Saturday, January 29, 2011

HEALTHY LIVING: NEW YEARS RESOLUTION AND A HEALTHIER YOU

By Cherry Cadle: Have you ever wondered or noticed the way we are bombarded at the start of the New Year with numerous sales and promotions for exercise equipments, free gym memberships, exercise wear, exercise DVD’s etc.? This is nothing more than a marketing strategy because store managers know that losing weight and exercising is the No. 1 resolution for the New Year.  I’m sure many of us can relate to this scenario once or maybe twice before.  The truth is that all of us had good intentions to stick to this healthy path, but somewhere along this journey, most of us become frustrated and fall off the exercise and losing weight band wagon.

The treadmill becomes a clothes hanger, the gym membership fees kicked in, we gain even more weight, and the new exercise clothes can’t fit anymore. The sad thing is that this is not your fault. The reason why most of us fail is because we are going about getting healthy the wrong way. We decided that to lose weight and be healthy we must exercise and cut a few meals here and there, but it should be the other way around. We must get healthy first, and then losing the weight would be an added benefit. We will then have more energy to do the exercise that will help us on that road to a healthier you.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the reason why we are becoming more and more obese is because of our sedentary lifestyle and the food that we are eating. Not only is the food lacking the nutrients and the fiber that our body needs, but along with that comes the additives, preservatives, dangerous pesticides, synthetic hormones and loads of antibiotics. Over time our body becomes malnourished, poisoned and hormonally unbalanced.

Our hormones basically control our body and influence almost every aspect of our well being. This includes our thoughts, feelings, whether you feel the need to sleep, warm up, cool down, eat jelly beans, grab a coffee, or have a quickie. Since hormones controls our appetite and stimulate our metabolism, hormonal balance plays an essential part in achieving weight loss and keeping it off. When our hormones are out of balance, it creates chaos within our bodies which then makes it very difficult to lose those extra pounds.  I would have to go into too many details to explain the dynamics of how our hormones work in this one article, so I urge you to do some research for yourselves.

The basic premise here is to start giving your body the nutrients it needs and balancing your hormones. To help you on this very important task, there are some things that you can start to apply in your life.

·       Start by supplementing your diet with a good food based multivitamin/multi-mineral.
·       Take a digestive enzyme at every meal or at least at your biggest meal to help ensure that your food is being digested properly.
·       Take a probiotic supplement.
·       Get your hormones tested and get with an alternative doctor to discuss supplements that will help you get them back into balance.
·       Start reading labels so as to avoid the additives that are contributing to your unbalanced state and try to eat organic when possible.
·       Start moving to a more plant base diet and reduce or eliminate meat and dairy products.
·       Drink more water and stay away from the sodas and sugary drinks and for pete’s sake not the diet soda. When will we realize that it’s not helping us to be thinner.
·       Take an omega-3 fish oil supplement.
·       Read spiritual books that will help you to change into a more positive you.

Lastly, remember change is hard for most people, so start with one thing off this list and when you are comfortable, move on to next one. I can only tell you that you will feel better and you will be on your way to a healthier you.


References:  The Hormone Diet, Natasha Turner, N.D
Photo from Cherry Cadle

Friday, January 28, 2011

MINISTER OF EDUCATION AND YOUTHS IN BELIZE TO VISIT LOS ANGELES

CONSULATE GENERAL OF BELIZE

Park Mile Plaza
4801 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 250
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Telephone: (323) 634-9900 Fax: (323) 634-9903
E-mail: belizeconsulate@sbcglobal.net


January 25, 2011

(Los Angeles) The Consulate of Belize in Los Angeles today announced to the Belizean
American community that Honorable Patrick Farber, Minister of Education and Youths
in Belize, will be visiting the State of California, February 23 – 27, 2011.

The purpose of the visit is to meet with educational institutions in Northern and Southern
California. Hon. Farber’s goal will be to seek partnership and scholarship opportunities
for Belizean students in Belize to further their educational goals in degree and certificate
programs in the United States.

The Minister of Education will also meet with Belizean professionals in Southern
California to establish a mentorship program for high school students in Belize.
Additionally, he will conduct meetings with sponsors to set up educational and sports
clinics in Belize during the summer months.

