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#442667 - 07/17/12 09:15 AM Today's Belize News: July 17, 2012
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Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Valid: Monday-Monday, July 16-23, 2012

A number of features of interest will influence the weather across the territory of Belize and its coastal waters this third week of July 2012. A weak surface low will persist over Belize through Wednesday. An active tropical wave will reach the area by Wednesday night, accompanied by a surge in the easterly trades over the NW and central Caribbean. These features will remain favorable for outbreaks of showers thunderstorms today through Thursday. An upper level trough will swing eastwards over the region on Friday and Saturday coupled with another vorticity maximum edging WNW just south of Belize.

A surge in the easterlies and an influx of moisture and instability is inducing outbreaks of showers and thunderstorms over the northern mainland and northern coastal waters today. The instability will persist on Tuesday, increasing later on Wednesday and Thursday with the approach and passage of an active Tropical wave (See Figure 2 & 3 below). Showers and thunderstorms will be locally concentrated over central and northern coastal areas at first then shifting to southern coastal areas on Wednesday and Thursday. The convective activity will become a bit more pronounced over the weekend and on Monday in association with an upper level trough moving slowly over the extreme NW Caribbean and northern Central America.

Daytime heating will add to the instability, inducing afternoon thunderstorms over inland areas of the Orange Walk, Cayo, western Stann Creek and Toledo districts. Expect some sunshine hours in the central and southern mainland and coastal waters today and Tuesday, and also on Friday. Otherwise, it will be generally cloudy over most areas this week.

Daily rainfall accumulations will range from 0.50-075 of-an-inch in the northern districts and northern coastal waters/Cayes on Monday and Tuesday. Elsewhere, rainfall totals will be 0.10-0.25 of-an-inch today and Tuesday. Most areas will see daily totals of 0.50-0.75 of-an-inch of rainfall on Wednesday through Monday of next week, with high amounts of 1.25-2.00 inches in the hilly terrain on Saturday through Monday. Runoff could be quick and flash floods possible. Remain vigilant this weekend and Monday!

CLICK HERE for the full Belize Weekly Weather Report

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

Decriminalization of Marijuana in Belize being discussed
A committee has been appointed by the Minister of National Security to evaluate and, if appropriate, make proposals for the decriminalization of the possession of small portions of Cannabis Sativa (commonly known as Marijuana and Weed). For the purpose of this exercise, the word decriminalization means that the treatment of the infraction will be adjusted so that most of the detriments are removed or reduced. The offence will then be subject to regulation which will allow for the implementation of probationary measures. It is also proposed that no criminal record be kept in the first instance and portions of the penalty be reserved for drug education. The current legislation treats the possession of under 60 grams of marijuana as a criminal offence and is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and/or up to three years imprisonment. This proposal is to decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana which will then be subject to fines, mandatory drug education and no imprisonment.

MV “PARANGA” runs aground off the coast of Belize
On Monday July 16th, 2012 between 0846hrs and 0915hrs, the Jamaican registered cargo vessel MV Paranga ran aground off the coast of Belize at approximate position Lat: 17° 19.1377 N and Long: 088° 02.5547 W. The 13 crew members onboard were reported to be safe. The 100.6-meter ship, which was carrying agricultural products, was on its way to Kingston, Jamaica when it ran aground in about 3 meters of water hitting a patch reef area near English Caye. The Belize Port Authority’s Maritime Communication Center intercepted a call between the Master of Paranga and the marine pilot who had just disembarked the vessel and inquired about the situation on board. Upon being informed of the grounding, the Belize Port Authority immediately deployed a team of officers to investigate the incident. Other interested parties including the Belize National Coast Guard and the Department of the Environment were informed of the incident and invited to participate in the investigation. Initial reports indicate that the vessel’s hull and structure are intact and there is neither leakage of fuel nor ingress of water. At this point, the purpose of the investigation is to determine the circumstances and cause of the incident with the aim of improving the safety of life at sea and the avoidance of accidents in the future. An assessment of any environmental damage caused by the grounding will be conducted by the Department of Environment.

Costa Maya 2012 outlines the events for this year’s Festival
The International Costa Maya Festival is Belize’s biggest festival, and it is held right here on La Isla Bonita. Featuring international and local artists, it is a celebration of music, pageantry and culture. Already, there is a buzz about the upcoming Reina de la Costa Maya pageant, as well as international artists Los Pasteles Verdes and Kevin Lyttle. But throughout the three nights of festivities, there will be lots to enjoy, and a variety of music and dance performances to keep everyone happy.

Costa Maya Presents Miss Mexico for Reina de La Costa Maya 2012
Mexico’s representative for this year’s Reina de La Costa Maya has been announced. Joining seven other delegates is the lovely Natalia Villanueva. Natalia was Señorita Juventud and was a participant in Nuestra Belleza Yucatan. She joins Belize: Karen Middleton, Costa Rica: Mariela Aparicio, El Salvador: Nathaly Jazmin Mena Arauz, Guatemala: Alessandra Manzur Franco, Honduras: Esthefany Maolyth Pineda Perez, Nicaragua: Ivey Jellisa Alvarez Hunter, and Panama: Karen Elena Jordan Beitia. Each lovely young lady will be proudly representing their country on stage at the grand event on August 2nd, hoping to be the one to take the coveted crown of Reina de La Costa Maya, currently held by Miss Mexico: Valentina Cervera Avila.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Has More Coral Reef Experts
Our children are the future of our island and teaching them about the importance of conservation of our beautiful Barrier Reef and fragile ecosystem is key. What better way of doing that than engaging them on a hands on experience camp. The Smith College Coral Reef Ed-Ventures Summer Camp was in its 13th year of fun and educational summer youth camp here on La Isla Bonita. The program seeks to inspire conservation and sustainable use of coastal resources by providing children an opportunity to learn how healthy reefs function, how various organisms interact with the reef, what threats to the reef ecosystem exist, and how to protect it. Smith College’s Environmental Science & Policy Program and Center for Community Collaboration sponsor this project along with the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. This year’s team of student teachers from Smith College consisted of: *Angela Oliverio ’12 (majors: biological sciences and philosophy) *Kaylyn Oates ’12 (geosciences and education and child study) *Alyssa Stanek ’13 (psychology and education and child study) *Kayla Clark ’14 (sociology and education and child study) *Laura Malecky ’13 (study of women and gender) *Megan Svoboda ‘12 (anthropology)

