The San Pedro Sun

SP Poly-Clinic targeted by thieves
The Otto Rodriguez Poly Clinic II is three computers short today after they were targeted by thieves. According to Dr. Javier Zuniga, someone broke into the clinic last night and stole three Dell desktop computers. The computers contained important information including the database of the clinic patients’ information. Dr. Zuniga explained to The San Pedro Sun that the incident occurred sometime between 7AM on Wednesday March 7th and 8AM today, March 8th. The perpetrators gained access through the bathroom window. According to Dr. Zuniga the police were notified and that the scene has been processed; they are in the process of making a formal report. It is believed that the robbers carried the items away in garbage bags.

Newly re-elected PM Dean Barrow addresses the nation
“Thank you Belize! You have renewed our mandate… the work continues.” In a press conference, Prime Minister Dean Barrow addressed the nation after a 17-seat UDP victory countrywide. PM Barrow says that those UDP candidates that did not win will play “an integral part” of the running of the country’s affairs. “It was a furiously fought campaign and there was an outpouring of support throughout the country. With the heat of the battle behind us, we hope that healing of the nation can begin. The United Democratic Party government must be a government for all Belizeans,” explained PM Barrow. “Our stand for Belizeans nationalism will continue undiminished and undaunted and our pro-poor program will be expanded. We want to extend our hand to the opposition to the civil society and to the NGOs. We want to be accommodating. Work with us, we say to the entire society, but don’t test us because we will not back-out… or else it will be ‘tit for tat our butter for fish’.”

Ambergris Today

Library Receives Donation of 10 Laptops
Thanks to the generosity of Mr. George Parker and daughter Sundee, the San Pedro Town Public Library received an early Easter basket with 10 laptops, a Router and 8 CD ROMs this week. “I have always been an avid reader and I appreciate the dedication your staff and volunteers offer to the local community,” commented George Parker, who donated the laptops. “I am sure it has ignited a love for reading and learning within Ambergris Caye and San Pedro Town residents. “We talked at that time about how we could further your quest for the betterment of the library and the resources it offers the people of Ambergris Caye,” continued Mr. Parker. “It was exciting to talk about the possibility of having computers on site and offering classes for children as well as adults. The ability to access the internet through computers is now the way of the world. We feel it is important for people to have contact with this technology and to learn how to use it. Therefore, in support of the San Pedro Town Public Library, I would like to donate 10 laptop computers and a router.”

Belize Votes The UDP Back in Power
The country of Belize has been declared red once again with the United Democratic Party taking the majority of seats in the House of Representatives in the double elections that took place on Wednesday, March 7, 2012. It was not a landslide victory, but the UDP took 17 of the 31 seats needed to claim victory. This time around, the PUP was able to capture a larger seating than last elections, with 14 seats. "This has been the most exciting race," commented a voter who was anxiously awaiting the results.

Tropic Air Returns Convenient Late Evening Flights
Tropic Air announced today that it will recommence its extra seasonal late evening flights between Belize City Municipal and San Pedro on Thursday, March 15th. This means that Tropic Air has one more late flight leaving for Belize City at 6p.m. and coming back to San Pedro at 6:30p.m. The new service is a direct response to input from its valued customers, and is made possible by the additional daylight conditions (longer days) that occur March through September. “This late evening flight allows our customers to get the most out of their day in Belize City or San Pedro” said John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. “It was immensely popular with our business passengers when we started it last year, so we brought it back as soon as we could this year. We hope to make this flight permanent, year-round, and even have additional evening flights between the two airports as soon as the Municipal Airport Upgrade project is complete. This will include lights on the airstrip”


New research shows ancient Maya women were powerful leaders
To cell phone-toting, internet-obsessed citizens of the modern world, ancient cultures may seem difficult to relate to. But a new look at Maya art and artifacts shows one of the most advanced ancient societies allowed women much more contemporary power than previously believed. “I think the popular belief is that they were restricted to the private household,” said Shankari Patel, an anthropology graduate student at the University of California-Riverside. “The popular belief would be that women stay at home, they didn’t really participate in the rituals that were very important in Maya society. The previous research I looked at left out women completely.”

Police, Rallies, Inky Fingers...Elections are a Big Deal in San Pedro
The streets around the polls at the San Pedro High School were packed with voters... And the line was LONG. I hear that some people were waiting over 2 hours to vote. The police chief told me to "move it along". Apparently you can't mill around the voting area. But outside the restricted area, all of the streets were packed with golf carts, tents and supporters. Some Lebanese Belizeans guys gathered and smoked hookahs (as one does for an election). My friend Sheryl posed with the PUP mayoral candidate and her crew. She was wearing a blue shirt after all...(Sheryl is first, Miss Conchita is #2).

