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#442890 - 07/20/12 09:03 AM Today's Belize News: July 20, 2012
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The San Pedro Sun

SPTGA and CZMAI team up to promote Fly Fishing and Scuba Diving among youth of San Pedro
The San Pedro Tourist Guide Association (SPTGA) along with the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI), Professional Association of Diving Instructors PADI and Hol Chan has teamed up this year to simultaneously provide two unique Summer Camps to children of San Pedro. The two camps being offered are PADI Summer Dive Camp and the Sport Fishing Camp. Both camps targeted students between the ages of 10 – 16 years old. The Summer Dive Camp targets all primary schools in San Pedro with the aim to get a few students from each school to participate and become certified as PADI Open Water divers. According to President of the SPTGA, Phillip “Billy” Leslie, this year, the program has some 34 students participating, “The SPTGA has always embarked on programs that give back to the community. Two of the programs that we are currently going through at this moment is a summer program with kids. The largest of the two is the scuba diving program. We have gone to all of the elementary schools and offered them this program as an incentive for their kids. We don’t end up choosing the kids; the schools choose the kids as an incentive. We provide the training.”

Oceana’s CEO meets with Belize’s Leader of the Opposition
Oceana’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Andy Sharpless was in Belize for a brief courtesy meeting to meet with key officials of the new government and members of the private sector community. Sharpless requested a meeting with the re-elected Prime Minister and also the newly installed Leader of the Opposition. The Office of the Prime Minister was unable to accommodate Mr. Sharpless’ meeting request. On his first official visit to Belize however, Oceana’s CEO had met with Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow. He had never met Hon. Francis Fonseca, with whom he now had a brief and cordial courtesy visit. Mr. Sharpless provided Mr. Fonseca with an overview of Oceana’s purpose and work both internationally and in Belize and shared with Mr. Fonseca the importance for nations to adopt new marine resource management policies in order for each nation to continue harvesting the long term economic and food security benefits for its people and development. Mr. Sharpless took the opportunity to thank Belize, and all parties involved, for leading the world by becoming the first country, globally, to completely ban all forms of trawling; a fishing practice which indiscriminately destroys marine life and home. He explained how Belize is now being used as a model internationally and praised the Government for having taken such a bold move.

Ambergris Today

Video Pick: Kevin Lyttle Sends Costa Maya Fest Message, Plus Divash!
Caribbean Soca Artist Kevin Lyttle will highlight Friday, August 3, 2012, at the San Pedro International Costa Maya Festival, Belize. Here is his personal invitation to everybody to come down to Belize and enjoy the Costa Maya Festival 2012. Kevin Lyttle is a soca artist hailing from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, who had a worldwide monster hit with the addictive soca ballad "Turn Me On", which was recorded by Lyttle and the dancehall artist Spragga Benz. Ladies of Divash Also to Perform on Friday Night Remember Miss Guatemala Gabriela Asturias, also Miss Costa Maya 2010? She is a model, television personality, spokesperson and public figure in Guatemala. But she is also a member of the sexy dance squad Divash, along with three other beautiful ladies. Gabriela and her Divash dance squad have been confirmed to perform on Friday Night, August 3; promising to add some hot and spicy flavor to the Costa Maya Festival.

Work Starts on Humanely Eradicating Stray Dogs in San Pedro
Earlier this month the eradication of stray dogs via strychnine poisoning, conducted by the San Pedro Town Council, caused an uproar as some residents did not agree with the inhumane process of controlling the dog population in the country. While some residents support the idea and had been asking for the eradicating problematic stray dogs, the humane society and dog lovers adamantly objected to the method used by the SPTC. Mayor Daniel Guerrero had stated the main reason for his decision to carry out the eradication was because of the complaints by tourists and island residents and the increasing health issues which were brought to his attention by local doctors. It wasn’t something he wanted to do but had to do it for the best of the community. He also mentioned that the council would continue eradications to lower the population of problematic dogs. Both the SAGA Humane Society and the San Pedro Animal Hospital (SPAH) met with the San Pedro Town Council to address the current situation and discuss the best possible and humane way to deal with stray dogs. It was established that the eradications will be conducted by SAGA and SPAH personnel, who will go out, identify areas where problematic dogs are, round them up and hold them up for three days for pet owners to claim.

Summer Program on Hurricane Preparedness
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) just recently concluded its three-day summer program for youths of San Pedro and Caye Caulker and held a closing ceremony on Wednesday, July 18, 2012, at Fido’s Courtyard. The purpose of NEMO’s summer program was to recruit and train participants in the event of an emergency or disaster. The participating youth were given knowledge on disaster preparedness, to build capacity and empower the community with the skills and tools needed to respond to a disaster. They were awarded with certificates of completion and presented a short skit to show off the knowledge they had obtained during the program.

Misc Belizean Sources

Weaving and Basketry Course pictures
The Benque House of Culture has pictures from their Weaving and Basketry course. It's never too late to learn something new. "As part of our Summer Program, women are learnig new skills so that for tomorrow's future they can manage their own entrepreneurship."

Cinnamon Buns/Sticky Buns
Gooey,sweet and soft cinnamon buns are always a great comfort food. In this recipe, I use coconut milk which make these buns even more rich and soft. I used 2 different types of topping.

A peaceful demonstration while Bert Vasquez was being taken to Magistrate's court for a "full disclosure" hearing turned violent when the father of Jasmine Lowe physically assaulted the accused man with an umbrella.

