Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What is Belizean?

"Oh, Land of the Free, by the Carib Sea"

We are a calm people. Very laid back...even to the point that we appear to be nonchalant. The majority of us tend to be humble. Who am I talking about? Belizeans, of course. Though, it seems that we have always had a problem defining WHO exactly is Belizean.

"Our fathers, the Baymen, valiant and bold"

Well, not all our fathers were Baymen. Most of them were indentured servants, immigrants, exilees, outcasts, and runaways. Belize has accepted so many different people with open arms. But, even though we may accept with our heads, it takes a few generations to accept with our hearts. The face of Belize is an ever-changing and dynamic. I love to explain to people at my school, how myself and my Asian-descent best friend are both fully Belizean.
I wouldn't say that we Belizeans are racist... just "race-aware". We are fast to unload a menagerie of insults including, Pania, Alien, Chiney, Kerub, Whitey, Blackie, Tuff Head, Coolie, and the like. But we're more segregated by economic ties than we are racial ones.

"Drove back the invaders this heritage hold"

I guess in some ways. we're hypocritical. A naturalized Belizean is not REALLY a Belizean {Some people questioned the legitimacy of Ms. Belize 2009, Charmaine Chinapen}. And a dual citizenship holder isn't QUITE Belizean enough. {The current debate on whether a dual citizenship holder can run for office in Belize} But a person of Belizean descent is VERY Belizean, especially when they win and make us look good. {Our Team Belize, with 7 players only of Belizean descent and Marion Jones}.

"Nature has blessed thee with wealth untold"

Belize is so blessed. But, by far, our greatest resource is our PEOPLE. Who is Belizean? Someone who loves this nation. Someone who takes pride in our multiculturalism, each and every race. Someone who embraces our differences! {I can cook rice & beans, curry, hudut, chimole, and stir fry. Can't get more Belizean than that!} I think it's important to add someone who has spent time in Belize. {Remember all the stories about Marion visiting here as a child, while some of those basketball players have never been to Belize before last month?} Someone who has our values reflected in their character.

Just my two cents. I know we've been silent lately, but let's begin the dialogue again.
The Voice

Monday, July 6, 2009

Definition of Democracy

My friends. I'm sorry for the long hiatus. I have three half-written blogs, but I haven't had the inspiration to finish them.

It's not as though the issues have disappeared... they're still there!

Case and point being the situation in Honduras. I'm perplexed by the OAS's support of President Zelaya's. Please read the following, which is taken verbatim from an article titled "Honduras defends its democracy" by Mary O'Grady. {I strongly suggest Googling the full article}

"... Mr. Zelaya acted as if he were above the law... While Honduran law allows for a constitutional rewrite... only... through a national referendum approved by its Congress.

But Mr. Zelaya declared the vote on his own and had Mr. Chávez ship him the necessary ballots from Venezuela. The Supreme Court ruled his referendum unconstitutional, and it instructed the military not to carry out the logistics of the vote as it normally would do.

The top military commander, Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, told the president that he would have to comply. Mr. Zelaya promptly fired him. The Supreme Court ordered him reinstated. Mr. Zelaya refused.


The attorney general had already made clear that the referendum was illegal, and he further announced that he would prosecute anyone involved in carrying it out.

Now, I'm shocked and surprised when I learned that Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton had leapt to the defense of President Zelaya. Next came the support of President Obama, our own Hon. Dean Barrow, and the UN.

I ask you, my fellow Belizeans, to look in your hearts and define democracy. The Honduran constitution allows only a one-term president, because of atrocities of the past. Look in the history books, and you'll quickly understand why. {It's not taught in Belizean schools, but Central America has had a very turbulent history.} There is a reason so many Central American immigrants come to our nation.

Personally, I stand behind the Congress of Honduras. True, a military coup was NOT the way to go, but their actions have foundations in righteousness and goodwill. Through their actions, however, of expelling President Zelaya, their "good" has been severely tainted in the eye of the world. I pity them. May I remind you that President Zelaya only had a 30% popularity vote earlier this year. His referendum most likely wouldn't have passed.

Sometimes the boundaries between good and bad aren't as distinct as we want them to be. Sometimes you have to put yourself in someone else's skin and walk around a little bit.

Comments, please.

The Voice

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oh where, Oh where have all the bloggers gone?

As this blog descends into the writers "mawga" season, I begin to wonder if we have all given up on Belize? Are we done venting, and saying "wi peece"? Or have we just been overcome by the fumes from the dump on fire to the point where we cannot think at all?

Since I see so much to write about let me give you all ten ideas to help get you all going again. Feel free to use one or to come up with one of your own!

1) The City Dump. The horrible place that seems to invade our lives this time of year.

2) Lands Dept. bribes. There is a race to collect the $20,000 prize for proof. I have my receipt for the "half-price processing fee" I had to pay to an employee there. Soon as I get my paperwork out, I am at Bel-China collecting! Come on, hurry up people...I need 20K bad!

