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#443395 - 07/27/12 08:53 AM Today's Belize News: July 27, 2012
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The San Pedro Sun

New solid waste transfer station underway in San Pedro
Work on the construction of a garbage transfer station on Ambergris Caye has commenced in the Marina Area south of San Pedro Town. The garbage transfer station is a part of the national Solid Waste Management Project (SWMP) which will see the garbage generated on the island transferred to mainland Belize for proper disposal. The Government of Belize (GOB) proposed to implement the project over a four-year period starting in 2009. The actual project is expected to be fully functional in early 2013. After obtaining all legal licenses and permits from the Department of Environment, mangrove clearance has commenced with dredging and land fill to follow shortly thereafter. The preliminary site layout will include an administrative building with ample parking area and suitable access to the site. There will also be a transfer/loading building in which the collection trucks will discharge the garbage onto a tipping floor. It will be at that stage that recyclables contained in the garbage will be recovered by the waste pickers and bailed. A storage area will also be constructed to store the bailed recyclables recovered from the transfer loading building. There will also be a Material Drop-off Facility. Once sorted, residual garbage (garbage left after sorting) will then be barged to the mainland and hauled to mile 24 on the Western Highway at the Regional Sanitary Landfill for final disposal. Upon completion the SWMP transfer station in San Pedro Town will sit on a total of 2.5 acres of land.

UWI Students conduct the effect of Climate Change survey on San Pedro
Six students along with two professors from the University of the West Indies “Institute of International Relations” in St. Augustine Trinidad and Tobago were on the island for a little more than two weeks conducting a survey on the effect of climate change on the island. The survey was done by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) working in conjunction with the Telfer School of Management coming out of the University of Ottawa, the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute of Belize and the Coral Alliance of Belize. According to Dr. Marlon Anatol, of the UWI, the various entities joined forces and decided that they wanted to try to measure the effects of climate change on San Pedro, particularly with the rise in sea levels and floods. As a result they have come up with a research instrument which seeks to measure people’s opinion, the awareness and the general perception of climate change. The team of eight members, Dr. Raymond Mark Kirton, Dr. Marlon Anatol, Nia Nanan, Juval Daniel, Stefan Haynes, Shivonne Pariag, Kurtly Ravello and Stefan Affonso hit the streets on July 11th and wrapped up their surveying on Thursday July 26th. All students are either in the Masters or PhD Program. The team set out to conduct 1,050 surveys with individuals from the various sectors of the island, going house to house. In speaking of her experience, interviewer Nia Nanan stated, “We went house to house to find out people’s perceptions, perspectives and take on climate change and its impact on San Pedro, and a little bit of socio economic data as well. It’s been fun. San Pedro is very, very fun. Most of the people are very friendly.

Three new classrooms for SPRCS
The very over populated San Pedro Roman Catholic School (SPRCS) is receiving much needed assistance in the creation of new space for the many students that are currently in need of attending school. By the beginning of the new school year, SPRCS will boast three new classrooms. This is just the beginning of a very ambitious undertaking by Canary Cove and the San Pedro Town Council who have teamed up after a wish list was sent by the school to both entities earlier this year. The primary focus for the team is getting a new building measuring 24ft wide by 72ft long to house three new classrooms. Construction of the new building commenced on Tuesday July 24th and is expected to be completed in time for the commencement of the school year 2012-2013.

Ambergris Today

St. Peter’s College Closed Down!
St. Peter’s College has been closed by the Ministry of Education after having being in operation for the past 15 years. St. Peter’s College was forced to close down its doors on Thursday, July 19, 2012, for failing to comply with the standard rules and regulations of the Ministry of Education as it pertains to the operations of a High School. Mr. Jahmor Lopez, Manager of the Belize District Education Center along with Education Officer Mrs. Miriam Codd, were on Reef Radio’s Morning Show and explained the reason for the closure of the school as well as the immediate plan of action that the Ministry of Education has taken to allocate the students for this coming school year. According to Mr. Lopez the school had been under investigation and lead to the discovery that there were several irregularities and discrepancies into the running of the High School which were seriously taken into consideration for the closure of the school. Mr. Lopez stated that college was a specially assisted school and that even the ownership of property where the school operates is in question.

Work Commences on New Classrooms for SPRCS
The San Pedro Roman Catholic School is San Pedro’s oldest educational institution and has been operating since the 1920’s. The current building which still stands on the school ground was built in 1963 and gradually as years go by more classrooms are added since the school has an increased enrollment every year Even though the school has an enrollment of over 900 students yearly there is still a huge problem in the area that children are still out of school because of lack of space. The new San Pedro Town Council was presented with a wish list during the school visits and the school also presented a wish list to kind donors and owners of Canary Cove. In January of this year owners of Canary Cove donated a new picnic area (palapa) for the school as the previous one was mischievously burnt down over the Christmas holidays of 2011. Canary Cove also restored the bathroom facilities in the school ground. This week Ambergris Today met with Canary Cove Representative, Mr. Gil Nuñez and Councilor Gaby Nuñez to learn a bit more about a new project for the school which has commenced and is being done by Canary Cove in collaboration with the San Pedro Town Council. “A wish list was presented to both the San Pedro Town Council and the owners of Canary Cove and we will be working together to bring some much needed changes and repairs for the school,” commented Councilor Gaby Nuñez.

Misc Belizean Sources

FCD Youth Group's Eco-Bins
The Friends for Conservation and Development Environmental Youth Group has found a way to use old plastic bottles to make a durable bin. Quite amazing. They've released pictures of the process. Sell those around Cayo.

BAS' Kids Nature Photography Camp
The Belize Audubon Society had their Kid's Nature Photography Camp, and visited Cayo. You can see some pictures where they were having fun at Guanacaste National Park. "Scenes from our 2012 kids nature photography camp. Thanks to S&L Tours for their kind support for this activity."

Kurse a di Xtabai Opening at SIRH
Kurse a di Xtabai is going around Belize. The first was last weekend at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel's Bedran Hall. There was a great showing.

Benque Library Annual Summer Program
The Benque House of Culture teamed up with the Benque Library for their Summer program. "HERITAGE CULTURE FOLKLORE ANCESTOR"

Miss Belize Chantae Guy Makes Quarterfinals
For the first time, Belize has made the quarterfinals at the Miss World competition. Congratulations, Chantae Guy! "The excitement was palpable as Graeme took to the floor to brief the contestants on what was expected of them. He - alongside three other representatives of the brand - would be judging them so the representatives were keen to catch every word. He started by saying how magnificent they all looked and how he wished every single one of them could be in the show! To be selected, he asked them to tell him a catwalk story with their walk and clarified that he was looking for someone to suit his brand, and who could interpret the clothes in their own way. He finished by instructing them to ‘become actresses’ and ‘walk casually’, as though they were on a street and not in front of thousands of people! Having wished them all luck, he headed for the judges table and the audition began in earnest."

SIRH Hosts Costa Maya Contestants
Tonight the San Ignacio Resort Hotel will be welcoming the delegates of La Reina de la Costa Maya to Cayo. They'll be getting a great meal at the Running W Steakhouse. Rebecca Stirm will be one of the special invited guests.

National Cultural Policy Consultations
Looks like there was a great turnout for the National Cultural Policy Consultation at the Cahal Pech Resort. Joris and Antonio both had things to say. Thanks to ISCR and NICH for allowing such a great discourse.

Bare Pantry Pot Roast
In this video, Joe shows us how to make a true pot roast. This meat is well seasoned and and tender after cooking in a stainless steel pot in the oven. Joe shows us how he browns the beef on the stove top then cooks it in the oven.

G Adventures ‘cleans up’ Caye Caulker as part of their Glympics!!
There have been some strange antics around Raggamuffin these past two days, ending in persons seemingly covered in garbage, all in the name of sportsmanship!! G Adventures (the largest adventure tour company in Central America to pass through Caye Caulker) is celebrating the Olympics by participating their very own Glympics. Just like the five rings of the Olympics they have five core values at G – Embrace the Bizarre, Do the Right Thing, We Love Changing Peoples Lives, Lead with Service, Create Happiness and Community). The whole G Nation, from Africa to Asia and to Central America are posting video or photos on Twitter about what these core values mean to them. G Adventures basecamp in Toronto will be giving out bronze, silver or gold medals to each photo or video. We will see which part of the world will win the Glympics. Here in Caye Caulker, two G Adventures groups participated in an island cleaning competition. The game: Pick up as much trash as you can in half an hour and then: Decorate your CEO (Tour Leader) with that trash. Both groups competed hard and both CEO’s (Zema and Luis) ended up being covered in trash – but in the end and there does have to be a winner, Zema’s group won for their creativity. The Village Council truthfully do a fantastic job of keeping the island and particularly the front of Caye Caulker clean, however, the more residential areas are really the responsibility of locals and these are the areas that need the assistance – therefore this was the focus of the clean up! All in all 10 bags of trash were picked up in just a few hours, so it sends a huge message to their passengers and locals alike that we need to take care of how we dispose our trash! Caye Caulker is a beautiful place and G Adventures passengers helped keep it that way yesterday – THANK YOU G ADVENTURES! To follow their CEO’s and staff around the world by following #Glympics on Twitter!

'Hopkins Day' celebrated this weekend in Belize
The intense beating of drums followed by singing and dancing will welcome you as you enter the sleepy fishing village of Hopkins in Belize. Hopkins Day is this weekend and everyone is invited, this Friday to Sunday, July 27 – 29, 2012. “Hopkins Day” celebrates the existence one of Belize’s villages known for its Garifuna culture and golden beaches. Reva Dark of BTIA Hopkins shared, “2012 marks the 71st year of the arrival of the Garifuna to Hopkins, and Hopkins Day has been celebrated since 1990.” It is a festival that grows every year. “Aside from locals, more and more Belizeans from the Diaspora come home to join in the festivities.” The celebrations will kick off with opening ceremonies on Friday night. The night will showcase various cultural activities, and there will be plenty to eat and drink. On Saturday, experience the “Battle of the Drums”, along with a number of entertaining games like dancing and eating contests. The night will come alive with a “Punta Fest” that ensures to have everyone dancing the night away. Bands from all over the country are expected to participate. On Sunday, the village will host a family day where everyone can relax and just enjoy being with their families. 2012 marks the 12th year Hopkins Day has been celebrated. Everyone is invited to join in the celebrations and one of Belize’s growing tourist destinations.

VIDEO: Discover Scuba - For non certified divers who want to see the reef
If you want to find out but aren't quite ready to take the plunge into a certification course, Discover Scuba Diving will let you try scuba to see if you like it.