Channel 7

Bert Vasquez Lashed Across the Head By Jasmine's Dad
Accused girl killer and sexual predator Bert Vasquez was lashed across the head with an umbrella by Jasmine Lowe's father as he went to court this morning. It happened in San Ignacio Town as Vasquez was being arraigned for the assault charged against a dozen under aged girls. It should have been just a routine adjournment hearing - but a modest crowd came out to the town center to see that town's Public Enemy Number One. Things took a turn for the crazy when Vasquez was taken out of the police van and was marched, handcuffed, into the police station - right through the throng of onlookers. It was a spontaneous, surreal moment - on another crazy day in Cayo - Monica Bodden has the story. Monica Bodden reporting Crowds of Cayo residents gathered once more in front of the San Ignacio police station as they anxiously waited to see the accused child predator - Bert Vasquez. The crowd was much smaller than the previous time but was just as riled up. And then the man of the hour made his grand appearance - in front of an angry mob of spectators - And while being escorted by police officer on his way to the courtroom - He was struck in the head with an umbrella. The unexpected hit almost made Vasquez stumble to the ground - as the crowd chanted words of anger. The man who hit him - was Chris Lowe - the father of 13 year old Jasmine Lowe who was found murdered on June 6th. And so both the accused killer and the grieving father were in police custody today.

Stabbing Death In City
But first, there was a murder in the city this afternoon, which left a teenager dead. 18 year-old Raheem Smith was stabbed to death just before 2:00 this afternoon. The Allenby Street resident got into a fight with a man at this residence, which is located at the far end of George Street and its intersection with Racecourse Street. The accused stabbed Smith under the right armpit with a large knife, and he was rushed to the KHMH, but died 15 minutes later. This evening, the family of the deceased told the media that they don't know why anyone would want to hurt him. According to them, he is a hardworking young man who had no affiliation to any gangs. His aunt spoke to us off-camera about what information they had: Voice of: Aunt of victim "He was an 18 year old young man. He was working at Princess. He is not a person that has a record; he is not a person that gets in trouble. I haven't heard my nephew getting in a fight, much less out there shooting anybody. I don't really what happen today but I got a call from my sister after 3 telling me to come to the hospital because Raheem is in there and he is in a serious condition. I went to the hospital, but at that time he had already die."

BDF Kill Guatemalan Logger
A BDF patrol has killed a man believed to be a Guatemalan - after he was found logging two miles within Belizean territory. It happened yesterday evening as A BDF patrol was making its way through the Columbia forest Reservr to the Machaquilha Observation Post in extreme southwestern Belize. According to an official release, the patrol came upon three men engaged in illegal logging 3.2 kilometers, or about two miles east of the border, which is to say within Belizean territory. The official report only says that quote "there was a confrontation which resulted in one fatality and the arrest of two persons believed to be Guatemalan nationals." It does not disclose whether it was an armed confrontation or whether the fatality is a Guatemalan male. We understand that this has not been formed yet - but he most likely is since the two men with him were arrested and they are Guatemalan. Police were flown into the area to do an investigation and the body is being retrieved while the two arrested persons remain detained. In its statement, The Government of Belize expresses its regret at the loss of life and extends its sympathies to the affected family. This is likely to unfold into another major international incident - similar to the one that occurred six months ago when the BDF killed a Guatemalan in extreme western Belize.

Controlled Price Of Butane Down, Down, Down
World oil prices have been going down - but the controlled price of Liquid Petroleum Gas - which we commonly call butane, has remained constant. That is until tomorrow - when it takes a huge dive. The controlled price is going down by thirty dollars per hundred pound cylinder across the board! So, in Belize City where the price of a hundred pound cylinder is $126.00 dollars - that will now be $96.00 for basic butane. For the high grade butane imported from Mexico - which currently sells for $133.00 dollars in the city - that price is going down to $103.00. The agreement was reached today in a meeting between the Ministry of trade and the Butane importers. The Ministry demonstrated to them that acquisition prices have been trending down for some months - which allowed them to recover from the period when it was high. We understand a few hard words were exchanged but the meeting produced accord and the new slashed price goes into effect tomorrow.

Black Jaguar Left to Starve At Hard Time Resort
A rare black jaguar called Bosh is at the Belize Zoo being rehabilitated after he was left to starve by a the management of a resort in the Toledo district. The cat was found at Belize Loge and Excursions, in the Boden Creek Ecological Preserve adjacent to Indian Creek village in Toledo. The property was formerly a high end, five star, ecotourism resort featuring captive animals to display to their guests. But the resort seems to have fallen on hard times and management stopped paying their staff and stopped feeding the animals. Marchilio Ack, the haad ranger from the Ya'xche conservation trust became aware of their plight on Saturday and told us what he found when he went to the resort:.. Marchilio Ack, Head Ranger - Ya'axche Conservation Trust "When I reach out there I saw the jaguar barely moving, he was starving to death because you could see that he is very slim. There were two of them, we saw the other jaguar motionless - not moving, we tried to give him stuff to see if he could move but he was already dead. There was no water in the cage and they has not been feeding the jaguar. That the reason why one of the jaguar died." "On Saturday I start feeding the jaguar that was alive with chicken; we can see that he gain some energy and started to move around. The condition that we found him in he was barely moving."

Another City Stabbing is Attempted Murder
Earlier in the newscast, we told you about a stabbing which led the death of 18 year-old Raheem Smith, Well, there was another stabbing which occurred last week, but in that case, the victim survived. 43 year-old Joseph Castilo, a butcher of Gibnut Street, is at prison tonight after he allegedly stabbed 29 year-old Jose Argueta. According to police, on Sunday, July 8, 2012 at about 5:00 p.m., they visited the KHMH where they saw Argueta, a resident of Iguana Street, suffering from a stab wound to the left arm pit. According to Argueta, at 4:00 p.m., he was at Good Fortune Bar & Pool, located on New Town Barracks, and he was socializing with a friend. He said that he got into an argument with Castillo, who got angry, pulled out a knife, and stabbed him. As a result, police arrested and charged Castillo with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and dangerous harm. He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, who remanded him to prison until his next court date, which is set for August 20.