3) Digging up nicely paved roads. They  are still digging up the hot mix on Albert and Regent and digging trenches across the "new" half made Northern Highway. 

4) Everybody di wap. Everybody is running a racket. Are we a nation of thieves?

5) BTL cutting its wholesale phone card "commissions" from 11% to 7% so that it can get back the 4% GOB took from it on the back of Belizeans.

6) Why does it seem that some big businesses are paying so little tax?

7) Private tourism organizations that have leaders who have never run a tourism business in their lives. And we wonder why tourism is on the decline?

8) Bad customer service. It is so horrible everywhere in Belize. Is this a Cultural thing? Are we actually unpleasant by our very nature?

9) The powerless police. 

10) Tacos. The true Belizean breakfast.

Now, before everyone races to write about Tacos, let me remind you that you can write about meatpies too.

Me, I am going to write my next blog about some royal bukut.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Strange April Happenings

I know it is the month that April Fools call home, but this month has just been weird.

Firstly, we have had rain in April. In my life, I can never recall such an occurrence.  And it has rained profusely twice....once right before Easter and now over the last few days. Is the dry season over? I doubt it. Is Mother Nature pitying our water bills? Maybe. Are we to be grateful and enjoy it? Absolutely.

Next, we have had Dean O. (and his wife by all indications) become chummy with Barack O. Now maybe Barack O, was just trying to make Dean O feel good, or maybe Kim was just checking to see (by the looks of the pics) if he (Barack) was wearing Armani, but I surmise that either Barack is just a genuinely nice guy or he and the USA wants something. I would like to believe the former, but I suspect the latter. I never trust Uncle Sam, nor GOB for that matter. If we trust the Yanks, next thing you know C-130's will be doing Baghdad style descents into the PGIA.

Then, we have had the bizarre Shoman Fiasco. What the hell is wrong here? Big bad Shoman is quarreling with some no-names from Guate? Interesting and very strange, but I will leave judgments on this up to you all?

And, finally...all you passionate Belize bloggers have disappeared this April. Where have you all gone? Spring Break in Cancun? Fido's in San Pedro? Come on. Belize can't be that boring that you have nothing to write about. All you passionate ones have nothing to say...that is really strange.

So we look forward to May, the month of Mothers. Will all you Momma's boys and girls find something to write about this month? :^)

Friday, April 3, 2009

All over the roads

The recent sad accident with the truck crushing the little boy in Ladyville brings to light a really serious problem in our country.

There are kids and adults all over the roads, jaywalking, dashing across highways, running out of alleys, walking drunk, talking in the middle of the road, laying on highways, riding haphazardly, riding without holding on to the handle, riding and texting, riding with someone on the handlebars...the list goes on and on. If you live in villages, it is even common to see someone riding a bike with a butane cylinder balancing on the handlebar or kids playing football on the highway.

It is truly amazing to me, and a testament to the Belizean drivers, that we don't have more accidents. And we should all be thankful for that.

Yes, there are inconsiderate and crazy drivers and they should be dealt with by the full force of the law, but something must be done about the sheer chaos that are the Belizean roads.

As a society we have no respect for the damage a vehicle can do to the human body till it is too late.  Till your kid decides to ride his bike down the wrong side of a one way street while going to buy a bread, gets hit and injured. 

Why don't we exercise common sense? Are we that oblivious to danger? There is a  pedestrian overpass, but we prefer to "frogger" it over the highway.  There are some pedestrian walkways, but we ignore them, and prefer to cross 10 feet further up.   I have yet to see a "jaywalking fine" sign, real CONSISTENT enforcement at crosswalks and high foot traffic intersections, or even a public awareness campaign.

This is a national emergency, and national health issue. Government must get involved. But we must also start exercising good traffic judgement when crossing streets or riding bikes. We must start obeying laws, and we must stop blaming drivers every time there is an incident.

As someone who has had a knock down incident with an unruly rider, I can tell you that you are always presumed to be at fault, even if in my case, the cyclist was gawking at some young lady and rode into oncoming traffic (i.e. me). I had to spend hard earned money to prove my innocence and the cyclist's idiocy in court. In fact, according to the cyclist I "knocked him down because he was black" . Can you believe that? Making a stupidity issue a race issue. I digress....

So, how do we start to fix this horrible problem. First suggestion is to have bicycle and pedestrian laws with  real teeth and enforce them. Yes, GOB constituents will probably complain and belly ache. But wouldn't you rather have your taxpayers alive?

Have a safe and happy Easter, and please don't drink and ride.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

One year anniversary

Good evening to all readers,

It's been one year since the other bloggers and I began sharing our thoughts and views with you.

We'd like to thank you for your continued readership and comments.