From backpackers to Princes – a real rags to riches story
Prince Harry enjoyed both his stay at The Lodge at Chaa Creek and the real life rags-to-riches story about how his fellow countrymen turned an overgrown little farm on the banks of a then remote part of Belize into a 365 acre luxury eco-resort fit for, well… Mick and Lucy Fleming were around the Prince’s age when they arrived in Belize with a couple of backpacks and two hundred English pounds to their names over thirty years ago. When the Flemings realised that selling vegetables to cash-poor people who grew their own wasn’t going to get them by, they built a simple thatched roof hut using sticks from the jungle and pieces of tyres for door hinges and invited backpackers and other young adventurers to stay. The rest, as they say, is history, as Chaa Creek farm steadily grew into Belize’s first true eco resort and the surrounding rainforest evolved into a vibrant private nature reserve and wildlife sanctuary. Along the way, the Flemings developed a keen appreciation for Belize’s rich Maya history and the rainforest environment, establishing the Belize Natural History Centre and hosting archaeological researchers from universities and other institutions to investigate over 70 Chaa Creek Maya sites

Radically Sustainable Buildings in Belize
Earthship Biotecture build crew is looking for 10 apprentices to join the crew during the first hit of the Belize retrofit project that will take place March 12 - April 8. This project will touch on all phases of Earthship technology including simple survival systems. Apprentices may come for all or for part of the build. Live in paradise while you learn Earthship technologies. This retrofit project is located in the Maya village of San Pedro Columbia on the other side of the river, right next door to the ruins of Lubaantun, which is famous for the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull. It is a tropical rain forest, but the dry season lasts until the end of May. The build will take place on a farm that grows coffee and fruit trees. Apprentices will have access to free camping, toilets and drinking water, and are responsible for getting their own food. Three meals a day, six days a week is being offered at $100 per week for those who are interested. No deposit is required for this particular project.

Underwater Nursery Tends Endangered Corals
Coral thrives, and is returned to hard-hit ecosystems. This same kind of project is being done in Belize.. The marine residents of hard-hit coral reefs near Puerto Rico may have noticed a sudden influx of strangers, thanks to a coral relocation and repopulation project that recently completed its most ambitious transplant to date. Over two weeks in January, teams of divers installed more than 1,200 adult staghorn corals at various reef sites off Tallaboa, along Puerto Rico's southern coastline, in an effort to revive crucial ecosystems that suffered steep declines in recent decades. The transplanted staghorn came from a local coral nursery that rose out of ecological disaster.

Counting Reef Sharks With Cameras: 'Chum Cam' Underwater Video Survey Shows That Reef Sharks Thrive in Marine Reserves
A team of scientists, led by the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, used video cameras to count Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) inside and outside marine reserves on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef in the Caribbean Sea. Using survey data collected from 200 baited remote underwater video (BRUV) cameras, nicknamed "chum cams," the scientists compared the relative abundance of these reef sharks in two marine reserves with those in two areas where fishing is allowed, and demonstrated that the sharks were more abundant in the reserves. The research findings appear in the paper, "Reef sharks exhibit site-fidelity and higher relative abundance in marine reserves on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef," published online March 8 in the journal PLoS ONE. The purpose of the study, conducted from 2005 through 2010, was to test the hypothesis that carcharhinid shark species, which include requiem and whaler sharks, are more abundant inside no-take marine reserves where fishing for sharks and their prey is prohibited. The authors tested the hypothesis by using BRUV surveys to determine the reef sharks' numbers, and combined these results with acoustic monitoring to measure their site fidelity (remaining within the same local area) in Glover's Reef Marine Reserve, Caye Caulker Marine Reserve, and two reefs where fishing is allowed, all located in Belize.

2012: The Mayan Word
Everyone is talking about the Mayan Prophecies of 2012. But who is listening to the Maya? This groundbreaking film brings us the voices of the Mayan people as they share their perspectives on the prophecies of their ancestors and their fight to defend Mother Earth and their culture from destruction. 2012 The Mayan Word is both a message of hope and a call to action. Featuring testimonies from contemporary Mayans throughout Mesoamerica, from spiritual guides to activists, community leaders, farmers, artists, teachers, and children, this film is an extraordinary journey into the heart of Mayan struggle and spirituality.

The Ancient Art Of Fooling Voters
OK, not about Belize, but certainly timely as Belize just finished electing a new government. Lots of this does sound familiar. "...Electoral corruption was endemic at Rome. Like voters in all democracies, the Romans were both inured to it and moved, from time to time, to clean house. The Cicero brothers were campaigning in one of Rome's years of attempted reform. Their chief opponent, a corrupt aristocrat called Lucius Sergius Catilina, had bribed on a sufficiently massive scale to spur the senate to call for tighter rules. A tribune of the plebs vetoed the plan, as was his right under Rome's separation of powers. Cicero was then able to savage Catiline with his famed rhetorical abuse. A problem became an opportunity, a process that always brings politicians pleasure..."

Misc Belizean Sources

Nominal GDP Population, GDP per capita, Consumer prices, Exchange rate BZD/US$, Goods imports, Balance of trade in goods, Current account, Foreign reserves ex gold, Budget balance

Final General Elections Results 2012
Belizean voters went to the polls March 7 to take part in the country's municipal and general elections. The general election, which was not constitutionally required to happen until February 2013, was called early by Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow in January with the declared intention of coinciding with the municipal election and thereby promoting increased electoral participation. According to the Belizean Election and Boundary Department, 178,054 voters registered to take part in the general election of which 108,753 are recorded as having cast their ballots, representing a respectable, if not spectacular, turn-out rate of approximately 61%. Although the official outcome has yet to be announced at the time of writing, preliminary results indicate that Barrow's governing United Democratic Party (UDP) won an estimated 16 out of a possible 31 seats in the House of Representatives against the opposition People's United Party's (PUP) 14 seats. One seat remains undecided. CLICK HERE for the Final Results in a spreadsheet. Preliminary Statement by the OAS Electoral Observation Mission to Belize

PHOTO: DANGER! H2S May be present!
Smells rottem, it can kill you quickly at high concentrations.

