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#437512 - 05/09/12 01:26 PM Today's Belize News: May 9, 2012
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


The San Pedro Sun

Ministry of Health Increases its Dental Services to Children with Special Needs
The Dental Department of the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Belize Center for the Visually Impaired (BCVI), Community Agency for Rehabilitation and Education for Persons with Disability (CARE) and the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) held a two day workshop on wellness care for Special Needs children on April 26th and 27th at the Stella Maris School in Belize City. The objective of the workshop was to certify dental surgeons to care for Special Needs Children. The workshop increased access of dental care for Special Olympics Athletes as well as children and adults with intellectual disabilities. At the conclusion of the workshop, dental surgeons and other professional doctors provided their services to approximately one hundred Special Needs Children at the Belize Elementary Gymnasium. This year, a total of 13 dental staff from the Ministry of Health participated as a part of Special Smiles.

Oceana Belize Files Suit Challenging the Disqualification of Referendum Petition Signatures
Oceana in Belize seeks Judicial Review of the Government of Belize’s (GOB) decision to disqualify signatures submitted to the Elections and Boundaries Department petitioning the GOB to hold a national referendum on Offshore Oil Drilling In December of 2011, the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, spearheaded by member Oceana Belize, collected and submitted 20,160 signatures petitioning the Government of Belize to hold a referendum on the topic of allowing Offshore Oil Drilling in Belize. The petition was done in accordance with the Referendum Act and was a requirement for the Coalition to have the referendum held on request. It needed to have 10% of the registered voters of Belize signed unto the petition in order for it to be passed which would amount to 17,140 signatures of the total 171,405 registered voters. The number of signatures submitted clearly exceeded the required quantity needed as it totalled over 11% of the overall number required to have the referendum held, however, after waiting two months to get a response from the Elections and Boundaries Department they were told at a press conference on February 1, 2012, that over 8,000 signatures were rejected on the petition and therefore the required amount was not met.

Director Ben Popik talks about his film “The Exquisite Corpse Project”
Recently, director Ben Popik sat down with The San Pedro Sun to talk about his new film “The Exquisite Corpse Project“; a Comedy/Documentary that portrays a group of guys who work together to write a screenplay for a film, but with one major twist… they each person only get to read the last five pages of the previous section the other person wrote. Ben brings together five comedians, and surprises them with a challenge: to each write fifteen pages of a movie, having read only the previous five pages of the script. They agree with one stipulation: if they write the movie, he has to make it. It sounds like a really weird concept and you’d think… “no way in hell would that work”. Well you know what, it does, and it turns out to be one kick-ass feel-good fun movie about nothing and everything. It’s a comedy, a love story, a psycho-sexual thriller, and a supernatural adventure all in one! One Movie… Five Writers… a thousand different twists and turns! Ben is a New York native who’s now living and working in San Pedro where he and his wife Joanna own “Island Films” a full-service, HD video-production firm. In his own words, he is here because “it’s so beautiful…I love this country, this country’s amazing!” He’s no stranger to working both on and off the camera, having worked on tons of productions with companies such as Discovery Channel and his own production company Olde English Comedy, producing/writing/editing comedies and films for television for over eight years. This however is his first feature length film and judging by the reaction of critics who’ve seen it so far, it’s a really good one.

Ambergris Today

NEMO Poster/Quiz Competition
The National Emergency Management Organization is hereby extending an invitation to all schools in Belize Rural South to participate in our annual NEMO Week. NEMO Week is May 27 - June 1, 2012 All schools throughout the country have been invited to join and participate in a National Poster contest. All posters will be judged in Belmopan for NEMO Week. Also, the San Pedro Town Emergency Committee is cordially inviting all schools in Belize Rural South to participate in a quiz contest. This quiz contest is only for schools in the Belize Rural South. The date set for the quiz contest is May 29, 2012. The questioner and all other details for the quiz contest will be forwarded to all schools no later than Friday, April 27, 2012. Other activities for NEMO Week is: a special Church service in all denomination, Radio/TV Talk Show, National Poster contest, Quiz contest and an entertainment night on Disaster Preparedness to climax the week in the San Pedro Town Central Park.

Sanpedranos in New BTB Board of Directors
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is proud to announce the appointment of its new Board of Directors. On April 4, 2012, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Culture selected the ten member board, re-appointing three members from the last board and selecting six new board members. Serving the board as an ex-officio member is our newly appointed CEO of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Mrs. Tracy Panton. “The successful and sustainable development of our industry is dependent upon robust leadership and direction,” said the Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. “I strongly believe the new Board of Directors will be able to ensure positive growth in our tourism industry over the next year.” Drawn from discipline and expertise, these board members understand their key role in the continued development and achievements of the BTB, translating to an overall economic growth for the Belize Tourism Industry. The new Board Chair, Ian Lizarraga, says he is honored to be serving the industry in this new capacity.

Oceana Belize Files Suit Against Government of Belize
On Friday, May 4, 2012, Oceana in Belize filed suit against the Government of Belize challenging its disqualification of 8,042 signatures of Belizean voters who had signed a petition calling on the Government of Belize to hold a national referendum which would permit all Belizeans on voting whether to allow or disallow offshore exploration and drilling in Belize. The disqualification, representing close to 40% of all signatures, was collected by the ‘Coalition to Save or Natural Heritage’, during a national petition drive in 2011.

Town Council Starts Ambitious Clean Up Campaign in San Pedrito Area
The San Pedro Town Council is keeping its word of having a cleaner San Pedro. It first embarked on a Earth Day cleanup campaign in April where residents were asked to take out all their garbage on the street sides for the council to clear. Now, specific areas on the island are being targeted for cleanup. On Monday, May 7, 2012, an official cleanup campaign put together by the Town Council commenced with a 12-man team targeting the San Pedrito Area. Ambergris Today met with Mayor Danny Guerrero and councilors in San Pedrito where they gave us a personal tour of the area and explained in detail what their plans for the area are.

Misc Belizean Sources

ACES rescues anteater
While on a croc call Vince rescues a Collared anteater. The little girl is slightly injured, apparently from a dog attack. Additionally, she appears to have been a pet due to her behavior. Tomorrow Vince will carry her to the Belize Forest Department in Belmopan where Wildlife Officer Rasheda Garcia and the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network vet Dr. Paquet will assess her. Hopefully she will be rehabilitated and released.