Five Year AIDS Plan Launched
The National Strategic Plan and the National Operational Plan on HIV and AIDS was launched today at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City. The purpose of the plan is to coordinate the national response to HIV for the next 5 years. It's a huge effort and requires the collaboration of over 23 different agencies. Director of the National Aids Commission Martin Cuellar outlined the priority areas for us:.. Martin Cuellar, Director of the National Aids Commission "And so equally important is for us to continue to reduce the number of new infections but for us to improve the quality and the length of life of people living with HIV and then also for us to continue to improve the environment in which we are doing the work we do so that it can happen a little bit more smoothly and a little bit more efficiently and quickly." "We utilize the input and the collaboration of over 23 different agencies, government departments, civil society organizations and community base organizations and so the implementation of the plan will be done at that level. We like to use the phrase "think nationally, act locally" and so all our member agencies will be the actual implementers of the plan."

Six Computers for the KHMH
Today at KHMH, the representatives of Fultec Systems donated 6 computers to the hospital, a gift worth $9,000 dollars. Now, the new units won't be used to order 800 US Dollar tuxedo's over the internet; no it'll be used to benefit patients who want to stay in touch. Fultec's PR Officer explained:.. Grace Brown, PR Officer - Fultec Systems "We decided that we wanted to donate something to the KHMH because we believe in what they are selling basically and we wanted to donate 6 computers to them, so we are donating 2 to the lobby where family of patients can inform other family members of the status of the patient and so on and it will be free of cost to those family members and the other 4 will go to the training center for the doctors and nurses." Daniel Ortiz "What's the value of the donation?" Grace Brown, PR Officer - Fultec Systems "It's approximately $9,000.00 but of course you know it's immeasurable in terms of what it will be giving back to the family of the patients."

From a Gala Event To Charity
And keeping up with the donations, earlier this month, 7News featured the launch of the Flavors of Belize Cookbook, a world class publication featuring Belizean culinary specialties. For the launch gala, James Brodie and Company sponsored 6 brand-new stoves. It was only a single-use event, but Brodies couldn't quite put them back on display so Flavors of Belize collaborated with the Hand Wash Hand organization, to donate the stoves to 6 charity organizations. Publisher Tanya McNab explained:.. Tanya McNab, Publisher "What is happening today is that we are having the handing over, we partnered with Hand Wash Hand as well and they are giving 6 organizations and families the stoves as a donation."

Darts Players From All Over Gather In Belize
You may think Darts is a past-time drunk guys play in bars, but, you would be wrong: Darts is a real sport, and if you don't believe, just witness 2 major international Dart events, The 19th Caribbean Cup and the Sixth America's Cup which are being held in Belize starting on Saturday. A large number of players from all over the world started arriving in Belize today and today, we were at the PGIA to see delegations from Barbados and from Bahamas arrive. They said they are happy to be here:.. Jose Mora, President Belize Darts Federation "We are holding the 19th Caribbean Cup and the 6th Americas Cup to play at the Biltmore Plaza. It starts on Saturday at 1 o' clock opening ceremonies and then we go on with the Americas Cup for 3 days and on the 24th we start the 19th Caribbean Cup."

Channel 5

Bert Vasquez gets an umbrella to the head on his way to court
The air was emotionally charged outside the San Ignacio Magistrate court this morning. Bert Vasquez, who is charged with the June murder of Jasmine Lowe as well as thirteen charges of aggravated assault of eleven young girls, was transferred from the Belize Central prison under heavy police escort. As he made his way, Vasquez was [...]

A Guatemalan illegal logger is killed in the south; 2 others arrested
There is breaking news tonight that a Guatemalan logger has been killed by the B.D.F. in the Colombia Reserve in the Toledo District. According to a release late this evening from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the incident happened on Wednesday evening between the Edward Central and Union Camps when a B.D.F. patrol was heading [...]

Belize City teen stabbed to death allegedly for his own bike
In the city, the short reprieve was broken when a youth was stabbed and killed this afternoon. According to residents on George Street, around two-thirty, eighteen year old Raheem Smith was socializing with some friends in a yard where an exchange of ‘hard talk’ between Smith and another young man broke out. The victim, an [...]

US national still in custody for murder of Bella Vista woman
And in respect of a previous murder, on Tuesday of this week we reported that police had detained a U.S National in connection with the murder of twenty-five year old waitress, Susana Roselia Romero of Bella Vista Village. He has not been charged, but today, Romero’s family told News Five that they were informed by [...]

Butane prices drop by a whopping $30 per 100lb cylinder
There is some good news to report tonight that will bring major relief to the pockets of Belizeans. Effective this Friday, the retail price of butane will be reduced by a whopping thirty dollars per hundred pound cylinder. Yes you heard right… a reduction of thirty dollars. The hundred pound cylinder of butane will now [...]

Support continues to flow for decriminalization of marijuana possession
The decriminalization of the possession of up to ten grams of marijuana is being hotly debated and it appears that the government initiative is getting support from many quarters. Current legislation considers marijuana possession of less than sixty grams a criminal offense punishable by a fine up to fifty thousand dollars and as many as [...]

UB subsidy cut to take effect in January 2013
Last week, during the budget debate, the Minister of education, Patrick Faber, said that government will be cutting the subsidies to the University of Belize for general semester fees. It sparked a firestorm among UB students, who feared that it would result in a fee increase. This afternoon, the university confirmed that the cutback won’t [...]

