Archive for August, 2008

Belizean Author, Zee Edgell’s Book Reprinted

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August 25, 2008 at 2:35 am Leave a comment

Dean Barrow’s “Miss Cleo” Gun Laws

Dean Barrow’s “Miss Cleo” Gun Laws
by Wendy Auxillou

…and we are also introducing the Firearms Amendment Bill which will allow for joint charging of persons if an illegal firearm or illegal ammunition is found on the premises owned or occupied by more than one person.” — Minister Carlos Perdomo, House of Representatives, April 2008

I would just like to comment that Clause 5 is seeking to broaden the scope of Section 35 to prohibit not only certain firearms and ammunition but also … bullet-proof vests…” — Minister Carlos Perdomo, House of Representatives, April 2008

Please permit me to share my little two cents worth on the Dean Barrow/Carlos Perdomo 2008 rendition of the Firearms Act that was recently made law. I call this law the “Miss Cleo Gun Law”, and I will soon tell you why.

First of all, though, please let me say that I keep being horrified that Prime Minister Barrow is so keen (and eager) to enact laws that are so draconian and abusive of law-abiding Belizeans in general, that I literally retch and seethe in anger and disgust. The theme of most of Mr. Barrow’s new crime laws appears to take the sacred legal doctrine of “innocent until proven guilty” and turn it topsy turvy until it is transformed into “guilty until proven innocent”. Why would anyone want to harass law abiding Belizeans? For what purposes?

Mr. Barrow is obviously a well schooled lawyer who previous to him become Prime Minister was considered one of the best legal minds in Belize. He is not exactly uneducated. So why is it that Mr. Barrow would want to draft these odious, abusive, draconian laws that his “palabras” say are meant to curb crime, but that even I, your ordinary Jane Public, a non-lawyer, knows will take no more criminals off the street than before, but will instead drag innocent law abiding Belizeans to the bottom of the barrel and make criminals out of them? What exactly is so pleasurable to Mr. Barrow and Mr. Perdomo about abusing ordinary law abiding Belizeans this way? The answer that comes to my mind is quite sinister, I will admit!

But I digress. Let me get back to that disgusting gun law (Firearms Act) now in effect.

The gun law (Firearms Act), as it was revised by the bright sparks Mr. Carlos Perdomo and Prime Minister Barrow, now makes it absolute that YOU, Joe and Jane Public, will go straight to jail … DIRECTLY to jail…no bail … if you happen to have the bad luck of simply being within a certain radius of an unlicensed gun discovered by the police, even if you did not know about the presence of the firearm. You could be a Good Samaritan taking a plate of rice and beans over to your needy neighbor, or even a kind neighbor offering your friends or family a ride home from work or school, and if the police come a-raiding and find an unlicensed gun either in the home where you are sitting chatting with the neighbor who you took the rice and beans to, or on the person who you gave a ride in your car to, you will go STRAIGHT to jail, no bail, no questions asked. Even though you knew nothing about the gun. You will still be sent to prison, straight to jail!

The way the law is written, even if your kid is a straight A student listening intently in class to a school lecture, and an unlicensed gun is discovered in the classroom (not an unlikely event in some schools these days), the entire class of students and the lecturer will go straight to jail, no bail, and no questions asked. Even though your straight A kid did nothing wrong and everything right. Even though the teacher did nothing wrong. That my friends, is the horror that the new Firearms Act is.

Recently we heard on the news of a Mayan woman, a UB student and mother to a breast feeding five month old child, being taken straight to jail, no bail, because the police raided the home where she was boarding and found an unlicensed gun. She is a boarder in someone else’s house who knew nothing of any gun on the premises. Despite her innocence, the woman, an educated university student, has had to bear the incredible indignity of having her character defamed to her peers, her fellow students and in the court of public opinion. Additionally, she now has to bear the added burden of having to scrounge up cash to pay a lawyer to defend her innocence. Thankfully, her lawyer was able to secure her release in the Supreme Court, but her troubles are far from over. As a condition of her release (remember this is an innocent woman being put through this hell), she was asked to suffer the additional indignity of having to report to the police station every Saturday. Her travel documents have also been taken away. Her crime? Innocently and without malice being inside a home which unknown to her contained an unlicensed firearm. Amazing! The law has now made this innocent law-abiding woman a criminal. Just like that.