Belize Embassy Open House May 5, 2012
The Belize Embassy in the USA was open on Saturday 10am-5pm as part of an annual embassy open house day. Some embassies did quite a bit more than others and I would put Belize in that category. Ambassador Mendez and his wife were greeting people as they came in. I didn't see any other ambassadors doing that all day. Of course, I'm not sure everyone quite realized who he was. When I had started posing for the shot everyone in line was like, "what's going on, who are these people?" Anyway, I met his kids, too, and invited all of them to LOC soon, which they accepted.(!) The embassy also had lots of tour information for free and Belikin on tap and food goodies for a fee.

BHSAS Subsidised Spay and Neuter Program
In an effort to limit the impact of unwanted breeding on the population of dogs and cats in the streets of the Old Capital, the Belize Humane Society and Animal Shelter (BHSAS) has introduced a subsidized spay and neuter program in Belize City. Under the program, BHSAS will pay 1/3 of the cost of spaying and neutering anyone’s dogs and cats at the Animal Medical Center (AMC) located off Victoria Street near Freetown Road. The animal’s owner would only be liable for the remainder of the normal costs of these operations at this leading veterinary practice. While the program has been initially implemented with the AMC, BHSAS intends to expand the scheme to include other vets in Belize City in the near future. The public should call AMC on 223-3781 to make the appointments, or for answers to any other questions about this program.

Just How Nutz Is This Nut???? Who is John McAfee? by Fayemarie Anderson Carter
There are people rising up to defend John McAfee by attacking the source of the works I quoted, saying it is mere speculation and there is no proof. One comment called me “judgmental” reminding me that those living in glass houses shouldn’t cast stones. WTF??? Really? LMAO! O Good Lordamerci! Why get so personal over a man neither of us knows???

Mangrove Park in Corozal continues to thrive, with growing support in the community
To finalize celebrating Earth Day 2012, everyone involved in the clean-up was invited to gather at Mangrove Park. First there was a program where the organizers of the event made short talks, encouraging everyone to stay involved in the efforts to keep Corozal clean and green.   Before and after the program and installation of the sign, the people were able to enjoy the park and appreciate the beauty that can accompany preserving the environment.   Earth Day 2012, in addition to a big clean-up, was celebrated by installing a new sign at Mangrove Park, Corozal's flagship environmental project. Since its initiation in 2009, this park has been worked on many hours and days by locals as well as groups from out of country. The sign was designed and painted (with some help from others) by Kumi Hoshi, a JICA volunteer who is an environmental advocate. She is always on hand for any project related to the environment. She is functioning as an environmental educator with the Ministry of Education.

Pacz Tours Offers Caracol Overnight Camping Tours
Scarlet Macaws, Mountain Pine Ridge during the day, Ca'ana at sunset, and roasting marshmallows at night. That sounds like quite a tour. Pacz Tours does just that. Check them out at http://www.pacztours.net/

Full Moon Concert: The Remaining
Daniel Velazquez got some brilliant shots of the Full Moon Concert. Check out that picture of the full moon. Amazing picture of the drummer in action! And the violinist too. Great shots, Danny. Can't wait for the SISE HoC to put on the next one.

National Agriculture and Trade Show pictures
Beltraide posted quite a few pictures from Agric. Read about how they provided Rainforest Haven and Rumors Resort their booth space. "BELTRAIDE subsidized its booth to Rainforest Haven Inn and Rumors Resort Hotel, providing them with exposure, and allowing them to apply what they learned in the workshop. Giveaways, raffles, and games formed part of the weekend. Visitors to the booth stemmed from individuals who are planning to open a business, to businesspeople, and regular visitors who were simply interested to hear and see what the Inns had to offer."

Channel 7

A COOL-HANDED CAR THIEF
Tonight the Central Region of The Department of Health is looking for a Gold 2009 Toyota Hilux. It was stolen after two this morning from their compound which is at the old Nursing School, right next to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. But while the news tonight is about their effort to get the vehicle back - to tell that story, we first have to show you how easily it was stolen - alarmingly so. Jules Vasquez reviewed the security camera footage - and saw the work of a cool handed car thief - with an apparent inside connect:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The break in started here at 2:27 am - with the robber casually striding up St. Joseph Street looks in at the gate - sees no security and then proceeds to scale the fence. Wearing what looks like military type fatigues, he gets over with ease and then calmly strolls around to the fence and quickly breaks open the lock - after all - he'll shortly be driving out with his new car. In no rush at all, he slides the gate open - with the same casual air that you would do it with your gate at home.

FAMILY SAYS: COPS MURDERED BOCO-T
Well-known city resident, Kevin Kelly known as Boco-T died in police custody 12 days ago - and his post mortem was just performed today. For his family - which has been waiting nearly two weeks to bury the 38 year old father of 3, it is an outrage heaped upon a tragedy - and when they found out the cause of death today - that outrage hardened into bitter resentment. They today told us that the post mortem identified his cause of death as internal bleeding due to Abdominal, trauma due to blunt instrument type. Now, that's major news because the unofficial police story was that he may have died from a broken neck which he could have suffered when he jumped a fence running from San Pedro Police last week Thursday night. But the post mortem - as the family reads it - suggests that some blunt instrument caused the bleeding which led to his death. His common-law-wife and brother told us that they believe he was murdered by police:.. Lorna Wade - Common Law Wife of Deceased "I am not satisfied with the results. As what the police said that Kevin climbed a fence and broke his neck - he didn't break his neck, the autopsy showed that there is no broken neck and no overdose or nothing." "The autopsy showed that he died from internal bleeding."

POLICE GIVE OFFICIAL VERSION OF SOUTHERN MURDER
Last night - just like all other media - we got it wrong when we reported on the murder of Maria Chen. The 81 year old resident of San Pablo Village in the Toledo District was killed - but police have not named her 79 year old common law husband Manuel Pec as a suspect. The police press office - which did not release any information yesterday despite requests - today reports that at about 7:00 on Friday night 81 year old Chen, a Guatemalan national and Pec were lying in their hammocks. Pec told police that suddenly, she cried out to him, saying, quote, "someone is killing us." Pec told police he doesn't know what happened next, because he was struck across the face and hand and the light was off. Chen's throat was slit and she was found lying face down in a pool of blood - with a stab wound to her throat. Pec's hand was broken - and police found him lying in the hammock. Police are investigating - but have made no arrests in this very mysterious killing.

