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#445086 - 08/24/12 09:10 AM Today's Belize News: August 24, 2012
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun

Turtle found covered in crude oil is on the road to recovery
The juvenile Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) that was found by a group of divers on Tuesday July 24th along the channel at Hol Chan Marine Reserve covered in crude oil is on the road to full recovery. The good news was announced by Hol Chan Marine Reserve on their social media webpage. The announcement is welcome news considering the fact that scientists have been indicating that the turtle population in the area has long been dwindling. “The turtle is doing well and its health condition is improving,” confirmed Biologist Kira Foreman of Hol Chan Marine Reserve. As readers may recall, the green turtle with carapace/back measuring 11 inches long and suspected to be between two to three years old, was observed entirely covered with thick black crude oil. The inside of the turtle’s mouth was also filled with oil and biologist had suspected that it had ingested some crude oil. The turtle was observed to be very fatigued and was unable to move the day it was found. “Turtles that digest oil normally take a very long time to recover and with crude oil it could be even longer,” explained Foreman. However the turtle has been surviving mainly on intravenously administered saline and dextrose solutions, but it is beginning to bite on a few greens. “We are seeing him picking on food and it is becoming a little more active. But until it begins eating well and is completely active, we will wait to release the turtle,” said Foreman.

Rise in unsolved burglaries causes frustration among island residents
Frustrations are building and reaching a boiling point amongst residents on the island. The frustration stems from a spike in crime, specifically a number of burglaries that have occurred consistently over the last several months. In some cases multiple burglaries are targeted at individual establishments over a short time span while other break-ins seem random. There have been few arrests and residents and business people are fed up with being victimized with no end in sight. To make matters worse, these crimes are being committed within the core of San Pedro Town and even more alarming, it is occurring to businesses just a stones throw from where the San Pedro Police Station is located. The most recent burglaries that have been made public are two separate incidents at Castillo’s Hardware Store located on Pescador Drive. The most recent incident occurred in the wee hours of Tuesday, August 21st. In the first instance the thieves gained entrance through a back window where a large quantity of cash was stolen and no one was arrested. In the second instance, General Manager and owner of Castillo’s Hardware Store Alfonso Castillo explained that the thieves gained entrance through the roof. A flat screen television was stolen and the entire incident was caught on a surveillance camera. “It is very frustrating. It is not much about the value of the stuff but the invasion of our privacy now,” said a very disheartened Castillo.

Second Quarterly Meeting of Justices of the Peace Poorly Attended
The Association of Justices of the Peace (JP) and Commissioners of the Supreme Court held its second quarterly meeting for 2012 in San Pedro on Saturday August 18th. Approximately 30 of San Pedro’s 250 JPs attended the meeting. Senior Justice of the Peace, Commissioner of the Supreme Court and National president of the Association of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of the Supreme Court, Adrian Daniel Madrid spoke of the meeting; “Normally we travel all around the country to have our quarterly meetings and this time we decided that we are going to have our meeting here in San Pedro. There are around 250 JP’s on the island. I wish that we could get that many out for the meeting but I don’t think that we will be able to get that.” The purpose of the quarterly meeting was to present reports of activities locally and nationally. As president of the local chapter of the JPs, Claudio Azueta presented his report, while Adrian Madrid presented on the activities of the National Association. Following the reports, the floor was opened for questions from JPs in attendance.

Ambergris Today

Belmopan's Western Regional Hospital to be Certified Mother-Baby Friendly
The Ministry of Health and the United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF) is pleased to announce that Western Regional Hospital is the latest hospital to have met the necessary international requirements to be certified as Mother-Baby Friendly Hospital. A certification ceremony will be scheduled celebrate this achievement. The Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin is especially proud of this achievement as Western Regional Hospital is the sixth hospital within the country to have met all criteria in the promotion, protection and support to successful breastfeeding. No private hospital has yet to achieve this certification. The Mother and Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (MBFHI) is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding. Breastfed infants have a decreased risk of diarrhea, respiratory, ear infections, and allergic skin disorders among others.

