Sunday, March 13, 2011
THE BELIZE TIMES
The Barrow Budget By definition the FY2011-2012 Budget Estimates of Revenues and Expenditures for the Government of Belize is the nation’s premier public policy instrument, and its unveiling is normally much anticipated in nearly every sector of endeavor. It is a measure of how far expectations have fallen in just the past three years that Belizeans seem almost unperturbed that the latest Barrow budget is to be read this week. In truth and in fact no one expects it will matter much to any one and the old adage is that those who expect nothing are never disappointed. All three of Dean Barrow’s previous budgets have levied increasing amounts of taxes on Belize. All three have increased the public debt. None of the three have improved the Belizean economy – in fact the International Monetary Fund have argued that it has made matters worse. There are those of us who remember that in July 2008, Dean Barrow stood in the House of Representatives and boasted that under the UDP the national economy would grow 5.3% of GDP, and promptly reduced excise taxes on cigarettes, delayed the rollout of National Health Insurance, and announced that government revenues would grow by nearly $100 million dollars to $825 million that year. Former Prime Minister Said Musa reminded him that they had found $217 million in the government’s coffers, and had been on a spending spree. At that point Belize’s national debt stood at $2.249 billion, down from nearly $2.45 billion. By March, Barrow was revising his growth forecast down to 3.6%, announcing $75 million in new borrowing, and a $30 million gas tax increase. By March 2010 he would be extracting another $110 million in new taxes from already emptied Belizean pockets, amidst vague reassurances of economic recovery in the offing, if only because the US economy was sure to recover. There has been little buzz about the 2011-12 budget. The Prime Minister has promised no new taxes but Belizeans are taking a wait and see attitude. It was clear from two years ago that the Barrow administration needed to rein in wasteful spending, but instead the incidents of cronyism and corruption have only increased. The lavish lifestyles of Belize’s noveau riche political insiders have only grown more lavish. It was clear from two years ago that the Barrow administration needed to increase investor confidence and make every effort to return foreign direct investment to near pre-2008 levels. Today foreign direct investment has not rebounded to even pre-2005 levels, and this apparently is not a priority of the administration. It was clear from two years ago that Belize’s three largest industries, tourism, sugar, and citrus, as well as farm shrimp, were experiencing serious problems and needed immediate and effective government intervention and assistance. It is also clear that all are still perched too near the precipice of possible dissolution, and in the case of shrimp farming could quite easily disappear altogether within another calendar year. It was clear from two years ago that both the cost of living and unemployment was steadily and inexorably rising. Both are still trending upwards and at this point, no one knows for sure what the rate of unemployment is. The last figures released in September 2009 by the almost moribund Statistical Institute of Belize are for the second quarter of 2009, a full year and eight months ago. If recent history is a preview to the near future, whatever budget the Barrow administration presents this Friday will be an instrument for the further worsening of the economy. We can say this having the confidence that every previous Barrow budget has done just that.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Appeals Court reduces manslaughter sentence from 20 to 16 years BELIZE CITY, Wed. March 9, 2011 By Roy Davis Marcus Moh, 33, a fisherman who was charged with murder but had pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years, had his sentence reduced to 16 years today by Belize Court of Appeal. Moh’s sentence is to take effect from October 14, 2010, when he was convicted. The judges of Belize Court of Marcos Moh Appeal said that Moh’s Case was one of a young man defending his economic interests and his sentence pleaded guilty and had no previous was manifestly excessive. The judges convictions should have been acalso said that the fact that Moh had corded greater importance.
Moh’s conviction was for the fatal shooting of fisherman, 33 year old Kirk Smith, which had oc-
curred on October 10, 2008, in the sea near Turneffe Island. Moh said he believed that Smith and two men, who were in a boat with him, were stealing his fish pots. As a result, Moh opened fire with an AK47 rifle and Smith was shot in his abdomen. The men who were with Smith jumped out of the boat and swam to shore and escaped unhurt. Moh was not represented by an attorney at the appeal. The Director of Public prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal represented the respondent.