AMERICAN CHARGED FOR SMUGGLING METH
44 year-old David Michael Higgins, an American tourist, was arraigned in court today for possession of a controlled drug. Higgins, who is a maintenance worker from Missouri, arrived at the PGIA from Dallas on Saturday. He then got into the line to check in at customs, but an ADU officer observed that he was behaving suspiciously. That officer searched Higgins and found 0.6 grams of an unknown substance in one of Higgins's pockets. As a result, the officer arrested and charged him with possession of a controlled drug, and he was brought to court yesterday. However, he was not arraigned until today after the results of the lab analysis came back, which positively identified the confiscated drugs as crystal meth. Higgins pleaded guilty to the charge, and as a result, Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith sentenced him to pay a fine of $1,000 forthwith. He was able to pay up, and he was released from custody this afternoon.

ANDY AVILEZ, REAL JAIL FOR A PLASTIC GUN
Last night, we told you about 48 year-old Andy Aviles who was charged with attempt robbery after he was caught trying to rob a taxi driver. Well today, he was brought to court. He covered up his face all the way to and from the Court room of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, where he was arraigned. Avilez pleaded not guilty to the charge but the prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that he has been previously charged with other offenses of dishonesty. Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith upheld that objection and remanded him to prison until June 8, when he will be brought back to court. As we reported, Avilez allegedly got into the Guatemalan taximan, Walter Lopez's, vehicle and robbed him of $10 using a plastic gun. Fortunately, Lopez shouted for a passing police mobile and Avilez was arrested after he was allegedly caught in the act.

A POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROJECT WITH PURPOSE
Last night we told you about the mess with the payroll for the gang truce, the poverty alleviation project and other works projects. Cuts are being made across the board because government can no longer afford the wage bill for all 800 plus persons. But another project - this one very tightly managed - is providing employment to at-risk persons. It is the Southside Poverty Alleviation Project. This one is no idle past-time, and, in fact, idlers are not welcome; it's back breaking manual work that pays well for those who perform but rejects those who want easy money. We found out how the project is transforming the Collet Canal area and also changing a few lives:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The Collet Canal - from Yabra to conch Shell Bay is being transformed. 825 metres of the canal is being narrowed, capped, and the adjoining streets paved in short with about 600 piles, the canal is being civilized - it will no longer be a filth strewn backwater. It is a massive 10 million dollar project funded by the OPEC fund for International Development

PRISON OFFICER WITH WEED
27 year-old Amir Reyes, a prison officer from Orange Walk, is facing a drug trafficking charge after he allegedly tried to smuggle marijuana into the Belize Central Prison. According to police, sometime after 7 p.m. last night, Reyes tried to smuggle 11.4 ounces of marijuana which was hidden inside a container filled with food he brought from home. The prison officer on duty stirred the food around and found the marijuana in a small parcel under the food. Reyes was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith today, and he pleaded not guilty to the charge. He was granted bail of $1000, and met bail, with his case adjourned to June.

MORE DETAILS ON BEWU VS. BTL
Last night we told you about the pre-mediation meeting that the Labor Commissioner Convened with the Management of BEL and the Belize Energy Workers Union. Coming out of the talks both sides agreed to revert to the status quo, to stick to the Partnership collective agreement and to start a formal mediation process by tomorrow. But, tonight we'll revisit that 6:00 pm press conference to specifically examine some of the issues that had come up in the two weeks of public agitation between union and management. First, off the Labour Commissioner confirmed that the Energy Workers di withdraw their labour this weekend - meaning that workers who were on call turned off their radios. He said that move lent the talks some urgency:.. Reporter "Was there a strike that would have made it abnormal?" Ivan Williams - Labour Commissioner "No, my understanding is that certain employees at the company were not showing up for standby on certain hours that were expected of them. Those persons will no longer be withholding their labour. They will continue to be on standby and show up when required to ensure that there is electricity to the country, particularly, where there might be situation where there is a power failure." Williams also discussed the fate of seven workers: three who were terminated and four who were declared redundant. He explained what will happen with those seven employees: Ivan Williams "We have agreed that those persons who are - I'd want to say - are engaged in certain industrial actions, that management should not move to take any sort of disciplinary action against them. That is one of the issues on the table for discussion, so it is only fair that we fully ventilate and hear those issues."

COCA COLA, ART OR ARTIFICE?
Coca Cola is one of the biggest global brands - and with no real challenger in Belize - its probably the biggest local brand as well. This year, Bowen and Bowen is celebrating 50 years of bottling Coca Cola in Belize. And to make it memorable, they invited 50 painters to conjure up quote, "moments of happiness with Coca Cola." Now, patrons are nothing new to the arts - but 50 artists? This one seemed a little over the top - and so we had a few tough questions for the patrons and the curator when it opened at the House of Culture today:... Jules Vasquez reporting The ubiquitous logo of the global corporate mothership on every piece of art - one nation under a carbonated beverage. That's the impression one gets when he or she views the show - and Coca Cola makes no apology for it: Shelley Bowen Stonesifer - Marketing Coordinator, Bowen & Bowen LTD. "The idea behind the project is that we've been bottling Coca-Cola in Belize for 50 years, and we wanted to do something celebrate 50 years of Coca Cola."

OPTOMETRY STUDENTS ASSIST
A group of optometry students are in Belize - conducting free eye examinations for children as well as adults. The free eye screenings are being done at the Lion's Clinic for the next 2 days. The group consists of 15 volunteers - who belong to the optometric service to humanity at the Southern College of Optometry. 7news stopped in today at the Clinic and found out more. Brett Miller, Student Volunteer "Basically today and also on Wednesday and Thursday we are going to be doing eye exams. We are Optometry students in Memphis Tennessee in the United States and we are going to check the health of our patient's eyes here and we are also looking to see if there is any prescription if we can help their vision with glasses today." "Today we are going to see about 350-400 patients. The people have really been coming in and we are glad to see everybody, there are lots of young students that we are screening. We are doing everything we can to help them." "Everything is going great so far. Lots of the kids are doing well, they don't need glasses. There are some kids who have been uncorrected and we've got glasses to help them out especially for them being able to see the board in school." "We have also screen a bunch of adults - some of them have conditions that we referred them to the local Ophthalmologist here to help them with as far as diabetes and different conditions like that." "We are also giving away sunglasses. Lots of individuals have had conditions that are caused by extra UV exposer - we have sunglasses that we can give out that will help."