Reelected Belize Prime Minister Will Turn To Chavez For Fuel
Newly reelected Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow has said he will turn to Hugo Chavez for assistance in providing low cost fuel as part of his plan to reduce the cost of living in Belize. Mr. Barrow was speaking at a press conference in Belize City after narrowly escaping defeat in general elections held yesterday. His United Democratic Party won 17 seats versus 14 seats for the opposition Peoples United Party in the country’s 31 seat parliament. It had previously enjoyed a super majority of 25 seats in parliament. Mr. Barrow said that his government will continue its pro-poor agenda and that by importing fuel direct from Venezuela will, he will cut down on high priced imports from traditional fuel suppliers. He said that while the plan was not divulged in his party’s election manifesto, he would immediately open a dialogue with Venezuela to obtain fuel under the Petro Caribe plan promoted by Mr. Chavez. Currently Exxon, Shell and Texaco provide fuel imports to Belize. Mr. Barrow further promised to establish a government oil refinery within 18 months to process the country’s crude oil which is currently exported, in an effort to further reduce reliance on fuel imports. Mr. Barrow added that his government will look at producing its own bio-fuel and other fuel alternatives.

Channel 7

UDP wins Second Term, Narrowly
The UDP will form the next Government of Belize. The party has won a majority of the seats in the House of Representatives, by a margin of 17 to 14. And while that is comfortable, the race was closer than that. In fact, a difference only 61 votes total in Cayo Central and Cayo northeast gave the UDP the majority it needs to form the government. That is a razor-thin margin, but nonetheless - party loyalists - are calling it a case of "ugly win betta than pretty lose" and moving on to form the new government. There is a consequential challenge to the outcome though - as tonight the PUP is contesting the result sand not conceding defeat. We'll have more on that in a minute, but first, to the victor goes the headlines. The UDP held a press conference this afternoon - and the Prime Minister designate gave his impressions of the election outcome and a preview of the days and years ahead. Here's how that went:

PUP Does Not Concede Defeat, Says Elections Not Free And Fair
And while Dean Barrow is going to be sworn in as Prime Minister tomorrow morning - the opposition still has not conceded the election. At a press conference at the party headquarters this evneing, party leader Francis Fonseca said that the election was not free and fair: Francis Fonseca - Party Leader, PUP "I would have hoped to report to you regardless of the outcome that on March 7, Belize had free and fair elections. Regrettably, this has been the case. Across the country, there have been credible, reliable, documented reports of abuse and illegality in the conduct of our election process. Our party has assembled a team of legal advisors, who are examining the documented evidence, and reviewing the legal options available.

Karl Heusner Jr. Shot Again
Today, at around 1 p.m. 26 year-old Karl Heusner Jr. was shot while he was on Logwood Street. Residents told 7News that he was hit in the buttocks area by one bullet, and he was immediately transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. We were told that he was fixing his vehicle when a gunman surprised him from behind and shot him once. That assailant escaped leaving Heusner to seek assistance of the Budram Family.

Sent To Jail For a Flare Gun. A Flare Gun?
25 year-old Andrew Baptist, a supervisor at the Marion Jones Stadium; and his girlfriend, Tricia Usher, a 26 year-old cashier, have both been remanded to Belize Central Prison for allegedly being in possession of a prohibited firearm. The Gang Suppression Unit raided Baptist's Sandhill home and found a flare gun which is now a prohibited firearm under the Firearm Act. According to police, the GSU conducted a search on Baptist's home yesterday at around 1:30 p.m., after they received a tip that a man was flushing what appeared to be a weapon down the toilet.

Cop Charged For Burglary
This week, we have been reporting on Police Constable Brandon Hertular, who according to police, stole a firearm, and 3 cellular phones, and $1650 in cash from the family of Shirley Chicas, when they conducted search of their home. Well, today Hertular was finally arraigned today for 1 count of burglary. Hertular, who was unrepresented, pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail of $6,000 which he met this morning. He is to return to court on April 23. As we reported, he allegedly confiscated the items to be taken to the exhibit room pending the outcome of some unknown robberies. When Chicas reported the suspicious incident to police, Hertular was arrested and charged.

Stabbed A Man In Neck/Remanded To Prison
25 year-old Robert Tracey, was remanded today for allegedly stabbing a man in the neck. Loren Lennan reported to police that on February 29, he was socializing in front of a game shop on Bocotora Street. Lennan said that he left the area to go urinate by a nearby fence, and that's when Tracey then crept up behind him and stabbed him in the neck with a knife. Police investigation led them to arrest and charge Tracey, and he was arraigned in front of Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer today.

Closing At Trial Without Jury
On Wednesday of next week, Akeem Thurton will know his fate as decided by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. He is on trial for the attempted murder of Attorney Rodwell Williams. Today, he gave his final address to Chief Justice Benjamin in relation to his defense. He was asked to speak on the evidence which the Director of Public Prosecution, Cheryl Taitt-Vidal, has presented to the court against him. He stood up and said, quote, "My Lord, I did not shoot no one. This is coming from my heart. I am a fisherman." End quote. Before he could go any further, CJ Benjamin reminded him that he is only to address the court on the evidence presented in the case, but he kept on in the same manner.

OAS Reports on Elections Conduct and Irregularities
Yesterday while over 70% of the country's registered voters were out casting ballots a team of 22 OAS observers from 13 countries were watching. They were present in all six districts, and visited over 85% of the country's polling areas. They presented their initial report at a press conference today and here's what they had to say about some irregularities they noted: Ambassador Frank Almaguer - Head of OAS Observer Team To Belize "During the pre-electoral period, the mission heard concerns with regards to the voter's list stemming from the extension of the registration period, and alleged irregularities in the registration of newly naturalized citizens. The campaign period was also characterized a perception of limited differentiation between the state and the governing party in terms of resources. Agents from the two major parties maintained a presence at all of the polling stations observed by the mission.