Two public events are planned. Location: Christ the Good Shepherd Church 3303 Vernon
Ave. (Vernon & 11th Ave.) Los Angeles, CA 90008
(1) Public Reception held on Friday, February 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm
(2) Town Hall Meeting on Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Hon. Roland Yorke, Consul General of Belize exclaims, “the future of Belize lies with
the educational development of our people; we welcome this visit by Hon. Farber and his
Deputy Chief Education Officer, Mrs. Carol Babb to seek further educational
opportunities for our Belizean students.” The community is encouraged to come out and
dialogue with Belize’s Minister of Education and Youths.

Consulate of Belize, Los Angeles
www.consulateofbelizelosangeles.org
www.consulateofbelizelosangeles.com

For Additional Information
Call: 323-634-9900


Monday, January 24, 2011

WATER SYSTEM FOR MAYA CENTER AND KENDALL VILLAGES

New Water System will improve health and economic opportunities
for residents of Maya Centre and Kendall Villages


Belmopan, Monday, 24th January, 2011:  A new water system that will supply quality potable water to some 400   residents of Maya Centre and Kendall Villages in the Stann Creek District will be officially inaugurated this afternoon at the tank site in Maya Centre Village.

The project was financed by the Government of Belize, through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) at a total cost of $342,000.  It was implemented by the Social Investment Fund, a statutory body in the Ministry of Economic Development.

The project consisted  of the construction of a 20,000 gallon Ferro-concrete, elevated water tank, a concrete pump house with chain link fence, supply and installation of a 7.5 HP submersible Single Phase Pump, one chlorinator unit, installation of a network of 4,000 ft of distribution pipes and the installation of 80 water meters.  The Maya Centre Water Board provided the pipes and labor for the trenching.

The communities of Maya Centre and Kendall are located approximately 14 miles from Dangriga Town. Maya Centre has a population of 300 inhabitants in 60 households while Kendall has a population of 95 residents.  Maya Centre is located at the entrance of the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary & Jaguar Reserve and therefore has great tourism potential.
Minister Hulse turning on the valve.
Address by Minister Melvin Hulse
Besides increasing the economic opportunities for Maya Centre and Kendal Villages, improvement to the water system will also allow these communities to provide a better service to tourists while the residents will enjoy better sanitation and good health through a safe and reliable water source.

The guest speaker at this afternoon’s official opening ceremony will be Hon. Melvin Hulse, Minister of Transportation and National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and Area Representative for Stann Creek West.  Other speakers will include officials of the Social Investment Fund and the Maya Centre Water Board.

For further information please contact Mr Mike Hernandez Jr. J.P., Director of Public Relations of the Social Investment Fund, at Tel: 822-0239 or via email at mike.hernandez@sifbelize.org  Press Release No. 2 – 2011


Thursday, January 20, 2011

THE GOLDIES CRICKET TEAM OF LOS ANGELES

Click on photo to view
The Goldies Cricket Team of Los Angeles played its first cricket match since its formation in July, 2010 at Woodley Park in Burbank, California, against a select side from the West Indies. The game was played under the Southern California Cricket Association (SCCA) rules which mandated that a “white”cricket ball is used for all official matches starting this year, instead of the traditional “red” ball. They played a twenty-five six ball over match and each side had decided to play three players of Indian descent from the Pegasus Club, an upper division level team. L.A.P.D. Officer and SCCA trained umpire, Sheldon Nicholson, was the lead umpire for the game. The Goldies Team was captained by Bobby B. Sutherland, who also organized the game and provided the music, with the help of a lively Jamaican radio host, Raddie, who rocked the crowd with West Indian, Jamaican and Belizean latest hits as he and Big-Up Bobby B announced the progress of the game. The traditional Belizean dishes and pastries, plus Derrick Baizer’s finger-licking out-door B.B.Q., were being served to all free of cost in a picnic-like environment.
Jamaica's Speed Bowler and Batsman
The Goldies Team batted first, leading off with Winfield Tillett and one of the Indian guest players. They faced the USA National Side Star Bowler from Jamaica, Elmer Hutchison, who had a twenty-two yards run-up with a smooth bowling delivery and he was as fast and professional as they come, with great in and out swing capability. "We batted out almost all of his allotted five overs before he bowled me off my pads with a fast pace in swinger. Our team went on to bat out the twenty-five overs, scoring one hundred and fifty runs for eight wickets, with Jason Broaster from Double Head Cabbage top scoring with thirty-five runs" said Winfield. Bobby B., who is also the Goldies' captain for this game, was bowled in the last ball as he tried to chance it to add to the score, while Tony Jones batted not out.
Supporters and Fans
Following a “tea break” of good food and lively party music, Goldies took the field opening up the bowling with Bobby B. from one end and Jason Broaster from the other. At first their bowling was not very effective with those upper division batsmen who were used to batting those rapid speed bowling. Hutchison, who was the most effective bowler, also did the best batting for the West Indies side. However, the Goldies were able to retire the entire opposing side for one hundred and forty four runs, with Bobby B. taking four wickets, Ermond "Bump" Westby taking three, the Indian Spin Bowler taking two and Jason taking one. The game finished just before dark and everyone packed up and went home in a good mood. Except the people who lost.