21 yr. old & minor accused of stabbing Taxi Driver in robbery attempt BELIZE CITY, Wed. March 9, 2011 By Roy Davis Two persons, Daniel Zaldivar, 21, and a 16 year old boy who allegedly stabbed and tried to rob taxi driver, Hubert Vaccario, 46, were charged with attempted robbery and wounding when they appeared yesterday in the #8 Magistrate’s Court. Zaldivar and the minor pleaded not guilty to the charges. Magistrate Emmerson Banner offered each of them a bail of $6,000, which
they met. They are to return to court on April 20. Vaccario reported to the police around 10:30pm on Friday March 4, he was at the taxi stand on Albert Street when he was approached by two persons who hired him to take them to the Princess Hotel and Casino, located on Newtown Barracks. Vaccario said both persons sat in the back seat while he drove them and when they were on Princess Margaret Drive, one them
pulled out a knife and demanded money from him. Vaccario said he refused to hand over his money and he was stabbed several times in his back. He lost control of the car and it crashed into a concrete fence on St. John’s Street, located off Princess Margaret Drive. The men left the scene immediately after. Vaccario was admitted to ward at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in stable condition. He was released the following day.
22 year old, shot in the face, survives Belize City, March 9, 2011 Gilroy Garnett Jr., 22, an electrician of Lavender Street in Belize City, was shot just a few blocks from his house in the Saint Martin de Porres Area. The incident happened around nine in front of Saint Martin de Porres School compound at the corner of Partridge and Vernon Street as Garnett and a young lady were approaching the junction of Vernon Street from the direction of Mahogany Street. Neighbours said they heard the bang, but never thought it was a gun blast until they heard Garnett’s companion scream for help. When they ran out they found him sitting on the street asking who knocked him down. Bleeding excessively and losing blood rapidly, Garnett
tried several times to stand until eventually he was helped in police mobile that responded a few minutes later. He was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery and now recovers. The gunshot blast, though it ruptured the entire right cheek, did not cause any major damage to the brain and doctors have listed Garnett in stable condition. Police so far, cannot pinpoint the motive of the shooting and would only say that Garnett has had run ins with the law before. They are asking eyewitnesses to help them solve the shooting. The gunman ran through the church yard belonging to Saint Martin de Porres Parish and left into a street leading to the Western Highway.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
THE BELIZE TIMES
Sunday, March 13, 2011
THE BELIZE TIMES
Strictly Personal Barrow is bogus
By email@example.com An acquaintance who should know went out of his way this week to tell me how stressed out Prime Minister Dean Barrow is, and how he has to go as often as he can to his condo in South Beach, Miami, Florida, USA, to get some relief from the pressures of his office. My friend is a FOB, (Friend Of Barrow), and sympathetic. These days, though, my friend sounds angry and disappointed at
Still he wants to cling to that thinning hope that one day while in retreat in his Miami condo, where he is not thinking about Belize’s problems, Dean Barrow will have some epiphany, and will ride the plane back to Belize to “save” us once again from himself.” the state of Belize’s affairs, especially our economy. For a long time he and I hardly ever discussed politics because he would almost reflexively repeat all the UDP propaganda about PUP corruption, rather than discuss the issues substantively. About a year ago he brought up the state of the economy in one of our discussions, and though our conversation was more a debate about the merits and demerits of