Our little country has a long way to go before she becomes the paradise we all dream off. Despite all the daily hardships life brings, we are all truly blessed to live in Belize and call her home. Never lose sight of her beauty and potential... behind these daily murders and pothole ridden streets, hope is still present.

Remember that with the rights we've been given as Belizeans, come responsibility. We each need to make deliberate responsible action to try and improve the living conditions we face. Nationwide change begins with individual responsibility.

Continue to check in for new and insightful blogs!

The Voice

P.S. I would personally like to encourage you to take part in Earth Hour as well. Climate change is occurring now; our reefs are most especially affected! Just turn off the lights from 8:30 to 9:30 and help reduce global carbon emissions!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It Takes Two

Belize is the quintessential melting pot of diverse races and ethniticies; the interaction of these cultures in a small community offers, in my opinion, is one ingredient in the antidote against the racial discrimination that has plagued humanity for centuries. Indeed, an eclectic integration of cultures does not guarantee that one's society will be spared from pervasive racism. For example, the history of the most famous melting pot, the United States, is tainted by its civil rights movement of the 1960s - an era that still casts a shadow on its cultural genotype, despite the election of its first African American president.

As the largest minority in the country, the Chinese community have arguably received the brunt of ethnic discrimination in Belize. To criminals, they are perceived as weak and docile, and hence, easily malleable to the forces of crime. Moreover, many ordinary Belizeans exacerbate this perception by their simple lack of respect, courtesy and humanity toward the Chinese, best illustrated in their daily interactions. Imagine standing outside any Chinese establishment, particularly their restaurants, and listen to the salutations that are offered to the Chinese shopkeepers; Chinese workers are not afforded the title "Ms. or Mr." (typical signs of respect), but rather, they are dehumanized by disgraceful epithets such as "chiney bwoy/gyal" or "chino". It could be argued, however, that these are benign elements of Belizean verbal intercourse. Yet, to say that this blatant disrespect does not contribute to our own problem of ethnic discrimination would be to purport that ethnic discrimination itself does not exist in our country.

Although there are various sources of this social malady - the lack of cultural education in the home and at school, for example - one origin that has been continually ignored are the Chinese themselves. Despite being belittled, and quite often, verbally assaulted, they continue to serve their patrons. In America, it would be the equivalent of a black individual serving his/her customer despite being called the 'n' word; in Mexico a "pisa"; in England, a "limey and so forth. Chinese-Belizeans' tolerance of what can be considered nothing less than ethnic assualt unequivocally contributes to their perceived obsequious nature. Perhaps the best corrective measure lies withtin the will of the Chinese themselves to refuse service to any individual who addresses them in an uncivil manner. Until this is done, the Chinese community in Belize will reside in a circle of discriminated groups, ranging as far back as the era of Western colonization, the French Revolution and legalized slavery. In each of these cases, the submissive party revolted for their independence. The Chinese community in Belize can achieve their own emancipation from ethnic discrimination by commandeering respect in their daily interactions with Belizeans. Of course, we can also expect Belizeans to adhere to basic manners, but this may be too expensive for our individual budgets for comity.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fed Up

I am fed up with

1) People who don't fess up and leave a note on your windshield when they graze your vehicle while they park. They choose to ding and dash. Happened twice in a month to me....cost me $250 and $300 to get fixed. Come on folks, be honest that you can't drive. I won't get upset, just pay the Peachy piper to take that dent out

2) St. Catherine's Academy and their asinine policy of not providing toilet paper for their students. Yes, the students have to bring their own. For a private school with good funding this is unacceptable. Look if you are that short of cash, charge everyone a $10 toilet fee and be done with it. And we won't even get into the nuns "examining the trash" checking for tampons thinking that if a girl using a tampon she is not a virgin. Read the medical label sista!

3) People and their last minute itis. What is wrong with everyone that they have to leave everything till the last minute, then stress yourselves out trying to get it done. It is planning....very easy to do. Check it out in your free time.

4) The little scams happening around down. They try to cheat me at the fruit stall, adding wrongly and then saying "sorry, no spek english propaly". They try to cheat me at the gas station. They even try to cheat me at the lands department...asking for fees that don't exist.
One feels like you have double check EVERYONE. Is everyone dishonest? Are we a nation of pirates? I guess we TRUST but VERIFY.

5) The pissing at every lampost. Do we not have bathrooms. Is it necessary to relieve yourself on the Radisson plants, the park bench or in the Li Chee Chicken Corner. Lets stop this least go find the ocean!

6) City Council. The do nothing councils of both parties just pretend like they get stuff done. We all know the truth which is they don't know how to do anything at all. Time for them to go back to school.

7) Chiney passing off "Cyatto" as "fillet snapper" in your fish burger. I know fish, and all you guys who eat fish burgers watch out, you are eating the river bottom baron, catfish. I can even tell you who catches it for the icebox loads.

