“We Keep Going Forward” Towards What Destination? by Jeremy A. Enriquez

A Journey through Garifuna History:
After 210 years in Belize, “We Keep Going Forward” Towards What Destination? by Jeremy A. Enriquez
Published in Amandala, (www.amandala.com.bz)
Sunday Nov. 18, 2012

Reprinted on twocanview.com with the Permission of Jeremy A. Enriquez

Jeremy A. Enriquez












Jeremy A. Enriquez provides a very important and many times missing part of Belizean History.  Our plight as African descendants (Garinagu and Creoles)  has a very important interwoven historical significance.  Please read as Jeremy present the Garinagu important contribution to the development of Belize.  A.L.


Amidst the challenging socioeconomic realities of Garifuna communities and the constraints of Garifuna leadership to collectively define, promote and pursue development opportunities for their people, the annual revelry that defines Garifuna Settlement Day has served to reaffirm among Garinagu their cultural survival against all odds throughout the two centuries that they have lived in Belize. The mere survival of Garifuna culture after the attempts by the British superpower to exterminate it is still quite an exceptional feat to celebrate.

Following the unsuccessful defense of their homeland territory of St. Vincent against the British invaders in 1797, the Garinagu were rounded up loaded in ships and exiled almost two thousand miles away to the most barren sections of the island of Roatan, then another British territory. About two decades earlier, the British had considered returning this rebellious group of fierce warriors to Africa but that would have been too costly. Roatan was a strategic decision. It ensured that the Garinagu would be permanently separated and kept very far away from their homeland and from other British territories such as Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica or Trinidad and Tobago where slavery still existed. This forced deportation was to ensure that the Garinagu fomented no other rebellion. Those who were allowed to remain in St. Vincent were legally banned from all expressions of their ancestral culture until its extinction.

This year marks 210 years since the Garinagu first arrived in Belize. They came in 1802 as the first group of free people to settle in Belize: – decades before the Mestizos settled the north in the late 1840s and before the Mayas returned in the 1880s in flight from brutally oppressive labor conditions in Guatemala.

Technically, the Garinagu were not welcomed in Belize as the settlement was still a slave society. There was fear amongst the English settlers in Belize Town that the Garinagu, as free blacks who were well known for the fierce war that they fought at St. Vincent only five years earlier, might not be completely loyal to them and might even foment rebellion among the slaves. Consequently, a strict ban was imposed to prevent them from staying in the settlement for more than forty eight hours and a hefty fine was set for anyone who hired or employed any Garifuna within the settlement. In compliance with the law, Garinagu formed their own settlements south of the Sibun River border where they have remained ever since. Seeds of discrimination and mistrust were also planted by the masters among the slaves to ensure that the two groups of Afro-descendants – one enslaved and the other free – remained separated. Such seeds have largely remained firmly rooted in the collective psyche of the royal descendants such that to date there remains the lack of genuine interest in the roots of their common bond and the systemic exclusion of Garinagu from higher offices in the public, judiciary, diplomatic and other services.

Today, relative to all Afro-descendant people throughout all the Americas and the Caribbean, the Garinagu remains one of the very few who have kept their unique African-indigenous hybrid ancestral language, their ancestral spirituality, food, music and other aspects of their traditional culture all intact. For that reason on May 18th 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, proclaimed the Garifuna language, music and dance a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. These alone are exceptional accomplishments to proudly celebrate.

Besides all that, however, within the bubble of Belize’s rather colonially-oriented and city-centric versions of its historical awareness and discourse, there seems very little knowledge and appreciation of the critical contribution of the Garinagu in shaping the nation’s economic, territorial, and cultural history.

Shortly after the first group of Garinagu arrived in Belize in 1802 and perhaps as early as 1799, as a rare group of free blacks in the region during the time of slavery, they became the primary agents for two of the most prevailing European interests: – (i) the commercial interest of Belizean woodcutters to expand Belize’s lucrative mahogany interests further south beyond the legally established Sibun River boundary, and (ii) the evangelizing interests of European, later American, priests to expand the Catholic faith to various ethnic groups all over Belize.

