San Pedro UDP 7 duly nominated
For its part the United Democratic Party town council team gathered in front of the San Pedro Town Council shortly around 2PM. Led by the Isla Bonita School Marching Band, the UDP 7 and their supporters they made their way through the principal streets of San Pedro and returned in front of the Town Council. One by one, each member of the UDP 7 walked up to the office of the Town Council to be nominated. UDP Mayoral Candidate Daniel Guerrero was nominated by Steven Schulte and Joseph Elijio. Councilor Candidates Henrick Brackett was nominated by Iriada Gonzalez and Efrain Guerrero Sr., Severo Guerrero Jr. was nominated by Ricardo Verde and Jose Alberto Nunez Jr., Carlos Barrientos was nominated by Flora Ancona and Catherine Paz, Gabriel “Gaby” Nunez was nominated by Raul Gonzalez and Phillip “Billy” Leslie and Yolanda Parham was nominated by Claudio Azueta and Elsa Paz.

San Pedro PUP 7 Nominated
Shortly before 10AM, the candidates of the People’s United Party for the upcoming municipal elections in San Pedro Town left from the PUP headquarters to be nominated. In a very festive celebration, the PUP 7 along with their supporters marched through the principal streets of San Pedro Town. Arriving at 11:30AM at the Town Council Office, all candidates where nominated in a span of about 50 minutes. The PUP 7 appeared before returning officer Ava Gene Swift. First to be nominated was PUP Mayoral Candidate Conchita Flota by Martha Guerrero and Merline Spain. The other candidates to be nominated were Gualberto “Wally” Nunez by Edwardo Vasquez and Carlos Rodriguez, Oscar “David” Aguilar by Paulino Pineda and Jesus Wiltshire, Viana “Vianie” Perez by Doroteo Acosta and Romelia Rivero, Raymundo “Mundo” Nunez by Hector Salazar and Alberto Guerrero, Marina Graniel by Ana Najaro and Andre Perez and Maribel Vasquez by Ronaldo Espat and Jason Nunez.

San Pedro Town Council Independent Candidates Nominated
Shortly before 1PM Independent Mayoral Candidate Melanie “Mel Paz” along with her core campaigners assembled on Laguna Drive and walked down the principal streets of San Pedro. Blowing horn and chanting, Paz and her group made their way to the Town Council where Paz was duly nominated. Maz was officially nominated by Priciliano Rigoberto Kumul and Miguel Alberto Perez. Following her nomination Paz explained that finally there is a choice other than the two political parties. “I have been waiting for this day for long and finally its here. I am confident that on Election Day, the people of San Pedro are going to vote wisely. They are going to vote for Mel Paz,” she explained.

Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival
The Placencia Belize Tourism Industry Association held it's 9th Annual Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival this past weekend, Saturday, February 11 to Sunday, February 12, 2012. It was a resounding success for the PBTIA as hundreds of tourist both local and international enjoyed all the arts on display. The Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival highlights all or as many of Belize’s visual and performing artists and is staged along Placencia’s famous sidewalk. Throughout the weekend, artists from across the country made their way to Placencia to set up and showcase their best artwork. Artists were also joined by food vendors as they lined the sidewalk making it a colorful representation of art, food and culture. Dozens of local and international tourists were entertained by DJ Dorian, Entourage Movements, Creole drumming by Emmeth Young and Talla Walla and Punta & Reggae music by Inner Vibrations.

SP Town Council Nominations 2012 Held Today
The following is the list of candidates and their nominators: PUP Mayoral candidate: *Conchita Valdez: Martha Guerrero, Mel Spain PUP Councilor candidates: *Raymundo Nuñez: Hector Salazar, Omar Guerrero *Wally Nuñez: Eduardo Vasquez, Carlos Rodriguez *Maribel Vasquez: Jason Nuñez, Rolando Espat *Viannie Perez: Romelia Rivero, Carlos Santos *David Aguilar: Jesus Wiltshire, Paulino Pineda *Marina Kay: Ana Najarro, Andre Perez

My Funky Valentine
We normally don't go out for Valentine's Day, but for our first one in Belize, we decided to treat ourselves to a dinner out at the Funky Monkey, just a mile or so south. Actually, it was my idea, as most meals out are. Dale had posted about their Valentine's special meal on Facebook, and it sounded tasty -- and reasonable at only $40 BZD per person, including dessert, so it was a date. Of course we'd be riding our bikes. We left early while it was still plenty light.

Adventure Vacation Guide 2012: Belize
Belize is the only country in Central America with English as the official language. The small country, measuring 180 miles long and 68 miles wide, is a popular vacation destination for tourists whose native language is English. But Belize is good for much more than just lounging in white sand while watching the shimmering teal waves roll in and out while drinks, ordered in English, are replenished. Behind the luxurious resorts and relaxing vacation packages, Belize is an adventure destination.