Prime Minister Addresses Belize’s Inability of August Debt Payment
Last week the Government of Belize announced that it will not be able to meet its super bond payment to its creditors that was due for August 20, 2012. The announcement was made via a press release from the Ministry of Finance shortly after midday on Tuesday, August 14. The Superbond payment amount due is US$23,497,211.11 at an interest rate of 8.5%. Prime Minister Dean Barrow is quoted in the release as saying that “The Step-Up Bond alone represents approximately one-half of Belize’s total recorded public indebtedness.” After the re-election of the UDP administration into office, PM Barrow had appointed a negotiating team headed by former PUP Albert Division Representative Mark Espat to look at the Superbond negation to arrive at more manageable payment terms. So far the team came up with three possible alternatives to restructure the current payment. All three scenarios were met by stern disapproval by bond holders.

Helping Difficult Students
By Gustavo Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant. As the new school year begins many educators try to be proactive in anticipation of “difficult” students. Before the first bell rings on the first day of school, teachers have already perused their new roster of students to look for any whose reputation precedes them. New teachers check with last year’s teachers on “who to watch for”. Each new and returning teacher scrutinizes student names and begins preparing ways to deal with them -- before the students even enter a classroom. When “difficult” students show up on the first day of school, they feel each teacher’s intense eyes. They sense the attention and intensity from new and returning teachers, and feel being labeled right from day one. Experience, and human nature, shows that when a student feels labeled, he/she seems drawn inexorably in its direction to fulfill the prophecy that label foretells. To ensure that this doesn’t happen in our classroom, and to help “difficult” students get started in the right direction, let’s help them to feel like a true member of the classroom, not like someone who every teacher is “watching out for”. By seeing them in a new way we help them to see themselves in a new way.

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Santa Teresa Struggling for the Future Women's Group
The Santa Teresa Struggling for the Future Women's Group is a group of six women located in Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa is a small Mayan Community located in the Toledo District of southern Belize. While shy and soft spoken on camera, these women are forging their own path, recently starting this group as a way to provide alternative incomes through the sale of arts and crafts. Their first project was the embroidering of quilt panels, to be made into a quilt for the Advocacy Project. Their quilt panels display the orchids found in the Sarstoon Temash National Park, an area threatened by oil exploration. For more information about the women's group, go to: http://advocacynet.org/wordpress-mu/lburns. If you have questions or would like to help fund the work done by the Santa Teresa Struggling for the Future Women's Group, please contact Advocacy Project Peace Fellow Laura Burns at lburns@advocacynet.org.

Creative Village Call for Artists
NICH's Institute of Creative Arts is calling for artists to be part of this year's expo, entitled Creative Village. There will be live music, films, dance performances, and much more. It will be the weekend of September 15th and 16th at the ITVET grounds. "The Institute of Creative Arts is looking for interested Creative Entrepreneurs who offer Artist Products and Services to sign up to be a part of our Creative Village in the Annual Expo 2012 ....the Deadline is fast approaching kindly share if you know anyone who might be interested....227-2110"

San Ignacio Resort Hotel Turns 35
Happy birthday to the San Ignacio Resort Hotel! The SIRH celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. They have created many new packages for the occasion, and they can be found on their website. Cake for everyone!

Summer Full Moon Concert Next Week
The SISE House of Culture is having another Full Moon concert. There will be a wide range of music, from acoustic guitar to reggae to blues. There will also be a Dr. Suess play. This free event will be next Friday, August 31st, and will be on Burns avenue. End the Summer right. Thanks, SISE HoC for bringing so much great culture to Cayo! Their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/SISEHOC

Belizean Boil Up
Boil Up is the second staple food of Belize. This dish is a compilation of healthy and non healthy starches. Every item in this menu is boiled, from the ground foods, to the meats (pigtails & fish) to the eggs, to the cakes. This meal is usually topped with coconut oil and a sauteed onion and tomato sauce. This meal can be eaten in its full form or scaled down to match any budget.

Channel 7

Butane Fire On City Outskirts
There was a major butane fire this evening at mile four and a half on the western highway. The main thing to report at this hour is that it is under control, there was no loss of life, and, all things considered, relatively minor damage to property. The fire started around 5:00 pm - at a small butane depot at mile four and a half. As we understand it three butane tanks caught on fire and burned - and there were multiple large, thundering explosions. We say mini depot because the small facility only had three tanks - and all of them burned. But BRAVO Motors, which is right beside it, experienced no damages or losses. Our team is on the scene and we'll have more later on.

