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#417532 - 10/01/11 02:15 PM GOB and people of Belize – MONSANTO is a bad word
Marty Online   happy
Dear Editor,

I have been following the back and forth arguments and presentations of facts concerning GMO corn (and other seeds) being allowed to come into Belize.

Belize recently has been fighting the time-consuming and expensive (from the public purse) results of monopolistic thinking (BEL and BTL). We all still suffer under foreign and domestic monopolies (beer, Coke, water), a distinctly aristocratic condition (see British history) and probably will do so for a while yet into the future.

What I do not understand is why we would support a foreign monopoly where none of the benefits stay with Belize or with Belizeans. MONSANTO has one of the worst records in history for doing harm through its products, and with its strategy out in the open, it apparently intends to be a monopoly.

Monsanto is attempting to be the only world source of seeds. GMO gives them that opportunity. Once GMO is in a country, all other seeds of the same species become null and void (totally contaminated), and the potential exists to allow MONSANTO to own all seeds through an overt and covert process.

Because GMO is dominant, all other seeds, after a while, literally become the property of MONSANTO (by reason of their patents). You will not be allowed to plant back the next year, and even if you did, they will not grow (it is designed into the seed), which means you must buy from them forever after -- a true monopoly.

Perhaps our biggest issue with GMO will not be all those other facts concerning GMO that are so disgustingly damning, but rather, one of a foreign globalist monopoly with distinct power over concepts in the mind.

Will the government of Belize allow such a foreign-owned monopoly to exist and dominate our heritage in light of their current issues with foreign-owned monopolies? Or will they lead Belize in a more appropriate direction where monopolies are diminished or nationalized, and our seeds remain in our heritage?

Jack Nightingale
for Amandala

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#417535 - 10/01/11 02:18 PM Re: GOB and people of Belize – MONSANTO is a bad word [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
“GMO - The undisclosed legal perils looming for Belize”

Dear Editor,

Great thanks to Ms. Adele Trapp for undertaking an article on the volatile issue concerning Genetically Modified seeds (GM). The decision to allow the testing of GM corn in Belize is an issue so vital and far reaching that it potentially threatens the future of food security in Belize for all generations that follow.

It seems to me that the protocol set up by the historic acts of the GOB actually prevents the importation of GM grain at this point in time. So why is it sitting in a vault at Cardi?

What folly are we playing out on the landscape of Belize?

Cross-contamination is the paramount peril for the agricultural sector in Belize with ANY introduction of GM seeds, not only due to the negative environmental implications, but the onerous legal liability that comes with the seed.

Let’s be realistic about the situation. A sterile isolated environment is the only way to test a GMO to assure no escape of pollen. Given that one of the objectives for the trial is reduction of crop damage from pest infestation, in an enclosure, how will one test the premise of pest control, if the crop is not exposed to pests?

If the trial is conducted in the open field in the “off season” as Ms. Trapp states in her article, will there even be sufficient volume of the vector in the open field to test the efficacy of the genetic gnome imprinted in the corn against the vector?

Once this pollen escapes and cross pollinates with local strains of corn, the unsuspecting and unknowing village milpa farmer, the adjacent industrial farmer, the family gardener, will be liable for potential payment of royalties to Monsanto.

While MAF states that they do not have to ratify Monsanto’s patent for intellectual property, I am sure given the financial resources of this global mega corporation, whose annual budget exceeds that of Belize by 200 times, will find a way through the legal maze to benefit itself in the end.

To protect its patent rights, Monsanto enforces a “limited use license” called a Technology Agreement. This contract shields Monsanto from liability associated with contamination of innocent, unsuspecting neighboring farmers and passes the responsibility to the GM farmer for keeping GM crops out of markets, elevators or other farmers’ fields that do not want GM crops.

In a case of cross-contamination, the victim farmer must sue the GM farmer to recover income loss from crop damages and loss of market, as the GM farmer has indemnified Monsanto against such contamination by the simple act of just opening a bag of Monsanto’s GM seed.

In turn, Monsanto sues the victim farmer for patent infringement. Quite a clever scheme.

Thousands of farmers have been sued and spied upon for alleged “seed piracy” – at least 2,391 farmers in 19 states in the United States through 2006, according to Monsanto website documents obtained by the Washington, DC-based Center for Food Safety (CFS).

A report by CFS, using company records, found that “Monsanto has an annual budget of $10 million dollars and a staff of 75 devoted solely to investigating and prosecuting farmers.”

Per the Technical Agreement, all legal disputes must be settled in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Does this imply that US law governs over the patent issues?

Furthermore, the terms of this agreement are not negotiable, and are binding upon the parties even after the farmer ceases to plant Monsanto’s GM seed.

Has anyone in position of power considered who will step up and pay the legal bills for defending Belize farmers, large and small, from Monsanto on the alleged grounds of “seed piracy” and the infringement of patents?

To say that Belize will not register the patent will not alleviate the legal liability potential.

Gentlemen, we are playing with fire, so they say.

Best,
M. Vargas
Ontario Village, Cayo

Amandala

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#417930 - 10/06/11 02:13 PM Re: GOB and people of Belize – MONSANTO is a bad word [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Genetically modified corn in Belize

Dean Barrow

The debate over the local introduction of genetically modified organisms remains ongoing between those who support the GMOs and others who are out rightly against its introduction into Belize. It is known that GMO corn seeds were imported into the country earlier this year without a mandatory risk assessment being conducted. Red flags immediately went up about the invasive nature of the seeds’ growth which could consume fields in southern Belize, directly impacting the livelihoods of the Mayas in Toledo who produce corn for subsistence purposes. The intention was to plant the kernels in six individual plots measuring fifteen by twenty feet under heavy security against theft. But that won’t happen because the seeds are to be destroyed. Today Prime Minister Dean Barrow told News Five Cabinet did not approve the importation and that a committee has been organized to study the potential effects that growing GMOs would have on other natural plant species. According to P.M. Barrow there is no urgency in introducing GMOs in Belize.

Dean Barrow

“I personally don’t know enough that is why a committee was appointed, a bio-safety committee comprised of the experts. They will have to make the recommendations to government and then we will have to look at what they have to say, what the evidence is in support of whatever position they are recommending and take a decision. Until that time there will be no experimental plots utilizing the GMO corn seeds. Government took no decision, as was wrongly reported, to encourage that, to sanction that, to in fact give the go ahead and so the seeds that were procured as a consequence of somebody going around government will now be destroyed. That is not to say that the bio-safety committee must not still look at the issue and come up with a recommendation but obviously they are trying to do this as a very careful comprehensive exercise and we agree with them. There is no rush. There is no urgency. There is no immediacy so they must take their time, look at the thing thoroughly, give us the recommendations and then Cabinet will go from there.”

The Department of the Environment has strongly objected to the actions of the Ministry of Agriculture, under its C.E.O. Gabino Canto, in permitting the importation of GMO seeds. Dr. Michael Deshield of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority has also raised concerns about the introduction of the seeds, citing that the country does not have the appropriate framework in place to facilitate its institution.

Channel 5


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