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#434405 - 03/30/12 09:07 AM Today's Belize News: March 30, 2012
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The San Pedro Sun

Ramon’s Village adopts the Boca del Rio Park
World renowned Ramon’s Village has embarked on a very positive community project that sees the adoption of the Boca del Rio Park. The park, which has been gradually deteriorating, will see a significant facelift which will be conducted in different phases. The estimated cost of the investment by the time the Boca del Rio Park is fully renovated will be in the vicinity of $50,000. The project will see the renovation of the basketball court, the installation of bleachers, construction of picnic tables, improvements to the playground and beautification. Einer Gomez, General Manager of Ramon’s Village explained, “We noticed the deterioration of the park and decided to adopt the park.” Shortly after approaching the former San Pedro Town Council, plans were made to first address the issue of the basketball court. New backboards where ordered and made in Belize City by a local artist. The backboards were installed and the court has a fresh coat of paint. Gomez explained that currently they are looking at installing bleachers and are considering whether to construct them from aluminum or wood.

Be Kind Belize Graduates 2012
Be Kind Belize was established in 2007 to promote humane education in Belize. Humane education is based on the concept that all life is precious and is practiced by teaching young people the value and importance of treating all living creatures with kindness. As part of the programme children learn about self respect, caring for others, how to behave responsibly and understanding the consequences of their actions. Through classroom activities and research projects they learn why it is important to be kind to their family, friends, classmates, community, animals and the planet and how kindness makes Belize a better place. On the 20th and 21st of March students from Holy Cross Anglican School Standard 2 and Island Academy Standards 1, 2 and 3 graduated from the Be Kind Belize programme.

Tyson Rodriguez shot by Police in Caye Caulker
Details forthcoming from Caye Caulker are that PC Chuc, a police officer attached to the Tourism Unit shot Tyson Rodriguez sometime around 7AM Thursday, March 29, 2012. Rodriguez, who is believed to be mentally challenged, is originally from the Stann Creek district. He had been living in the back neighborhood of Caye Caulker, where his neighbors took care of him. Police are not releasing any information at this time. However, neighbors are speaking to The San Pedro Sun, telling how Police initiated an impromptu search in Rodriguez’ apartment (for reasons unknown). Rodriguez, unaware of what was happening, decided to flee and officers set pursuit. He ran through various streets in Caye Caulker until he reached the beach side around Tom’s Hotel. Witness accounts state that Rodriguez was critically injured when he was shot in the abdomen. Rodriguez was rushed to the Caye Caulker clinic, then transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he is listed in critical condition.

San Pedro Chapter of the Belize Red Cross holds fundraiser
The San Pedro Chapter of the Belize Red Cross (BRC) held its first major fundraiser on Sunday, March 25th at the Legend’s Burger House. Commencing at noon and going through 7PM, the fundraiser was a huge success and raised $4,310. According to organizer and Red Cross representative for San Pedro, Laurie Norton, over 150 people came out throughout the day to support the cause. Activities included; raffles, 50-50 draws, Legend’s “King Kong” burger eating challenge, Chinese auction and the hoola-hoop contest among others. There were also lots to eat and drink.

Primary school students sit first part of PSE 2012
7176 Standard Six students from across the country sat the first part of the Primary School Examination (PSE) on Monday, March 26th. The main purpose of the PSE is to measure the achievement levels of students who have completed their primary education in Belize. At the San Pedro High School, which is one of the examination centers in the Belize District, 197 students sat the PSE. The students are from Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. According to the Ministry of Education, out of the 7176 students that registered for the 2012 PSE, 3562 are females and 3614 are males. This represents a 3.9% increase over the 2011 students registered. 17 of the examinees were registered as private candidates and 140 as special needs candidates.

Caye Caulker Police Shoot Tyson Rodriguez
The Caye Caulker police are under heavy criticism from some of the community members after a police officer shot a man on Thursday, March 29th. While police have not released the name of the officer The San Pedro Sun understands that an officer attached to the Tourism Unite, identified as PC Juan Chuc, shot 25 year old Tyson Rodriguez shortly after 7AM. Rodriguez, who neighbors claims is mentally challenged, is originally from the Stann Creek district. He had been living in the back neighborhood of Caye Caulker, where his neighbors took care of him. Anita Garcia, who takes care of Rodriguez, explained to The Sun how the police descended in to the neighborhood shortly after 7AM this morning. “It was about ten past seven this morning when police came through the whole (neighborhood) then I ran downstairs to see if my son was okay. I saw the police ran upstairs and moments later the man (Rodriguez) jumped down from the veranda and ran. After that I heard like two gun shots moments after. When I went down the street I saw the police going to the clinic. They took the injured man upstairs to the clinic.”

Ambergris Today

Easter Fundraising Events in San Pedro
Radios For Nacnw Police Patrol - To show appreciation for the fine job they have been doing the members of the North Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch (NACNW) voted to find a way to purchase at least two radios for the police who patrol the area. Lions Pancake Brunch with Easter Bunny On Saturday, April 7th the San Pedro Lion’s Club will be hosting a pancake brunch with the Easter Bunny. From 10am until 1pm guests will enjoy a delicious pancake meal with sausage, fruit, fun pancake toppings, juice and coffee. Children’s activities will include a coloring table, Bobbing for Easter Eggs, face painting, balloon dart game, jumping tent for small children and more. Parents are invited to bring their camera and snap a photo of their child with the Easter Bunny. The event will be held at the San Pedro Lion’s Den. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available from Lion’s Members or at The San Pedro Sun office located on Barrier Reef Drive.

Easter Lenten Schedule RC Church 2012
Below is the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church's Easter Lenten Schedule - "I will prove my holiness through you. I will gather you from the ends of the earth: I will pour water on you and wash away all your sins. I will give you a new spirit within you, says the Lord." - Ez 36:23-26 *Via Cruses (Stations of the Cross) March 30, 2012 *Palm Sunday, April 1, 2012 7:00a.m. Mass Blessing of Palm – R.C. School 8:00a.m. Mass *Holy Wednesday, April 4, 2012 Chrism Mass (Holy Redeemer Cathedral, Belize City) *Holy Thursday, April 4, 2012 7:00p.m. Washing of the Feet (Lord’s Last Supper) 8:00p.m. - 12:00 midnight Adoration *Good Friday, April 6, 2012 4:00a.m. Way of the Cross (around Town) 12:00p.m. – 3:00p.m. 7 Last Words 3:00p.m. Verenation of the Cross 5:00p.m. Procession (around Town) *Easter Vigil Mass, April 7, 2012 9:00p.m *Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012 7:30a.m. Encuentro 8:00a.m. Mass 10:00a.m. Mass 7:00p.m Mass (Spanish)

Be Kind Belize Graduates 2012
Be Kind Belize was established in 2007 to promote humane education in Belize. Humane education is based on the concept that all life is precious and is practiced by teaching young people the value and importance of treating all living creatures with kindness. As part of the program children learn about self respect, caring for others, how to behave responsibly and understanding the consequences of their actions. Through classroom activities and research projects they learn why it is important to be kind to their family, friends, classmates, community, animals and the planet and how kindness makes Belize a better place. On the 20th and 21st of March students from Holy Cross Anglican School Standard 2 and Island Academy Standards 1, 2 and 3 graduated from the Be Kind Belize programme.

