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WEEKEND WEATHER OUTLOOK FOR BELIZE
Valid: Friday, Aug. 3 until Monday, Aug. 6, 2012

An unstable easterly airflow will prevail over the NW Caribbean this weekend favoring some showers and thunderstorms over northern Central America and Belize. Tropical storm Ernesto is moving westward at 21 mph over the eastern Caribbean with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.

Conditions will remain unstable this weekend favouring a few showers and thunderstorms. Daytime heating will also add to the instability. Expect a mix of sunshine and cloudy spells through Monday. Daily rainfall accumulations will be in the range of 0.25-0.50 of-an-inch today Friday, through the weekend and Monday especially in the elevated areas of the interior. The feature of interest next week will be the movement of tropical storm Ernesto through the NW Caribbean. Ernesto is moving at a fairly fast clip of 21 mph at present, but it is forecast to slow down and strengthen as it moves further west through the central Caribbean this weekend. Hurricane models are projecting a WNW track for Ernesto as it comes farther west, with possible landfall over southern or central Yucatan by mid day on Wednesday of next week. All eyes will be on Ernesto this weekend and early next week. All interest in the central and western Caribbean should remain informed on the progress of tropical storm Ernesto.

CLICK HERE for the full Belize Weekend Weather Report


Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Miss Mexico’s Natalia Villanueva takes the Costa Maya Crown
Costa Maya’s newest beauty ambassador is Mexico’s Natalia Villanueva. At the pageant held on Thursday, August 2nd, five judges: Alyssa Carnegie, Amy Knox, Pedro Salazar Sr., Iraida Gonzalez and Dr. Jose Jones made the decision after an initial interview with the beauties, plus their stage presence in swimwear and evening gowns, and their Q & A sessions. The eight contestants came onstage and performed a dance, then in twos, shared a bit of information on the Maya before heading backstage to prepare their costumes. Spectacular confections that showcased the mastery of the artisans from each country filled the stage with splendor. Feathers, beading, props and hand-painted textiles featured beautifully. Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama’s true artistry shone in each costume.

NEMO Public Advisory
The National Emergency Management Organization hereby informs the public that Tropical Storm Ernesto was located at Latitude 12.8N and Longitude 56.6W at 3:00p.m this afternoon. Tropical Storm Ernesto is moving west at 22 Miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 50 Miles per hour. NEMO is monitoring this Tropical Storm as it slowly makes its way into the Caribbean. The Public is advised to stay tuned for further advisories from NEMO and the National Meteorological Service.

A win in Game 4 means Tuff E Nuff are the 2012 IBL Champions
As confidently predicted by coach Rico Black at the start of the 2012 Interoffice Basketball Season, Tuff E Nuff are in the finals and just one win away from being crowned IBL Champions. On Friday, August 3rd, 2012 they go up against their rivals and some former Tigersharks teammates, Alamilla’s, for the fourth of the five game series. This game could very possibly be the final game of the season, proving to the island and the people of San Pedro that Tuff E Nuff is the best basketball team in the land. With a current 2-1 lead over their opponents and the drive to take home the championship that they’ve been fighting for all season long, the players are heading in to Game 4 full of confidence. Coach Black has said that the team is working together well and playing as a unit, with no team turmoil or malevolence towards one another. They are a well-oiled machine, and the support and encouragement that they have been getting from people on the island makes them even more confident and determined that they will be performing well. “We are ready to bring home another championship for San Pedro,” says Black. “We are very confident that with the way the team has been playing, we can get it done.” Playing with the same 10-man rotation that made the comeback to win from a 1-0 deficit in the semifinals, Black believes that the team he has is the best in the league and has what it takes to make it a win in Game 4. They’ve previously faced Alamilla’s 4 times in the 2012 IBL season and sport and impressive 3-1 record over their current opponents. One more win and Tuff E Nuff would have accomplished what they had set out to do at the start of the season…bring another basketball championship back home to San Pedro, which would be the 4th basketball championship that Black and the Tuff E Nuff Team have brought home.

Miss Earth Belize 2012 – 2013 holds photo shoot in San Pedro
Belize International Pageants Ltd. presents the second ever, Miss Earth Belize. The pageant is scheduled for Saturday August 18th at the Bliss Center on August 18th, 2012 and will see five gorgeous young ladies vying for the very prestigious title. The winner of the local pageant will receive the opportunity to travel internationally to represent Belize at the Miss Earth Pageant 2012. Last year the pageant was held in the Philippines. The girls were on San Pedro over the weekend for a two day photo shoot hosted by the Sun Breeze Hotel where The San Pedro Sun caught up with some of the girls and founder.