RED CROSS RECRUITS KIDS
Today Red Cross volunteers from around the world joined in with one another as they celebrated World Red Cross Crescent Day. As a part of the local observance, the Belize Red Cross held an Open Day to educate the public on the purpose they serve. Those purposes were demonstrated by youngsters themselves who played a major role in today's Open Day. According to Director General of the Belize Red Cross, Lily Bowman, young people play a critical role in helping the Red Cross. Lily Bowman, Director General of the Belize Red Cross "Today we are hosting an open day. It is being carried out by our abled youth volunteers; we have about 10 of them here from SJC and SCA. It's basically to take people through our offices and to tell them about our programs first hand." "We are taking through our 7 fundamental principles - the history of the movement, the history of Belize Red Cross. We are telling them about our disaster reduction programs and activities." "We are also telling them and showing them some skills in first aid. Those are the basic things. It's basically catering for young people since the theme this year is "Youth on the move." So we are trying to develop our young people in the Red Cross and to probably start developing a spirit of volunteers in themselves and in a way to build leadership among them." "We have several schools dropping in today and of course we have invited the general public if they so like to come."

Channel 5

Husband says unknown assailant killed his wife
The abundance and availability of guns and ammunition on the street has resulted in six persons being shot since Friday night; they all managed to survive. But it’s not a Belize City shooting incident that has gripped a southern community, but the murder of an octogenarian who was killed was in cold blood. Since Monday [...]

Guatemala police kill man who threatened Joseph Budna
While it seems that violent crime is no longer endemic only to Belize City, other communities rarely feel the constant fear that is felt by some in the old capital. However, there is one man who, no matter what community he lives in, always seems to be shadowed by unusual circumstances. Joseph Budna had experienced [...]

Tourist at Airport with his personal stash of Crystal Meth
Belize’s reputation for being a top eco-friendly tourist destination has travelled far, but for some tourists, they have also heard that Belize’s drug laws are not prison ready. The recent cases of containers busted by the Customs Department, which contain pseudo-ephedrine, a precursor for the manufacture of the highly addictive methamphetamine of crystal meth drug; [...]

Caught on Camera: Culprit stealing Health Services vehicle
The impudent behavior that Higgins used to pass his drugs through U.S. and Belize customs, is not uncommon, as a car thief in the presence of cameras also had gall to steal a vehicle. A government truck was stolen early this morning from the Central Health Region compound on Saint Thomas Street. The theft was [...]

Should taxpayers’ dollars pay gang salaries?
It was announced late last month that the referendum on taking the Belize/Guatemala territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice will be held on October sixth, 2013. Leading up to that date, there will be plenty discussion on the matter so we got the ball rolling with our last question to viewers. We asked: [...]

“I neva know” defense works in Cuthkelvin container case
Six containers loaded with a precursor to methamphetamine have been sitting at the Customs Department compound since March. The value of the chemical methylamine hydrochloride has been placed in the range of ten billion dollars. Tonight there is information that the department will not be pressing any charges against Vernon Cuthkelvin who was named as [...]

Labor Commissioner bridges connection with B.E.L. and B.E.W.U.
The management of the Belize Electricity Limited and the Belize Energy Workers Union, through the intervention of Labor Commissioner Ivan Williams, is set to resume deliberations on Wednesday morning in an effort to pinpoint specific issues affecting both parties. The administration of the government-owned utility company and the membership of the B.E.W.U. have been at [...]

Oceana explains why it’s taking ministry and G.G. to court
While the union has the option of seeking out the labor commissioner, nongovernmental organizations have no such recourse for redress. That is why Oceana Belize is taking its issues to court. Oceana Belize is not giving up its drive to have a referendum on the question of offshore drilling. On Friday May fourth Oceana filed [...]

OCEANA foresees a double referendum day
On October sixth, 2013, citizens of Belize and Guatemala will vote in a referendum as to whether the territorial dispute should be forwarded to the International Court of Justice. But a day in which national attention calls the citizens to the poll may also serve OCEANA’s purpose. News Five asked Audrey Matura Shepherd, if the [...]

Marijuana at Lim Ni Punit and in New River
Drug busts were made in the north and south over the past few days. On Monday afternoon at around three-thirty, a team of officers from the Ladyville Police Sub-Formation conducted a search in an isolated area in the New River Lagoon, Orange Walk District. They discovered a marijuana plantation that contained three hundred and ninety-eight [...]

Prison Officer tries to smuggle marijuana into prison
Nim Li Punit and the New River are but only a sample of locations where marijuana occasionally turns up. But there is one place that smugglers regularly get caught; believe it or not, it’s the Belize Central Prison. Prison officers are occasionally accused of trying to smuggle weed into the Prison. And on Monday night, [...]

3 persons missing; have you seen them?
Three persons, two females and one male, have gone missing since the start of this past weekend and the families have been desperately trying to locate them. The first was sixteen year old David Choc who left his home in Armenia Village, Cayo and has not been seen since. His father, Miguel Choc, notified authorities [...]

World Red Cross Day celebrated in Belize
World Red Cross Day is recognized yearly on May eighth. It is a celebration of the work of the organization that has aided the country in many disaster relief efforts. But the institution is not limited to disaster relief and over the years has been offering various services to the public through several programs. This [...]

Coca COLA’s carbonated nouveau art
Since 1962, when the first batch of cokes hit stores, the drink has been a favorite among most Belizeans. Fifty years later, coca-cola is still the beverage of choice and can be found at just about every social event. Today Bowen and Bowen inaugurated its celebration of the golden anniversary of coca-cola in Belize with [...]

$10,000 in prizes delivered at KTV Latino Final
The wait is almost over and within the next few hours you will know who the KTV Latino Season Three champion is. Four finalists have survived weeks of eliminations and intense competition that all lead up to the grand finale tonight. Nasain Montalvo, Doctor Jose Espat, Francesca Awe and Luis Ariel Romero can all be [...]

LOVE FM

Tuesday, May 8 - POLICE NEWS
Amir Reyes, a prison officer residing in Orange Walk who allegedly tried to smuggle 324 grams of cannabis into Belize Central prison was charged with drug trafficking when he appeared in court today. Reyes pleaded not guilty to the charge. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith o...