8) Selling refurbished electronics as new....there is one big 'M" store that does this along with countless "indians". It is a horrible practice. Please stop lying to us.

9) People saying "I sent you an e-mail about it" when in fact they didn't. Or they say " I tried calling your cell" when they didn't. Do I look stupid? Just tell me you that didn't want to tell me my order wasn't ready on time. Honesty may get me upset, but lying will not make me return as a customer.

10) Thinking we are going to change Belize. Because we aren't. We a nation of pirates, liars and thieves. I don't foresee that changing.

So what are you fed up with? Send your thoughts to

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Red or Blue: No Difference

On March 4th, the People's United Party - the party once endowed with undeniable moxie - suffered their third consecutive defeat at the polls, an emphatic indication of their emaciated influence over Belizean politics. But while the PUP's most recent debacle may be interpreted as a rejection of their policies in favor of the UDP's ideology, the Belizean society is still hungry for a paradigmatic shift in our two-party political system; this desire was captured in a significantly low voter turnout across the country, especially in the largest municipality, Belize City. Moreover the tacit displeasure of our governance is also evident by the negligible ramifications of March 4th: there would have been simply no change in government oversight, fiscal responsibility, level of corruption or mismanagement regardless of whether the entire country voted for one party or the other.

The above hypothesis does not purport to devalue the act of voting itself; voting upholds our democracy in a region where coups and dictatorships are engrained in its history. Our country, however, can boast that every five years we will peacefully and democratically elect a national assembly of representatives. Voting, in its purest sense, provides the grease for our democratic machinery.

Yet, when comparing the two major political parties, there exists little difference with regard to substantive issues; this seemingly undermines the legitimacy of voting. In other words, why vote if there are no significant differences between political parties? Fair point. The true value of holding elections is that we get to choose between different candidates. But that value is undermined when candidates fail to distance themselves from campaign rhetoric and cliched propoganda. Unequivocally, both parties are guilty of this charge. Perhaps the most over-used campaign pitch for a candidate to vote for him/her is because she/he "is for the people". What does that exactly mean anyway? Another example is when both parties say they are "for the poor people". This is an enigma to me, and the worst example of our politicians following the maxims of a tattered script. They have failed to innovate their minds and ideas to the social and economic problems of 2009. What is worst, is that these mediocre campaign strategies actually work and seem to provide the fire for party followers.

For now, I think the only substantive difference between our political parties is the pigment of their logos. From an ideological perspective, there exists little variation. We don't have conservatives or liberals or moderates. Maybe our issues are too small for political differentiation. Afterall, the paving of Albert Street was by far the most reported news story of 2008. Go figure. Nevertheless, I will continue to vote in our elections not because I feel one party is more adept at formulating solutions, but rather, and sadly, because voting is my constitutional right and because it facilitates democracy. Those, however, are the wrong reasons to vote. It is up to our party leaders to separate themselves from stagnation and to give our citizens a real choice for leadership.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Amandala homophobic?

Following letter sent to Belize Watch and is posted with permission. Letter written on February 13th, 2009.

Last week I wrote a letter to the Amandala newspaper to strongly disagree with the position of one of their editorial writers who believes that the movie Milk is a part of a subversive gay agenda. My critical retort has yet to make it to print, but I thought I would share it with everyone via this medium. I encourage you to read, share, and comment.

You can read the original Amandala article here:

(For my friends outside Belize, the Amandala newspaper is published twice weekly and claims to have the widest circulation in Belize. The paper was born 40 years ago out of a social and political movement for the advancement of black Belizeans and remains a hugely influential media outlet)

My letter to the editor is pasted below:

Dear Editor,

I wish to respond to Colin bh's article of January 29, 2009, titled "From Confused Cowboys, to Milk", in which the writer makes the claim that the academy award nominated film, Milk, is somehow part of a gay agenda by "homosexuals and their sympathizers" to "seduce young people".

In reality, Milk is a film about a gay rights activist and politician who became the first openly gay man ever elected to public office in the USA. Eleven months after his historic election he was murdered by a colleague. Yet despite such a brief career in elected politics, Harvey Milk successfully fought against bigotry and prejudice at a time when some people were actually trying to pass laws to deny gays and lesbians their basic human rights. Mr. Milk struggled against those who tried to enact legislation that would allow people to be fired from their jobs, or evicted from their homes simply for being homosexual.

Milk is yet another story about the continuing fight for the equality of all people, albeit with a tragic ending for the hero of this movie. Suggesting that this film was made to "seduce young people" into becoming gay is about as ridiculous as if I were to claim that Oliver Stone's movie, JFK, was an attempt to “seduce” people into converting to Catholicism.