Ambergris Today

Miss Mexico Does it Again at Costa Maya Pageant 2012
Miss Mexico, Natalia Villanueva, proved to have what it takes and proudly represented her country to bring a two peat grab of the Costa Maya Crown at this year’s Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant that took place on Thursday, August 2, 2012, at the commencement of the International Costa Maya Festival in San Pedro, Belize It was another fantastic show of pageantry and display of cultural elegance as eight delegates from across Central America and Mexico battled it out for the coveted Miss Costa Maya crown. This year’s cultural costume presentation was probably one of the best in years as all the delegates presented spectacular costumes that totally awed the crowd. Among the best were that of Miss Belize, Miss Nicaragua and Miss Guatemala, but it was Miss Panama who was given the award for the best Cultural Costume. The pageant continued with the swimsuit competition in which the contestants were judged for their physical fitness and overall look in their swimwear. The evening gown and question and answer segment was where the judges separated the winners from the group. At the end of an exciting pageant filled with elegance, beauty and entertainment, Miss Costa Rica took third place, Miss Panama placed second and Miss Mexico took the crown for the second year in a row. Mexico once again claims the most wins at the Costa Maya Pageant with six titles. Guatemala is close behind with 5 title wins. Panama is the only country without the Miss Costa Maya title with just five years participating in the pageant, but it seems they are getting closer to the crown each year they participate. Belize is the only other country with more than one win with a count of two.

Rising Belizean Star, Fashion Designer Rebecca Stirm
She became widely known in the country and got some great international exposure after she participated in the Jamaican reality fashion television program Mission Catwalk. After proving very successful in most of the challenges given to her in the show, Rebecca Stirm is now becoming a household name in Belize. She did not win the reality TV competition, but Rebecca is now well on her way to what seems a very promising career in the fashion industry and making Belize very proud. In Jamaica, her clothes were viewed by thousands during the Jamaican Fashion Week and she has had the opportunity of various models wearing her designs. Rebecca has now gone from the runway to the international pageant scene as we see her clothing at two top international pageants. Just last week Miss World Belize Chantae Chanice Guy could be seen posting on Facebook a couple of dresses she wore during separate events at the Miss World pageant currently taking place in China. Chantae has worn a beautiful sundress and an elegant evening gown that has the Miss World Pageant officials keeping an eye on her.

Tropic Air Increases Flights to San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Tropic Air announced on Tuesday, July 31, 2012, that it will be increasing its non-stop service between Belize City (International) and San Pedro Sula, Honduras from three (3) to five (5) times a week effective November 4th, 2012. This is a direct result of the increasing demand and the support that our customers have given to the service (launched earlier this year). Starting November 4th, Tropic Air will serve the route on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Not only will these new frequencies allow for more options for our passengers, but it will also allow for an increase in trade and business related activities between the two countries.

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Costa Maya 2012 Pageant
Video Length: 2 hours, 34 minutes

VIDEO: Lux Lifestyles Belize - Episode 2

Heartz Grassroots Coaching Session
Heartz Football Club has some pictures from the Grassroots Coaching Session at Victor Galvez stadium, where they teamed up with Adventures FC. Looks like they had a great time in the great weather.

Cayo Celebrates 50 Years of Coca Cola
Last night at 6:30 at the SISE House of Culture, and at 7:30 at the Benque House of Culture, there was be Coca Cola Art Exhibition launches. Bowen & Bowen celebrated 50 years of bottling Coca Cola in Belize. They invited many professional and novice artists to paint pictures for the event. The exhibit will run through August 20th in Cayo.

Free Female Self Defense in Benque
4 the World and the Benque House of Culture are doing another free female self defense class today. It'll be at the Benque HoC at 4:00pm. They did the first class yesterday, and there was a great turnout. The training was lead by Robbie Russell. "Karate 4 Women & Girls"

Happy Birthday Captain Malik!
Raggamuffin Junior – Malik, son of Jimmy and Charlie turned 7 yesterday and in good old Ragga fashion, we all celebrated with him! What does a spoilt 7 year old want to do on his birthday - have fun on a jetski and an inflatable ring with all of his friends!! This new and increasingly popular rental business in Caye Caulker – Reef Watersports has got all the kids on the island buzzing with the excitement of Big Bertha, the inflatable ring that is pulled behind a motor boat – too much fun!!! Yesterday Malik’s party had the added attraction of a jetski that responsible Captain Jimmy took command of, spinning the kids round the back of the island at great speed! Jerry took the responsibility for Raggadat and Big Bertha and as many as 4 kids were pulled around at a time – great fun!!