Belize City butcher goes to jail for allegedly stabbing another man
A local butcher has been charged for allegedly stabbing another man during an altercation at Good Fortune Bar on Newtown Barracks. This morning, forty-three year old Joseph Castillo appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith and was charged with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm and dangerous harm. He is accused of attacking [...]

National HIV Strategic and Operational plans launched
The world’s largest AIDS conference opens in Washington in the next few days. Around the world, more than thirty-four million persons are affected with the AIDS virus. But the good news is that new infections and deaths went down slightly last year. In Belize, the numbers have been going down in the past three years [...]

National AIDS Commission says HIV belongs on the budget
Copies of the HIV strategic and operational plans were also handed over to the government this morning. And while several ministries, particular the Ministry of Health, have been supportive of initiatives by the National AIDS Commission, Martin Cuellar says they need the Ministry of Finance to come onboard. That’s because external funding is on the [...]

Flavors of Belize donates 6 stoves to charity
The Flavors of Belize cookbook was launched early this month at a grand cocktail at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. The event featured several cooking stations where buyers sampled some of the recipes included in the book. For that night, the chefs were working with gas range stoves donated by Brodies and today, Flavors [...]

SIF prepares for infrastructural works in Municipal Development
An initiative known as the Belize Municipal Development Project is being financed through a thirty million dollar loan by the World Bank. The Social Investment Fund is responsible for implementing different infrastructure projects in the towns of Benque Viejo Del Carmen, Belmopan, Dangriga, Punta Gorda, Orange Walk and Corozal. During implementation, it is expected that [...]

Fultec celebrates 20 years with a donation to the K.H.M.H.
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital was today gifted with six brand new Acer desktop computers from Fultec Systems. The company, in celebrating its twentieth anniversary, made the donation to the hospital for medics and relatives of patients to use. News Five was on hand for the handing over.   Grace Brown, P.R., Fulltec Systems “We [...]

Healthy Living looks back at Rowan Garel’s “Walk Across Belize.”
The daily newscast is often dominated by crime, but the story of a young and heroic blind teenager has captured our attention and captivated the hearts of thousands across the nation. Rowan Garel is an inspiration, who we have been following for some time. When he climbed atop Victoria Peak last year, we were there [...]


Teachers take a one day workshop on Traditional Creole games at the Banquitas House of Culture in Orange Walk Town. Dalila Ical reports. DALILA ICAL, Reporter “When children in this generation think of games, most of the time, if not all, they think of vi...

A meeting took place yesterday between government officials and Oceana’s Chief Executive Officer, Andy Sharpless. Sharpless also met with members of the private sector, and requested a meeting with Prime Minister, Dean Barrow. However, a release from Oceana states tha...

Since 2010, the Belize Municipal Development Project has been in the pipeline. It’s really a multi-million-dollar project that will give seven municipal communities facelifts through a loan from the World Bank. Today, the Social Investment Fund, which is overseeing th...

Human Services staff normally deal with sensitive cases involving children who are in situations that can be detrimental to their wellbeing. When the officers who deal with them do not know what tips to look for or what questions to ask, then it does not help. So today and ...

The National Aids Commission today publicly launched the National Strategic and Operational Plans at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel on the Northern Highway. According to the Executive Director of the National AIDS Commission Secretariat, Martin Cuellar, the purpose of the strategic pla...

Four more charges are to be brought against Bert Vasquez in San-Ignacio today. Patrick Jones is in front of the Magistrate Court in San-Ignacio. PATRICK JONES, Reporter “Bert Vasquez versus the people continues in San Ignacio Town. A short while ago V...


Bert Vasquez wounded on way to court, father of deceased victim charged
There was a show of force downstairs of the Magistrate’s Court, as residents gathered en mass, in San Ignacio today...

SIF aims at enhancing communication channels with public
Social Investment Fund holds a strategy workshop. A one-day communication strategy workshop for media representativ...

National AIDS commission launches its National Strategic Plan
The National AIDS commission held an official ceremony to launch its National Strategic and operational Plans. Toda...

Fatal shooting in the Toledo District
Reports have come in of a shooting that occurred yesterday evening at around 6pm in the Colombia Reserve, Toledo Di...

Police investigate burglary and apparent arson
On Wednesday July 18, Regino Hernandez, a Special Constable of Big Falls Village reported that at about 7:00pm on J...

Two arrested for attempted murder
Regarding a report made by Jose Samuel Argueta on July 8; on July 18 Police arrested and charged Joseph Alexander C...

The Guardian

Belize City: Infrastructure and Employment
Over the past couple of weeks, it has been quite the task to get around Belize City with the number of streets that have been closed and traffic being re-directed to others. But the streets are not just being closed down to cause an inconvenience. As a matter of fact, the streets are being closed down in order to accommodate the volume of work that the Belize City Council is doing to fix them. No one would have thought it possible that so much work could have been done in such a short space of time, but under Mayor Darrell Bradley and the new Belize City Council, impossible is just a word. And as the work is being demanded ,CISCO Construction and M&M Engineering have been able to meet the challenge. So far there are six streets that have been completed and these include the following: Cemetery Road, Glenn Street, Ferrell Lane, South Street, Belize Bank Street, Daly Street and Calle al Mar. Nearing completion is Thomas Vincent Ramos Street in the Belama Phase 3 area. On Monday, July 16th, work commenced on two of the main streets in downtown Belize City. These are namely: Queen Street and Treasury Lane, which is immediately in front of the Supreme Court Building.

