marine life). This is what I admire most about Inga’s journey. She does
heart and mind. A look into her growth as a person, her development as an artist and I am honoured to have witnessed it. Mind VS Hands was launched on October 17 at the Image Factory Art Gallery to a massive gathering of family, friends and fans. The show will be on display until the end of the month.
not shy away from technique, form, audience or ideas. She works as she says in her “1 am to 4 am” when insomnia strikes. She knows how to reverse a bad situation into a creative one. She reminded me that she was “more interested in the response of the audience than in explaining a piece.” Woods will show her art but not explain it, because how we respond to it “sincerely, and without holding back” by “just being brutally honest!” as she insists, is what she is really looking for. Mind VS Hands is a young woman’s journey through Belizean landscape and mindscape (if I am allowed to create a word of my own), through construction sites and a family of sisters, through poetry, emotions, hands and
Artist Inga Woods
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BELIZE TIMES WEEKLY
SCIENCE & TECH R
Brain barrier opened for first time to treat cancer 22 October 2014 by Helen Thomson For the first time, doctors have opened and closed the brain’s protector – the blood-brain barrier – on demand. The breakthrough will allow drugs to reach diseased areas of the brain that are otherwise out of bounds. Ultimately, it could make it easier to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s and brain cancer. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a sheath of cells that wraps around blood vessels (in black) throughout the brain. It protects precious brain tissue from toxins in the bloodstream, but it is a major obstacle for treating brain disorders because it also blocks the passage of drugs. Several teams have opened the barrier in animals to sneak drugs through. Now Michael Canney at Paris-based medical startup CarThera, and his colleagues have managed it in people using an ultrasound brain implant and an injection of microbubbles. When ultrasound waves meet microbubbles in the blood, they
The all-too-effective sheathing (Image: C. J. Guerin, MRC Toxicology Unit/SPL)
make the bubbles vibrate. This pushes apart the cells of the BBB. With surgeon Alexandre Carpentier at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, Canney tested the approach in people with a recurrence of glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain tumour. People with this cancer have surgery to remove the tumours and then chemotherapy drugs, such as Carboplatin, are used
to try to kill any remaining tumour cells. Tumours make the BBB leaky, allowing in a tiny amount of chemo drugs: if more could get through, their impact would be greater, says Canney. The team tested the idea on four patients by implanting an ultrasound transducer through a hole already made in their skulls during tumour-removal surgery. They were then given an injection of microbubbles and had the transducer switched on for 2 minutes. This sent low-intensity pulses of ultrasound into a region of the brain just 10 millimetres by 4 mm. Canney reckons this makes the BBB in this region more permeable for about 6 hours. In this time window, each person
received normal chemotherapy. Since July, they have performed the technique once a month on each of the four patients. It will be a few months before Canney can determine the effect on tumours. An MRI scan showed that a marker chemical, injected along with the microbubbles, was crossing the BBB. “We hope this means the chemotherapy drug is doing the same thing,” says Canney, who presented his observations last week at the Focused Ultrasound symposium in North Bethesda, Maryland. There may be an additional benefit. Animal models of Alzheimer’s suggests that merely opening up the barrier – with no added drugs – results in a reduction in the protein plaques associated with the disease. It may be that when the barrier opens, immune cells can mount an attack. A similar immune response might help attack cancerous cells, Canney suggests. “We think we will have a significant effect on these tumours.”
Secret US spaceplane lands after 674-day mission 20 October 2014 What was it doing up there? A top secret US spaceplane landed on Friday, after a record-breaking 22 months in orbit. The X-37B, a miniature, uncrewed version of the space shuttle, built by Boeing for the US air force, has flown three times but its purpose is a mystery. Surveillance? Carrying out classified space experiments? We don’t know. The X-37B first flew in 2010 and again in 2011 and 2012. It launches aboard a conventional rocket, using solar panels for power while in orbit and gliding to Earth on its return. The air force has said it will take over former shuttle hangars at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, suggesting it plans to expand X-37B operations. Last week, officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California would say only that they were preparing for the X-37B to land and disclosed no further details.
