TODAY'S WEATHER

Sunday Free Concert in San Pedro - Garifuna Collective & Umalali Singers

The San Pedro Sun

Old Spice’s Fresh Collection now offering the scent on Belize
American based company Old Spice has named a few of their collective products “Old Spice – Belize”, now available in the US market. The new collection of products includes deodorants, antiperspirants, body wash and body spray. The company’s website indicates that the product hit the US market January 23rd, 2012. Old Spice’s Belize products are already on the shelves of stores in the US, including Wal-Mart and Target. So what’s so special about the products? Well, they prominently feature the country with a Mayan temple, the world famous Great Blue Hole in the open sea embodied in the background depicting the mountains. In describing the products on the website, Old Spice says that depicts the smell of Belize, “Smells like fresh air, guitar solos, and triumph” appealing to its customers to “inhale the adventure.”

Standard Bearers Debate Q&A: Campaigning
On Wednesday, February 15th, 2012, the first ever Belize Rural South Standard Bearers debate was held in San Pedro at the Sunbreeze Hotel Conference Room. Candidates Mike Campbell, Patty Arceo, Bobby Lopez and Manuel Heredia Jr. squared off on topics ranging from crime and corruption to education and tourism. Over the next few days we will be presenting a verbatim transcript of all the questions, answers and rebuttals by each candidate for you to view, read and discuss in detail. We now get to our second topic… Campaigning

San Pedro Holiday Hotel undergoes a Facelift
One of Ambergris Caye oldest hotel, The Holiday Hotel, is undergoing major renovation. The facelift will however, keep the old colonial looks and charm envisioned since its construction in the mid 1960’s. The San Pedro Holiday Hotel opened its doors on June 15, 1965. As San Pedro’s first hotel, it had five small rooms, one cold water shower, one bathroom with plumbing and four full hours of electricity. At $10US, you would get accommodations, three meals a day and your laundry done. Running her hotel under the fundamental principle of marketing: “Good marketing requires you to first identify your clients’ needs before you can appeal, attract and satisfy those needs and in the process profit from it.” Celi McCorkle has been able to run a continuously successful business for over 45 years. Now Celi is passing down most of the reigns of management to her daughter, Lisa McCorkle Guerrero. Lisa is a successful businesswoman in her own right: Oasis Del Caribe and Train Station Fitness Center being two of her business accomplishments. With the new responsibility of an island icon in her hands, she has undertaken the task of renovating and breathing new life into the Holiday Hotel. The San Pedro Sun spoke with Lisa to get some insight on the changes.

Ambergris Today

Old Spice Captures Belize Scent in Fresh Collection Deodorant
What does Belize Smell Like? Get this! Old Spice has captured the scent of Belize in their new line of Fresh Collection Products which include deodorants, antiperspirants, body wash and body spray. Would you agree with them when they say Belize smells like fresh air, guitar solos, and triumph? That is how Old Spice describes Belize smelling like – “Fresh Collection is where freshness smells from. Inhale the adventure,” states Old Spice and on the label of Belize Old Spice products are the images of a Maya ruin and the Great Blue Hole. It’s the Freshest Places on Earth in Armpit Form which include other smells like Cyprus, Denali, Fiji, Komodo and Matterhorn.

Preventing Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Tourism
The BTIA hosts focus group on the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in tourism - Belize City, Belize (February 14, 2012) - The Belize Tourism Industry Association, the recognized voice of tourism in Belize, hosted a focus group at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina to introduce a draft program aimed at the prevention of the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, with a focus on ethics and corporate social responsibility in tourism, through the national Chambers of tourism in Central America (FEDECATUR) and UNICEF. The draft program consists of the formulation and implementation of a plan of action. The project's objective is the prevention of the commercial sexual exploitation in main tourist areas of the region. The event also hosted the regional technical coordinator of the program, Mrs. Lucy Valenti, who was hired by SITCA to execute the project as well as her assistant, Mrs. Judith Acevedo. At the focus group, Mrs. Valenti gave an introduction on SITCA's draft proposal on the program with focus on corporate social responsibility for the tourism chambers in Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Panama. Brief presentations on similar successful programs being driven in Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua and Colombia were also done to emphasize how widespread the issues are and how they are being addressed.

Letters to the Editor: Police Neglect
On Monday, February 6, 2012, and about 12:30 pm I just returned from town and heard our neighbor known only to me as Carl yelling profanities and and as soon as he caught my eye he proceeded to climb over the two fences separating our yards. My husband told me to get into the house, and we locked the doors and closed the windows. Carl was definitely under the influence of something but seemed extremely agitated, calling out my husband so he can beat him and threatened our lives. We placed the first call to the San Pedro Police at 12:40 pm asking for help, told them that he was not only in our yard but on our porch banging at our windows. He continued to curse and bang at our windows and threatening us. A neighbor’s son came over to tell us that his Mom also had called the police. We continued to place multiple calls asking for help. We felt the situation was getting worse. Still nobody came. I called and was hung up on. I called and asked to speak to the officer in charge and was told "there's no one" and again was hung up on. After about an hour and a half of being in the house, my husband held a machete and I a rubber mallet for self defense.