5 BEST BELIZE RESORTS
If you are looking for a special experience in a Caribbean/Central American getaway, you should try Belize resorts. Great people, preserved ancient treasures, amazing views – relaxing time – all are offered by Belize. Hamanasi - Named Belize Hotel of the Year Kanantik – “Kanantik Reef & Jungle Resort, an intimate, secluded, luxurious beachfront resort located in Southern Belize” Chaa Creek - Rated “Top Belize Resort & Hotel” by the Belize Tourism Board Robert’s Grove “a beautifully appointed Hacienda-style Belize beach resort nestled on 22 acres of the finest white sand beach in Placencia Belize” Glover’s Reef “called “one of the healthiest reefs in the region” and “a model of hope” for marine conservation”

Nomination Day In the City: Was It A Blue Tide Or a Sea Of Red?
Today was nomination day for municipal elections - meaning that in all 9 towns and cities, candidates went to elections and boundaries offices and presented themselves as candidates. It'...

UDP Shows Muscle, Machinery and Money
And those who didn't see the bills or the caricature - got to see the man himself this afternoon. UDP Leader Dean Barrow headed his party's procession through the streets. The challenge ...

Schakron Says She Is "In Process" Of Renouncing Passport
And while the rich political pageant dominated today's headlines - the issue of Yolanda Schakron's candidacy remains the burning issue. As we reported last night, Schakron did go to the ...

Barrow Says UDP Has Nothing To Do With Missing Passport
And while we can assure you that we have had no physical contact with Schakron's passport - and neither have we dealt with anyone who stole it - assuming indeed that it was stolen - Schakron...

City Shooting Mars Victoria Street Peace
On yesterday evening's news we showed you the inspiring community project on North Front Street that has been increasing the peace in the Victoria Street neighborhood. But, we may have s...

George Street Underboss Acquitted
Gerald "Shiney" Tillett, brother of the boss of George Street, Sheldon "Pinky" Tillett, was acquitted in Magistrate's Court of 3 charges in connection to a raid by the Gang Suppression Unit...

Acquittal For Accused Killer: Confession Was Forced
23 year-old Ian Haylock, a resident of Water Lane was acquitted in the courtroom of Justice Dennis Hannomansingh on Monday of the February 2008 murder of Eduardo Samos, a 50 year-old taxi dr...

Tourism Numbers Are Impressive
Whenever you hear about a press conference about statistics with just weeks to go before an election - you know that the numbers presented have to be good! And indeed they are for the BTB...

Nomination Day In San Pedro
Unlike the mainland, the island town of San Pedro with its large expatriate population, is known for its non-aligned voters who vote based on candidates, not parties. And that's what ma...

March 7th.: A Single Holiday For a Double Election
And with all the political combustion building up to the double election day - can you imagine what March seventh will be like!? Crazy, no doubt. And that's why many will be happy to ...

The Other Way Of Raising A Referendum
And the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage seems to have a similar idea. Although the Coalition failed in its effort to trigger a referendum, it will try again - this time by carr...

Derrick Aikman To Conduct Poll For Undecided Voters
And one man who's been on a political vacation is Derek Aikman. He flashed across the public stage in 2008 - and then after he claims that he was kidnapped, the former Freetown Area Represen...

Dancehall Up And Comer Charlie Black In Belize
Dancehall artist, Charlie Black, touched down this morning in Belize City. It is his second time in Belize and the hot newcomer to the dancehall scene - told us, he isn't just here to put on...

S.S.B. Board decides to fire; will it happen?
The Board of Directors of the Social Security met on Monday to deal with the audit of insider trading at S.S.B. It was a lengthy meeting that concluded at seven thirty p.m. The Panel Kerr Foster audit is not favorable and while fraud was not established, it was damning of the C.E.O. Merlene Bailey who ...

Bailey Bailout? S.S.B. staffers urged to save C.E.O.
News Five has just obtained a copy of that February fourteenth letter sent to the S.S.B. Chairman Lois Young. It says “We are anxiously anticipating the return of our C.E.O., Mrs. Merlene Martinez and our Internal Auditor, Miss Denise Mahler. Through this medium, we would like to express our fullest support for their reinstatement…With respect ...

Nomination Day fete in Belmopan
Across the country, a slew of red, blue and yellow shirts, a virtual color coat of arms of political parties were on the pavement for nomination day. News Five covered the march to nominate municipal candidates in both former and current capital. In Belmopan, four candidates were nominated to contest the Mayoral seat for the ...

Road march for Belize City Council Nomination
In Belize City nominations took place at the Complex or Charles Bartlett Hyde building on Mahogany Street. And though it was just another nomination for the parties, well, the mood was indicative of the Election Day buildup. News Five’s Isani Cayetano spoke to the Mayoral Candidates. Isani Cayetano, Reporting A sea of red, the tidal ...