This woman’s story is not the only one. Hers is probably just the most public one. In one of his columns Mr. Evan X Hyde also wrote of a young boy who was riding in a car with some friends, one of which, unknown to the boy, had an unlicensed firearm in his possession. Despite this young man’s innocence, all three occupants of the car were thrown in jail, no bail. When she found out, the child’s mother became hysterical, and rightfully so. I think if I were in her shoes I would become more than hysterical. I would want to put a serious hurting on the person(s) responsible for putting my child through that hell. And that is another way this stupid law makes criminals out of law abiding citizens. This particular boy’s crime? Doing what every single person his age is wont to do – be a normal youth hanging out with his friends, for which the law has now made him a criminal.

As you have probably noted by now, you literally need to be psychic to be able to see which one of your friends who you interact with on a daily basis, or which shop keeper into whose shop you go to buy every day, or even which friend who usually gives you a ride home from work, or even who is in the car of your friend who is giving you a ride home is carrying an unlicensed firearm. Even the person you stop to chat with on the street as routine, you need to be able to “read” if that person is carrying a firearm or not. Even the neighbor whose house you go to offer assistance to, you need to “read” the stats accurately before you step into the house. You get my drift? You absolutely cannot socialize with anyone anymore without putting yourself at risk of being sent to jail, no bail, for something you know nothing of. Unless you are psychic. Otherwise, how would you know who of the countless people you interact with daily to avoid? Unless you live your life inside locked up in your house day and night, you have no control and most of the time no knowledge of the actions of others. That is why I call the Barrow / Perdomo “gun” law the “Miss Cleo Gun Law”. If you are not psychic, you can go to jail, no bail, for nothing you did wrong, only for simply being a law-abiding citizen in the right place with (unknowing to you) the wrong company even though you were totally convinced it was good company. It is a shame, in my opinion, that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Security saw this draconian amendment to be a fitting law. I would like the Prime Minister and the Minister of Security both to spend a night or two or three in the Hattieville Ramada for no good reason and tell us how THEY like it.

As if that amendment is not offensive enough, the Minister of Security/Prime Minister have also passed a law outlawing bullet proof vests, referring to them as “gang paraphernalia”. Huh? Mr. Minister and Mr. Prime Minister, may I humbly suggest that bullet proof vests, rather than being outlawed, be made required and mandatory clothing in certain areas of Belize? That is much more logical and makes much more sense.

As to crime reduction, if only the police were incentivized to raid crack houses (of which there are many on practically every street corner) and to nab the big drug barons (as opposed to harassing people in the possession of one stick of weed or gun toting citizens who are simply trying to protect themselves since the government obviously can’t protect them) the country would be in much better shape. I am afraid the police have it all backwards when they go about arresting innocent citizens. I sincerely believe that move is sanctioned at the highest levels as a cheesy way to pad up the police “statistics”. Is there a reason why crack houses or drug barons are never raided? Inquiring minds would like to know. I have read the police press releases on a daily basis for many years and have yet to come across a single solitary police press release detailing a raid on a crack house or a drug baron. Why is that? Are they above the law?

August 25, 2008 at 2:11 am Leave a comment

The Church/State School System: The Mind Rape Of Belize

The Church / State School System: The Mind Rape of Belize
by Wendy Auxillou

A few days ago, I read a very interesting article published by COHA (Council On Hemispheric Affairs) in which the discussion centered on regional femicide and how that came to become an accepted part of our culture. For those that do not know, femicide refers to the killing of women.