the so-called “Superbond”, for the first time he not only acknowledged that in his view Belize’s economy was sputtering somewhat, but at least in the short term we weren’t going to see much by way of “recovery”. He did not quite agree as to why this was so, and still reverted to the old “It’s the PUP fault” argument. He backed off when I pointed out to him that so far the Barrow administration had failed to produce a coherent, credible plan to get us out of what he termed “a mess.” I have been told that the FY2011-2012 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditures for the Government of Belize will be presented this Friday in the House of Representatives. In our conversation with my acquaintance earlier this week, I asked him if he thought “The Budget”, as we so popularly refer to it, would make a positive difference in terms of improving the state of our economy. He didn’t answer me directly but instead told me that Barrow was stressed out and all that. We’ve known each other a fairly long time, my acquaintance and I, at least 35 years or so. He was a supporter of the UDP from way back then, and still believes that the 1984-1989 Esquivel administration “saved” Belize economically, and that the 1993-1998 Esquivel administration also “saved” Belize economically, but these days he doesn’t seem to believe anymore that the 2008-2013 Barrow administration is going to “save” Belize from “the mess” the PUP had left it in. He is, in my estimation, a moderately successful businessman, and he is not anybody’s fool. He is disappointed in the Barrow administration. He struggles to reconcile the thought that the PUP “mess” was better than these days in this heaven in hell under Barrow. I assume that my acquaintance’s struggle with the cognitive dissonance of perception and reality is mirrored in many of the Barrow administration’s supporters. In April 2008 when I resumed writing a column in the BELIZE TIMES, I wrote that in the silence that had befallen the construction at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex, I could hear the beating of butterfly wings. At the time I was riffing on chaos theory as a way of illustrating that the Barrow administration did not seem to have an economic plan and that that was prescription for disaster.
I can still remember some of the comments forwarded my way in return for daring to postulate that perhaps Dean Barrow was not such a genius after all. My acquaintance was among that braying mob, convinced by propaganda and too eager to disparage and denigrate rather than to come to conclusions after examining the facts. From then to now has been a hard, stumbling, painful journey for him. No, he doesn’t have to say so, but he believes based on hard past but recent experience, that “The Budget” will do little if anything to help all of us, as a people and nation, overcome our economic woes. In fact I believe that he be-
21 lieves that there are even harder times ahead. Still he wants to cling to that thinning hope that one day while in retreat in his Miami condo, where he is not thinking about Belize’s problems, Dean Barrow will have some epiphany, and will ride the plane back to Belize to “save” us once again from himself. I am not being presumptuous or immodest when I say that at this point I believe I could draft up in a fairly short time a relatively simple plan that could have Belize’s economy moving forward again. The ludicrousness in all this is why can’t Dean Barrow? Barrow is bogus.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Reid A few years ago, my son was doing a school project that involved research about Belize’s biggest benefactor, Baron Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, JP. He requested my assistance and I turned to trusty ole Google for help. I received a number of recommended sites in response to my search and after perusal, settled on an article published by one Casada Internet Group. I began reading the article and making notes of pertinent facts and dates. I was about half way through when I experienced an eerie feeling of déjà vu; there was something very familiar about this particular article. I kept reading and was almost done when it struck me; I knew exactly who had written this.