Channel 7

Biggest Money Laundering Case Ends Dramatically
It is the biggest money laundering trial in Belize's history - and today it ended dramatically. In 2008, The Financial Intelligence Unit accused the Coye Family of money laundering using their Moneygram operation. But in October of 2010, 2 years after the charges were first laid, the case ended rather abruptly when Justice Adolph Lucas directed the jury to acquit Michael and Marlene Coye; their daughter, Melonie Coye; her husband James Gerou; brother, Jude Coye; and their two employees Athlee Matute and Dietrick Kingston, all because of lack of evidence. The FIU got a retrial, and a year and 10 months later, they brought the case back before the Chief Justice, and the accused persons were forced to submit themselves for an examination of their lives a second time by the courts. This time, the FIU only charged Michael Coye; his daughter, Melonie Coye; their 2 employees, Athlee Matute and Dietrick Kingston; and the family's company, Money Exchange International Limited, a subsidiary agent, which answers to Omni Networks Limited, which was the the master agent representing MoneyGram International in Belize. According to the FIU, between the months of October 2007 and December 2008, the defendants received, possessed, or concealed 1.57 million Belize dollars knowing that it is the proceeds of the crime of fraud, and forgery. Viewers may remember that this 1.57 million dollars was found stuffed in suitcases at Michael Coye's home at #12 Johnson Street back on December 31, 2008.

Belizean Hurdler Advances To 400 M Semifinals
The Athletic section of the Olympic Games opened today and for the first time a Belizean athlete will run in the semi-finals of an Olympic track and field event. He is Kenneth Medwood - and if you're not familiar with the name, it's because he is a 24 year old Belizean American - who was born in Belize City in 1987. He has represented Belize at a number of International track and field events and he was the flag bearer for the Belize delegation at the Olympic opening ceremony. And now, he's the first Belizean runner to advance to the semifinal of any event. We'll show you his race shortly - but today's excitement started early in the morning with Kiana Martinez. She's the Seine Byte resident who participated in the women's preliminary heat for the hundred meters this morning in London.

Shooting Between Warring Gangs Cause Chaos In City
A section of the city was whipped up by exchanges of gunfire between rival gangs today. The hostilities were between rival gangs Backatown and Ghostown - who are in the same neighborhood around Vernon Street. So the firing was done at close range and in plain view - and in quick succession, which caused chaos in the streets - as police swarmed the area. But it all started when they shot up a woman's home - and she spoke to Monica Bodden:... Therese Stevens - House Owner "I went to the store to buy for my daughter and coming back home I saw the police mobile coming fast through here. I heard the vehicle but I thought it was the ambulance. When I came out of the yard I saw the police vehicle coming, so I thought that the boy come back like what he say." Monica Bodden reporting It was in front of this housing complex in the back-a-town area that a gunman opened fire … but lucky enough, no one was caught in the hail of bullets.

DPP Wants Convicted Rapist Gomez To Go To Jail For Life
The sentencing of 26 year old Leroy Gomez, who was convicted of rape and robbery on Tuesday, was today adjourned until Wednesday, August 8, because the DPP's office is seeking the maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Justice Adolph Lucas has given prosecutor Trenia Young time to do research and provide cases on which the court can rely. Young said that section 20 of the Criminal Justice Act specifies that the maximum sentence can be imposed if the convict has 3 or more convictions for offences that involved violence. Before he was convicted of rape and robbery, Gomez was convicted of robbery in 2006 and he was sentenced to 5 years. She went on to say that although the rape and robbery arose out the same incident, each conviction is for a separate offence.

Is Medical Tourism On The Menu For Belize?
Most of us might not know what Medical Tourism per se - but many of us have participated in it, even if we did so unknowingly. Have you ever been to Merida or Guatemala City for medical treatment - stayed a few days, got a hotel, ate in a few restaurants..? Well, that's medical tourism - and now BELTRAIDE has retained a consultant to discuss the prospects of making Belize into a medical tourism Mecca. They are doing it in Costa Rica - and the consultation held a meeting with stakeholders today at the George Price Center in Belmopan to discuss a country strategy for Belize. We found out more:.. Jules Vasquez "What is medical tourism?" Nicholas Ruiz, Executive Director - BELTRAIDE "It's simply foreigners coming to another country. In this case Belize to get medical treatment and there is a support system for them. It's been happening for many years - North Americas went to Europe and now they are coming to Central America, they are going to Thailand; they are going to India, Singapore that have advantages. Some of them being more affordable, they have more access to it and so on and so forth."

Fire Guts Family's Home
Tonight a Belize City family is homeless after their two storey wooden home was burnt down last night. Fire officials responded to the scene around 11:45 at number 7 Raccoon Street where the upper flat of the building was seen engulfed in flames. The fire was extinguished by fire personnel but nothing could have been saved. The home was owned by the Wills family who is tonight homeless. when 7news visited the scene today, the family told us that their home was set on fire by one of their children's bitter ex-boyfriend. They said he was there early that day making threats and even getting physical. When they called the police, they were a no show. Karen Wills, Fire victim "When I went in my room my husband was sleeping on the bed and I ask him if he didn't smell smoke or something burning. We heard the neighbor from across the street yelled out fire. We didn't even have time to come out the house. We nearly ran left our children because the house was already on fire." Monica Bodden "How many of you guys were at home?" Karen Wills, Fire victim "She, I, my son, 2 other babies and my husband."