The Select 31
And so tonight, things have changed but they remain the same. As the comparative map of the country's electoral divisions shows the PUP has gained control over major portions of the country, but because it increased its hold in Belize City, the UDP still has the majority. The UDP is having a victory rally in front of its headquarters - and the PUP candidates who flat out lost are licking their wounds - while the party is preparing to challenge in the case of those who lost by narrow margins.

What Caused The UDP's Downturn?
In total there was 73% turnout at the polls which is good, as noted by the OAS and only slightly less than 2008. According to our calculations, the UDP got just about 50% of the popular vote, while the PUP got 47% - which was a swing of 6.45% against the UDP. So what explains the big swing against the UDP? That's what we asked Dean Barrow today... Jules Vasquez "Do you know what is the caused the demise your party's electoral fortunes?" Dean Barrow - Prime Minister Elect "Well, how can you call it demise? We won, didn't we? Usually, you are such a careful word smith. What's going wrong? That long night last night also scrambled your brains? Jules, there was very clearly a dramatic reduction in our numbers. There is no getting away from that. I can tell you that while I repeat that certainly over the last couple of months, during the campaign season proper, all of our candidates did all that they could have done, all that they were supposed to do, I will be perfectly honest, That is the case before the election campaign. Look at what has happened. There are those seats that we lost.

Channel 5

Belize General Election Results
All the results from the 2012 Belizean Elections

Several U.D.P. seats lost; candidates to blame

The U.D.P. lost eight of its seats and at times during the night it appeared that the P.U.P. might have won. The PM admitted it was a close call and he even considered what he would say to the media if the tide had turned. But what caused the loss in of so many U.D.P. ...

U.D.P. reelected; Cabinet members to come from senate

He hasn’t formed a new Cabinet and we will not know which of the seventeen representatives will get a portfolio. He did announce that not all of the elected members of the U.D.P. government will sit in Cabinet. Four others will be brought through the senate, which means that the new Cabinet will be fifteen ...

Barrow says he still has mandate of people

The United Democratic Party was returned to government with a significantly reduced margin. Of the twenty-five seats held by the U.D.P., it lost seven. The pendulum swept completely in the south and the opposition also gained ground in the north and west, giving it a stronger voice in parliament. We’ll look at those details later ...

Manifesto includes oil refinery

There were over a hundred campaign promises made by both the P.U.P. and the U.D.P. And now that Barrow is in for his second term, he intends to fulfill a promise that he says wasn’t on the manifesto. He wants to explore the possibility of a national oil refinery. Barrow also intends to seek write-offs ...

Opposition challenges Election in Court

The prime minister announced at a press conference that he will take the oath on Friday for his new term in government, but the People’s United Party says it’s not conceding the elections. According to P.U.P. leader, Francis Fonseca, the elections were neither free nor fair and that the electoral process was tainted with irregularities. ...

P.U.P. petitions are about results and Lake I

The P.U.P. is filing three challenges, which Fonseca says might overturn the results. Two petitions are on the razor thin results in the Cayo District and the other relates to Lake Independence where Yolanda Schakron’s nomination was rejected by registering officer, Noreen Fairweather. The director of communications cited allegations of irregularities and abuse. Lisa Shoman, ...

OAS concerned about Campaign Financing

The Electoral Observation Mission coordinated by the Organization of American States has concluded its report on the March seventh dual elections. The team of twenty-two men and women, representing thirteen OAS member states, arrived in the country last Thursday at the request of the government to scrutinize the General and Municipal Elections. Members were deployed ...

OAS says campaigners breach 100 yard line

While observers noted that there aren’t any laws governing political financing, they also took notice that the rule defining the hundred yard boundary between supporters and the polling stations was not being respected. In all instances there were dozens of campaigners gathered near the entrance to the various polling stations where they heckled their opponents ...

PM says some OAS Recommendations impractical

The comments made by the OAS Observer team were not out of the ordinary. The OAS observer mission was well received and felt the experience showed a working democracy. The PM, however, says that some of the suggestions are impractical and that elections are free and fair… but not perfect. Dean Barrow “They want to ...

Low voter turnout and districts that counted

There were highs and lows throughout Wednesday night as the results of the elections started to come in. At about one-thirty this morning, the U.D.P. reached the magical number of sixteen with a win in Corozal Bay and then went on to win one more seat. The opposition won fourteen, up from six seats it ...

Mixed slate for Belmopan City Council

The results of the municipals are a mixed bag. For the Belmopan City Council, it went down to the wire with results being announced shortly after six o’clock this morning. With a high number of split votes and three full city council slates of the VIP, U.D.P., and P.U.P., along with five mayoral hopefuls, it ...

U.D.P. to govern most town halls

The results of the Municipal Elections may have been completely dwarfed by the overwhelming emphasis placed on the wins and losses of ministerial hopefuls. Throughout the night counting clerks were busy tallying votes received by each mayoral and councilor candidate. When it was all said and done it was clear that the wave of red ...

The Final Tally of DECISION 2012

There were surprise wins and losses in Wednesday’s general elections. In the south, the People’s United Party won handsomely taking all seats in the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts with the stunning defeat of Melvin Hulse and Eden Martinez. In the North, the opposition took five of eight seats, and made significant gains in the ...