I was at the time doing a commentary entitled “Last Word” and wrote the article in March of 1999 to coincide with the holiday. I am quite flattered that Mr. Hyde would find the article worthy of critique and reproduction but am mostly amused knowing that he would never have published it or given it such kudos had he known who the real author was.” In the midweek Amandala of Wednesday February 9th, the same article was reproduced and credit given to the same Casada Internet Group on whose site I had found it. In his “From the Publisher” of the following week, February 16th, Evan Hyde used his entire piece to discuss and dissect the article. Mr. Hyde again gave credit for the article to the Casada Internet Group and according to the publisher, “when the Baron Bliss holiday comes up on March 9th, we (Amandala) will reproduce the article, because it is a very important article, for several reasons.” By all means, Mr. Hyde, you are hereby given permission by the original author of this “very
important article” to reproduce for said stated purpose. The truth of the matter is that the article was written by no other than myself and remains posted on the website and in the archives of Channel Five. I was at the time doing a commentary entitled “Last Word” and wrote the article in March of 1999 to coincide with the holiday. I am quite flattered that Mr. Hyde would find the article worthy of critique and reproduction but am mostly amused knowing that he would never have published it or given it such kudos had he known who the real author was. I am somewhat perturbed that the Casada Group would reproduce my work without so much as an acknowledgement and wonder how serious we are about implementing copyright and intellectual property rights. This is the article which can be found in the archives of Channel Five for March 5th, 1999: “It has been suggested that Belize has more holidays than our less than robust economy can afford, and while I tend to agree, there is one holiday that I hope will never be considered redundant. Ninth of March is known in Belize as Baron Bliss Day and has been set aside to commemorate the memory of our biggest financial benefactor. Baron Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, JP was born in the Buckingham County of England on the 16th of February, 1869. His original surname was actually Barretts but was changed to Bliss just about the time that he acquired the title of fourth Baron of the former Kingdom of Portugal. This supposedly through lineal descent from one Sir John Moore, who was a hero in the wars of that domain. In 1911 and at the prime age of 42, Baron Bliss was struck by paralysis and was for the remainder of his days, confined to a wheelchair. Many will remember a paraplegic who used to move around Belize in a chair that was said to have belonged to the Baron but that fact has been disputed. While no one knows for sure what happened to the Baron’s chair, a popular theory is that then governor Sir John Alder Burden, would never have given it to a poor and common black man for he was not nearly the liberal that the good Baron was. By the time of his untimely misfortune, Baron Bliss had amassed enough wealth to realize his dream of retiring to a life of seafaring and fishing. After replacing his first boat, which was commandeered for use during World War 1, Baron Bliss said goodbye to his native England and shoved off, making it clear that he never intended to return. As far as we know, Baron Bliss had no children but was married to one Baroness Ethel Alice Bliss, with whom he settled covenant before leaving and for whom he also made provisions in his will, albeit somewhat modest. According to the Baron, his married life had been a happy one but records reveal no attempt by the Baroness to attend the funeral. She died in England in 1945. After leaving England, Baron Bliss made his first stop in the Bahamas where he acquired some property, seemingly indicating that he might have contemplated staying there. After some five years, however, he grew to dislike the place and in 1925 shifted rudder for the other end of the Caribbean. His next stop was Trinidad but after contracting food
poisoning just a short time after arriving, he concluded that neither was that place for him. At that time he decided to heed the invitation of an old friend Willoughby Bullock, who was then Attorney General of Belize. After a brief stop in Jamaica, most likely for medical attention, the Sea King on January 14th, 1926, dropped anchor in the harbor of Belize and the Baron’s heart was at ease. Although he never set foot on land and was dead less than two months after arriving, Baron Bliss was so impressed with the beauty and hospitality that greeted him in Belize, that he decided to leave us the bulk of his fortune. At the time of his death, the Baron’s bequest to Belize was valued at some one million, eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Hardly had we started counting though, than England dropped a bombshell. Although it is specifically stated in the first line of his will that Baron Bliss considered himself domicile in Belize, and while he even wrote a letter to his brother to that effect, the British government decided to contest the matter in court. On March 11th, 1929, a decision was handed down by a Mr. Justice Rowlatt of the King’s Bench which read and I quote, “I must find that it is not made out that this gentleman acquired a British Honduras domicile.” As a result, at least a quarter of the original amount given to us by Baron Bliss was taken out for British taxes and though outraged at the decision, it was not likely that many would have been surprised. The matter after all, was argued in England, before an English judge and with English lawyers representing both sides; how else could we have expected it to go? Now the will left to us by Baron Bliss is a meticulously worded document which is quite specific in its dos and don’ts. Only the interest is to be spent and no loans can be raised on the security. An interesting stipulation is that
Sunday, March 13, 2011 no American is to be a trustee or an employee of any trustee -- and for this, no actual reason is given. The money is not to be used for churches, dance halls or schools,(except agricultural or vocational), which leaves the door wide open for some aid to CET. The money can also be used for canals, which leaves one wondering if maybe the Collet Canal could not be brought up to the standard of the East Canal. It can also be used for light supply and with many of our parks and playgrounds in dire darkness, one wonders if the illumination of these might not be a worthwhile project? The problem is that since 1985, when Leo Bradley Sr. did such a notable job of compiling the information from which I have drawn, no account of disbursements has been given. By the time of Mr. Bradley’s research, quite a few projects had been realized with the interest having yielded well over a million dollars. The Bliss Institute, the Bliss School of Nursing and at least one project in every district had materialized, but since that time the purse string seem to have been drawn tight. One wonders if every ninth of March would not be a good time to give the public information on interest accrued and some account of money spent, for after all, this was a gift to the people of Belize. The trustees of the fund, in case you’re wondering are the Governor General, the Attorney General and the Financial Secretary. We could not have picked a better time to honor Baron Bliss for it is a time when the weather in Belize is blissful. The holiday is timed perfectly to kick off our dry season and the beginning of our fruit harvest. Let us gratefully acknowledge the Baron’s graciousness this weekend and always remember that it pays to be hospitable. To my fellow recipients of this fund, a happy and safe holiday weekend and to the Baron, wherever you may be, heartfelt thanks.”