Dara Wants You to Ride For Hunger
It's August - meaning kids are on vacation - which gives grassroots Philanthropist Joel Dara Robinson some time to restock on supplies. For the past six years, Dara has been running a feeding programme - out of his own home - and his persistence in fundraising has become the stuff of legend. This year, he's taking it to another level with an event that he calls a Ride For Hunger. He told us how you can participate in Sunday's event... Joel "Dara" Robinson "The ride starts in front of Leslie Imports. We will be out there from 6am to take registration. We are asking for a small donation of $5. If you just want to bring food items, if you have $5 and you only want to donate $1, we will accept it. If you want to come and just ride, you are welcome too." "I am dead serious about what I am doing so I try all kinds of ways. I sit down and I pray and I get these little visions and I say I will try it and put it together. This is the biggest way people are reacting to what I am talking about."

B-Ball In The Summertime
Summertime is still here and there are many camps going on around the city to keep children out of trouble. One of those camps is the annual Rose Classic Basketball tournament which was launched today. It is the brainchild of Belizean American Cleon Hyde along with the Belize City Council which gives youngsters both males and females an opportunity to play ball. Cleon Hyde "This is the 7th year of doing Rose Classic International. We started out in 2006 and so far it has grown - the amount of kids every year has increase at least maybe 50-60 kids increase per year. It has gotten to the point where it has broken up into 2 sessions. Right now this is the first session with kids ages 8-15 - it's going to end today and then next week Monday we start with the older kids which are ages 16-19 who are 3rd and 4th formers." "We just give the kids something to do - come out and have fun, play basketball, interact with other kids from around the city and learn something good about the sport." The camp is being held at the Birds isle and it is free.

Continuing The Internet Conversation
Earlier this week - we had an interview with Dr. Dionne Maranda, a top BTL Executive who responded to the criticism that BTL's internet is too slow and too expensive - when compared to other countries in the Caribbean. Well, the interview generated loss of buzz to our email - and cell phones. It seems that the trouble with Belize's internet is something everyone wants to give their two cents on. And that's because in the information age - while less than a fifth of Belize's population have access to the internet -see its uses and want more out of it for less money. Here's more of our discussion about that with Dr. Miranda:.. Jules Vasquez "Internet is expensive because so many few people use it. That is basically the argument." Dr. Dionne Miranda - Customer Services Manager, BTL "It's so few people use it and also the fact that our telecom license for instance - we have to offer universal access even in remote areas and so many of our services subsidized certain services and I can tell you that that is one of the reasons why it's very difficult for us to unilaterally lower rates from time to time as well." Jules Vasquez "Has it occurred to you all that perhaps the fact that the internet being cheap or whether it is expensive and the existence of large corporations are inter-related that when you have inexpensive internet it drives economic and corporate growth and when you have expensive internet its retards that growth."

Channel 5

Coye Family now found Guilty of Money Laundering
The highly publicized money laundering case involving businessman Michael Coye and his daughter Melonie, who allegedly legitimized over a million dollars in ill-gotten funds concluded this afternoon in the Supreme Court. The case started three weeks ago and ended with a guilty verdict.  The Coyes, directors of Money Exchange International Ltd., as well as employees [...]

Kaina Martinez runs proudly for Belize in Olympic Trial
For a moment this morning there was a glimmer of hope that Belize would make it big in female track and field at London 2012. Of the three athletes competing for the jewel, Kenneth Medwood will be competing in track and field semi-finals this Saturday while Eddermys Sanchez was eliminated on Sunday in judo in [...]

“Baby Daddy” bites mom, breaks pint on baby and burns house
A family was left without a roof over their heads on Thursday night. A blaze quickly swept through the two-storey building completely destroying the structure and the belongings of Karen Willis and family. Willis claims it is a case of arson that involves domestic violence and the father of her child. News Five’s Jose Sanchez [...]

Tourism Minister says land sale to Deputy P.M. Associate shady
In March just prior to the elections, we carried the story of a prime piece of property owned by Belize Water Services Limited in San Pedro that was cancelled and sold off to nineteen year old Alyssa Tun of Orange Walk Town. Tun paid two thousand five hundred dollars and thirty cents for a property [...]

Land Grab in the West by Min. Rene Montero? Deputy P.M. responds
On Thursday night you heard Minister of Natural Resources, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vegas’ also responded to why he gave his relatives, including two brothers, his daughter, a sister-in-law and a cousin, dozens of parcels of land. In case you missed it, Vega said he and his family aren’t “normal people”. He said he didn’t [...]

More shootings in Old Capital
There are two shooting incidents to report tonight. The first happened at around two o’clock this afternoon in an alley on the Canal side of Sittee Street in the Old Capital.  According to eyewitnesses, two men approached the alley and opened fire at a group of women. The women ran for their lives as the [...]

Former Governor of Mexico pleads guilty to drug trafficking
A protracted high profile case ended today when a former governor of Mexico pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. It’s a case that dates back to the 1990’s and has ties to Belize. The former governor, Mario Villanueva, was first convicted of money laundering in Mexico back in 2001; he spent six years in prison and [...]