Sparks Fly In House Of Representatives
The House Of Representatives held another of those special sittings today. This one was to pass four bills that are a part of the Government's commitment to the IDB in exchange for a policy based loan which would guarantee a portion of Superbond 2.0. That was a kind of legislative housekeeping - but sparks flew when the Oppositions members were allowed to ask questions that they've been trying to put in for the last two House Meetings. One particularly contentious one came, predictably, from the PUP Member for Cayo South - who wanted to know all about the money being paid to Economic Ambassador Mark Espat. Here's how that back and forth with the Prime Minister went:.. Hon. Julius Espat "Can the Honorable Prime Minister inform this honorable House and the nation of the exact terms and conditions under which Mark Espat has been appointed both as an ambassador and as leader of the debt negotiation team and specifically state the dollar value of each such contract and or appointment?"

Willacey Suspended, Minister Confirms
But it wasn't all daggers drawn at today's House Meeting - there was some collegiality between members. And responding to an issue raised by the PUP Member for Belize Rural Central, the Minister of Education turned to a subject of great public interest: Principal Norman Willacey of the Belmopan Baptist High School. The school's Board Of Management has not issued any statement confirming that he is suspended - but the Minister did confirm it today:... Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education "In fact Mr. Speaker I am happy to report that our partners in the Baptist management have complied and in fact indicated according to the rules that they have suspended Pastor Willacy as principal of Belmopan Baptist high school. He will be suspended for 15 days pending an investigation. I don't think that anybody can expect that the management or anybody who has a stake here who has a role to play in terms of investigating and determining what has happen at that school can be expected to give a verdict of guilty without giving the individual due process and so I asked Belizeans and I asked the community here in Belmopan to be patient as that process goes through but to know that come the opening of school tomorrow that pastor Willacy will certainly not be in the role of the principal of Belmopan Baptist."

Police An' Teef On Plues Street
This evening after 3, our news team was called out to the corner of Prince and Plues Street where another case of alleged police brutality was occurring. The area was cordoned off, and a joint operation of police and BDF officers had descended on the area in pursuit of 4 men who were allegedly a part of an armed robbery at Paula's Store on Cemetery Road. Police say that they recovered 2 firearms during the detention of these men. That's major, but the residents of Plues Street weren't impressed: they were complaining how the police went about doing their job. Here's what the scene looked like when we arrived: Daniel Ortiz reporting This evening after 3 p.m., our news team was called out to the corner of Prince and Plues Street where another case of alleged police brutality was occurring. The area was cordoned off, and a joint operation of police and BDF officers were guarding it where they reportedly caught 4 men who were allegedly a part of an armed robbery at Paula's Store on Cemetery Road. Police say that they recovered 2 firearms during the detention of these men, but the residents of Plues Street are upset at how they went about doing their job. Here's what the scene looked like when we arrived: Voice of: Angry Neighbor, eyewitness "I saw the police men came from down the lane and start to chase a couple young men. I am not sure if it's the young men that they met in the yard. They just met two young men in the yard and brought then to my neighbor's house for no reason. My neighbor and I were chilling at the street side. She wanted to know what happen, the police men told her to come out of the house because it was not any concern with her. They just start to ransack the place saying that they were looking for weapons and for some men who committed a crime."

Another Teacher In Trouble
39 Year old Francisco Tzec - a Teacher at Mopan Technical has been accused of fondling two girls. Last Friday - the girls, aged 10 and 12 went to San Ignacio Police with their mother. They reported that at 2:00 on Friday morning, they were at their grandmother's house when Tzec, who was a house guest went into the area where they were sleeping. The 12 year old claims he fondled her on her private parts, and the ten year old says he touched her leg and and hips. They say he told them he thought he was in their grandmother's room. The girls reported it to the their mother - and to the police - who arrested Tzec and charged him for two counts of indecent assault. He was arraigned Tuesday and received bail. But that's not the end of the story - police are also contemplating bringing charges against the girls' grandmother. And that's because she has allegedly told them not to bring charges against her guest. Mopan Technical High is a government school and a Ministry of Education representative today said the process is that he would be placed on Administrative leave pending an investigation. Tzec was a teacher in first and fourth forms.