Schakron admits giving up US Citizenship
Nomination Day for General Elections is on February seventeenth. And the only candidate that may have a glitch on that day is the P.U.P.’s Yolanda Schakron. Schakron’s Guatemalan birth is not the issue; it’s the fact that she is a sworn citizen of the United States. Schakron made her “as Belizean as Rice and Beans” ...

But PM thinks it’s too late for P.U.P. Lake I
No other than the Prime Minister has been following the situation of the novice politician, Yolanda Schakron. P.M. Dean Barrow told the media today that time may not be on Schakron’s side to renounce her U.S. Citizenship. According to the P.M., Schakron remains clueless as to who the perpetrator of the stolen document is since ...

Coalition will have Unsanctioned Offshore Referendum
The Coalition to Save Our National Heritage had been diligent in its collection of twenty thousand signatures that it hoped would trigger a referendum on the offshore drilling issue. Eight thousand signatures were rejected and by all accounts, it’s over. The process would have to start from scratch all over again. But the Coalition says ...

Former politician has his own national election/poll
While the coalition is organizing their private referendum, another social activist is organizing a trip to the poll. Former U.D.P. minister of government, Derek Aikman is joining the ranks of recent pollsters such as the Independent’s Glenn Tillett and Karim Berges along with economist Yasmin Andrews. Aikman’s poll on the election is by far the ...

B.T.B.’s stats show Tourist Arrivals up
The Belize Tourism Board today announced the statistics for tourist arrivals in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the figures are record breaking for overnight visitors. There were a total of fifty-seven thousand, nine hundred and sixty-four overnight visitors, which reflects a six point five percent increase when compared to the same period in 2010. ...

Jade head on display for students
The Museum of Belize is celebrating its ten year anniversary since it opened its doors. One of the hallmarks of the museum is its Maya exhibit. The exhibit was bolstered today with the inclusion of the Jade Head. The priceless object had not been on display in a few years; however, the museum’s director said ...

2 persons shot on New Road
While NICH and the Museum do their best to preserve our heritage, there are those on the streets who have little value for artifacts or even the preservation of life. On Tuesday night a lone assassin with a loaded nine-millimeter handgun was on the prowl; his targets were two men in the New Road area. ...

Interesting evidence, but murder trial flops
In the Corozal District, a four-year-old murder trial ended in the Supreme Court on Monday and the accused killer walked away a free man. Taxi driver, Eduardo Samos, was shot in the face and left to die in a cane field on February thirteenth, 2008. When police located his missing vehicle eight days later, it ...

Babysitter manslaughter case in Court
In the Belize District, a case of manslaughter against a Ladyville woman came to a sudden halt today when the jury, which had been hearing her case over the past two weeks, had to be discharged. Twenty-four year old Danna Banner was initially charged in 2008 following the death of a toddler in her care. ...

U.D.P. Benque Don Jorge switches party
Just last week, you saw Marcel Cardona on national TV endorsing the P.U.P.’s Marco Tulio Mendez for the Orange Walk East Constituency. Well, it seems there is another U.D.P. who is rallying behind the P.U.P. in the Western Town of Benque Viejo. Don Jorge Iglesias is a two-time elected U.D.P. Councilor but he is dissatisfied ...

On the Corozal Campaign Trail with “Papas”
Across the Corozal District, every post, tree and even some houses are decorated with political flags and banners. It’s a clear sign that the candidates for the March seventh elections are in the height of their campaigns. For the election season, News Five has embarked on a campaign trail series and Delahnie Bain was in ...

Letter on Rosewood from Toledo villager
Valentine’s Day has just passed and though the day should be about love, it has become commercialized very much like Christmas. A News Five viewer contacted our newsroom about a love letter of sorts that he wanted to share that came from one of his relatives. But instead of words found in a romance novel, ...

Still fresh the day after; KTV Latino!!
It’s three weeks into the new season of KTV Latino and we’ve brought you two rounds of pre-recorded auditions as well as last week’s live audition, which narrowed the talent pool down to fourteen contestants. But on Tuesday night, the competition really got started with debut performances from the seven hopefuls that make up Group ...

UDP Unable To Attract Supporters Yet Again
As we told you earlier, today’s Nomination Day was very important for the United Democratic Party here in Orange Walk since it was an opportunity for them to rebound from the shameful experience they had on February 5th when instead of marching towards the People’s Stadium as was the initial plan, they had to hold a motorcade due to the poor turnout of supporters.