Honduran national, seeking medical treatment in Belize, sent home
In the local courts, a Honduran woman, who claims she came to Belize for medical reasons over three months ago, is being sent back to her country because she doesn’t have her documents in order. Forty-one year old Vilma Rodriguez Acosta, who has been living on East Collet Canal, was arrested on Thursday and handed [...]

Cattle Sweep to certify disease-free beef
The exportation of cattle to Mexico through formal trade arrangements has been touted for some time, in fact as far back as 2010; the Prime Minister said it was a done deal. It has taken two years, but it appears that the initiative will come to fruition in about two months. But for the local [...]

A book for love of cricket
Dean Lindo is well known as an attorney. But in his spare time Lindo has always been an avid fan of cricket. The West Indian game is popular throughout the Caribbean and has a foot in Belize. The glory days of the sport are long gone in this country, but there is some hope by [...]

K.H.M.H. gets into the summer camp business
The annual K.H.M.H. summer camp culminated today with a ceremony held at the K.H.M.H.’s parking lot. It’s the second of its kind that targets primarily children of staff members and teaches them, not medical information on the public hospital, but rather skills in music, artwork and storytelling. At least twenty-five children attended the five-week camp; [...]

NEMO keeps an eye on Ernesto
As we go into the weekend, information coming out of the National Hurricane Center Forecast is that Tropical Storm Ernesto is expected to become a hurricane by Monday morning. T.S. Ernesto will continue moving across the Eastern and Central Caribbean Sea and is predicted to head toward the Gulf of Mexico. The forecast is showing [...]

Miss Mexico wins Costa Maya Pageant
There is a new Reina de la Costa Maya and she is Natalia Villanueva from Mexico. The weekend of festivities commenced on Thursday night with the international pageant in La Isla Bonita. Eight beauties from the seven Central American Countries and Mexico competed in national and cultural costume, swimwear, formal wear and final answer. After [...]

LOVE FM

Pilot Project Introduced for a National Sanitary Cattle Plan
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture today introduced a pilot project. Reporter Marion Ali is in the Blue Creek community and filed this report. MARION ALI News Reporter Love FM “we’re in the Blue Creek community in the Orange Walk Distri...

Minister of National Security Comments on Urban Warfare
The urban warfare continued overnight and the result was another body in the morgue and one more youth in the emergency ward at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The latest murder victim has been identified as nineteen year old Tevin Fergusson, a resident of Flamboyant Street i...

CTV3

Dead Body Found On Savannah Street
Late yesterday evening Orange Walk Police were called out to Savannah Street where the body of a male individual was found lying face up in some bushes near a concrete fence. As residents gathered in the area, police and scenes of crime personnel cordoned the entire scene searching for leads that would indicate if they had a murder on their hands. A few minutes after, family members of 42 year old Jesus Yam identified his body. According to them Yam had a drinking problem for the past eleven years and lived alone. After processing the scene and inspecting the corpse, police informed Yam’s family that foul play is not suspected in his death since there were no signs of violence or injuries on the body. When we spoke to residents of Savannah Street we were told that Yam was last seen walking in the area around 2:00pm yesterday afternoon. The deceased body was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital; however, we are told by family members that no post mortem examination will conducted on Yam’s body.

Belizean National Detained In Merida Mexico
A Belizean National living in Merida Mexico is tonight behind bars after he was arrested for robbery. Mexican newspapers describe 29 year old Rogelio Orlando Zedillo Hernandez as being a con man who was detained by authorities after he robbed a Mexican nurse of several items. Reports are that on Wednesday 25th July, 25 year old Neicy Yamile Campos Chan, invited Hernandez into her home after he approached her and told her that his sister was in the hospital and he had no where to stay. Feeling sorry for Hernandez, Chan took him home and gave him food and lodging for five days. The report states that on Sunday night Chan left home for work and upon returning the following morning, she discovered that Hernandez had left the residence taking along with him her laptop, digital camera, USB and notebook. On Tuesday morning, as Chan visited the shopping mall, she found Hernandez talking to another woman. When she questioned him about her belongings he told her that he had been assaulted. Chan immediately called the police and Hernandez was detained and placed behind bars. Investigations have reveled that Chan is not Hernandez’s first victim.