Belize Dance Company to Travel to Europe
The Belize National Dance Company (BNDC) will participate in an international folkloric dance festival in Europe in July and August 2012. The “Festival Du Sud” brings together about 1,200 dancers and musicians from 45 companies worldwide. This year, twelve (12) folk ensembles were chosen to share and showcase their traditional dances with audiences in France and Spain during these summer months. BNDC plans to present an even blend of music and dances from four Belizean ethnic groups – The Maya, the Creole, the Garifuna and the Mestizo – which will be performed by our well trained dance troupe and a live musical band. Performances will include stage shows, street parades and folk animations at public parks, local businesses and schools. Belize is expected to prepare and perform 90-minute presentations, which can vary depending on the size and number of folk contingents performing in each location at any given time.

Misc Belizean Sources

Be Kind Belize Launches ‘Kindest Kid in San Pedro’ Award
Be Kind Belize was established in 2007 to provide humane education, promoting the belief that through respect, reverence and responsibility (the humane education three r’s) our community can become kinder and more caring towards each other, other living creatures and our planet. It is with this in mind that Be Kind Belize is delighted to announce the Kindest Kid in San Pedro Award 2012. All primary schools in San Pedro have been invited to nominate two Kindness Ambassadors to represent their school. San Pedro High School students have formed teams that will be working with primary schools to encourage, support and assist them with these nominations, which must be in by the 12th of April 2012. Schools are being asked to identify children who have been incredibly kind as nominees. Perhaps they have cared for an elderly relative, raised money for a good cause, helped a struggling classmate, spent time cleaning the beach or doing other volunteer work for the community, helped to save an animal’s life or performed other good deeds which would qualify them as Kindness Ambassadors.

Buy and Sell Weekly Classifieds - 30th of March
This week's issue of Cayo Classifieds is out. Great deals. Great publication. They have a great restaurant and nightlife guide.

PHOTOS: Burns Avenue Upgrade and Welcome Center
Burns Avenue is getting a drain, and a curb. It'll have walkways on both sides, and have just one lane for traffic. The Welcome Center is coming along nicely.

PHOTOS: Holy Friday - Viernes Santo
The Benque House of Culture has posted some Good Friday pictures. Easter is almost here! "Good Friday in Benque Viejo Del Carmen, heralds much hustle and bustle, unusual for such a holiday with much reverence the community imparts all energies for this glowing yet culturally and traditionally a momentum to be in our Del Carmen."

Rumors Resort Announces Happy Hour
Rumor's Resort Hotel has a happy hour from 4pm until 7pm. Drink specials include $25 beer buckets, and $2.50 local rum drinks, and $3.50 local beers. From 5pm up, they'll have 50% off wings, popcorn chicken, and onion rings. On Thursdays, they'll be doing some karaoke.

The Belize Zoo visited Sacred Heart College
The Belize Zoo talks about their event at Sacred Heart College, and World Tapir Day. "Recent days have seen important messages shared with many, coming straight from the heart of The Belize Zoo. Education Officer, Jamal Andrewin, spent a day at the grand science fair event at Sacred Heart College in San Ignacio. Besides showing an attractive display of his work involving the extremely rare harpy eagle, Jamal also had a colorful large poster showing the Central Biological Corridor, and some of the animals who call this important area their home. Developed by the Forest Department, this same poster, featuring our gorgeous puma, 'Carlos', is always on display by our puma exhibit. Jamal also gave a presentation to high school students, detailing some of the zoo’s important conservation work, which is soon to be 'out and about.' His continued excitement about an idea he developed and is now taking to our top leaders in government was also brought to all’s attention. The idea? Every 27th of April is World Tapir Day. Brought forward by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and the Tapir Specialist Group, the objective of World Tapir Day is to see that this bit of recognition assists in heightening awareness about all four extant species of tapirs."

Hearts of palm for my sister
I could take down a whole can. Crack one open that is has been chilled, and I will wolf it down. Am I talking about beer? No….its hearts-of-palm. Sweet, briny stalks in perfect, crunchy cylinders have been a treat that I have enjoyed with my sister, Elisabeth. She and I love hearts of palm and each time I open a can, I think of her. She introduced me to them over 20 years ago. I remember all she did was open them up and put them on a plate. “Here. Try these.” was all she said. We both devoured them – eating bite by bite through the layers, savoring each taste. “It kills the whole palm you know.” she went on. We both felt sadly decadent when we ended up eating a whole can to ourselves, imagining 12 palms laid to waste for our appetite. I have never wanted her with me more than when I discovered them fresh from the field, and learned how quickly they regenerate themselves. “Thank god!” I whispered to myself, feeling vindicated over years of vegetable guilt. “I wish Elisabeth could be here with me to see this.”

Heart of Toledo:Tiger Cave
We walked over a river in knee-deep blue waters, our shoes slung over our shoulders to keep them dry for the rest of the hike. Over a wooded hill and down along a path that is bordered by a fence, we walked along the same river we had just crossed, to the opening of the cave. The dense vegetation, limestone and warm temperature, equated for a heavy organic smell, layered by the rays of sun that lit the morning walk. This was Tiger Cave. Tiger Cave is located on the Rio Grande close to the village of San Miguel and Big Falls in Belize’s Toledo District. It is located on private land that abuts the contentious Hydro Maya Dam. It was discovered in the late 1970′s by Peace Corps volunteers: its name from the local legend that roars from a jaguar , locally called “tigers”, wear heard in the cave. Manuel Bolon, our guide, carried our helmets, water and head lamps. As we arrived, I admired the entrance.

Channel 7

Tonight a 25 year old Dangriga resident who resides in Caye Caulker is in stable condtion at the KHMH after being shot by police. Residents say Tyson Rodriguez was shot while fleeing from police who had found him with some weed. Police say he pulled a knife on them - which - we must say - is an all-too familiar story. Here's what we found out when we went to the Island this afternoon:.. Jules Vasquez reporting 25 year old Tyson Rodriguez was in this house. In this very poor area on the western side of Caye Caulker. Residents call it "Black Neighborhood." Shanda Rodriguez, Sister of Victim "They were smoking weed (marijuana) when the police came. The police broke open the door and he saw when the officer pulls out a gun. He got scared and ran away."

The deadline to file election petitions in connection with the March 7th. election is tomorrow, March 30th. Today we have confirmed that the PUP has filed another petition, this one against UDP Albert Area Representative, Herman Longsworth. The grounds are similar to the one filed against Mark King; they are alleging that Longsworth had an undeclared contract with Government at the time of his election. The petition alleges that Longsworth's company - L&V construction got the contract to construct the fence at the Marion Jones Sports Complex. Indications are that the PUP will also file another similar petition tomorrow against Santino Castillo in Caribbean Shores - whose family owned business rents out an office to the DPP. And on the other side of the political color bar, the UDP has filed a petition against PUP Freetown Area Rep, Francis Fonseca, alleging that two of his agents bribed voters.

The US Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, concluded a two-day visit to Belize today. Maria Otero is the most senior US official to visit Belize in recent memory and, significantly, Belize is one of only two stops she made on this trip - the other being in El Savador. In a thirty minute press conference at the House Of Culture this morning, she explained why Belize and the United States are natural allies:.. Maria Otero, US Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights "My visit represents the priority that President Obama and Secretary Clinton have for our bi-lateral relationship in partnership with Belize." "Our belief is in the United States and this why we have sent myself as a high level official is that our partnership with Belize is a very important one and is one that we value a great deal. My presence here serves to re-enforce that and to be able to also address future ways in which we will continue working together."

A man could spend eight months in jail for injuring his step-daughter. 20 year-old Carldeen Lawrence, a resident of Elston Kerr Street was convicted of grievious harm in the Magistrate's Court today. It was alleged that he fractured a 3 year-old female child's right leg when he was disciplining her. The prosecution called 5 witnesses in his case, excluding the child, who was 2 years-old at the time of the incident. It was presented to the court by these witnesses that on June 8 of last year, he was left to babysit the child. The mother came home and found the child's right leg swollen, and when she confronted Lawrence, he told her that lashed her with a belt because she was misbehaving.