By the late 1790s, the major economic activity in the Belize settlement was the harvesting of mahogany for export. Mahogany had replaced logwood which had declined in demand since the 1770s when the use of synthetic dye became more popular. Prior to the arrival of the Garinagu, the Belizean logwood contractors were forced to grapple with two major economic challenges that threatened the very existence of the settlement. Firstly, virtually all the stands of mahogany within Belize’s legally established territory had been depleted. In order to satisfy the steep demand for mahogany in Europe, it was critical for the Belizean contractors to expand their operations south of the Sibun River – a territory which was outside the limits of Belize’s boundary as established in 1786 by the Convention of London.

Secondly, the plan for expansion of the woodcutting operations was constrained by a severe labor shortage in Belize. In the 1790s, several of the slaves (who comprised seventy five percent of the population of the Belize settlement) had escaped to nearby Spanish territory in Mexico or Peten. Given the frequent and heavy losses of slaves, and constant threats of slave rebellion, the woodcutters desperately needed a reliable source of labor. They would either have to import more slaves and risk further losses or hire labor from among the Garinagu. By that time the Garinagu had made themselves well known in the region for their intelligence, independence, resilience, discipline, strong physique, hard work and excellent maritime skills. Consequently, they became eagerly sought after as the prime source of labour for the mahogany industry.

Emboldened by their resistance against Spanish invaders in September 1798, and with the prospect of a new and reliable source of labor, the Belizean contractors decided to ignore the established Sibun River boundary of the Belize settlement and expand their operations further south. In 1802, they sought and were granted permission by the Superintendent of the settlement, R. Basset, to import 150 Garifuna labourers from Roatan to be employed as woodcutters. With some government assistance, many of them were shipped and many more managed to find their way to the southern coast of Stann Creek and Toledo Districts.

The early influx of Garinagu in 1802, and the subsequent major influx in 1823 to seek refuge from civil wars in Central America, provided a major boost in the pool of labor to expand the operations for the Belizean timber contractors. For decades, the eager, hardworking and skilled Garifuna woodcutters penetrated the dense forests south of the Sibun River all the way to the Sarstoon River. The ill-feelings they harboured against the British following their deportation a few years earlier had been set aside as they focused on own their economic survival. It was not unusual for Garifuna women and children to accompany the men to the lumber camps. The stable pool of labor from the Garinagu derived great economic benefits for the Belizean contractors and the settlement. Along with the booming mahogany trade, the communities that the Garinagu established helped to lay the foundation for the expansion of Belize’s territory from the Sibun to the Sarstoon River, until it was formally incorporated as part of Belize in the Anglo-Guatemalan Treaty of 1859.

Given the tremendous involvement of the Garinagu to ensure a lucrative supply of mahogany, it is unfortunate that Belize’s history hardly admits that one of the two black men symbolized in Belize’s Coat of Arms is the Garifuna man. The other is the enslaved African Creole man whose forced labor harvested all the remaining stands of mahogany north of the Sibun. The tremendous labor of both groups formed the backbone of the economic history of Belize – shoulder to shoulder, under the shade of the tree.

As for the Garifuna women, their primary productive work was in agriculture. It was they who produced much of the foodstuffs, chickens and pigs for sale in Belize.

Over decades, the tough rigors of their work in forestry, their strong maritime culture, their harsh history of battle against European powers and subsequent deportation, their Catholic background, as well as their productivity, natural intelligence, facility for language and resilience had all molded among the Garinagu the pioneering spirit and work ethic that made them and their descendants prime candidates for the Catholic church to establish its schools throughout the remotest areas of Belize.

They were the first group of Catholics to arrive in Belize. The first Catholic church was established in 1832 amongst those residing near Mullins River. The earliest date recorded in which a Catholic priest conducted missionary work in Punta Gorda was in 1841. In May 1845 Jesuit priests built a church and established its first mission in P.G. long before there was any mission other parts of the country.

Garifuna men were well known to provide many of the best school teachers in the colony. To be employed as teachers they had to possess a reasonably solid and above average education, qualities of leadership, good character, a pioneering spirit and the physical and mental stamina and adaptability to survive harsh, rugged life in these remote settings. They were also recognized by the Jesuits to possess a natural ability to teach and the mental aptitude to learn different languages. From the 1870s to the 1970s, Garifuna men were trained and deployed by the Jesuits as teachers/catechists to spread education and the faith to rural communities all over Belize. Primary education was the tool used to facilitate indoctrination into, and spreading of, the Catholic faith. It is not surprising then, that as a natural progression from the foundations laid by their ancestors, a number of Garifuna men became priests and a number of women became nuns. Bishop O. P. Martin, formerly a Garifuna teacher, became the first Belizean Roman Catholic Bishop. Although the Garinagu became steeped in Catholicism, however, the secrets and practices of their ancestral spirituality remains firmly rooted, even among their priests and nuns.