Mr. bh goes on to suggest that Milk should be rated X simply because it depicts homosexuality. First of all, there is no such thing as an X rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) anymore. The most restrictive rating a film can receive is NC-17. But in order to receive an NC-17 rating a film must contain scenes of graphic sexual content, excessive obscene language, or extreme violence. Simply having a gay character in a movie does not warrant an NC-17 rating. Unlike Mr. bh, I have actually seen Milk and there is nothing in this film that would deserve an NC-17 rating. The only nudity in the movie is one brief wide shot of a man swimming where you can see his buttocks. The only “sexual content” is nothing more than a few kisses.

This is not the first article that I have read in the Amandala that I consider to be homophobic, openly hostile towards homosexuals, and warns of some sort of "gay agenda" or "gay mafia" lurking out there attempting to seduce and convert heterosexual men and women. Mr Editor, I ask that your newspaper offer the slightest proof that such a subversive movement actually exists.

Let me state for the record (not that my sexuality, or anybody else's is any of your business) that I am a male who is 100% heterosexual. I only mention this so you will not be quick to dismiss my opinion as that of someone representing this perceived “gay agenda” you so fear. I guess, at worst, you may feel free to consider me one of those "sympathizers" you are so equally afraid of. My network of friends and colleagues include people of all sexual orientations. I have socialized with people who are openly homosexual and have attended events sponsored by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) communities. Yet NEVER, in my entire life, has anyone EVER tried to “seduce” or “convert” me into becoming a homosexual! Nor have I ever felt confused about my own sexuality when in the presence of people whose sexual orientation is different from my own. Mr. bh, If you have any personal experiences that are contrary to mine I encourage you to share them with your readers.

Mr. Editor, the next time your newspaper feels the need to indulge one of your writers with column space to spout hatred towards homosexuals (or any group of people for that matter) please substitute the word "gay" with "black" and the word "lesbian" with "African". Or how about substituting "batty-man" with the N word? Then tell me, would that editorial ever make it to print in your newspaper? Of course not, because it would be hateful, unsubstantiated, and would raise the ire of your readership.

I find it incredulous that an organization such as The Amandala, with its roots so firmly based in the struggle of one group of people would condone such open hostility towards another. In fact it's rather shameful, in my opinion.


Brent Toombs

Belize City

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reluctant Campaigners

Well first of all congrats to the 'scarlet letter' posters. I sat back at watched you guys got at it for days on end. A war of attrition or maybe it was exhaustion...I was tired just reading all the back and forth.


As I drive around Belize City, I see the Citco campaigners out and about. Small waves of red on Baymen, then eddies of blue on the northern highway. At first glance one would think that they are campaigning, but they are not. They are just being seen. "Profiling" as my hood folk say. Getting paid (I think) to wander and jaywalk.

Now I don't know what it is like in the towns, but in my untidy city it is more like no one wants their team to get the job. On my home street the blue shirted ones just walked pass me going in the front door with not even a hello. Not real effective campaigning or perhaps they thought I was red. But if I was a "reddy", then they should have stopped...isn't that the point of campaigning / talk to voters. They should have stopped to talk to me, because I don't know Chubby, but, but, but .....I hate Z. I was convertible, sway-able. They could have done a sales job on me. But alas, they didn't even attempt the sale so I am left with trying to write in "Private Citizen Spooner" on my ballot. I am a voter lost between dissatisfaction and candidate ignorance. Hey, I just realized ... I am a swing voter!!!!!!!!

Then I stop to buy some dog food at Pet Casa (shameless plug) and the red wave the median of the road...not even on the sidewalk....showing utter disregard for safety. At first maybe we could say "we'll they were waving at people"....nope...the ones I saw, hid behind their placards when their friends passed. Are they avoiding the voters along the sidewalks? Are they so ashamed of the job their team has done that they don't want to be seen?Or are they just collecting a check. My guess...the latter.

So what are we to do ....who do I vote for? The one that doesn't try the hardest to loose? Trouble is, I think it might end up as a tie at the bottom, and I will be up Haulover Creek without a voting choice.

My choices are a red team rocked by scandal, internal strife and mismanagement.  A blue team that I don't know, don't want to be known and are a token effort by Queen St. Or not voting. Truly a no win for me, my city or my country.

I think it is time for another real party...another real choice. Paging Private Citizen Spooner...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Repeating history

If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.  This line has become one of the most famous sayings in history. And for good reason. Seems like humans can never get it into their thick skulls.

Once again this week, we get a glaring example.

Dean O, in the midst of wedding jitters and nuptial pressures, followed in the footsteps of his much maligned predecessor Said Wilbur Musa.  He underestimated the will of our brethren from the North.

Now, setting aside the Core Sampler argument as we know the Cañeros must come into the 21st century, how did the PM underestimate the determination or our Northern brothers? Easy one. Arrogance.