Looking into Decriminalization of Marijuana in Belize
This initiative is driven by increasing evidence that the current legislation clutters the courts and the prison with primarily a marginalized segment of our population. The added impact of a permanent criminal record further disadvantages this already marginalized group as it establishes a barrier against meaningful employment. The committee wishes to emphasize that the proposal is not to legalize the offence thereby purging it of all its penalties; it is merely to reduce and regulate. This is further supported by international trends towards decriminalization. The Committee recognizes that the instant proposal for the decriminalization of small quantities of Marijuana is a sensitive issue. All interested groups and individuals are hereby given an opportunity to express their views on the matter. The committee invites you to offer a position in writing by letter or email. Please direct such correspondence to:

San Pedro Enjoys Belize International Film Festival Events
Events and movie screenings for the seventh annual Belize International Film Festival commenced on Friday, July 13, 2012, with the Red Carpet Gala at the Bliss Center in Belize City. Red carpet arrivals, a cocktail reception and the screening of the “Curse of the Xtabai” (filmed entirely in Belize), among other short films highlighted the evening. Screenings and gala events were not confined to Belize City, as San Ignacio, Orange Walk and San Pedro held special movie viewing and parties to celebrate the film festival. The Paradise Theater was host to the screening of “The Exquisite Corpse Project” here in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, on Saturday, July 14, where the Belize Film festival highlighted the work of director Ben Popik. The green carpet was rolled out for guests who came to view and support Ben Popik’s award-winning documentary-comedic film. The film was a total success among the viewers as it had everybody in the theater laughing out loud and enjoying some great scenes and friendly faces from the island. Director Ben Popik is a native of New York now living in San Pedro with his wife; they own Island Film which is a full service, HD video production company. His work includes productions with the Discovery Channel, his own company Olde English Comedy and he has been producing/editing/writing comedies and films for television for over eight years now. The Exquisite Corpse Project is his first feature length film that has already received great reviews and awards at various film festivals in the U.S.

Costa Maya Festival Presents Miss Mexico Contestant
This week The International Costa Maya Festival is happy to announce Miss Mexico, Natalia Villanueva Denis, vying for the title of Reina de la Costa Maya 2012. Natalia, was Señorita Juventud and participated in Nuestra Belleza Yucatán 2011. Let us all welcome Natalia to this year’s International Costa Maya Festival.

Team Belize to Represent at Olympic Games in London
Representing Belize in the Olympics is Eddermys Sanchez; a naturalized Belizean who competed and won medals in martial arts tournaments between Belize and Mexico. Sanchez is being trained by a top level US judo coach and athlete in order to have some measure of preparedness for the high level of competition at the Olympics. Also representing Belize is Andy Wigmore a naturalized Belizean who will part take in the Olympic Trap Shooting – this is the first time Belize has ever competed in this discipline. The sport requires exceptional concentration and reflexes. Each competitor shoots at a clay target that is propelled in different directions. Belize will also participate in the Athletics discipline including the male 300 meter race, 100 meter race (female) and female heptathlon race (to mention a few). Kathy Sealy and Kenneth Medwood of the United Kingdom and United States and Belize Coast Guard, Kaina Martinez are part of the 15 athletes travelling to London. The official delegates for the Olympic committee leave on July 21, 2012, for conferences and meetings prior to the games scheduled for the 27. Good Luck to Team Belize – Make us Proud!

Dying Arts Of Fishermen -Making Wells Inside Boats Part 3
Okay, so I have given you a little insight of how to knit a gill net and how to build a fish wire trap right in front of your beach in the sea and today we will take a look at another dying art- the art of making wells inside boats. Whenever I think of these ‘tanqueros’ or boats with fish tanks or wells, I think of my Uncle Ramon because he used to work in one of these along with his father and his brothers. Yes, Ramon Nuñez was a village fisherman and made his humble living working in a "tanquero". He made hundreds of journeys to Corozal to sell fish with their boat La Lupita, one of San Pedro's most famous "tanqueros". There were the regular 20 or 24 foot sailing boats that were used as fishing boats. With these the fishermen used to get to their fishing sites. However, the wire trap fisherman found the need to keep large quantities of fish alive so he could take it to Belize City and Corozal Town to sell alive and fresh at the market since they fetched better prices. To do this, he invented the well that was built inside his boat. This was a large box, perhaps six by six feet by four feet high built inside the boat or any height that was above the water level outside. The secret is that water would rise inside the well only to the level of the water outside. One-inch hole were drilled at the bottom of the boat to allow water to flow into the well. As a little boy I was always worried that water would enter the boat and flood it until it sunk, but no, the water only came as high as the water level outside. It is in this boat well that Ramon and many other fishermen used to place up to two or three hundred live fishes and carry them to sell fresh at the market. Well, look at the diagram to get a better idea of the "tanque" or well.

