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The latest Tia Chocolate column is ready for reading!!! Coming Back...
She hadn’t seen him for well over seven years. The cowboy hat he wore while driving around in his golf cart sure didn’t help. He had laser-like focus on the back street puddles he was trying to avoid, a frown of concentration on his face. Seven years had passed by, yet she still felt that tightening in her stomach from their first encounter. Everything else had changed around the island: the main streets were paved, the faces were so unfamiliar. All that wonderful fun she had had with amazing people, through the haze of alcohol and cigarette smoke – faded. The air had cleared and what she was left with she didn’t like the sight of. Bartenders had changed, bars had disappeared, shopkeepers’ smiles had faded – her favorite shops had also been taken over by monolithic cement piles.

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Whale Shark Dive in Belize "Preparation and Regulations"
Here's what you can expect from a day trip when you book a Whale Shark Dive based from Placencia.

VIDEO: Whale Sharks in Belize THE DIVE episode May Moon 2012 at Gladden Split
May Moon 2012 Whale Shark Dive at Gladden Split with Splash Dive Team based from Placencia. Thanks to all the good people and new friends from the Village of Placencia.


11 year old boy shot dead in Belize City
Police have released details about the Monday morning shooting incident that claimed the life of a young boy. Initially, police had given his age as 12 years old but have now adjusted the age of Daniel Matura to 11 years old. Matura, a student residing on Arlington Drive, was shot dead around 8:40 am on Monday on Central American Boulevard. He was hit multiple times by gunshots when a man opened fire on two men who were reported to be riding on Central American Boulevard from the direction of Faber’s Road towards Penn Road. As the two dark complexion men passed a group of persons assembled in front of #3 A Central American Boulevard, police say a man emerged from the crowd and started shooting at the riders. While the two men who were apparently the target of the gunman escaped unhurt, Matura was not so fortunate as he was walking on the sideway coming from the opposite direction when he was fatally wounded. Authorities say Matura sustained gunshot injuries to the left side of the chest, right side of the back and left ring finger. Police say they have detained one person in connection with this morning’s murder of 11 year old Daniel Matura.

BDF officer stabbed to death in Dangriga
A Belize Defence Force Corporal was killed in Dangriga Town early this morning. The victim, Donovan Castillo Myvette, 38, was stabbed multiple times at his home in the new site area of Dangriga. Myvette and his girlfriend were reportedly seen talking on the verandah of their house around 6:30 am and shortly thereafter a commotion was heads inside the house. Myvette sustained multiple stab wounds including to the neck, shoulder and a large cut wound the head. Myvette’s body lies at the morgue at the Southern Regional Hospital where it awaits a post mortem examination. Police have one suspect in custody as their investigation continues.

Schoolboy fatally wounded in Belize City
A twelve year old boy was shot dead in Belize City this morning. The victim has been identified as Daniel Matura. The shooting incident, according to confirmed reports, happened at Matura’s home on Central American Boulevard, the same place where a relative, Kaylon Matura was fatally wounded last week. Love News understands that Daniel Matura sustained multiple gunshot wounds and police who were processing the scene have recovered at least eight expended shells. Love News understands that police have one suspect in custody and are looking for the murder weapon. We will continue to monitor this story and bring you new details as they become available.


LINK: The Richest Man in Babylon FREE DOWNLOAD
This page takes you to the link where you can download "The richest man in Babylon" written by George S. Clason. Th...

CONTRIBUTED: Rise and Shine list of Small and Medium Business ideas
Pastor Wade: (for Rise and Shine) Here are a few Micro and small business ideas... sure there are multitude more.. Sewing coop (small business module- between 5 and 10 persons Sewing and dressmaking (individuals) Boutiques using local seamstress with Belizean designs Furniture (small items for cruise passengers Home furniture Meat Poultry Back yard Pigs Back yard Green houses Agro processing Bakery Crafts Mechanic Shops ...

EDITORIAL: "We need a Counter Revolution"- Paul Rodriguez
The world human rights agenda is supremely hypocritical. Since 1973when Roe VS Wade legalised abortions in the USA, hundreds of millions of the most innocent human beings- unborn babies, have been brutally murdered with the consent of their own mothers. There has not been even a whisper of objection by the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations. But, every little whimper by the Caleb Oroscos of the world have elicited the spending of millions of dollars to defend their bogus rights. It is a high time that the callous hypocrisy of the world agenda be completely exposed. This is not easy. The persons who should be speaking out, who attend the international human rights conferences, have been bought out. It is truly amazing how the greatest revolution in world history, the propagation of the rights of man, has been subverted by the power of money and by politics. When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated on 8thDecember, 1948, there was rejoicing throughout the Western World. This happened three years after the nations of the West were led by America to conquer the most barbaric regime ever organised during man’s whole history. Nazi Germany brutally, viciously, mercilessly was carrying out the policy of exterminating a whole tribe of millions of human beings.