Robert Tracey remanded for stabbing victim

In the courts, a former Security Guard of the Magistrate’s Court, who was stabbed in the neck on February twenty-ninth, today saw his alleged attacker remanded to prison. The accused man, twenty-five year old Robert Tracey, appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer to be read two charges; Attempted Murder and Grievous Harm upon Loren Lennan. ...

Police constable charged with Burglary

On Tuesday, we reported that Police Constable Brandon Hertular was facing charges for allegedly stealing, a weapon, cash and cell phones from a house in Belize City. Well, after three nights in police custody, the twenty-five year old cop was formally arraigned today on a charge of Burglary. Hertular appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart, ...


PUP plans to challenge 3 constituency election results
The elections are now history, but the coming days and weeks will be interesting as one party readies itself to govern on its claim to victory and the other rights itself for bouts of legal challenges over the results in at least three constituencies. Love News attended press conferences of both the United Democratic Party, which is already moving forward with a victory rally tonight, and the People’s United Party, which is asking the courts to intervene in at least three instances concerning three of their seats. We hear first from the newly re-elected leader of the Queen Square Division, Dean Barrow. But at its conference thereafter, the PUP said not so fast. In fact, at its press conference, the PUP Party Leader, Francis Fonseca, said they felt the elections was everything but free and fair, and for that reason, they have not conceded a loss to the UDP.

Victorious PUP candidates celebrate in Orange Walk
The People’s United Party is celebrating in Orange Walk. On Thursday morning, representatives Jose Abelardo Mai, Marco Tulio Mendez and John Briceno along with the winning PUP Town Council slate met in an informal session with municipal employees and party supporters. According to our Orange Walk Bureau Chief Manuela Ayuso Cantun, the mood was celebratory as she spoke with the Orange Walk Central representative about his party’s performance in the north. And while the PUP plans the way forward, outgoing Orange Walk mayor Philip de la Fuence has promised a smooth transition and will meet with the news Mayor Kevin Bernard on Tuesday during which he will officially hand over control of the Town Council. De la Fuente says he is grateful to have had the opportunity to serve his people for the last three years.

OAS observers give Belize election good rating; but express concerns
The Organization of American States Election Observation Mission has validated the joint polls in Belize as being free and fair. At an early afternoon press conference, the head of the Mission, Ambassador Frank Almaguer told reporters that all the polling stations opened on time at seven o’clock on Wednesday morning and that they were adequately staffed and equipped. But the Observer Mission did find some activities on Election Day that raised concerns for them. The team of observers included representatives of twenty two member countries of the Organization of American States. They were fanned out across the country to observe voting on Wednesday, and while they were aiming for complete coverage, Ambassador Almaguer said that observers were present in each district and visited over eighty five percent of the nation’s polling areas. The Observer Mission has made four main recommendations having witnessed firsthand Decision 2012 as Belizeans voted in simultaneously general and municipal elections.

PM-designate Barrow makes first public statements after close win for UDP
is traditional that the winner of a general election would make a victory speech. This time around however, it was different, as the prime minister elect, Dean Barrow, chose not to address the nation on Election night when his United Democratic Party was first past the post and won a back to back term in Belmopan. That victory speech was made this afternoon at the press conference which was held at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Hotel. Before he pressed on with his plans to govern the country for the next five years, Mr. Barrow lamented that he was still disappointed in himself as leader over the elections results. Barrow, who is now serving his second stint as Prime Minister said that he intends to extend a hand of cooperation to the PUP and the wider society. And in that same vein, he assured that there would not be any victimization. And if you were wondering when he will name a new Cabinet, Mr Barrow explained that based on the seventeen seats that they garnered, by law, it would be impossible to name more than eleven of the elected representatives as Ministers of Government.


UDP wins General Elections by small margin
It was a nail biting political race yesterday in the country of Belize as most predictions, barring some questionab...

PM Dean Barrow addresses nation in press conference
The Prime Minister hosted a press conference this afternoon to address the nation. He thanked the Belizean people f...

PlusTV travels north for 2012 elections
PlusNews crew blazed a northern trail on Election Day and canvassed Corozal and Orange Walk. The day started on a h...

PlusTV's coverage of elections in Cayo West
PlusTV covered the north , south, east, and, of course, the west. Sherl O’Brein and Brett Smith headed that way an...

Belmopan Municipal Election turnout estimated at 72%
There is a new municipal government in Belmopan. And it’s a two tone municipality: red and blue. Simeon Lopez with ...

Man stabbed during robbery in Belize City
A man was stabbed early this morning in Belize City. It happened around 12 midnight while 21 year old Jiovanni Graj...

Belize joins the world in observing International Women's Day
Today is being observed as International women’s day. It is being observed under the theme “Connecting girls, inspi...

Reward being offered for recovery of stolen truck
A silver pick-up truck was stolen from in front of a residence on Sapodilla Street in Belmopan last night. John Fri......

The Guardian

CYDP employee and Orange Walk Barber charged with robbery
On Wednesday March 29th Profile Jewelry located at the Commercial Center in the heart of downtown Belize City was robbed at knife and gunpoint. The culprits managed to get away with 691 pieces of jewelry, over $500 in cash and two cellphones.

Theft charges dismissed from former cable collector
On Monday March 5th a former worker at Centaur Cable Company saw a theft charge dismissed against him in the Belize City Magistrate’s court after a submission was made by his attorney. In May 2011, 35-year-old Enrique Depaz, who once worked as a Collecting Agent with the cable company was charged with a single count of theft from his workplace but on Monday, the date set for final trial it could not start. The court prosecutor was requesting another adjournment in the matter due to the uncertainty of whether or not the summons was served to the witness in the case. However, Depaz’s attorney, Dickie Bradley submitted that on the last occasion, he noted that the benefit was given to the prosecution witnesses and another adjournment was granted to make sure that fairness is exercised to all and for the prosecutor to get her witnesses to court.