Blogs

No Opportunity Wasted
We were offered yet another chance to travel off the beaten path recently, and embracing it was as easy a decision as we've ever had to make. We still can't believe our amazingly good luck. We were riding our bikes down to Maria's fruit stand and chose to take the back, unpaved road rather than the main cobblestone road on this particular day. We just happened to run into friends Chunky and Ruthie riding their bikes in the opposite direction. We were in town later than normal because Barry got into a long poolside conversation with a tourist staying in our building that morning; otherwise, we would have been long gone by the time they were riding on that particular one block of road! So we figure our chance meeting with them was meant to be. Seeing us triggered Ruthie to recall that we enjoyed sailing, and she filled us in on an opportunity to jump aboard a large charter catamaran for a run down to Rio Dulce, Guatemala. The boat needed to be hauled out to replace the transducer (depth sounder), and this was the boatyard that the charter company (TMM) used. TMM had offered up the extra berths to people who would like to join them for the ride down and back, with the only costs being immigration fees and food for the trip. Chunky and Ruthie had already committed to the trip, along with one other person, but there was one double cabin left. Once we determined that the offer was legit, we were quick to jump right in. Barry had heard about the beauty of the Rio Dulce ("Sweet River") and had added it to our list of destinations to visit in Central America. Not to mention that the trip would give us the opportunity to visit another new country. The boat we would be traveling on was s/v (sailing vessel) Hope, a 46-foot Leopard catamaran, and the most expensive boat in TMM's fleet to charter. Say what??? Did I mention how lucky we felt!?

SAGA February 2012 Cook-Off: All Italian at the X Lounge
Last night the SAGA Humane Society hosted their February 2012 Charity Cook-off and the theme was Italian Food. Location? Well...that's hard to pin down exactly. Last week, we were invited to DiCaprio's Restaurant on the beach but by the time the arrived, it had been renamed the X Lounge. Since I've been on the island the location's had 5 different names. First it was Cannibals and then Playa Lounge, Bar 1755 and then Di Caprio's and now the X Lounge. I wish them luck. Some of the old signs still remain.

Travels to Belize
My trusty wristwatch alarm started chirping at 5:45 AM. The rain hadn't let up one bit since the beginning of the night. Our river taxi was supposed to pick us up at 6 AM to take us upstream to a town called Livingston where a ferry departs only twice a week to Belize. Assuming the heavy rainfall would hinder these plans, I left Whitney to continue dreaming, and figured I'd go check to see if anyone was in the lobby anyway. I grabbed the flashlight to light my way, as Finca Titan only taps into their diesel supply for electricity a few hours a day, and made my way toward the river. To my surprise, a Guatemalan man in a poncho came walking up through the lobby leaving a trail of water in his path. It quickly became evident that nature is no match for a determined Guatemalan work ethic. Five minutes later, Whitney and I were packed and settling up our tab with Gaby. Most hostels we have come across, thus far, operate on a bit of a trust system. Throughout your stay, you are trusted to keep an ongoing tally of how many drinks you have taken, kayaks you have helped yourself too, meals you have ordered, etc

Traveling to the Luxurious Wilderness in Belize
Driving deep into the woods on dirt roads with Ben in a jeep, we arrived at The Lodge at Chaa Creek's Macal River Camp. These little houses are called casitas. Accompanied by the noises of birds, insects and the occasional dripping of water from the wet leaves, the owner of Chaa Creek made every effort to create a jungle experience for visitors without abandoning comfort and safety. Imagine listening to the howling of monkeys and panthers as you rest in this open air casitas…without electricity, alarm clocks or the noise of air conditioners. Once before, the inhabitants were Mayans, and visitors today still have access to the Macal River and the Medicinal Trail of Belize. Go canoeing on the Macal River or mountain biking or hiking into the woods with a knowledgeable guide. Every part of the place in its natural state.

Paddling through Paradise: Sea Kayak the Belize Reef
Second only to Australia's Great Barrier, the active attractions of the 180-mile reef system off Belize's Caribbean coast are self-evident: crystal-clear waters, a massive array of tropical fish, and vibrant coral formations all make up a near-unexplored, magical undersea world. For sea kayakers, the presence of the Belize Reef has an added benefit: It transforms what would be choppy waters into a smooth-as-glass paddler's playground that extends up to 35 miles off the coast, affording unobscured views of the aquatic wildlife and access to your pick of deserted cayes. The Glover Reef Marine Reserve, some 20 miles off the coast, is one of the best places to experience Belize's complex and varied underwater ecosystem. Just don a mask and peer below the surface to see elkhorn and brain coral, feather plumes and sea fans, angelfish and parrotfish, and countless other vibrant distractions.

Channel 7

The Streets Most Wanted, Dead
Ricky Valencia is dead. The notorious street figure was killed last night, executed in front of his old haunt near the base of the Southside gangsters on Caesar Ridge Road. If you don't know Valencia it means you probably don't watch the news much. Most famously, he is one of the two men accused of the attempted murder of the Prime Minister's law partner, Rodwell Williams. But before - and after that - he'd been accused of a battery of crimes, from murder, bank robbery and armed robbery, right down to petty crimes such as theft and handling. He had multiple cases pending before the court. But those were or are only accusations - to our knowledge - he was never convicted: Valencia got off every time. But last night, he couldn't get away from a shooter who had him marked for death. The shooter waylaid him close to his old stomping grounds on Caesar Ridge road. The harsh circumstances of his murder ended weeks of reports that he had been marked for death on the streets.

GG's Driver Stole From Lady Young
As Belize's head of State, Governor General Sir Colville Young should have his pick of the finest police officers as his driver - but, that's not how it works, the police assign drivers to him, and recently he's had the worst luck with those cops. In November of 2010 - the GG's driver at the time Nelson Middleton was accused of landing a drug plane - and he was along with his previous driver, Rennel Grant. And now his current driver is accused of stealing from Sir Colville's wife, 78 year old Lady Norma Young! Here's how it is alleged to have occurred: Lady's Young's daughter noticed that there had been some unauthorized withdrawals from her Scotia Bank Account. She checked with her mother who had last used the account in July of 2011 at Scotia's Belmopan Branch.

Jorge Celis Needs To Go To Guat To Save His Eye
Last night we showed you Jorge Celis - the Orange Walk resident whose eye was injured when a policeman fired a shot - and the lead fragment penetrated his eye. Well, he still can't see out of that eye - and today he told us that he now has to go to Guatemala to see if his vision can be restored. Today he told us that he was discharged from the KHMH still unable to see anything out of his injured eye and tomorrow he has to go to Guatemala City to see if they can mend the eye. Doctors here have told him that the procedure is complicated and may require them to insert a thin layer of silicone in the eye. He told us he does stand the risk of a permanent loss of vision in that eye.