AMERICAN NATIONAL BUSTED WITH METH AT AIRPORT IN BELIZE
44-year-old American national David Michael Higgins who was busted at Phillip Goldson International Airport with point six grams of crystal meth was fined one thousand dollars after he pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a controlled drug. Higgins was ordered to pay the f...

UNICEF HOLDS WORKSHOP
The plight of children in Belize, their education and wellbeing are among the main concerns for organizations that deal with them on a daily basis. UNICEF’s core role in Belize is to monitor the rights of children and to see the kinds of progress we’re making along wi...

OCEANA CONTINUES FIGHT AGAINST OFFSHORE DRILLING
It has taken the government to task on the issue of whether to drill or not to drill offshore and within national parks and now, OCEANA in Belize is taking the government to court. Last Friday, the non-government organization filed legal papers in the Supreme Court for judicial r...

GOVERNMENT VEHICLE STOLEN
A government vehicle, assigned to the Ministry of Health, was stolen early this morning in Belize City. According to the manager of the Central Health Region, Melinda Guerra, the theft will greatly affect the department’s work, especially with the upcoming rainy ...

POLICEMAN BASED IN TOLEDO ACCUSED OF USING UNWARRANTED FORCE
A Toledo family is alleging that the policeman in their village has done their family wrong. Paul Mahung reporting… According to the Sho family of San Antonio Village Toledo, six family members including mother, fath...

MENA FAMILY RESUMES CONTROL OF WOOD DEPOT
The Mena family of Belmopan has resumed control of the Wood Depot Company. Since 2010, the Wood Depot had been under a receivership imposed by First Caribbean International Bank. The decision to return full control of the company to the Mena family was finalized on Monday i...

CTV3

Ivan Tun Charged For Murder
On Wednesday May 8th 28 year old Jorge Ivan Tun accused of the April 23rd murder of 18 year old Aiden Perez, handed himself over to Corozal authorities accompanied by his lawyer. When the report was released by police on Friday we were unable to obtain Tun’s picture. But tonight we have that for you. As previously mentioned, immediately after handing himself over to police Tun was arrested and charged for murder and was remanded to the Kolbe Correctional Facility until his next court date scheduled for 19th of June. Witnesses claim that on the night of Tuesday April 23rd Tun arrived at the residence of one Raymond Jones, pulled out a firearm and fired a hail of bullets at a group of men including Perez who was hanging out at the residence. Three of those bullets found their mark on Perez’s heart, ribs and leg. He died en route to the Corozal Community Hospital. During the incident Kareem Jones was also wounded on the left leg and groin area. He is now recuperating from his injuries.

Two Men Found Guilty Of Aggravated Burglary
Not too often are police able to capture and identify thieves or assailants who have fled the scene of a crime. But following an aggravated burglary last year in September, two male individuals found in connection with the crime were deemed guilty. Around 8:30pm on September 30th of 2011, 18 year old Michel Vellos and family members were at home on Ceiba Street Corozal Town when two male individuals armed with knives and wearing rags over their faces entered the residence. Accordingly, one of the men placed a knife to Vellos’ chest while the other stole a laptop from her room. Making good their escape the men ran away into nearby bushes. Quick police response; however, resulted in the recovery of the laptop and the detention of 21 year old Marvin Peck of a Consejo Road address and 23 year old Antonio Palma of a South End Address. Both men were charged for aggravated burglary when they appeared at the Corozal Magistrates Court on October 3rd of last year. After pleading not guilty to the charge the men were granted bail to the sum of $7,000 which they met. This past Thursday the men appeared at the Corozal Magistrates Court where they were both found guilty of the offence and were fined $5,000 each of which $2,500 was to be paid immediately. While Peck was able to pay off his $2,500, the same cannot be said for Palma who informed the court that he was unable to meet payment. As a result he was remanded to the Kolbe Correctional Facility.

Cane Farmers Approve Payment Of David Madrid
On March 19th Justice Oswell Legal ruled that the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association is to pay the association’s former Chief Executive Officer David Madrid a whopping sum of $171,292.50 plus 6 percent interest per annum from January 17th until the sum is fully paid. Viewers might recall that on October 1st 2010 Madrid was summarily fired by the BSCFA less than a year into his three year contract. On 17th January 2011 Madrid’s attorneys, Eamon Courtenay and Michael Coye, filed a lawsuit against the BSCFA for wrongful termination and after listening to arguments from both sides Justice Legal ruled in favor of Madrid. That left the BSCFA with a debt of $171,292.50. Immediately after the ruling the association called an emergency meeting with its membership. The meeting was set to take place on April 15th but due to a lack of quorum it was postponed for yesterday. With five percent membership of 12 of the 18 branches, the meeting got underway at Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico with the main topic on the agenda being the payment of David Madrid. As was expected cane farmers did not swallow the pill easily after all we are talking about close to $200,000. Nevertheless, after tensions flared and calmed down, cane farmers approved that the former CEO is compensated.

Doctor Love Deciphers The Maya Calendar
This past Saturday renowned epigrapher Doctor Bruce Love hosted a one day workshop at the Yo Creek Sacred Heart Primary School. The workshop saw the participation of over 50 invited guests who gained knowledge of the basic writing and reading of hieroglyphics. And if you are among the millions who have been wondering if the 2012 end of the world Maya prediction is true, Dr. Love says there is no such prediction. Hipolito Novelo Reporting Doctor Bruce Love has over 35 years of experience in Yucatán and Central American History. The anthropologist is a renowned epigrapher who has published a number of books and articles on subjects ranging from contemporary Maya ritual practices to hieroglyphic writings of the Classic Maya Period. This Saturday Dr. Love held a one day workshop in Yo Creek Village to enlightened interested individuals on the hieroglyphic writings of the Maya. Bruce Love, PhD. Anthropologist We begin with an introduction to the whole concept of Mesoamerica, where the Maya fit in to the bigger picture in Mesoamerica. And then we begin with a little bit of the History and then we start right in the long count: the question of 2012. Now we are doing the calendar and then later this afternoon we be doing how to spell your name using the hieroglyphs. Like if your name is Cal. We can use a syllable: Ca and La. Ca is a sign like this and La is a sign like this. You put them together and you get Cal. It’s just like phonetic spelling.