Betito Marin, Man of Humble Origin
No, this is not Betito Marin, but it is Mireya, his first child in the 1960’s. Betito’s dad was a humble coconut farmer/fisherman and even tailor and educated him up to high school level. Soon he became accountant at San Pedro’s fishing cooperative and bought his first property which was a thatch house. It was in this humble house that his first child was born but Betito’s drive and ambition propelled him to build his fine house and family and made all four of them into fine and productive citizens of this community. In this Flashback, Mireya Marin Castillo celebrates her birthday in her humble house in San Pedro.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize Moves To Decriminalize Marijuana
The government of Belize is spearheading an initiative to decriminalize marijuana. An official press release issued late today says that a committee chaired by former police minister Douglas Singh, is inviting proposals on how to move ahead with plans to make this common herb legal for personal use in Belize. Marijuana grows wild in Belize and is used by a portion of the population but penalties are stiff and often lead to jail time even for first time offenders. The press release says: “A committee has been appointed by the Minister of National Security to evaluate and, if appropriate, make proposals for the decriminalization of the possession of small portions of Cannabis Sativa (commonly known as Marijuana and Weed). “For the purpose of this exercise, the word decriminalization means that the treatment of the infraction will be adjusted so that most of the detriments are removed or reduced. The offense will then be subject to regulation which will allow for the implementation of probationary measures. It is also proposed that no criminal record be kept in the first instance and portions of the penalty be reserved for drug education.

Belize to consider decriminalisation of marijuana
A committee has been appointed by the Minister of National Security in Belize to evaluate and, if appropriate, make proposals for the decriminalisation of the possession of small portions of Cannabis Sativa (commonly known as marijuana and weed). For the purpose of this exercise, the word decriminalisation means that the treatment of the infraction will be adjusted so that most of the detriments are removed or reduced. The offence will then be subject to regulation, which will allow for the implementation of probationary measures. It is also proposed that no criminal record be kept in the first instance and portions of the penalty be reserved for drug education. The current legislation treats the possession of under 60 grams of marijuana as a criminal offence and is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and/or up to three years imprisonment. This proposal is to decriminalise the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana, which will then be subject to fines, mandatory drug education and no imprisonment. This initiative is driven by increasing evidence that the current legislation clutters the courts and the prison with primarily a marginalised segment of the population. The added impact of a permanent criminal record further disadvantages this already marginalised group as it establishes a barrier against meaningful employment. The committee emphasised that the proposal is not to legalize the offence thereby purging it of all its penalties; it is merely to reduce and regulate. This is further supported by international trends towards decriminalisation. The committee recognized that the instant proposal for the decriminalisation of small quantities of marijuana is a sensitive issue.

Belize ranks second in influenza response
Last month, at the Influenza Surveillance Regional Meeting in Panama City, Panama, it was reported that Belize ranked second behind only Panama in its ability to monitor and respond to Influenza cases across the country. The regional meeting was held in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The objectives of the meeting were to share the results and experience with influenza surveillance of each participating country, to define and analyze laboratory influenza diagnostic procedures, to identify the needs of the country to continue strengthening and development of influenza surveillance, and to prepare a plan of action including activities and funding source for Influenza strengthening. Englebert Emmanuel, national surveillance officer of the Ministry of Health reported that Belize ranked second in surveillance scores among all participating regional countries. He mentioned that, although the assessment showed progress, the country still needs to build on capacity strengthening in lab testing and analysis. A draft influenza surveillance action plan for Belize was developed at the meeting and partners from the CDC and COMISCA will be doing follow-up visits to Belize to review and finalize the draft plan for implementation.

VIDEO: Reservation Confirmed "Caribbean Villas Hotel"
Caribbean Villas Hotel, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Bleize Consider prebooking your adventures prior to your arrival with our Guest Service Team. Our Resort Approved Tour Providers will make your adventure activity most memorable.

SIPL's SMART Program
The San Ignacio Public Library has pictures from their SMART Program. Looks like everyone had a great time at the 'Summer Math n Reading Tutorial.'

Rowan Garel's Walk Across Belize
Rowan Garel has finished his Walk Across Belize. The Capital Newspaper has some pictures. "In a society where hero's are a rare commodity, there is a young man who has not let his handicap deter motivation to make a difference. Since last Thursday, visually impaired, Rowan Garel has walked 20 miles per day to raise funds for BCVI, to help people who are plagued visually." http://walkacrossbelize.blogspot.fr/

Belize Film Festival's Red Carpet Gala
You can find quite a few poeple from Cayo in the pictures from the red carpet opening for the Belize International Film Festival, where Kurse a di Xtabai debuted. You'll be able to see Kurse a di Xtabai this Friday night at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel.

SISE HoC's Summer Program
The SISE House of Culture is having drama, guitar, and pottery lessons. Today is the day to go by and have some fun while learning something new. Thanks, NICH! "Summer is here. How about discovering your talent and creativity at our fun summer program."

Benque SDA Pathfinders | Facebook
Feelgood story of the day. The Benque House of Culture has uploaded some pictures from the SDA Pathfinders doing some community service at Centennial Park. "Welcome back friends! Hope you had an enjoyable weekend, maybe a little bit tired because of the Fiesta or because doing some community service. Yep, this is the case of the Benque SDA Pathfinders, meanwhile other kids were enjoying the ferries wheel which we are happy that they did so, others were also happy doing some community service. These kids came to the Centennial Park to do some cleaning and painting of the tree trunks, the director was Mr. Ramon Valdez and some parents. Well, without saying any more enjoy the following images."