On the very same bridge that Said's downfall most likely started, we may have witnessed the beginning of Dean O's as well. Doesn't he understand the first rule of dealing with an issue like this. You have to de-escalate the tensions then you can talk. That is why union negotiations have "cooling off periods". So the negotiators can go home and kick back a few beers an maybe realize that perhaps they are being unreasonable. Giving already incensed protesters an ultimatum can only end badly.

A few years ago, a popular PUP politician told me something. "So goes the north, so goes Belize". At the time, I dismissed this as politcial arrogance. Maybe now I am not so sure.

Mr. PM.....suggest you keep a close watch on  Benque. 

Pallotti's Scarlet Letter

The issue of teenage pregnancy is a controversial social ill that infects communities across the world. Yet, the procedural mechanisms employed by these societies to rectify this problem not only illustrate the ideological diversity from country to country, but it can also serve as a quantifiable measure of the efficacy of current means to solve a prevalent social enigma. The recent story on Pallotti High School's ironclad rule on teenage pregnancy (and teenage relationships in general) not only serves to further this discussion, but it also presents an example of the understated friction between rule and law.

Allegedly, Pallotti's rule on teenage pregnancy is straight-forward: any student suspected of bearing or carrying a child will be expelled upon confirmation of such an offense. (I admit, I was unable to ascertain whether it is an immediate expulsion or merely a suspension, but this article assumes the former.) From Pallotti's perspective, the issue over of the recent controversy is indisputable; students (should) know the rules before their enrollment and failure to comply with these rules will result in appropriate punishment. For many others, however, myself included, I question whether the punishment in this case was indeed appropriate and whether the rule stands in contrast to a child's constitutional right to privacy and education.

The majority of our parents grew up in a time when this issue warranted little debate. An appropriate level of punishment in previous decades would not only result in the immediate expulsion of the student, but additionally, a merciless scourging for the dark shroud of embarrassment that the family must endure. This social denigration that the young female experiences is what Nathaniel Hawthorne essentially described in his 1850 novel, "The Scarlet Letter". One can argue that, one hundred and fifty years later, Pallotti's rule emblazons its own version of Hawthorne's scarlet letter by shunning females away from its institution and denying them a right to an education. On the contrary, many have and will undoubtedly agree with such a rule. They have and will claim that because this child knowingly broke the school's sacrosanct rule, that she deserves to be removed, not the least because it disrupts the Pallottine image of the school and may set a bad example for other students. This rule, of course, is aligned with the teachings of St. Vincent Pallotti, the school's namesake, who preached that "The love of Christ impels us [to love and serve one another". This rule, of course, is also aligned with the school's stated mission in its current expansion project which states ironically, "The role that Pallotti High will further play in alleviating these societal ills is by affording an education to as many young Belizean girls and women as possible" in an effort to mitigate "vicious cycles of poverty, teenage pregnancy, illiteracy rate and other social and economic problems crippling the Belizean society." As opposed to finding ways to counsel their students in times of desperation - when they need it the most - the school opts to punish without any level of recourse. This in no way can deliver the mechanisms needed to aleviate this problem. Instead, it only exacerbates the situation by making life for an already-burdened young woman even more unbearable. How appropriate.

Finally, with regard to the legality of the rule, the issue is far clearer. Pallotti simply has no case, as revealed by the recent court decision to reinstate the child back into the classroom. If the Pallottine Sisters in Belize feel so strongly for this rule on chastity, then they should do what many other Pallotine schools do across the world, and that is to fund the institution themselves. In that way, it is a private entity that can legitimately enforce its rule. However, Pallotti High School in Belize is a public institution that is beholden to the government. In turn, the government is a people's institution beholden to the constitution. Therefore, it is unequivocal that the government's public institution's must, must reflect the will of the people. And the will of the people can only be found in one place: in the little yellow book used in primary school Social Studies classes around the country, entitled "How We Are Governed", also known as the Constitution. The rights of the child, reflected in our laws, wholly speaks against the discrimination of children and protects them against any form of punishment that retracts a fundamental right, such as their education. On all questions of legality, the answer is that Pallotti's rule, like many other school rules in the Belizean educational system, violates the law of the land.

As always, comments from all angles are appreciated.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The KREMandala Konundrum

We have many media houses around town. Some are clearly biased. Some are more subtle. But one is outright doing Belize an injustice through the propagation of hatred. This holier than thou empire of hypocrisy, deserves no respect. KREM is the name and they are bad for Belize.

Everything that goes wrong in their business empire they blame on everyone else. 
Circulation down. It is The Reporter bad mouthing them.
They bounce a check. It is the Belize Bank evil empire.
Their signal is giving trouble. It is the mischievous PUP.
Their internet gets cuts off. It is the white man.
The Garbage piles up outside. It is the spanish man not picking it up.
Someone has robbed them. It is the social classes keeping the black man from getting a $1000 a week job.
The chicken that they ordered for lunch is cold. Blame it on the Chiney.
And if they truly can't find a scapegoat for the complaint of the hour, then they dredge up the oh so glorious UBAD way. Which is almost every week.

