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SURPRISE!!! Marie and Phil got married!
The invitation was subtle, no hint of any shenanigans afoot – just a party to celebrate at Casa Caracol. Never one to refuse an invitation to misbehave, The San Pedro Sun’s Mary Gonzalez headed out in beach cocktail attire, and arrived to find a great party in full swing. There was no sign of Marie, but Phil, looking dapper, certainly was making the rounds, and everyone was having a great time. Gino and company kept the music going, with impressive guitar skills and vocals to add to the atmosphere. The rain outside could pour all night long, as everyone was ensconced safe and warm indoors, enjoying their rum punch, sangria, Belikin or Pimm’s. There was a lull in the music, and everyone’s attention was called to the front where Phil was putting on a blazer, and Jim Janmohammed stood at the ready. What was happening?! Just then, at the door, stood a beautiful young lady holding a bouquet of blue and white, and behind her – could it be?! It was Marie Carroll, looking absolutely radiant, and oh-so-beautiful in a gorgeous white wedding dress.

Belizean US Air Force Captain in Body Building Spotlight
She grew up running along the sandy streets of San Pedro, spending her childhood summers in the water and growing up in an island that she called home for many years. Given the opportunity to study abroad she joined the US Air Force, has a great career as a satellite technical expertise and now boasts the title of the International Federation of Body Builders’ Bikini Pro. Sanpedrana Katherine Portillo is winning body building competitions in the United States. She is currently residing in Santa Maria, California; she holds title as captain in the US Air Force but also has major interest in bodybuilding and is working very hard in the arena of health and fitness.

Belize allocates additional funds to combat crime
The fight against crime continues to be the number one preoccupation for the government of Belize. The administration said it is determined to halt the downward spiral, and begin now to recapture lost ground. Accordingly, the Ministry of Finance has made a special transfer of $300,000 to the Ministry of National Security for the purchase of special equipment for the Belize Police Department's reconfigured strategy to combat violent crime. Cabinet's approval of the draft budget to be presented to the House next Friday ensured ample funding for national security. This included an increase for fuel and other operating expenses. In keeping with the new thrust, the prime minister has decided to move the Department of Immigration out of the Ministry of National Security. This will free the Ministry of National Security administratively and operationally to focus exclusively on its core, now singular, mandate. The Immigration Department will therefore move to the Ministry of Local Government, Labour and NEMO; and Minister of State Elvin Penner, who has special responsibility for immigration, will also move with the department to the new ministry.

Fraudulent land transactions taking place in Belize
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture has acknowledged that cases of fraudulent land transactions have been occurring in Belize. The Lands and Surveys Department said it is making concerted efforts to resolve these matters with a view to minimize the frequency of such activities. To this end, the Ministry specifically confirmed that Elroy Bastarrachea is not an employee of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, and more specifically of the Lands and Surveys Department. Neither does he work for either the deputy prime minister Gaspar Vega or the minister of state, Hugo Patt constituency offices, the ministry said. The ministry emphasised that any monies payable to the government of Belize for land transactions should be made at either of the Lands and Surveys Departments countrywide. Proof of payment in the form of a government of Belize Revenue Collector's receipt should always be demanded. The general public is advised to exercise prudence in the processing of land transactions.

Digging for treasures at Maya tomb, ruins
Student archaeologists are at a site in Belize this summer. A team of teenage archaeologists from Davidson Day School flew to the Central American country of Belize on June 22 to unearth artifacts at a tomb of Maya royals who ruled more than a thousand years ago. Leading the group of 22 students is archaeologist Mat Saunders, 34, who has dug at the Cahal Pech Maya ruins site in western Belize since 2006. Saunders teaches anthropology, world religions, history and mythology at Davidson Day, a private college preparatory school. His American Foreign Academic Research nonprofit is based at the school and raised at least $80,000 during the past year for student scholarships and preservation of the archaeological sites they discover. Saunders also brings 20 of the world’s foremost experts on Maya archaeology and culture to Davidson Day each spring to share their latest research with the public at a Maya conference. He hosts a similar conference each year in Palm Coast, Fla., where he previously taught. His trips to Belize have become so popular that Saunders added a second two-week session this summer, with some students planning to stay the entire four weeks, from June 22 to July 23.

Pique oil: the yoga guru and the Caribbean lawsuit
A very Irish drama is playing out in a distant part of the British empire, with the businessman and former yoga guru Tony Quinn at its centre. PAUL CULLEN reports from Road Town, Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands THE COURTROOM IS bedecked with Union Jacks, and the registrar starts proceedings by saying, “God save the queen,” but there is a distinctly Irish tinge to the case being heard on this tiny island by the commercial division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. The presiding judge, Justice Edward Bannister, has the tricky task of deciding who is right about a mass of claims and counterclaims being made by the present and former directors of International Natural Energy (INE), which struck oil in Belize with the financial help of scores of small investors from Ireland. Two of the company’s Irish founders, Sheila McCaffrey and Susan Morrice, are at loggerheads over control of a company that has earned hundreds of millions of euro in oil revenue over the past five years. And then there is Tony Quinn, the yoga guru, health-food shop owner, hypnotherapist and now INE director, who has the most to win or lose from the proceedings. Quinn was given 64,000 shares in the company in 2006 – this is not in dispute by either side – and stands to earn $23 million (€18 million) under an agreement reached with INE last August to buy them back. But Justice Bannister has stopped this transaction going ahead until the case brought by McCaffrey is dealt with.

Editorial: Contemplating Misfortune
After my house was robbed clean last week, I made the mistake of calling my insurance company. I was painfully reminded that for the thousands of dollars each year that I faithfully pay, I am only covered for hurricane, fire and OTHER natural disasters. I was told, as a policy, my insurance company rarely issues theft insurance because, and I quote, “I am sorry Mrs. Sniffin, it is not a matter of IF you will be robbed, it is a matter of WHEN. It is a CERTAINTY.” Then came the Security Companies; all but one NEW to the island as of a month ago. No less then four different companies contacted me within 48 hours of my hard luck. Sure, I know they just want to help, and I am glad they are here to now offer a service that was not needed just months ago…but I could not help but feel like a touch of salt was added to my wounds of misfortune when they circled in. Now we are busy forming Neighborhood Watches, debating which closed-circuit monitoring systems are most effective and becoming experts in jungle warfare. Now we are meeting our neighbors, learning self-defense and even applying for gun permits. Now we wish our friendly dogs were more threatening and regret the thick foliage we once planted in our yards that now offers cover for those who look to thieve us. Now we scrutinize every unfamiliar face that passes our house, judging them before offering a not-so-ready smile.