Channel 7

Kumbaya Time! Pol Ass'n, Compol And Ministry Kiss and Make Up!
Last week, the leaders of the police association broke out into the media mainstream with unprecedented candor and defiance - and when we left you last night, the association had been dismantled and those leaders were on interdiction facing disciplinary charges. Justice - if you can call it that - was swift, deliberate and, a tad cruel. This morning the minister of National Security explained that it is what had to be done:.. Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Police "I don't know if it's about speaking out for the police officers. Our position is clear - the police act as well as the constitution of Belize forbids police officers and members of the discipline forces which includes the Coast Guard and the BDF from belonging to unions or from carrying any union type activity. So that is our position and so we believe that what the association and others are lobbying for in terms of giving them full industrial relations rights is just not allowable under the constitution and the police act." Daniel Ortiz "Sir, bit they have simply just come out and explain that certain transfers were rushed through. I mean they have not agitated for any industrial action." Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Police "I imagine that when you call for the head of the commissioner and you publicly state that he is incompetent - that is allowable and that should be allowed from officers who under his command? You have difficulty with that? I do."

Belize Advisory Council Tells BDF: Reinstate Dep. Commander Castellanos
Last year October, 42 guns were stolen from the BDF Price Barracks Compound and two months later, the Deputy Commander of the BDF, Colonel (Cornel) Javier Castellanos was summarily dismissed from the BDF by the Security Services Commission. The second in charge of the BDF, gone, just like that: no press release issued, no public announcement made, even Castellanos was never told why he was discharged. He appealed his dismissal to the Belize Advisory Council where his attorney Godfrey Smith argued that he was dismissed without being given any real reason, and without being given a chance to rebut any allegation against him. Well, the Belize Advisory Council met on July 13th to consider Castellanos's appeal - and they agreed with Smith. The five member body voted - unanimously, we are told - to set aside the decision of the Security Services Commission. In a letter dated July 24th , the Council orders that, quote, "Col Castellanos is to be reinstated as Deputy with all benefits," end quote. It's a remarkable reversal or fortune and a sharp come uppance for the brass in the Ministry of National Security. Castellanos told us today that he is elated and relieved to have his position vindicated by the Belize Advisory Council. But, not so fast…Castellanos shouldn't start ironing those military fatigues and spit shining those officers' shoes just yet.

Foreign Minister Elrington Defends OAS
Even for a public figure stewed in the mud of everyday political discourse - it's probably not easy to tolerate being called a Judas and a Traitor. That's what Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington got called yesterday when COLA staged a small but powerfully symbolic protest in front of the OAS Local Office. They ended by burning up images of Elrington and printouts of the OAS flag. Today Elrington told us he isn't bothered by it - and he explained why in this interview:.. Jules Vasquez "It has to pain you in some way to see your name drag into the public discourse as Judas and traitor?" Hon. Wilfred "Sedi" Elrington - Minister of Foreign Affairs "Actually it doesn't Jules, as I indicated earlier to you this morning, it is not what I am called that bothers me, it is who does the name calling. People are very free to express their views and it is the easiest thing to call people unpleasant names." Jules Vasquez "They think that you are not taking a staunch and stout stand for Belize in the name of Belize in this entire press release affair. It indicates that you are not heart and soul for the job."

Two Boys Crushed Under Collapsed Home
Tonight a young boy is fighting for his life at the KHMH. Little 10 year old Briton (Brighton) Cordova is on life support after a house collapsed on him this morning. The child suffered a cardiac arrest and severe head trauma. The incident happened in Orange Walk Town on Yo Creek Street around 9 this morning. 10 year old Briton Cordova along with another boy, 7 year old Jova Griffith were playing with a pair of puppies under their house when it toppled off its stilts. Luckily the house was very low in the first place, only two to three feet off the ground - so the fall was not that great but it still trapped the two children underneath. With help from the neighbors, the children were rescued and rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital where 7 year old Jova was treated for bruises on his foot. 10 year old Briton Cordova was in a critical state and had to be rushed to the KHMH. 7news caught up with the child's mother who told us his condition. She asked to appear off camera:.. Voice of: Mother of Briton Cordova "We got up this morning but we were still in the room when I heard that the house began to crack and we jumped up but I heard my baby cry downstairs and we heard silence and that's when we knew that he was downstairs."

CWU and The Social Security Board Finally Agree!
For the past five years the Christian Workers Union has been trying to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD. And finally today - after so much back and forth - including low grade industrial action, and dozens of threats of industrial action, they signed a new collective bargaining agreement. We spoke to the leaders of the Christian Workers Union who told us they are relieved that a protracted and strenuous negotiation is finally over:.. Antonio Gonzalez - President, CWU "This is the document that we just signed. It is an agreement between Social Security Board and the Christian Workers Union. It's from July 1st to the 31st December, 2013. What we have learned is this and I think that they have also learned in any negotiations you have to give and take and this is whereby they were more or less adamant with certain positions to the extent due to the frustrated process." James McFoy - General Secretary, CWU "What I would like to say to management in the future is that please this is a union of dialogue and let us dialogue, let us understand because if you are refusing to meet with us then our members will pressure us and then in turn we have to pressure where the pressure comes from. That is our position."

FCD/BDF Will Arrest Gold Panners
All this week, we've been telling you about the 20 Guatemalans found panning for gold in the Chiquibul. It's a serious, organized incursion and the Friends for Conservation and development which co-manages the national park estimates that there could be as many as 300 Guatemalans looking for gold along the Ceibo Chico Creek. Representatives of FCD came to Belize today for the monthly meeting of enforcement agencies at the BDF Headquarters. Rafael Manzanero tells us the decision has been taken to start rounding up the gold-panners and charging them for illegal entry. He says it's the next phase of operations:.. Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director - FCD "It has already spiral, we have already pass through that already. We know that the word out there in Guatemala is that there is gild in the Chiquibul, so once that becomes widespread is already the condition then we should be prepared really of ensuring that there can be a rigorous and a bold movement in terms of containing it. So now the next stage is now that people encountered will subsequently be take out from there in being detained and hopefully to be charged successfully." Jules Vasquez "Is that practical? We know that place is in one of the remotest regions of the country. You would have to take them back to San Ignacio to be charged?"

Pol Minister Visits Critical Corporal Lima
Corporal Victor Lima, was shot in the line of duty while responding to a home invasion in Hattieville on Tuesday. He was shot twice in the chest, and tonight, he remains in the critical condition at the KHMH. Well, the police department is monitoring Lima's fragile condition very closely, and today, Police Minister Saldivar visited him in the hospital. Here's what he told us about Lima's condition, and about the Department's intention to support for the family. Daniel Ortiz "We were made to understand that you have intentions of taking a visit to the officer that was injured in the line of duty." Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Police "Yes, as soon as you allow me I will be heading out that way and yes the police department will do all it can do assist the family. We are certainly proud of his valiant effort in carrying out his duties and we will stand by him." Marion Ali, reporter "In the absence for insurance for police officers and their lives, in instances like these what is available to them through the department?"

Minister: Karol Mello Go Home!
Alleged Slovakian Mafia Boss and Belizean Permanent Resident Karol Mello continues to languish in jail pending an expulsion order which was issued to him on July 16th. A "habeas corpus" hearing has been set for next week where his attorney Godfrey Smith is demanding that he be brought before the court - on the argument that he is being wrongfully detained. Today, we spoke to Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse who told us what the Government's position on Mello is:... Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration "Of course as you know I signed the order and the order after proper consultation with the director of immigration, the police and everybody else's concern and we are hoping to enforce the order." Jules vasquez "But then why didn't you all expel him on the 16th when the order was issued?" Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration "There is a little complication there in terms of how it was done. It should have been done on that day. There was a glitch with the police I understand and how it was done and the attorneys for him were able to get the court to get a restraining order against us but let me make this clear to the Belizean public - it is my view and this is my view that any person who is not a citizen of Belize who is a permanent resident of Belize who is requested by his government - the government of which he holds a passport and of which he is citizen and as long as it is a legitimate government - it not some government that we have any difficulty with who says that he is accused of some crime or otherwise it is our view that he should actually be exonerated by his peers, so he should face the music, to use a clear word. After that he is happy to come back to Belize to resume his residency. That is my candid view. I don't think that we are in a position to suggest to a sovereign government that their citizen should not be returned to their country. We don't have any extradition orders with that country, but Lord man, if it was a Belizean who was accused of doing something here and he fled to another country we would want him back here to stand trial basically."

CEMO Puts On Show for NEMO
We caught up with Minister Hulse at a meeting of the City Emergency Management Organization, CEMO. He's also the NEMO Minister - and CEMO's coordinator in the city, Councilor Phillip Willoughby told us why he wanted the NEMO to know the full details of disaster planning for the country's largest population center. Councilor Willoughby explained and we took it from there:.. Phillip Willoughby, Councilor "This entire presentation was just to show the ministry and the country and Belize City proper that we are ready for a disaster." Jules Vasquez "But are we ready councilor? We only have shelter for 6,300 people. The city has 5,300 and 8,000 more are coming in from the islands." Phillip Willoughby, Councilor "Yes but there are procedures and there are terms of reference that guide us how to deal with those people or those individuals, so there isn't any problem in terms of evacuating the city. Who would normally show up and go to a shelter would normally do so and who will evacuate will evacuate and we have up to this point heard any complaints from citizenry to make any adjustments."

Hon. Hulse Says He'll Sue
And while we had Hulse in front of the camera, we had to ask him about a report we read in the Belize Times three weeks ago. The article is entitled "Godwin Hustler???" and alleges that in June, three months after becoming Minister, Hulse acquired 100 acres of land in the Belize River Valley for 25 thousand dollars. Now, Hulse, a hustler? Well, that's enough to make your brown eyes blue - and so we asked him about it today - and he shot back an emphatic "no!" Here's how that exchange went:.. Hon. Godwin Hulse "I stand on my integrity 100% and nobody in this country or anywhere is going to mess with it. I've have already instructed our attorneys to demand of the Belize Times a front-page retraction and if they don't then they will feel the weight of the legal system on them. The last time I went to the Ministry of Lands to deal with any transaction was in 1990. That was a private transaction involving BTL. I have never been to the Ministry of Lands, not since I am a minister. I have not spoken to the minister of lands outside of Cabinet interactions we have. I don't even know where his office is and so unless they can prove this parcel of land well they are in hot water. I can declare as I have always declared the parcels of lands I have, yes I have lands in the Belize River Valley, I've farmed them for years and everybody knows that." Today's Belize Times did not feature a front page retraction.