Pat the Great Cat
Have you seen the 'Pat the Great Cat' website? It's based upon the book, and gives the history of the story and the literacy project behind it. "I come from a beautiful tropical place called Belize, in Central America. Belize is home to many types of tropical forests, mountains, grassy savannahs and small islands called cayes with beautiful sand beaches. Jaguars like the tropical forests best, and we love to prowl through deep, dark caves that provide good shelter in bad weather. I’ll let you in on a big secret. The caves are cool, for a lot of reasons."

Channel 7

Man Found Dead In His Farm; Police Suspects Foul-Play
There are two murders to report tonight. We begin in Cotton Tree Village where this weekend 52 year old watchman David Martinez was found dead on the farm where he worked. That's a farm near Cotton Tree village on the Western Highway where The Honduran born, naturalized Belizean had gone missing a week earlier. Police found him this weekend. He had been savagely murdered. Monica Bodden found out more:.. Monica Bodden reporting Around 3 o'clock on Sunday afternoon the body of 52 year old Daniel Martinez was found on this Papaya Farm located just outside of Cotton Tree village about 4 miles off the Western Highway. Martinez was the watchman for the property and according to his friends they all became worried when he went missing 5 days ago. A missing person report was made over the weekend and that was when the search began.

Woman Murdered In Bella Vista
A missing woman has been found dead in the Toledo district. According to reports, 22 year old Susana Roselia Lopez was last seen on Wednesday of last week in Bella Vista village, which is in northern Toledo. The Police press office has not sent out any information but reports say she was last seen with a fair-skinned man at a Bar named "La Mafia" in Bella Vista. Searches were mounted, and this morning at eight, her body was found off the Southern Highway outside of Bella Vista village. Despite requests, Police have been unable to provide even a shred of information about the circumstances of her disappearance. The man was reported to have been driving a red pickup.

Traffic Accidents Claims Life Of One Man; Hospitalizes Another
A man was killed and another is critical after an accident this weekend on the Hummingbird Highway. It happened on Saturday night - around 8:30. 18 year old Douglas Riviera and 27 year old Dennis Santos were both on a motorcyle at mile 29 when the driver in front of them, Melissa Roseland made a left turn into her property. The cycle collided into her jeep and Rivera was killed on the spot while Dennis Santos was seriously injured and is critical but stable. No word yet on whether police intend to charge Roseland.

Cargo Ship Runs Aground Off English Caye
The word went out early this morning that a cargo vessel had run aground on the reef near the English Caye Channel. IT sent off an alarm, because this sort of thing has happened before with disastrous effect to the reef. 7news went to the area today and found out why this case is not as serious as previously though, but serious nonetheless: Daniel Ortiz reporting The vessel you are looking at is a Jamaican-registered cargo ship. Its name is the MV Paranga, and it currently has 214 tons on fuel onboard, along with several tons of agricultural products. Now, the vessel may look as though it's perfectly afloat in the sea, but make no mistake, it is stuck at its' current location - run aground due to a navigation error. If you look closely, you will see water flowing out the side. It is an attempt by the crew to get it to float a bit higher, but these vessels have thousands of gallons of sea water onboard, which is used to stabilize them while they make their voyages.

Slovak Gangster May Fight His Expulsion From Belize
Last Thursday 7news broke the story about Mello Karol - the international fugitive form the Slovak Republic who was found on San Pedro, living with his family and running a business. Since then, we've been trying to get information on this sensational capture from police, but it's been like pulling teeth. Finally today, the police press office sent out a preposterous release, asking for the media's, quote, "usual co-operation to withhold information regarding MELLO Karol." The press officer, Fitzroy Yearwood adds, quote "I am not at liberty to release any information concerning Karol Mello at this time." First of all, on the part of this station, there is no usual or unusual cooperation with police to withhold any information - those are the norms for a police state, not an informed democracy. Second, we suspect that local authorities want a hush kept because the government is trying to get an expulsion order issued as quietly as possible - and be finished with the situation. But, reports are that he has retained a British Queen's Counsel and local legal representation to fight his expulsion. They would do that on the basis that he entered the country legally - and should be entitled to some kind of hearing before he is expelled. As we have reported, Mello is reputed to be a big fish in the eastern European underworld. The 42 year old is wanted by Interpol and was caught last week Wednesday on Pescador Drive in San Pedro after months of being in Belize. He is an alleged mafia boss wanted for setting up a double murder in 2004.

Rowan Finishes His 92-Mile Walk
While most of us were unwinding this weekend - Rowan Garel, along with his family, friends and supporters were walking miles upon miles. When we left him on Friday at noon - he was at the Guanacaste park in Belmopan - tired to the bone, but not nearly halfway done. But impossible is nothing for this remarkable child - and he walked all weekend - through pain and heat - reaching his targeted destinations on both Saturday and Sunday. And that set him up for a triumphant arrival into the city this morning. 7news was there, and here's how it looked:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting A little after 8 this morning, when we caught up to the Rowan and his trekking companions, he was only a little over a mile away from his end point in Belize City. Keep in mind though, that he left mile 13 on the Western Highway, at 5 a.m. sharp. He finished at the KHMH parking lot, right next to the BCVI Headquarters, where his supporters rushed in to greet him at the end of the 92 mile walk - a feat that can only be done with endurance and will-power. But Rowan didn't just finish it right there. Like a well-experienced PR Officer, he greeted the media with energy, as though he had simply walked to the nearby shop and back.

