Friday, February 27, 2009



Yesterday, I had a rather eventful time in the bookstore. Firstly, a beautiful and perfect six year old girl had me singing for her, and then I walked to the center of the store; I had to take a picture of this table with books only about President Obama. It was Obama this, Obama that, Obama thingy everywhere! Good news, I left the bookstore with only two books. This is probably the first time in a long while that I had done that. Hurrah!!

It dawned on me then to recommend a very easy, but powerful read. Trust me, it’s worth the read and you can get it, pre-owned, on Amazon for a few dollars.

 Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner is worth the read. I literally read it front to back in just one night.
The Kite Runner is Hosseini's first novel, and it bears an uncanny resemblance to his own life.

The main character, Amir, grows up in Afghanistan and ends up fleeing to the U.S. during that country’s decades of violence. For a first published book, The Kite Runner is quite a powerful read, with literary hooks that just catch you and won't release.

The Kite Runner is an example of "fiction" immersing readers into a world so real that it might be nonfiction. The characters are imaginary, but in a sense they are very real, telling the stories about a divided Afghanistan under Taliban rule. This is the story of two childhood friends: Amir, an upper-class Pashtun, and his conflicted friendship with Hassan, the son of his father’s Hazara servant. They share a beautiful friendship which is torn apart when a fearful act of betrayal marks their lives forever and sets in motion a long awaited quest for redemption. This book is centered on Amir’s guilt of his childhood treatment of Hassan, and his struggle to redeem himself from guilt.

Since Afghanistan has been in the news a lot lately, you can learn a lot about its history, its culture, its religion and its wars.
The Kite Runner is probably an excellent first book that will draw you into a world that is otherwise utterly foreign. And maybe reading it will help you to humanize your understanding of the Afghan people.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Clearing  the sides of the causeway
All photos by Jane Crawford, DVM
Survey markers for widening of causeway

After the great flood of October 2008, the people of Crooked Tree Village will be getting some much needed attention from the Government of Belize.

The Belize Ministry of Works is officially set to begin work on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 on the upgrading of the Crooked Tree Village Road. A contract has been awarded to Benson Ramclam, CEO of Triple B Heavy Equipment Company.  

The project is being funded entirely by the Government of Belize and will be in two phases. The first phase of construction will cost approximately BZ$225,000 and should be completed within a six week construction period.

The civil works will consist of the widening of the road from 18 feet to maximum 30 feet wide. The causeway will be elevated to approximately 4 feet and up to 5 feet in some areas.

Chief Engineer, Mr. Lennox Bradley said that at the end of the first phase, they will have to allow for settlement and water pressure to dissipate before the second phase can begin. Also, he said the money for the second phase is not yet allocated, but is expected to be in the budget for the next fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2009.

Hon. Edmond “Clear the Land” Castro said the upgrading will be starting at the entrance of the Village and approximately 1.5 miles across the causeway.

This timeframe for completion aligns for the up-coming Cashew Festival on the first weekend in May.



Ranch of Johnny Gillett in Staine Pine Ridge, Crooked Tree Village
All photos by Johnny Gillett

Monday, February 23, 2009


The Oscars were last night, and they were all song and dance! Definitely a fun time, and still politically responsible (go Milk!).
Anyways, check out the wrap-up of the good, the bad, and the ugly below...

Miley Cyrus (above) in Zuhair Murad--
I like this dress.
I just wish someone else was wearing it!

Zack Efron and Vanessa Hudgens in
Dolce & Gabbana and Marchesa--
The kids are alright!

Sarah Jessica Parker in Christian Dior--
Who's a good little Pretty Princess?

Taraji P. Henson in Roberto Cavalli--
You betta work, girl!

Marisa Tomei in Atelier Versace--
Daring yet incredibly refined.
And look at that body, holy crap!

Viola Davis in Reem Acra--
Simply divine. Great color choice.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman in...
a beanie. 
Really? A beanie

Jessica Biel in Prada--

Kate Winslet in Yves Saint Laurent--
Love the gradient!
Adventurous and sophisticated.

Brangelina in Tom Ford and Elie Saab--
Pretty. Boring.
Basically, Brangelina in a nutshell.

Mickey Rourke in Jean Paul Gautier--
F*ing bad ass and you know it!

Penelope Cruz in vintage Balmain--
Elegant fantasy

Natalie Portman in Rodarte--
Totally ill-fitting and bad color choice.

Beyonce in House of Dereon--
Black and Gold done wrong.
Horribly wrong.

Halle Berry in Marchesa--
Black and Gold done right...

Freida Pinto in John Galliano--
Age appropriate and vibrant, loves it!

Tilda Swinton in Lanvin--
Paper bag upper on this one...