While MY article is not specifically about femicide, it IS about mind rape, particularly, the mind rape of our Belizean women.

I read a recent Reporter editorial that made me seethe in anger and I wanted to respond to it. In this respect, I would like to share a few excerpts from the COHA article I read with you. The COHA writer was not referring specifically to Belize, but rather Guatemala, but the cultural issues remain the same.

As a Belizean woman ”educated” in the woman-bashing religious school system that forms the basis of our Belizean education (and our modern cultural way of life), I make it my personal crusade to educate women whenever possible of the mental shackles forced upon our minds and our psyche by the church / state system of education. Christian religious doctrine as taught in the schools in Belize categorically demeans a woman’s femininity to the point that a Belizean woman is forced to suppress every facet of her woman-ness which she should instead be celebrating. If she does not, she faces ridicule, or exile by the status quo. I will try to point out how and why this is done as I go along. As a mother of female children, I am more determined than ever that my own offspring will not be shackled by this brainwashing masquerading as “education” which seeks to undermine their worth as human beings simply because of their gender.

Most Belizeans are taught religion in school, but we are never taught how religion actually came to become a part of the Belizean educational system and eventually Belizean society.

I think that if more Belizeans became aware of the cruel and downright inhumane ways by which Christianity was forced down the throats of the original Central Americans, the Mayas, of which we are their offspring, and the reasons why this was so, we as a people would not be so quick to accept its demeaning doctrines as our own. So, fellow Belizeans, take this as a little history lesson.

According to the COHA report (to which I referred above):

“The feminine subordination witnessed in contemporary Mayan population, began in 1524 with the arrival of the conquistador, Pedro de Alvarado. The Spanish subjugated the great Mayan empire to their rule “with the sword and the cross”. … The stable, traditional rule of the Maya became replaced by the hierarchically structured social classes of the Spanish, completing a hierarchical pyramid where the native Maya composed the bottom base and the Spanish-born elite claimed the apogee.” — (COHA report)

As is mentioned above, before the arrival of the colonizers to the region, the Mayas already had their own systems of governance in place. Upon the arrival of the Europeans, “religion” became the basis upon which the subjugation of the Mayas, (and the Africans they brought along to work for them), was based. Faced with the threat of death if they did not convert to Christianity, the Mayas and the Africans chose life. And that, my fellow Belizeans, is how Christianity came to Central America and eventually became a “normal” part of Belizean society. It came by the tip of a sword. It did not come willingly and not because it was demonstrated that the Christian way of life was a superior way of life. It became a way of life because if our ancestors did not embrace it, they would be killed by the people who eventually went on to colonize them. Christianity was espoused as the preferred way of life because it served the purposes of the colonizers (“superior” people) well.

Religion is a political tool which the colonizers used to keep their subjects complacent. Christianity teaches poor people to be happy with their lot in life because supposedly there will be riches for them eventually after death supposedly in a place called “heaven” (something which no one has ever come back to prove is true). If the servants / subjects are taught to be happy being poor, that they should not fight, etc., public uprisings for whatever reason would be less. This puts the colonizers more in control of their “subjects”. With the idea of “riches after death” poor people would not give trouble in THIS life while they were alive. It served its purpose so well (keeping the downtrodden un-rebellious and in check) that it was quickly introduced into the school system in then British Honduras. Christianity taught in the schools assured that the doctrine of subservience was spread far and wide to every corner of the country.