DPM Offers No Apologies For Giving Land To Family
The burning topic last week was the land grab and free for all at the Ministry of Lands. Well, today we caught up with the Minister of Lands and Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega and asked him about it. As we mentioned last week documents show that parcel 260 in the Colonia San Diego Phase II area of San Pedro Town was acquired by Ignacio Vega in February 2012 for a mere one thousand five hundred dollars. Here in the north, land documents show that the DPM’s brother bought one hundred and nineteen acres of land in Carmelita, for a little over eleven thousand dollars, a twenty-six point three parcel also in Carmelita for only three hundred dollars, another thirteen point five acres in the Indian Hill area for two thousand two hundred dollars, parcel number 01507 located in the Progresso Area of Corozal District for eight hundred dollars, forty three acres in San Estevan Village for which the price is not known and another twenty-five acres in Carmelita Village. Another land document showed that 10.621 acres of land was sold to the daughter of DPM, Diana Vega Rosado, for only $975. According to the land documents, she purchased parcel number 01042 located in the Mount Pleasant area for only $2,500 and parcel 01816 in the Consejo Road area of Corozal for $1,940. Documents also show that other members of the DPM’s family and friends bought several parcels of land here in the Orange Walk District, Caye Caulker, Burdon Canal Nature Reserve in the Belize District, Mount Pleasant in the Cayo District and Mountain Pine Ridge as well as other parts of the country. So…. was Vega apologetic, full of remorse or even just a little bashful? Actually he wasn’t…..in fact he was far from it. Vega responded by saying that he did nothing wrong since he works harder than most Belizeans.

Hon. Florencio Marin Jr. Denies Owning 100 Of Parcels Of Land
During the two day debate of the 2012/2013 Budget held in the month of July, Corozal Southeast Area Representative Honorable Florencio Marin exposed a scandalous land grab which has been taking place in the Ministry of Natural Resources. Numerous land documents proved that huge tracts of land were acquired by close family members and friends of the Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture Honorable Gaspar Vega at a low cost. Names such as Ignacio Vega, the DPM’s brother and his wife Karen Vega were brought into the limelight. On Friday during a special session of the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister Honorable Dean Barrow defended his party by attacking Marin. The P.M stated that Marin owns more than 100 of acres of land including in San Jose Nuevo Palmar here in Orange Walk District. Yesterday during a press conference held by the Peoples United Party the Deputy Party Leader denied owning 100 of parcels of land and called the P.M’s accusations deceitful.

Cattle Grown In Belize Ready For Export
For quite some time, Belize has been known for its great beef and steaks which are locally grown and cut. Avenues have been sought in efforts of increasing exports of Belizean products, cattle heads being one of those. Cattle has been a lucrative and thriving industry in the country of Belize and today, the pilot project for cattle sweep, which is geared at producing export standard beef was initiated. Reporter Hipolito Novelo and cameraman Kenric Simpson travelled to Blue Creek this morning and filed the following report. Since June 5th of 2009, the Belize Life Stock Producers Association (BLPA) in Blue Creek along with GOB and other stakeholders started to formulate the Belize National Sanitary Cattle Plan Project or better known as Cattle Sweep. The purpose of the project is to smooth the progress of exporting cattle into Mexico in a formal fashion. Today the project was presented to the media in Blue Creek which is where it has been launch as a pilot project. CEO of the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche says that this initiative has been in the works for many years now.

P.U.P Leader Lashes Out Against The U.D.P
And…..there you have it, the Deputy Prime Minster Of Belize stating on record that he is not a normal person. Vega out rightly admits giving several tracts of land to his close family and friends and has no remorse about it while thousands of Belizeans are crying out for a parcel of land. So, what does the Leader of the Opposition think about the land grab that’s taking place at the Ministry of Lands? Well, apart from condemning the issue; he reproached the fact that the Ministry of Lands is overcrowded by family and friends of the D.P.M who administer the department. Honorable Francis Fonseca- Leader Peoples United Party “You have family members of the Minister of Natural Resources, the deputy prime minister of this country, who are in key positions at the Ministry of Natural Resources, several key positions. And so, what is taking place, in our view, at the Ministry of Natural Resources over the past four years, four plus years, and it’s ongoing and continuing is that there’s been almost a complete decimation of the public service at the Ministry of Natural Resources, replaced by these friends and families, family members of the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Minister of Lands and the deputy prime minister and that must be of great concern to us.

PlusTV

Shootings in Belize City signal gang warfare retaliation
There has been a spree of shootings and murders since the weekend – that has left many grieving and others scared t...

Unconventional events could be the cause of separate house fires
A family is out of door and arson could be the cause. Just before midnight on Thursday (August 2) Police responded ...

Dissension may be building in the PUP
Today encumbent CHairman of the Belmopan Executive Committee of the People's United Party, Luis PERAZA, visited our...

International songstress Nicole Mullen tours the jewel
An international songstress visited Belize on a private tour of the jewel. Aileen Nicole Coleman-Mullen known profe...

KHMH kids summer camp culminates
KHMH holds closing ceremony for its annual camp. More than 25 children and their parents gathered in the Karl Heusn...

Kaina Martinez represents Belize at London Olympics
Kaina Martinez put forward her best foot at the Olympics Games, today Belize along with Kaina celebrated a fleeting...

Ernesto expected to form into hurricane
And for a weather update on Tropical Storm Ernesto – Well, we might be calling it Hurricane Ernesto come Monday. Th...