Today in the Court of Appeal, the hearing for Rhett Fuller's case was postponed until the June sitting. He is currently appealing the Supreme Court's decision to allow his extradition to the United States to stand trial for the 1990 murder of Larry Miller. This adjournment was granted because his attorney, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, recently lost of his mother, which caused him not to be fully prepared to present his case on Fuller's behalf today. He made an application for the matter to be traversed to the June session of the Appeal's Court, which was granted. Courtenay made an additional request to the court to facilitate Fuller's appeal process in June.

Just before the election, Government announced that it would be absorbing a sharp increase in the acquisition price of fuel - which meant giving up 1.5 million dollars in revenue. It's not the kind of thing that can be maintained, and so on Wednesday morning, the full weight of increased world prices fell like a load of bricks on the Belizean consumer. Premium fuel jumped by 49 to a crushing $12.12 per gallon, Regular jumped by 50 cents to a prohibitive $11.81 per gallon, and diesel went up by twenty cents to 10.90 per gallon.

Beltraide held a National Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprise, or MSME symposium today at the Biltmore hotel. NOW, just like us, you're probably asking, "What is an MSME anyway?" Well, that's just what symposium participants were asking today. That's because one of the main objectives was to come up with a definition of MSMEs. Michael Seepersaud, the Beltraide Consultant said why the symposium was really a validation activity. Michael Seepersaud, Beltraide Consultant "In November of last year, we have interviewed a number of business support organizations. We have had several consultations with MSMEs. We have collected all sorts of material and we've used that to form our policy strategy recommendations."

Belize Telemedia's 2012 telephone directory will be available to the public on Wednesday April fourth. But it was officially launched today with a grand unveiling of this year's cover. This year's edition highlights the Maya Deer dance -as the company joins in with the rest of Belize in celebrating the 2012 Mayan Calendar. Here's more on the new directory. Brieanne Reyes, Directory Services Manager "This morning we are unveiling the 2012 Belize Telemedia Telephone Directory. We are very excited, we have invited guests, it's kind of a preview because the books will be available to the public next week. So we have a special treat for invited guest this morning."

Karl H. Menzies is a brand name you may associate with Heineken Beer or Leyland Paints. But the real story is the man behind the name. Karl H. Menzies is a self-made success, who earned his fortune and fame the old fashioned way: he worked for it, from the age of 8! But you might not know, he never went higher than primary school, and had a hardscrabble upbringing in the Mesopotamia Area of Belize City as one of his father's 18 children. In tonight's profile, he talks about this and some of the struggles he had to overcome to get this point.

March is soon over, and with it, Women's Month comes to a close. But before it ends, the Institute of Creative Arts is having one last celebration. This send-off is "WIA- A Night of Cabaret", a show which will feature talented singers, dancers and actors. We spoke with the programme officer, Kim Vasquez, and she told us who and what to expect. Kim Vasquez, Programme officer "We have a show entitled WIA - a Night of Cabaret. This is the culmination for us of the program women in art. We do this every year during women's month here at ICA and what we are doing is sort of a performance art showcase. We are doing it cabaret style." "This is the third year we are doing a performance art showcase under women in art. Since we were going with a cabaret theme that we wanted to give it the true cabaret experience and come out from the Bliss and go somewhere else where you can sit down around tables, you can eat food and you can drink and you can enjoy a relaxing evening."

YC Belize is one of the Nation's largest youth events - reaching thousands of young people. The one-day annual Christian conference will be held on Saturday at the UB's Gymnasium in Belmopan. It's their 5th year and Christian-inclined young people are invited to be a part of a day filled with positive activities culminating in a concert featuring Belizean and International Christian musical artists. 7news spoke with one of the Organizers today. Michael Evans, Artist Coordinator - YC Belize "The conference is geared to positively impacting the young people both on a natural and spiritual basis. Often times we separate the two. We think we are spiritual over here and we are human over there, but the two are actually intertwined."

Channel 5

Man from dark side of Caye Caulker shot
A man was shot this morning in the island of Caye Caulker, and a police is under investigation for pulling the trigger. Tyson Rodriguez was rushed to the K.H.M.H. and is in critical condition after undergoing emergency surgery. It is not the first time that the cops have shot at residents and the incident has ...

Can the Rosewood Moratorium hold steadfast?
There is word from the south that a decision has been reached on the issue of the rosewood trade. It comes on the heels of a moratorium placed on March sixteenth by the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development. While conservation groups were applauding the decision, dealers and loggers claimed that government failed to ...

Price of fuel at the pump way up
Remember the days when five or ten dollars gas in your car would take you a long way? Well, those days are a distant memory because now ten dollars doesn’t even get you a gallon of fuel. Tonight the news is that fuel prices continue to surge. There was another major hike on Wednesday. Premium ...

3rd retrial for Jamie Dawson
In the courts, Belize City resident, Jamie Dawson, is being tried for a third time for the December 2002 murder of Maurice Neal. The retrial was to start two weeks ago before Justice Herbert Lord, but the indictment could be read because his Attorney Anthony Sylvester filed an application, citing abuse of process in Dawson’s ...

U.S. Under Secretary responds to Guatemala Drug Proposal
The Under Secretary of State Maria Otero is the highest ranking U.S. diplomat to visit Belize in recent times. Otero is responsible for foreign relations on civilian security issues; including democracy, human rights, trafficking in persons and counter-narcotics. Since Otero arrived on Wednesday, she has been meeting with Non-governmental organizations and government officials to discuss ...

US Human Rights equal gay rights?
Under Secretary Otero’s portfolio also includes human rights. Otero also met with human’s rights groups in Belize one of which is UNIBAM, the gay rights group fronted by Caleb Orozco. Otero, while seated next to U.S. Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally, explained to a media gathering at the House of Culture, that the U.S. isn’t trying to ...

CARSI; millions spent on Central America Security
The Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) has made contributions to the Belize Defense Force as well as the Belize National Coastguard. During her press conference this morning, Maria Otero spoke of the accomplishments by law enforcement in Belize resulting from the relationship with the United States.   Maria Otero, Under Secretary of State “The ...

Rhett Fuller’s extradition battle continues
For over ten years Rhett Fuller has been fighting his extradition to the U.S. The case, which has been in and out of court, is in connection with the murder of Larry Miller, a U.S National. In September of last year, the Minister of Foreign Affairs decided to surrender Fuller to the U.S. Following that ...

Belize City man convicted of seriously beating a child
A Belize City man has been convicted of seriously beating a child in his care. According to reports on June eighth, 2011, twenty year old Carldeen Lawrence, was caring for his two step children ages one and two years old, but when the mother came home, she observed that the two year old’s foot was swollen. ...

P.U.P. files another Election Petition
Since the elections on March seventh that ended seventeen to fourteen in favor of the U.D.P., the People’s United Party announced that it would be filing several election petitions. On Wednesday, the P.U.P.’s Martin Galvez filed a petition against Mark King in Lake Independence at the Supreme Court. A petition is also being filed against ...

City Hall unravels overtime mystery
Among his first duties as mayor, upon taking office three weeks ago Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley has been carrying out an official inquiry into the embezzlement of almost seventy thousand dollars from City Hall. It was an elaborate scheme orchestrated by former pay mistress Shirlene Sabal, one in which payments for bogus overtime hours ...