26 26 OCT OCT
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REGIONAL & INTERNATIONAL
Mexico: Mayor linked to deadly attack on students MEXICO CITY – Officials said Wednesday that a drug gang implicated in the disappearance of 43 students in a southern city essentially ran the town, paying the mayor hundreds of thousands of dollars a month out of its profits from making opium paste to fuel the U.S. heroin market. The statements painted the fullest picture yet of the control that is exercised by gangs over a broad swath of Mexico’s hot lands in Guerrero state.The Guerreros Unidos cartel’s deep connections with local officials in the city of Iguala came to a head Sept. 26 when the mayor ordered municipal police to detain protesting students, who were then turned over to the drug gang.
UK man faked coma for 2 years to avoid court Oct. 8, 2014: Artist Gabriel Macotela paints figures representing Mexico’s many dead, on the surface of a main boulevard as thousands marched through the capital to demand that the government find the 43 students who disappeared in southern Guerrero State, in Mexico City (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Sweden hunts for mystery ‘underwater vessel’ Sweden’s military has for a fifth day dispatched forces to the Stockholm archipelago after reports of “foreign underwater activity” in the area. Battleships, minesweepers, helicopters and more than 200 troops have scoured an
Cuban medics arrive in Liberia to fight Ebola Monrovia, Liberia - A Cuban medical team has arrived in Liberia to help tackle the spread of the Ebola virus. Earlier, the foreign ministry said the 52-member team comprised doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, intensive care doctors, general practitioners, surgeons, pediatricians, intensive care nurses, anesthetists and licensed nurses. Jorge Fernando Lefebre Nicolas, the Cuban ambassador to Liberia, said the arrival signalled his government’s strong solidarity with Liberia. He added that Cuba’s commitment was geared towards enhancing the existing ties between both countries and acknowledged that the move would mark the start of medical co-operation between Cuba and Liberia. The Cuban doctors are expected to be assigned to a newly constructed unit at the unfinished defence ministry facility in Congo Town. Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, Liberia’s foreign minister, said he was delighted over the arrival of the doctors and that he hoped the development would also help in strengthening the country’s health service. Another group of around 40 doctors from Cuba were due to arrive in neighbouring Guinea later on Wednesday.
area about 30 to 60 kilometres from the Swedish capital since Friday following reports of a “man-made object” in the water. Supreme Commander General Sverker Goranson said there was “probable underwater activity” off the coast of Stockholm and he was ready to use “armed force” to bring the mystery vessel to the surface. Sweden released a hazy photograph of what might be a mini-sub on Sunday. “The most important value of the operation - regardless of whether we find something - is to send a very clear signal that Sweden and its armed forces are acting and are ready to act when we think this kind of activity is violating our borders,” the general said. “Our aim now is to force whatever it is up to the surface... with armed force, if necessary,” he added. Despite widespread speculation that the “activity” is a Russian mini submarine - amid unconfirmed reports of intercepted transmissions to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on the other side of the Baltic Sea - authorities in Sweden have not singled out Russia in their comments.
LONDON (AP) — He might have got away with it if it hadn’t been for his supermarket loyalty card. A British fraudster who pretended to be quadriplegic and sometimes comatose for two years to avoid prosecution has been convicted after police caught him on camera driving and strolling around supermarkets. Alan Knight of Swansea, Wales, stole more than 40,000 pounds ($64,000) from the bank account of an elderly neighbor with Alzheimer’s disease, prosecutors said. When police began investigating, the 47-year-old Knight claimed to be quadriplegic and so sick he sometimes fell into a coma. He checked himself into a hospital to avoid court appearances, saying he was having seizures. The South Wales Evening Post reported Wednesday that the suspect’s wife, Helen Knight, had written to the newspaper saying her husband had obtained a doctor’s letter certifying he was “quadriplegic and in a comatose condition, bedbound at home” after a neck injury. “We’ve been through absolute hell and we’re still going through hell,” she wrote, according to the newspaper. Knight’s deceit was uncovered when police tracked the use of his supermarket card, and produced surveillance camera footage of him walking and driving.