A Holiday, Continued Stormy Weather and A British Commonwealth Trivia Quiz
Today is a national holiday in Belize called both Commonwealth Day and Sovereign Day. School, banks and government offices are basically the only things closed. Unlike the UK holiday Commonwealth Day, we celebrate in May rather than on March 9th. In Belize and other countries, it is more a celebration of the Queen's official birthday. (Strange also since the Queen was born in April.) According to Wikipedia, the date was chosen to coincide with good weather for outdoor ceremonies. That makes sense...though this year, we are seeing the first proper stormy stretch of 2012. Outside ceremonies...start putting up your tents. Last night, we had a huge lightening and thunder storm that left some of us without power for about 15 minutes (not long...but enough to make me very thankful for my fans once they went back on). The sky totally lit up during the late evening. Here is what we are waking up to...rain is certainly coming over the horizon. As an American citizen, the whole idea of the commonwealth is a bit foreign but totally interesting. So I did a bit of research and came up with 6 trivia questions so that you could test your knowledge of the British Commonwealth. You'd better be commonwealth smart (or being British will help)...some of these are very hard to me.

It's Un-Belize-able!
While Belize is certainly geographically very Central American, its long history as a British colony gives it a feel that we found more similar to some Caribbean islands than its Latin neighbors. The Creole tinged English was a familiar sound to our ears after the years we spent on St. Croix, but it would fit right in on any of the Virgin Islands, Barbados, Antigua, or Jamaica. The history of Belize, known as British Honduras from 1862 until 1964, has a lot in common with those islands. The main difference being that harvesting mahogany trees was the driving economic factor, as opposed to sugar cane. Belize City sits right on the Caribbean coast, so looking out over the beautiful blue water definitely added to our perception of an island feel. As we usually do, we tried to stay away from the overtly touristy spots and wade in to the town. This required fighting our way through numerous barkers and hawkers near the harbor, around what is aptly named The Tourist Village.

Thank you saint Steve!
We were blessed to find a friend and a new member of the Raggamuffin crew in a passenger a few weeks ago. Steve or ‘Saint Steve’ as we want to call him after this photo, undertook an overnight trip with Jerry, Chilo and Dylan some 3 weeks ago now. When he returned he mentioned that he was a photographer and if we wanted, he would undertake the trip again, just so that we can have some more photos for us to share with our friends! Steve undertook the tour again (this time along with Kevin, Jacob and Shane) and enjoyed himself once again. He has not literally become a member of our crew but after taking so many beautiful photos on the overnight, he may as well be named as the newest member of our family! Thank you Steve (and Julia too) – come back again to Caye Caulker soon!!

International Sources

Farming Shrimp With the Planet in Mind
Here’s a shout-out to the amazing team of Pace University graduate and undergraduate students who, led by professor Maria Luskay (with my assistance), just completed the short documentary “Linda Thornton: Seeking Sustainability, One Shrimp at a Time.” I hope you’ll give it a look and offer your reaction. The film chronicles the lifelong effort by Thornton, an Illinois native transplanted to Belize, to farm shrimp while leaving as small an imprint on ecosystems and waters as possible. She’s largely succeeded, as you’ll see, and is working with the World Wildlife Fund to try to develop a standard for farm-raised shrimp that can provide consumers with the confidence that they can enjoy this immensely popular seafood and a thriving environment, as well. The film spans three decades, following Thornton’s journey from early experiments with urban indoor shrimp farming in Chicago to hard-won success in Belize, a country aiming to build its economy without harming its extraordinary natural assets – particularly its coastal mangrove forests and thriving coral reefs.

Reverberations from drug raid felt in US, Honduras
Bullets flew as U.S. helicopters swooped toward a river boat. Honduran national police rappelled to the ground and locals scattered after loading close to 1,000 pounds of cocaine. Now reverberations from a drug raid that locals say killed four innocent people are being felt from the sultry jungles of Central America to Capitol Hill. Last week's DEA-supported predawn raid on the banks of a remote Honduran river began when U.S. drug agents and Honduran national police tracked an airplane loaded with cocaine as it entered the country from South America, Honduras National Police Chief Ricardo Ramirez del Cid said in an interview Thursday. Ramirez said his officers were in four helicopters when they came under fire from the boat. They fired back and then descended on ropes to the river after the shooting stopped. By the time they got there, they only found a boat full of cocaine. He said they didn't know if anyone died. There were no people, dead, alive or injured. Numerous local officials, including Mayor Lucio Vaquedano of the coastal town of Ahuas, said four people, including two pregnant women, were killed. He insisted they were diving for lobster and shellfish when were killed and that they were not involved with drug trafficking.