Supal Street Boss Soup Williams Guilty Of Minor Offence
Yesterday we told you how the GSU had arrested the reputed boss of the Supal Street Bloods, Jason "Soup" Williams. He was charged with possession of a pipe. The Pipe found inside his bedroom contained cannabis residue so he was charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Well, he was arraigned in court yesterday and pleaded guilty to the crime. He pleaded guilty to charge, and Magistrate Adolph Lucas Jr. sentenced him to pay a fine of $300 by October 26, or he will spend 3 months in default. He was able to leave the court a free man.

GSU Gets Sawed Off
Tonight, the Gang Suppression Unit is reporting that it has taken a deadly weapon of the Street. At 10:40 last night, the GSU was conducting operations in the Kelly Street area, and they observed 4 men who they believed to be affiliates of the Kelly Street Gang. The officers searched the men but found nothing. But when they searched the surrounding areas, they found a 16-gauge sawed-off shot gun on the bumper of an abandoned car, across the street from where the men were standing, Because no one was near the car when it was found, it was deposited as found property.

BTIA Goes Real-Time
Today the Belize Tourism Industry Association held its 2012 marketing seminar at the Princess. It's called a Real -Time Marketing Masterclass - which looks at opportunities presented by the internet and social media. The high powered guest speaker was David Meerman Scott -who has presented at similar events in over twenty countries. The BTIA's Efren Perez told us what they hope to get out of it:.. Efren Perez, BTIA "Today's seminar is really focused on marketing and public relations. One of the main things we are looking at is trying to enhance. The quality and the level of marketing and public relations that we do - for companies to realize what is going out in the real world - what we are competing against, what are some of larger successful larger companies in the world are doing and how they are reacting to negative publicity and positive and making positive out of it." "We have this presenter that we brought in David Meerman Scott, who is presenting on 3 different topics; content marketing, daily websites, videos and really the content and we are also doing real-time marketing and PR looking at how you can respond to negative publicity and the we are looking at the final segment which will be social media; looking at your twitter, looking at your Facebook and how you can be very active in that."

Vernon's Containers Were Rich with Chalk?
We go back now to the House of Representatives where one of the questions asked by the opposition today was about Vernon Cuthklevin's containers. You'll remember those, the ones intercepted by Customs back in March of 2012 - allegedly with chemical precursors for Crytal Meth. We thought the matter had been settled because the containers have been burned, but the question persisted. But still it's good that the question was asked - because we didn't know that the containers were loaded with some precursor agents and plenty of chalk. Security Minister Saldivar explained: John Saldivar, Minister of police "The 3 containers that were declared as titanium dioxide for Belize Gardens Consortium was found to contain chalk (calcium carbonate) which was found to the front of the container. While samples taken from the back of the container was found to be all metallin hydrochloride which is a pre-cursor for the production of Methamphetamine. The other 3 containers which were declared as Ammonium sulfate were found to contain some Ammonium sulfate from the samples taken to the front while the samples taken from further to the back of the containers were found to contain metallin hydrochloride." "Mr. Speaker calcium carbonate, Ammonium sulfate and metallin hydrochloride are not prohibited substances under the current laws of Belize. Therefore there were no reasonable grounds to believe that the person or persons had committed or is committing any offence under the laws of Belize." "As a result there were no arrest made and the police investigation into matter is considered closed."

Opp Leader And PM, Light Sparring Over New Banking Regs
The major business at today's House Meeting was the passage of three banking bills, namely the Belize Offshore Practitioners Association Bill, the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Bill, the International Banking Bill. The Bills seek to bring greater oversight to the Banking sector - but the Leader Of The opposition worried that it may reach too far into banking affairs. Here's what he had to say:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "What this bill does is as in contain in the long title; strengthen the regulatory remit and the regulatory jurisdiction of the Central Bank of Belize to ensure that the Central Bank is now in possession of the powers necessary to have it look properly after the domestic banking sector try to avoid any kind of institutional collapse anywhere." Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the opposition PUP "I think it is important to share very briefly - very quickly what the international financial services had to say and what they said was essentially that this bill if pass in its present form would operate as a substantial dis-incentive to the development of the financial sector in Belize. The broad arbitrary and unchecked powers proposed to be conferred on the Central Bank of Belize by this bill are not comparable to the powers enjoyed in other regulatory systems and are not inline with international regulatory practices."