PUP O/w Town Council Candidates Officially Nominated
With only 20 days away from two major elections today was Nomination Day for all candidates contesting the Municipal Elections on March 7th, 2012. For the P.U.P here in the Orange Walk District it was an opportunity to once again flex their muscle and show how much support their Town Council Candidates have. We say again because that support was shown during Sunday’s

The Future Of S.S.B.'s CEO Uncertain
On January 11th 2012 the CEO of Social Security Board, Merlene Bailey Martinez, was suspended after reports surfaced that there was insider trading among staff members of Social Security Board. Along with Bailey, internal auditor Denise Mahler was also suspended. As a result, the board decided that an independent audit should commence immediately in order to verify whether

Children With Special Needs Undergo Training For Special Olympics
The Olympics is an international sporting event where a multitude of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. Here in Belize we also have our own Olympics Competition, known as the Special Olympics. It’s a special branch of the Olympics, where disable children participate in different types of activities. This past Saturday, Peace Corp Volunteers held a training session at the Barracks Field here in Orange Walk Town in order to get participants ready for the upcoming Special Olympics. The National Director of Special Olympics in Belize, Elodia Bautista shared some details of what Special Olympics in Belize entails.

Two teen girls pregnant; grown men are responsible
Two teenage girls from Camalote village are the victims of sexual assault by grown men. In separate incidents on Tuesday morning, the two fifteen year old girls, in the company of their mothers, went to the Belmopan police station to report that they had had sexual intercourse with two men. The first teenager told police that on the second of October of last year, she had sexual intercourse with a man she identifies as Clifford Galvez. The girl is now twenty five weeks pregnant. About an hour after the first report was made, another fifteen year old went to the police station to report that on three separate occasions she had sexual intercourse with a man she identifies as Ralston Rodriguez. The girl is now eight weeks pregnant. Police are investigating both incidents.

Two men injured in overnight shooting incident
The Crime Beat Two men were injured in a shooting incident last night in Belize City. Police say just after seven o’clock last night they went to the Karl Heusner Memorial...

People’s referendum coming next week
Tanya Williams The Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage has expressed their disappointment in the manner in which their quest to hold a referendum on offshore drilling has ended up. Coalition Coordinator...

PUP nominates candidates for the Municipal Elections
The People’s United Party brought out a crowd to the nomination of their municipal slate in Belize City.

Cop charged for drunk driving
A police officer who was recently promoted to Corporal was charged with two traffic offenses on Monday Febrary 13th after a traffic accident on Sunday, February 12 in the village of Lucky Strike. There was no fatality but the Belize Police Department has launched an investigation into the traffic accident to ascertain what could have caused Cpl. Luis Quixaj to lose control of his work vehicle and crash into a tree. Information is not forthcoming but police believe that the officer was under the influence of alcohol and as a result he was charged with two traffic offenses.

Mark King signs stolen; culprit appears in court
UDP Lake I Candidate, Mark King reported to police that 4 of his billboards were stolen on Sunday February 12th. As a result of the report, police arrested and charged Norris Leslie, known “cologne”. Leslie appeared in Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday February 14th before Magistrate Sherigne Rodrigurez where he was charged with theft and damage to property. He pleaded not guilty and was offered and met bail of $2,000 and is due back in court on March 24.

Special Constable and his wife busted with gun
Special constable Jose Adolfo Haylock Jr. 26, and his common-law-wife, Corrine Diana Martinez, 27, were remanded to jail until March 15 after being charged with possession of a unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

Accused of stealing a Pit Bull
Roberto Montejo, 27, pleaded not guilty to a charge of theft when he appeared in Magistrate’s Court before Magistate Dorothy Flowers on Friday February 10th.

Man acquitted of fondling 8-year-old girl
On Friday February 10th, 53 year old Filodelfio Reneau was acquitted of aggravated assault of an indecent nature. Reneau had been charged after an 8-year-old girl reported to police that he had molested her. The girl told police that Reneau had befriended her and fondled her.

Convicted of Human Trafficking
On Friday February 10th, Yolanda Garcia, 41, was found guilty of trafficking in persons when she appeared in Magistrate’s Court on Friday February 10th. Garcia, who is a naturalized Belizean, was convicted of trafficking in persons after she was accused by a 17-year-old student of the Cayo District, who claimed that she was working at Serenita’s Bar located on Regent Street West in 2010. Whilst working there, Garcia told her that she also must have sex with the men as part of her duties.

What about the Superbond? - PM says Government will deal with it!
On Monday February 20th, the government of Belize will have to pay BZ$33,537,066.66 to service the Superbond. That means that taxpayers across the country will bear that brunt. In announcing the election date, Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the electorate that the UDP government is seeking a new mandate but more than that, the UDP is asking the people to do something about the Superbond. That announcement sent chills down the spine of those holding the bond so much so that there was speculation that the government may default on payments. The rating agency Standard & Poor’s took it so seriously that it downgraded Belize’s ratings from B- to CCC.