By Winfield Tillett and photos by Winfield Tillett

JEWISH HOLIDAY- Tu B'SHEVAT

Almond Trees in Bloom
Dried Fruits
Tu B'Shevat (Hebrew: ט״ו בשבט) is a minor Jewish holiday, and is celebrated on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat. This time usually occurs in late January or early February, and it marks the "New Year of the Trees". Tu B'Shevat is one of four "New Years" mentioned in the Mishnah. Customs include planting trees and eating dried fruits and nuts, especially figs, dates, raisins, and almonds. In Israel the flowering of the almond tree coincides with this holiday. On this day, Jews remember that "Man is a tree of the field" (Deuteronomy 20:19).


Tu B'Shevat also appears in the Talmud in Tractate Rosh Hashanah as one of the four new years in the Jewish calendar. In the last few years in Israel, Tu B'Shevat became a day on which students can learn and discuss about ecology, and can also receive their report cards.


Sources:http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3264/jewish/Tu-BShevat.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_Bishvat
Photos #1 & 2 courtesy of israelity.com

Monday, January 17, 2011

COMMENTARY: TEACH THE CHILDREN


Lately I have been thinking of Janessa Jones, the 12 year old child from Ladyville that was found brutally murdered after being missing for 3 days. I have been thinking of how wonderful and innocent childhood has always been. To get up early in the morning and run outside barefoot and feel the warm dew curl about your toes, so comforting. To open a new book and smell the pages, nothing smelt better. To learn to swim, ride a bike, ride a horse, play house with your dolls and your cups and saucers and plates. Cowboys with your pop shot guns, ring a ring a roses and hide and seek, and listening to ghost stories and being deathly afraid of the dark. Knowing that your parents loved you, that the police were the good guys, that you could trust and respect your elders. You ate when you were hungry, and the only time you were in the house after doing your chores, was when it was time to eat or sleep. It was a time of innocence.

Janessa was probably thinking what it was going to be like to become a teenager. She was probably wondering about high school and clothes and puppy love and was she pretty enough and what she wanted to be when she grew up. I am sure she had dreams, at that age we all have dreams of all the possibilities that life has to offer. Janessas' dreams will never be fulfilled; her sudden and violent death erased her and her dreams. It is so sad.

It is so sad that these days children don't read books anymore. They have all the electronic gadgets that have replaced reading, playing outside, socializing with other children. They have become insulated in their own little worlds of television and cell phones, Xbox etc.  Have you noticed lately that you don't see kids playing outside the way they use to? Parents are afraid to let their children out because of predators or all the violence that is abound in the streets nowadays.

As parents we have an obligation and a duty to make sure that the kids are all right. To protect them, censor them when necessary; raise them to be good and responsible adults, and most of all to love them with everything in us. We might not always be good husbands or wives, but we always have to be good parents. Let our children know every day of their young innocent lives how much we love them, every single day! And show them by being responsible parents. 

I hope that before she died Janessa knew how beautiful and special she was. 

Commentary by pele


This blog is not responsible for the views expressed in the commentary segment; all views expressed are the responsibility of the commentator, not the owner of this blog.

Friday, January 14, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY- RT. HON. GEORGE CADLE PRICE

RT. HON. GEORGE CADLE PRICE
A Birthday visit from photographer, Richard Holder
(L) Hon. John Briceno, RT. Hon. George Cadle Price, (R) Hon, Said Musa
Tomorrow, Jan 15th, The Father of Our Nation, Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price will be celebrating his 92nd birthday.