First Open Heart Surgery in Belize
Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s Director of Medical Services, Dr. Adrian Coye, made history on Monday, July 16, when he performed the first open heart surgery in Belize. Coye operated for four hours on a 73-year-old man who suffered from coronary artery disease. The surgery performed was a cervical revascularization. It is a milestone for Belize’s health system and a dream come true for a very talented cardiothoracic surgeon. Dr. Coye said, “This has always been what I wanted to do. My life’s ambition has been to come home and do these type of surgeries for my Belizean people.” Dr. Coye always knew that heart surgeries would one day be performed in Belize. He had hoped that it could be done within the first five years of his return home. He did not factor in the generous support of friends of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Many of the expensive machines and equipment needed for such surgeries were donated by international institutions. Dr. Francis Robicsek is the Chair Emeritus of the Department of Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgeries at the Carolinas Healthcare System and a pioneer in the practice. Through their international program, Dr. Robicsek was able to organize a team to travel to Belize to assist Dr. Coye, who was prepared to conduct Belize’s first heart surgery after being back in the country for little over 18 months. That team consisted of six specialists including Dr. Robert Stiegel, who is a highly regarded Cardio Thoracic Surgeon. Belize also organized a team to match at least one local medical practitioner with a peer from abroad. The fused team worked together throughout the preparation and execution of the successful surgery that was conducted by Dr. Coye.

Jamaican Cargo Ship Runs Aground Near English Caye
Shortly after 9 a.m. on Monday, July 16, the Belize Port Authority received a distress call that a Jamaican registered cargo ship, MV Paranga, had run aground 2 miles southeast of English Caye. A joint operation was launched immediately which saw officials from the Belize Port Authority, Belize Coast Guard and the Department of the Environment responding to the scene.

Kudos to the Speaker
Last week Wednesday and Thursday's Budget debate proved that there must be a very good Speaker of the House of Representatives to be able to handle the obstinate representatives of the People's United Party. And the new speaker proved that ...

Women In Politics: “Because man and woman are the complement of one another, we need woman’s thought in national affairs to make a safe and stable government.”
Non-interventionism of women in politics is a theme of vital importance in the modern world. Men rule because women let them. Let’s realise that women are not essentially passive or peaceful; we’re all not naturally anything, but human. Though men and women have been equal partners in the development of civilizations, women were denied an equal status. Social and political institutions, as well as the legal systems, discriminated against them. Women’s roles in most societies were defined as household demands and largely limited to the private domain. Despite sacrifices made by them and their contributions in building up the family as the nucleus of society and civilized life, they were relegated to an inferior position. Unequal opportunities in education and training, limited rights in owning wealth and assets, and denial of the right to exercise political power condemned them to a subordinate status in most societies.

Prime Minister Departs the Country
The Office of the Prime Minister wishes to inform the public that the Hon. Dean Barrow will depart the country today, 17th July, 2012, to accompany his wife, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow for the continuance of her medical treatment.

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, was pleased to report that Belize ranked second in surveillance scores among all participating regional countries. He mentioned that although the assessment showed progress, we still need to build on capacity strengthening in our 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. The Ministry of Health is very proud of this accomplishment by our team of dedicated health care providers and is committed to work along with our regional and international partners to strengthen Influenza Surveillance.

Decriminalization of Marijuana
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. 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.

Two Jamaicans to be deported
On Monday, July 16th, 27-year-old Romando Michael Richards, and 31-year-old Rayon Anthony Spence, both students and electricians from Kingston, Jamaica, appeared in Magistrate's Court to answer to charges of disembarking a vessel without the authority of an Immigration Officer. They appeared before Magistrate Hurl Hamilton in Court #6 where they were deemed to be illegal immigrants and where they pleaded guilty to the charge. They were both fined $1,000 each plus $5.00 cost of court of which they were order to pay forthwith or in default, six months in prison. A removal order was also issued for them to be deported back to Jamaica. The two Jamaican nationals left their home town, Kingston, on June 3rd of this year en route to the United States but somehow did not make it there and instead sought refuge in Belize. Police got a tip that they were living on Electric Avenue since June 7th, when they claim they arrived in Belize and they were detained and handed over to Immigration personnel.

Three Men to stand Trial for Attempting to kill Policeman
On Tuesday, July 18th, three Belize City men appeared in Magistrate's Court where their case was committed to the Supreme Court. The men, Justo Lopez, 33, Karim Morris and Linsford Acosta appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart where they were committed to stand trial for the March 26th, 2011 attempted murder of PC Nigel White. During the Preliminary Inquiry, 18 statements were tendered into evidence along with a medico legal form as well as a firearm, which is alleged to have been stolen when White was shot. The gun was allegedly found in possession of a Belize City man who was later charged for keping firearm and ammunition without a license.

Tuff “E”Nuff squares off against Alamilla’s/MOE
The finals of the 2012 Inter-office Basketball League Belize City Competition will commence on Friday, July 20th, at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City with game one of the best of five series between Tuff “E” Nuff and Alamilla’s/MOE.

Belize City Softball Competition fast winding down
The 78th Belize City female softball regular season is fast winding down at Roger’s Stadium, the home of softball in Belize. The regular season continued on Tuesday July 17, 2012, between the league leading Belize Telemedia and Orchid Blazers. Telemedia defeated Orchid Blazers by the score of 14-5 in five innings. Telemedia scored 1 run in the top of the 1st inning and then added 3 in the 2nd inning and 7 in the 3rd inning, 1 in the 4th and 2 more runs in the top of the 5th inning. Telemedia pounded the pitching of Orchid Blazers starter and loser, Ortencia Richards for 12 hits including first baseman Barbara Cadle’s two-run triple in the top of the 3rd inning and a run-producing triple in the top of the 5th inning.