Sunday, March 13, 2011
THE BELIZE TIMES
The Women’s Agenda By Carolyn Trench-Sandiford – Deputy Party Leader People’s United Party - Belize
One of my favorite quotes is “a revolution is a journey, not a destination”. Consequently, I am always researching and reading on our party’s history, successes and achievements in building and developing our country. This enables me to better appreciate the milestones of the journey, to have a perspective on what the issues, concerns and the challenges were at a particular moment in time, to attempt to understand the thinking that led to addressing these issues and concerns, and overcoming the challenges in specific ways, to make a comparison of the situation as it was then, and as it is now, and to scan the landscape to recognize contemporary issues, concerns and challenges, and to prepare for emerging ones. Undoubtedly, this justifies the revolution being a journey. It is a continuous road that we travel. In reality, like life, it has no beginning and no end. It is also a dynamic process, and as one issue and concern is addressed, or a challenge conquered, there are many more that exist, and that are emerging. Thus there is always so much more that needs to be done. This 9th of March weekend, I read once again, the achievements of the People’s United Party on women’s issues contained in the PUP Women’s Agenda 2003-2008, and thought to reproduce some of it in this article in recognition of Women’s Month and the tremendous amount of work done by our former Ministers of Women Affairs with the support and contribution of the women of the Party and the members of the cabinet and the parliament. While I know that this is by no means exhaustive, it does capture the revolutionary thinking of the women of the party, and the courage of our Party when in government, to meet its commitment to women.
Passed legislation which ensured that there be equal pay for work of equal value so that the minimum wage be more equitable; Removed and repealed the discriminatory provision contained in the Married Person’s Act so that granting of orders by court relating to the custody and maintenance of children no
longer depends on the mother’s private life; • Made amendments to the Administration of Estate Act and legislated that an economic/monetary value be placed on the care of home and domestic duties during division of matrimonial property; • Legislated that common-law spouses be given the protection of the law in situations of inheritance and maintenance as well as property rights; Legislated to recognize marital rape and so provide protection for a woman who has separated from her husband; Amended the law regarding sexual offenses; Implemented policies which provide for better protection of women in situations of violence;
Included more women in key leadership positions to Statutory Boards, Advisory Bodies and Public Service; Ensured that appointees to key leadership positions in the National Assembly and other Bodies included women; Moved quickly to increase Social Security benefits for widows and orphans as well as for domestic and other workers and reviewed the benefits scheme for maternity and illness or special needs related to maternal health; Recognized the particular needs of women-headed and other truly needed households and placed emphasis on fulfilling their basic needs such as health, housing, water and other services; Increased the resources allocated for human development targeting social institutions that most directly impact on the needs of women; Promoted public awareness of and sensitivity towards discriminatory practices and attitudes and encouraged the education of women in nontraditional vocations in schools and Centers for Employment; Approved a National Gender Policy; Approved a Sexual and Reproductive Policy;
ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: •
Made loans at the Small Farmers and Business Bank and Development Finance Corporation more accessible to women. 27% of all loans at the SFBB were given to women.