Mexican Sent To Jail For Sexual Assault Of Child
66 year-old Venustiano Pacheco, a Mexican National, is spending his first night of a 3-year sentence after he was convicted of aggravated assault of an indecent nature in the Magistrate's Court today. An 8 year-old child reported to police that at around 7:30 p.m. on February 25, 2011 in a Village in the Belize District, she was bathing behind her house, when Pacheco, who had been a neighbor for 10 years, sexually assaulted her. She came to testify in camera to just that allegation, and her aunt corroborated the story by testifying that Pacheco was speaking to her before the assault. She left him downstairs, and went into the house, and she opened a window to the back, she saw Pacheco assaulting the girl. She said that she shouted at him, and he fled. Pacheco testified under oath and he denied what the aunt told the court, saying that she was telling lies on him. Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith didn't accept his explanation and she found him guilty of the offence She sentenced Pacheco to serve 3 years in prison.

Tonight's profile is about Juan Gomez, he's a young man who dropped out of school and lost his way very early in life. But after knocking around for a few years, he got into a second chance programme at Sadie Vernon. He tells us how he made that transition:..

Shyne Vs. Diddy
In March of this year, Belize's Cultural Ambassador Shyne made international headlines when he reconciled with his former mentor Sean Diddy Combs. It was major development because the widely held perception was that Shyne had taken the fall and served almost nine-years in prison after an evening with Diddy and his then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez ended in a violent shooting. In April, Shyne spoke to Jules Vasquez about what was behind the reconciliation. Shyne "So I was very fortunate, very blessed. If I couldn't thank him for my fortunes, how could I blame him for my misfortunes? I can't thank God in one breathe and then blame Diddy in another breath, it doesn't work like that. This is a watershed moments because I was one of those kids and I could have come up as you said and continue that cycle. I could have abided by that street code but I am breaking that chain, I am creating a new code and that code is self-accountability, so that's what allowed me to move away from any mis-logical street code because the only code I have is honor. I did what I was supposed to do. I didn't lie on another man to get myself out of trouble. I didn't talk about what another man did or didn't do to get myself out of trouble and that was the most important thing for me and I was rewarded for that. That's why I survived being incarcerated, so I've been extremely fortune why because I didn't sit down and blame anybody. I didn't sit down and force the hate for Diddy or anybody. I sat down and I held myself responsible." Well, things have changed! This week Shyne released what is known as a "Diss Track," calling out Diddy for not helping him get back to America. Apparently Diddy had promised to send a tweet to his millions of followers on twitters to support Shyne's visa petition, but he never did. That visa petition fizzled badly - falling way short of the 25 thousand signatures required.

Butane Fire Update
As we told you at the top of the newscast - there was a fire at a mini butane depot on the Western Highway this evening at around five. It is at mile four and a half on the western Highway immediately beside Bravo Motors. The business was not operational - but there were four butane tanks there with LPG gas inside - and one of the hoses was ruptured. It caused a major, violent blaze - but we have now been told there was no explosion. George Orellana saw it from his home across the road. Here's what he told us: Marion Ali, Reporter "You were on the scene and you took some pretty nice videos." George Orellana "I was the first one who saw the tanks burning. Looks like the workers were not well trained because they ran away instead of minimized the damages, they just ran away. My workers are the ones who came and help the first truck from the firefighters who came to the scene." Monica Bodden "From what you saw out there, how long did it take firefighters to arrive on the scene?"

Channel 5

Explosion at Western Gas on the Highway
After five o’clock this evening, there was a huge explosion captured in the amateur video at a gas depot near Bravo Motors on the Western Highway. The recently opened depot is also a distribution center. A News Five team was on the scene and firemen are still attempting to out the blaze at Western Gas [...]