Grassroots Selection from Belmopan in Guatemala
On Saturday, the Belmopan Football Association Grassroots Selection departed for Retalhuleu City, Guatemala to participate in the Codicader Primary Schools tournament sponsored by the Guatemalan Government. Kenneth Budna, Liliana Abril and Santiago Valencia, BFA’s technical staff are heading the delegation, which arrived in Retalhuleu City on Sunday. Belize played their first game against El Salvador on July 16th where they won by a score of three goals to two. Belizean Rogi Solorzano scored a hat-trick to win the first game for Belize. Belize played on July 17 at 10am against Honduras, who are the favorites, and Guatemala on Wednesday, July 18th. Belize’s Belmopan selection consists of the following players: (See list below) The Football Federation of Belize congratulates the Belmopan Selection and wishes them all the best in their upcoming games. The selection leaves Guatemala on Friday, July 20th, 2012 and arrives in Belize on Saturday.

Belizeans to the 30th Olympiad in London
The Belizean contingent to the 30th Olympiad in London, England, is scheduled to leave the country on Saturday, July 21, 2012. The Belizean contingent is comprised of Kaina Martinez from Athletics (100m); Kenneth Medwood from Athletics (400m); Eddermys Sanchez from Judo (-66kg); Josephine Flowers Athletics (Official/Delegate), Colin Thurton Athletics (Coach), Wellington Chee Judo (Coach/official). The Chef-de-Mission to the 30th Olympiad in London is Owen “Sonny” Meighan. Meighan departs on July 19, 2012, to the London Games.

Orchid Blazers stop Telemedia in its track
Orchid Blazers, one of the two development teams in the Belize City Senior Female Softball Competition, pulled off the biggest upset in this year’s competition when it halted the defending champions Belize Telemedia Ltd.by the score of 6-5 on Wednesday July 11, 2012. Telemedia batting in the bottom of the 1st inning scored 2 runs when it sent 8 batters to the plate. It then added 1 run in the bottom of the 3rd inning when 6 batters when to the plate. Telemedia then scored its final 2 runs of the game in the bottom of the 6th inning. Telemedia collected a total of 11 hits off the combined pitching of Ashley Lucas, Ortencia Richards and Nicole Arnold. Meanwhile, Orchid Blazers proved that it will be a force to reckon with in the next competition when it scored 6 runs off BTL’s starter and loser, Mary Flowers.

Creating Opportunities
The recently released photos of Kendale Flowers and Alexander Mazariegos posing with assault weapons supported the official reports concerning a fatal fire fight on Northern Ambergris Caye. There is little doubt that they were engaged in dangerous and criminal activities, probably orchestrated by much older men. However, the photos also underlined the waste of losing such young men to the lure of criminal gangs. Although legally childhood ends at eighteen, these young men still look more like children posing with their new Christmas toys than the hardened criminals that they emulated. It is easy to understand the lure of such excitement to young men with few other avenues to gain status in society. In simpler, societies young men gained status through their prowess as a warrior but in more complex societies, the route to status is through the opportunities that education opens up but poverty

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Women’s self defense Training!!
Learn self defense in San Pedro! Saturday June 21

The Reporter

The marijuana trade is big business in Belize! The empirical evidence seems to suggest that more than 30 percent of the population currently use or have used marijuana as a recreational drug. A sizable portion of that average use marijuana on a daily basis, as a stimulant, and are addicted to it.

2nd trial without jury ends in acquittal! Crown’s witness couldn’t remember
Oscar Kareem Usher, 25, charged with attempted murder for the shooting of Kenrick Longsworth, 19, on October 14, 2009, walked out of Supreme Court of Justice Herbert Lord a free man. It was the second trial without a jury, but lasted a scant five minutes: from 10:45 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. The prosecutor, Senior Crown Counsel, Cecil Ramirez had to abort his case because the prosecution’s primary witness could not remember what happened the night he was shot.

Family of murdered man afraid to testify! Accused gunman walks free!
Supreme Court Justice Herbert Lord directed a jury of eight women and four men on Wednesday, July 18, to return a verdict of not guilty in the murder trial of Neil Grey, 24, accused of killing Aaron Thomas Brooks, 21. Justice Lord had no choice in his instructions to the jury, after two key prosecution witnesses, relatives of the victim, indicated to the court that they are not willing to testify at the trial, because they fear for their lives. The trial lasted only minutes, while Justice Lord accepted a no-case submission from Grey’s attorney, Senior Counsel Hubert Elrington. Aaron Brooks was 21 at the time he was shot and killed around 7:00 the evening of April 3, 2009.

Working it Out(side)
By Niall Gillett Before implementing a public relations plan, a business must look at its reputation to confirm that the message it wants to promote will be accepted by its publics. A good way to start is to do some internal research with your own staff to see how they feel about the project at hand as well as about the particular promotion or campaign about to be undertaken. If your own internal staff does not “feel” great about the project, then changes will have to be made, as internal support is crucial.

Belize International Film Festival awards stirs controversy
The Belize International Film Festival showcased 64 films over the weekend, from its traditional red carpet opening gala at the Bliss Centre in Belize City on Friday, July 13, until the last day of screenings on Monday, July 16. However, when its international jury announced the award winners at the House of Culture on Tuesday, July 17, not everyone was happy, particularly with the judges’ choice for Best Belizean film, which went to “Mrs. Robinson”, a documentary directed by Belizean Thomas Hines. Opening night has always showcased one of the best full-length feature films in the Festival, and this year for the first time the opening feature was a Belizean film, made by Belizeans, with Belizean actors and shot in Belize: “2012, Kurse of Di Xtabai.”