Yemen’s Southerners see hope in Houthis’ rise
Sanaa - Overshadowed in recent years by the rise of Houthi rebels in the north of the country, Yemen’s southern secessionists revealed plans to rejuvenate their push to secession. The Southern Movement, or Al-Hirak al-Janoubi, hoped to exploit a political vacuum created by
the Houthis’ recent military successes to advance their cause. At the same time, they are being spurred on by fears that the Houthis could soon expand into the once independent south. Those fears were deepened when on October 19, Houthi fighters continued to push south in Ibb province, tak-
ing over the town of Yarim after dismantling a protest camp blocking the country’s main airport in the capital Sanaa. It remains unclear, however, if al-Hirak, a gathering of ideologically distinct factions, is in a position to mount a significant push towards southern independence.
THINK ABOUT IT PRIME MINISTER SNUBS AMERICA The United States of America officially requested our Prime Minister to please allow them to remove a U.S. citizen from a cruise ship in our harbor and fly her to the U.S.A to double check if she was still uninfected with the Ebola virus. The Americans made several suggestions of ways they could extract the lady and her travelling companion. They suggested using a boat from the cruise ship straight to the sea-shore at Vista del Mar and from there into a U.S vehicle straight to a plane that would come for her. The Prime Minister said no. The American suggested a helicopter could land on the special area of the cruise ship and transport the two Americans straight to the plane. The Prime Minister said no. Every other suggestion put to the Prime Minister was turned down. America is a friend of Belize. The request was not unreasonable. No Belizean would have been exposed to Ebola. In fact the two persons did not have Ebola. And while we would not have known that, we know, and our Prime Minister should know that Ebola is not spread through the air. It can only be transmitted through direct contact with blood or body fluids from an infected person. No Belizean would have been in danger. In any event Belizean medical authorities and American officials were capable of taking all necessary precautions to ensure the movements of the two persons were done without any physical contact with any person in Belize. While there was no press conference on the murder of Special Constable Danny Conorquie, the Prime Minister hastily presented himself as savior of Belize at a hastily convened press conference. The Prime Minister has been looking bad, literally and figuratively, for months now especially over his government’s negligence which caused Danny Conorquie to be murdered and the feeble attempt to deceive by suggesting he did not know Guatemalans were building the small naval base on Hunting Caye. The Prime Minister saw the Ebola request as an opportunity to grandstand and play hero and savior. Real heroes don’t treat friends that way. NORA PARHAM WAS NOT GUILTY On the 8th of February 1963, Nora Parham killed her common law husband Ketchell Trapp in Orange Walk Town. Trapp was a brutal and chancey police who use to beat poor Nora Parham constantly. She had eight children, one of whom was reportedly born while she was in prison. Nora was from Punta Gorda and was Williams before she married Parham with whom she had four children. Her four other children were with Trapp, 37 years, at the time of his death. Nora had pleaded not guilty to murder. There is compelling evidence that a statement by Nora was tampered with and changed. The same applies to what Trapp is reported to have said before he died. Nora pleaded not guilty to murder and spoke in her defense. The trial was reported by the Belize Billboard newspaper and is on record at the Archives Department in Belmopan. At the trial Nora was reported saying: “He was going outside, saying to me he was going to the toilet. While going to the toilet he used the threatening words to me. I then replied to him saying; I will make the Sergeant know about your threatening words. He then returned back to the bedroom. While he came back in the bedroom, I had a gasoline iron in my hand with a pan of gasoline. “He came in the bedroom with a stick in his hand and hit me on my head. When he was going to hit me another hit, I threw the gasoline on him, and he grabbed away the pan