Interestingly, as the brightest and the best Garifuna leaders were deployed to serve other people and other communities throughout the length and breadth of Belize over several decades, this brain drain has arguably diluted the likely powerful development impact on their own Garifuna communities to result in the impoverished and vulnerable socioeconomic conditions that these communities face today.

Despite the solid economic and cultural contributions that Garinagu has made to Belize’s development, the legacy of embedded colonial value system has continued to keep them marginalized and often treated as second class citizens in their own country. This same colonial mindset and value system is also evident in the condescending behavior towards indigenous peoples who seek to maintain their own ancestral cultural values. Such state of affairs is yet to be uprooted in order to transform our society into a truly inclusive Belizean one. At the same time as Garinagu remain proudly inspired by the tremendous contribution of their ancestors, someday when the current generation becomes the future ancestors, the new generation will ask: How dedicated and effective were the elders in promoting and pursuing opportunities that ensure the wellbeing of current and future generations? Given the power of ancestors in Garifuna culture, what sort of ancestor will you be? Wawansera Mémeba Lau Lubafu Bungiu hama Áhari – We Keep Going Forward with the Power of God and the Ancestors.

Salima Barrow takes on Cancer…

Salima Barrow

Young Salima Barrow was apprehensive as she witnessed her mother , Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, go thru the fight of her life. She wanted to do something to honor her mother and wanted to raise funds while raising Cancer Awareness. I spoke to 7 year old Salima tonight and she is excited to be able to contribute in some way. She said she wanted to do something “a long long long time ago, from she was 3 but her mommy would not let her”. She made me smile.  I am sure in her mind,  her mother must have been battling Cancer for as long as she can remember. Children have simple yet powerful ways of articulating their feelings.    Salima is only 7 and time is relative for her. A year of missed events with her mom must have felt like forever.  Salima knows the importance of raising funds to help with the life saving treatments for kids with Cancer.  Salima is a young lady with a plan to raise “lots of  money”  for cancer. She also wants to meet the kids affected by cancer.  When I was a child myself , I witnessed too many of my own family members afflicted, so I wholeheartedly embrace and endorse her drive.   Please assist Salima, along with a few of her friends,(Haley, Abigail & Gianni) and the generous sponsorship of Bowen and Bowen,  in a worthwhile fund raising event to help fund the Children’s Cancer Wing. I have pledged $100.00 and hope you can donate  or support her initiative by attending the event and purchasing a few drinks.  Remember,  Cancer is a disease that does not discriminate.  Salima’s class from Hummingbird Elementary School will also be having a similar event on November 30, 2012.


October – What it means to me! Reprinted with the permission of Kim Simplis Barrow


Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow


October is a month that will always have a special significance to me. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and everyone will be talking about it; cancer survivors will say thank you Jesus, families and friends of victims will say a prayer in memoriam, and the rest of the world will remain hopeful for a cure. All around the world it will be a sea of pink. Many will remember the infamous cancer and the fear that it evokes in the hearts and souls of women and men all over the world.  This is the month that we most remember to offer support to families enduring this battle and organizations that are trying to find a cure for this awful disease. So we purchase items, support cancer groups, donate and attend fundraisers, give talks, walk for a day, run for miles … and yes, at the same time hoping and praying that we never have an encounter with this deadliest of foes.

Breast cancer is a sneaky, insidious devil. It hides wherever it can and when you least expect, it wreaks havoc on the life of the woman or man it has claimed as “its own”, their family and their friends. It can take over your life, ruling your health like a dictator. However, it is important to remember we have come far and today we know much more about this disease than ever before, making us better prepared to do battle. We know that our only recipe for a successful outcome is to prepare for combat – lace up your boxing gloves and fight with all you’ve got.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize the presence of cancer and often such late diagnoses cause the kind of pain that lives for an eternity.  Today we are more aware and educated: early detection, yearly mammograms and breast self exams are keys to winning this battle! We also know that some people manifest no physical signs—something I know all too well having lived a healthy lifestyle by eating well and exercising daily.