UDP Manifesto Meeting Draws Thousands
Yesterday we showed you the UDP's manifesto launch. Well, that event was for the press; the launch for the mass party's supporters was held last night in a public meeting in front of the UDP headquarters on Youth For The Future Drive. The event drew a massive crowd - well into the thousands - but hard to estimate numerically because it spanned from the bridge's southern approach - right up to the BelChina Texaco gas station. The crowd was massive but we note that it was not strictly a Belize city effort - all the national candidates were presented at the meeting and many of them bussed in their own supporters.

Statistical Institute Clarifies Unemployment Rate
And one of the campaign issues that the PUP has been harping in its district public meetings so far is unemployment. The census figures released in 2011 - showed that figure at 23% - which has been the source of much politicking and public discourse since. But the census survey is different from the labour force survey. And today, no doubt in response to all the political points that have been scored using the 23% figure - the Statistical Institute of Belize issued a release clarifying that difference. The release explains that the labour force survey in 2009 showed a 12.5% unemployment rate in 2009 - much lower than the census. And that's because the survey is done in September when seasonal employment is high - and students are back in school. The census on the other hand goes on for seven months mostly during the period when seasonal employment is low. The disparity between the 2000 census - which showed unemployment of 20% and the labor force survey in 1999 - which showed unemployment of 12.7% was similar.

MS-13 Member Shipped Out Under Tight Security
There was heightened security this afternoon at the PGIA, after the GSU transported a member of the infamous Central American gang MS-13, from the Belize Prison, to execute a deportation order. 26 year old Elmer Antonio Cadiz Galdamez, a Salvadoran national who resided on New Road in Belize City, and worked as a taxi driver, was deported back to his native El Salvador this afternoon, where he is wanted for questioning there by both Interpol and the FBI. Cadiz was detained by Police in November of last year along with two other reputed members of the MS-13 gang, after they were busted at a home directly in front of the Racoon Street Police Headquarters, for the "Possession of Controlled Drugs".

Four Hondurans Caught At Bus Station Without Papers
And while Cadiz was escorted out under guard,4 Hondurans found without papers probably won't get quite that same sendoff. They are currently in the custody of the Immigration Department waiting to be deported at the soonest possible convenience. They were found guilty in the of illegal entry into Belize. They are 18 year-old Yenifer Alejandra Erazo Izaguirre, 29 year-old Fary Carias Izaguirre, 18 year-old Kevin Ramirez Allamirano, and 23 year-old Karen Josaline Meraz Lopez. According to the immigration authorities, it was determined that the 4 were smuggled in along the Mopan River in the Cayo District on Tuesday, and they had intentions of travelling to the United States.

Meighan Remanded For Assaulting Woman With Firearm
18 year-old Tyrone Meighan, a laborer of Banak Street, and who is no stranger to the police, was remanded into custody today after he was arraigned in the courtroom of Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart for aggravated assault with a firearm. According to police on February 20, he allegedly committed the assault against Mellissa Jones. In court, Meighan pleaded not guilty to the charge, and Magistrate Stuart informed him that he was not eligible for bail at the Magistrate's level due to the nature of the offense. He was remanded, and he is to return to court on March 27.

Conductors Held Up During Breakfast, Robbed
A bus driver for Morales Transport was held up as he had breakfast at a city eatery yesterday. Cristino Guadalupe Pena, a resident of Corozal District was having breakfast at Tropical Fast Food on Euphrates Avenue along with two Conductors, when a dark skinned man walked up and pointed a black handgun at them and demanded money. Fearing for their lives, Chan handed over (1) black waist bag containing approximately $470 dollars, Valladarez handed over (1) black purse containing $500 dollar and Pena handed over (1) black wallet with one hundred dollars in it. The man then ran towards King Street. Police investigation continues.

VIP's Manifesto, Substance Not Hype
In the past week, you've seen the mass parties launch their national and municipal manifestos with much fanfare. Well today, the VIP Belize City slate had it's turn at the Radisson - and while the party is fledgling and has only seven people on its slate - at least it did better than the PUP - which couldn't even manage a launch in an air conditioned room. Their candidates were plain spoke and to the point - here's what they said:

Man Caught Smuggling Weed Blames Mystery Woman
24 year-old Justin Richards, a barber residing at Flamboyant Street, will spend the next 6 days on remand while Magistrate Robert Ordonez decides if he should be granted bail According to the authorities, yesterday at around 3:30, he was caught trying to smuggle 5.68 ounces of marijuana into the facility with the intent to sell. The weed was hidden in food, and it was to be delivered to an inmate. The prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds of the prevalence of the crime, and that fact that the prison is a rehabilitation facility and offenses committed by persons like Richards does not help the inmates. Richards pleaded not guilty, and in his defense, told the court that he was visiting an inmate with a young lady. He said that when prison authorities detained him, he tried to explain to them that the drugs belonged to the female. But by the time he tried to point her out, she had already left the prison, leaving him behind to deal with the consequences. Magistrate Ordonez suspended his decision to grant bail, and remanded him until February 29.

BFLA Gets A Bank's Boost
The travails of the Belize Family Life Association have been well documented. In October, the organization was almost forced to close its doors because it ran out of funding to meet recurrent expenses. Still, it has just barely managed to keep those doors open, while making a grudging concession to close its Belmopan clinic. But now with an infusion of support from the First Caribbean Bank, the BFLA will be able to launch an important public health initiative. The FCIB held a fundraising effort where its credit card users contributed to the organization with every sale they made. Today Director Joan Burke told the media how the money will be used:

He Rented A Vehicle And She Bought It!
A Belize City Sales Accountant thought she had bought a new 2010 SUV only to find out that the man she had bought it from did not own it. 25 year old Mark Rosales, a resident of San Ign

Profile Of A Priest
It takes a strong person to be an effective leader - especially a spiritual one. No one knows this better than Bishop Philip Wright. As the youngest of 7 siblings, it was easy to get lost among the faces, but this man of the cloth has risen steadily through the ranks, and in tonight's profile, he talks about the source of this strength and resolve. The profile series is the joint effort of this station, Fultec System, NICH and Restore Belize.