Supported the formation of Women’s Cooperative through the Department of Cooperatives. Ensured that women were involved at all levels of trade and commerce discussions and negotiations in advisory and decision making capacities.
Ensured that macro-economic policies were gender aware so that the country’s resources are used in the most effective way. As the women of the party prepare to craft their agenda for 2013-2018, let us all be reminded that we are building on the work of those who came before us, that similarly we must be revolutionary in our thinking, for only so will we break the cycle of perpetual subjection of our people, of creating a new political, economic and social order, for Phase II of the revolution, and only then will a NEW BELIZE be born, which will bring to all Belizeans a better life and a just share of the national wealth.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
THE BELIZE TIMES
Triggers of Discontent
There are reports of rising discontent in the northern sugar belt region of the country. This is likely to feed the potential of a national uprising, note observers from across the political spectrum. This is because the ruling United Democratic Party government is failing to meet the expectations of the electorate. They imagine too many possibilities. In a glitzy political campaign that got them elected in 2008, they hoodwinked voters with dream works and great sounding promises that appealed to the masses: To reduce the cost of living and the price of gasoline at the pump (and numerous other glorious promises), no matta wat! A recent straw poll indicates that a majority of Belizeans believe that the government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has failed the people in every quarter. Mr. Barrow is now counting on a loan from the World Bank to bolster his image and that of his Party with more promises of quick fixes to the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, leading up the municipal elections next year. That may be too little too late. He blames everybody else for the failures of HIS government, including the World Bank, which he says, is taking too long to deliver the cash. He obviously wants the money to finance his party’s political campaign. This is so blatantly unethical! The people of this country are hurting. Many families do not know where the next meal is coming from and their situation continues to worsen in this climate of increasing poverty under this government’s stewardship. The country is in a state of deep depression. To borrow from a local television commercial, Mr. Barrow and his motley bunch of incompetent goats need to sing a happy song to show that they are leaders. Like everywhere else in the country, the major concerns in the northern districts of Corozal and Orange Walk are numerous. SUGAR’S MISMANAGEMENT The sugar industry appears to be holding on to a thin thread, as hopes for a good sugar crop vanishes by the day. This is because of political ineptness, bad management on the part of Belize Sugar Industries Limited and the imminent collapse of the preferential tariffs for sugar on the European Union market. Sugarcane farmers in northern Belize have been aware of the crisis in the world sugar market. They have been receiving payments for
sugar at three times higher than the price on the World Market. This has caused much annoyance within the World Trade Organization. There continues to be a bitter row with demands to level the playing field. This bitter quarrel is ending. It should have been resolved already. Meanwhile, our cane farmers, with support from the EU have done well to offset this loss in sugar prices by improving their yields, but only to face grief at this time because of official and industrial incompetence LIES ABOUT BUYERS FOR BSI What could he have been thinking when he publicly lied that Banco Atlántico of Honduras was interested in buying BSI? Did he not consult, with at least the cane farmers who have considerable investment in the sugar factory? Or was he so naïve not to have known that? Why would he want to sell the factory from under the feet of the farmers? What was Mr. Barrow smoking when he made this announcement which both the Directors of BSI and Banco Atlántico denied knowing anything about? Why on earth did the Prime Minister lie? For four weeks the sugar factory was not been milling cane. This was due to a major breakdown of the mill. There have been so many comedies of errors. BSI’s management should have had a plan B in place. They should at least have spares for essential parts of the mills, especially when farmers have worked so hard to offset the threat they face from the European Market and the WTO. This is simply a failure of management at BSI, a company which is heavily indebted to ING, an investment bank and First Caribbean and now the Belize Social Security Board. Cane farmers are going to lose money – lots of it. With the dry season upon us, they face the threat of unset fires that could raze their fields. They wake up every morning; biting their finger nails and hoping that soon the mills will continue to grind again. Meanwhile, they watch their cane fields slowly turn from green to spotted rust. This is the tell tale sign of cane leaves that the cane is over maturing and that sugar content is declining. It appears that despite all the efforts of cane farmers, the Barrow administration has failed to adopt the policy of the previous PUP administration to save an industry which is now on the verge of col-