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from me, and I went through the back door and he stone me with the pan. After he stoned me I ran around the house and he never see where I got to. I went in the house through the front door, then I took the gasoline iron from where I left it and put it in the box. “While I was inside I heard a noise and I ran to see what it was. When I went I saw Ketchell Trapp came out of the latrine under fire. I then run up to help him but I see I could not, then I continued running towards the hospital back street, running towards the station.” Evidence at the trial confirmed that Nora had visited the Police Station and made reports about eight or nine different time of Trapp beating her. Nora had also left Trapp on several occasions, but as is the situation still prevalent for battered women, with eight children and nowhere to stay she eventually returned to her abuser. The prosecution was conducted by then Solicitor General, one of the British Colonial officials at the time-J.K. Havers. The defense was by Sydney McKinstry and the Judge, another British, Clifford de Lisle Innis. The jury was made up of twelve men. The Judge misdirected the Jury in a material particular, which in today’s judiciary would have led to a retrial or a substituted sentence. The Judge had instructed the jury that they could only bring in one of three possible verdicts, guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter or not guilty of anything. But what of self defense? Or what about the possibility that Nora did throw gasoline AND did light it to prevent being beaten again. Where is the intention to commit murder? If Nora did lock Trapp in the latrine and set him afire, how did he get out, and how come the latrine had no burn or scorching? There was a murder earlier that year 1963. The same Judge gave eight years to the person found guilty of a lesser charge. The judge had misled Nora Parham’s jury by telling them a request for mercy would be considered. In announcing their verdict of guilty against Nora, the Jury officially requested mercy, Governor Peter Stallard ignored the request. There was a clemency Committee which included George Price who was First Minister at the time (this was before Self-Government and Belize was completed run and administered by Britain through its Governor) and Minister Lindy Rogers and others but they were told it was highly irregular and improper to attempt to interfere with the decision of Judge and jury in a murder case. On the 5 June 1963, at 8:00 in the morning, silence fell over Belize City. A thick noose was placed around Nora Parham’s neck. The attending Priest made the sign of a cross. The hangman was sweating, he pulled the lever releasing the trap door and Nora fell through, she was stopped suddenly at the end of the rope and her tender neck snapped. Her feet kicking and her last breathe seeping out her lungs. And then she died. Over two thousand Belizeans flocked to the cemetery where Nora was placed in an unmarked grave in an area set aside for convicted murderers. Nora Parham, as her name implies was an East Indian. She was 110 pounds and 4 feet 8 inches. She was 36 years of age when the British government hung her. By the way, from a photograph of her, Nora looks like Niki Minaj. Or is it Niki who looks a lot like Nora. GUANTANAMERA - JOSE MARTI “Yo soy un hombre sincero I am a truthful man “de donde crece la palma From where the palm tree grows “Y antes de morirme quiero And before dying I want
“Echar mis versas del alma To let out the verses of my soul. Guantanamera, guajera Guantanamera “con los pobres de la tierra With the poor people of the earth “quiero yo mi suerte echar I want to cast my lot “el arroyo de la sierra The brook of the mountain “me complace mas que al mar Gives me more pleasure than the sea “Guantanamera, guajera Guantanamera” The above are two verses from the poem that became Cuba’s most famous native song. The poem is written by Jose Marti, who became a symbol in Cuba’s fight for its independence against Spain and died in battle in 1895. He was born in 1853. His most famous poem is “10 de Octubre”. At the age of 16 Jose was imprisoned for writing a letter against the Spanish government. He was exiled from his country for most of his life and lived for a long time in New York, where there presently is a statue of him in New York’s Central Park. What Belizeans don’t know is that this great man lived among us in Cayo for a while and some of the letters he wrote from there have survived. You tube on the internet has various versions of Guantanamera. Check it out. Beautiful. CUBA The New York Times of 12 October 2014 carries an editorial which calls for ending the “senseless embargo by the US against Cuba”. It says the Cuban population has suffered enormously since Washington ended diplomatic relations in 1961; two years after the great Fidel Castro overthrew American supported dictator Batista. The United Nations has repeatedly called on the US to end the unjust blockade of the people of Cuba but to no avail. Cuba is the only country that has