A Support Website For Persons With HIV
Today at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel, the Pan American Social Marketing Organization,( PASMO), launched a new interactive website designed to provide information and support for people living with HIV, their families and friends in Belize. President of C-NET Plus, Eric Castellanos says the website named: 'and what now', makes reference to the moment in which a person receives the results of an HIV test and many times doesn't know what to do, or where to get help. Eric Castellanos - President, C-NET+ "This website was created thinking of the necessities and the many questions we face when we are diagnosed with HIV. We know our health system - how it works, and the doctors have to attend to many clients, and they have very little time. So they have a few minutes to answer your questions. And many times you leave out from the clinic with more questions than when you arrived. So, this website is a space where you can find answers to those types of questions. It is also a space where you can chat with other peers, and you can learn from each other's experiences. And your family members - your friends - can learn about HIV, and in that way..."

Channel 5

MS-13 Gang Member deported again
A high profile street figure was killed on Wednesday night in the city. We’ll come to that shortly, but a member of the notorious Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 gang was deported for the second time from Belize this evening. Thirty year old Elmer Antonio Cadiz Gandamez was taken after two o’clock this afternoon to the ...

Accused in High Profile Crimes; Ricky Valencia Murdered
Ricky Valencia, the notorious street figure accused in the Heritage Bank robbery and the attempted murder of attorney Rowell Williams, was killed on Wednesday night and there is now trepidation that retaliation may follow. Two weeks ago, he was in court for Williams’ attempted murder; but the case was adjourned since he was unable to ...

Stabbing Victim clings to life
Aside from the murder of Ricky Valencia, there was a stabbing in the city on Wednesday night and a former court security guard is in critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Reports are that between eight-thirty and nine o’clock on Wednesday night, Loren Lennan was with friends on Bocotora Street when he was ...

Not a Manifesto? VIP’s Commitment Sheet
Both major political parties launched lofty party manifestos earlier this week at events that were brimming with supporters to show political muscle. This morning, the much smaller Vision Inspired by the People followed suit with its election platform for the Belize City Council. In terms of campaign financing, the VIP’s coffers are not known to ...

Cop assigned to G.G. cleans G.G. Wife’s account
The bank account of the governor general’s wife has been pilfered and the suspected perpetrator is the GG’s former driver, Police Corporal Rayon Martinez. According to seventy-eight year old Lady Norma Young, on December fifth, her daughter alerted her to a series of ATM withdrawals from her Scotiabank account. While doing her own inquiry into ...

Woman buys KIA, but it was a Rental
A Cayo resident is in police custody for renting a vehicle and then selling it. The scam allegedly carried out by twenty-five year old Mark Rosales was reported by a Belize City accountant who purchased the vehicle from him. The woman claims that on February eleventh, she bought a 2010 Kia Sportage during a trip ...

Hondurans busted for no passports
Four Honduran nationals believed to have been making their way to the US through Belize have been stopped in their tracks. According to Immigration Personnel, they visited the Belize City Bus Terminal on Wednesday and came across Fany Carias Izaguirre, Karen Meral Lopez, Yenifer Alejandra Erazo Izaguirre and Kevin Ramirez Allamirano. All four were detained ...

Street Festival takes over Downtown Belize City
A popular street art festival returns to the heart of Belize City this coming weekend. It is the second time that NICH is staging the festival to showcase the works and crafts of artists from all over the country. Entertainers will also be performing at Saturday’s event, which is expected to transform downtown Belize City. ...

First Caribbean donates to BFLA
It was revealed last October that the Belize Family Life Association was in a financial bind and on the verge of closing down. But the healthcare facility has managed to keep its doors open with fundraising and the help of donors. Today, the BFLA received a boost from CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, which handed over ...

Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Belizeans
With more than sixty percent of the population being either overweight or clinically obese, there is an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. That is why the Ministry of Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization have come up with a set of food based dietary guidelines. We reported on the ...

LOVE FM

JEHOVAH WITNESSES PREPARE FOR CIRCUIT ASSEMBLY
The annual circuit assembly of Jehovah Witnesses will be held at the weekend in Punta Gorda town. Paul Mahung reporting... “The circuit assembly news service overseer Stephen Ulmer says that the event will be held under the Theme “Let God’s name be sanctified” based on the Lord’s Prayer. On Saturday February 25th the main presentation highlighting the topic-“Why God’s name must be sanctified” will help Christian ministers carry out their respective ministry meaningful. Additionally the discourses entitled: “Beware of bringing reproach on Jehovah’s name and do not take up Jehovah’s name in vain” will consider the seriousness of bearing and using God’s name. Ulmer also confirmed that on Sunday February 26th the public address and main presentation will highlight the topic-“ Jehovah will sanctify his great name at Armageddon” and other talks will highlight how we can sanctify God’s name by our thoughts, speech, decisions and conduct. Jehovah Witnesses from the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts will attend the weekend event to be held at the Toledo Sports Complex and organizers of the annual Circuit Assembly of Jehovah Witnesses extend a cordial invitation to other inhabitants of the two Southern Districts to attend the very special occasion and free sessions beginning at 9:40 am on Saturday and Sunday and at 1:20 in the afternoons.”