It is never that they a printing a crappy paper, don't have good accounting, poor technical equipment, haven't paid their bill, bad management or that their own listeners are tossing the tacos wrappers at their front door.

It is never that they entered into an agreement without reading the fine print or with an eye for greed.

Now, Mose does make sense on some issues, and he does make valuable arguments. His arguments on Belize sovereignty are refreshing. Unfortunately, his voice of reason is overshadowed by the environment of self-righteous entitlement that his family has created and preaches to the sponging masses.

Kremandala could do a lot by just shutting up and telling their listeners to take responsibility for their actions. 

Don't like a price at a shop. Shop somewhere else.
Got no money. Go get a job.
Making pickney. Support them.

If they truly want to be the conscience of the people in print, on the air and on TV, then they need to start by ensuring that they listening to their hearts..not to mad men preaching hatred.

Hatred will only tear the precious society they claim to protect further apart.

Easy my brethren!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Growing in fear.

Are other parents going thought the same kind of fear that I have?

The fear that tells you not to go to Chon Saan for a family dinner or you will get robbed. The fear that says to you not to take your kids to BTL park because they might get caught in a ride by shooting. The fear that says we better not leave our homes for a night at San Pedro, lest we come back to an empty house...all that you have worked for ..gone. And the kind of fear that paralyses us even as we try to pick our most cherished from school.

It is the kind of fear that dictates that we better not even call the police for help for a) we will get reported back to the criminals b) that we will get an answer like "u don wap ah, so e no wah come back again" or c) they won't even answer the dang phone. The police are useless, powerless, impotent and even part of the problem.

As we grow in fear, we grow in anger. Anger at the police, the politicians, and the blood-sucking-slime-that-gets-caught-under-your-fingernails-while-scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel-of-belizean-citizenry (And yes...belizean should be written in lower case letters because we don't deserve uppercase!) They are all holding my family hostage, and I am pissed off as hell.

So what do we do about it....move? We'll my family is seriously considering that. Do we run for office? I would do that, but I am not corruptible so I would never get elected, or get to a level of Government where I would be able to do anything. Do we arm ourselves? No, then we become part of the problem. 

I say we do a massive roundup. Put all these thug wannabes in a big cage in National Stadium, give them a stock of weapons (all sorts just to make it fiery and interesting), charge admission to the viewing public...and let them have at it. Last man standing wins "thug of the year".

Then just maybe, I might be able to live in peace in the country I love and maybe, just maybe be able to sleep at night knowing my kids are safe.

Stay safe my breddas!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Going to one's head

Read this article to understand that sometimes being "breggin" is not good. Kinda makes a fool of yourself, your family and your country.

When will cruffy ever learn that humbleness is the sign of class..not whether you are flying your bishop in for your wedding or if you are wearing Armani. Marriage might be an institution, but is this couple ready for the institution as yet? 

Me, I struggled real hard just to stay out of the Marriage license section of the Belize Times!

As Spock would say "Live long and prosper." I wish them all the luck in the world...and look at this way, if they are getting married in the morning, if it fails, at least they haven't wasted the entire day.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Women Breaking up the UDP

You know, one would have thought that the UDP male ministers would be fighting amongst themselves for the scraps that the PUP left. And one would have thought that this would have been the undoing of the UDP, the dividing force within the party.

Well, there are fights, but those are but a side show to the the dividing force that is coming from the women. Women, traditionally are supposed to be the nurturers, the healers. No, not this bunch. They are taking the bull by the horns and leading it straight to hell.

Zenaida is doing her best to sink the party. Whether it is running her mouth or running rubber checks to Waste Control, she is at the helm of the UDPs biggest ship, otherwise known as the S.S. CITCO Titantic. The iceberg was hit and it is taking on water fast. All that is left is for all hands to abandon ship and for its occupants to jump into a sea of garbage.

Now, Diane comes along. She is at the helm of one of the UDP's biggest cash cows, the S.S NICH. She can't seem to keep the rats off the ship. The ship is flooded with them. From Board members who have no idea what the letters NICH stand for, to bounce check, owe everybody in Belize, charlatans like David Gegg. 

Dual handedly, these two women have done more to damage the UDP than any opposition. In fact if I were the PUP, I would campaign FOR the UDP City Council and give Z. another term to finish destroying the party.

Dean O. better get his ships righted, because as they go down, so will the fate of a second term for his party.

Man the life rafts, we are in for a close one!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Memo to the Government: Increase our Gas Prices.

The title of this entry surely sounds counterintuitive. The world is in its biggest economic crisis since the Depression; the Belizean tourist market, our most lucrative industry, is faltering; and the cost of food (and living in general) has increased dramatically. Yet, the lone proverbial gem among this economic despair has been the significant decrease in the cost of fuel - a boon to drivers across the globe, especially in Belize where prices have fallen almost 70%. However, this latest development in the ephemeral saga of oil prices warrants careful discussion about how the government should proceed with its tax policy on fuel.