GSU Retrieve Homemade Firearm And Recovers Unlicensed Firearm
On Thursday, the Gang Suppression Unit retrieved an M-16 Magazine and a homemade firearm from the PIV area, and on Saturday, they also caught a man - who they say is a Gill Street affiliate - with an unlicensed firearm. According to the GSU, Last week Thursday, at around 3:40 p.m. a GSU team conducted a search of an overgrown lot on Vernon Street, which is beind Cox Tire Shop. As a result, the officers found 1 empty M-16 magazine which is used for M-16 assault rifles, and a homemade firearm. From the officer's observation, they believe that the firearm is adapted to discharge 12-gauge cartridges. Both items were found under an old mattress on the property. No one was in the area. Then on Saturday, at around 1:03 a.m., another GSU team was conducting operations in the Jane Usher Boulevard area. When the officers moved unto Central American Boulevard, they saw 19 year-old Lindburg Clarke, a laborer of #3323 Central American Boulevard, near Jerry's Store.

Legalize It?
It got pretty rough in the House of Representative last week - when Prime Minister Dean Barrow accused former PM Said Musa of puffing some "sensae" in his cigar - after Musa proposed decriminalization of marijuana as a possible solution to excessive incarceration. But, apparently the PM was listening - or maybe the former PM knew his thoughts, because today it was announced that a committee has been appointed by the Minister of National Security to, quote, "evaluate and, if appropriate, make proposals for the decriminalization of the possession of small portions of Marijuana." The committee will be chaired by the former police Minister Douglas Singh. The release explains that the proposal is to decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana which will then be subject to fines, mandatory drug education but no imprisonment. This release adds that the idea comes from quote "increasing evidence that the current legislation clutters the courts and the prison with primarily a marginalized segment of our population." It's a sensitive subject - and we stress it's just a proposal right now, and so all interested groups and individuals are invited to write to Chairman Singh at this email: decriminalizebelize@gmail.com. If you wish to make a representation to the committee you can say so in your written response.

Concerns For Missing Man
A San Pedro man is missing - and while the circumstances of his disappearance sound like a familiar story of a man gone on a spree - his family says eight days is too long for even that. Jose Alfredo Castillo left his family in San Pedro last Monday with a wad of cash in his pocket. Our colleagues at Reef TV filled us in with this report: That number again is 665-9548.

Usher Acquitted in 2nd Trial Without Jury
25-year-old Oscar Kareem Usher, who was accused of attempted murder, was set free in the 2nd trial without jury, before Justice Herbert Lord. Usher was implicated as the gunman in the October 2009 shooting of 19-year-old Kenrick Longsworth. The victim, Longsworth took the stand today, and forgot everything that he gave to police in a written statement. He even went as far as to flat-out admit that he didn't want to testify against Usher. Longsworth - who was 17 years-old at the time - couldn't recall that he told police that on October 14, 2009, at around 9:30 p.m., he walked to the corner of Victor Street and Lovely Lane. He said that while he was standing at the intersection, he heard shots being fired in his direction and that's when he felt a burning sensation to the right and left side of his pelvis. When he turned around, he saw Oscar Usher, standing behind him. While he could not clearly see what kind of gun was in Usher's hand, he said he saw smoke coming from its barrel. He ran away, but the pain got intense enough to force him to fall the ground, and a few minutes later, he was rescued by his uncle, who drove him to the KHMH.

Turtle Tagging Needs Support
11 months ago we took you to Gales Point Manatee where the village's wildlife sanctuary workers were tagging turtles. It's a fascinating project that puts satellite trackers on these animals which are known to swim across entire continents to get back to their hatching grounds. This year they've started again but the wildlife sanctuary wants to get the support of research teams and interested persons to come out and assist them. To raise awareness, we'll repeat our story from August of last year which gave a fascinating insight into the life and enduring mystery of sea turtles:.. Jules Vasquez Reporting Putting a sanding machine to a turtle's shell? That may seem cruel and unusual, but really, they're not torturing this mature female hawksbill - they're trying to help. What they're trying to do is sand off these tough barnacles that have molted unto her - and while the old girl looked distressed, maybe even despairing - the grinding continued. Why? Well, to take it back a few steps, she was captured two nights ago on this beach at the southern edge of the Belize district. As so many turtles do in the area she was laying eggs. She was detained, not pending charges, but pending the attachment of this satellite tracking device.

Channel 5

A farm worker is found murdered on the outskirts of Cotton Tree
An intense police investigation is underway tonight following the gruesome discovery of the badly decomposed remains of a caretaker who was murdered on a remote farm near the outskirts of Cotton Tree Village. Details are sketchy but the body of fifty-two year old David Martinez, a naturalized Belizean who had been reported missing a week [...]

The body of a missing woman discovered near Bella Vista Village
There’s another murder to report. The body of a woman, who was also reported missing last week was found this morning. Twenty-two year old Susanna Rosalia Lopez was last seen alive last Wednesday in Bella Vista Village in the south. Lopez was in the company of a man at a bar known as La Mafia. [...]

Slovakian fugitive wanted for murder is arrested in San Pedro
The high profile arrest of an international fugitive, nabbed in San Pedro last Wednesday, has left the Belize Police Department in a public relations debacle. While the local media has been asked to cooperate with the department in withholding information on the capture of forty-two year old Karol Mello, a Slovakian national who absconded toBelizein [...]

Jamaican cargo runs aground off the coast of Belize City
At this hour, a joint investigation is ongoing after a Jamaican registered cargo vessel, the MV Paranga, ran aground off the coast of Belize City this morning. The three hundred and thirty foot ship was transporting agricultural products to Kingston, Jamaica when between eight-forty-five and nine-fifteen a.m., it grounded in three meters of water southeast [...]