SICA meeting with Latin American Leaders
Mayors and village council leaders from across the country gathered in Belize City today where they discussed practical ways in which autonomy within local government can be bolstered. The workshop, organized by the Central American Integration System (SICA), comes just three weeks after Municipal Elections were held. Among the many issues discussed was crime and ...

Lotto’s Big Winner
A Belize City housewife is the latest Lotto jackpot winner. On Wednesday night, the numbers 05-13-19-27-29 were selected as the winning ticket for the fifty-five thousand dollar jackpot. Cecilia Thurton, the mother of one, told us that she’ll be investing her winnings in her son’s education.   Andrea Polanco “You’re the lucky winner of the ...

A Cabaret with talented showgirls
Throughout this month, numerous activities were held to highlight the work, struggles and accomplishments of Belizean women. Naturally, the Institute of Creative Arts put its focus on talent with the annual Women in Arts program. It started with a visual arts display, which brought together the work of thirty women from across the country into ...

Healthy Living goes through Puberty
The month of March has been dedicated to women. A number of activities have been held around the country under the banner of Connecting Girls; Inspiring Futures. Tonight Healthy Living takes a look at the issue of puberty, which is an important transition for girls. As early as the age of eight, girls begin to ...


OWTC Fires Off Press Release On Alleged Victimization
There has been much allegations made against the Orange Walk Town Council in regards to victimization. In response to those allegations today the Orange Walk Town Council fired off a press release nullifying those reports. The press release states and we quote, “A very preliminary investigation has revealed that among existing staff, there have been instances of (1) double payment, where individuals are paid for performing two roles at the Council when in reality they serve only very limited function in one role; (2) instances where staff members have collected monies and those monies have not been accounted for; (3) instances in which staff members abused/neglected their duties but no action was taken by the Mayor or Administrator and (4) indications of misappropriation of public funds which will merit further investigation and which could likely result in legal action being taken.” End quote

More Financial Irregularities At Orange Walk Town Hall
Since they took over Town Hall on March 8th the Orange Walk Town Council has been conducting a special audit of the town’s finances. What we can tell you tonight is that the findings are proving to be explosive. During the special investigation at least one former employee of the council is signaled for wrongdoing or engaging in irregular practices. Here is part two of our exclusive interview with the Mayor of Orange Walk Town Kevin Bernard. Kevin Bernard- Mayor Orange Walk Town “There has been a lot of irregularities and before the administrator left that morning I receive this very lengthy one page report from Mr. Moguel which speaks about embezzlement of funds from one of the former revenue collector by the name of Carl Westby and is I am go into some of the details the administrator stated here that the council opened a file which we are also reviewing for a list of bogus receipts given by Mr. Carl Westby and to date the date which he had submitted that file this sums a total of $16,802.76 now this is a very, very, very huge figure for one individual collector to owe this council, I want to make mention to another issue here that where Mr. Moguel and I quote on this letter and it says “I Mr. Andre Moguel, town administrator for period May 3rd 2009 to March 6th 2012 hereby demand to the relief of any responsibility in relation to the reporting of this matter to the relevant authorities ...

Government Employee Charged For Driving Without Due Care And Attention
It went under the radar but CTV3 News understands that a government employee has been charged for driving without due care and attention after he reportedly rammed a vehicle belonging to the Ministry of Health into a house located in the Village of Chunox in the Corozal District. The incident occurred on Tuesday March 27th at around one the morning and the driver of the vehicle has been identified as 48 year old Eduardo Cus, a Belizean Rural Community Development Officer. Cus appeared before Magistrate Clive Lino yesterday morning where he was charged for driving without due care and attention and offered bail which he met.

Corozal Police Confiscates Two Firearm, Three Men Detained
During an early morning patrol, Corozal Police observed three male individuals identified as 22 year old unemployed of Antelope Street Belize City, Emmanuel Willoughby, 25 year old Orange Walk laborer, Ernest Tillett and 22 year old bartender of Trail Farm Village Jake Cadle, walking out of a hotel in Corozal acting suspiciously. Following their instincts police stopped the three men and searched the room they were occupying. And this time police instincts proved to be right because a search of the room led cops to one 9mm pistol with 14 rounds and one .357 revolver with 6 rounds. We note that the revolver is a prohibited firearm.

New Hope High School Holds Fashion Show To Raise Funds
Fashion shows have become the most significant fundraisers for high schools here in the Orange Walk District. While some fashion shows may come across as the same ordinary game of dress up New Hope High School is putting a modern twist to the idea. This Saturday the high school will be hosting their annual fashion show in order to raise funds for a number of projects they have in the pipeline. Libny Novelo, Teacher “Our main purpose first of all is to help our school, fund raiser for many of the projects that we have so far and in order for us to do that we need to come up with ideas to get the students involved and this is the way to help the students express themselves and be able to be part along with us with the fundraising for our school. Some of the projects are to get some more computers in the computer lad and also we have a science lab which we would like to get more instruments into that lab for our students to be able to have access to those.”

Another Hike In Fuel Prices
Have you visited the gas pumps lately? If you haven’t then hold on to your pockets because the next time you visit a gas station to fuel up you will be paying more for a gallon of fuel. Without warning fuel prices increased for the fourth time in three months. At midnight last night the price for a gallon of premium gasoline went from $11.71 to $12.20, reflecting a 50 cents increase. Regular now sells for $11.89, marking a 49 cents increase. A gallon of diesel which was previously sold for $10.78 now sells at $10.98 as it saw a 20 cents increase. And kerosene better known as the poor man’s fuel went up by 10 cents putting the cost at $8.79.

Water Rates Go Down
On December 23rd 2011 the Belize Water Services Limited, government owned utility company submitted its application to the PUC requesting that water rates and tariffs remain the same. After reviewing the initial application the PUC announced its decision to reduce water rates yesterday. According to Rudolph Williams, the Director of Water & Waste Water Sector of the P.U.C. during the review proceedings for the annual period of 2011-2012, the commission analyzed the operations and the finances of the Belize Water Services Limited and derived at the decision to reduce water rates.

PUP Files Two More Election Petitions
The deadline to contest the results of the general elections 2012 is tomorrow. Last week Thursday Yolanda Schakron filed an application for the leave to present an election Petition. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will rule on that case on Friday as well. In addition to that petition, yesterday the People’s United Party filed 2 more election petitions- the first being against UDP's Lake Independence Area Representative, Mark King. The petition was brought forward by Schakron’s last minute replacement, Martin Galvez, on the grounds that King has a contract with government which he did not disclose at the time of elections and due to that King’s candidacy is nullified. The second election petition was brought against UDP’s Albert Division Representative, Herman Longsworth, who according to the P.U.P had a contract with the government for the construction of the Marion Jones Stadium.

Minister Of Foreign Affairs Represents Belize During SICA Meeting
On January 28th 2012 it was reported that the former Minister of Police and Public Safety, Dough Singh, had the idea of decriminalizing marijuana in Belize. That issue took a huge jump in the international stage when President of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina, proposed to legalize drugs and shipment route of drugs during the Central American Integration System (SICA) meeting in Antigua Guatemala. President Molina is proposing that the trans-shipment of drugs heading to the US be regulated and in addition legalize drug consumption. And while the proposal will definitely receive serious opposition, supporters argue that it is the only lucid action in order to control illicit drug related activities. During the summit Belize was represented by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington and Minister of National Security John Saldivar. Elrington outlined the four components of President Molina’s proposal.