The Other Police Problem
In an update to the Police Association story, we have now received the press release from the Ministry of National Security. According to the release, the leaders of the Police Association have apologized to the Commissioner of Police, and the Minister of National Security for the manner in which they publicly ventilated those issues. According to the Ministry, the Association has agreed to operate in line with the rules and in line with the Police Act. The Ministry goes on to say that the Commissioner of Police has decided to withdraw the charges, and he has expressed regret at the breakdown in communication. There is also an undertaking in the works which will see the Police Act revised to enable the Association to quote, "function more effectively without surpassing the legal boundaries afforded to it by law privileges or power akin to those afforded to a Union." End quote. The release ends by saying that the Association agrees that it cannot be allowed to act like a union, but models in the Caribbean are being looked at to be possibly adopted. And while the Police Association dispute has been resolved, another issue is coming to the fore. An unsigned letter emailed to media houses, alleges that officers attached to the Belize City Patrol Branch are actually working in the Punishment Branch - and that's mainly because they are now working 12 hour shifts. The letter complains that the scheduling of shifts are reportedly over-working and some officers because they are forced to work 6 and 7-day weeks.

Ugly Sight As Oil Covered Turtle Found Near Hol Chan
There is a disturbing report coming out of the San Pedro Sun. The paper's website reports that a turtle covered in oil was found floating in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve off Ambergris Caye. On Tuesday, a group of divers on encountered the juvenile Green Sea Turtle along the channel at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. It was rescued and handed over to park rangers in the area. The green turtle, believed to be between two to three years old, was smothered with thick black crude oil and inside the turtle's mouth was also filled with oil. The turtle was fatigued and unable to move. The Sun reports that Biologists at Hol Chan suspect that there may have been an oil spill or natural seepage that has not been reported. Those at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve are hoping that the green turtle fully recovers from its ordeal. This is the first time that Hol Chan Marine Reserve has recorded a marine animal covered in oil.

Cross Country Songbirds
Birds are known for their long flights across continents according to the weather patterns, but the North American songbirds precise movements have now been tracked. According to a York University Study, 200 songbirds were outfitted with 1.5 gram geolocator "backpack" since 2007, and data was collected on their flight travel habits. The impressive thing about these songbirds is that they leave Central America mid-April every year and arrive two to three weeks later in the Northeastern US. According to data, the songbirds make a round trip from Nicaragua, Honduras and Belize to Canada and then ending northeastern US. The birds spend the winter months in Nicaragua, and they return to their breeding grounds in Canada for the summer.

The Product Of What Rowan Raised
The Belize Council for the Visually Impaired 16th annual summer camp came to an end today. Over 30 students who attended the camp had an opportunity to showcase what they have done over the past 2 weeks. It was all smiles from the children and 7news got to capture it. Carla Musa - Communications Officer - BCVI "Today we are having our summer camp open day and we had a little AGM so that everyone can be up to date on what we've been doing for the past year. We have all our kids here from throughout the country, so we have about 35 children who are in our summer camp area right now and what we wanted to do was to let everyone who have heard about BCVI - everyone who provided support to make the camp possible - we wanted to invite them in to be able to see what they've actually made possible whether it's through the artwork, through the computer programs and the computer classes or through their brail and reading and writing. Everyone is just mingling right now and getting to meet the kids." "This year summer camp like I said has 35 children and we split the groups because it was a bigger group that we had last year. We had about 80 people total whether it was children, guardians and staff members - we have half of the group at the Lion's Den at Princess Margaret Drive and the other half over at Stella Maris. They were split up by age. We were able to provide more individualize support per group, so we did braille typewriting classes, reading classes, math, art, computers and we had a lot of field trips as well."

Let The Games Begin!
And before we leave you tonight, just a programming note. Channel 7's exclusive coverage of the 2012 London Olympics starts tomorrow morning at 4:30 am with women's soccer. The highlite of the day will be the opening ceremonies which you will see live at 2:00 pm. Through and arrangement with the IMC media group out of Jamaica, channel 7 will air international coverage with a Caribbean emphasis, Caribbean commentators and no North American bias. And that means that you can watch tomorrow's opening ceremonies in the certainty that no commercial break will be taken when the Belize contingent walks into the stadium. We'll have coverage Virtually around the clock - so you can watch anytime. Those who like the NBC coverage can watch on cable - through a special arrangement we have reached with the cable operators association.

Channel 5

A house collapses in Orange Walk; 10 year old boy critically injured
Two children were injured today in a freak accident up north. Ten year old Brithon Cordova is in critical condition while his nephew, seven year old Jovuan was more fortunate and sustained minor injuries when their house crashed on them. The accident happened on San Martin Street in Orange Walk Town this morning when Brithon [...]

Belize Advisory Council orders reinstatement of Col. Javier Castellans
There is justice for Colonel Javier Castellanos. Seven months after he was removed from the Belize Defence Force as Deputy Commandant, Castellanos has been cleared by the Belize Advisory Council and re-instated to return to post as second in command at the B.D.F. He heads to the Ministry of National Security in Belmopan this Friday, [...]

Police Association and the Ministry clear the air
Tonight, it appears that the dust has settled between the Belize Police Association and the Police Department. On Wednesday, the president of the Association, Corporal Eldon Arzu and its vice president, Sergeant Edlin Lorenzo, appeared before a tribunal where they were arraigned for disrespecting their superiors and for disobeying a command. The two had fallen [...]

Illegal gold mining ring is suspected to involve over 300 Guatemalans
Belize’s natural resources are under sustained threat. In the Chiquibul, incursions by Guatemalan nationals to illegally log, extract xate and poach for exotic birds are escalating. There is now news that about three hundred Guatemalans are panning for gold. It takes a bit less work than logging, and it fetches more on the market, so [...]

C.W.U. and S.S.B. finally pen Collective Bargaining Agreement
After years of back and forth, today the Christian Workers Union signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Social Security Board. Following the lengthy negotiations, President of the C.W.U., Antonio Gonzalez, says that they achieved at least seventy-five percent of what they had originally proposed and will continue to negotiate on other benefits. But for [...]

P.U.P. condemns last minute House Meeting announcements
The P.U.P. is condemning the lack of adequate notice for Friday’s House sitting. According to the P.U.P., members of the opposition received notice of Friday’s meeting on Tuesday and a bare agenda on Wednesday. The party is railing up that the government is hiding behind the so called special meetings to prevent the opposition from [...]

Fisherman says he was detained after a raid that yielded nothing
A fisherman of Alligator Head Caye in Southern Belize is complaining that the Belize Coast Guard reportedly carried out two raids at his house on the island. According to Jamaal Tablada, he went out to the Caye on July twelfth with three employees and four kids. He says that as they arrived, he noticed a [...]

Accused cop shooter faces 6 criminal charges
Thirty year old Delford Slusher is accused of shooting police corporal Victor Lima, during a home invasion in Hattieville on Tuesday night. In court this morning, Slusher was slapped with six charges when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. The charges levied against him are Attempted Murder, Use of Deadly Means of Harm and [...]

One of two suspects is charged for armed robbery on Elston Kerr Street
A man was held up, pistol whipped and robbed in his yard on Monday night and tonight one of two suspects is behind bars. The victim is twenty-nine year old Elston Kerr Street resident, Godwin Samuel Straughan, who reported that at around eight-thirty, two men arrived at his house. One of the assailants, who was [...]

CEMO presents disaster plans to NEMO Minister and Coordinator
The City Emergency Management Organization, CEMO, the municipal arm of the National Emergency Management Organization, NEMO, is gearing up for any disaster this season. This morning, a presentation was held at City Hall where the disaster preparedness and relief plan were discussed. The CEMO team outlined various hurricane shelters across the city, their capacity, as [...]

BCVI’s summer camp; fun and education for visually impaired kids
Special needs students from primary and high schools from all corners of the jewel have been camping in Belize City. They have been attending the annual summer camp of the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired which, in addition to providing them with an outlet for fun and education, prepares them for the upcoming school [...]

Crimestoppers partners with Central Assembly of God for Summer Camp
Not far away, over two hundred children have been attending the Central Assembly of God’s summer camp. The students were engaged in the creative and performing arts for the past three days under a partnership with Crimestoppers Belize and members of Orchard Assembly. Organizer, Phillipa Herrera says that this year’s camp seeks to bridge social [...]

The medical perspective on decriminalizing marijuana possession
You will have heard by now of a proposal to decriminalize the possession of a small quantity of marijuana. The pros and cons of this proposal have been and will continue to be debated; and there are strong arguments on both sides. The recreational and medicinal use are separate and distinct issues; this week, Healthy [...]


Two young children are hospitalized in a critical condition at the northern regional hospital after they were trapped underneath their house that collapsed over them. Around 8:30 this morning neighbors of St. Martin Street in the Marcus Canul area of Orange Walk town heard a cras...

A twenty seven year old man is recovering from gunshot wounds he sustained last night in Corozal Town. Police responded to a call after nine last night and found Corozal Town resident Mark Massam Jr. being treated for four gunshot wounds at the Corozal Community Hospital. Acc...

Five persons are injured after a trailer tractor that they were travelling in, was hit from behind by an eighteen wheeler trailer truck. Correspondent Fem Cruz Reports FEM CRUZ, Reporter “Yesterday Wednesday, July 25 sometime around 12 PM between miles 35...

Two separate fires reported in Dangriga on Wednesday night.. Harry Arzu Reports HARRY ARZU, Reporter “The National Fire Service, Dangriga Branch responded to two separate fires that occurred on Wednesday, July 25 in this municipality. The first incident o...

On Wednesday morning the group Citizens Organized for Liberty through action staged a mini protest in front of the OAS office on blue Marlin Drive in Belize City. The intention was to send a message that the group is not happy with statements attributed to the Secretary General of the ...

People who have been hoping to one day become land owners may have that chance very soon. This is through new efforts by the Belize Grass Roots Youth Empowerment Association, BGYEA, to locate more land for distribution at affordable prices to people. Today BGYEA&...

The House of Representatives will meet in Belmopan on Friday. The majority of the items on the agenda have to do with finances and include the introduction of Bills to amend the Customs and Excise Duties Act to adjust the rates of customs duties on certain items consequent upon t...

A juvenile Green Sea Turtle was rescued in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve this week and is currently undergoing rehabilitation. According to reports reaching the RSV News Centre, the sea turtle was found on Tuesday afternoon, completely covered by what appears to be petroleum tar.&n...