Step-father charged for impregnating 16 year old
A 16-year old female minor of the Toledo District in the company of her mother reported that November 22, 2011 her ...

11 year old is suspect in burglary
Gabriel Martinez, of Louisville Village reported that between 7:00pm on July 30 and 2:00pm on August 1 his house wa...

Belize participates in reputable conservation project
Senator, Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries & Sustainable Development, whose portfolio also includes C...

Amandala

Leroy Gomez, guilty of rape and robbery
He walked from four previous rape charges, but justice was served today... Today in the courtroom of Justice Adolph Lucas, Leroy Gomez, 26, was found guilty of rape and robbery after a jury of 6 women and 3 men found the evidence to be overwhelming in the case presented by attorney Treinna Young.

Mayhem continues in the city
2 shot dead; one chopped in stomach... Four people lost their lives between Monday and Tuesday, July 30 and 31, in the city. Two men were shot to death, a third man was killed in a road accident and the fourth man fell to his death at Belize Ports Ltd.

Gunman shot dead; his victim survives
He shot his victim, then he himself was shot dead... In a bizarre turn of events, a gunman, after shooting his victim, who survived, was himself shot to death by another gunman. And, the first gunman and his victim are distant cousins.

Worthless grandfather, 51, and stepfather, 41
Grandfather accused of incest with his granddaughter, 11; his son-in-law charged with carnal knowledge of the girl... Police reports are that sometime between June 2011 and June 2012, the grandfather carnally knew his granddaughter. In court today, he told Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer that he would never do such a thing, but that his granddaughter is “all over the place”.

BNTU wants 30% salary adjustment
“We cannot continue to go around in circles,” says president Luke Palacio... BNTU hopes to conclude labor negotiations with GOB by end of August... Luke Palacio, president of the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU), told Amandala today that inflation since their last salary adjustment in 2000-2001 has meant that the Belize dollar has lost a value of 30%, and the union will, along with 23 proposals it presented to the Government of Belize in 2008, also be seeking to address the badly needed salary adjustment for teachers.

Guats’ armed plunder of our natural resources escalates
“...villagers are afraid for their lives and property” – incursions are made further and further into Belizean territory.... YCT calls for beefed-up security... The reports of escalating armed incursions into Belizean territory continue this week, with calls from the environmental community for beefed-up border security in order to not just protect the natural resources being illegally plundered—but to furthermore secure the lives of rural residents of Belize who feel threatened by the growing problem.

Belize hosts international dart tournaments at Biltmore Hotel
The Belize Dart Federation was the host during the past week of two international dart tournaments – the Americas Cup 2012 and the Caribbean Cup 2012, both held at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel at Mile 3 on the Northern Highway from July 20 to 30.

Charles “CJ” Garcia reaffirms his roots in the Jewel
Belize Basketball Federation president Paul Thompson contacted us on Tuesday and mentioned two highly sought after basketball talents that he hopes will become a part of the national team when it makes another run at the Centro Basket tournament. Both Noel Felix and Charles Garcia, Jr. paid short visits to Belize over the past week to ensure their documents are in order, to avoid any similar protests about their nationality as occurred with some of our Belizean/American players a couple years ago in Mexico.

Statistical Institute of Belize inflation figures up to June 2012 – an increase of 1.5%
The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) has reported inflation figures for the 12-month period leading up to June 2012, which indicate an overall increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 1.5%, from 100.4 in June 2011 to 102.0 in June 2012.

To Jasmine, in memoriam – the “Jasmine Alert” is launched
New alert system for missing children intends to prevent more heartbreak... A nation’s heart was broken – again – but the strongest backlash yet against the scourge of crime resulted. Many came out to witness the arrest and subsequent arraignment of Belize City businessman, Bert Vasquez (also known as Haylock), 28, for her murder and sixteen other unrelated charges of assault and false imprisonment based on reports of alleged attempted and successful abductions of Cayo female teenagers, some demanding the chance and opportunity to administer their own form of justice.

Pretenders, liars and cheats
This matter of “land grab” is not new. It’s been happening over and over and over again, across the various governments we have elected. No matter which government is in, it will continue. It will continue because who is going to stop it? Which political party is going to voluntarily subject themselves to a reduction of feasting at the public’s trough?

Will Ernesto become a hurricane threat to Belize?
“What we are looking for over the weekend is a more northward turn. If we don’t see that materialize, we will have to hasten preparations,” says Chief Meteorologist Dennis Gonguez... Chief Meteorologist Dennis Gonguez told Amandala late this evening that Belizeans should monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Ernesto, which formed east of the Lesser Antilles earlier today and which could potentially become the second hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Editorial: Unsolicited advice
In hindsight, last week’s decision by Government to “hug up” the leaders of the fledgling Police Association was a smart one. It defused an escalating situation, and it left the slumbering giant of the National Trade Union Congress (NTUCB) right where governments usually prefer – asleep and disengaged, and out of the streets.