pledged to support Belize in the event Guatemala invades us, which we hope never happens. EARL JONES Earl Jones is a former public officer and Magistrate with overseas legal training. After retiring from the public service he became the Chief Executive Officer of the Kolbe Foundation which manages the Prison Department. He is undoubtedly the best CEO of Kolbe in terms of his dedication and professionalism in overseeing the prison. His years of experience, legal knowledge and compassion was a huge asset to the prison and to large numbers of prisoners who have no one to turn to when they are confined to the dungeons and advantage is taken of them. It was a shock to learn that Earl Jones is no longer at the Prison. His departure is a signal that the prison like so many other areas under the government is going backwards. MUHAMMAD ALI Muhammad Ali is the all-time greatest boxer in the world. In fact he is the greatest athlete in the whole wide world. In the 1960s, as boxing champion of the world, he visited then little known Belize. Ali, when he was champion of the world, was being forced to join the USA army to go to war in Vietnam. He refused, which under US law at the time was a criminal offence. The American government took away his championship and brought legal actions against him. This ruined him for years. He won his legal battles, was allowed to fight again and he regained his championship in spectacular heavy weight fights. Ali is now 72 years and is very ill. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. 43 STUDENTS MURDERED For weeks now, 43 students in Mexico
remain missing. They were part of a group protesting when police detained them and took them away. They have never been seen since. Elements of Mexico’s Police have become some corrupt and out of control that it is widely believed the Police handed the students over to vicious gangs to be killed. Now, Mexico is in an uproar. The government had started to arrest police left right and center. In Belize, widespread Police abuse is in full swing. Ranging from unlawful detentions, beatings and false charges to false imprisonment and secretly transferring young detainees from precincts to precincts in order to illegally detain for several days. The Police are doing this on instructions from government. The government has shown no interest in preventing the Police from behaving like thugs and goons. Instead they perform their duties professionally as required by law. Surely, there will be a reckoning. For this is not the kind of country we want to see. NO HURRICANE Hey! Jah be praised, no hurricane for Belize- so far. Hurricane season ends 30th November and anything can happen by then. The destructive hurricane Hattie arrived on 31 October 1961 and turned our country upside down. We don’t need another Hattie. 50 DOLLARS EACH MONTH Thiefing BTL is charging students 50 dollars a month to put internet on their, tiny little cell phones. And to think, BTL is supposed to belong to the people of Belize Sick joke. GASOLINA Speaking of sick jokes. Check the extraordinarily high prices that Belizeans are forced to pay for diesel, regular, premium and kerosene. Shucks! While the government gets petrol cheap from Venezuela and doesn’t even have to pay for most of it, Belizeans are being gouged to the bone at oppressive prices. ENERGY DRINKS Recent medical reviews of the scientific facts say that energy drinks are bad news. Especially when taken with alcohol as these drinks have high, very high levels of caffeine. The combination of energy drinks and alcohol causes heart palpitations, convulsions, hypertensions, vomiting and in extreme cases heart failures. In Belize, ever increasing numbers of young people are drinking Red Bull, Monster, Full Throttle and other energy drinks with alcohol. Not a word of advice from our Ministry of Health. ISRAEL-BACK LASH “We will not forget and we will not forgive, and we will not allow criminals to escape punishment” - Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Leader addressing the recent United Nations general assembly. Abbas was requesting the U.N. to set a time limit for ending “the racist and colonial” occupation of his country by Israel. Israel has been steadily losing world support and public opinion over her treatment of Palestinians. Her recent over-kill against Hamas in the Gaza strip in which 2000 Palestinians were killed has back-fired. Even in small Belize there was a first ever public protest at the needless slaughter of children and women by Israeli bombs. Last week the British Parliament passed a Resolution calling for Palestinian statehood, which is a consummation devoutly to be achieved.
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We noh ready fu Ebola!!