It should be no surprise then, that one of the doctrines taught by Christianity is that women should be docile, subservient and lacking in sexual desire. This is the brainwashing Christianity uses to control women. Christian doctrine also teaches that the male is dominant in society. There are no female priests in the Catholic religion. There is a reason for this and it is also political. Men don’t want women competing with them because then they will lose their alpha status in society, and so Christianity continues to work well for them. The method used to achieve this is guilt. If you are a woman who enjoys sex, men point to religion and tell you that you should not. If you want to bear children without being married and this works for you, men point to religion and tell you that you should not. Find anything that will make a woman independent and mentally free and men can find a passage in the bible that will make her feel guilty about being that. This type of guilt tripping / brainwashing worked back then, and it continues to work its magic even today in modern Belize, thanks to the church / state educational system endorsed and supported by the Belizean government. The Belizean government is merely an extension of the Belizean oligarchy. The Belizean oligarchy replaced the colonizers as the “elite” people in Belize when Belize became an independent country. They want YOU to remain docile, guilt-tripped and subservient, so they see no reason to change the status quo and teach you any differently. But they teach their own children differently, no matter that they go to church and knock their chest in public.

Via the joint church/state educational system, this political doctrine is disseminated successfully far and wide throughout Belize. If Belizean women do not follow the “rules” created by Christianity taught in the schools as being unequivocally “right”, we are degraded, demeaned, ridiculed, cast aside, and rejected by the status quo.

The writer of the COHA report went on to observe:

“Decades of constant degradation have turned women into complacent recipients of unjust treatment. Women, mostly of the lower classes, are brought up as servants to their fathers and male siblings. Boys are given the luxury of education, while the girls must tend to the family. In the lower and middle classes of … society women completely embody the traditional role of servitude. Even in the higher classes, women take on the role of “trophy wives” instead of that of the role of an independent woman. Since childhood, women’s goals are to become wives and mothers, and are never given the opportunity to pursue their own path in life. Therefore, by consenting to their subservient roles, women allow themselves to be seen and treated as objects, instead of individuals. This exempts from guilt those who violate women’s rights, as they have never seen women as human beings; but are instead only violating an object. Consequently, the country is left with a society that highly values men and their actions, while it ignores the potential accomplishments of women.”

Belizean women, wake up. The COHA report is referring to us!

It is my personal belief, that Christianity and religion are the biggest mind rapes modern Belize has ever known. They are the architects of the diminished status our women currently hold in Belize today.

As soon as this is published, you will quickly hear howls from the Belizean establishment and the oligarchy that controls the media rushing to debunk COHA’s thesis and this article, but their job is to preserve the status quo for their own reasons. I am not a part of the oligarchy. So I view things differently.

Misogynous teachings referred to as “religion” perpetuated through the church / state school system to generation after generation of our Belizean students (even today as I write this), literally ensures that Belizean women will continue to be subjugated and abused in modern Belizean society.

A shining example of this misogynous brainwashing in play is a recent newspaper editorial by Harry Lawrence in the Reporter newspaper of 08/24/08. In his article, Mr. Lawrence narrated the story of one Tanisha, a fourteen year old female who he described in his article as a “child having children”.

So?

Then came the clincher!

Mr. Lawrence, displaying his skewed religious brainwashing so popular in Belize nowadays, sought to blame Tanisha, (and by extension, Belizean women) as the architects of crime. It’s because of “children having children”, chirped Mr. Lawrence, repeating a tired and shop worn piece of nonsense I would bet was first uttered by a man, that crime is spiraling out of control.

BAM si deh!

In one fell swoop, Mr. Lawrence has made Tanisha, and by extension all Belizean women, the scapegoats for crime. It is your fault, Belizean women, that there is crime in Belize!

Well, Mr. Lawrence, I am here to tell you that it is NOT because of “children having children” or even because of ANY Belizean woman having children that crime exists. While Belize City is the crime capital of the country, there are countless villages in Belize where teenagers having children is an acceptable societal norm and there are no crime waves there. I realize that doesn’t bode well with your religious doctrine of persecuting women who do not toe the line but deal with it! We don’t all live by your skewed rules. Our female wombs do not birth criminals because you desperately want it to be so. Wheel and tun again!