PASMO LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
The Pan American Social Marketing Organization (PASMO) has been providing its services in Belize since 1999 with its main office in Belize City and operations throughout the country. The organization works in HIV/AIDS prevention by using a social marketing approach and today they reached what they consider a great milestone with the launching of their “And What Now” website. Natalie Novelo reporting… “The “And What Now” website was launched this afternoon at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza Hotel on the Northern Highway. The website is a collaborative effort between the PASMO and USAID Combination Prevention Program for HIV in Central America and Mexico with the support of many other organizations like C-Net. Behavior Change Communication Coordinator for PASMO Belize, Keron Cacho says the interactive website is being launched after much qualitative research. The launch featured the welcome address by PASMO Belize Country Manager Guadalupe Huitron. Guadalupe Huitron, Country Manager, PASMO Belize “Pasmo Belize strives to direct its resources where they are most needed by locating At risk and vulnerable populations and developing tailored strategies to reach each of these groups.” Other speeches were shared by Sussy Lungo the Chief of party for the USAID combination Prevention Program for HIV in Central American and Mexico, and Executive Director of the National AIDS Commission Dr. Martin Cuellar who stated that this year is important on national response to HIV.

BELIZE FAMILY LIFE ASSOCIATION GETS MUCH NEEDED HELP
The Belize Family Life Association has been serving the Belizean public, especially women for over twenty years. Last year they were the spotlight on the news when they unfortunately ran into tight constraints with funds and had to close down their branches in Belmopan and Punta Gorda. Today however was a joyful day for the BFLA family, since CIBC First Caribbean Bank donated a healthy cheque to the non-governmental Organization. Customer Service Manager for CIBC, Gena Castillo, informed Love News about the origins of the cheque. Gena Castillo – Customer Service Manager, CIBC “During the months of November and December 2011 we reached out to our card holders and we asked them to use their card and for the usage of the card we took a percentage of the amount that was used over that two months and that was the amount we donated to the BFLA today. We chose BFLA because it is an essential service, it is a worthwhile group in Belize and they offer wonderful services to Belizeans all across the country at really low rates and so we thought that if we could assist them in any way, I know they were struggling last year and we thought what better opportunity than for us to reach out to our community through BFLA.

BOATING INCIDENT REPORTED
There are reports of a boating incident in the Stann Creek district which left several students in the water … literally. According to reports to the RSV Media Centre, students from Independence village who were heading to school in Placencia village, were thrown overboard, reportedly when the vessel they were about to travel on was hit by a wave. Errol Pandy is a boat operator in the area, who assisted in rescuing the students from the water and took them to their destination. When he spoke with Love FM’s Patrick Jones via telephone this morning, Pandy told Love News what happened. Errol Pandy – Boat operator “Tuesday morning I was going to Placencia and on my way I saw the boat captain giving me sign, but the boat was still up when I saw some kids were in the water and I went there and put them in my boat and took them to Placencia back.” Patrick Jones - Reporter As far as you were able to tell did the boat experience any problems? Errol Pandy – Boat operator “No problems. I think what happened, the boat captain said that a wave was coming and all the students went on one side and that is what happened to make the boat capsize.” Patrick Jones - Reporter The children that were in the water, apart from getting wet did anybody get hurt? Errol Pandy – Boat operator “Nobody got hurt. I made sure everybody was well. I asked them if anybody was left and they said that was the crowd and I went back to Placencia with them.” Patrick Jones - Reporter Do you recall how many children you took to school? Errol Pandy – Boat operator “Probably about 10 and the boat captain.” Patrick Jones - Reporter So the boat captain accompanied them to go to Placencia. Errol Pandy – Boat operator “Yes”. Love News understand that the Ministry of Education has been made aware of the incident and they are carrying out an investigation.

TEENAGER REPORTED MISSING
A teenager from Cotton Tree Village has been reported missing. Carlota Geron told Police that her nephew 15-year-old Deber Montero left home to an unknown destination and has not returned. Geron stated that she made checks with his father in Ontario Village and with his friend in Cotton Tree Village but to no avail. Deber Montero is of East Indian descent, brown complexion, slim built and stands about six feet in height.

BUS DRIVER AND CONDUCTOR HELD UP AND ROBBED
A bus driver and two conductors from the Corozal District were robbed in Belize City on Wednesday. Cristino Guadalupe Pena told Police that on Wednesday he and conductors Israel Valladarez and Alex Chan were having breakfast at a fast food shop on Euphrates Avenue when they were approached by a dark complexion man who pointed a black handgun at them and demanded money. Fearing for their lives Chan handed over a black waist bag containing approximately 470 dollars, Valladarez handed over a black purse containing 500 dollars and Pena handed over a black wallet containing 42 Belize dollars, 29 US dollars 110 pesos and personal documents. The man then ran towards King Street. Police investigation continues.

STATISTICAL INSTITUTE SPEAKS ON UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES
The Statistical Institute of Belize has issued a press release clarifying differences in the last two sets of unemployment figures. The figures for 2009 show a 12.5% rate of unemployment; while the statistics for 2010 show a dramatic increase with the rate standing at twenty three point two percent. According to the official explanation the 2009 statistics, that is the twelve point five percent unemployment rate, is based on a labor force survey that was taken in 2009. The higher rate or twenty three point two percent, according SIB, was based on data collected during 2010. The official statement says that while the two studies asked the same questions to determine who was employed or unemployed, the difference in the time the surveys were taken accounts for much of the variation between the two rates. SIB says that data collected in the 2009 labor force survey was done in September with the results referring only to that month. Data collection for the census on the other hand covered a seven month period from May to November of 2010. The latter period covered a time when the Institute says that vacationing students would have been able to join the workforce, accounting for a sizeable increase in the labor force. The dramatic increase noticeable in the data starting in September, according to SIB reasoning, would have reflected the fact that many of the vacationing students had gone back to classes. The official statement ends by saying that given the significant variations in the unemployment rate of the course of a year, and from one year to another, the Institute plans to resume conducting labor force survey in April and September to give a fuller assessment of the country’s unemployment situation.