Rowan Garel completes 92 mile walk for charity
The following is an inspiring story about fourteen year old Rowan Garel. Born blind, Rowan has already climbed to the top of Victoria Peak. Today he accomplished another feat; he walked over ninety miles to raise much needed funds for a summer camp for children who are blind and visually impaired. Rowan started his walk [...]

Police Association negotiating hasty transfers
At the end of June, a number of police officers got notice of their sudden transfer to take effect in two weeks. Some of the officers were to relocate to their new posts today, but that has been put on hold after the Police Association spoke out last Friday against the undue haste in which [...]

Phone companies disconnect over 60,000 unregistered customers
The deadline for the mandatory registration of prepaid cellular phones was initially in March, but was extended twice, eventually landing on July thirteenth. Well, it appears that those extensions led consumers to doubt that the disconnections would really take effect, but on Friday night over sixty thousand customers from Belize Telemedia Limited and Smart were [...]

Shooting victim refuses to testify; accused gunman walks free
The second trial without jury was quickly disposed of this morning by Supreme Court Justice Herbert Lord. The prosecution’s main witness was nineteen year old Kenrick Longsworth, who was shot on October fourteenth, 2009. But today, Longsworth refused to testify against the accused gunman, twenty-five year old Oscar Kareem Usher, who was on trial for [...]

After over a month in Belize, 2 Jamaican nationals face deportation
Two Jamaican nationals left Kingston, Jamaica on June third en route to the United States, but for unknown reasons, they had a change of plans and instead sought refuge in Belize. Since June seventh, twenty-seven year old Romando Michael Richards and thirty-one year old Rayon Anthony Spence were living on Electric Avenue in Belize City, [...]

K.H.M.H. Board to review special audit report
We have been reporting on the special audit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for the period April to December 2011. By and large, it reveals that there were serious irregularities in purchases made for the hospital and that procurement practices were not followed. A number of items that were purchased from a company in [...]

BAVIA announces animated film competition winners
The International Film Festival kicked off over the weekend; sixty-seven films will be featured this year. This morning, as part of the festival, an audio visual symposium was held at the House of Culture in Belize City. The event, hosted by The Belize Audio Visual Industry Association (BAVIA) was to discuss the art and business [...]

APAMO elects new executive at Annual General Meeting
The Association of Protected Areas Management Organization, APAMO, held its fifth annual general meeting on Friday where stakeholders discussed a range of issues pertaining to the environment, natural resources and sustainable development. Other important topics included the management of protected areas within the tourism framework. According to APAMO Chairman Edilberto Romero, the environment, namely Belize’s [...]

Sports Monday weekend report with James Adderley
Good Evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   The Harrison Park National Cricket Competition returned on Saturday to beautiful Lord’s Bank in an effort to conclude the decisive Game III in the semi-final round between Excellence of Double Head and Brilliant of Crooked Tree. Last Saturday, the rains forced both teams to [...]


Police are investigating the murder of a man in Cotton Tree village in the Cayo district. The victim has been identified as fifty two year old David Martinez. According to police reports, Martinez worked as a watchman at Maya Mopan Land Farm and was reported missing since S...

Police search in Roaring Creek village uncovered drugs and weapons buried near the riverbank. Correspondent Fem Cruz Reports. FEM CRUZ, Reporter “On Saturday, July 14th between the hours of 4 AM and 12:30 PM, a joint operation was conducted in the village of Co...

Five days after she was reported missing, the body of a woman from Bella Vista village has been found. Twenty two year old Susana Roselia Lopez was last seen socializing at a nightclub in Bella Vista village on Wednesday of last week. Reports to the RSV News Centre are that...

The Youth Arm of the National Garifuna Council convened over the weekend at the Gulisi Primary School where they held their fourteenth annual youth convention. Correspondent Harry Arzu tells us more HARRY ARZU, Reporter “The three days event which sort to...

The Government of the Republic of China, Taiwan and the Government of Belize, organized a visit of an International Youth Ambassador delegation which is currently in the country. The seven talented students are visiting Belize to intensify academic and cultural exchanges between ...

The fourth annual Battle of the Drums summer camp ended at the weekend in Punta Gorda. Our Toledo correspondent Paul Mahung has the details. PAUL MAHUNG, Reporter “President of Battle of the Drums Secretariat, Darius Avila, confirmed that the two weeks ev...

A number of residents from Lord’s Bank village convened around three pm yesterday at Ramos Bus stop in the village where a meeting was held. According to owner of Ramos bus service and resident of Lord’s Bank, Bert Ramos the purpose of this meeting was for the village...

The walk across Belize fund-raising initiative undertaken by fourteen year old Rowan Garel has been completed. Garel and a group of his supporters and other Belizeans, walked the final leg of the journey from Hattieville village to Belize City early this morning, ending at the of...

The issue of grown men taking advantage of teenage girls under the age of eighteen has been in the news a lot recently. And today there is one more to report. The latest reported case comes from the village or Lord’s Bank. The mother of the girl, whose name we will wi...


Flooding disrupts travels in rural Toledo
Two flooded rivers in the Toledo District have caused major setbacks to vehicular traffic and to inhabitants in several rural communities in that southern District. Correspondent Paul Mahung fills us in.

Police continue to investigate Corozal double murder
Corozal police continue to follow leads in connection with the murders of Robert Hernandez and Kenrick Vacarro, an uncle and nephew duo who were murdered on Wednesday night. When we spoke with Officer Commanding the Corozal Police Station on Thursday, Love News also asked Superintendent Gualberto Garcia for an update on the murders of mother and daughter, Clari and Shanny Ferdersdorf, who were shot dead last week Thursday night. Meanwhile, no one has been arrested for the murders of Kenrick Vacarro and Robert Hernandez.