Ministry of Health drops the ball
Continued from page 3 The Prime Minister did not act immediately either to inform the public. He may have been pondering his decision and what was politically prudent. But by then the cruise ship, the Carnival Magic, which had left the Roatan Island in Honduras late the previous evening, was allowed to enter Belize with its potentially dangerous cargo. We have not been able to ascertain if and when Carnival had informed any official in Belize, including the Port Authority. If they did not, the government should demand an explanation. If they did, then the government must explain. By dawn on Friday, the Carnival Magic was anchored off Belize City. As in the normal course of events, the ship’s Agent in Belize would have been informed if there was a medical emergency. They were not informed of the situation until more than four hours after the ship dropped its anchor. And so, normal activities at the Tourism Village proceeded without any Belizean being made aware of the potential danger. LIKE A NORMAL DAY As a matter of routine, employees of the Agent, along with Belize Customs and Immigration Officers boarded the ship without being informed of what they were getting into and the life threatening risks. Passengers were also disembarked at the Tourism Village and boarding buses in Belize City to go on tours as is also normal in the course of business, except that at this time things were not normal. It has been proffered that in most instances we should not listen to what the Prime Minister says but rather to what he doesn’t. This is a case in point. By the time he finally reversed his earlier approval for the airlift with officials at the US State Department their mission was already airborne. He was in fact saying that we cannot facilitate with any measure of safety their request. In short: We no ready! Knowing this, how could the Prime Minister have entertained such dangerous hypocrisy at his press conference? WHAT HYPOCRISY! How could a senior official in his government be allowed to sit in front of the media and by extension, the people and tell so many half-truths and lies when he knows that the government is not prepared to deal with Ebola. This issue is not about politics and personalities and egos. It is about people - more than 350 thousand of us who call ourselves Belizeans. We deserve the protection of our government for numerous issues. Territorial integrity and national health issues are but two. How could the CEO in the Ministry of Health, with a bare face, give us this false sense of security that his Ministry of Health is ready to deal with an Ebola crisis when everybody else knows that this is not so? Obviously, the Prime Minister did! Nobody or no country is ready. Worse, it has become very obvious that we have been lagging on this very serious issue. The press conference was an indication of this government’s modus operandi for knee-jerk reactions that are very typical of this adhocracy.
Too much talk and no action!
Dr. Michael Pitts
October 20, 2014 Almost two weeks after Ministry of Health officials had promised the nation that they would get things right for Belize to be ready in case the deadly Ebola came knocking on our doors, they proved just how unprepared and clueless they were. On October 7th, Health officials led by the Director of Health Services Dr. Michael Pitts gave the public an early Halloween scare, admitting there was no sense of urgency among health agencies to prepare for the possibility of an Ebola outbreak. Officials conceded that they were not keeping track of who enters the country’s already-poorly regulated border points, that no protocols were developed in case someone showing
symptoms of Ebola turned up at our entry points, that hospitals were unprepared and their staff unequipped, that no one knew if any person from any of the West African countries affected by Ebola had entered Belize, and that they were not taking the situation as serious as other countries are. Director Pitts then “put goatmouth” on Belize when he said that there were no cases of Ebola and that the country is a “low risk” for the disease. Pitts pledged, after embarrassingly admitting poor handling of the issue, that “we are having some urgent meetings over the next 10 days with those stakeholders” to develop the proper steps to tackle Ebola. Well, exactly 10 days after these “urgent meetings” were put to the test when a possible Ebola victim travelling on a scheduled cruise ship carrying over 4,600 passengers ended up 8 miles outside Belize City. Health officials panicked in sudden fear and, in the absence of procedures to deal with any Ebola situation, the Government was forced to chase away the cruise ship whose passengers had already spent an entire day in Belize.
US “disappointed” at Belize decision regarding possible Ebola victim City of Belmopan, October 21, 2014 The boys in Belmopan are worried over the initial reaction of the United States to the Government of Belize’s decision to refuse a couple including a woman suspected of having the Ebola virus, from disembarking from a cruise ship that had moored on Belizean waters and using the Phillip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) to be flown back to the United States. Just days after the ordeal on Thursday October 16th, an official of the State Department had this to say over the matter: “…we’re disappointed by this. We think it could have been handled differently. Decisions like these
need to be made based on information and science and not fear, even though we know this is a very serious disease, serious threat,” said Marie Harf, US State Department deputy spokesperson. Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that he couldn’t take any chances, even though United States Secretary of State John Kerry had personally called and offered to take every possible step to ensure that no one in Belize faces any risk. This included sending a helicopter that would land on the deck of the cruise ship and then take the two passengers straight across to the PGIA where an aircraft was already waiting.
Barrow, whose administration has been facing public criticism following scandals and weak governance, chose what was politically expedient for him. The unidentified woman who needed to undergo examination is a known lab technician who may have had contact with fluids from Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan. The woman and her companion were on the cruise ship, Carnival Magic that sailed into Belize Thursday morning. After being turned away by the Government of Belize, the cruise ship returned to its port at Galveston, Texas, and US officials had the opportunity to conduct the necessary tests on the persons which has concluded negative for Ebola.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Belize Times October 26, 2014