Plues Street residents allegedly brutalized by police
On Tuesday, we reported the alleged excessive abuse by the Gang Suppression Unit in Crooked Tree Village. An investigation is currently underway to determine why the GSU rained down on at least twenty residents, using pepper spray and tasers. And tonight, there is another report of alleged brutality by law-enforcement officers, this time in Belize [...]

Julius Espat gets schooled by the P.M. on House procedures
The House of Representatives met today in a special sitting. The session was called to table a municipal bond bill being floated by the City Council for infrastructure works. We’ll come to that later, but first we go to a side show in the House, which has to do with the other bond; the Superbond. [...]

Prime Minister Dean Barrow speaks on contract with Hallmark Advisors
The prime minister later specified the terms of agreement, as well as the duration of a contract awarded to Hallmark Advisory Ltd., for which Mark Espat is believed to be the principal. According to PM Barrow, the services of Hallmark Advisory have been contracted for seven months and he says it’s value for money.   [...]

Oppenheimer’s Carl Ross weighs in on the Superbond restructuring
Still on the Superbond, the Prime Minister said on Wednesday that he was hoping that negotiations on the restructuring of the five hundred and forty-four million dollar Superbond would be successful to prevent a default. He also said that there was no source of financing to meet the twenty-three million U.S. dollar coupon that was [...]

Pastor Norman Willacey is no longer principal of Belmopan Baptist High
There is development in respect of Belmopan Pastor Norman Willacey who has fallen from grace due to allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a student. Tonight, Willacey is no longer on administrative leave from the pulpit and the church; he has resigned. Pressure had been building up for action in many quarters because [...]

The Belmopan school sex scandal discussed in the House
Also in the House this morning, the issue of the Baptist High School sex scandal was raised by the opposition, questioning the Ministry of Education about the delay in suspending Pastor Norman Willacey from his post as principal of the high school. Public outrage in the wake of allegations that Willacey was engaged in a [...]

6 containers of suspected pseudoephedrine turn out to be chalk
Earlier this year, a shipment of seven forty-foot containers housing a significant quantity of methylamine hydrochloride, a chemical precursor used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, was confiscated by the Customs Department. The consignment, valued at an estimated ten billion dollars, was shipped from China to Belize in February to Belize Gardens Consortium, a local company [...]

Bill for Municipal Bond tabled in Special Sitting of the House
The real business of the House had to do with the municipal bond. Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley announced a month ago that he is inviting investment in the twenty million dollar municipal bond. The bond, issued by local government, would be used to create an infrastructure fund for the continued repairs of streets in [...]

Update on the U.S. designation of John Zabaneh as drug kingpin
On August seventh, businessman John Zabaneh was designated as a drug kingpin operating for the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel. His nephew Dion Zabaneh and Corozal resident Daniel Moreno were also named as associates. The US government declared that the assets of the three were being frozen in the United States and that US businesses and [...]

ISP linked to Belize, ordered to block sites selling counterfeit goods
AltusHost is a European Internet Service Provider (ISP), but according to a PC World.com article, it’s based in Belize and has recently been ordered to shut down twenty-five of its websites for selling counterfeit goods. AltusHost was sued by eleven high end companies including Breitling, Chanel, Christian Dior and Omega, which are trying to protect [...]

GSU recovers 16 gauge shotgun from abandoned lot
There is one less illegal firearm on the streets after a sixteen gauge sawed off shotgun was found in an abandoned lot. According to the Gang Suppression Unit, shortly before eleven o’clock on Wednesday night, they were conducting operations in the Kelly Street area when they noticed four persons, known to be affiliates of the [...]

Paraplegic Jeremy Flores has his eyes on the Paralympics 2016
Jerome Flores is a well-known paraplegic who has undertaken a number of initiatives to build awareness for persons living with a wide range of disabilities. You will also remember him for riding his hand bike from Belmopan to Dangriga to raise awareness for the work of OCEANA last November. Flores is now setting his eyes [...]


Highest Jackpot in Belize Claimed
The highest jackpot in Belize, Fantasy five’s, four hundred and sixty eight thousand dollars, was won last night. The lucky winner is a family of four from Corozal Town. Today Love News spoke with Ronny Hernandez who told us he is sort of a handyman, doing any type of...