International fugitive nabbed in San Pedro
Once again Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret has been the haven for another fugitive, this time hailing all the way from Europe. Forty-two year old Karol Mello, a native of the Slovak Republic in Eastern European, was reportedly living in Belize for the past several months, and conducting a business in San Pedro Town. He was wanted by European authorities in connection with a double murder in 2004. Referred to as an alleged mafia don, the fugitive was apprehended on Pescador Drive in San Pedro on Thursday. In October of 2010, he was arrested in Poland but was let go in May of 2011 when adequate procedures were not followed in processing his case. Reports are that Mello is also believed to be involved in the murder of a European drug kingpin.

Cumberbatch sentenced to a decade behind bars
Twenty eight year old Knox Cumberbatch will spend the next ten years in prison. That is the sentence handed down today by Justice Adolph Lucas after Cumberbatch’s conviction on Monday of last week on three counts of attempted murder. The ten year jail sentence is with effect from today. Before handing down the sentence, Justice Lucas said that young men in Belize who are committing crimes of violence resort to firearms. But old days, the judge said, men used to fight with fists. Justice Lucas called today’s criminals cowards saying they only feel brave when they have steel in their hands. In the process, judge Lucas said, they kill their own black men. Cumberbatch is accused of the July 28, 2007 shooting in San Pedro Town. Four persons were socializing at a night club when there was a dispute at the basketball court. Cumberbatch reportedly left and returned shortly afterwards and opened fire on the group.

Burrel Boom man charged for discharging firearm in public
Thirty seven year old Michael Wright, a driver residing in Burrell Boom, was charged with five offences, among them discharging a firearm in public and kept firearm without a gun license, when he appeared today in the number one Magistrate’s Court. The other charges included two counts of aggravated assault and 1 count of using threatening words. Wright pleaded not guilty to the charges. Because of the nature of the offences the court could not offer him bail. He was remanded into custody until August twenty ninth. The incident occurred around one thirty a.m. on July first, in Burrell Boom. Two persons, Keron Molina and Sheryl Escobar, reported to the police that Wright pointed a firearm at them threatening them, then fired a single shot into the air. Wright did not have a license for the firearm so he was charged with kept firearm without a gun license.

Importance of intelligence information gathering and sharing discussed
A week-long training provided members of Belize’s law enforcement community as well as our Trinidadian counterparts with a forum to discuss the crucial subject of intelligence gathering and sharing. On the final day of the training, participants discussed two main topics, including the importance of intelligence in the fight against serious and organized crime and the benefits of centralized intelligence, inter-agency cooperation and information sharing. At the closing of the training this morning in Belmopan, chief executive officer in the ministry of National Security, retired colonel George Lovell said that given the current realities in Belize with a spiraling crime situation, more needs to be done in order for law enforcement to stay ahead of the criminals. Colonel Lovell says the training provided this week will go a long way in improving the nation’s intelligence gathering model and enhance the response to threats to our national security. The training was provided by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Colonel Lovell says that a strategic planning meeting on national security threats will be held next month which will guide the way forward in tackling crime and violence in Belize.

Police undergo customer service training
Members of the police department today participated in a customer service and public relations workshop at the House of Culture on Regent Street in Belize City. The two day workshop opened yesterday and the Deputy of the Tourism police Unit, Sergeant Karla Gamboa, further enlightened us on the training.

APAMO holds training for its members
APAMO held their general meeting today in Belize City. Correspondent Harry Arzu was there and filed the following report.

Music consultation held in Belize City
The House of Culture on Regent Street was today the venue for a consultation through the collaboration of the Belize International Film Festival, NICH and the Music Industry Association of Belize. Singer, songwriter, model , and director of MIAB, Melonie Gillett gave Love News the details on this event. Gillett says the next step for artists in the music industry is for more work, more push and more drive. She says that MIAB and NICH are working in a five year music plan with several projects in the works and today’s consultation may open bigger doors for the music industry.

Annual Garifuna Convention underway in Dangriga
The youth arm of the National Garifuna Council began its fourteenth annual convention today at the Gulisi Primary School in Dangriga. Harry Arzu reports.


Watchman turns up dead on farm in Cotton Tree Village
A search for a missing person turns into a murder investigation. DAVID McKOY, Supervisor of MayaLand Farm located i...

5 month old needs assistance for life-saving surgery
A family is seeking the assistance of the public; in order for their baby to undergo a lifesaving medical procedure...

Boots talks "Boost"
BOOST stands for Building Opportunities for our Social Transformation. BOOST is a poverty alleviation program that ...

18 year old loses life in car accident
A left turn ends the life of a young man. On Saturday night July 14, Police visited the Western Regional Hospital w...

Illegal travellers busted, remanded to prison
This is dark tale of 2 Jamaican nationals who set sail from Jamaica enroute to Uncle Sam but ended up in Belize- No...

Belize gets positive reviews at Influenza summit
Last month, at the Influenza Surveillance Regional Meeting in Panama City, Panama, it was reported that Belize rank...

Belmopan beauty heads to 2012 Miss World Pagaent
Chantae Chanice Guy (20) was recently chosen to represent Belize at the 2012 Miss World Pageant to be held at Ordos...

Corozal residents take to the streets in protest
The Citizens’ Coalition for a Better Corozal took to the streets in that municipality on Saturday (July 14) in a pe...