VIP PRESENTS BELIZE CITY MANIFESTO
Marion Ali reporting… “Today it was the Vision Inspired by the People, or the VIP’s turn to present what it calls its commitment sheet to the voting public. Its Mayoral hopeful, Paco Smith, said that his slate offers the Belize City electorate an alternative for real change. And by change, he said, it starts with ensuring that his team walks the straight and narrow, if elected. The one leaf manifesto bears a list of pledges that the movement hopes to fulfill if its members are elected to City Hall, including providing high school scholarships, establish a municipal recycling enterprise for solid organic waste management, introduce tolls for foreign tour operators and large tanker trucks, and obtain corporate and community sponsorship for parks and playgrounds. Paco Smith says that a Council made up of his slate will find new ways and means of generating funds. Under Smith as Mayoral candidate, the VIP slate consists of Robert Ferguson, Myrnamae Reynolds, Jude Lopez, Leslie Martinez, Felipe Martinez and Shan Ferguson as councilor hopefuls.”

BELIZEAN CLAIMING TO BE DIPLOMAT FACES JAIL SENTENCE IN US
A Belizean national identified as thirty seven year old Bernard Talbert is facing the possibility of spending two decades in jail in the United States. Talbert was convicted this week of trying to illegally re-enter the United States after deportation. The story, first reported in the Brownsville Herald Newspaper, is that Talbert, claiming to be a Belizean diplomat, tried to enter the United States using what has been described as a world passport, reportedly issued by a non-profit organization called the World Service Authority in Washington. The online report is that the “passport” was rejected by Custom and Border Protection officers at the Veterans International Bridge in Brownsville. Talbert was convicted in a one-day bench trial on Tuesday of the crime of trying to illegally re-enter the United States after deportation. According to the Brownsville Herald, Talbert, who has a criminal record, told officers he was traveling to Washington to speak with President Barack Obama about what he considered to be genocide in Belize. Talbert, according to US court records, has had felony convictions for drug trafficking and immigration crimes. At his trial, Talbert said he thought he had a legitimate visa to enter the United States. He will be sentenced in May. Punishment for illegal re-entry ranges up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to two hundred and fifty thousand US dollars.

MAN DETAINED FOR OBTAINING PROPERTY BY DECEPTION
Police have detained 25-year-old Mark Rosales of San Ignacio Town for obtaining property by deception. A woman from Belize City reported to Police that while in Corozal earlier this month she bought a white 2010 Kia Sportage SUV from Rosales. She said she paid Rosales $7,000.00 in cash and signed an agreement to pay the balance of 18 thousand dollars in monthly installments. The woman said on Tuesday she was at her workplace when she was approached by Mark Hepburn who inquired about the vehicle. Hepburn told her the vehicle is the property of Euphrates Auto Rental and Sales and Rosales had rented the vehicle from the company and had no authority to sell it. The woman handed over the vehicle to Hepburn after he showed proof of ownership. Police detained Rosales pending their investigation.

ANOTHER POLICE OFFICER IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW
A Police Officer has been charged with 12 counts of theft. On Tuesday PC Rayon Martinez was arraigned in Belmopan Magistrate Court where he was offered and met bail. According to Police reports Martinez was charged following a report by Lady Norma Young, wife of the Governor General. Mrs. Young reported to Police that in December last year her daughter alerted her of unauthorized withdrawal of funds from her account using the automated teller machine. Mrs. Young said she made her own inquires and recalled the last time she used her ATM card was on July 28 last year at the Belmopan branch of the Bank. At the time she made the withdrawal with the assistance of PC Rayon Martinez who was the Governor General’s driver at the time. Mrs. Young reported that a total of twelve withdrawals were made without her consent between August 12 And December 2, 2011 amounting to $7,450.00. During the investigation a vehicle belonging to PC Martinez was searched and the ATM card was found. Martinez was arrested on Tuesday and taken to court. The matter has been adjourned to March 30.

NOTORIOUS STREET FIGURE RICKY VALENCIA GUNNED DOWN
He has a long list of charges, including the attempted murder of Rodwell Williams, the law partner of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and the brazen mid-afternoon robbery of Heritage Bank in Orange Walk Town. But today the news is that the man behind those alleged deeds is dead. Twenty eight year old Ricky Valencia was shot to death at around nine on Wednesday night inside a white Toyota four-door Camry. Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of Police, Raphael Martinez, told the media what they have so far on this murder. Raphael Martinez – Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Police “Police visited the Queen Charlotte Street area in front of Wilt Place in the Yabra region where they saw a four door white Toyota Corolla parked on the left side of the road heading towards to the Belize port area. Inside that vehicle they saw the motionless body of Ricky Valencia, 28 years old of a Queen Charlotte Street address suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the body. Initial investigations reveal that last night while he was driving towards the Port of Belize area several gunshots were heard that caused his fatal injuries. Police have since interviewed quite a few residents in that area but so far no one has been detained.” Valencia, who resided on Queen Charlotte Street up to late last year, reportedly moved in with his girlfriend on Jane Usher Boulevard after he began receiving threats on his life. He was the first person to go on trial under the new law of trial without a jury for the May thirtieth, 2010 shooting of Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams as he was leaving his Barrow and Williams law office. Valencia and others was also facing trial for the April fifth 2011 heist of Heritage Bank in Orange Walk Town when 202 thousand dollars was stolen.

PlusTV

The notorious Ricky Valencia gunned down in Belize City
Ricky Valencia was gunned down in Belize City. 28 year old Ricky Valencia is no stranger to law enforcement. He was...

VIP release its manifesto for Belize City
So far this week, we have seen the PUP and UDP manifestos launched. Today, Vision Inspired by the People launched w...

Works halted a second time due to discovery of Mayan artifacts
We reported late last month that works on the infrastructure project in San Ignacio were halted because while diggi...

PlusTV to host debate with Belmopan Standard Bearers
PlusTV is gearing up for another live debate for the Capital City. Earlier this month, PlusTV hosted and aired a ma...