Belize Band Fest ready for the big time in Corozal
Just over thirty six hours from now, the Ricalde Stadium in Corozal town will be the venue for one of the fiercest battles as five marching bands and seven Drum Corps take to the field in open competition. It’s the 2012 Belize Band Fest and tonight the organizing committee is putting the finishing touches to the logistics; the bands have wrapped up their routines and all that’s left is for you to get in the car and head north. On Saturday the Band Fest kicks off from Seventh Avenue across from the Corozal Bus Terminal and continues down Seventh Avenue to the roundabout at the entrance to Corozal Town. It turns left into First Avenue, passing Miami Beach and continues into Fourth Avenue, passing in front of the Central Park and Saint Francis Xavier Church. It continues down Fourth Avenue and towards the Corozal Civic Centre and turns left into Sixth Street, left into Fifth Avenue and into the Santiago Ricalde Stadium. There are two categories this year: Marching Band with Wind Instruments and Drum Corps. Prizes range from a thousand dollars for Best Drum Line, Best Dressed Uniform Winner and Most Popular Marching Band to six thousand dollars for first place in the Marching Band with Wind Instruments segment. Meanwhile, first place in the Drum Corps category will receive four thousand dollars. The main sponsors for this year’s Belize Band Fest include Oceana Belize; Belize Telemedia Limited; Belize Natural Energy; the National Institute for Culture and History; The Embassy of Taiwan; Belize Electricity Limited; Scotia Bank and Bowen and Bowen Limited.

Belize City man wins big SMART raffle
SMART is celebrating its seventh anniversary of service to the Belizean people. And as part of the milestone the telephone company today held their big HOME IMPROVEMENT raffle. The venue for the big draw was SMART’s headquarters on the Northern Highway. The winner of the raffle will get a living room and kitchen makeover, which [...]

BGYEA looks to develop Harmonyville
BGYEA, the grassroots group which was formed about three years ago and has progressively engaged the government in negotiations over abandoned private lands for new ownership by Belizeans, is on a new mission to advance its members. President of BGYEA, Nigel Petillo, told Love News today that now that some of its members have successfully [...]

US Undersecratary of State wraps up working visit to Belize
United States Under Secretary of State Maria Otero is today wrapping up a working visit to Belize. She is the highest ranking staff of the US State Department to visit Belize and has held meetings with government officials and civil society groups to discuss Belize-US bilateral relations. Among the government official to meet with the visiting diplomat is acting Prime Minister Gaspar Vega. During a mid-morning press conference, Otero updated reporters on her brief visit. Otero says the United States remains committed to assisting Central American nations, including Belize to fight the war on drugs and other trans-national crimes.

Belize City man wins big SMART raffle
SMART is celebrating its seventh anniversary of service to the Belizean people. And as part of the milestone the telephone company today held their big HOME IMPROVEMENT raffle. The venue for the big draw was SMART’s headquarters on the Northern Highway. The winner of the raffle will get a living room and kitchen makeover, which is possible through SMART’s collaboration with COURTS. Public Relations manager for SMART is Ian Courtenay. The raffle was broadcast live to the nation via our sister station Love FM. Marketing Analyst for SMART, Linda Carballo alongside announcer Karen Coote called the luck winner Jason Spain. According to Courtenay the handing over of the grand prize will be arranged for some time next week. He reminds customers that the anniversary celebration continues nationwide with double and triple up On Friday. And starting today, there is what is called a blow out sale on selected phone models and internet devices. The extravaganza ends on Saturday.

Belize City woman wins Lotto Jackpot
Tropical Gaming Company today paid out big bucks to the latest Lotto Jackpot winner. Belize City housewife Cecilia Turton was prompt at the Lotto office this afternoon to claim her prize after she matched all five balls drawn in last night’s jackpot. After Government Income Tax deduction, Turton walked away with forty six thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars. The next jackpot will be drawn on Saturday when the prize money reverts to fifty thousand dollars to any single winner.

Police shoots Caye Caulker man who allegedly resisted arrest
A man was shot in the abdomen early this morning in Caye Caulker village. The victim has been identified as twenty five year old Tyson Rodriguez. The police’s version of the story is that officers in the village conducted a search of a house in the Black neighbourhood area of the island. Police say Rodriguez was present at the time of the search and that authorities found two small parcels of suspected marijuana. Police say that as he was being informed of the find, Rodriguez bolted for freedom with the police in hot pursuit. Rodriguez was eventually caught by the officers but according to the official account of the incident, Rodriquez pulled out a knife from his pants waist, which resulted in the officer pulling out his 9 mm service revolver and firing a single shot. The policeman’s bullet found its mark in Rodriguez’s abdomen. Police say Rodriquez was taken first to the clinic in Caye Caulker village, then later transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City where he underwent surgery. Rodriguez, according to the police is listed in a critical but stable condition. Love News spoke with Rodriguez’ sister, Shanda this morning and she admits that her brother ran from police however she says that is why cops should not have shot him. Shanda Rodriguez says that following surgery this morning, doctors at the KHMH told her that prognosis is that her brother will be okay. The two parcels of suspected marijuana have been confiscated and is being held as evidence. Today’s police report on the incident ends by saying that authorities have since retrieved Rodriquez’s knife and the 9 millimeter service revolver and are holding them as exhibit. Police investigation continues to determine the circumstances surrounding this latest shooting incident in Caye Caulker village.

BTL previews new telephone directory cover
Next to the Bible, the telephone directory is perhaps the most used book in many homes and offices around the country. And it’s that time of the year again, when the focus shifts to the BTL Directory. The book’s front page has always been a topic of some discussion and marvel and this year, considered the year of the Mayas, Belize Telemedia decided to look in that direction. Telemedia’s Senior Public Relations Officer, Gayle Ozaeta, told our colleagues at 7 News that right in tandem with the Maya’s spiritual prophecy, the cover of the 2012-2013 Directory depicts a new beginning. BTL customers can visit their nearest BTL customer service offices and collect their Directory free of cost, but the books will not be available until Wednesday of next week.


US under Secretary of State conducts visit to Belize
This morning at the house of culture, Maria Otero, Under Secretary for the United States Government and coordinator...

YC Belize gets underway this Saturday
YC Belize is almost here! The annual event that started five years ago continues to grow. The event kicks off on Sa...

Caye Caulker police shoots man in early morning drug search
This morning around 7am, police conducted a search at a resident on the island of Caye Caulker. They found two smal...

Police dog squad gets new recruits
The Canine Unit of the Police Dept. is looking to embark on an in-depth training exercise to better prepare their f...

Guatemalan President proposes legalizing drug trade, Belize responds
As we said, a radical proposition has been put forward by Guatemala's President Otto Perez Molina proposing the leg...

Appeals court overturns BDF's murder conviction
24 year-old BDF Private Paulino Assi, successfully appealed his manslaughter conviction yesterday. Assi was previou...

Post-mortem results return in fatal shootings of man and toddler
On Monday we told you about the accidental shooting of 44yr old Antonio Jimenez which occurred on a hunting trip be...

Autopsy certifies man's death as drowning
Earlier this week we told you about the retrieval of Jamie Lizama, body from the Macal River near the Iguana Creek ...

15 year detained for attempted murder
Belize City Police have detained a 15 yr old minor for questionig into a recent report of attempted murder. On Marc...

Belize City Police investigate separate burglary reports
Belize City Police are investigating two reports of Burglary. In the first instance, 46 yr old Morlyn Diaz reported...

Two arrested for drug trafficking offences
Yesterday morning, Police conducted a house search at the premises of Ronald Moreira in Punta Gorda Town. During a ...

The Guardian

Donation to expand Samuel Haynes Institute
The Government of Japan made a generous donation to the Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence on Monday, March 26, under its Grassroots and Human Security Grant Projects (GHGP).The Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence was opened on February 28, 2009 and is perhaps the best community resource center in the entire country. It is located at the corner of Mahogany and Oleander Streets and serves the people of Pickstock and Lake Independence.

