THINK ABOUT IT

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THINK ABOUT IT

ELECTION BUT NO BUDGET?

Belize City Council and the Town Council elections are fixed by law. The date is the first Wednesday after the elections were last held. That places it at 7th March 2012.

The General Elections can be called anytime before and even months after February 2013. Speculation continues that both municipal and general elections will take place 7th March this year. One sure sign is the mass registration of Central Americans which has given rise to anger among Belizeans.

But can the government really call an election just days before presenting the annual budget? It would be a frightened matter to the electorate, knowing as they do that the government is broke, that there will be mass layoffs and that the economy will come crashing down to the ground.

What excuse the government will give for not presenting a budget before asking the electorate for another chance in office?

In the words of a pre-election Jamaican song – “Read the Budget. Read the Budget”.

HERE COMES TRIALS WITHOUT JURY

Belize has taken a huge step backward. The age old safeguard that a person should be tried by a jury of his or her peers has been taken away by the government.

A law hurriedly passed some months ago comes into practice this month.

Three cases are in the present Supreme Court session in which persons charged for murder will be tried without the benefit of a jury. A single judge will now become both judge and jury – it is an unbelievable situation.

From the days of slavery in Belize until this year 2012 every person tried for serious offences have had the safeguard of a jury.

A jury of twelve or nine citizens is far more superior than the mind of a judge. The judge is legally trained and versed in the law. He cannot step into the shoes of the citizen who is applying knowledge of the streets, the culture, the behavior of our fellow citizens and the common sense of the ordinary person. The Judge has always been the one knowledgeable in the law. The Jury are knowledgeable for the facts. This has been the time practiced procedure.

The situation is more perilous because no judge in Belize has any experience, knowledge or training in trying a case without a jury. They and the accused persons will be functioning as guinea pigs for a system not even thought out. One hastily rushed through the National Assembly without public consultation or debate.

The British, in seeking to suppress the Irish, introduced trial in criminal matters without a jury for Ireland. They did so with the intention to jail members of the IRA (Irish republican Army). This is what has been so hastily imposed on Belize.

The collateral injustice has already kicked in. There are literally hundreds of accused persons languishing in prison, many for years unable to get their day in court. How come a new law merely months old already has new “victims” to be tried before those who were charged years ago. This alone is cause for suspicion.

Among the handful of lawyers who devote their practice to defense in criminal trials there is unease. At a meeting of some six of their numbers, Hubert Elrington, a Senior Counsel and formidable defense attorney suggested that they boycott this latest outrage about to fall on the heads of Belizeans – trials without jury.

The Bar Association, whose membership is primarily bourgeois, is not going to say or do much, as witnessed by this silence over the recent backward steps to make bail more difficult at the Magistrate Courts. In fairness to Jackie Marshalleck, President, the Bar did publicly express concern when the No Jury weird law first popped up last year.

The opposition party is yet to say if it will abolish this law when it is returned to government.

And so one more injustice becomes the new practice.

Look for the Court of Appeal to be flooded with appeals from this new injustice in our midst.

FIVE THOUSAND NEW JOBS

It is encouraging to hear the new leader of the PUP has asked for special proposals on how many jobs his party can commit to if elected to government.

Some four thousand new jobs has already been “found” and this has to be a huge part of any serious commitment to start turning around the dread situation the country is plunging toward.

UDP POLL AN EYE OPENER

Four the past four years the UDP considered itself widely popular with the electorate. The masses feeling the pain out here knows otherwise…

First the Glen Tillett poll exposed the truth.

Unable to face reality the UDP commissioned its own poll.

Two well-known UDP fanatics did the polling. Result – the UDP was not more popular than the PUP.

The race is on for the independent voters.

RUM IN ORANGE WALK

The new Senior Magistrate in Orange Walk has remarked to someone her concern over the number of cases in Court that is connected to rum drinking and intoxication.

This drug, alcohol, legalized by the system and heavily advertised on radio and tv, is causing havoc in Belizean society.

Alcohol is a bad thing for Belize.