A number of summer camps throughout the country have been keeping school children busy during their vacations. However an organization called Belize Camping Experience gets busy throughout the year to raise funds for the camps they facilitate. The non-profit, non-governmental, Ch...

American Sugar Refining’s proposal to acquire between 80 to 85 percent shares in Belize Sugar Industries is yet to be finalized. 81. 29% of the shares are owned by BSI Employees Holding Trust, the remaining is owned by Tate & Lyle and the Government of Belize owns a minority ...

Last week representatives of the Belize Police Association appeared on Love FM’s Morning Show to publicize issues that police officers have with the Police Department as it relates to police officers’ welfare. One of the areas that the President of the Association, Co...


Corporal Arzu and Sergeant Edlin Lorenzo Charged For Disrespecting A Senior Officer
Corporal Eldon Arzu and Detective Sergeant Edlin Lorenzo have been very vocal in representing the Police Association regarding the rushed transfers of police officers across the country. Arzu is the acting president of the association while Lorenzo is the vice president and both men have been placed on interdiction by the Commissioner of Police, David Henderson. Lorenzo and Arzu are being charged with disrespecting a senior officer and the Police Association has being dismantled by COMPOL. We understand that both men are seeking legal advice in the latest disciplinary actions by the Police Department. In last night’s newscast we brought to you the public support the National Trade Union Congress of Belize expressed in solidarity for the Police Association. In a press release issued by the NTUCB, the umbrella association for all unions, it is calling on the commissioner and the Minister of Police to step in and resolve the issue. We note that the police association is not a union and by law cannot be a union but nonetheless the NTUCB has expressed, and we quote, "Threatening the members of the Police Association and seeking to dismantle the Association is clearly the current response of the Ministry of Police. From the NTUCB's perspective, this cannot and will not be accepted nor tolerated." End of quote. We attempted to contact the offices of the NTUCB today but all efforts for futile. We will bring to you any new developments in this story.


COLA pickets OAS office; Foreign Affairs CEO says its all a big misunderstanding
The group Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action today turned up the heat, literally on the Organization of American States and Belize’s foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington. The group today staged a mini-protest in front of the offices of the OAS in Belize City. Love Tv’s Patrick Jones and Videographer Myles Gillett bring you the details in the following report. Late this evening Love News spoke via telephone with the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Alexis Rosado who explained that the whole issue of the statements attributed to the OAS Secretary General was an unfortunate misunderstanding that has been worked out to the satisfaction of Belmopan. That was the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Alexis Rosado. A high level vice-ministerial level meeting between Belize and Guatemala is schedule for early next week at the OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

NTUCB throws its support behind the embattled Police Association
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize is putting its full support behind the embattled Belize Police Association. NTUCB issued a statement on Thursday pledging solidarity with the Association in its mission to protect and secure the rights and advancement of decent work for all police officers. Today, the president of the NTUCB Dylan Reneau told Love News that the umbrella organization is prepared to take to the streets in support of the police association. Love News has confirmed that the president of the Police Association Corporal Eldon Arzu and his vice president Sergeant Edlin Lorenzo were both placed on interdiction on Tuesday. As we have reported previously, the Commissioner of Police David Henderson has revoked the privileges of the Police Association, which, according to the law, exists at the discretion of the office of the Commissioner. Reneau says the actions by the Commissioner and the Ministry of National Security could be viewed as showing a police high command out of touch with the rank and file. By law, police officers are not allowed to join a union. Reneau says that is a part of the changes the NTUCB would like to see as the men and women of law enforcement need to be able to agitate for betterment, without being victimized. The NTUCB president says he encourages the Police Association to continue to agitate for the changes they are so very much in need of. The logistics of Saturday’s protest march have not yet been finalized and Reneau says that appropriate announcement will be made via the media in the coming days so that the general public can join in support of the Police Association.

Police officers brought up on disciplinary charges
Two police officers who are former members of the now disbanded Belize Police Association today made their first appearance before a police tribunal. President of the Association Corporal Eldon Arzu and his vice president Sergeant Edlin Lorenzo were both placed on interdiction on Tuesday and ordered before the tribunal today to face disciplinary charges stemming from their media appearance last week challenging the transfer of police officers and other matters relating to officers welfare within the department. Officials of the Ministry of National Security have been tight-lipped about the tribunal saying it is an internal matter for the police department; but sources tell Love News that both Corporal Arzu and Sergeant Lorenzo today pleaded not guilty to the charges they were brought up on. As we understand it, Sergeant Lorenzo’s hearing has been adjourned until Tuesday, August seventh; while his colleague Corporal Arzu will reappear before the tribunal two days later on Thursday, August ninth. Love News will continue to follow this developing story.

The YWCA gets much needed program assistance
The YWCA has for many years focused on training women to make successful persons out of them. The organization however has taken an interest in helping young men achieve a better life. Consequently the YWCA’s Enterprise Creation and Extracurricular Development Project was launched this morning at the YWCA headquarters on St. Thomas Street. The project is made possible by a grant from the United States Embassy, funded by the Central American Regional Security Initiative CARSI. At the launching ceremony this morning, President of YWCA, Sheree Smiling-Craig spoke of the achievements of her organization. Guest Speaker, U.S. Ambassador to Belize, Vinai Thummalapally said that the American Embassy has a long history of collaborating with the YWCA. The gratitude for the donation was also shared by Deborah Arnold currently enrolled and has completed one year in the H.E.L.P Program and Steve Geynair who recently signed up for the Barber program. Thummalapally presented the two hundred thousand dollar cheque to Craig during the ceremonies this morning. The Vote of thanks was shared by YWCA board member Ann-Marie Williams and notably present were the Ambassador of Mexico to Belize Mario Velasquez and woman of the year 2012 awardee Rita Coleman.

San Pedro school forced to close its doors
After fifteen years of operation in San Pedro Town, St. Peter’s School was forced to shut down last week. Love Tv’s Marion Ali and Videographer Brian Castillo travelled to the island to investigate the motive of the shut down. Here’s the story.

Case of DFC versus the Villanuevas continues in the Supreme Court
The case of the Development Finance Corporation versus Rene Villanueva, Senior and Rene Villanueva Junior continues to meander through the Supreme Court. The suit was brought against the Villanuevas, who are owners of this television station, by the DFC as claimants against Cahal Pech Limited. The case is being heard before Justice Oswal Legal and today, following legal arguments from both sides, the judge has set Friday, September fourteenth as the deadline for the submission of written arguments after which he will he handing down his decision. The Villanuevas are being represented by Senior Counsel Michael Young and Melissa Balderamos Mahler while the Development Finance Corporation is being represented by Darlene Vernon of Michel Chebat and Company.

Belize City man is the victim of a shooting incident
Meanwhile there was another shooting incident last night, this time in Belize City. It happened about an hour before Corporal Lima was critically wounded in Hattieville. The police press officer gave reporters the details of the Belize City shooting. No one has been arrested but police say that just one day before this incident Darwin reported an aggravated assault against a woman. The police are further investigating the incident to see if there may be any connection between the aggravated assault report and the shooting incident.

Police officer injured in the line of duty
A police officer was injured in the line of duty last night. It happened around ten o’clock last night in Hattieville village. The victim has been identified as Corporal Victor Lima who is assigned to the Hattieville police substation. According to police press officer, Corporal Lima was responding to reports of a home invasion in the village and that he came under attack as he arrived at the scene. Inspector Yearwood told reporters at an impromptu press conference in Belize City that Corporal Lima was struck twice in the chest when the gunman opened fire on him. Corporal Lima remains in a critical condition at the KHMH. The man believed to have pulled the trigger on Corporal Lima has been identified as thirty year old Delford Slusher, a fisherman and farmer of mile 17 and a half on the Western Highway. Slusher was charged with the offence of kept ammunition without a gun license when he appeared today in the number six Magistrate’s Court. Slusher pleaded not guilty to the charge. Magistrate Hurl Hamilton explained to him that the court cannot offer him bail because of the nature of the offence. He remanded Slusher into custody until August 30. The Police reported that when they searched Slusher’s house shortly before midnight on July 24, they found 2 live rounds of 9 millimetre caliber ammunition. Slusher has also been charged with attempted murder for the shooting of police corporal Victor Lima but he has not been arraigned on that charge as yet.


Minister Saldivar comments on friction within Police ranks
Minister John Saldivar has gone on record stating that the President and vice-president of the Belize Police Associ...

Measures being taken for border security
Of recent there has been a boost in reports of incursions at the Western border of Belize by Guatemalans – whether ...

Cracking down on tint laws
The new law regulating the tint on your car became effective June 1, 2011. If your vehicle windows are too dark, it...

GOB/Oceana case adjourned until August
Oceana Belize, Cola and the Belize Coalition were back in court yesterday. On July 5 of this month the appellants a...

Belmopan CITCO regulating city's taxi service
The Taxi service is utilized by commuters, tourist and Belizeans in general. Here in the City of Belmopan majority ...

Minister says give shift system a chance
A letter has been circulating and has reach the media – it’s entitled “Belize Police Department – patrol branch aka...

Shooting victim in hospital, under Police watch
A Corozal man is shot whilst hanging out by the sea. Last night (July 25) around 9:30m Police visited the Corozal C...

One fire engine, two separate house fires in Dangriga
Authorities are tonight investigating two separate house fires in Dangriga Town. They both occurred last night arou...

Woman expected to be charged for shooting
Our story last night on the shooting of Darwin Lodge had more to it than was given. The story goes that Lodge alleg...

VIP wants justice for Police Association
In a press release the VIP has declared that they are in Solidarity with the Belize Police Association. The release...

House to assemble for special meet
A Special Sitting of the House of Representatives is set for Friday July 27 at 10 a.m. The People’s United Party ha...

Skiff reported stolen
YVES JEAN LE BELTON, is a 72 year old US retiree from Houston Texas and resident at Casa Blanca Mata Grande Resort ...