Nicole Kidman in L'Wren Scott--
Beautiful dress.
Too bad it's on a bobble head!

Guest Post by: Gee

Friday, February 20, 2009


The Harrison Parks Championship Trophy 2009

According to Elihue Bonner, President of the Belize District Cricket Association, the winners of last Saturday’s game and champions of the 2008 cricket competition, Brilliant Cricket Club of Crooked Tree Village will get to keep the Harrison Parks Championship Trophy. Since this was Brilliant’s third consecutive championship and the first team ever to register three championships, keeps the trophy forever.

Trophy day is set for tomorrow, February 21, in Crooked Tree Village, the home of the champions of champions, Brilliant Cricket Club. Individual and team trophies will be awarded for the recently completed competition. There will also be an exhibition match featuring an all-star selection against the champions.

In the seven years that the Harrison Parks Championship Trophy has been in circulation, four different cricket club names have been etched on its beautiful face. Those clubs are Sunrise of Lords Bank, who won in 2002; Wicked Eleven of Flowers Bank, who were champs in 2003 and 2004; Excellence of Double Head Cabbage, who won in 2005; and Brilliant of Crooked Tree, who won in 2006, 2007 and 2008.        
The trophy will now have a permanent home with head coach and owner, Eustace “Tes” Dawson of Crooked Tree Village.  

There are plans for a new trophy in honor of a yet to be named, past cricketer, to be donated for the 2009 competition. The 2009 competition is scheduled to begin with a marathon game on Saturday, February 28, 2009.




Dear Friends:

I am one of seven delegates participating in the Miss African Queen International Pageant. It is in commemoration of Black History Month and in aid of Mary Open Doors - a shelter for victims of domestic violence...

The pageant promises to be exciting. It opens with all delegates dancing to a punta medley, and then each person introduces is the talent segment: each has to depict a woman of African descent; from anywhere in the world...the talent is either a monologue or dance.

I am portraying South African songstress, Miriam Makeba, known widely for Pata Pata. She was exiled for 30 years from her homeland...She passed last year, and I continue to be inspired by her story of strength and resistance...I will be presenting a monologue...

Afterwards, the delegates will model in African regalia in varied colors, and designs...this will be the part that carries the most weight in the pageant as judges look for elegance, charm, and grace...

Each delegate must also present a platform statement: Why am I proud to be a Belizean of African descent?

Judging will be on the talent, modeling, and platform statement...

Audience members - no matter what ethnic group - are asked to please wear their cultural attire, and join the contest to win great prizes...

Should you need more info...please write back. Tickets are available at the Bliss or from me...663-3174...If you are in the City, I can drop them off for you...but C.O.D. por favor!

I hope that you can support this venture, and moreover come out and enjoy something different, something fun, and something empowering!!!

Nuff love to all!

Adele Ramos
Assistant Editor
Amandala Press

Please contact me:
Work Phone: 501-202-4703
Cell Phones:   501-602-0181/663-3174



Monday, February 16, 2009




The Brilliant Cricket Team of Crooked Tree Village-2009 Champs

Crooked Tree Village is now home to the Belize Rural Cricket Championship Trophy for the third year in a row.

Brilliant, by virtue of their unbelievable, inconceivable defeat of Excellence of Double Head Cabbage, have now won Belize Rural Cricket Championship, with a sensational blow out at Lords Bank Cricket Field 135 to 93. What more could you ask from cricket’s champions of champions.

The game started with disappointments as Brilliant of Crooked Tree opted to bat first and the wickets started falling like ripe mangoes from a tree. Brilliant at one time, struggling to score 50 runs; with 46 for 8, Crooked Tree then moved to 58 for 9. A spectacular performance by Lawrence Banner and Varon “Mun” Westby, Crooked Tree surprised the cheering fans and ended up with 135 all out with “man of the match” Lawrence Banner batting 61 not out.

When it was Excellence of Double Head Cabbage turn to bat, Crooked Tree changed 4 bowlers before the 16th over, when Double Head had their first man out with 43 runs on the score board. Exceptional bowling by Brandon “FUD” Lewis made Crooked Tree rebounded and in the end dismissed Double Head for 93. Crooked Tree fans then swarmed the Lord’s Bank Field celebrating in victory.

Each of Brilliant’s star players were discovered off the streets in Crooked Tree Village. They do not receive any salary, and struggle to practice and take care of their families. Somehow, this group of dedicated rag tag players, continue to win year after year.

In these economic hard times in Belize and around the world, how can you not feel proud that it’s Brilliant who has become the model for cricket in all of Belize? Teams and players have come and gone, but the brilliance of Brilliant just keeps on coming.

They have been sponsored by Eustace"Tes" Dawson for many years, and we say well done to Tes. They repeatedly win without the big time backers and the arrogant knuckleheads that dominate much of professional sports all over the world. The Brilliant Cricket Team should be celebrated!