Standard Six Students Take Second Part Of PSE
Nerves frazzled today as standard six student’s country wide sat the second part of the Primary School Examination (PSE). Here in the Orange Walk District a total of 911 students, including 2 private candidates, registered to sit the exams this year. Today’s examination consisted of two tests- Mathematics and Social Studies. Students wrote mathematics paper one and two and completed the social studies multiple choice paper which consisted of 50 questions. Today we visited one of the host high schools and caught up with some of the students who it seems were well prepared for the annual challenge.

BADA Works Towards Enhancing The Level Of Theater In Belize
All forms of art in Belize are progressing but at a steady and slow pace, that’s according to the Belize Association for the Development of Arts, BADA. Over the weekend the organization met with representatives from the Banquitas House of Culture and the National Institute for the Creative Arts (ICA), to discuss on how to better and more efficiently develop and showcase art in Belize. According to BADA’s National Coordinator Beverly Swayze, the organization plans to elevate the standards of theatre in Belize by organizing more activities thus improving the understanding between the artist and the audience. Beverly Swayze, BADA “The ICA groups and the houses of culture are- we are like a branch just like you have house of culture, you have ICA and BADA is like a branch of NICH. And so we work together because we are all aiming for the same thing: to get culture things going in our communities as well as engaging our communities in things at different levels from the everyday work and so on. And to have our youths more involve in culture and aesthetical things.” In order to execute their plan, BADA, in conjunction with several other organizations, have planned a number of activities. One such event is The Palindros.

LOVE TV

BEL Management and Workers Union meet in mediated talks
Two weeks after the Belize Energy Workers Union staged a public protest in front of the Belize Electricity Limited, over employment and other issues a meeting ended a few minutes ago between the two parties. Labour Commissioner, Ivan Williams, mediated the meeting between BEL and the BEWU and Love News was present for a briefing by the two parties and Labour Commissioner Williams. Since the protest two Fridays ago, some of BEL’s employees who are BEWU members have taken industrial action. As a part of the negotiations, Labour Commissioner Williams says that none of those employees will be penalized for their action, but that they will be required to return to work to ensure that the process yields a positive solution. Both the BEL and BEWU representatives have expressed confidence that the mediation process will result in an amicable conclusion, and that process is expected to end in a matter of two weeks.

Arson suspected in San Antonio village
A twenty four year old man from San Antonio village is the Cayo district tonight stands accused of burning down his father in law’s palapa. The incident happened on Saturday night in the village. Fifty three year old Antonio Mai told police that on Saturday night his son in law Armando Pech, who was under the influence of alcohol issued insulting words to his common law wife and other family members. Mai told police that he went to bed and a few minutes later his wife informed him that Pech had set fire to the palapa measuring fourteen feet by sixteen feet. The estimated cost of the structure is three thousand dollars. Armando Peck was arrested on Sunday and charged for the crime of arson.

Pine Lumber suffers major losses due to fire
A major fire in the on Saturday afternoon in the Cayo district has left nearly a million dollars worth of damage in its wake. The incident happened at the Pine Lumber Saw Mill in Georgeville village. According to a statement issued this afternoon by the company, officials were alerted around two thirty on Saturday afternoon that a bush fire was approaching the saw mill area. The statement goes on to say that when company officials arrived, they observed that he fire had already crossed the fire break and ignited some of the logs. Pine Lumber Company estimates that ninety percent of the logs were lost to the fire and today’s police report put the estimated cost of the damage at one million dollars. No one was hurt as the company staff, with the assistance of the National Fire Service, Spanish Lookout Fire Service and neighbors were able to secure the buildings and equipment. The Pine Lumber Company statement says that their investigation shows that the fire started from a land clearing by a neighbor, which, combined with strong winds and the very dry conditions of the logs and surrounding area, quickly grew out of control. Police investigations are continuing.

Education weeks begin
The Ministry of Education has set aside two weeks to focus on a number of activities leading up to teachers’ day. It is observed under the theme “Together we achieve quality education for all”. Deputy Chief Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Carol Babb told us more about the events. The Ministry invites the general public to partake in these educational activities. For further information you can call the office at phone number 223-2817.

PSE Part Two
As Education Week kicks off, Standard six students all around the country of Belize sat the second half of the PSE Examinations today. Lisa Clare from the Ministry of education told Love News that this year has seen an increase in students sitting the exam. Day one of the examinations which were held last month consisted of English and Science papers, while the subjects sat today were Mathematics and Social Studies. Love News caught up with some of the students as they exited the examination rooms. Results for the Primary School examinations will be available in the first week of June.

PlusTV

Police investigate chopping incident in Hope Creek
Police are investigating a chopping that occurred on May 4. Magarito Trejio, a 23year old Heavy Duty Operator of Ho...

New Auxiliary Bishop ordained
Bishop Christopher Glancy was ordained as an Auxiliary Bishop to the Roman Catholic Diocese on Saturday. The ceremo...

Man charged for trafficking cannabis
Special constable stationed at the Nim Li Punit Archeological site makes a drug bust. Police visited Indian Creek V...

Belize joins the world in observing Red Cross Day
Belize Red Cross today (MAY 8) celebrated world Red Cross/ Red Crescent Day. To mark the day, the Belize Red Cross ...

New teen hangout preps for opening
Youth With A Mission or YWAM as it’s most commonly known, is an international Christian Movement from many denomina...

BEL and Union in negotiation talks
At its press conference last Friday (May 4) the Union had broadened its accusations against BEL to include charges ...

Belmopan Lions Club conducting weeklong eye clinic
The Belmopan Lions Club is hosting its 6th annual eye clinic. Every year the Club brings in a group of both Profess...

BELTRAIDE participates in business development workshop
In February BELTRAIDE, in collaboration with DFC hosted the first Stakeholder’s meeting to obtain feedback on the a...

Griga-line bus plunges into ditch
Information reaching our news desk is that a Griga-line Bus left Belmopan at 4pm enroute to Dangriga. The vehicle s...

Man shot during confrontation with Police
Police visited the village of Frank’s Eddy on May 5, around 1am, regarding a report of aggravated assault at a resi...

OCEANA Belize files suit against GOB
Oceana in Belize has filed notice of application for leave to apply for judicial review of the decision of the Chie...

81 year old woman dies from cut to the throat
Another crime was also committed in the south over the weekend but sadly the perpetuator was an elderly man. Police...

Field of almost 400 marijuana plants destroyed
A Team of Police Officers from the Ladyville Sub-Formation visited an isolated area at New River Lagoon in the Oran...