Shooting and chopping at Western Paradise community
At about 4:30p.m. on that day 33-year-old Roger Hernandez and his younger brother, allegedly attacked, 31-year-old Angel Dorado who were then shot at and then attacked by a group machete wielding individuals. As a result of the incident, Dorado sustained chop wounds to his right arm, left arm and head, behind the neck area while, one of his attackers, identified as Roger Hernandez sustained injuries to his head and left hand.

Remanded for robbing $7,000 from a doctor
After almost two years behind bars for pleading guilty to having a gun in his possession Dario Cruickshank, 26, a male babysitter of #6 Banak Street was remanded to prison after being accused of robbing a female doctor at gunpoint at her clinic on Blue Marlin Avenue. Cruickshank appeared in Magistate’s Court on Tuesday March 6th, unrepresented before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer where he was read a single charge of robbery.

Human skull found in the center of O.W.
A skull appearing to be that of a human being was spotted yesterday by the Branch Manager at Courts, in a black plastic bag, on one of Orange Walk’s most trafficked streets. The infrequent and disturbing discovery was made sometime before 5:00 p.m., on Queen Victoria Avenue in front of Courts (Belize).Ltd and opposite the immigration building. The Manager said that as he entered the building at around 4:00 p.m. he had seen the plastic bag lying on the businesses’ verandah almost to the end corner. An hour later, the Manager exited and noted that the bag was still there. He became concerned, thinking that probably a customer had left his purchased merchandise; he walked to the bag and opened it slightly and quickly recognized the content to be a humanskull. The skull was not complete as the jaw was already detached. A slight odor was also released from within the bag after it was opened.

Prince Harry Soaks in the Belize Experience
As part of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, members of the Royal Family are traveling to different Commonwealth nations to share Her Majesty’s message to Commonwealth realms. His Royal Highness Prince Henry Charles Albert David or “Prince Harry” is the son of the Prince of Wales and the late Princess Diana. As part of the Diamond Jubilee tour, Prince Harry embarked on a ten day trip to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas. His first stop was in Belize and the people of the jewel were happy to grant him a royal welcome.

Hicatee closed season
The General Public is hereby advised that the Fisheries Department has increased its enforcement activities to ensure compliance with management and conservation regulations for the Hicatee. A recent National Survey indicates that the population of this freshwater turtle has greatly diminished as a result of unsustainable harvest; hence the need for increased compliance. The Public is advised that any person who contravenes the Hicatee regulation commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.

SSB Assumes the Presidency Pro Tempore of the Council of Social Security Institutions in Central America and Dominican Republic (CISSCAD)
The XXXIII Ordinary Meeting of the Council of Social Security Institutions in Central America and Dominican Republic (CISSCAD) is was held in Belize City during March 1 to 2, 2012. The highlight of this meeting included the formal handing over of the Presidency of the CISSCAD from Lic. Marlon de Souza, Deputy Director General of the Social Security Institute of Panamá to the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Social Security Board, Mrs. Leticia Vega. The tenure of the Presidency is for a period of two years from 2012 to 2013. CISSCAD member countries developed a work plan to execute the CISSCAD’s Strategic Plan 2012-2016 under the theme “Advancing social security through integration and collaboration.” Belize became a part of the CISSCAD since 2004 as an observer and became a full member in 2005. CISSCAD’s main objective is to promote projects and activities aimed at universal coverage of social security benefits in the member countries. CISSCAD member countries attending this meeting consist of Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic and Belize. Supporting this most important event are representatives from the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization and the Council of Ministers of Health of Central America (COMISCA).

For the first time in the party’s history, the United Democratic Party has won back to back General Elections. At press time, the UDP had already won seventeen seats. The first to be declared victorious was the Mesopotamia area being called for Hon. Michael Finnegan at 8:30 p.m. His victory was followed by Hon. Patrick Faber who brought back Collet for the United Democratic Party. By 10 p.m. it was clear that Belize City was as red as it has ever been with 8 seats confirmed for the United Democratic Party. In that 8 was Herman Longsworth of the Albert Division. Longsworth became the first UDP candidate to win in Albert since the late great Phillip S.W. Goldson. While it was all good in Belize City, the same could not have been said for the rest of the country. Troubling reports began to come in from the Northern and Southern districts. It became clear that this was going to be no easy victory. The scorecards were pulled out and the race to 16 was watched more keenly. Promising reports then came in from Belize Rural South, Belize Rural North, Orange Walk North and Corozal Bay. Information was difficult to retrieve out of the Belmopan counting station and some “Verdict” callers were saying that Hon. John aldivar was in trouble. In fact they reported that the entire Cayo District appeared to be going blue. Those false reports were dismissed as victory was declared for Erwin Contreras, Rene Montero and then Elvin Penner. Those reports gave the United Democratic Party 15 seats. All eyes were turned to the Lake Independence Constituency. Information from inside the counting room was that Mark King won by a small margin in every single box and one box was outstanding. It was clear that the United Democratic Party had crossed the line and would be returned to government. Hugo Patt later claimed the 17th seat for the great United Democratic Party.