Can you not love the brilliance built on pride, passion and their adoring fans? SQUAD: Lawrence Banner (Captain), Lyle Tillett, Arthuro Wade, Landis “Ciego” Wade, Brandon Lewis, Heckland Adolphus, Varon “Mun” Westby, Rodwell Cornique, Eldon Wade, Germaine Smith and Shane Westby.

Coach and owner, Dawson is a good example of hard work and dedication. He became coach at a time when Brilliant was in a period of decline, some 13 years ago.

“I am really delighted to once again lead my team to victory. We have been training all season and our only goal was the victory trophy. One of the means of achieving this goal is through adequate practice and preparations. The series was competitive; we played hard and had very good team spirits. This is a wonderful opportunity for the cricket loving people of Belize and beyond to celebrate, and to embrace the future as demonstrated by our young cricketers from Crooked Tree Village. No other team in the history of cricket in Belize has ever won the championship three years in a row. The passion of the game is alive and well”

A special trophy presentation ceremony will be held later this month in Crooked Tree Village. The presentation will be followed by a marathon match featuring the "Champs" and other teams from the division.

Coach Dawson said that it’s getting very expensive to run the team. They are hoping to get more sponsors for their games and that will help to promote and spread the game of cricket.
If you would like to make a donation of cricket gear, please contact Coach Dawson at: or 713-609-9381
Special thanks to Johnny Gillett II

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Hell yes! I love this, it utterly made my day. Awesome, I've always wanted to know how to handle those brutes!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009



With 99% of the votes counted, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s Kadima Party leads with 28 of the 120 Knesset’s seat (Israeli parliament), with Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party following closely behind with 27 seats.

Both held victory parties, but without a majority neither can govern. The hard-line parties won a majority of the votes, which means Netanyahu has a better chance of forming a coalition which needs 61 seats to govern.

Despite the highly contested race between Livni and Netanyahu, the unexpected Yisrael  Beiteinu Leader Avigdor Lieberman, has taken the spotlight and is now the third-largest force in the parliament.

The stage is now set for what is expected to be weeks of coalition negotiations. Whatever government is forged, it will be up to the Israeli President Shimon Peres to decide whether Livni or Netanyahu should form the new government.

Political paralysis is now likely to dampen the peace talks with the Palestinians and will possibly be  a thorn in the side of President Barack Obama, who has said that the Middle East peace process will be a priority in his administration.

The final word, without Lieberman, Tzipi Livni has no government. 

Monday, February 9, 2009



There are about 7.3 million Israelis in Israel and over 4 million citizens are eligible to vote at 7 a.m. when the polls open tomorrow. By 10 p.m. all the votes will be in for the big decision.

Who will the Israelis choose to lead their country?

Going to the polls tomorrow is very important. Who will lead this country and be responsible for its future. Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, will again have a chance to plant hope in its people.

Binyamin Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party are slightly ahead of Tzipi Livni from the left-wing Kadima party. Kadima is hoping to beat Likud and many in the center-left parties are likely to choose Kadima because choosing Livni is a way to stop Netanyahu. Right now in Israel, only Tzipi Livni can beat Netanyahu.

Livni made an appeal to the center-left at a Kadima rally Sunday in Tel Aviv. She repeatedly used the words “hope and despair” “We have a chance today to plant hope in the people of Israel. I believe that our lives here and Jewish history and traditions are also the hope”

Earlier, Livni received a vote of confidence from outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was ousted as party leader in part because of Livni’s efforts.

“It will come as no surprised when I say that I support Kadima and hope that Tzipi Livni will be elected prime minister”, Olmert said. “Tzipi Livni is the candidate that can lead the State of Israel. She has sensitivity and wisdom”

Another very important election is upon us in just a matter of months. It will be very interesting to see how Israel’s is perceived; during and after the votes have been cast. Results are expected around 2 a.m. in Israel.


Sunday, February 8, 2009


The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association is officially lifting the strike of cane deliveries to the Belize Sugar Industries Limited. A meeting was held with the Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Gasper Vega and all sugar stakeholders on Friday afternoon, February 6, 2009, The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, The Belize Sugar Industries Limited, The Ministry of Agriculture in the presence of the Minister of Agriculture Hon. Rene Montero and The Sugar Industry Control Board.

The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and The Belize Sugar Industries have agreed to resume sugar cane deliveries on Sunday, February 9, 2009.

The “Core Sampler” that was at the heart of the strike will be replaced by a mechanism that will deliver the same results for better quality sugar. 