Amandala

Outlaw the “Walls of Death!”
Amandala’s May 6, 2012 editorial captioned “A tale of greed, stupidity and indifference,” regarding the destruction of the Fisheries as a result of gill net fishing, was a great contribution that properly exposed an evil that has been and is, destructive of both the Fishery and Tourism industries. The politics that has allowed such destruction to continue is disgraceful, and dishonorable.

Police say husband, 79, slashed throat of wife, 82
A reportedly abusive relationship ended in the death of Maria Chen, 82, around 9:00 p.m. on Friday, May 4, in Bella Vista, Stann Creek District. Police have detained her common-law husband, 79. Police say that they responded to a call to the couple’s home in Bella Vista, and on their arrival, they found the woman lying on the floor with her throat cut, and her husband was seen with minor injuries. He had a cut on his forehead, a cut on his finger and an injury to his hand. He was lying down in a hammock waiting for the police. Police say that he showed no remorse for the death of his common-law wife, and was taken into custody without any trouble. Chen’s body was taken to Dangriga, where she was declared dead on arrival at the Dangriga Hospital, after which she was then taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. She was put into the morgue, where her body is now awaiting a post-mortem. Neighbors told police that the husband was very abusive to Chen, going as far as throwing away the food she had made if he did not like what she cooked — leaving her with nothing to eat. On many occasions, the neighbours told police, they would have to give her food.

Guat police kill extortionist in Quetzaltenango City
40-min fatal shootout ends alleged extortion attempt on Belizean Joseph Budna... Police apprehend other extortionist... Joseph Budna, 31, a Belizean businessman living in Guatemala, told our newspaper today that two men on a motor scooter attempted to extort 15,000 quetzales, about BZ$3,800, from him last Thursday in Quetzaltenango City, Guatemala, claiming that someone had ordered a hit on him, and he had to pay the money to the men to stay alive.

Oceana et al sues GOB and Governor General
Oceana, Tom Greenwood and Audrey Bradley take GOB and GG to court over oil referendum... The parties seek judicial review for 8,000 plus signatures rejected... A request for leave to file a judicial review claim was submitted to the Supreme Court of Belize on Friday, May 4, 2012, by Oceana, Tom Greenwood and Audrey Bradley, who are challenging the actions of the Government in disapproving a request for a national referendum on offshore drilling on the claim that over 8,000 signatures—close to 40%—on the petition were no good. Some signatures were said to be on the petition multiple times; others were said to be mismatches.

And the bodies keep piling up in the morgue …
For almost two weeks, there have been multiple reports of an impasse between the Government of Belize and police pathologist Dr. Mario Estradabran, regarding the renewal of his contract under which he provides post-mortem services to the Police Department for deaths in cases that are under the purview of the police.

Mena family gets back Wood Depot
Fresh Catch remains under receivership... Emile Mena, a member of the Mena family which owns the Wood Depot, informed Amandala today that the Wood Depot enterprise, which was put under receivership by First Caribbean International Bank back in 2010, at the same time that the bank took control of another family business, Fresh Catch Belize Limited, has been returned to the Menas.

PUC approves changes in fees, charges and deposits for BEL
Deadline for responses is Monday, May 14, 2012... The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has announced its initial decision on the Annual Review Proceedings (ARP) for the electricity sector. According to details supplied by the PUC, most of the existing tariffs would remain the same; however, commercial customers are being reclassified. Also, there are new fees and charges approved, particularly for tampering with electricity infrastructure.

Football rules in Independence; Police no longer undefeated; Placencia wins, 2-1
Despite a busy Saturday, it was a game we couldn’t miss. And, though we wouldn’t venture through the Coastal Road again (It’s much shorter, but a much rougher ride.) the long journey to Independence Village was worth the 3-hour plus driving. You could feel the football fever in the streets as you near the Michael Ashcroft Stadium. It was only 6:30 p.m., and game 1 of the Premier League finals between visiting Police United and home-standing Placencia Assassins was not scheduled to begin until 7:30. There was another game, a female match between Gentle Touch of Esperanza and Sagitun Girls, which Gentle Touch reportedly won, 2-1; and those fans needed to exit the stadium before the growing throng outside could be accommodated at the gate to enter for the big game. It’s been quite a while since we last saw such a long line to buy tickets and/or to enter a football game. A good sign. And finely dressed females were in evidence, if not dominating the landscape. This is indeed the metropolis of football in Belize, the only stadium with a major “bleachers” sporting an overhead roof for the fans. Three other large bleachers adorn the area behind the western goal line, and by game time, they were all almost full, plus many standing against the wire barrier, boisterous and not in the least bashful about declaring their total faith in, and support of, their Placencia Assassins.

Lady Rebels’ Laneisha Jones hurls 1st “perfect game;” clash with Telemedia again on Wednesday
In the early going, the 4-team Belize City Senior Female Softball Competition was completely dominated by the two top teams – defending City champions Telemedia and Marathon champions Mirage Lady Rebels, who mostly had little difficulty with their other two opponents, as they prepared to clash with each other, something that softball fans would get the pleasure of seeing 7 times in this 7-round regular season competition. But of late, the tide has been turning a little, and it may yet become a 3-team race, as one of the “other two” teams, Orchid Blazers has made a recent “statement.”

Mediation process between BEL and BEWU begins Wednesday
Labour Commissioner Ivan Williams has declared in advance of official mediation talks to begin on Wednesday, between Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) and the Belize Energy Workers’ Union (BEWU), that the parties agree to bring the situation “back to the status quo”, to have “normalcy” after an explosive series of events in the last two weeks.

Facebook addict, 20, charged for theft
Family believes he is addicted to much more than just Facebook... Today in Court #5, a student, self-confessed Facebook addict Devon Wagner, 20, of 91 Los Lagos, was brought before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart to answer a charge of theft.



Edited by Marty (11/17/12 04:08 PM)

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#437513 - 05/09/12 01:27 PM Re: Today's Belize News: May 9, 2012 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

“I needed a bath and couldn’t reach home in time”
Daniel Burke, 18, a resident of #36 Police Street in Ladyville Village, was today brought before the Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer, to answer to charges of theft. Police report that Burke, on May 2, entered Save-U Supermarket located at the northern end of the Belcan Bridge by San Cas Plaza, and stole one Gillette Clear Deodorant Gel valued $9.23, and one Baker’s Chocolate valued at $7.34, a total of $16.57. Burke pleaded guilty to the charges. When Magistrate Frazer asked Burke why he stole the deodorant, he replied that it was an emergency. Frazer asked him what the emergency was and he answered, “I needed a bath and couldn’t reach home in time.” He went on to tell the magistrate that the deodorant would have cleaned him. Senior Magistrate gave him a suspended sentence of three months on the condition that he must not be convicted of any crime within the next year, effective May 3, 2012.