PUP Handing Out Counterfeit Money for Nomination Parade
If the United Democratic Party was not truly a party of the people, our democracy would be in trouble. The People’s United Party has plunged into the dimension of the obsoletes and undesirables. They are no longer a viable opposition and their inability to move a crowd is proof of that.

Belize City Council Manifesto launch
The United Democratic Party launches its Belize City Council Manifesto (2012-2015) on February 16, 2012, starting at 2:30 pm upstairs in the conference room of the UDP Secretariat on Youth for the Future Drive. (Press Release)

Party of Inclusion
The United Democratic Party is the true party of inclusion. The party takes on the issues concerning people of all ethnic groups in Belize and because of that it has garnered support from all corners of the country. That representation has attracted candidates from the Creole, Garinagu, Mayan, Mestizo, Mennonite and Chinese community. One group that has been neglected for years is the Indian Community-not under this administration. Herman Longsworth recently lobbied for land leases to be distributed to the Indian Community. As a result, 7 leases were recently distributed to the Indian Community. It is the first time that any Government has granted leases to the community and their members have expressed their gratitude for the gesture. The Indian Community makes significant contributions to the country and continues to be job creators.

OW Team 7 holds Football Tournament
The UDP team 7 in Orange Walk has not yet been elected to office but it has already been proving that it is ready to deliver for the people. They have been active in community activities as well as infrastructural development in the Town.

New Irrigation System for San Antonio Village
Through the collaboration of the Government of Venezuela and the Ministry of Agriculture, the Hon. Rene Montero accomplished another milestone on Wednesday February 15th in inaugurating a new water system for irrigation in the San Antonio village. The new water system is about two miles long providing water to 17 farms and will be used by 25 farmers from the village. The total cost for this project is $68,000.00 with a contribution of 10% from the farmers in digging trenches. The water source is about 5 miles away from the Mountain Pine Ridge, which provides an abundance of water using gravity flow. This project will help farmers in increasing their farm production of vegetables to lower cost and stabilize prices for consumers.

PROOF - Always for the People
Vibrant, and steadfast, the UDP is on the precipice of yet another term in the Town Halls and City Halls of this nation. If there was any doubt as to the outcome of the municipal elections on March 7, nomination day today sent the clearest and most succinct message that the United Democratic Party is going to once again sweep the entire country. From north to south, Mayor Hilberto Campos in Corozal, who marched to the Nominating station along with his Councilor candidates and hundreds of supporters, to Mayor Floyd Lino in Punta Gorda and his throng of supporters, across the country, the nation resounded with one voice; today, the United Democratic Party is strong, has delivered to all the City Councils and Town Councils in the country, and will continue to deliver after 7 March.

IDB Board of Governors Meet in San Pedro
The 26th Meeting of Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Governors of Central America and the Dominican Republic was held last week in San Pedro Town. On Thursday, February 9, President of the IDB, Luis Alberto Moreno, spoke to the media about the meeting.

Election day declared a holiday
Municipal elections and General Elections have been set to be held on the same day, March 7th, 2011. Because of the strain that a dual election will be having on the public service, and since public officers are the ones who are the ones responsible for running the exercise, government has decided to declare March 7th a public and bank holiday. The decision serves two purposes: it allows for public officers to be deployed to their various posts without their absence having an effect on the various government ministries where they ordinarily work. It also allows for the public to come out and exercise their right to vote without having to report to work. Many times people work in areas outside of where they are registered to vote and this presents a problem for them having at times to miss an entire workday in order to be able to vote. The decision to declare election day a holiday will solve this problem.

Massive Infrastructure Project Commences
The United Democratic Party’s administrations are known for their commitment to infrastructural development. In four years, this administration did more to develop the infrastructure of the country than the PUP administrations have done since Independence. Numerous sugar roads have been rehabilitated in the North. Down South, the Placencia Road has finally been paved and the stretch from the dump at Jalacte to the Southern border is also being paved. That focus on infrastructural development has turned squarely to Belize City. On Monday, January 20, Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Works, signed three contracts under Phase II of the Belize City Southside Poverty Alleviation Project. Those contracts were for the dredging and lining of canals and the paving of Jane Usher Boulevard and Neal’s Pen Road.

Asbestos-Free Cristo Rey School
Over 147 students of the Cristo Rey Roman Catholic School in the Corozal District are no longer exposed to the dangers associated with asbestos thanks to a project, which included the rehabilitation of two main school buildings equipped with new computers, office furniture and other equipment. Spacious bathrooms were also constructed.

Rehabilitation of August Pine Ridge School
On Friday, February 10, a rehabilitated building along with a sanitary block wasinaugurated at the August Pine Ridge RC School in the Orange Walk District. Over 400 students will benefit from the project. The project included the replacement of the school’s asbestos roof with a new pre-painted roof. It also included the dismantling and disposal of existing walls, installation of plycem walls with metal backing, repairs to damaged columns and electrical rewiring of the building as well as installation of a new ceiling, doors and windows. The school measures 105 ft long by 37 ft wide and houses six classrooms, a computer lab and principal’s office. The project involved the supply of an AC Unit, electrical fans and 10 fully equipped computers, a photo copier, a projector with a screen, two digital cameras and school furniture.