Harvest for Kids Underway for Belize Camping Experience
Last week we told you about Belize Camping Experience, a Christian nonprofit organization that has been working with at risk children since 2006. Their focus is in Belize City and work with children through camps and follow-up programs throughout the year. To raise funds to ensure the ...

Food Vendor Fined Ten Grand for Marijuana
Fifty-two year old Yvonne Felix, a food vendor of Armadillo Street in Belize City was fined $10,000.00 after she pleaded guilty to drug trafficking of 205 grams of cannabis. Magistrate Adolph Lucas Jr. gave her until August 22, 2013, to pay. If she defaults on payment she will se...

Court's Decision on Oceana vs Belize's Government to be Handed Down This Week
Arguments ended today in the Belize Supreme Court in the case of Oceana Belize versus the Government of Belize over oil contracts. Today’s arguments had to do with an application that the government, through its attorney, Herbert Panton, made two months ago, for the court t...

Minister of Education Comments on Principal's Sexual Misconduct
Belize's Special Envoy for Children and Women, Kim Simplis Barrow today came out swinging against allegations of an inappropriate sexual relationship between the principal of the Belmopan Baptist High School Norman Willacy and a sixteen year old student. Mrs. Barrow did not m...

Belize's Prime Minister Addresses Super Bond via Press Conference
Prime Minister Dean Barrow today hosted a press conference in Belize City to update the nation on the progress of the renegotiation of Belize’s external debt. This is in the wake of the government’s decision not to pay the stepped up coupon payment of twenty three mil...


GOB Tells Cane Farmers No Money Noh Deh To Assist In Time Of Crisis
So far the Ministry of Agriculture has issued no report on the damages caused to the Agricultural Sector by Tropical Depression #7 which passed over the country on August 8th. Here in the north the torrential rains caused flooding in the urban and rural areas of Corozal damaging hundreds of acres of cane fields. As we mentioned, the Ministry of Agriculture has released no exact figures as to the amount of damage caused. But according to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association the loss adds up to the millions and the present froghopper infestation only make the situation worst. On Monday members of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association presented the figures to the Minister of Agriculture Honorable Gaspar Vega. Up until today everyone was tight lipped about the outcome of the reunion. But that scenario changed this afternoon when the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association issued a press release outlining all the details of the meeting. Carmelita Perez – Reporting The meeting took place at the offices of the Sugar Industry Control Board on Monday August 20th and the main subject was the damage caused to sugar cane fields by Tropical Depression 7 and the extensive froghopper infestation. Present in the meeting were the Hon. Gaspar Vega Minister of Agriculture, officials of the Sugar Industry Control Board, Sugar Cane Production Committee and the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute SIRDI. The news delivered by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association was not good as they presented an assessment of estimated damages and losses sustained by cane farmers as a result of the flooding and froghopper infestation.

Two Houses In Corozal Burglarized
Two houses located on Halls Layout in the Corozal District were burglarized on Monday. Details are still sketchy but CTV3 News understands that the burglaries took place in broad daylight between the hours of 12:00pm and 1:00pm. The first residence that was burglarized belongs to Frank Rosado. Reports are that the perpetrator or perpetrators gained entry to the residence by prying open the front door and cutting the screws from the lock itself. The second house that was burglarized belongs to a school teacher who happens to be Rosado’s neighbor. One person has been detained for questioning. We also understand that on Tuesday, a little after midday, the owners of Hol Kol Kin Guest House were alerted by their care taker that someone was trying to enter one of the guest rooms. When checks were made the owners of the hotel noticed that the front door of the apartment had been tampered with. All indications are that the burglar was unable to gain access to the room since it was locked from inside.