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

#443396 - 07/27/12 08:54 AM Re: Today's Belize News: July 27, 2012 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Guardian

Police Corporal Shot in the line of duty
At about 10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24, Hattieville Police responded to a report of an aggravated burglary in progress at the residence of Shakira Smith. Smith and a 17-year-old minor were at home when a man known to them as “Peter” entered the house and held them up at gunpoint. According to a source close to the family, the man asked where is the “kilo” and proceeded to search the house. It was at this time that police arrived. As the officers entered the house, the burglar opened fire at them. Corporal Victor Lima was struck by bullets twice, to the chest. Lima was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memmorial Hospital where he remains in a critical and serious condition. The other officers proceeded to apprehend 30-year-old Delford Slusher. According to police, Slusher was found with two rounds of 9 mm ammunition. He was arrested and charged with keeping unlicensed ammunition and attempted murder. Slusher appeared in the Belize City Magistrates Court shortly after 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 25, to answer to the ammunition charge. He pled not guilty to the offense. Since it is an ammunition charge, bail could not be granted. In addition, Slusher will serve 3 months in prison after it was discovered that he owes the court $350 from a drug possession conviction. Slusher is expected to return to court to answer to the charge of attempted murder upon Police Corporal Victor Lima. According to our source, Smith has been so traumatized by the incident that she refuses to return home. Slusher has six previous convictions for drug related offenses and presently has a huge drug trafficking case before the Court.

Belize Times sued for Yellow Journalism
The Belize Times was this week served with at least one lawsuit after it published an article entitled "UDP Land Hogs". Well, for their so called article the Slimes was served with a lawsuit after it libeled multiple persons including the Mayor of Belize City, Darrell Bradley. Mayor Bradley, a trained attorney, told the Guardian that as a result of the front page article, which appeared in the July 22nd edition of the Belize Times, he is suing the newspaper for libel. The Mayor says that the newspaper is liable to pay thousands of dollars as they misrepresented the manner in which he obtained the land that they wrote about. But Mayor Bradley is not the only person who was libeled; there are a number of government ministers and CEOs who, like the Mayor were libeled. A bit of advice for the Slimes, get ready for a slew of lawsuits, which may end up closing that political rag of a paper for good.

$20 Million City Bond
Mayor Darrell Bradley and the Belize City Council are pressing ahead with the issue of a 20-million-dollar municipal bond, which will be used for infrastructure development in Belize City. According to Mayor Bradley, the issue of a municipal bond is unprecedented not only in Belize, but in the entire Caribbean. Even so, Bradley held a press conference on Monday, July 23rd, in which he expressed great enthusiasm at the prospect of issuing the bond. The bond, he says, will be issued in two tranches; the first will be comprised of two issues; one being for 3 million dollars bearing interest between 3.5 and 4.5 percent for 2 years. The second issue on the first tranche will be for 7 million dollars for 5 years and bearing interest at between 4.5 and 5.5 percent. The second tranche will be for 10 million dollars for 8 years and will bear interest at between 5.5 and 7.5 percent. According to Ervin Perez of Legacy Fund, the company that is in charge of the bond issue, they have been aggressively marketing the bond and so far, there has been great interest in it. They have taken the investment opportunity to financial institutions, as well as insurance companies and the Social Security Board, and the reception has been overwhelming. Mayor Bradley says that the prospectus will be prepared by the middle of August and within a week of that release, they expect to have sold off the first 3-million-dollar portion of the bond. Bradley said that the Bond program is designed in such a way that the average Belizean will be able to invest and as such, they will be offering bond certificates in 200-dollar denominations. For the two issues of the first tranche, payments to holders are proposed for February and August of each year for the life of the bond while the second tranche will see payments in May and November. And for those who choose to invest in the bond, both Bradley and Perez guarantee payment to the holders. A sinking fund will be established, which will be financed through existing secure revenue streams that include government's yearly subvention to the council as well as the BTB's head tax that is paid to the Council. These two revenue streams will secure the first tranche of the bond. The second tranche will be secured by asset-backed collateral and the Council is looking at putting the Commercial Center and the NICH parking lot on Regent Street as that collateral. Speaking at the bond presentation, Mayor Bradley pointed out that there is a need for it since the council's revenue is tied up mostly in salaries and sanitation. He said that 70 percent of the revenue is taken up by these two expenses. He noted that with the issue of the bond, the Council will have more financing to do a lot more streets. Currently, the Council has done work on 14 streets at a cost of $939,356.03. Work will now commence on Freetown and Barrack Roads parts of Princess Margaret Drive and the intersection of Ceasar Ridge Road and Central American Boulevard. This will be financed through internal council revenues. The bond will be used to 10 other streets in the city including Craig Street, Hyde's Lane, Cran Street, North Front Street, New Road, Mapp Street, Douglas Jones Street, Wilson Street, Sixth Street, Mex Avenue and Allenby Street.

$30 Reduction in Butane Prices
Customers now enjoy a decrease in the cost of butane On Thursday, July 19th, the Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection announced that it has negotiated a significant decrease in the retail price of Butane to the public.

Belize Represented At CCT Meeting In Nicaragua
Contingent to CCT meeting Belize City, Belize – Thursday, July 19, 2012 A contingent of four tourism delegates represented Belize at the 85th ordinary meeting of the Central American Tourism Council (CCT) on July 11th - 12th 2012. The series of meetings were held at the Hotel Camino Real in Managua, Nicaragua. The 85th Ordinary Meeting is a conference geared towards technical tourism meetings and a general meeting for the Tourism Ministers of Central America. Belize was represented by Tracy Panton and Valdemar Andrade of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Alyssa Carnegie and Lenny Ayuso of the BTB.

Corozal South East Reorganizes
Hon. Patrick Faber and members of new executive committee for the Corozal South East Constituency The United Democratic Party's Chairman, Hon. Patrick Faber was in Calcutta Village on Sunday, July 22nd, for the purpose of selecting a new executive committee for the Corozal South East constituency.

Hon. Gaspar Vega launches Construction of Multi-purpose Center for San Jose Village
ony On Friday, July 21, Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, launched a project for the construction of a new multi-purpose centre in San Jose Village in the Orange Walk District. The project will be implemented by the Social Investment Fund and financed by the Government of Belize through a $555,000 loan from the Caribbean Development Bank.

Minister Saldivar Visits BDF Youth Cadet Corps Summer Camp
Hon. John Saldivar visits Cadet Corps Summer On Friday, July 20th July, Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar, made a special visit to the grounds of the 2012 BDF Youth Cadet Corps Summer Camp, being held in the Cayo District on the campus of the Eden Seventh Day Adventist High School in Santa Elena.

Police Association overstep Their Limitations
Police Corporal Eldon Arzu, the president of the Police Association and Sergeant Edlin Lorenzo, Vice President of the Association, have been put on interdiction following inflammatory remarks they have been making on radio and television against the Commissioner of Police and the Ministry of National Security. Arzu has been charged for being disrespectful to a superior officer while Lorenzo was charged for disobeying a lawful command. This is in addition to a decision by the Commissioner of Police to discontinue the support that his office has been giving to the Police Association. The decision came after numerous media appearances by the executive of the Association in various media outlets in which they made disparaging remarks against the COMPOL. Those remarks were done after the Association attempted to reverse the transfer of officers from one formation to another.

Lifeline and Special Envoy donates $3,500 to BCVI
Lifeline Foundation makes donation to BCVI On Tuesday, July 24, both the Lifeline Foundation and the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children presented cheques to the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI) in honour of Rowan Garel's inspirational walk across Belize.

Government responds to Illegal Gold Panning in Ceibo Chico
Belizeans are once again frustrated from news of the pillaging of natural resources by Guatemalan nationals in the Chiquibul Jungle. Unlike when it was news of xate or hardwood extraction, news of illegal gold panning by trespassing Guatemalans has hit home nationally. Gold is one of few objects that are recognized as something of great value to people all over the world. It is a personified object. Almost everyone has thought about what they would do if they had a great quantity of gold. When news spread that illegal Guatemalan immigrants have established a systematic operation to extract gold from the Chiquibul area, Belizeans countrywide were shocked and disgusted.

Cola barking at shadows
Burning in front of OAS headquarters They call themselves COLA, the Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action and by the looks of it, they have the appropriate name, because they are always behind everything.

BTB joins International Council Of Tourism Partners (ICTP)
Belize City, Belize – Thursday, July 19, 2012 – The Belize Tourism Board is honored to announce its new recent membership into the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP). The International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) is a Global Alliance to support and promote destinations and stakeholders in selected destinations with a shared belief in well-managed travel and tourism as a driver of community business, jobs, and well being. By becoming a member of the ICTP, the BTB will have the opportunity to augment core strategies to better market Belize in the tourism industry. Alyssa Carnegie, Director of Marketing and Industry Relations at the BTB stated, “Tourism is vital to our economy and with the growing tourism industry in Belize, new business strategies to address existing challenges and the reconnaissance of new opportunities to further enhance our market position and brand is a must. This is why the BTB is pleased to have joined this network”. The ICTP has a global alliance with member countries like Belgium, Canada, Greece, Palestine, Croatia, Germany, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Trinidad &Tobago among others. ICTP supports the UN Millennium Development Goals, the UN World Tourism Organization's Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, and a range of programs that underpin them. The worldly strength of this alliance involves countries, regions, and cities from around the globe. They all work together to reach to global media, trade, consumers, and share support with each other at trade events and secondary global markets. That is something that one destination could not effectuate on its own.

AIDS Commission Launches Five-Year Strategic and Operational Plan
Dr. Peter Allen, CEO in Ministry of Health; Judith Alpuche, CEO in Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation; and Kathy Esquivel, Chair of National AIDS Commisiion. The National AIDS Commission launched its 2012-2016 National Strategic and Operational Plan on Thursday, July 19. Dr. Martin Cuellar, Executive Director of the National AIDS Commission, said that the plans were drafted after two years of consultations with civil society, community-based organizations and government institutions.

Life imprisonment for Kenrick Williams
Kenrick Williams, 34, will spend the remainder of his life time behind bars, after he was sentenced, on Wednesday, July 18th, for the 2004 murder of student, Elia Gonzales, 16, who was raped and strangled. The sentence was handed down in Corozal Town by Justice, Dennis Hanomansingh. During mitigation plea, Williams failed to provide character witnesses to speak on his behalf. Williams also chose to remain silent leaving his attorney, Phillip Palacio, to speak on his behalf. Palacio told the Court that Williams had been convicted of crimes such as theft, handling stolen goods, but none of a violent nature. At the end of the trial, a jury of 12 people had returned with a guilty verdict, on Wednesday July 4th, after deliberating for over three hours. On March 23rd, 2004, Gonzales had left the Corozal Community College compound and was heading home to Libertad Village. When she didn’t arrive home some hours later, her parents became concerned. A missing person’s report was filed and on the following day, her body was found about 15 yards from a water reservoir.