Friday, February 6, 2009



In 2001 the new sugar act was put in place which called for a reform in the Sugar Industry of Belize. This was put in place as a result of a study that was done in the sugar Industry of the Caribbean and the challenge to the World Trade Organization against the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries brought about by Australia, Thailand and Brazil as a result of preferential treatment of sugar to these Countries. This was the case because Sugar from these Countries was given duty free access into the European Union, while other countries were disadvantaged by having to pay duty. The matter went to the WTO and the ruling was against the ACP (African Caribbean Pacific) countries.

The ACP countries asked for a period of reform so that they can put their industry in order and agreed to impose the proposed price cut gradually which would lessen the impact on these countries. The request was accepted and it was agreed that a 5% price cut would be made for 2006 and 2007, 12% July 2008 and 19% Sept 2009, making a total price cut of 36% of sugar into the European Union. The EU is Belize’s biggest export market.

The EU also granted all ACP countries a financial package to ensure that the reform is done so that the Sugar Industries remained sustainable. This financial package would continue up to 2012. A study was undertaken for the CARICOM region, and it was determined that the industries of Belize and Guyana would survive only if the reforms were undertaken. Both Field and Manufacturing sectors needed to reform and while BSIL has taken on and is moving swiftly ahead with reforms at the Factory, the Farmers on the other hand have been doing very little in the way of field reform.

Quality and yield improvement were two ways identified to improve the field sector immediately. Field rehabilitation was the way to improve yields and the payment by quality system, using a Core Sampler was the means to improve quality.

The new Sugar act was passed in 2001, but the necessary funding to purchase a Core Sampler was not obtained until 2005 when the Farmers paid for 65% of the cost and BSIL 35% of the cost, that ratio being the way net revenue is shared in the sugar industry. The Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) being the overall body in the Sugar Industry appointed the Sugar Cane Quality Control Authority (SCQCA) to implement the payment by quality system. The SICB & SCQCA have representation from BSIL, the Farmers and Independent members. 

The SCQCA is an independent body with an appointed Manager. The SCQCA started to evaluate the payment by quality system in 2007 with the mandate from the SICB to implement in 2008. However the Farmers asked for one more year of trial so that they can get their house in order and the request was granted. Even with that concession, they asked for further concession for the 2009 crop and asked those who volunteered to sign up. 1,638 out of 5,800 Farmers volunteered to be paid by the quality system. However this number represented 52% of the total cane deliveries to the Factory. Those who did not volunteer would get the residual average cane payment.

In a process of payment by quality system there will be variances in quality depending on the raw material that is being supplied. This was proven to be the case as some Farmers made every effort to deliver cane with good harvesting practices, even paying incentives to their Cane Cutters to ensure that this was done. Others continued with the same bad practices and when the reports were generated for the first seven weeks there were differences in the price paid to Farmers. The average price for first Payment was $36.86, and the reports showed that some Farmers got as high as $49 while others received as low as $24. However the average price still remained at $38.86. It must be pointed out that all Farmers payment would still total 65% of the pie and BSIL 35%.

A meeting of all players was called by the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow on January 15, 2009 and it was agreed that the payment system would continue. On Jan 19, the Committee of management of the BSCFA met and decided to go against the agreement reached with the PM and threatened to go on strike if the Payment by quality system was not suspended.

They met with the SCQCA, the DPM and the SICB to resolve the issue. On Friday Jan 30, 2009 they reached an agreement with the SICB to suspend the Payment system for this crop, guarantee a first payment price not less than the first payment for the second and third year and then full implementation on year four. This was at the request of the BSCFA representatives in the meeting. When they emerged from the meeting they had a meeting outside the SICB office and rejected the proposals, stating that they wanted complete removal of the Core sampler.

On Monday Feb 2, 2009 at 3:00 a.m., the farmers blocked all entrances to Orange Walk Town, including the Tower Hill Toll Bridge preventing any vehicular movement into and out Orange Walk Town. The Prime Minister held a press conference and appealed to the farmers to unblock the various points and then dialogue would continue. The farmers wanted the Prime Minister to come up and talk to them at the Bridge, but the Prime Minister said he would not in a mob situation. If the farmers did not clear the road by 4:00 pm, then the Security forces of Belize would do so. The deadline came and went and in the ensuing chaos one of the farmers lost his life and ten were injured.

The alternative of an increasing quantity of poor quality cane will produce losses all around and could initiate a very rapid closure of the mill, leaving no place for the cane to be processed and devastation for Northern Belize. BSI maintains that they remain open to further negotiations with all parties involved, but the responsibility for implementing the necessary changes must be assumed by all stakeholders if it is to be effective in ensuring long term viability.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Click on photo to enlarge

London Garden of Thelma Hoare: February 5, 2009

Much of London, England has been blanketed by snow this week causing chaos for transportation. 

Monday, February 2, 2009