It is interesting to me that Mr. Lawrence made no mention of male predators, many of them family members, that take advantage of the young female children entrusted to their care, as a cause of crime. No, no mention of that. He made no mention of man beating woman in front of children. No, no mention of that either. He made no mention of men raping women and children, or of absentee Belizean fathers who would rather spend money on weed, cigarettes, liquor and gambling than feed and educate their own children. He made no mention of the fact that because of the religious school system that he so fervently supports, that pregnant Belizean female children impregnated through rapes by predator family members are kicked out of schools and discriminated against, essentially assuring they will not be educated and therefore not able to adequately care for their children. He made no mention of the personal responsibility fathers have failed to display towards their children. He made no mention of the role models that Belizean men are failing to be to their children. He made no mention of the incredible intolerance his favorite religion displays towards people who are “different”. He made no mention of the fact that our system of governance is so flawed that it assures poor people will continue to remain poor and downtrodden not because they want to be, but because they the system keeps them there. I could go on and on, but I am sure that by now you get the gist.

I find it truly shocking that the only explanation for crime that Mr. Lawrence could come up with is that Tanisha has a womb and was therefore bearing children.

As a Belizean woman, and a mother of female children, I find this theme extremely offensive and disturbing! But Mr. Lawrence is only mouthing off what the status quo really thinks.

As tragic as Mr. Lawrence’s editorial is, the bigger tragedy to me is that most Belizeans in every echelon of society, male and female, have at some point or another passed through one of these mind rape “religious” schools ensuring woman-bashing will continue to linger on as a normal way of life in Belizean society indefinitely. Mr. Lawrence’s editorial is living proof of that.

And I will take a stand for Tanisha. Tanisha, you did nothing wrong by having children. A woman’s womb does not a criminal spawn. SOCIETY does that to the child. The same society in which Mr. Lawrence lives, socializes and goes to church.

And therefore this article is dedicated to you. Head up and chin up, girl! Belizean women fight for the betterment of their children despite the overwhelming odds society has stacked against us. And sometimes we do succeed. I, and my children, are living proof.

August 25, 2008 at 2:09 am Leave a comment

U.S. Embassy Hosts 7th Annual Made in the USA Exhibition

August 11, 2008

U.S. Embassy Hosts 7th Annual Made in the USA Exhibition

The United States Embassy in Belize is pleased to announce its seventh annual Made in the USA Exhibition taking place at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina on Friday, August 15 and Saturday, August 16 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  The two-day event will feature a variety of American products, services, and investments in Belize.  The opening ceremony will commence at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, August 15.

10:00 – 10:30:  Opening Ceremony – Ambassador Robert Dieter will officially open the event.  Keynote speakers are CEO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Alexis Rosado and President of the American Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Bill Mackenzie.

1:30 – 2:00:  Belize’s Trademarks Act – Ms. Koreen Flowers, Senior Assistant Registrar of the Belize Intellectual Property Office (BELIPO) will give a brief overview of trademark law in Belize.

2:00 – 3:30:  Intellectual Property Rights – Mr. Mario Loaiza of Mario Loaiza & Associates, Inc. from Davie, Florida will conduct a presentation including an overview of IPR infringement in the region and will specifically focus on the current counterfeiting trends affecting Belize.

3:30 – 4:30:  Tourism Opportunities – Mr. Mike Singh, CEO of the Ministry of Tourism will discuss tourism opportunities in Belize.

All media houses are invited to attend the official opening ceremonies of the Made in the USA Exhibition 2008 on Friday, August 15, 2005, at 10:00 a.m. in the Cahal Pech Room of the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina.

Denise Nisbet
Public Affairs/ Protocol Assistant
U.S. Embassy Belmopan
Tel:  (501) 822-4011 ext. 4370
Fax: (501) 822-4012
http://belize.usembassy.gov

August 12, 2008 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

Belize Cultural Fest 2008 Announced…

August 8, 2008 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment

California September Celebrations Announced

August 8, 2008 at 5:12 pm Leave a comment

Caribbean Seabreeze Festival 2008 Announced

August 8, 2008 at 5:11 pm Leave a comment

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