POLICE PROSECUTORS

Police Prosecutors do the bulk of the trials in criminal cases in Belize. While the Supreme Court handles some thirty cases per session for about four courts, the Magistrate Courts dispose of thousands of criminal cases each year. Yes THOUSANDS.

The Police Prosecutors are the ones saddled with this heavy overload.

You won’t believe this but the Police Prosecutors get not one single cent as allowance for this extra work. They get the same pay as other officers. Yet they have to read case files, prepare legal submissions, interview witnesses, research legal points and respond to lawyers issues with case law.

The government is paying quarter million a month to gang members but not a dollar extra to hardworking Police Prosecutors.

BELIZE COMES FROM AFRICA

Did you know the Baymen passed a law in Belize that anyone caught practicing obeah will be put to death?

Of course you don’t know. Lots of things about Belize history you don’t know.

But you know about the Battle of St. George’s Caye. And how a handful of Baymen defeated dozens of Spanish battle ships. And you know that slaves fought with their masters against the battle ships, using puk o nuh boy sticks.

The things that our people have been brainwashed into believing.

Here is another. The name of our country – Belize is supposed to come from British pirate named Peter Wallace. His last name Wallace was changed over time to Walice, then maybe balice then Belize. Yea! Right!

There are two places in Africa with the name Belize. The truth will eventually come out.

And when Columbus sailed from Europe and reached these parts in 1492, Africans had long before travelled this way. “They Came Before Columbus” – read it in Ivan Van Sertima’s highly respected book.

MARGARET VENTURA

Margaret Ventura was a career public officer. She specialized in archive work and preservation and documentation of records, among other things.

Miss Ventura was a highly respected and effective trade unionist and was elected and re-elected the President of the Public Services Union.

She also became a Permanent Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, which is the highest position in the public service.

Following general elections 2008, the vindictive UDP government terminated the services of Miss Ventura, replacing her and other competent career officers with incompetence.

Would be interesting to learn what Margaret has been doing since her victimization and whether she is still in the country she loves so much.

I’D RATHER GO BLIND

The contributions of Black Americans to popular music in the USA and UK are so enormous it is hard for music historians to chronicle it all.

The greatest singers/song writers band is unquestionable the Beatles. They let it be known that a lot of inspiration came from black singers like James Brown and Otis Redding.

The king of rock and roll music – Elvis Presley had to admit that lots of his ideas and rhythms came from black singers and song writers.

In a galaxy of many, many bright stars, one such was Etta James. She could sing the blues like only a few could.

“At last” and “I’d Rather Go Blind” are absolute classics.

Etta James left this world last week having left behind her immortal voice in many unforgettable songs.

DUDLEY THOMPSON

The former Foreign Minister of Jamaica who was an unwavering champion for Belize’s independence and territorial integrity passed away last week at the age of 85.

In the 1970s when George Price, Vernon Harrison Courtenay, Lindy Rogers, Assad Shoman and Said Musa were lobbying the Caribbean countries, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Latin Republics and the United Nations for independence, it was Jamaica and champions like Dudley Thompson who were always there for us.

Respect.

TWO GOOD BOOKS

Looking for a pamphlet in my library I saw two good books that I really enjoyed.

“INWARD HUNGER” and “COLOMBUS to CASTRO” both written by Eric Williams.

Since you all don’t know who is Eric Williams, he was a former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. He is also the father of their independence in 1962.

DEAD SEA SCROLLS

The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient writings that are on important part of human history. These are parchments and writings find in caves and under the desert.

I bought my first book about the Dead Sea Scrolls from the Anglican Book Store on Albert Street when I was going to college. The book store was somewhere by Mirage store is currently situated.

Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are being put on live. These are dated back to before Jesus came into this world.

Five of the most important of the Scrolls will be on live. These include the biblical books of Isaiah; the Temple Scrolls and five others books. These were found in the Judean desert and were bought from antiquity dealers in 1947 and 1967.

Probably only sex, family and companion of true friends are more enjoyable than reading.

WOE UNTO YOU

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites’ for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these you ought to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” -  Words of Jesus, Matthew 23:23

http://www.belizetimes.bz/2012/01/27/think-about-it-36/

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