lapse. BSI is up to its neck in debt. Meanwhile thousands of workers in the industry will most likely be out of work. This will give rise to the national unemployment figure which now stands at an all time high of above 14 percent. The situation in the sugar belt has turned from rosy pronouncements about the industry earlier this year, to one of anxious anticipation and even gloom. DRUGS AND CLANDESTINE FLIGHTS There are also reliable reports from people in northern rural communities, of an increase in the number of clandestine flights in the more remote areas. It is believed that they are drug related. There are also suspected cases and allegations that certain officials in the Barrow government are chummy with certain people in Mexico who are believed to be close to the hierarchy of certain drug cartels. These cartels in Northern Mexico are fanning out south. They are now known to be in the Peten area on the Western border with Belize. It is also now believed that they are
well connected in Belize. The government is ill-equipped to deal with the crime rate at the national level. This has become a major threat to national security. The Minister of Police is clearly incompetent. He recently appeared clueless in his most recent appearance on national TV. So much so that he knows nothing about the international campaign against trafficking in persons. His lips suggest his groping on the lack of information. And now some of his colleagues in the North appear to be playing with fire. These are only some of the triggers of discontent besetting the people of this nation. They are founded on Mr. Barrow’s fundamental philosophy on which he has been assured his personal political longevity: Keep us poor and dependent.
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THE BELIZE TIMES
Sunday, March 13, 2011
US chides Barrow Administration in drug trafficking & corruption report Belize City, March 8th 2011 The United States has released a stinging report against the Barrow Administration, in which it accuses the Government of facilitating the spiralling crime, increased drug trafficking and narcotics trade in Belize. The 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) in which U.S. authorities present the findings of an annual review of countries’ state of affairs, with a focus on the fight against drugs, corruption and financial crimes was released last week. The report lashes out at the Government’s inability to tackle drug trafficking and corruption effectively. The report points out that there has been a significant increase in drug
trafficking, with the single-most largest drug seizure occurring in late 2010 – 2.6 tons of cocaine which was found after a drug aircraft landed on the Southern Highway. Meanwhile, other narcotics such as heroin, pseudoephedrine, and precursor chemical phenyl-acetic acid were confiscated following Customs seizures last year. While those drug-filled containers were intercepted in time, the belief is that many more go undetected. While the report noted the highlevel of drug and narco trade in the country, it warned that “narcotics trafficking…will continue this upward trend”. It also discussed the Barrow’s Administration facilitation as it noted
Barrow & the UDP – afraid of accountability Belize City, March 9, 2011 In only two days the 2011/2012 Budget will be presented in the House of Representatives. It is the single most important document, which spells out how Government will spend the people’s money to do the people’s work. The BELIZE TIMES understands that with only 48 hours to go before the unveiling of the Budget, the Barrow Administration is keeping it totally secret from the nation and Opposition, even from members of his side of the Assembly who are known to be careless and quite often barely sober. There has been no consultation with the social partners in the drafting of the Budget, more than likely because the social partners would not support more hardships for Belizeans. Not even the Opposition knows what brutalities the Barrow Administration has
3 murders during holiday weekend Continued from page 8 The third homicide of the holiday weekend occurred inside a Chinese store on Vernon Street. The owner of the store, 53 year old Bing Chang Zhao, was found with a cut wound to his face. Neighbors have reported that on Friday night they heard Zhao and his son arguing fiercely, and then on Saturday morning the Police were called in to find Zhao’s lifeless body. Zhao’s son was detained by Police, but after a police post mortem revealed that the businessman died of Bronchial Aspiration due to a sharp blunt wound to the face, the son was re-arrested. Police have found no evidence of forced entry into the store.