George Cadle Price was the first Prime Minister of Belize and is considered the architect of Belize’s independence in 1981. The former prime minister is well respected by many Belizeans for his visionary and arduous contributions to Belize’s history.

He was born the eldest of ten children on January 15, 1919 in Belize City. Mr. Price attended St. John’s College and studied briefly for the priesthood at a seminary in Guatemala.  

In 1944 Mr. Price entered municipal politics in Belize City and by 1947 he was elected to the Belize City Town Board. He was the mayor of Belize City from 1958 to 1962 and a founding member of the People's United Party.

In 1964 Belize was granted internal self-government from London and Mr. Price became Premier of Belize.

On September 21st, 1981 Mr. Price became the first Prime Minister of an Independent Belize.

Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price was awarded The Order of the Caribbean Community by CARICOM and became the first National Hero of Belize on September 19, 2000. Because of his life of service to Belize, five stamps were issued in his honor.

I would like to wish Leader Emeritus of the People's United Party and the Father of our Nation, the Rt. Honorable George Cadle Price a Happy Birthday.


Belize National Anthem sung by Rt. Hon. George Price.

Photo #1 from Yasser Musa, #2 by Richard Holder, and # 3 from John Briceno

SOCIAL INVESTMENT FUND WORLD BANK PROCUREMENT PROCEDURES

Daniel Cano, SIF Executive Director
Procurement Specialist, Carlson Gough, conducting the training
Members of the SIF BMDP Implementation Unit
Workshop Participants


SIF conducts one-day training in World Bank Procurement Procedures

Belmopan, Wednesday, 12th January 2011:  A one day intensive training on World Bank procurement policies and procedures and the requirements for the financing of the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP) will be held on Friday 14th January in Belmopan at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development.

The workshop is designed specifically for Mayors and Town Council Administrators of the participating municipalities, members of the BMDP Project Steering Committee  and staff of the BMDP Implementation Unit of the Social Investment Fund.

The workshop will be conducted by Mr Carlson Gough, Procurement Specialist, and will cover topics such as: BMDP procurement modes and thresholds; steps and time frame in the National Competitive Bidding modality from advertisement to contract signing and Contractor responsiveness requirements such as signed bids, bid securities, average annual volumes of construction works.

The Government of Belize, through financing from the World Bank, has started implementation of the BMDP aimed at improving municipal service delivery and maintenance in the municipalities of Benque Viejo del Carmen, San Ignacio and Santa Elena, Orange Walk, Corozal, Belmopan, Dangriga and Punta Gorda.  The proposed project will have three main components.

1.      Infrastructure Investments (i.e. drainage, traffic management, social infrastructure, etc);

2.       Capacity Building and Technical Assistance for the Ministries of Local Government and Natural Resources;  improving town council accountability, citizen participation, revenue strengthening, financial  management, and town planning capacity, including disaster risk management; Assistance with Central Government framework for municipal development (e.g. improving local government capacity to monitor the municipalities, land ownership information system, and the land use framework;

3.      Project management.

The BMDP project is implemented by the Social Investment Fund, a statutory body in the Ministry of Economic Development.

Press Release-For further information please contact Mr Mike Hernandez Jr. J.P., Director of Public Relations, Social Investment Fund, at Tel: no. 822-0239 or via email at mike.hernandez@sifbelize.org

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

SOCIAL INVESTMENT FUND: STATEMENT ON GULISI SCHOOL


STATEMENT ON THE GULISI SCHOOL PROJECT, DANGRIGA


Belmopan, Monday, January 10 2011:    In view of concerns raised recently in the media in regards to the contractual procedures regarding the Gulisi School Project, based in Dangriga, the Social Investment Fund wishes to categorically state the following:

1.      The Social Investment Fund is an organization established by law in 1996 as the main implementing agency of the Government of projects aimed at reducing poverty in Belize. SIF is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank through regular loans  to the Government of Belize and through grants through its Basic Needs Trust Fund; the World Bank;  the Commonwealth Debt Initiative; the European Union and through local counterpart funding from the Government.

2.       Established in 1996, SIF has implemented over 498 projects valued at $68.2 Million dollars in the       
areas of Water and Sanitation, Health, Education, Economic Infrastructure,  Organizational
Strengthening, Social Services and  Micro-Enterprise Credit.  Since February 2008 alone, SIF has   implemented 102 major projects countrywide worth $21.4 Million dollars benefitting   over 57,000         Belizeans.