My cancer journey began on October 22nd, 2011, when I felt a lump during an official trip abroad. Upon my return home, October 28th, I went to the doctor, got a mammogram, and tissue was sent for biopsy.  On November 3rd, I heard the devastating words: “you have cancer”. This disease has consumed my life for an entire year and for the next 5 years I’ll be on medications—for cancer and my heart complications. It has zapped me of my energy, my good health, and my time… but not my LIFE!

It may seem strange, but cancer has given me my greatest gift: it has reminded me of the fragility and brevity of life; that we all need to live everyday to its fullest. The thought that I was slowly dying—and yes we are all going to die one day, but just knowing that I was actually staring death in the face, makes me appreciate and enjoy every minute of every single day. This disease has taught me how to cope with fear; strengthened my faith in God; has emboldened my spirit and restored my faith in humanity. I now know that the only day that really matters is today! Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is but a dream … there is just today!

Over the past year, people saw me bare my soul and lose my hair–those of us with my kind of hair go to the hairdresser at least once a week because we are obsessed with our hair and making it look good. It was not easy and as soon as mine started falling out, I went to my hairdresser and shaved it off. I wanted to lose it completely on MY terms! I was still in control and it was going to affect me the way I wanted it to. I must say I loved being bald. With my daughter’s thumbs up and Dean’s unending support, I never wore a wig. For once I felt free! It was wonderful and comforting to see how people reacted when my most true self was showing. The real me: open, honest and bare to the bones. I saw my soul during this journey …This dreadful disease taught me to love myself and its imperfections, to appreciate me—all of me—for me.

I also know that this is not my final chapter! I will keep on fighting until I have rid my body of cancer’s existence. This is not my final nemesis. Today, I think cancer knows exactly who it’s fighting … It knows I have faith, spirit, courage, hope, and that I fight with all I have. Cancer surely picked on the wrong one!


Kim Simplis Barrow

October 1st, 2012


Positively Change a Child’s Life! Restore Belize!

Hi Readers,

I came across this and I love this idea.  This allows you to effectively make a positive change in child’s life.  Many times circumstances and not ability prevent children from achieving. My only suggestion is that Restore Belize  should have the children,  who are involved in the program, engage in community service efforts such as clean-up and beautification campaigns, hospital visits, help feed the poor  and youth group engaging in positive changes etc.

Please my friends..Please adopt a child.



Dear Friends,

RESTORE Belize, has recently launched its Adopt-a-Student Programme. The goal of the “Adopt-a-Student” Programme is to engage the wider community in providing Belizean children with the necessary financial and social support to make it successfully through secondary school. International studies indicate that education is one of the greatest mitigating factors against violence. Unfortunately, school participation in Belize has been identified as one of the greatest current social needs in Belize, with nearly 50% of our school-aged population not attending high school.

The “Adopt-a-Student” Programme allows each donor the flexibility to choose the level of giving with which he/she is comfortable. It also allows you to pool together with other friends/family/co-workers to cover all the expenses of a Belizean child. A full description and a detailed breakdown of the cost of educating a Belizean child for one academic year are attached. The Adoption Process works as follows:

The Adoption Process works as follows:

1. Mrs. Tina Cuellar-Augustus, our Human Development Programme Officer, will be the primary liaison officer throughout the adoption period.

2. RESTORE Belize will suggest to you a child that currently is in need of adoption and provide the estimated cost of adoption for the year, with invoices or payment requests provided by the school and an “Adopt-A-Student” Sponsorship Commitment Form for your signature.

3. You can then decide whether you will cover the full cost of the child’s education, including tuition, fees, books, uniform, shoes and incidental expenses. Alternatively, you may choose to cover a particular portion of the education expense (only tuition and fees, or only books) or make a fixed contribution to the overall cost. In the latter two cases, RESTORE Belize will seek complementary funding to ensure that the child’s full educational costs are met.

4. Furthermore, you can choose the time frame of your commitment, whether it is for one year only or until the child completes his/her secondary education. You may choose to adopt for an initial period of one year with the option to renew at the end of the year.

5. You would then advise RESTORE Belize of your chosen level of commitment by completing, signing and submitting the “Adopt-A-Student” Sponsorship Commitment Form.

6. You may then deposit the amount into our “I Am Belize Scholarship” Account and advise us when the payment has been made, or make a payment directly to RESTORE Belize.