concocted his time, and it is expected that they won’t be provided with a copy until Friday morning. Why is Mr. Barrow now so afraid of accountability? To make matters worse, the Opposition members have been informed that the important Questions to Ministers, in which Ministers are posed questions that or of great public relevance, has been disallowed for Friday’s House Sitting. Again, this is only more evidence that accountability has been thrown out the window by this dictatorial UDP bunch.
SSB employees still on strike mode Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 On Monday March 7th the 21-day notice of intended strike action that employees of the Social Security Board issued against their employer expired. On Tuesday, Labour Commissioner, Ivan Williams called a meeting with representatives of both sides, attended by SSB Chief Executive Officer, Merlene Bailey Martinez, and Antonio Gonzalez, President of the Christian Workers Union for the employees. The meeting was held but nothing substantial came out of it, and now workers are suspecting it was only a delay tactic employed by the Government, on behalf of the SSB management. According to CWU President, Gonzalez, the forum with Commissioner Williams on Tuesday was a “pre-mediation meeting” to set the stage for the mediation if the Minister intervenes. But that won’t happen for at least another two weeks or longer because another meeting is scheduled for next week Friday. If the meetings with the Commissioner and eventually the Minister do not result in a resolution, however, then the workers are determined to go on strike until the SSB honours the existing agreement.
that “a lack of political will and corruption contribute to minimizing the effectiveness of the Government efforts against traffickers”. The U.S. indicates disappointment that the National Coast Guard and Anti-Drug Unit operate with very limited resources. “Deficiencies in intelligence gathering, analysis, and sharing are also major impediments to reducing the flow of narcotics through Belize,” states the 2011 INCSR. The report calls on GOB to enact a Chemical Precursors Control Act with punitive sanctions, since none exists which doesn’t make the trafficking of chemicals such as phenyl-acetic acid illegal in Belize. While tough language was used in
the United States’ review of the Barrow Administration’s losing battle against drug trafficking, the chiding was even more scalding in the area of corruption in Government. The report cites that while “as a matter of policy” GOB does not encourage the production or distribution of drugs or money laundering from drug transactions, “a lack of resources, weak law enforcement, and inadequate compensation allows these activities to continue at all levels of government”. Belize doesn’t have laws that deal with narcotics-related corruption, the reports points out, and the country is the only one in Central America which has not signed unto the UN Convention against Corruption.
PUP’s O.D.S. sets the record straight March 3, 2011 The Order of Distinguished Services of the People’s United Party understands that certain sections of the media have been erroneously making statements with regards to its decision regarding persons aspiring to represent the People’s United Party at the next general elections. Due to these misleading statements we are compelled to make the following statements: 1) We do not publish the reason(s) for recommending or not recommending any person because we consider our interviews private and confidential 2) No person has, at any time, been disqualified because of his police record. There have been more serious accusations which we will not divulge. 3) In the case of Mr. Chavarria of Toledo East, he failed to follow the procedure for appeal as stated in article 4 of the Standard Bearer Convention criteria. Instead he chose to demonstrate and blame the Party Leader for something that he had no part of. 4) A certain section of the press stated that Mr. Braddick of Toledo West was not ever given the opportunity of an interview. This is a blatant and malicious lie as he was interviewed on the same day as Mr. Chavarria. 5) At no time has any member of the press sought our side of the story which appears to us to be irresponsible and biased journalism. 6) May we state, finally that the Order of Distinguished Services of the People’s United Party is a responsible arm of the party and will continue to carry its responsibilities always bearing in mind the welfare of our people without fear or favour.
THE BELIZE TIMES
Sunday, March 13, 2011