Mechanic charged with drug trafficking
The Dangriga Police visited Grigalizean Shopping Center on George Price Drive, Dangriga Town on Saturday evening (J...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Fresh Fire-Hearth Roasted Cashews For Sale…
This gentleman walks down the streets of Caye Caulker with his stash of bagged, fresh roasted cashew nuts. Cashew fruit is grown locally on mainland Belize. It is fresh roasted locally over a wood fire, bagged, and brought to you wherever you are. Support a local farmer and a local entrepreneur and buy some authentic Belizean cashews. You will not be disappointed. Small bags are BZ$ 10 (US$ 5) and large bags are BZ$ 20 (US$ 10).

Miss Paula’s Hand-Painted T-Shirts ROCK!
Ms. Paula is a single mom who hand paints some awesome t-shirts for a living. You can find her at one of the arts and craft stands on Front Street on the way to the Split. Ms. Paula puts a lot of love and care into her artwork, and it shows. She is also one of the most interesting conversationalists around. Next time you are on the island, stop by and say hello. Tell her the Caye Caulker Chronicles sent you.


The Internet That I Use in San Pedro
On January 31st 2012, I had no internet and was distraught. So, I bought a new "gadget" that is relatively new to the island. This little USB internet stick from Smart would provide me service, was relatively cheap and promised to be relatively quick. I told you guys about it and promised a follow-up. Well...here it is: For the previous year before I bought this stick, I was sharing Wi-Fi with the couple that lived directly below me. Any internet in Belize is EXPENSIVE. You can purchase super slow 128k speed for $49bzd a month (it will take you back to your dial up days...You've Got Mail!) to workable 512k speed for $179bzd to faster 4MB for $850bzd. $850bzd!!!!!!!!!!! Holy shit. This is all after a $150 installation fee and two visits from the phone or cable guys. I want something easier but DEFINITELY cheaper. So I talked to one of the cell phone service providers...Smart. I bought their USB stick. (But I am repeating myself like CRAZY...all of this was mentioned in my earlier post.) The actual USB stick costs $185 BZD and is yours to keep. You can use it in up to two computers. The internet time is sold as follows: $30bzd for 1GB (which they tell you is good if you only email, IM and download/upload pictures) up to $90bzd for the 10GB plan (which gives you time to Web browse, play online games, video stream and lots of other options.) The speed I was told that I would get is 300-400k uploading and 450-550k downloading. About the same as the $180bzd monthly fee that Coral Cable is charging for the same speed.

International Sources

Belizean Teachers Attend Bi-National Environmental Education Institute
On July 13th, nine Belizean teachers and one District Curriculum Officer successfully completed the 9th annual “Teacher Institute in Environmental Studies and Culture” sponsored by the Belize Foundation for Conservation and hosted by The Lodge at Chaa Creek in the Cayo District. Thirteen education professionals from The State University of New York also attended and were involved in the cross-cultural educational exchange. The Institute provided the teachers with the opportunity to engage in cross-cultural collaboration with international educators in order to examine and share best practices in education applied toward the study of the environment and cultures. Through experiential learning tasks, the teachers were able to explore and develop an understanding of ancient Maya civilization, archeology, natural resource conservation, and ecotourism. The teachers were also introduced to a new book written by children of Belize and the U.S. as part of an international literacy initiative. “Pat the (Great) Cat: A Jaguar's Journey” chronicles the true story of a jaguar whose dramatic journey from Belize to the United States is both heart-breaking and heart-warming. The Belize Ministry of Education has chosen the book as a supplemental text for the coming school year. It may be that this is the first time that the students are authors of their own textbook! The five day training workshop is a collaborative effort between the Belize Foundation for Conservation (BFC) based at the Chaa Creek Natural History Centre, the State University of New York at Cortland (SUNY-Cortland), and the Belize Ministry of Education. Since the institute’s beginning in 2003, over 90 Belizean teachers have benefited from the training. The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Thomas Pasquarello - Institute Director, State University of New York - Cortland, Mr. Pablo Chan - Ministry of Education, Cayo District Curriculum Officer, Mr. Mike Green - Executive Director of the Belize Foundation for Conservation, and Ms. Miguelina Cuevas-Post - United States Peace Corps volunteer.

Edited by Marty (11/17/12 10:01 AM)

#442668 - 07/17/12 09:16 AM Re: Today's Belize News: July 17, 2012 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Belize's Hidden Treasure
Hardwood logs lying submerged on a riverbed for 200 years could prove invaluable to preserving Belize's rainforests.Sharita Hutton takes a boat down the Belize River to find out about a project that is reducing deforestation by tracking down precious woods in the most unlikely of places – at the bottom of the river. The world's hardwoods are disappearing fast, with 1.5 acres (0.6 hectares) of rainforest cut down every second. This in turn causes the loss of an estimated 50,000 species of hardwood each year. From the Amazon Basin to the forests of Southeast Asia, extensive logging has resulted in the disappearance of huge swaths of hardwood supplies, and world population growth is putting pressure on governments to gain quick cash flow by cutting down what is left of their hardwood forests. But in the Central American country of Belize, there is a supply of hardwoods that was cut since 200 years ago that could help meet the demand without cutting down the remnants of existing forests. Starting from March, 2011, a new venture between a US logging company and the Belize government began harvesting logs that were cut down as long ago as the 18th and 19th centuries. Historically, logs were floated down the river to transport them to market in Belize City, and in the process, as many as 50 per cent of them sank to the bottom. According to Rich Petty of Greener Lumber, "there was a time when you couldn't even see the water for the logs". Because of the type of wood and the type of environment, the timber is still well preserved today, and when retrieved it will find keen buyers in places such as the US and Europe. Using divers and modern technology, the goal is to extract as much as 20,000 board feet (47 cubic metres) of logs per week and ship this old-growth mahogany and five other species to the global markets.


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