Over 60,000 unregistered cellphones disconnected
Some 65,000 prepaid cellphone users missed the deadline to register their phones last Friday night, July 13, and had their service cut off. Despite two extensions from the initial deadline announced in March, many subscribers failed to come in to their service provider and register their phones. Of these, almost 45,000 were Belize Telemedia customers, the rest were clients of Smart Speednet. BTL Public Relations Manager Anjali Vasquez, said the company had even kept its offices open on Saturday, July 7, to facilitate the registration process, but many did not capitalize on that opportunity.

FDA bans BPA from baby bottles, sippy cups
The controversial plastics chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is now banned for use in baby bottles and sippy cups, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday. The move was prompted by a request in October from the American Chemistry Council, which represents industry, as a way to clarify for consumers that BPA will not be found in these items.

The grossest thing in the bathroom
“If you have your toothbrush too close to the toilet,” microbiologist Charles Gerba, PhD, tells WebMD, “you are brushing your teeth with what’s in your toilet.” He explains that when you flush with the lid open, contaminated water vapor settles on surfaces in your bathroom. And that’s not the only way germs pollute your toothbrush. Brushing your teeth removes bacteria, food debris, and blood and saliva that might be infected with a virus. If you don’t rinse the bristles properly, you will be putting these contaminants right back into your mouth the next time you brush. Many families store their toothbrushes jammed together in a cup or holder, which can also cause cross contamination.

Belize wins 4th place in Central American U-23 volleyball championships
Belize national under-23 men’s volleyball team won fourth place, but fell short of the bronze medal at the Central American U-23 volleyball championships at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, last Saturday, July 14. Belize lost the bronze medal match 2-3 to Honduras, who were playing before a home crowd of fans, even though Belize actually scored more points; 107 to Honduras’ 104. Led by Karym Coleman’s 17 pts and Jaleel Lino’s 15 pts, the Belize men forced the Hondurans to go to extra points to win the first set 26-24. But with Keith Castillo’s five blocks and Arnie Augustine also scoring three blocks, the Belize boys won the second set: 25-17.

Tuff E’Nuff & Alamilla’s enter Interoffice basketball finals
Alamilla’s Furniture and Tuff E’Nuff won through to the championship finals of the 2012 Belize City Interoffice Basketball Competition in the third game of the semifinals series at Bird’s Isle last Saturday, July 14. After a surprise upset in Game 1, Tuff e’Nuff zoned out Quan’s Trading Company 63-41 in its rematch last Friday night, forcing their series to a third game. Farron Louriano led with 16pts, nine boards, as Tuff E’Nuff led 21-8 in the first quarter. Keith Acosta added 10 pts, nine boards and Stephen “Muerte” Williams scored nine points and two rebounds, taking Tuff e’Nuff to a 33-15 lead at intermission.

Help for fearful witnesses
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has proposed two solutions to the now prevalent judicial phenomenon of witnesses recanting statements, resulting in seven murder trials ending in acquitals since January this year.

Angry father assaults daughter’s accused killer
Christopher Lowe, the father of murdered 13-year-old student Jasmine Lowe, was charged with wounding, after he erupted in a violent rage, throwing an umbrella at his daughter’s accused killer, Bert Vasquez, 28, when Vasquez was brought to the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, July 19.

GOB may set new policy on Marijuana: No more jail time for a stick or two!
The Ministry of National Security announced this week that it will be looking at a proposal to make it a misdemeanor, instead of a criminal offence, for persons to possess up to 10 grams of marijuana. Persons found with marijuana in small quantities (less than 10 grams) would be required to pay a fine, but would not be sent to jail, under the new proposal.

GOB will no longer subsidize UB fees
The Ministry Education has made good on its word to discontinue the subsidizing fees for new University of Belize students


BELIZE: Exploring Caves, Ruins & Cuisine at Ka’ana Resort
I’ll come right out with it: I’m not a resort-type traveler. Don’t get me wrong, I love a hot stone massage as much as the next girl, but it’s always been my contention that there’s an element of authenticity that’s lost when you wall yourself off in five star accommodations, especially in developing countries. The pampering is great, of course, but being completely confined from the sights, smells, and people of the streets seems counterintuitive. Why not just splurge for a trip to the spa at home and save yourself the airfare? But a recent journey to the Cayo district of Belize upended my backpacker beliefs, showing me that there are, in fact, some resorts that can deliver genuine cultural experiences while sustaining the pampering touch and creature comforts of a luxury property – all the while contributing to the community. The Ka’ana Resort, located in San Ignacio, is one of those places. Located in San Ignacio, the Ka’ana Resort is situated about 80 miles West of Belize City, far away from the country’s extensive reef system and Blue Hole dive site that attracts underwater enthusiasts for its world class sea-life and picturesque beaches featured on “The Bachelor.” Because most people come seeking that beach lifestyle, they may never experience the lush green jungles of the West. That’s a shame, because the opportunity for adventure, eco-tourism, and yes, even a bit of pampering, abound, particularly at Ka’ana’s boutique digs. Ka’ana, which means “heavenly place” in Maya, the original culture of this region, lives up to its name. The resort was opened in 2007 by Colin and Ronan Hannan, two Irish travelers who saw an opportunity to showcase local artisanship with first-rate service. The boutique property is home to lush tropical gardens, 5 airy suites, 10 rooms, and two brand new, ultra-swanky villas with private pools. It embodies experiential travel, offering all sorts of off-the-wall adventures, from spelunking in ancient Maya sacrificial sites to zip-lining through the area’s lush jungle terrain. For the Hannans, travel is not just about seeing, it’s about doing.