Darien Banks convicted of drug trafficking
Darien Banks was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment after being found guilty of drug trafficking in Magistrate’s Court on Monday March 26th. Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer sentenced Banks to 3 years imprisonment and fined $10,000 with an additional $5.00 cost of court which he has until June 30th to pay. If he defaults an additional three years imprisonment will be levied. Banks, 33, along with his wife, Desiree Banks, 35, had been jointly charged with keeping prohibited firearm and ammunitions and drug trafficking. In court however, only Darien Banks was found guilty of drug trafficking while his wife, who was not present in court due to illness was acquitted of the charge of drug trafficking.

Guatemalan charged for Attempted Trafficking
On Tuesday March 27th, 53-year-old Jose Alfaro appeared in Magistrate’s Court in Belize City where he was charged with two counts of attempting to traffic in persons. Alfaro appeared before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith where he was read the charges. A 16-year-old girl reported to police that on two occasions, Alfaro solicited her to work at a bar and have sex with clients. Between February 22, 2012 and March 16, 2012, in Ladyville Village, Alfaro attempted to recruit the 16 -year-old girl for the purpose of exploitation, to use her as a prostitute. He is also accused of attempting to do the same thing to the same girl on March 17.

Retrial ordered for BDF Soldier Paulino
On Wednesday March 28th BDF Soldier, 24-year-old Paulino Assi appeared in the Court of Appeal where a retrial was ordered for him. He had been in jail for a year after being found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years in prison. On February 17 of last year, Assi was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Douglas resident, George Cortez, a civilian who was allegedly being disciplined by Assi after misbehaving behave whilst at a shelter during a flood. Cortez allegedly assumed a very threatening and violent posture against Assi’s Senior Officer and Assi fired a few warning shots and Cortez persisted in advancing with Assi firing at the advancing man killing him. In his defense, Assi testified that he fired because he genuinely believed that Cortez was armed and was launching a violent attack upon his Senior Officer. Assi was convicted of manslaughter and sentence to 10 years. Assi

Two charged in separate burglaries
On Monday March 26th, two men were arraigned for separate burglary offences. One of the burglaries occurred in the Lake Garden area of Ladyville where a teenager was charged while another teenager was charged for a Taylor’s Alley burglary in Belize City. On February 28th, the home of 66-year-old Shelia Gentle was invaded by men, who tied her up and stole her $46,000, vehicle which was then used to help her attacker(s) to make off with over $56,000 in items from her home. Items stolen include jewelry, a laptop computer, other appliances, cell phones and spirits. After investigations, police laid charges of burglary against 18-year-old Casey Lozano. He appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer where he was charged with a single count of burglary. No plea was taken from Lozano due to the quantity of the items stolen.

Fake Cop to stand trial in Supreme Court
On Wednesday March 28th, Aaron Wilson appeared in Magistrate’s Court where he was indicted to stand trial in the Supreme Court. Wilson appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith where his case was committed after being found in possession of Police Department equipment including uniforms, a cap, a belt, shirts, pants and other equipment. Wilson will stand trial on the charges of forgery of an official document; unlawful possession of Police Department accoutrements; possession of imitation official documents and possession of official false documents. The committal was made after the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith read out the testimonies of three people. Wilson is to stand trial at the April session of the Supreme Court scheduled to commence on April 19.

Man caught with cocaine in hotel room in Benque
Jes Forbes, a 48-year-old mechanic of Belize City, was remanded to prison on Monday, March 26, after he was busted with 2,021 kilos of cocaine in a hotel room in Benque Viejo Del Carmen. The incident occurred at around 3:00 a.m., on George Street at the Maya Hotel, where Forbes was occupying a room on the second floor of the building. Police on mobile patrol saw Fobres out on the verandah of the hotel, and stopped and this was when Forbes made a run back into the hotel room. Police then entered the building and headed to the second floor, where they heard several movements coming out from room #10. Forbes was ordered to open the door, where a search for drugs and illegal weapons took place.

Murder suspect gets off in Supreme Court
On Monday March 26th, 2012, 21-year-old Frank Edwards, who was accused of executing a bank robbery along with three others, was set free in the Supreme Court in Belmopan. Edwards walked after being charged with the murder of 32-year-old Steven Rudolph Lopez, a Security Guard, who was killed on March 30, 2010 during a bank robbery of the Scotiabank branch in Spanish Lookout, Cayo. Edwards’ acquittal came at 10:35 a.m. on Monday in the Belmopan Supreme Court before Justice Troadio Gonzalez. He ruled that the only evidence the police had against the accused was not admissible into trial. He concluded that at the end of a voir dire, which took place on March 21. Judge Gonzalez ruled that Edwards’ caution statement that he gave to police was not obtained voluntarily and in accordance to the laws of the country. He noted that, based on evidence, it was determined that Edwards was beaten horrendously as he claimed, that he was tortured by police after being shocked and left with many visible injuries to the body.

30 Million for Municipalities
Back in November 2009, Belize was visited by Samy Watson, Executive director for the Caribbean region of the World Bank. At the time, government was looking at the possibility of accessing 15 million U.S. dollars for funding the Municipal Development Project. It was quite the endeavor since the World Bank had just about broken off its relationship with Belize as a result of the PUP administration’s unwillingness to adhere to the bank’s guidelines. That changed with the UDP administration and as soon as was possible, the government began to look at ways on accessing financing from the bank. The Municipal Development Project was one such way and now, after almost 2 years and 4 months since the initial visit, the program, is rolling out in full gear. The most recent municipality to benefit was Punta Gorda where the town board’s administration building will be rehabilitated; streets will also be paved. In the first phase of the program a total of $425,000 will be invested in Punta Gorda alone. Other municipalities that will benefit under the project will be Belmopan, Benque Viejo del Carmen, San Ignacio and Santa Elena, Dangriga, Corozal and Orange Walk.

Bribery in Freetown Elections?
The United Democratic Party will be filing an election petition against Francis Fonseca in the Supreme Court. We have seen how the PUP have been skirmishing around the Supreme Court with one frivolous petition in the case of Yolanda Shackron and reportedly they will be filing against two other constituencies in the Cayo district. Well, what we can say is that the PUP will definitely fail; the UDP on the other hand stands a good chance of success against Francis Fonseca. On Thursday, March 29th the UDP will be filing an election petition after it received proof that two agents working in the Freetown division for the PUP were caught bribing voters. There is concrete proof of this and the UDP will be taking Francis Fonseca to court since he was the person running for office in that constituency.

Edited by Marty (11/17/12 10:45 AM)

#434406 - 03/30/12 09:08 AM Re: Today's Belize News: March 30, 2012 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Abrupt Pause to Attempted Murder and Child Destruction Case
On Tuesday March 27th, 22-year-old Henry Patnett asked that his case be stopped so he could retain proper representation. Patnett is accused of the attempted murder of his 28-year-old ex-girlfriend who was stabbed to the abdomen while she was pregnant in August 2010. In the process he allegedly killed her unborn child. In court, Patnett asked the court to stop his case after the prosecutor, Meagan Francis, had already called three witnesses to testify against him. Justice Adolph Lucas granted him the request. Patnett was on trial for three counts: child destruction for the death of his own child which his ex-girlfriend, Valarie Sheran, 28, was carrying at the time of the attack; attempted murder of Sheran, who almost lost her life, and wounding of her new lover then, 70-year-old Ernesto Ireland, who was also attacked on that day. Judge Lucas discharged the 9 member jury, who had been selected on Monday, March 26 to hear the case. The case was then set for June 4.