Should You Renounce Your U.S. Citizenship?
Almost any U.S. citizen can decide not to be one. Should you follow Mr. Saverin's lead and high-tail it to a lower-tax country? While it might seem tempting, renouncing one's citizenship has many drawbacks. Among them: a large "exit tax" owed to the U.S. government upon leaving, steep tax bills for any U.S. heirs and big travel headaches for people who try to return to the U.S. Some lawmakers, picking up on the Saverin case, said Thursday they want to strengthen a law barring expatriates who left for tax reasons from ever re-entering the country. Whether or not you consider the act of renouncing one's citizenship savvy tax planning, the ultimate protest gesture, a rank insult to a system that enables great wealth or just plain weird, some U.S. taxpayers are pondering such moves. Last year, almost 1,800 U.S. citizens turned in their passports and green cards, a sixfold increase from 2008.

Cruise Ships Financially Exploit Onshore Stores
A flock of three thousand tourists spill out of a cruise ship, dispersing into Belize City, following a map given to them by the industry that owns the port, the shops, and the economy. The passengers are on a mission -- a mission to find the largest diamond, a cheap designer watch, or a souvenir that represents the culture of their "exotic" destination. Convinced that the stores on their easy-to-follow map will lead them to the greatest onshore deals, the eager tourists are unaware that the cruise line's recommendations are driven solely by profit. They are unaware that the maps are leading them to stores whose revenue goes straight back to the ship. Their seemingly-cultural onshore excursions are a product of the more than half a billion dollars their cruise line pays on advertising each year. With shopping bags in hand, the suntanned Caribbean vacationers return to the ship that their wallets never parted from. Before cruise passengers go onshore to one of their ship's destinations, they are given shopping lectures and store maps with the industry's recommendations for the best deals and the highest quality products. But what the passengers aren't told is that these stores have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual fees to be listed. Additionally, these businesses are required to pay the cruise lines a percent of their revenue made from cruise passengers. Customers are asked whether they came from a cruise ship, and their cruise line's name is then printed on the receipt, used later to calculate how much is owed to the cruise line.

Trot carefully: These are fishy political machinations
In 2005, the Environmental Investigation Agency approached Lord Ashcroft of the UK to use his influence in Belize to assure support for the anti-whaling camp. It was reported that Ashcroft paid Belize’s International Whaling Commission fees. “Every month I’m on the water somewhere,” Lord Ashcroft is quoted as saying. “I’ve grown a close affinity, not just for whales, but for dolphins and porpoise. So it wasn’t difficult for me to approach the Belizean authorities with such a brief.” He discovered that Belize’s annual subscription to the IWC (Ł10,000) had lapsed and came up with the cash. That backing yielded swift results when a crucial vote was won by the anti-whaling nations by a majority of one. What does Mr Amba Trott call that? Many years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth. They are no more -- extinct. Did the Japanese eat them off the face of the earth? Recent studies have indeed suggested that dinosaurs were victims of global warming attributed to their own gas emissions. If the Japanese were around, they would have done scientific research on those giants and probably dinosaurs would still be roaming the earth. Leave the Japanese alone. The scientific research they are doing will save the whales from extinction.

Shyne Talks Diddy, 'Gangland' Album, and Returning To America
Over two years since completing his prison stint stemming from the much publicized 1999 Club New York shootings, Sean "Diddy" Combs' former protégé Shyne is now focused on investing into global technology. The rapper turned Belize Goodwill ambassador and Orthodox Jew (now legally known as Moses Levi) recently partnered with Israeli startup, All Our Power, an international movement that aims to negotiate with large retailers on behalf of its members for long-term discounts. During a recent interview with the Huffington Post, the former Bad Boy recording artist opened up on his latest business venture, reconciling with Diddy in Paris, upcoming music projects, and his plan to return to the United States

Widower Blames Carnival Cruises for Wife's Death
Carnival Cruise Lines had an incompetent crew member stand in for a nurse and he gave a passenger useless enemas for her critically obstructed bowel, her widower claims in Federal Court. John Showers sued Carnival, its doctor and nurse, and the John Doe crew member on his own behalf and for his late wife, Victoria. He seeks more than $5 million in damages. Showers claims that when Victoria eventually did see the ship's doctor he sent her to a hospital in Belize, knowing it was not qualified to perform the surgery she needed. By the time Victoria was flown to a hospital in Miami, Showers says, fecal matter had entered her gut, and treatment "could only prolong her dying process." Showers says the trouble started the day after he and Victoria boarded the Carnival Dream in Miami for a Caribbean cruise and she complained of constipation. She went ashore in Cozumel, Mexico the next day, Showers says, and bought some over-the-counter laxatives that did not relieve her stomach pain. She could not eat that evening. "In the morning of November 2, 2010, while the ship was anchored in Belize waters, Victoria developed severe abdominal pain and was unable to walk. As a result, at 9:00 a.m., plaintiff began calling for a wheelchair to take his wife to the Medical Clinic on the ship," the complaint states.