From The Publisher
In the beginning, there was no need for the slavemasters to divide us, because we were already divided. We were from many different tribes, spoke many different languages and practiced many different religions. As time went on, we became even more divided in that some of our women were taken by the white men, and so we saw the birth of brown Creoles. That must have been where the vague description and designation of so-called “Creole,” originated.

God bless Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital: grateful patient
Though I have had the misfortune of experiencing some of the more horrific and painful pathological crises in my life, it would be remiss and highly ungrateful of me if I should not write of one of the most satisfactory and very warm-felt appreciation of one of the most caring and professional cadre of medical practitioners in this country.

Blogs

Off the grid at Mama Noots
As I mentioned in our first post on this trip back to Mayflower Bocawina National Park (and points south to come -- stay tuned) in Belize, we stayed at Mama Noots Eco Resort right in the park for three nights. In the first post, I shared photos of the authentic cabana we stayed in, so in this post, I wanted to share additional photos of the facilities, grounds, people, and wonderful food we were served over the three-day period. Mama Noots is entirely off the grid and generates its own electricity through solar panels. A back-up generator is also utilized when the sun isn't shining or additional electricity is needed. Here are some shots from around the property. It's absolutely gorgeous, with hummingbirds buzzing about, brightly colored butterflies flitting, and beautiful foliage and flowers everywhere. Here's the final platform for the zip-line. We enjoyed it for bird watching and checking out the view. Lots of citrus growing on the property This is a Great Kiskadee nest. It was behind our cabana, and we could watch the male and female coming and going from the nest. They had a favorite branch right outside one of our windows where they would sit and sing and call, and then fly into and out of the nest. Here's the restaurant/bar where we ate all the delicious meals. Since we were the only guests, we were usually the only ones here, but sometimes a few of the workers were eating as well. The restaurant is open to the public for lunch, which is a great option after a hike in the park or run on the zip-line. You won't go home hungry! Ms. Marci cooked us some absolutely delicious food. I don't think there's anything this sweet lady can't make!

Some Changes in San Pedro Town...
Though I am in San Pedro town at least a three or four times a week, there is always some change...something new to me. Here is what I saw this week. The RC School in town is using the summer holiday to construct a new building on its grounds. Seems like a great idea...when I visit during the school year, the classrooms are PACKED. The previous Crave Restaurant (right in the center of Front Street) is getting a new paint job. Is a new business moving in? The space is huge...must be a restaurant, right? After fits and starts and controversy around how she actually paid for all of this, the previous mayor's condo complex is so close to being finished. On Middle Street, next to Elvi's Kitchen, it is much bigger than I first assumed. A serious compound. It goes all the way thru to the Back Street and included a sort of promenade for business on the ground floor. This sign (also on Middle Street by the very popular fast food place, Cindy's Chinese) has been there for a few months. I just like it. A hospital for footwear. Perhaps these hammocks are for the recuperating shoes. Lastly, a shoe store that I have passed 1000 times. But for the past few weeks, when I ask someone where they got their cute sandals, they mentioned this store. Let's check it out. Located on back street just south of the Old Football field...here is their building.

International Sources

Paradise Undiscovered on Ambergris Caye at the Portofino Resort, Belize
When the Belize Tourist Board suggested that I take a trip to explore the ”Central American Nirvana” once known as British Honduras, I quickly jumped at the opportunity. A trip was arranged by the tourist board to visit to the Belize Zoo, and a stay at Cave’s Branch Resort for a “bungle in the jungle.” After three days in the jungle rappelling and spelunking (cave diving), I was off to my next adventure and the reason most travelers come to Belize. A trip to Belize’s barrier reef. A trip to see Belize’s Caribbean underwater wonderland. As much as I was intoxicated by sights and sounds of the jungles of Belize and my tree house room at the Cave’s Branch Resort, it was time to head to the beach for some scuba diving. A stay at the famous Portofino Resort on Ambergris Caye. After a short flight on Tropic Air from Belize City to San Pedro, the airport and main city on Ambergris Caye. I was met by Jan Van Noord, owner of the Portofino Resort. As I have a love for the Dutch, the moment I met Jan, all 6 foot 7 of him, I knew right away that we would become good friends. Such was the case with Jan and his wife Sandra. The Dutch-Belgian couple left Europe with their two small children for a life in the tropics. I asked, “why Belize? and why Ambergris Caye?” Jan assured me that I would soon understand.

Belizean Runners Qualify
Kenneth Medwood has qualified for semifinals in the 400 Meter Hurdles, and Kaina Martinez has qualified for the 100 Meter race! Congratulations to both runners! The Belize Youth Support Network has been following the Belizean Olympians closely, and has news regularly on their status. You can like their page on FB: http://www.facebook.com/belizeyouthsupport

Maria Estella's The Essence of Beauty
Yesterday at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. Will Moreno was there to do the photo shoot! It sounded like there were over 100 people signed up.