OAS Mission to Belize Pleased with electoral process in Belize
A contingent of 23 observers from 13 countries in the western hemisphere which make up the Organization of American States have been in the country from last week and the impressions they have of Belize’s elections is a positive one. The Guardian spoke to the head of the mission Frank Almaguer who explained that the role of the mission is to understand the Belizean Electoral Process. He said the contingent came at the invitation of the electoral authorities and added that the contingent has been deployed all over the country. The aim is to visit almost all voting locations in the country and follow the process until the votes are counted.

Belize attends first meeting of Council of Ministers of Health of Mesoamerica
Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Peter Allen attended the first meeting of the Council of Ministers of Health of Mesoamerica (SMSP) held last week, in Mexico City, Mexico. At its first Board Room meeting, Secretary of Health of Mexico, Solomon Chertorivski Woldenberg announced that a human development component has been formed within the project entitled the Mesoamerican Public Health System (SMPS).

Can Yasmin get any figures right?
Throughout the entire course of her appearance on the Love FM/Channel 5 collaborative broadcast, Yasmin Andrews kept on harping on figures that the voter turnout for the elections would have been low but the problem was that when the figures kept on coming in her face simply changed as if she no longer had confidence in what she was saying.

GOB absorbs fuel price increase
The Ministry of Finance wishes to advise the public that as a consequence of the continuing rise in world oil prices there will be a further sharp increase in the CIF prices of fuel products on the next shipment due to arrive in Belize on 2nd March 2012. The Government of Belize, mindful of the negative effects that this would have on the public, has taken a decision to absorb the price impact by varying import duties on this shipment only, in order to maintain fuel prices at their current level, with the exception of kerosene, which will increase by only six cents per gallon. This is a one-off action and will be reviewed when the next shipment of fuel arrives in the country. The impact of the CIF price increases, if not mitigated, would have resulted in pump prices of gasoline and diesel increasing by slightly over fifty cents per gallon and twenty seven cents per gallon respectively. The cost to Government of its intervention to save the public from the higher pump prices is estimated to be $1.5 million over the next four weeks.

Police extends lead in Premier League competition
The Premier League of Belize Football Competition continued over the last weekend with six games across the country. On Sunday March 4, at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, the visiting Belize Defence Force and the home team FC Belize played to a 1-1 draw. The home team FC Belize got on the scoreboard first when David Ramos scored his team’s goal in the 19th minute of play. The goal was able to hold for almost the entire game. Unfortunately, for FC Belize, the visiting Belize Defence Force’s artillery found in mark when Erwin Flores scored the equalizing goal in the 79th minute of play for the draw.

31st Annual Ariel Rosado Memorial Belmopan Cycling Classic
The 31st Annual Ariel Rosado Memorial Belmopan Cycling Classic is organised by the Belize Cycling Association under the regulations of the International Cycling Union and Belize Cycling Association. The event is being sponsored by the Ariel Rosado Memorial Education Foundation, with co-sponsorship from Toucan Industry Limited, Atlantic Insurance Co. Ltd, and Red Bull. The 31st Annual event is scheduled for Sunday March 18, 2012. The Elite race will start at Leslie’s Imports at Mile 2 in Belize City at 8:00 am travel to Belmopan around the Ring road and return to finish at Mile 2 at Leslie’s Imports. This will cover a total distance of 100 miles. The junior riders will start at Mile 2 Leslie’s Imports in Belize City at 8:00 am travel to La Democracia on the Western Highway and then return to Mile 2 at Leslie’s Imports for the finish. This will cover a total distance of 60 miles. While the female riders will also start at Leslie’s Imports at Mile 2 at 8:10 am, travels also to La Democracia and then back to Leslie’s Imports for the finish.

Student-athletes to represent Belize at King James Classic
The Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Council in collaboration with the Belize Basketball Federation has released the names of the 15 student-athletes that will represent Belize at the King James Basketball Classic to be held in Ohio in April of this year. The student-athletes named were: Kashief Thomas, Lincey Lopez and Andrew Ortiz from Sadie Vernon Technical High School in Belize City, Brian White from Wesley College, Kyle Middleton, Tariq Middleton, Devin Daly and Zack Usher from St. John’s College, Roger Reneau from New Hope High School in the Orange Walk District, Raluni Bernardez from Toledo Community College, Brandon Flowers from Georgetown Technical High School in the Stann Creek District, Akeem Walters from Belmopan Comprehensive School, Mike Guan from San Pedro High School, Frank Williams from Stann Creek Ecumenical High School, and Marlon Andrewin from Sacred Heart College in San Ignacio Town. The coaches are Bernie Tarr and Brads Neal.

Avengers win again in junior softball
The Belize City Junior Girls’ Softball Competition continued on Saturday March 3, 2012, at Rogers Stadium in Belize City. In the first game of the double header, defending champions Avengers won its second consecutive game of the young competition when it rallied from an early 7-2 deficit to defeat Hurricanes Junior by the score of 15-7. Hurricanes Juniors batting in the top of the inning scored single runs in the 1st and 2nd innings respectively and then added 3 in the 3rd inning and 2 more in the 4th inning. It collected a total of 4 hits off the pitching of Kaylee McFadzean.