A Fun Shopping Experience In San Pedro: The Rum, Cigar and Coffee Shop
Thursday, July 19, 2012 A Fun Shopping Experience In San Pedro: The Rum, Cigar and Coffee Shop I am still trying to highlight good spots to shop and look for souvenirs when you are visiting San Pedro, Belize. So let's get going... My first featured spot was Graniel's Dreamland, a great place to find San Pedro-made Belizean hardwood crafts and furniture. It is absolutely a place you must stop when you're here. Another "must visit" is the Rum, Cigar and Coffee House on Middle Street just north of Graniel's (one block up). Everything about it is super cute. Saul, the owner, opened the shop in this spot 21 years ago. He has been making and selling mixed Belizean liquors ever since. Distinctive products that are carried nowhere else. And his signature mix is the Belize national drink, the Pantiripa. (Panty Ripper: Coconut rum and pineapple juice.) Love this sign outside and they usually have this design printed on a t-shirt. They are out of stock now but getting more in a few weeks. Definitely one of the best shirts sold in this San Pedro. I'm guessing (a wild guess here) that it's a play on the old Coppertone logo. Don't be a pale face. I'm going to get a t-shirt when they come in.

UFO filmed and caught on tape while we were flying over The Great Blue Hole, off the coast of Belize, near Belize City. The Great Blue Hole is a large submarine sinkhole off the coast of Belize. It lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 70 km (43 mi) from the mainland and Belize City. The hole is circular in shape, over 300 m (984 ft) across and 124 m (407 ft) deep. It was formed during several episodes of Quaternary glaciation when sea levels were much lower – the analysis of stalactites found in Great Blue Hole shows that formation took place 153,000, 66,000, 60,000, and 15,000 years ago. As the ocean began to rise again, the caves were flooded. The Great Blue Hole is a part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

A Day at the Seashore
Sometimes it is the little things that catch a photographer's eye... Photos by Tony Rath

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

#442891 - 07/20/12 09:04 AM Re: Today's Belize News: July 20, 2012 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

International Sources

Great Barrier Reef at a Crossroads
The world’s largest and best protected coral reef will be doomed by Australia’s unprecedented scale of planned coal and gas development, experts say. This threat to the Great Barrier Reef is so serious that UNESCO recently announced it may downgrade the reef’s prestigious designation as a World Heritage Site to a “World Heritage Site in Danger”. “That would be a big blow to our tourism industry, which generates nearly six billion dollars a year and employs over 50,000 people,” said Terry Hughes, director of the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Australia on the last day of the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) here in Cairns, Australia. “It’s immoral to keep building new coal mines when we know so much about climate change and its impacts,” Hughes told IPS. Newly-elected Queensland Premier Campbell Newman responded to the UNESCO announcement by reportedly saying, “We are in the coal business. If you want decent hospitals, schools and police on the beat, we all need to understand that.” Both the state and federal government collect substantial royalties from the mining sector.

Mexico holds a Health Fair in Belize
The Government of Quintana Roo and the Embassy of Mexico are holding a two day Health Fair in Corozal, Belize, in coordination with the Ministry of Health of Belize. The objective is to provide free health services to Belizean families and population at risk, as well as free educational and scientific activities for children. The event was inaugurated on 18 July at the Corozal Civic Centre, by representatives of Health Services of the Ministry of Health of Belize, and the Quintana Roo Health Department, the Family Development Agency (DIF), the Quintana Roo Women’s Department and the Quintana Roo Council for Science and Technology, as well as the Mexican Ambassador Mario Velazquez. During the two day health fair, more than 48 medical, nurse and health services personnel from Quintana Roo will participate, along with 3 mobile units for dental services, 2 gynecological units and 1 unit for rehabilitation, provided by the Government of Quintana Roo. It is expected that more than 2,000 Belizean will receive services ranging from general medical consultation, dental services, clinical breast examination, pap smears, detection of osteoporosis and attention for the prevention of disabilities, as well as free medicines and glasses.

A Healthier Reef, Holding a Mystery
Carrie Bow Cay is a small island located 10 miles offshore on Belize's coast. J. Emmett Duffy, a professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the College of William and Mary, writes from the coral reefs of Belize where he is studying sponge-dwelling snapping shrimps. Our hunt yesterday produced a good haul of shrimp species, but, alas, none of the social ones we’re searching for. I worked with my former Ph.D. student, Tripp McDonald, long into the night identifying the shrimp. Though little known to most people, they are like old friends to us, since we described and named many of the species around the island. Identifying these shrimp is no small task. There are dozens of species, many of them very similar, so it requires a good microscope, a steady hand and a great deal of patience to identify the subtle features that distinguish one from another, ranging from a subtle spine on the antennae to the color of a female’s eggs. To our great surprise, instead of the big colonies of social shrimp that usually dominate this environment, most of what we uncover are asocial pair-formers. The few social colonies that we do find are of a single species and much smaller than usual. Today, we head farther south, hoping for a more productive patch of reef. The rings of turquoise water above shallow white sand, dotted with darker coral patches, make the sand-bore reefs easy to spot against the deeper blue water as we approach, and the surf crashing against the exposed reef crest betrays them from a distance. Dozens of these patch reefs stud the lagoon behind the barrier reef, making navigation tricky. Some of the small reefs have vigorous thickets of coral, including the elkhorn and staghorn corals that once dominated reefs throughout the Caribbean, but declined precipitously in the 1970s. Others are clothed in soft corals and sea fans or short forests of brown seaweeds. I am surprised and delighted that the reefs seem much healthier than I remember seeing them, perhaps at any time in the last 24 years. This is great news for the Belizean reefs, but makes our hunt for dead coral rubble harder than it used to be. Probably as a result, the sponges we need are proving especially elusive.

Edited by Marty (07/27/12 12:02 PM)


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