3.      SIF is committed to working with all communities throughout Belize and to implement projects in an honest, fair, transparent manner and without fear, favor or ill will. Our cadre of professional staff and engineers are committed to maintain and preserve the highest standards in both the procurement of goods and services and in the implementation of projects as required by law and our funding agencies.

4.      All projects being implemented by S.I.F., approved by the SIF Board, that exceed $200,000 are without exception, subject to national competitive bidding.  This means that tenders for the project are advertised in the national newspapers for over three weeks whereby interested contractors  are invited to purchase their bidding documents.  However, while prospective bidders are afforded the same and equal opportunity on a competitive basis, SIF reserves the right to accept or reject any bid.

5.      Prior to the tenders’ deadline  a visit to the project site  is organized with prospective bidders to allow them the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the physical nature of the project and all the supporting documents, such as bank statements etc, that need to be submitted along with the tender documents. The site visit for the Gulisi Project was done on the 28th of October 2010.

6.      On the day of the deadline, a public opening of tender documents is held at the SIF offices where all concerned parties are invited. This is done in public view and in a transparent manner.

7.      Following the Public Opening of Tenders, an in house Evaluation Committee evaluate all tenders. Factors such as completeness of the bid, meeting the qualification criteria for the contract and lowest evaluated price are used to recommend a bidder.

8.      Once a prospective contractor has been selected, a request soliciting a “No Objection” is made to the organization financing the project.  Once a “No Objection” is secured, all files in regards to the project are then sent to the Contractor General for his perusal and approval of the tendering process.  Signing of the contract then follows and the project then begins.

9.       SIF is committed to providing continuing training to prospective contractors. In this light, a series of training for small contractors was held last year during the month of September, which was also attended by those expressing concern of the Gulisi Project.

10.  We are also committed to dialogue and to work arduously for the betterment of the poorest for the poor in Belize.


Press Release-For further information please contact Mr Mike Hernandez Jr. J.P., Director of Public Relations, Social Investment Fund, at Tel: no. 822-0239 or via email at mike.hernandez@sifbelize.org


You can read more on this matter at http://www.amandala.com.bz/index.php?id=10760

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

ARTICLE OF INTEREST: CRUISE LINES BACKS DOWN ON BELIZE BOAT CONTROVERSY


Prime Minister Dean Barrow has announced that following negotiations in Miami, Carnival Cruise Lines has backed down on implementing policies that could affect the Belize tourism industry. Carnival had attempted to implement policies that would allow only boats with a capacity of 150 passengers and more, to transport passengers from cruise ships to the mainland for tours and other activities. Local boats that provide these services have a capacity of 100 passengers and this policy would have put the Belize boat owners out of business.


M.A. Romero is a Belize based writer and photojournalist and Managing Director of Belize.com Ltd. The company's main web site is at www.belize.com. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

GIFT BAGS BRING JOY TO THE CHILDREN AT CROOKED TREE VILLAGE SCHOOL

Principal Verla Jex with her class at Crooked Tree Village School-Please click on photos to view.

The parents of Crooked Tree Village and the principal of the Crooked Tree School would like to thank Josephine Wade McGee for donating Christmas gift bags for all 185 children of the Crooked Tree Village School. Mrs. McGee said that she understands that there are many children in Crooked Tree who are not so fortunate. “I want each of them to know they are our future and will have a huge impact on our country and in the world. Life is as much about helping others achieve as it is about our own personal achievement".
Josephine Wade McGee
Principal Verla Jex said that the gift bags brought joy to the children's faces and that she was proud of the time taken to give to others. The principal also added that the reactions on their faces were heartwarming; the children are thankful. It made a difference in the lives of many of the students.
Your donation to the children is a wonderful expression of caring and in the spirit of giving back to the community.
THANKS FOR YOUR DONATION!!!
 
Teacher Winnie Wade Gillett with her class
Teacher Sherolyn Webster with her class
Teacher George Tillett with his class
Teacher Ardith Tillett with class
 Teacher Julia Wade
Teacher Rebecca Flowers (R) and Teacher ??? (L)
Teacher Vero Westby Lauriano
Teacher Uriella Wade (L) and Teacher Roshana Webster (R)
Thank you Mrs. Josephine Wade McGee from the teachers and staff of Crooked Tree Village School. 