Editorial: The police, the public, and crime
Lost in the news last week was that a couple police officers in Santa Elena allegedly resisted a bribe of $2,000 from a Belize City woman to look the other way as she and a male companion tried to transport 33 pounds of cannabis in a car, presumably to Belize City. The police was supposed to get kudos for such stout honesty in the ranks. They never did.

Blogs

World Red Cross Red Crescent Day calls upon youth to take action
To mark this year’s World Red Cross Red Crescent Day on 8 May, the Belize Red Cross Society is celebrating the contributions of young people and encouraging their continued action and leadership under the global theme, “Youth on the move”. In solidarity with the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, the Belize Red Cross will host an OPEN DAY on 8th May from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Headquarters at #1 Gabourel Lane, Belize City. The event is part of a global Movement effort to take action and make a difference in helping communities and our young people to better understand the work of the Belize Red Cross as we prepare for disasters and emergencies, address equal access to health care and promote and build a culture of non violence and peace. “Young people have a critical role in helping the Red Cross Red Crescent reach the most vulnerable. They also have an important role to play in building healthy communities,” explained Ashanta Osborne, Chair of the Youth Commission for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Belize, Where the Caves Just Got Real!
The caves are wild in Belize, wilder than anywhere else. This is the first article on the web mentioning the fact that they couldn't take a camera into Actun Tunichil Muknal. That was fast. Really well written article; as he says it's because he didn't have a lot of pictures to show. There is a good picture of the Mayan Vision Serpent mural downtown. "Apparently, a little while ago somebody had dropped a lens cap onto a skull and knocked some teeth out. Then, fairly recently, another tourist dropped an entire camera onto another skull, puncturing a camera-sized hole in said skull. Naturally, this was not well received. National archaeological treasure and all. People were scrambled, discussions were held, a hasty conclusion was reached! As of May 3rd, no more cameras in the ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal, but ATM really is a better name for it) cave! May 3rd happened to be the day I was going to see the cave, so I wasn't really amused."

International Sources

$500,000 Funding Available for Citizen Security Strengthening Program in Belize
The U.S. Embassy in Belmopan, Belize, has announced that it expects to award a maximum of 20 discretionary grants to support the Central America Regional Security Initiative goal of strengthening citizen security in Belize with the help of youth and community involvement. The estimated total program funding available was cited as $500,000 with a ceiling of $200,000 for each award under this program. This funding opportunity is open to public, private and state controlled institutions of higher education; nonprofits organizations; and individuals. A funding opportunity notice from the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan, Belize, states: "US Embassy Belmopan invites organizations to submit proposals outlining program concepts and capacity to advance the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) goal of strengthening citizen security. In addition to the US Embassy Belmopan, the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prioritizes the focus on at-risk youth.Root causes of crime and violence in Belizeinclude, but are not limited to, the lack of economic development, the lack of skills and/or tradecraft, the lack of conflict resolution skills, and/or the lack of opportunity for youth. The proposed award will cultivate positive social values such as civic pride, respect for each other, respect for law and order, integrity, importance of education and a sense of responsibility for the community. Equipping marginalized youth and/or communities with economic opportunities and/or business training can help them reach their true potential as entrepreneurs and improve citizen security." The funding opportunity number is S-BH200-12-ESF. The application closing date is June 3.

Woman Runs Into Midnight Storm and Brings Dog to Warm Bed
While on vacation in Belize, I came across a little dog who was kept behind our rental cabin. She was the owner’s dog and was not shown much love or attention. She was kept tied to a raised shed away from the family with a low sided box to lay in and dirty bowls for food and water. She was half the weight she should have been and absolutely looked depressed. When approached, she would barely wag her tail and her eyes lacked all happiness. I started saving food from my meals and brought it to her after nightfall when the family wouldn’t see me. When I approached with my flashlight, I could hear her little gums snapping at the hoard of mosquitoes she couldn’t escape from. One night we had a very strong rain and wind storm. I lay in bed wide awake thinking of her outside. I jumped out of bed, went outside, unhooked her leash and brought her in our cabin for the night. She quietly curled up on the bed and didn’t make a peep. I was smitten and it was so hard to put her back by the shed the next morning, but I didn’t want to anger the owner. Will you find the courage to stand up for a neglected animal? A couple of days later, after speaking to the head of the local animal shelter, I eventually bartered with the owner of the property to let me buy her from him. I told him she was in poor health and needed medical care. He, of course, was only interested in money. I paid $100 for her.

‘Golden Opportunity’: Ali Eberts Travels To Belize on Educational Journey
‘Even Poor Schools With Few Resources Can Foster Learning’ Tucked away in the dense, jungle hills of Belize’s Cayo District is the village of El Progresso. This sleepy little village may not look like much to an outsider, with dogs wandering the streets and chickens dotting the yards of rundown houses, but to me, this village looked like a golden opportunity to do something good, and to actually make a difference.

A Year Later, Ready to Dive Again
On Wednesday, my plane touched down near Belize City. What a difference a day makes. Before, I was leaving my university office in the midst of end-of-semester craziness in flatland Illinois. Now, I’m in a hot and humid jungle. There was little time for relaxing in my 23rd trip to Belize. I have the same amount of paperwork and prep to do for a weeklong project as I do for a six-month project. But I would not give it up for anything. I am lucky to work with a great bunch of people, who include excavation assistants from the Valley of Peace village, the Carrs at Banana Bank Lodge and the archaeologists at the National Institute of Culture and History at the Belize Institute of Archaeology. Last May, my goal was to explore the 200-foot-deep cenote at Cara Blanca in central Belize to explore for ancient Maya offerings. A cenote is a sinkhole fed by the water table. But several things prevented exploration: The post-hurricane landscape did not help matters, nor did the dry-season conflagration. Cara Blanca was ground zero for both; the jungle was first flattened and then burned to a crisp. I am anxious to see what has changed after a year.


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