Life imprisonment for Kenrick Williams
Kenrick Williams, 34, will spend the remainder of his life time behind bars, after he was sentenced, on Wednesday, July 18th, for the 2004 murder of student, Elia Gonzales, 16, who was raped and strangled. The sentence was handed down in Corozal Town by Justice, Dennis Hanomansingh. During mitigation plea, Williams failed to provide character witnesses to speak on his behalf. Williams also chose to remain silent leaving his attorney, Phillip Palacio, to speak on his behalf. Palacio told the Court that Williams had been convicted of crimes such as theft, handling stolen goods, but none of a violent nature. At the end of the trial, a jury of 12 people had returned with a guilty verdict, on Wednesday July 4th, after deliberating for over three hours. On March 23rd, 2004, Gonzales had left the Corozal Community College compound and was heading home to Libertad Village. When she didn’t arrive home some hours later, her parents became concerned. A missing person’s report was filed and on the following day, her body was found about 15 yards from a water reservoir. Williams waited in the nearby bushes as Gonzales passed by. She was pulled in by Williams, taken into the bushes and raped.

Alejandro Baptist charged with Theft
Alejandro Baptist, 18, appeared in the Magistrate’s Court, on Thursday, July 19, to answer to a single charge of theft. The following day, Friday, he reappeared in Court where he was granted bail, after spending one night at the Kolbe Foundation. When arraigned in Court on Thursday, Baptist had pleaded not guilty of stealing an Isuzu Rodeo valued at $10,000. The Rodeo belongs to Julian Ferguson. The court prosecutor had then objected to bail on the grounds that the evidence from the prosecution side is solid, as Baptist had been found inside the car an hour after it had been stolen. The prosecutor also cited the nature of the offence and the prevalence of it, as part of his reasons for objecting to bail. When Baptist was asked if he had any good reasons why the Court should grant him bail, he remained silent breifly. He later broke the silence by telling the Court that this was his first time being charged and that he was being wrongfully accused. But the Senior Magistrate was not convinced and she remanded him to prison for a night. On Friday, Baptist reappeared in Court and bail of $5,000 plus one surety was offered which he met by midday. Baptist is scheduled to reappear in Court again on August 2. Ferguson had told police that his Rodeo, which had been parked in the Palmdale Drive area, had been stolen sometime between the hours of 8:45 a.m., on Wednesday, July 18, and 1:25 a.m., on Thursday, July 19. At about 2:30 a.m., Baptist was found sitting inside the stolen vehicle.

Cassian Young charged with Threat of Death
Cassian Young, 21, appeared unrepresented in the Magistrate’s Court, on Thursday, July 19, to answer to charges of threat of death against Alejandro Baptist. Young appeared before Magistrate, Dale Cayetano, where he was read one count of threat of death. Young pleaded not guilty to the charge and was offered bail in the sum of $1,000 plus one surety of the same amount. He is to return to Court on September 3rd. According to Baptist, on Wednesday, July 18th, Young threatened to kill him. Young is to return to Court on September 3rd.

Fatal traffic accident claims the life of three
Edwin Crawford, deceased A violent head on-collision between an SUV and a car claimed the life of three people including a police constable. It happened in Ladyville, along Mile 11 ¼ of the Northern Highway, at around 2:50 a.m., on Friday July 20. According to police, when they arrived at the scene of the accident, they saw two white vehicles extensively damaged and parked almost facing each other. These were, a Saturn SUV bearing L/P BZ-C37238 and a white Saturn car bearing L/P- C-O3454. Police constable, Dion Makin was the driver of the Saturn SUV and accompanying him at the time of the collision were Jay Lewis Avila, 22 Edwin Elvis Crawford, 25, Helen Canelo, 19, and a female, who has gone as unidentified by police. Makin and the four were heading towards Orange Walk, when they crashed into a car driven by Lawrence Chow, a resident of Belize City.

Butcher remanded to Prison for Attempted Murder
On Thursday, July 19th, Joseph Castillo, 43, a butcher of Gibnut Street appeared unrepresented in the Magistrate’s Court to answer to charges of attempted murder, the use of deadly means of harm and dangerous harm against Salvadoran national, Jose Argueta, 29. No plea was taken in court because the offenses are indictable and bail was also denied. Castillo was remanded to prison until August 20. On Sunday, July 8, 2012, at around 4:00 p.m., Argueta was socializing at Good Fortune Bar &Pool, located on Newtown Barracks when an argument ensued between the two. According to Argueta, Castillo then pulled out a knife and stabbed him to the left arm pit. He was treated for injuries at the Karl Husner Memorial Hospital, where he was later visited by police. As a result, Castillo was charged with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm and dangerous harm.

Former police officer, Michael Diaz, remanded to prison on another robbery charge
On Thursday, July 19th, former law enforcement officer, Michael Diaz, 27, appeared in the Magistrate’s Court to answer to a single charge of robbery. This is reportedly the fourth time he has faced similar charges. In 2010, he had been dismissed from the Belize Police Department, following the allegations of an accountant. According to the accountant, on July 3, 2010, Diaz had snatched his chain from around his neck. The chain was valued at $675. This was recorded as the first robbery allegation against him. In this most recent incident, the victim, Anne Marie Hulse, claimed that on Friday, July 6, Diaz snatched her chain valued at $800, from around her neck. In court, Diaz was read a single charge of robbery for stealing by the use of force. To the single charge, he pleaded not guilty. However, there were objections raised in Court by the prosecutor, on the grounds that Diaz was on bail for similar offenses. The Magistrate took the objection into consideration and denied bail and Diaz to prison until July 31. Hulse had reported to police that on Friday, July 6, she was walking along with her two young children when a ligh skinned man rode up to her on bicycle and grabbed the chain from around her neck.

Trio accused of the Theft of Raw Sugar granted Bail
Ernel Brooks, 30, Alex “Lexus” O’Brien, 35, and O’Brien’s father, Oscar Mena, 68, all fishermen, re-appeared in the Magistrate’s Court, on Friday, July 20, and were granted of bail, after they had been remanded two weeks for allegedly stealing over 100 tons of raw sugar from the Belize Sugar Industry between the months of April and July. The trio appeared before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer, who explained to the men that bail could not be offered at the usual amount in reference to the charge of theft, since the quantity of the alleged stolen sugar was great. She also told the men that the bail must reflect the cost of the items and so, she then granted bail in the sum of $30,000 each. And while O’Brien and Mena were able to meet bail, Brooks was unable to and he was remanded back to prison until October 18, the date when all three are due back in court. Linberth Seguro, chief security at the Belize Sugar Industry Storage Division, reported that sometime between the months of April and July 2012, approximately 125 tons of raw sugar was stolen from different barges that were docked at Drown Caye, located about 5 Miles East of Belize City. The stolen sugar is valued at $125,000. Police then launched an investigation and later visited Mena’s house, located on Riverside Street, in the Saint Martin area. Allegedly, police found half a sack of raw brown sugar along with an empty sack. The men re-appeared unrepresented, but their respective relatives have sought legal advice from a local attorney.

A Tale of Two Cities
Before you attempt to associate my topic with the epic tale by the great Charles Dickens, let me quickly clarify that my intention is to simply attempt to draw contrast between Belize City and Orange Walk Town. My thesis in this essay is to demonstrate that when the leadership of a political party has vision, a nation will move forward in development. Since March 7th, the Mayor of Belize City has appeared on several occasions in the news, beginning with his hundred-day plan and his clean-up campaign on Labour Day. He soon thereafter, gave full account of these endeavors, explaining their individual successes or limited accomplishments. Judging from his press coverage, it seems that Mayor Bradley is enjoying good credibility ratings on account of his stern headship at the Council. He has further, since the first hundred days, cemented his commitment to improve the old capital by paving several streets even with the financial constraints being encountered by the Council owing to a low revenue stream to its coffers. In addition to his candor, the Mayor seems to be a no-nonsense character, as was seen in his decisiveness with the traffic portfolio. It is usually at this point that some of you might murmur, but they all start that way and then promptly deviate from the straight and narrow. In response, all I can say is, I am not in the habit of swearing for any man, or woman, so we will have to leave that one for time to address. For now, however, I can readily admit that with the idea of floating a municipal bond the Mayor has shown vision and panache. The nagging question at the back of my mind was this: where will the money come from to service this bond? Will he be just another Mayor who brags about doing this and that and then runs to Central Government hat-in-hands for grants? The Mayor not only outlined how he would raise the funds and what he will utilize these on, but he had a plan how the City Council itself would meet payments on the bond. Seems that the City now has a very focused Mayor, which is long overdue, and the Old Capital will soon witness major improvements to look maybe even like Chetumal in the future. But now as I turn my eyes on my hometown, I want to weep. We previously had a Mayor, who was a dedicated Orange Walkeño with love for town and country but we went ahead and replaced him. We heeded the courtship of demagogues, who promised to fix up this town. They had all the answers before the elections; how to fix streets, dig drains, create jobs, you name it; they could do it like it’s never been done before. Now look at our streets, man, and our parks and playgrounds. There is no pride in calling it my town now and my fellow citizens are quickly coming to grips with what we did on March 7. We can now appreciate that words alone cannot fix streets, drains, and create jobs; it needs bold plans to do these things, along with vision and resolve. Orange Walk slumbers on these days; leaderless and rudderless.

Minister Herman Longsworth attending 6th Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting
Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports with direct responsibilities for Youth and Sports is currently in London, England, attending the 6th Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting that began Wednesday, July 25th, 2012. Minister Longsworth will join his colleagues from 52 Commonwealth countries at the The Banqueting House, Whitehall in London, England. The meeting will receive the Minutes of the last Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting that was held in New Delhi, India in 2012, and will look at the updated report from the Organising Committee for the 20th Commonwealth Games scheduled for Glasgow, Scotland in 2014. While in London, Minister Longsworth will also be meeting with Executive Members of Olympic Solidarity Programme of the International Olympic Committee. He will also attend the meeting, “Celebrating The Role of Business and Sport in the Commonwealth” scheduled for Thursday, August 2nd, 2012.