7. RESTORE Belize will then make the necessary payments to the school and send you copies of the receipts received from the schools, bookstores, or other service provider, once the required amounts have been paid. Please note that it sometimes takes a couple of months to complete the payments, especially for the books, which may not all be available at the start of the school year.

8. You will receive mid and end of semester reports on the child (children) you have adopted.

9. You may also chose to become more involved socially with the child by becoming a mentor for him/her, through which you can serve as a positive role model for the student, by engaging with him/her in various social activities and providing general guidance based on the student’s needs. You will be able to indicate your interest in mentorship on the Sponsorship Commitment Form.

Thank you for your consideration this request. We hope that you will partner with us to support our Belizean children. Please contact us if you are interested in joining this programme as a student sponsor.

Warm regards,

Luwani F. Cayetano luwani@restorebelize.gov.bz<mailto:luwani@restorebelize.gov.bz>
Resource Mobilization Coordinator

See Flyer RESTOREBelizeAdoptaStudent

Think Pink and Buy a Beanie!!!!!

Cute Kitty Beanies

Here are pictures of the finished products y’all! I asked Kimmy to custom design these as gifts for my god daughters, cousins and neices 😉 Cute right? And allllll for a good cause of Cancer Awareness. for every beanie you buy from KCB Custom Crochet, Kim Longsworth Black will donate $5 to the Belize Cancer Center Dangriga.

Read more about Kim: https://twocanview.com/2012/05/10/kimberly-christine-longsworth-black-featured-artist-05-10-12/

Don’t forget that Real Men Wear Pink! Custom design one for your man! Join our efforts to spread awareness and support our  First Lady in establishing the Belize Cancer Center Dangriga. https://twocanview.com/2012/05/09/buy-a-beanie-and-support-breast-cancer-awareness-kim-for-kim/

Check out the available beanies here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.355307514529895.79321.162552987138683&type=3



The Jim Jones Kool Aid by: Aria Lightfoot

The rhetoric of any organization to promote their agenda is expected except of course when the agenda is fraught with dubious intentions.  As a society I find that we Belizeans are gullible, forgiving and downright too trusting of strangers, except when it is our own people! How many people will it take to screw over Belizeans before we develop an innate sense of distrust and begin questioning as opposed to simply accepting?

Lately several prominent church leaders have been tacitly making statements to garner public opinion.  One that really caught my eye was equating secularism to religion.  To the casual eye that may mean absolutely nothing, but when you start digging into the organization and association of who are making these statements, you get a nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach as the agenda of these leaders become evident. (More on that theory later)  When someone compares secularism to religion, they are saying that religion has an equal place as secularism.  Secularism is the belief that civil policy (government business) should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element.  It is the theory of separation of church and state.

Why would church leaders want to introduce the Bible into government? Sounds like a great idea right? I mean Belize is a God fearing country and what is wrong in letting God decide what is good for us with the guidance of the Church leaders?  Well here is the problem. It is estimated that there are over 38,000 versions of Christianity which does not even take into consideration other religions and their differing versions.  Each religion believes their interpretation of the Bible, Koran, and Torah etc.  is true.  Each religion believes they are the only true path to God. Let us not forget the terrible incidences with religious fanaticism where thousands have died following behind some charismatic leader such as David Koresh, Jim Jones , Osama Bin Laden and a few other nut cases.

The idea of separation of church and state was borne from the pursuit of religious freedom.  Pilgrims (initially) and Jews  left Europe in droves running away from the strong and many times brutal and unforgiving control of the Catholic Church.  When they decided to form what is now the United States of America, they did not want to recreate a country where one religion dominated the thoughts and actions of everyone. They wanted the ability to worship freely without the state dictating whose God was the right God.

When people try to sell me religion in a forceful manner and dictate their righteousness on me, I instantly become suspicious of that person’s true relationship with Jesus.  Being a Christian is trying to replicate the life of Jesus.  I have never read anywhere where Jesus was ever on a pulpit damning anyone to a fiery pit. In fact throughout the Bible, Jesus on many occasions challenged the status quo on the treatment of sinners, reached out to his enemies and declared that God was not for one chosen race.   The only time in the bible when Jesus showed any aggression was towards the church and some of their leaders.  Many people can quote Bible verses but have no true grasp of the man they claim to follow. They quote controversial Leviticus verses calling for the death of sinners, especially gay sinners but fail to see that following Leviticus today would render them in jail or the mental asylum. So who is more important to you as a Christian, the words of Jesus or the words of Leviticus?