BFLA receives bailout First Caribbean International Bank
The Belize Family Life Association - BFLA- was on the verge of closing down in late October last year, indicating t...

Resident of the Ship Yard Community killed in horrific car accident
A traffic accident has claimed the life of a Mennonite man of the Ship Yard Community. The accident happened last n...

Man arrested for selling rental car
A Belizean sales accountant of Belize City reported that on Saturday February 11th while in Corozal Town, she bough...

Belmopan hit with power outage as BEL conducts maintenance
The City of Belmopan was without electricity for all of this morning and part of this afternoon. Residents of centr...

Belizean national convicted for illegal entry into the US
Belizean national 37 year old Bernard Talbert has been convicted for illegal entry into the United States. Talbert’...

Stabbing incident leaves man hospitalized
Former court security guard and Ready Call employee, Loren Lennan was stabbed in the neck last night. It is not cer...

LOVE TV

Bus employees jacked while having breakfast
Three employees of a bus service from Corozal were jacked in Belize City on Wednesday. The driver and two conductors of Morales Transport were having breakfast at an establishment on Euphrates Avenue when a man of dark complexion walked up brandishing a hand gun. The gunman demanded money and the three bus line employees complied by handing over what they had. The bus driver handed over his wallet with BZ$42, US$29 and $110 pesos. The two conductors each handed over their money bags, one containing $470 and the other containing $500. After the jacking, the gunman ran off towards King Street and made his getaway. Police investigations continue.

Scam artist sells rental to would be car owner
Police have detained 25-year-old Mark Rosales of San Ignacio Town on suspicion of obtaining property by deception. A Belize City woman reported to Police that while in Corozal earlier this month she bought a white 2010 Kia Sportage SUV from Rosales. The woman says that she paid Rosales $7,000.00 in cash and signed an agreement to pay the balance of 18 thousand dollars in monthly installments. On Tuesday, however, the woman was at her workplace when she was approached by Mark Hepburn who inquired about the vehicle. Hepburn told her the vehicle is the property of Euphrates Auto Rental and Sales and Rosales had rented the vehicle from the company and had no authority to sell it. The jilted car owner handed over the vehicle to Hepburn after he showed proof of ownership. Police detained Rosales pending their investigation.

Policeman accused of pilfering the bank account of Lady Norma Young
She is the wife of the head of state … but these days criminals don’t give two hoots who they victimize. Lady Norman Young recently discovered that seven thousand, four hundred and fifty dollars was taken out of her bank account without her permission. And the person accused of doing it is someone who was held in the highest of confidence: a policeman assigned as the official driver of her husband, the Governor General. Police Constable Rayon Martinez was arraigned in Belmopan Magistrate Court this week where he was offered and met bail. According to Police reports PC Martinez was charged following a report by Lady Norma Young, wife of the Governor General. Mrs. Young reported to Police that in December last year her daughter alerted her of unauthorized withdrawal of funds from her account using the automated teller machine. Mrs. Young said she made her own inquires and recalled the last time she used her ATM card was on July 28 last year at the Belmopan branch of the Bank. At the time she made the withdrawal with the assistance of PC Rayon Martinez who was the Governor General’s driver at the time. Mrs. Young reported that a total of twelve withdrawals were made without her consent between August 12 And December 2, 2011 amounting to $7,450.00. During the investigation a vehicle belonging to PC Martinez was searched and the ATM card was found. Martinez was arrested on Tuesday and taken to court. The matter has been adjourned to March 30. For context, we note that our records show that this is the fifth driver assigned to the Governor General that has been accused of alleged misdeeds, including two who are awaiting trial in connection with the landing of the drug plane on the Southern Highway in 2010.

Ricky Valencia executed in Belize City
A well known street figure was the victim of an execution style killing last night on the deadly streets of the commercial capital. Love TV’s Marion Ali and video journalist Myles Gillett have our lead story tonight from the crime beat.

The Guardian

Love for the People: -DFC Write offs next
The United Democratic Party launched its Action Plan for the term 2012-2017 on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 and the pledges that the party is making demonstrates that it will continue to be all and always for the people. This launching was done in front of a room packed with supporters at the Biltmore Plaza. Before the pledges were revealed, Hon. Patrick Faber, UDP Chairman, shared some of the accomplishments of this government in its first four years. In just four years, the United Democratic Party Government paved the Placencia Road and completed the Southern Highway. The Corozal and Dangriga Airstrips were rebuilt. Over 26,000 new land leases were issued with almost 20,000 going to first time landowners. 5,412 housing grants were issued to deserving homeowners. Mortgages for 10,374 Belizeans were written off. DFC was revived and its lending program restarted. Interest rates for mortgages at the commercial banks decreased from 14% to 8%. 7,500 new jobs were created and thousands more saved. More than $10 million was provided to save the sugar industry from collapse. Over 5,500 more Belizeans are exempted from income tax as the threshold was raised to $26,000 a year. Hundreds of items are sold free of taxes. Agriculture is on the rebound as stakeholders are receiving better prices for crops and the country has seen significant increase in vegetable production as a result of investment in irrigation and greenhouses. The Healthcare system has improved tremendously. 2011 saw zero maternal deaths for the first time in our country’s history. National Emergency Response is as organized and effective as ever. Relief was provided to thousands of residents and farmers following major weather events. The education system has seen the greatest transformation. Over 16,000 students receive a $300 educational grant annually. That has resulted in a record enrollment in school and better grades. Examination results have improved remarkably. The most recognized accomplishments nationally were the reacquisition of BTL and BEL. The government enshrined in the Constitution that utility companies should always remain in the hands of the people. National ownership of the utility companies has led to a 6.14% reduction in electricity rates, a 7.2% reduction in water rates and an even greater reduction in telephone rates. While national ownership of utilities may have been the most recognized accomplishment, in Belize City the gang truce holds the number one slot. Since the inking of the gang truce, the murder rate has decreased by 47%. An even greater reduction has been seen in gang violence and the sense of security is the highest it has been in this century.