Tuff “E” Nuff and Alamilla’s/MOE Even at a Game Each
Farron Louriano scored 16 points The 2012 Interoffice Basketball Competition entered its championship round on Friday, July 20 at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City between Tuff “E” Nuff and Alamilla’s/MOE. The championship series will utilize the best of five. In game one of the series, the young and talented Tuff “E” Nuff defeated Alamilla’s/MOE by the score of Tuff 66-58. The top scorers for Tuff “E” Nuff were Farron Louriano, who scored 16 points and 11 rebounds; Tyrone Edwards with 14 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal; and Raul Roches with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Alamilla’s/MOE were Greg Rudon with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals; Brandon Rogers with 14 points and 5 rebounds; and Kurt Burgess with 9 points and 7 rebounds. The championship series then continued on Saturday, July 21, 2012, with game two The second game saw the reversal of fortune for Alamilla’s/MOE as they edged out Tuff “E” Nuff by the score of 79-76. The top scorers for Alamillas/MOE were Greg Rudon with 23 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals; Kurt Burgess with 15 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals; and Brandon Rogers with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Tuff “E” Nuff were Jamal Kelly with 17 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 steals; Keith Acosta with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal; and Tyrone Edwards with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. The championship series will continue on Friday, July 27th, 2012, with game three and on Saturday, July 28th, when game four is scheduled to be played. The games are both scheduled for 8:00 pm at Bird’s Isle. If a game five becomes necessary, then it will be played on Friday August 3rd, 2012, also at 8:00 pm.

Football Referees’ Training in Belize
Forty-seven referees converged at the FFB Goal Project Headquarters in Belmopan over the weekend of July 20-22, 2012, to attend a Referees’ Seminar facilitated by FFB’s National Referee Instructors, Eugene Contreras, Mauro Manzanero and Director of Referees, David Henry Jones. The referees, who came from all parts of the country, saw the attendance of 47 counterparts. The seminar was to conduct a physical training test and to update and test the referees on the Seven Laws of the Game. Marlon Kuylen, Executive member of the FFB, opened the seminar and expressed his appreciation for the large turnout. At the closing of the seminar, Kuylen congratulated the five female participants, who attended the seminar, especially Nelita Novelo of Orange Walk, who received a perfect score on the written test. Kuylen also expressed his support and that of the Federation to the referees.

Belize City Softball Competition enters Playoff Round
The 78th Belize City Senior Female Softball Competition entered its playoff round on Wednesday, July 25th, at Rogers Stadium,the home of softball, between Mirage Lady Rebels (the number two seed) and Orchid Blazers (the number three seed). The playoff round will utilise the best of three series with the winner facing the defending champion Telemedia (the number one seed) in the championship series. The second game in the series between Mirage Lady Rebels and Orchid Blazers is scheduled for Friday, July 27th, at 6:30 pm and if a game three becomes necessary, it will be played on Monday, July 30th, 2012 also at 6:30 pm.

YWCA receives $200,000 Grant
Ambassador Vinai THummalapally hands over check to the Y’s Sheree Smiling Craig (center) and Sonia Linares) The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) received a 200-thousand-dollar grant from the U.S. Embassy through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI).

Mexican Embassy presents Three Exhibitions on Belizean Artist Benjamin Nicholas
The Embassy of Mexico is pleased to present three art exhibitions as a tribute to the renowned Belizean artist, Benjamin Nicholas, in a unique collaboration with Atlantic Bank and the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH). The exhibitions titled “Story Color Life, honouring Benjamin Nicholas” feature more than 25 works by the celebrated Belizean painter, who died on April 9th, 2012 in his hometown Dangriga. Nicholas represents the pinnacle of Garifuna and Belizean art. Born on August 6th, 1930, Benjamin Nicholas studied art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in the US. On his return to Belize, he settled in Dangriga and painted to the time of his death. He has been recognized internationally and was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE). According to the Belizean artist Yasser Musa, “with his images Benjamin Nicholas inspired Belizeans to appreciate, respect and recognize the rural life as a potent aspect of the growing nation. He boldly narrated with his brush the many aspects of Garifuna culture. His art works hang on the walls of ordinary people, art collectors, in museums around the world and in the halls of power of many nations including Cuba, South Africa, Venezuela, and Canada”. During his 50-year artistic career, Nicholas was also an inspiration to other prominent Belizean artists. The collection that will be presented includes art works belonging to the private collections of the Mexican Embassy, the Belize Bank and NICH. The first exhibition will take place at the Sacred Heart Church in Dangringa, on Friday, August 3rd, at 6:30 pm. This exhibition is organized also with the support of the Mayor of Dangriga, Gilbert Swazo, Father Dominic McDonagh of the Sacred Heart Parish of Dangriga, and the Nicholas family. Currently, the Sacred Heart Parish houses two murals by Benjamin Nicholas and different paintings depicting the Stations of the Cross and the Passion of the Christ. The second exhibition will be hosted the Embassy of Mexico in Belmopan on Tuesday, August 7th, at 6:30 pm. The third exhibition will take place at the Institute of Mexico in Belize City. It will be inaugurated on Thursday, August 9th at 6:30 pm, and will remain open until August 15th. The public is invited to participate in any of the three exhibitions. The entrance is free and open to the public. Schools are encouraged to organize excursions to visit the exhibition at the Institute of Mexico.

Bredda “DAVID” & Tribal Vibes Latest Release
After 20 years in of the creation of Kungo Muzic, Bredda David Obi and the Tribal vibes is releasing their 10th album. Obi stopped by the Guardian Newspaper to explain the album is a mix of previously released songs as well as new ones. It is entitled "Day D Dawn" and features 14 tracks. As the title implies, a new day is dawning in Belize, new era of awareness where hope for a better future abounds. This theme is in keeping with the pervasive spirit of Kungo Muzik. The 14-track album features new arrangements of previously released Tribal Vibes tunes such as “Stronger”, “Experience”, “Sambai Da Muchula”, and “Mi Plantation”. Complementing the old are first releases “We Roots De Ina Afreeka”, a fusion of a particularly Belizean feel with rich jive vocals reminiscent of South Africa; “Sanctuary 2” an instrumental sequel to 2008’s “Sanctuary”; and a completely fresh treatment of Kriol tradition’s “Freetown Gial”, interpreted by jazz-guitar chording of Jason Guerrero and musical craftsmanship of Dale Davis on clarinet. A Kungo-ized version of the latter also appears. While the pure drumming of Truth Cut Steel represents the clearest return to Kriol rootsy Gale Point Manatee Sambai, other debut songs include “Brukdong Vibes”, “Sweet Belizean Music” and “All Day All Nite”. Each listener is expected to find his/her own preference from this project. The project’s personnel are David’s son Nkrumah & Indio Obi, Dale Davis, Harry “Chagu” Thompson, Bill Gabourel, Ernestine Carballo, Darwin Lino. A special thanks is given to Jeremy Lamb for sharing the title track “Day di Dawn”. Bredda David & Tribal Vibes will hold a free family concert entitled “Day di Dawn” on Sunday, August 19th at the BTL Park in Belize City. Obi says the concert is a way of bringing the music to the Belizean public who have been following him for the past 20 years. The latest release is available at record stores countrywide or directly from him. He can be reached at phone: 502-3489/ 602-3077 or email: breddadavid@gmail.com .

Comfort Zones
A comfort zone is a place where we can shake off some of life’s stresses and relax. In its most basic sense, it is where we can feel safe and for many of us our most important comfort zones include our immediate family and childhood friends. These are usually people, who share our history, culture, life experiences and values. We do not have to explain ourselves; they know. We are often willing to overlook or explain away faults in our immediate family and friends that we find unforgiveable in strangers. This differentiation between us and them is the beginning of stigma and discrimination and, of which, we must be continually aware if we are to avoid the pitfalls of intolerance and see beyond superficial differences to the essential humanity of others. There is nothing wrong with enjoying our comfort zone – the fault is in demonizing those outside. Belizeans abroad like nothing better than a function that allows them to get together and reminisce about old times. There is a special place in our heart for a childhood friend even if we have lost contact over the years. We enjoy rallies of our chosen political party or religious denomination and ...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Volleyball tourney coming soon to Caye Caulker….

The Reporter

Civic minded citizen foils afternoon robbery and helps capture crooks
Ernest Billary, a 20- year-old manual labourer of Hibiscus Street in southside Belize City, was captured by a community-minded citizen who interrupted Billary’s attempt to rob the popular Señor Coconut Restaurant on Eve Street around 2:00 last Friday afternoon, July 20. Billary was remanded into custody after he was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on charges of armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. Billary and an accomplice, armed with a handgun, had entered the popular eatery on Eve Street and demanded money as they held a gun to the head of one of three women inside.

Guatemalan gold fever in the Chiquibul Reserve! A huge problem for Belize law enforcement!
The government of Belize needs to synchronize law enforcement efforts and resources immediately to create a credible deterrent against Guatemalans illegally panning for gold in the streams of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. This is the recommendation of Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director of Friends for Conservation and Development, the organization which manages the reserve.

Police Association leaders apologize to ComPol
The dispute brewing last week between the leaders of the Police Association and Commissioner of Police David Henderson has ended amicably, with the Association leaders apologizing to the Commissioner for the manner in which they had sought to have the issue of Police transfers and other internal matters addressed.

2 Orange Walk boys hurt when their home collapsed
By Janine Crawford Freelance Reporter An Orange Walk child is in a critical state, after the wooden house he and his family occupied on Yo Creek Street collapsed shortly after 9:00 this morning, in the Marcus Canul area. Briton, 10 and his brother, Jova, 7, were playing this morning in their yard as usual, engrossed over a litter of new-born puppies.

COLA takes dim view of OAS! Says Belize Foreign Minister to blame.
The right-wing organization called Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) bristled this week at a statement by OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza which seemed to blame Belize for the shooting in the Columbia River Forest Reserve which killed Guatemalan illegal logger Luis Alberto Martinez Alonzo.

Lord Ashcroft wants Justice Awich gone
Lord Michael Ashcroft, KCMG, Dean Boyce and the British Caribbean Bank, the so-called Ashcroft Alliance, have taken on another fight. This time they are gunning for the removal of newly appointed Belize Court of Appeal Justice, Mr. Samuel Lingole Awich.

Decriminalization of marijuana: a world issue
Whether marijuana is glorified by musicians, scorned by churches, revered as a religious sacrament or outlawed as a drug, the only constant about marijuana is that it is a topic of constant conflict. A prevalent problem in the marijuana debate is that policy makers and public differ in their opinions about whether or not the plant should be classified as a “drug”. While Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is scientifically proven to have chemical effects consistent with that of “drug” use, marijuana is simply the dried leaves of a plant. When weighed against other substances such as cigarettes, which are processed and have a myriad of chemicals, marijuana, being an all-natural substance, at first glance doesn’t seem to fit the description of a drug at all.