Telemedia interoffice softball champions
Telemediaq, the 10th Annaul Belize City Interoffice Champions The 10th Annual Belize City Interoffice Softball Competition came to an end on Friday February 10, 2012, at Rogers Stadium with Telemedia besting Education in a slug fest to capture its very first interoffice title.

Belize plays host to Regional Anti-Doping Meeting and Training
The National Anti-Doping Organisation of Belize, in partnership with the Ministry of Sports, the National Sports Council, the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association, the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation and the World Anti-Doping Agency, is hosting the Annual Regional Anti-Doping Organisation’s Board Meeting and the Doping Control Officers Training at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel.

A Question of Trust
It’s all about trust. Yolanda Shakron’s decision to withhold information on her citizenship status both from her adopted party and from the Belizean people does not reflect well on her judgement and character. Everyone in Belize knows that our Belizean Constitution does not allow anyone holding dual nationality to vie for a seat in the National Assembly. Just two year ago there were fiery public consultations on the issue when a suggestion was made to change the Constitution to allow dual nationals to run for national office. The PUP was very active in opposing any change as were many other groups and individuals. In keeping with the wishes expressed during these national consultations by the overwhelming majority of participants, the decision was made to leave the Constitution unchanged. We can only assume therefore that the PUP leadership was not aware of Yolanda Shakron’s citizenship status when they invited her to replace Cordel Hyde as their candidate in the Lake I Division. We can further assume that Yolanda Shakron, like all Belizean adults, was fully aware of her Constitutional ineligibility but still offered herself as a candidate. The problem is not really about her citizenship or even where she was born. ...

We Apologize
We received a letter last week from the Law Firm of Musa and Balderamos acting on behalf of the Communications director for the People’s United Party PUP, Ms. Lisa Shoman complaining that our front page article titled, “PUP Peddling Pornography,” which carried a photograph of Ms. Shoman was a vile innuendo and outright defamation. After a careful perusal of the front page we agree that anyone who did not read the article and simply saw the title of the story along with Ms. Shoman’s picture could have linked her photograph to the title of the story and arrived at conclusions that the article was never intended to convey. This was never our intention and for this we must proffer our most profound apologies to Ms. Shoman.

PM tour hits Punta Gorda
The Prime Minister Dean Barrow continued his nationwide tour on Sunday February 12th when he visited the Toledo district. Hon. Juan Coy of the Toledo West Constituency and Hon. Peter Eden Martinez of the Toledo East Constituency prepared a reception for the PM like no other. It was such a great reception that Hon. Barrow had no other choice but to admit that the visit was by far the best reception he had received since he began his tour. He exclaimed that while he thought the warmth of the northern districts was great, that warmth which was given off in the south was even greater.

Shakron Can’t Run
The people of Belize - and more so the residents of Lake Independence - have only one thing to tell Yolanda Shackron; that is: “Give up your U.S. Citizenship if you want to represent us”. Apparently, though Shackron is unwilling to do so. On Friday February 10th, Channel 7 News disclosed that Yolanda Shackron is a U.S. Citizen and as such would be ineligible to run for the upcoming general elections unless she renounces her citizenship. By Monday February 13th, the matter was certified when the news channel proved that she was indeed a U.S. national by providing a copy of her passport. More than this, the passport showed that Shackron was born in Guatemala.

Front Row: Soccer Standout Takes Coaching Skills To Central America
Andrzejewski played soccer her whole life and has a slew of accolades to prove it, including training alongside Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy and other U.S. women's national team players during her five years on youth national teams. She led her team in scoring for Maryland, and Loyola when she transferred there. She played with professional teams -- the Washington Freedom, Colorado Force and now the Maryland Capitols. What puts a smile on her face lately is remembering her trips to Nicaragua and Belize in January to teach the youth of the Central American countries about soccer and about life. This year was her fourth trip to Nicaragua. Her first as a junior in college was memorable, and she couldn't wait to return.

FORMER GOVERNMENT MINISTER TO CONDUCT SIMULATION ELECTION
Former Government Minister Derek Aikman has been out of the headlines for some time but today Aikman called out the press to announce his company, Aikman and Aikman will be conducting an election on Friday. Aikman said the election will be conducted by a team from his Academy. Aikman stressed that in no way is he trying to discredit recent polls done to show the stance on elections, he says his team thought of this as a way of clarifying the many doubts voters are experiencing at this time nearing municipal and General Elections 2012. Derek Aikman – Chairman, Aikman and Aikman “On Friday which is nomination day for general elections Aikman and Aikman will be conducting an election on that day. We are going to conduct an election in 31 constituencies in this country. Polls will open at seven o’clock in the morning, polls will close at six o’clock in the evening and when the results are in, you can take the results of this election to the bank that when the final tally is made on Friday night, I would imagine somewhere around eight nine o’clock, we will have the result of an election just as had the election taken place on nomination day, this is the party or this is what would have formed the Government.