All photos from Josephine Wade McGee

Friday, January 7, 2011

ARTICLE OF INTEREST: BELIZE TO GET PETROLEUM REFINERY

Belize oil Pumping Station in Spanish Lookout-November 6, 2010

Jan 6, 2011
Plans are in motion to establish a petroleum refinery for Belize according to media reports  monitored here today. Prime Minister Dean Barrow stated in a short press conference in Belize city today that in order to combat very high costs of imported fuel, Belize will set up its own refinery to process the 5,000 barrels daily production of sweet light it currently exports, mainly to the U.S. market.


Mr. Barrow who had previously opposed the establishment of a petroleum refinery for Belize has been forced to reverse course after being unable to fulfill election promises to lower the cost of gasoline and other fuels. Fuel costs in Belize have skyrocketed since the United Democratic Party took office two years ago, due to the imposition of heavy taxes in order to support government’s deteriorating economic situation.




Continue here:Source: http://belizean.com/news/belize-to-get-petroleum-refinery/#more-461
M.A. Romero is a Belize based writer and photojournalist and Managing Director of Belize.com Ltd. The company's main web site is at www.belize.com. 


Photo by: Jorge Aguallo 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

NEW YEAR MESSAGE: PRIME MINISTER OF BELIZE

New Year Message

My fellow Belizeans:

When I welcomed 2010, I tried in a particular way to mark the sense of purpose, promise and possibilities that a new year always brings. I said then that the worldwide recession, which had begun to swamp Belize in the second half of 2009, would run its course; that our economic difficulties would peak and decline by the end of the year.
Well, I am happy to report that I was right. Here is what the Caribbean Centre for Money and Finance had to say:"in the first half of 2010 most Caribbean countries reported negative or low growth rates, the exceptions being Belize (3.5%), Guyana and the Netherlands Antilles (0.8%)."

Now the figures for Belize's third quarter are in. And our Statistical Institute has revised that mid-year 3.5.% down to 2.4% for the period up to September. But we are still ahead of the pack; and the Central Bank of Belize's forecast for this coming year is yet more encouraging. That forecast is for 3.7% growth in 2011.

My fellow Belizeans: you will thus understand why I feel we can greet this new year in a rhapsody of celebration.

But while the statistics are impressive, they never tell the whole story. And my administration has been preoccupied not so much with growth for its own sake, as with the social and human progress that growth must underpin. The welfare of the people, especially the poor and the middle class, will always be the central concern of the United Democratic Party. It is in that context that we feel especially  good about the year that's ending, and even better about the one that's beginning.
Now Hurricane Richard dealt us a blow in late 2010. And citrus was the greatest agricultural sufferer from the storm. But government immediately gave a grant of 350 thousand for small farmer relief. And in addition, the government-owned DFC has made available a 4 million dollar line of credit to those same farmers.

Of course, our most fundamental worry in the aftermath of the hurricane, was over those that had their homes damaged or destroyed. I promised then that we would assist every last affected householder. And it is a promise that is well on the way to being kept. Almost 900 homes have been repaired or reconstructed in Belmopan and in the Stann Creek, Cayo and Belize Districts. Things have proceeded a little more slowly in Belize City. But even there the number of houses fixed or newly built after the storm, exceeds 240. I take this opportunity to repeat what I said earlier. Though we have already spent almost six million dollars on the process, we will not stop until every single affected person has been helped.

But government's greatest success in 2010 was the rescue of the sugar industry. The livelihoods of almost six thousand persons depend on cane, and we count it a coup that the crop is now off to its best start in years. Apart from our million dollar grant and 10 million dollar loan to the industry, government will also provide a not less than 2 dollars per gallon fuel subsidy to the cañeros.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my fellow Belizeans: couple all this with the saving of hundreds of jobs and millions in investment at the Corozal Free Zone; with the rollout now of the country wide cash transfer to single parent households; with the food assistance in Belize City; with the Apprenticeship Programme for young people; with the 3 million dollars in loan funds for small businesses.Add everything together and see why I say that we are veritably charging into 2011, preparing to conquer everything in our path.

In terms of this new year then, I especially highlight the following. On the back of that 3.7% GDP growth that the Central Bank is predicting, there will be no new taxes on the Belizean people. What there will be is new job-creating, economy-lifting stimulus.  This is as a result of the millions and millions in project financing that this government has been able to secure for the Belizean people.