So my natural curiosity led me down a path of trying to examine the man who is creating such religious awakening in Belize. I always find it interesting when a young man would leave a first world country and move to a “third world country” such as Belize with his entire family. A man called Jim Jones did something similar when he moved to Guyana.   I began to ask about Scott Stirm, a native of Waco Texas. (hmmm sounds eerily similar to another fanatic).

Scott is affiliated with a Ministry in the US called Extreme Prophetic Ministries.  Patricia King in the following video describes Scott Stirm as their “missionary in Central America, Belize” and called him a “prophet and wonderful intercessor:  see Prophet .  David Koresh was also called a prophet.  There is nothing troubling about this video until you start to examine who Patricia King, the speaker is.

Patricia King belongs to this ministry in the United States called Extreme Prophetic Ministries that reportedly is a part of the hardcore Seven Mountains Dominionism movement, which is also linked to the New Apostolic Reformation movement.  Seven Mountains dominionism seeks to place Christians in control over the seven forces that shape and control our culture: (1) Business; (2) Government; (3) Media; (4) Arts and Entertainment; (5) Education; (6) Family; and (7) Religion.    I want my readers to grasp the order of which this is placed; business first and then government.  Are they attempting “shape and control” Belize?  Do you see any hard core personalities in the media today affiliated with Stirm? Didn’t they recently pressure the Minister of Education in his educational materials?    I also read somewhere that Stirm is training a radical new set of Christians. Radical means favoring drastic political…reforms.   Seven Mountains theology, believes that Jesus “doesn’t come back until He’s accomplished the dominion of nations.”  And the way “dominion of nations” is accomplished is by having Christians gain control of these “seven mountains” in order to install a “virtual theocracy” overseen by “true apostles” who will fight Satan and his Antichrist agenda.” Explain to me again how they are preserving Belizean culture by this advocacy?  Who will be these true apostles running the new theocracy of Belize?

Additionally Patricia King has a reputation in Arizona for going to morgues and trying to raise the dead. Yes Raise the Dead! Check it out: Raised from the Dead   Yikes…Nothing strikes me as crazy as the lady who believes she has Jesus power!  She also makes a lot of infomercials and peddles the word of God for profit.  Selling God.  If you are buying God, they will sell it.  I still cannot grasp how the established churches in Belize are part of this nightmare!  Shame on the Catholic and Anglican Churches!

I also found a long winded piece called Time and Eternity (which is about how long it takes to read it) at Time and Eternity . The writer was impressed with Scott Stirm and describes Stirm as someone who “ had given up drugs, booze and living on the wild side a little over two years earlier as a sophomore in high school. Scott had “given his life to the Lord”.”   Obviously he didn’t descend from sainthood.  Please know that I am not judging him, I mean we all make mistakes and fall short of God’s Grace.  However, I believe Belizeans need to know they are part of a bigger agenda that is borne out of the Ministry where the crazy lady tries to raise the dead and calls Stirm their prophet.

Finally Lauren Jacoby gives her account of visiting Belize in her blog. In her blog she boasts of Stirm power in Belize as “key leader in Belize” and having contact with thousands of pastors in Belize (we have thousands of pastors?)  and Belmopan being the spiritual hub of Belize?  Whoa..Spiritual hub? What snake oil are they selling people? (see blog )  Whatever they are selling, they have done a great job of selling it in Belize.

So convincing is this movement in Belize that even the original bullshitters, the politicians of both parties, made testimonials about their commitment to God.   Stirm have incited debate and incited fear and hate. They are steering the “Christians” to selectively battle the “abomination” of homosexuality while ignoring the other 50 abominations plaguing Belize.  Wake up Belize, this agenda has nothing to do with homosexuality. They just knew that waving the homo flag in a homophobic country of ours would blind us to their true agenda.  They got the prominent churches, politicians, attorneys, many well intentioned citizens in such a state of fear that they have joined a misguided agenda. A lie is dependent on the innocence of the believer. However, with all the news of church leaders using and misusing faithful believers, I find our blinding faith incredulous bordering on stupidity.

I will be the first to say we have been hoodwinked, tricked, deceived and there is a bigger agenda at play. The Jubilee Ministries of Scott Stirm is connected to Patricia King, a self-proclaimed dead raiser, who seeks to control Belize via the seven forces.  Have fun drinking the Jim Jones kool aid Belizeans but know that sweet taste in your mouth is poison!