COALITION PLANS PEOPLE’S REFERENDUM
The Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage has expressed their disappointment in the manner in which their quest to hold a referendum on offshore drilling has ended up. Coalition Coordinator Tanya Williams told Love News they will be holding their own referendum called the people’s referendum on February twenty-fourth. Tanya Williams – Coalition Coordinator “The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage will be holding what we are calling the People’s Referendum on February 24. We are looking at having a national referendum where the people of Belize get the opportunity to vote on the issue of oil exploration in the offshore. As you all know we were trying to trigger a referendum under the Referendum Act and that was not successful but we know that we had so many thousands of people who wanted the opportunity to have their opinion known, their position known in terms of whether or not we should have oil exploration in the offshore and we see this as a very fitting opportunity to vote. We call it a people’s referendum because it is not going through the Referendum Act so it is not a referendum being triggered under the Referendum Act; it is a referendum being held by the Coalition for the people of Belize, for all those registered voters who want that opportunity to voice their opinion on this very important issue.

TWO MEN INJURED IN SHOOTING INCIDENT
Two men were injured in a shooting incident last night in Belize City. Police say just after seven o’clock last night they went to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where they saw 38-year-old Reynard Grinage suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the right hand. Police say they went to Belize Medical Associated where they saw 49-year-old Michael Wade suffering from gunshot wounds to the right forearm, right shoulder and right side of the abdomen. Investigations reveal that Grinage and Wade were standing near the corner of New Road and Pitts Alley when an unidentified male person rode on New Road and fired several shots towards them causing the injuries.

BELIZE TOURISM BOARD RELEASES LATEST FIGURES
The Belize Tourism Board announced the official statistics in the tourism arrivals for Belize in 2011 this morning at the Phoenix Resort in San Pedro Town. According to the officials, the tourism sector has seen an upward trend in tourist arrivals to our shores. Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation is Manuel Heredia Junior. Manuel Heredia Jr. – Minister of Tourism “I am happy to announce that for the first time in the history of Belize tourism we have attained the record overnight arrival in three of the twelve months of last year, namely January, July and December of 2011. As a result of these top performing months I am proud to say that 2011 will be recorded as only the second time in Belize’s history that we have exceeded the 250,000 overnight arrivals.” According to Minister Heredia since he took office in 2008, the numbers in tourism are better showing a twelve percent increase in overall arrivals including cruise and overnight arrivals. Major challenges were highlighted by Interim Director Javier Paredez.

NOMINATION DAY FOR MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS
Cabinet has agreed that Election Day, March 7 will be a public and bank holiday. This was decided on during its regular meeting on Tuesday. Today was nomination Day for candidates contesting the upcoming municipal elections. Arturo Cantun reporting... “Supporters from both major political parties also took to the streets in Corozal Town to nominate candidates for the upcoming municipal elections. The PUP was the first party to do so. Supporters like candidates gathered this morning at the PUP Corozal Bay office on College Rd. from where they paraded to the center of town to make nominations at the Corozal Magistrate court. A crowd of approximately 100 PUP supporters accompanied the PUP candidates in Corozal Town. Love News understands there was a short delay in the nomination process as the magistrate court was being used for sessions of the Supreme Court. The cases were adjourned for a later date to give way to the nomination process. PUP candidate for mayor of Corozal is Anwar Charaf and councilors candidates are Loraine Zuniga, Baldemar Pech, Ivan Castillo, Primitivo Vasquez, Ruben Cruz, and Maximo Sosa. In speaking briefly with Charaf, he told Love News that his slate hopes to win the municipal elections under the theme of better goveranace and accountability to the residents of Corozal Town. Nomination for the UDP slate in Corozal started promptly at two this afternoon leaving from the Corozal Bay UDP office and parading through some of the principal streets of Corozal. The nomination for UDP candidates proceeded without any set back. Nominated as mayoral candidate is Mayor Hilberto Campos, who seeks office for the third consecutive term. In speaking with Campos shortly after leaving the magistrate courts, he told Love News that his slate is campaigning under the theme of proven governance as he believes he and his team have done well and deserve to be brought back to town hall to continue the work. UDP councilor candidates are Daisy Marroquin, Stacy Armstrong Chi, Elva Perez, Guillermo Arana, Rafael Castillo and Jude Budna. After the nomination a UDP rally took place in front of the Corozal Town Hall where the slate launched its manifesto. To note is that unlike the two previous elections in Corozal, there was no independent candidate who entered the race for councilor or mayor.”