Orange Walk Mayor’s sideman arrested
Ever since they took up office at the Orange Walk Town Council, those in charge in that municipality have been acting without regard for the employees, who were working there, firing them at will and replacing them with cronies. The heavy-handed manner in which the council is being run spilled over into the life of an everyday citizen of Orange Walk Town on Friday night when the multi-tasked Efrain Paul Alpuche Jr., 45, who is the Sanitation Supervisor at the Orange Walk Town Council /driver and body guard of the Mayor, was arrested and charged for allegedly threatening radio personality, Dillon Jones on Friday, March 23rd. Noteworthy is the fact that Alpuche took the position which the new Mayor Kevin Bernard had deemed redundant when he fired Roberto Pate. Pate was the first to be victimized by Bernard.

Acquitted of Murder
On Tuesday March 27th Michael Foreman, 24, was acquitted of the October 12, 2009 murder of Eddie Neal, who was gunned down on North Creek in Belize City. 27-year-old Eddie Neal, known as “Eddie Mac”, was gunned down at the corner of Central American Boulevard and North Creek on Monday October 12, 2009. He had allegedly been beaten robbed and then shot once in the head. Police later charged Foreman, for this murder but due to the lack of an identification of the shooter, linking Foreman to the crime. A directive was given to a 12-member jury, who was selected Thursday, March 22, to hear the murder trial of Foreman. At 2:20 p.m., on Tuesday, a no case submission made by Foreman’s attorney, Nigel Ebanks. After the prosecution had called five witnesses, Foreman could not be identified as the killer. Justice Herbert Lord upheld the no case submission and directed the jury to find Foreman not guilty of murder and manslaughter.

Man shot and killed while hunting
On Sunday, March 25, 2012, Antonio Jimenez, 44, a Guatemalan national and resident of Belmopan City, was shot and killed while out hunting with friends. Police will not be pressing charges against the shooter, who is also a friend of Jimenez. Jimenez’s death has been classified as an accidental shooting. According to police, a group of four men, Jimenez, Jose Antonio Ramos, 40; Victor Flores, 64; and Raul Gomez, 53, set out at 5:00 a.m., on a hunting expedition 6 miles behind the Maya Mopan Area of Belmopan. The men had initially separated, spreading out in four different directions. Police say that Ramos spotted a deer around 9:00 a.m., he fired a single shot at the deer but instead caught Jimenez, who was not visible at first but had surfaced after being shot.

Armed robber stabbed to death by his victim
Approximately one year ago, Solomon Earl Gabourel, 34, once a squatter of Chetumal Street, rallied alongside hundreds of his community residents, all squatters too, staking claim to private land that he and others had constructed houses on and had been living on. Gabourel is now dead after police say he tried to rob a hotdog vendor on Albert Street and was stabbed in the process. Police say that on Saturday, March 24th, 2012, at around 4:30 a.m., Gabourel approached a 19-year-old vendor while she was selling hotdogs at the Battlefield Park. He held her by the neck and pressed a knife on her abdomen.

Yolanda Shackron never satisfied
The People’s United Party and Yolanda Shackron continue their futile effort at somehow trying to win the General Elections after the people of Belize have decided that they don’t want that lot to be running our country. Despite the country’s rejection of the PUP at the polls, Shackron and the PUP are going about this in a round-and-about way;they filed an application to the Supreme Court for leave to grant them an election petition. According to the PUP, Shackron who was disqualified from running in the Lake Independence constituency because she held dual nationality, should have been allowed to run.

Oscar Quiros is Junior Cross Country Champion
The Belize Cycling Association sponsored its 13th Annual Junior Cross Country Cycling Classic on Sunday March 25, 2012. The race started from the ferry in Succotz Village to Mile 2 (Leslie’s Imports) on the Western Highway. The 13th Edition of the Junior Cross Country Cycling Classic saw the participation of twenty riders with eighteen of them completing the 74-mile event. With a time of 3:50:11, Oscar Quiros, who was unattached, was the first rider to cross the finish line to capture this year’s junior title. Quiros was followed by Phillip Mencias of the Telemedia Cycling Team who took second place; Deezan Spence of D & D Cycling Team finished third; Riis Spence of C-Ray Junior Cycling Club finished fourth and Zahir Figueroa of Cayo Up-rising Cycling Club rounded off the top five finishers.

Andrews University donates Fire Boots to Belize City Council
On Monday, March 26th, the Belize City Council held a brief ceremony at City Hall during which Vern Byrd handed over 20 fire fighter boots to the Mayor of Belize City, His Worship Darrell Bradley. The generous donation was made possible through the efforts of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, US.

More Allegations against Johnny Briceno
The Guardian has received land documents showing that Johnny Briceno was involved in shady land distribution practices. Several allegations have been presented to us and so far at least one source has provided proof. In 1998, the Government of Belize gave the Belize Port Authority over 10 acres of land situated at Sandbore Caye. It was the Minister’s Fiat Grant No. 829 of 1998. The Belize Port Authority established a base on the island. It is also home to a lighthouse reef. A lighthouse is extremely important since it protects the coral reef by steering vessels away from the area. The Belize Port Authority had a plan for the island but recently learnt that the plan was a no go when the island was advertised for sale on page 40 of the Sunday, February 12 edition of the Amandala.

UNDP donates Pickup Truck to Ministry of Human Development
On Friday, March 23, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) handed over an Isuzu pickup truck to the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation, and Poverty Alleviation (MHDSTPA). It was the second motor vehicle provided to the Ministry under the Global Fund (GF) Round 9 Grant, being implemented by UNDP. The donations are in an effort to enhance the Ministry’s outreach capacity.

Government Provides Second Chance Opportunities for More Youths
On Monday, March 26, the Social Investment Fund signed agreements with eight local educational institutions as part of the Academic and Social Skills Training Program and the Vocational Training Program Phase I. Thirty-eight youths will be identified and assisted financially to further their education in academic, social and vocational skills training. As part of the program, Daniel Cano, Executive Director of the Social Investment Fund, signed agreements with the Youth Enhancement Services, Young Women’s Christian Association, Living Hope Preparatory School, Belize Friends School, 4H Youth Development Centre, the Orange Walk and Stann Creek ITVETS and the Cayo Centre for Employment Training (CET).

Under Secretary of U.S. Department of State Maria Otero visits Belize
The Embassy of the United States of America has announced the visit of Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Maria Otero. She oversees and coordinates U.S. foreign relations on the spectrum of civilian security issues across the globe, including democracy, human rights, population, refugees, trafficking-in-persons, the rule of law, counter-narcotics, crisis prevention and response, global criminal justice, and countering violent extremism. Under Secretary Otero is visiting Belize on March 28 and 29, 2012. She will be meeting with Government of Belize officials and local NGO’s to discuss the bilateral relationship between the United States of America and Belize in her areas of expertise.

Government Speech - Delivered By His Excellency The Governor General, Sir Colville N. Young
Part II of the Government Speach delivered by Sir Colville Young, Gov. General of Belize The Government will implement the RESTORE Belize Strategic Plan, which recognizes three major pillars for restoring Belize namely: human development, citizen prosperity and citizen security. (G) Education and Youth My Government is firmly committed to the creation of a national education program to meet the demands of this emerging nation in the 21st century. Over the next five years, along with its partners in education, the Government intends to raise the bar even further through focus on four main areas. These will be to: (1) improve the quality and relevance of education at all levels; (2) improve the educational environment and attendance; (3) strengthen administration throughout the education sector; and (4) increase student participation and achievement countrywide.