OCEANA challenging exploration licenses in court on grounds that companies don’t quaify
Six companies granted concessions to explore for oil in Belize between 2005 and 2007 have been challenged in court by Oceana, the resident watchdog organization, on grounds that they fail to meet the legal requirements for a concession under the Petroleum Act. The challenge is also directed at the Ministry of Natural Resources for granting the concession. The dispute, now before Justice Legal, has been further adjourned until August 22. Oceana contends that the companies: Island Oil Belize Limited, Tropical Energy Limited, PetroBelize Company Limited, Princess Petroleum Limited, Providence Energy Belize Limited and Sol Oil Belize Limited, do not meet the requirements of the Petroleum Act and therefore their oil exploration contracts should be declared null and void.

“Kungo Muzik” to unite us all
Music has long since carried the epithet “the universal language,” but Belize’s very own David Obi, popularly known as “Bredda David”, has taken music’s unifying power a step further with his unique genre of music—“Kungo Muzik”. This week, Obi shared with The Reporter the message behind his music and how that message is reflected in the genre’s very musical composition and lyrical context. Obi—a man of Kriol (Creole) ancestry who was raised in culture capital Dangriga—said that the fortunate opportunity to have lived the mores of both the Kriol and the Garinagu had helped him to come to a clear revelation about the so-called Kriol-Garifuna cultural dichotomy: that there is none.

7 ways to reduce your risk of diabetes
What is diabetes and how serious is it in our country? Diabetes is a chronic disorder of either lack of production of insulin (as in the case of type – 1 diabetes), or the inability of the body to utilize it properly (insulin resistance – as in the case of type 2 diabetes). Consequently, glucose remains in the blood stream and causes havoc to many of the organs of the human body. Some of these negative effects include: heart complications, eye disorders, nerve problems and the unfortunate recent increase of kidney failure in Belize.

Heavy drinking in pregnancy linked to problems in children
Central nervous system abnormalities are common among children whose mothers drink large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy, a small new study finds. Most children exposed to large amounts of alcohol while in the womb do not go on to develop fetal alcohol syndrome. Diagnosis of this condition requires abnormalities in three areas: facial features, physical growth and the central nervous system.

Carlos Cui & Mishek Musa win in Barrow & Williams table tennis
Carlos Cui won the open division, while Mishek Musa won the under-15 Cadets’ division of the Barrow & Williams Summer Table Tennis Tournament held under the auspices of the Belize Table Tennis Association at the Belize Elementary School on Sunday, July 22. Cui won the championship finals 3-1 over Nicholas Martin. Cui advanced by a 3-0 win over Fabio Carballo in the first round and a 3-0 win over Mike Rivero in the second round. He went on to triumph 3-0 over Martin in their first encounter in the third round.

BDF & City Boys win in Champions Cup football
The Belize Defence Force enjoyed a 4-0 win over “Sugar &Water” Old Road while the Raymond Gentle City Boys routed FC Belize 3-0 when the competition continued at the M.C.C. grounds on Sunday, July 22. But Westlake continues to lead the Champions Cup Football Competition, posting their fourth victory 3-0 by default over Maskall. Erwin “Bird” Flores and Daniel Jimenez led the BDF offensive supported by Philip Lewis and Richard “Cheety” Jimenez on the wings and Harrison Tasher and David “Gringo” Ramos at midfield.


Extreme Belize time
I have reached a new level of understanding how some people / things get on Belize time – it goes something like this…. I was working on this post yesterday morning when I got a call from BTL that they were coming to look at an issue we had reported a couple of weeks ago. Now sometimes people can be that slow to get back to you here, but in this case they were actually doing their job and following up. Very grateful for that because tacoboy on his last communication with them said our internet was fine and he was right at the time it was. I was already experiencing one big sidetracked moment in time. No matter how hard I tried to stay on task I keept getting pulled in all different directions literally. - Answering emails set me of on pinterest for too long, but I for some great pins out of it. - Pulled myself away from pinning pictures and back to emails. - BTL guy calls and says they are on their way over in 10 minutes to speedtest our internet – I was not going to say no. - Stop answering emails and start tiding the house a bit and dusting the router. - Of course toilet brush had to break at the wrong end while I was cleaning the guest bathroom. - Took out garbage swept stairs and back to emails and blog – net down Surprised? Not - BTL guys were on time and when they did speed test, they discovered a corroded wire that needed to be replaced, no small task as it had to be done cosmetically and be put under ground. - Tim Invest in Belize, the house realtor, came lightening fast to make sure that the work was done cost effectively, weatherproof and most of all invisible. - Heraldo who works for Tim shows up almost as fast and was ready to do his part of the fix so the BTL guys could come back and hook us up. - Patiently edited yesterdays pics while I wait for internet. This process is took slightly longer than I had hoped,we are not going to be back online till sometime Thursday been offline since Wed morning. - Ended up at El Divino to do some emails by phone and have a well deserved rum and cranberry or two.

Today’s land conservation theme brought the eco campers to the 33 acre Maya Organic Farm, which plays an integral part on the Chaa Creek Reserve. Not only does it help to conserve the land, but the farm also provides jobs for local workers, and supplies produce for the The Lodge at Chaa Chreek and the Macal River Camp, where the kids are staying this week. One the main goals of the farm is to implement as many traditional Maya farming techniques as possible, the most notable of these being the absence of chemicals in their agricultural practices. While it may be quicker and easy to use pesticides, and most modern farms do exactly that, Mr. Mick explained to us that the Flemings choose to follow an environmentally friendly model, and as I’m sure the children will testify, the difference is clearly shown in the delicious food we have eaten thus far! The eco-campers had a chance to tour the operation and recognize many local plants, trees, herbs, and produce. They were also treated to some live action as we met the sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, heifers, and even the bull. To top off the farm adventure, the kids had a chance to stick their entire arms into the compost piles, as Mr. Mick explained to them how everything in an organic farm is connected, right down to the animals’ feces! No wonder they all washed their hands so well before lunch. An afternoon filled with swimming, canoeing, and lots of fun in the sun has left this blogger’s brain on empty so we will let the pictures tell the rest of the tale.

International Sources

Internet speeds and prices in the Caribbean
The Caribbean has had some semblance of publicly available Internet service for about two decades, but in recent times it has become a key platform for the delivery of a broad range of telecoms and computing services and applications. Critical considerations when assessing the Internet’s effectiveness as a medium of connectivity are transmission speeds and the prices charged for its use. This snapshot examines those two factors across the English-speaking Caribbean, since they speak to the region’s ability to harness the potential of the Internet and to create knowledge-based societies. As reflected in the Table 2 below, the minimum download speeds offered in most countries is 1 Mbps, with the exception of Belize, Dominica and Trinidad & Tobago, where speeds of 256 kbps and lower are still available. Interestingly, the price for the service plan with the lowest download speed in Guyana (1 Mbps) is over eight times that of the most expensive plan in the rest of the sample group (Belize, USD 436.05 for a 4 Mbps package). On the other hand, just under half of the sample group offered plans with 8 Mbps as the highest download speed. In Jamaica and Trinidad, plans with download speeds of 100 Mbps are available at prices lower than what has been specified in other countries for less than a tenth of that speed. Attention is again drawn to the exorbitant monthly fee charged in Guyana for a 4.5 Mbps connection. This price would be well beyond the reach of most domestic customers and businesses. In all countries except Guyana and Belize, the monthly rate for a 2 Mbps Internet plan is under USD 85.00, and is even under USD 30.00 in Grenada. Again, excluding Belize and Guyana, the average monthly rate for a 2 Mbps Internet plan is approx

How To Set Up An Offshore Company
Setting up an offshore company in a tax haven is surprisingly easy. A simple Google search offers up thousands of companies willing to help you do it. Anna Vaivade works for one of these companies. She is in Latvia, but her employer offers company registration in Seychelles, British Virgin Islands or Belize. She told me all these places offer no taxes and extreme confidentiality. "No third parties, no creditors, no other companies have access to this information, " said Vaivade. But what good is a company without a bank account attached? Anna Vaivade said she could help Planet Money with that too. She told me we could open a bank account in Switzerland that's tied to my offshore company in Belize. And if that's not enough anonymity for you, Anna's company offers another service — a board of directors. (Chana Joffe-Walt / NPR) "In all public documents where the director's name appears, it will be our name," she told me. The idea is to ensure no one knows we are in involved in the company. Anna calls it "absolute confidentiality." And all of this is perfectly legal. I can think of legitimate reasons why you might want to have a company in Belize with a bank account in Switzerland and fake Latvian shareholders. Maybe you don't want your competitors to know what you're up to or maybe you're a large business operating across borders. It's easier to do business when you have accounts offshore. But what is striking about all the offshore services available is that while they are totally legal, the system seems to make it easy to get away with things that are not legal. In the end, it took a week and a half and fair bit of paperwork to get our Belizean company registered. I had to fax a notarized passport. To get our bank account, I needed a reference letter from my bank, an accountant and a lawyer.

5 Questions About Travel For Photographer Macduff Everton
Good advice from a photographer visiting our region for over 40 years. People are making billions of dollars every year off the Maya. There is the Mundo Maya, Riviera Maya, Playa Maya, Ruta Maya, but the Maya aren't profiting from this. They are the employees rather than the owners.. Macduff Everton's latest book, The Modern Maya: Incidents of Travel and Friendship in Yucatán was 40 years in the making. It is no mere coffee table showcase. It is, as has been reported by a number of reviewers, nothing less than a magnum opus and a serious tribute to the people he has met and befriended during his decades traveling in the Maya region. Everton is a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler, and his editorial clients include Condé Nast Traveler, Outside and The New York Times Magazine. There aren't many documentary photography projects that, like The Modern Maya, span more than forty years, especially working with the same families. This book, says the author, consists of their stories, told through these images. "While most history chronicles the famous," he says, "this book is about the lives of ordinary people who are the soul of their culture. History only exists if someone documents it."

Belizeans as well as many others around the World will be watching the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony Today
Olympics excitement was building today just hours before the spectacular opening ceremony was set to be the greatest sporting show on earth - with Sir Roger Bannister now favourte to light the flame. Sixty-thousand ecstatic fans will pack the Olympics stadium in Stratford, east London, for the historic a three-hour crescendo to months of build-up marking the start of the London 2012 Games. And although bookies were tipping the legendary four-minute mile man Sir Roger to officially start the Games, mystery still surrounds the identity of the person who'll perform the historic feat with Sir Steve Redgrave and Daley Thompson still in the running. Organisers are at pains to keep every last detail of the event secret, and only a handful of people are thought to know who will be given the job. Volunteers who took part in stunning rehearsals last night were even ordered not to take pictures and bosses pulled leaked footage form the Internet.


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