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Belize’s Atlantic Bank, CIDA, IFC Seek to Improve Banking Access for Small and Medium- Sized Enterprises
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and Atlantic Bank of Belize, with support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), are working to improve access to financial services for small and medium- sized enterprises (SME) in Belize. Whhe nature of the support is unspecified, IFC intends to help Atlantic Bank improve the products and services it offers and diversify its portfolio, with the aim of increasing the bank’s SME portfolio by 40 percent to about USD 15 million [1]. While financial details are not available on Atlantic Bank, it has 13 branches and is majority-held by Sociedad Nacional de Inversiones of Honduras. As of 2011, IFC has 182 member countries, total assets of USD 68.5 billion and total investment mobilization of USD 12.2 billion to 518 projects.

Live Blog: Globe Travel explores Belize by kayak (and smartphone)
The Globe's Amberly McAteer is in Belize, taking your questions and uploading live video and photos of her kayak adventure. Sacred caves, cabanas on the Caribbean, world class snorkeling, ancient Mayan ruins - it all sounds like a dream. Too good to be true. Unbelizeable, some might say.. I'm leaving in 3 days. Join me on the adventure - send your questions, suggestions, tips and advice - and I'll bring you along for the ride, uploading photos and videos at every stop. (Apologies in advance for the bad Belize puns..) I'm told to pack incredibly light (nine days away would usually mean a standard giant suitcase - but now it all has to fit in a kayak). What would you pack? What am I forgetting?

Tiny insect discovered in wilds of Belize
U.S. entomologists say they've discovered a tiny grasshopper-like insect in Belize and named it in commemoration of a Mayan people who once lived there. Researchers have dubbed the tiny hopper Ripipteryx mopana after the Mopan people, a Mayan group native to the Central American region. Scientists from the University of Illinois discovered the new species in the tropical rainforests of the Toledo District in southern Belize, which is bordered by Mexico and Guatemala. "Belize is famous for its biodiversity, although very little is known about the insect fauna of the southern part of the country. This is particularly true of the Orthoptera -- the grasshoppers, crickets and katydids," entomologist Sam Heads said in a university release Wednesday. The tiny black, white and orange colored grasshopper-like species -- less than a quarter inch long -- uses its large jumping hind legs to escape predators, the researchers said.

Tiny New Species Hops Around Belize Jennifer Welsh, Live
A newfound species of a tiny, grasshopperlike insect seems to be quite lonely, being the first of its family to be discovered in Belize, according to researchers. Scientists from the University of Illinois found the little hopper in the tropical rain forests of southern Belize and named it Ripipteryx mopana, after a tribe of Mayans native to the region known as the Mopan people. The grasshopperlike species uses its large jumping hind legs to escape predators. The tiny guy, measuring less than 0.2 inches (5 millimeters) in length is "the first representative of its family ever to be found in Belize," study researcher Sam Heads said in a statement. "Given the amount of high-quality habitats in the region, it isn't really surprising that new species still await discovery, especially in the less-explored areas." The family, called Ripipterygidae, also includes species of grasshoppers, crickets and katydids.

UDP candidates lead grand procession through Belize City
At 1pm today, the UDP machinery was up and going in the old Capital. Hundreds of UDP supporters gathered at the UDP...

Nomination day in Belmopan sees five Mayoral candidates
Municipal Nominations were held today countrywide. The Belmopan Civic Centre was the place of nomination for the Ci...

Third parties demonstrate confidence on nomination day
Vision Inspired by the People also had their supporters, flags and buses out today for nomination day. While the th...

Mass supporters of the PUP turn out for nominations in Belize City
In Belize City, the crowds were larger and we start off with the People’s United Party candidates in Belize City. T...

Petition to reinstate Social Security's CEO Merlene Bailey
Over the last couple of days, the Board of Directors of Social Security has been meeting daily to review the audit ...

Ian Haylock acquitted of murder in taxi man's death
23 year old Ian Haylock has been acquitted of the murder of Taxi man, Eduardo Samos- who shot once to the side of t...

Family injured in traffic accident
There has been an accident reported late this evening and three persons, including a child, are at the Western Regi...

Jury discharged in murder trial of toddler
A mother who was accused in the death of a 2 year-old toddler who she was babysitting in 2008, saw her case come to...

The Coalition goes to plan B - A People's Referendum
And Belize Coalition to save our natural heritage is putting together what it is calling the people’s referendum on...

Authorities seek motive in stabbing death of Corozal man
Corozal police are still trying to figure out the motive for the murder of 60 year old taximan Fernando Antonio Cow...

MORE NEWS at http://www.BelizeNews.com/todaysnews.html