Fuel prices at record high; Government has Solutions
The price of Premium Gasoline reached a record of $12.12 at the pump in Belize City on Wednesday March 28th. Diesel stood at $10.10 and regular gasoline was at $11.81. The prices at the pump are indicative of an ever-escalating price on the international market and Belize, like most countries, is at the mercy of the oil-producing economies that dictate when the price of fuel goes up or comes down.

Framework for Transition to Chlorofluorocarbons Strenghtens
The National Ozone Unit within the Department of the Environment has been executing the Ozone Layer Protection Programme in Belize since the year 2000. Based on the formulation of the Country Programme in 1998-1999, the National Ozone Unit has successfully executed various National Projects between the periods 2000 to 2010, in the effort to phase-out importation of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as Ozone Depleting Substances. While Belize has successfully phased-out the importation of CFCs, the country must maintain zero importation as per the mandates of the Montreal Protocol. One of the many activities under this programme is the upgrading of the Governmentof Belize laboratory’s gas chromatograph. This critical piece of equipment will alsobe able to serve for an in-depth analysis of refrigerants prior to allowing importation into Belize.


Legends King Kong challenge fundraiser
We are all very pleased with the first San Pedro Branch Red Cross Belize Fundraiser at Legends Burger House on Sunday March 25th. We had a great turn out, the King Kong challenge was a big hit and Legends was so packed that people were standing on chairs to watch. We ended up with 5 competitors, Michael, Nabhor, Claudia, Hayden and previous challenge winner and burger man Wade the Gringo. Hayden and Wade took the lead fast and it was looking like a very close draw. Dov called it and a few others agreed that while Hayden’s plate was empty first his mouth was still full and Wade was the clear winner because he swallowed. The Chinese Auction also a big hit, our auctioneer Bob Utsman had the room laughing and the girls out bidding each other and any boys who were trying for a lovely gold and gemstone ring. Helda was the lucky winner in the end. In total we raised a grand total of $4310 – job well done.

Mahajual/Mahahual: Almost Two Different Towns
About half an hour north and then half an hour east of Chetumal is the small beach town of Mahahual, Mexico. The town was almost totally levelled in August of 2007 when Hurricane Dean (my first real hurricane experience on San Pedro) made a direct hit as a Category 5. Situated at the northern end of the world's second longest barrier reef that spans the southern Yucatan, Belize to Honduras, the town has two totally distinct halves. On one side of town, there is a massive cruise ship dock and cruise ship village. It is like a giant mall in the middle of a deserted beach with none of the places you'd want to visit. They have a Hard Rock Cafe, Diamonds International and about 1000 junky trinket stores. Since the cruise ships come in on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays and we arrived on a Saturday, the place was closed and in fact, the whole town was pretty empty. In the other direction, there is the town proper. There is quite a bit of building going on (and some super touristy stuff like Senor Frogs)...but the beach is very pretty with a nice wide pedestrian promenade along the sea and the water perfect for wading right up to the reef.

The Stemadenia Donnel Smithi – A Magnetic Force Deep Within the Jungles of Belize
The Stemadenia donnel smithi, has a magnetic draw. Not only does the sweet nectar of its large yellow flowers attract butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and bees but its fruits also draw over 22 species of birds (including toucans and woodpeckers) and small mammals such as kinkajous, squirrels, and even monkeys. Probably the most interesting species to note is the homo sapiens sapiens which congregate around this tree to nourish their spirit with laughter and a shared joy as it inspires a plethora of quips, double-entendres in reference to the large, paired hanging fruits. Under the tree’s shade clever advances (mostly in good taste) are made on the opposite sex (usually) in an attempt to propagate the species or to satisfy nature’s appetite. One of many things all Central American countries share is the abundance of Stemadenia donnel smithi, more commonly referred to as “Horse balls”. This plant can grow to be 10 to 15 meters in height and the girth of its trunk to about 25centimeters. These trees bear fruit throughout the year and are in abundance particularly in pastures but also in the rainforest. The sap from this plant’s fruit is used as a natural remedy as it relieves insect bites. In the wild, lush jungles of Belize, where nature spontaneously generates life, one particularity that hold true is the magnetic properties of the Stemadenia donnel smithi as it nourishes the ecosystem.

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Belize
Belize is a small country with a big adventure quotient. Tucked away between Guatemala and Honduras, there is a lot you probably don’t know about this tropical Eden. For instance: 1) The only Jaguar preserve in the world is found in Belize. 2) The water surrounding Belize averages 79 to 83 °F (26 to 28 °C). 3) Most of Belize’s territories were recently owned by neighbouring Guatemala. 4) With under 350,000 people, Belize is one of the least populated countries in the world. 5) The largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere is found in Belize. 6) Belize’s barrier reef is home to over 400 species of fish. 7) It is considered rude to greet people in Belize by their first names. 8) Belize is the only Central American country that doesn’t recognize Spanish as an official language. 9) Black Howler Monkeys indigenous to Belize are among the loudest animals in the world.

Maya Ruins in Belize: Visiting Lamanai
Nearly every travel magazine and media outlet has included Belize in their round up of “must visit” destinations for 2012, mainly because the end of the Maya calendar takes place on December 21. And the recent visit by Prince Harry certainly did wonders for putting Belize on even more travelers’ radars. I guess for once I was ahead of the curve on something as I’ve been traveling to Belize regularly since 2005. I already know how cool the country is. But thanks for the backup National Geographic and TIME Magazine. Belize is a really a country that has it all for me – rich history, vibrant culture, and certainly no shortage of amazing cuisine. Those elements, along with the very special friendships I’ve made during all my trips, are the main things that bring me back at least once a year. I’m often asked by many first-time Belize travelers which is the best Maya ruin site to visit if you only have time for one. While I certainly have not explored every Maya temple in Belize, my recommendation is visit Lamanai.

International Sources

Mexican Astronomer Dismisses Mayan Apocalypse Prophecies
Neither the Mayans’ texts nor their calendar contain predictions of an apocalypse later this year, but regrettably “pseudoscientific media outlets are talking about the end of the world, based on supposed prophecies and the Mayan calendar,” Mexican astronomer Marte Trejo Sandoval said. The Mayans, who lived in what are now Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador between 800 B.C. and A.D. 900, did not leave behind any texts that contain prophecies about the end of the world on Dec. 21, the astronomer and historian said during a workshop Wednesday in the southeastern Mexican state of Yucatan. “Astronomy played a fundamental role in knowing when it was time to plant and in following the cycles of the planets, but there are no records that the Mayans saw the end of the world coming. An apocalyptic concept did not exist in that civilization,” Trejo told the Mexico City daily El Universal.

New seismic hazard assessment for Central America
A new study evaluates the seismic hazards for the entire Central America, including specific assessments for six capital cities, with the greatest hazard expected for Guatemala City and San Salvador, followed by Managua and San José, and notably lower in Tegucigalpa and Panamá City. The study, published in the April issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA), included input from seismic hazard experts from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Norway and Spain. All seismic experts from Central American countries, except Belize, agree with the study's assessments.

CARIFORUM and EU Sign $110M in Agreements; Allocations for Belize, Haiti
The Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) and the European Union signed three financial agreements aimed at boosting the region’s integration efforts. The three agreements have a total value of $110 million, which will support integration and trade in the OECS, the further development of the CARICOM single market, with special allocations for Belize and Haiti, and CARIFORUM’s commitments under its joint EU partnership agreement. The OECS portion will strengthen the organization’s capacity to integrate into wider CARICOM arrangments.

Appeal court declares Telemedia nationalisation unconstitutional‎
On August 25 2009 the Belize government nationalised Belize Telemedia Limited. By way of an order issued by the telecommunications minister, the government ...


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