The price of fuel has hovered between $9 and $11 for the past several years. And despite such steep prices, few Belizeans truly changed their driving habits. Teenagers still proceeded with their obligatory "circles" around the city (with the windows up and the A/C at full blast). Moreover, with a bus system in utter disarray, many adults had no choice but to pay the exorbitant price of fuel to get from home, to work, to the store, to school etc. Belizeans simply kow-towed to our insignificant place on the world stage, and understandably so; a population of 300,000 will never affect the price of any commodity, let alone fuel. We have no choice but to take the price given when the tanker enters our waters.

But amidst the ecstasy of $4.85/per gallon fuel, there are other issues to consider aside from prices. For example, drive anywhere in Belize City, or even in many out-district areas, and our vehicles suffer immense wear and tear from the honeycomb of potholes that dot our streets. The infrastructure of our country has been battered by floods, hurricanes, and the ever-increasing amount of cars on the road. To fix these roads cost money - money that our government does not have. Therefore, it behooves the government to take advantage of the present reduction in fuel prices to collect a higher tax. Of the current $4.85 we pay at the pump, the government collects $1.70, or 35%. If the government decided to collect $2.00 (40% of the price), the price of fuel would then be $5.15, still a dramatic decrease from the status quo of the past several years. The money obtained from these taxes should be used to support infrastructural development, particularly our dilapidated streets. Simple math sheds light on the benefits of this plan: assume there are 10,000 cars in Belize City and that each car on average goes to the pump every 10 days. And at each visit to the pump they put in, on average, 14 gallons of fuel. With a gas tax of $2.00, the government would collect $280,000 every 10 days. Finally, assuming that it takes one million dollars to pave a mile as it is commonly said to cost, it would take the government 40 days to collect the funds needed to pave one mile of road.

I have mentioned this proposal to several people and many have remarked that it is not politically feasible because people would not allow the government to stand in the way of the lowest possible price, especially when the motto of 'tings haad out ya' dominates the social milieu. Yet, this is a promising opportunity to put politics aside in place of reason. When gas prices eventually rise, the government can simply reduce the gas tax. Prices will not stay this low forever and hence, requires swift action to take advantage of its potential benefits for the infrastructural development that our country so desperately needs. Thoughts?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

5 Lessons We Need to learn for the New Year

These are the lessons my fellow Belizeans need to learn for the new year. If we can learn them, perhaps....just perhaps we can begin to move forward.

Lesson 1: Don't trust David Gegg in a business transaction. There is not a single reputable business that is not owed money by this man and his litany of faltered businesses. Yet, he continuously seems to be able to get deals done. He checks, lines of credit and even his cold hard cash are not accepted anywhere in town. His trail of bad debt stretches from Chaa Creek to the shores by the Radisson....from Brodies to Maya Island Air...from little landowners to (now) the biggest landowner of all...GOB. GOB and the people of Belize will be the ones getting screwed this time with Diane Haylock's giveaway. Maybe we should just stop dealing with this man altogether and give some other folks a chance.

Lesson 2: How to fix a road. We see roads being fixed and paved, but being done so improperly. Any basic road building class will tell you you must make a pothole square before you can patch it. You must put proper drainage or it will wash away faster than a you can say Andy Palacio. Seems like Min of Works does not know this or cares to look it up. 

Lesson 3. Garbage cans do not work for nasty Belizeans. I see BNE has built some nice garbage cans around the country to try to stop the littering. Good intentioned, but pointless. Until we start ticketing my fellow prideless citizens, the littering problem will not stop. Will our leaders never learn?

Lesson 4: Save money for a rainy day. Rare is it to see a Belizean saving for when times get tough. We are living at and beyond our means. We are living on credit, pawn shops and pay day advances. When will we learn to be responsible to ourselves. When we learn that Murphy's law dictates that just when you do not have a penny in the bank you will need a CT scan to save your life. We must start to pay ourselves first before we buy that new iphone!

and Lesson 5: Stop blaming everyone else for our own failings. Get off your butt and take responsibility. Maybe if some of us actually tried to get a job instead of expecting your area rep to drop one in your lap, or blaming the "man weh only wa pay me $150", then we could actually get a job. Ok..yes..all these "haad back people" begging at every street corner are really starting to piss me off.

Lets see what the new year brings.

Oh..BTW....I really thought fire cracker (dynamite) was banned in Belize. One would not have thought so over the holiday period.  The streets sides are awash in exploded Guatemalan newsprint. One kid blew off his finger in my neighborhood because his parents thought they were harmless. Maybe this should be Lesson 6. FIRE CRACKERS ARE DANGEROUS!