Pundit Season
Every season has its advantages and disadvantages and election season is no exception. Naturally, every advantage for one person may be a disadvantage for another. For example, the number and length of political advertisements that make watching the local news into a tedious marathon for viewers is a financial boon for hard pressed media houses. The advertisement war is but apart of the pre-election war dance that opposing parties perform to terrify their enemies and encourage their supporters. It includes rallies and songs and the promulgation of polls and predictions that are favourable to one’s own side or unfavorable to the opposition, hence, election season is also pundit season.The sudden appearance of self-proclaimed political pundits with their unsupported opinions and questionable polls and predictions spreads unease throughout thepolitical landscape but brings the craved recognition and sometimes financial rewards to the pundits and their backers. The most successful pundits are those who can portray a level of disinterest or partisan political neutrality since the views of a person who is heavily associated with a particular political party will carry less weight. This has not in the past discouraged pundits such as Myrtle Palacio but it has probably restrained a few others. ...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Community Service Head to Caye Caulker for Spring Break
Instead of returning home like the majority of their peers, eleven Milton students will head to Belize to construct a new classroom for high school students at the Ocean Academy in Caye Caulker, Belize. Caye Caulker, a small limestone coral reef situated in the Caribbean Sea, is twenty miles off the coast of Belize. Originally settled in 1847 by people of mixed Mayan and Spanish descent fleeing massacres across the Yucatan Peninsula, the island has now become a popular destination for tourists, especially backpackers. The Milton students will be spending much of their time working with plaster and cement, building the add-on for the school. They will also be working directly with students, tutoring in math and reading, playing beach sports, and occasionally having lunch in their homes. This same trip to Belize was expected to take place last March, but unfortunately didn’t happen due to insufficient participation. Two years ago, students traveled to and worked in the Appalachia region. The goal of each community service trip is to apply the ideals of weekly service commitments to a new setting for an extended period of time. The Community Service Board hopes that students travelling to Belize can really engage themselves in a community, form a lasting bond, and feel as though they have made a significant impact. They aim to exchange our help and services for a larger understanding of another part of the world.

The United Democratic Party wins most seats in the General Elections 2012
With March 7th being a big and exciting day for all Belizeans at home and abroad, Caye Caulker also had their share of excitement as voters came out to exercise their civic duty in casting their ballots for their selected candidate. The polling station for voters was at the Caye Caulker Roman Catholic School, which opened for an early start. At the end of the day, the boxes from Caye Caulker were sent to San Pedro Town for the official count. Rising victorious is incumbent Area Representative, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. of the United Democratic Party with 2,479 votes while Patty Arceo of the People’s United Party received 2,026 votes, Robert “Bobby” Lopez of the Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) received 332 votes whilst William Mike Campbell received 24 votes. After tallying the ballots, the United Democractic Party (UDP) won 17 out of 31 seats and remains the ruling party to form the next Government of Belize for the next five years.

International Sources

Using ‘chum cams,’ scientists find protected areas benefit sharks
For years, scientists and policymakers have debated whether putting parts of the sea off-limits to fishing actually benefits such wide-roving predators as sharks. Now, thanks to some dead sardines in front of an underwater camera, they have proof. A team of scientists from the United States and Belize picked four ocean locations to survey over five years, from 2005 to 2010. In each spot they put a waterproof video camera on the seafloor in front of a small bait cage — contraptions they nicknamed “chum cams.” Then they counted how many sharks showed up on film.

Kim Simplis Barrow talks Chemotherapy, recovery and meeting Prince Harry
Short piece on the PM's wife and her meeting with the Prince. What was it like meeting Prince Harry and what did he think of Belize? Prince Harry said in an interview with Janelle Chanona that ‘He was most impressed with the people of Belize, and he was really happy to be here!’ One the night of the street party, he wore a traditional Guayabera shirt that was gifted to him when he arrived. I thought it was very classy of him. He talked with locals who came out to greet him, danced with the cultural performers, tasted the local cuisine including the local liquor and beer, and even stopped to talk to children. I was extremely pleased to have been able to accompany my husband Dean in welcoming Prince Harry to Belize. It was lovely meeting him, especially because he was so easy-going and down-to-earth, he was very engaging and interested in finding out more about Belize. I am very happy he took some time to meet with some of the children with special needs. He had lunch with several of them at the Xunantunich Mayan temple and was given a Mayan calendar by a vision impaired child, while a child with Brittle Bones presented him with our 2012 Inspiration Calendar, which features artwork from children with special needs and is produced by the Special Envoy Office. It was wonderful that he had the opportunity to learn a bit about the advocacy that we do here in Belize on behalf of children with special needs. To top it all off, he said that he wants to plan another trip to Belize!

Belize’s UDP Wins Narrow Re-election; Opposition Gains Eight Seats
Belize’s ruling United Democratic Party has won the country’s general elections with a total of 17 out of 31 seats, Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai told Caribbean Journal. The voting “went smoothly in most areas,” Tamai said, with a turnout of approximately 73.11 percent, according to official results. Several seats won by narrow margins could face legal challenges, however. The UDP’s win in the Cayo Central division came by a total of 44 votes, according to Tamai, while its victory in the Cayo North East division came by just 17 votes. No recounts were permitted by the presiding officers in those areas, however, and should the People’s United Party choose to challenge those decisions, they will have to do so in the courts. The victory means another term for Prime Minister Dean Barrow, whose party rose to power in 2008 after a 10 years of PUP leadership. Barrow made debt service on the country’s Superbond a campaign issue, and the UDP’s win could mean a renegotiation of that $546.8 million debt. The vote was a stronger showing for the PUP and its leader, Francis Fonseca, representing an increase of 8 seats compared to 2008.

Army South Soldiers brave jungle, improve Belize military medical capacity
Deep in the jungle of Belize, five U.S. Army Soldiers, accompanied by soldiers from the Belize Defense Force, moved through

Edited by Marty (11/17/12 10:47 AM)