“Belize ”Boosts” School Attendance and Access to Financial Services for the Poor” : The World Bank

The deal is simple: vaccinate your children, send them to school; and, if you are pregnant, visit your public health center, regularly starting with the first 12 weeks. In exchange, the BOOST Program will give you a monthly allowance between BZ$44 and BZ$82 (US$22 – US$41) per person, up to a maximum of six per household.

The BOOST program, which stands for Building Opportunities for Our Social Transformation, provides small cash assistance to poor households subject to specific conditions.

A little over a year in operation, it already reaches 3,177 households (12.5% of all Belize poor households) and over 8,600 people, which represents about 6% of the poor population.

Despite the recent launch of the BOOST Program (February 2011), some of its current features already match or surpass best practices in the world. Recorded school attendance for children included in the program is at 97.3% (3238 of 3328 students, May 2012).

Thanks to this program, Rosario Chub from Punta Gorda, Toledo, is able to provide for the basic needs of her children and keep them in school.  “The Program is good. It is helping people. I am doing a lot with this little money. Now the children have shoes, food and uniforms.”

The program has also been positively received among school principals. Rossana Briceño, principal of St Peter’s Anglican School in Orange Walk, said that “at the end of the day, the kids are doing better.  Absenteeism is a lot less, and I see these children now and they want to come to school.”

I am doing a lot with this little money. Now the children have shoes, food and uniforms.

Rosario  Chub BOOST beneficiary

The program features a differentiated payment structure by grade and gender, to address relatively high drop-out rates for boys. These are added incentives to complete standard grades and advance into secondary education.

Access to bank services

The BOOST Program is also supporting poor households in accessing financial services, such as savings and micro-loans as a first step towards their financial independence.

BOOST is expanding membership of credit unions, and strengthening the savings and productive investment potential of beneficiary households. At present, 81% of the program beneficiaries receive safe, secure transfers at zero cost through the credit unions.

“I am now a member of the credit union and I want to start saving money for the children”, says Rosario Chub, who, like other beneficiaries, has also increased her access to saving and other financial services.

“The BOOST Program has achieved a level of financial inclusion of program beneficiaries that far exceeds similar programs that have been in operation for 15 years”,  said Rogelio Gomez Hermosillo, the former Director of the Oportunidades Program in Mexico, which reaches 30 million households.

In fact, a new report by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) finds a much higher rate of beneficiaries with access to bank services in BOOST than in the two largest conditional cash transfer programs in the region, at 43% in Brazil and 25% in Mexico.

The first step of a larger movement

For the past two years, the World Bank has provided technical assistance to support the design of the BOOST Program, including knowledge exchanges with conditional cash transfer experts from Jamaica and Mexico.

The new phase of technical assistance aims to provide flexible support to address the central operational challenges of the Program and make recommendations on different approaches to strengthen program operations.

“The BOOST Program represents a significant step forward to develop a smart social safety net that promotes human capital growth, savings, and productive investments by poor households, but it is only the first step of a larger movement that is needed to strengthen the quality and accountability of social spending in Belize,” says Sarah Berger Gonzalez, World Bank Social Protection Specialist.

Despite the advances, operational challenges remain, resulting from the rapid ramp-up, limited financing and small number of program personnel. Limited financial envelopes have resulted in the number of qualified, eligible households exceeding enrolment by 30%.

Other challenges include the need to strengthen communication of program objectives and responsibilities, coordination of actions across ministries, and monitoring of information to assess program impacts.

Source: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/2012/06/28/belize-boosts-schoool-attendance-and-acces-to-financial-services-for-the-poor

Here is a discussion of the program when the PM was interviewed by Twocanview. https://twocanview.com/2012/03/26/an-interview-with-the-prime-minister-of-belize-by-aria-lightfoot-and-fayemarie-anderson-carter/

A victim relates to Jasmine Lowe : Reprinted with the permission of Marisa Alamilla

Marisa Alamilla

 Just musing Belize………..

As I sit to write my article … I just could not get the images of this beautiful little girl out my head.  I am to write about a far more casual topic but thought that it was more important to weigh in on what is going on in our beautiful country.  Jasmine Lowe has become the face and name of a people who are absolutely fed up with crime. She is not the first child to have died by no means of a violent crime but at a time when we have been screaming for an end to the violence, at a time when it has become like one a day vitamins, at a time when mothers weep and a country is lost it seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.