Screw the Rating Agencies!!!
This week, I want to share with you my impressions about a particularly interesting TV program I viewed on Channel Fox on Monday night, which was hosted by former Queen Square PUP Standard Bearer, Dickie Bradley. But before I introduce you to this intriguing talk show episode, please allow me a short commentary on the present political environment as it relates to talk show programs. If you analyze what is out there on the various radio frequencies and TV satellites signals, the UDP Government directly influences only one national radio station and one newspaper outlet in promoting its policies and achievements, while the Opposition PUP has several, which constantly thrash the government at every single opportunity, but especially so in the evenings. With that said, after the regular evening newscasts have been ventilated, these days it becomes grating for me to continue watching the local channels since it is common knowledge that Fox and CTV3 will take over the stage and lambast Hon. Barrow and the UDP ad nauseam. Even our supposedly neutral friends at Love FM have begun airing a political talk show hosting three zealous anti-UDP proponents joined by a single UDP crusader, who herself at times is not very supportive of the UDP. Let me not say the three PUP names, but one is a known gold digger, the other is being paid in gold, and the third was bought out with gold by Fonseca some years ago. So as I continued scanning the channels on Monday night, I stopped briefly on the Dickie Bradley show where I saw Shakron, Sandiford and Sylvester form the PUP around a table, with the host on the nearer end. My first reaction was, let me not waste electricity on this show since it will be another long, blue, boring hour, with all of them patting each other’s back and blabbing on how wonderful the PUP was between 1998-2008, and how much better they will be this time around, given the opportunity.

Screw the Rating Agencies!!!
The Prime Minister of Belize has not and will not shy away from his comments that prompted S&P’s decision to downgrade Belize’s credit rating. It was no slip of the tongue. PM Barrow is asking the people of Belize for a clear mandate on what to do about the Superbond. PM Barrow said that it is not government’s intention to stop servicing the bond but the bond holders cannot expect us to continue paying at the rates we are paying now. Upon being elected back to office, government will immediately appoint a committee to gauge the wishes of the Belizean people and go to the bondholders to renegotiate the terms of the Superbond. Our stand will be simple. We will not continue to pay at these rates!

PUP standard Bearer house for sale
The Amandala and Reporter newspapers for Sunday, February 19th are advertising a house for sale located at 14 Cedar Street in Dangriga Town. While an advertisement of a house being sold is not out of the ordinary, what makes the sale worth watching is that the house belongs to Ivan Ramos. The name may not ring a bell for most people since Ramos is a nobody. For the people of Dangriga however, Ramos is the PUP Standard Bearer for that constituency and who is seeking office at the National Assembly Level. The house was mortgaged at Scotia Bank and after being unable to service his debt with that institution Ramos’ house is now being put up for sale. The auction will take place on Saturday February 25th. How is it that a person who is unable to pay a bill as basic as mortgage be allowed to run for office is anyone’s guess. For those who are interested however, the explanation can come by way of the political party that Ramos is running for. He, unable to manage his personal affairs, was allowed to run for the PUP because that is the caliber of people that that party attracts. They will take on anyone even Ramos, who are dishonest, people who are unable to pay their bills, liars and even thieves. For the people of Dangriga, beware of the PUP candidate! If Ramos is unable to pay his mortgage at this point in time, you need to ask yourself what is motivating him to run for the General Elections.

Training Workshops for Teachers and Pare...
A total of 29 early childhood teachers representing twelve pre and primary schools have received training to upgrade their teaching skills and better prepare their classroom for student learning in Independence Village. The workshops, which were held at the Independence High School and Junior College from February 13 to 17 for teachers and parents from surrounding communities of the Banana Belt are part of the Primary Education project which was launched by the University of Belize (UB) in June 2010 in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Youth. The project is funded by a grant of BZ$1.2 million from the European Union Commission (EU) and is aimed at poverty alleviation through education and training for teachers, school administrators and parents in the Banana Belt communities of southern Belize. Facilitators included Dr. Jennifer Obidah and Dr. Kim Archung of the University of the West Indies, Faculty of Humanities and Education, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.

A SOVEREIGN Belize UNDER the UDP or a SUPERBONDED Belize under the PUP…
“The answer to the SUPERBOND is to grow the economy. We have said that to Mr. Barrow a long time ago. Stop whining about the SUPERBOND, and get to work growing the Belizean economy.”- Francis Fonseca, Leader of the PUP. “So I don’t give a damn about the rating agencies. What I am doing is telling them, ‘You know what? I am serving you all notice. Look out and get ready because Belize is coming. We are coming.’” There is no doubt that the People’s United Party, in terms of this SUPERBOND, did a horrible thing to the people of Belize. But, I know from a long time that a wise man said it eons ago, ‘You can’t have a bad borrower, if you don’t have a bad lender.’ So all of you all out there, who were happy to lend the PUP this money, and burden us until thy kingdom come, with this SUPERBOND, well hear this, we are coming back to you, and we are telling you that you will re-negotiate that. You will take down that interest rate, and you will spread the majority period out over a far longer time. We will stop paying that 8.5% and 80+ million dollars a year because we need that money to spend on the development of Belize for the people of this country. So you will hear that the first thing that we do after being re-elected is to announce an appointment of a team to go and re-negotiate that SUPERBOND to give us better rates - far better rates because we aren’t taking it anymore.” - Dean Barrow, Leader of the UDP. Belizeans, the quotes above show a PUP leader who makes statements, which do not require much thought and is devoid of substance. Grow the economy, he says, but does not say how he or his party plans to grow the economy. On the other hand, the leader of the UDP, Dean Barrow has expressed fortitude in every which way, by stating categorically that the present and future payments of the ill-begotten SUPERBOND is an albatross that has to be exorcised so that there is a concentrated focus on economic growth. This growth will stimulate small



Edited by Marty (02/24/12 03:16 PM)