Here is a partial list of 2011's spending menu:
12 million dollars on small, countrywide poverty alleviation projects via the Social Investment Fund; 30 million dollars on municipal infrastructure to be shared among five District towns and Belmopan City; 62 million dollars in EU money for the Belize Rural Development Programme in the South, and the Accompanying Measures for Sugar in the North; 30 million dollars on the Belize City Southside Poverty Alleviation Project; 44.3 million on the Highway from the "Dump" outside Punta Gorda town to The village of Jalacte near the Guatemalan border; 14.8 million for the rehabilitation of the existing facilities at the Northern Border; 10 million in social interventions in Belize City to help deal with gang violence; and another 10 million for streets, drains and flood mitigation on the Northside of the old capital.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my fellow Belizeans: this 2011 agenda is filled with good things. And even crime appears, albeit slowly, to be giving way to our now resumed, now unstoppable march of progress. For while 2010 overall was challenging, we did see a sharp decline in the murder rate for two of the last three months of the year.

There is one regard, though, in which the sense of resolve that every new year brings, is especially needed now. Our climb out of recession, our growth, our social and economic progress, are all being put at risk by a certain foreign marauder and his local fifth columnists. Just before Christmas a judge of the Belize Supreme Court upheld a 43 million dollar London arbitration award, procured by the Michael Ashcroft interests against the government and people of Belize.

 This award was in connection with a grossly immoral, grossly illegal "Settlement Deed" made by the last administration. Under that accord, Ashcroft's billion dollar banking conglomerates were, contrary to law, exempted in perpetuity from paying their just taxes to Belize. It was as with the similarly outrageous telecommunications Accommodation Agreement also given to Ashcroft by the PUP. And this government decided, from the start and in the name of sovereign justice, to resist unto the skies this serial perfidy. We will continue now to do so, certain in the knowledge that this is a campaign of, by, and for, the people.

But I want to return to the positive, and end on the same upbeat note with which I started. In the course of ups and downs, fluctuating fortunes and dramatic shifts, one thing is constant: Belizean pride, Belizean patriotism. Perhaps that is why God has lifted up in 2010 this land that we love so much. And as we mass together in national solidarity for 2011, we are optimistic that He will continue abundantly to bless us.

It is thus with undiluted confidence that I say now: long live the Jewel, Belize forever, and Happy New Year everyone.

Monday, January 3, 2011

COMMENTARY: HAPPY NEW YEAR BELIZE?


What is wrong with this picture? Yesterday the murder statistics for the City of Chicago was posted and it boasted the lowest murder rate in 20 years, a total of 435 murders. The City of Chicago has a population of approximately 3 million and if you include the suburbs and the outlying areas, it jumps to 9.7 million. Belize reported a total of 132 murders for 2010 and it has a population of just over 300,000, do the math. People, we are in serious trouble, and unless something is done soon to curtail this abomination, we will become a lawless, ungovernable, failed state.

I know that it is easy for me to sit here, far from the chaos, and opine while those at the frontline have to run the gauntlet every day and hope for the best. It is a very untenable situation which cannot, and should not stand! Apparently no one has any idea of how to stop the senseless killing or the rampant crime wave that has overrun the country, and has become the norm instead of the exception. The police are overwhelmed and incapable of tempering the savagery that has engulfed our "tranquil haven of democracy".  Belize needs help, and she needs it now! By the way, is Belize masculine or feminine? I never thought of that before.

I have no idea of how to deal with this unacceptable situation either, but then I don't have the responsibility or the burthen of governing.  Maybe the government should allow every citizen the right to bear arms to defend themselves, since law enforcement is incapable of protecting them. Maybe the government should become medieval and really stick it to the thugs that are creating havoc in the streets and homes of Belizeans. Maybe there should be a curfew for everyone under 21, and unless you have a permit to be out after curfew, the punishment should be severe. Maybe parents should be held responsible for crimes committed by minors, and again the punishment should be harsh. Maybe they should start hanging the guilty at bridgefoot like in the old days. Maybe, maybe, maybe, but something has to be done.

The New Year is here, and it would be great if we could start reclaiming the streets and once again give the people the calm and peace that should be an inalienable right for each and every Belizean.

Commentary by pele

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