I grew up in a Belize where we felt safe to play, where our children could play in the drains in the rain, where they could be left to enjoy a little thing called “freedom”. Gone are these days!  Not today, yesterday, the last few weeks or months but for some years now. As I listen to the public at large screaming for justice and screaming for an end to violence I wonder how many of them have really sat down and soaked it all in, soaked in the stench that has been building from their inaction, their lack of parenting, their lack of will to make everyone accountable or for their short memories.


In 1998 I was a victim of crime awaken at the wee hours of the morning from my sleep by an intruder into my home that was built to protect me. Burglar bars and dead bolts on all the doors and windows.   I remember thinking in the first instance “how did he get in?” to be followed quickly by “how will I get away? What does he want and then more importantly “will he kill me?”  The sharp knife he held in his hand glistened as he made it clear that he had every intention to use it if I did not do as he said. I remember looking around my room thinking of ways to get away it seemed so impossible paralyzed by fear he seemed so huge in my eyes, standing at over 6’ and 190 lbs. His crazy yet focused eyes made me beg and plead for my life but to no avail. After a fight that seem to last for hours and being badly beaten and raped, he made be take a bath saying that I will wash the evidence off me. I remember clearly trying to preserve the evidence by trying not to let the water hit all the parts of my battered body that I thought might have some evidence of his presence.  I remember thinking that even if he carried through on his promise to cut my throat that the police would be able to catch him. I was so disillusioned then. I know now that had I not lived and had I not been strong enough to pursue him and ensure he was captured and arrested and see this through to the bitter end he would be walking amongst us, free to do what he did to me to so many other women.  I remember his mother threatening me and visiting my home and screaming at my windows that if I continued to pursue this in court she would have one of her other sons finish the job. I remember one police officer telling me to ignore the threats because if I returned threats I could be arrested for verbal assault. Go figure!


I say that to say this. It took two years after this to bring him this young man of 19 years to court and that was not an easy thing to do. At times I felt alone, tired, abandoned, and disheartened by the entire process. I never felt once that the system was on my side. I always felt that I was fighting to win and fighting to get justice. It was not easy not ever.  His defense attorney tried everything to get him acquitted and if I was not the woman I am he would be a free man today.


Every week women and children are assaulted in Belize. Most never make the news because most never get reported. Many women and children feel ashamed and broken by this act of violence and feel as if they lack the strength to handle being persecuted after they have been denigrated in this manner.  In this case little Jasmine died. As a country we are hurt and feel some disdain for her alleged killer. I cautiously warn Belize, not to feel comfortable that he has been caught that is just a small tiny step towards justice.  Justice is long and drawn out road and the onus of responsibility to prove him guilty is on the country. He is presumed innocent.  We are a country high on crime because our social decay and our smart lawyers have gotten us here. One case will not save us as much as I know it may feel that way now.


As I watch the mob and their cries for justice I think “how little they know of how difficult it is to gain that little word”. It takes commitment on many levels and their cries will not affect the ruling of the court if the wealth of evidence is not there to carry the charge. Our people are so distraught and so tired of watching our children die in such senseless and meaningless ways that we fail to realize we have so many alive that we still need to save. Our actions are being looked upon. How we carry ourselves and what we say and do is being absorbed by the little eyes and ears around us. Violence begets violence. We need to aspire for higher ground and I know it’s not easy I was there but I know it’s not impossible. I have nothing against the death penalty just abide by the law that’s what we want to teach our children to do and therefore we must teach by example.

I am a passionate and emotional woman! It’s who I am. I understand rage, I understand the want for revenge, I understand the want for blood because that is what I felt for many years. I also understand the need for true justice, for calmer heads, for good example.  All I am saying Belize is two wrongs won’t make a right! If he is guilty then we must put our energies into ensuring that the system is brought to the highest standards, that we hold each and every one accountable for its failure and that we begin to search ourselves for where we might have added to the demise of our country.  Don’t be fooled where we are today as a society is the direct result of past and present action, whether it was our selfishness by not being our brother’s keeper, by not treating others with the same love and respect we would want to dealt, by turning a blind eye, by our ignorance or our irresponsibility. We played a role in the demise and destruction of our country. Own it! It belongs to each and every one of us.  Change it today, it’s not too late and our children are depending on us to do so!