What's On The Menu For September Celebrations
This year Belize will celebrate 31 years of Independence and its 214th anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye. The wide range of events that will occur throughout the country will be celebrated under the theme, “Many faces, Many dreams- One Goal- Celebrating Belize.” On Monday, the September Calendar of events was released by the September Celebrations Committee. For the Corozal District, 36 events have been outlined. Activities kicked off on August 18th with the Queen of the Bay Pageant Motorcade and Presentations of Candidates. On August 25th, the Queen of the Bay Pageant will be held at the Andres Campos Civic Centre at 7:00pm. Corozal list of events culminates on September 21st with a free Jump up at the Coronation Park. In Orange Walk 26 events have been line up for the September celebrations beginning on September 5th with a talent night at the Fort Cairn’s Market Plaza starting at 7:00pm. Celebrations for September 10th will take place at the Central Park starting 3:00pm. Orange Walk will also see a drum fete on September 13th, a Battle of the Bands on September 18th and of course the Independence Day Celebrations on September 21st. Across the country, September 19th has been reserved as National Service Day, a day to celebrate the life of Belize’s First Prime Minister Rt. Honorable George Cadle Price. You can download the entire September Celebrations Calendar at www.nichbelize.org. One of the events in the September Celebrations Calendar is the National Song Competition which is slated to take place at the MMC Grounds in Belize City on Saturday August 25th. Nineteen local artists from across the country have submitted their songs to the September Celebrations Committee. Three songs are competing in the Junior Division, ten songs in the Patriotic Division and six songs have been submitted in the Carnival Division. From Corozal Town, Salus Magana submitted his song entitled “Belizean Carnival”, in the Carnival Division. Here is a snippet of how it sounds. Also from the Corozal District, Morelia Pop, from the village of Ranchito, submitted her song entitled “Tranquil Heaven”, in the Junior Division. You may know her two younger brothers, McBribe Pop and Samsung Pop who are both competing in the Buscando Una Estrella Infantil Karaoke Competition organized by Centaur. Well, Moreila Pop is also making a name for herself. If those songs put you in the September Spirit then give them your vote by logging on to mynationalsong.bz. The contestants will perform their songs at the finals on Saturday with a live band.

Corozaleno Wins Highest Jackpot In Belize's History
A Corozal resident is tonight smiling from ear to ear after he won the highest jackpot in Belize’s History. The Tuesday night’s Fantasy Five draw of a whopping $468,000 was won by 27 year old Ronny Hernandez, a Corozal Resident of Santa Rita Layout. Yesterday morning Hernandez, his wife and children travelled to Belize City to collect the massive winnings. Hernandez was buying Fantasy 5 tickets for the past 5 months and it was not until he heard the winning numbers that his life took an extreme change. According to the lucky winner his plans are to wipe out his debts, build a house for his family and save some money at the bank. The winning numbers were 5- 9 - 1 - 19 - 6 - and 20 with the free letter M. After taxes Hernandez walked away with a whopping $397,080. The jackpot now returns to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

Rawel Pelayo Named Vice Chairman Of NTC
In sporting news, Vice president of the Football Federation of Belize, Rawel Pelayo has been appointed as the Vice Chairman of the National Teams Commission under the Unión Centroamericana de Fútbol, UNCAF. Pelayo will carry out his responsibilities from 2012 to 2015. The National Teams Commission is fundamentally responsible for forming positive relationships between UNCAF and the representatives of members associations and to ensure that the members of the associations comply with the Competition Regulations of UNCAF. The commission is also composed of President, Rafael Villacorta of El Salvador and executive member Rolando Lopez of Nicaragua.

GLOW, Making A Difference In Corozal
Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) seeks to instill leadership and interpersonal skills among young girls between the ages of 11 and 14. In addition, the non-governmental organization’s main objective is to offer GLOW members self confidence in order to carry out the work of the organization. Originally, GLOW was initiated in Poland in the 1990’s by Peace Corps Volunteers and approximately five years ago the organization branched off to Orange Walk and Corozal. Katherine Thomas is one of the senior coordinators of GLOW in the Corozal District. According to her, over the past eight weeks GLOW Corozal has regenerated, enforcing their work around the community. Katherine Thomas, GLOW Corozal “The overall goal is to allow the girls to stay in activity that will in the future see themselves with a self-esteem and the ability to be a leader in their community, this year we are trying to really make this more of a Corozal Town Wide group and so the girls that are actively involved in the group right now comes from seven different school from the Corozal area, we did a session on capabilities and where the girls painted a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up or something they would do and we had guest speaker coming in to do just recently first aid and then the Red Cross came in to do a session with them and teaching them, firstly the first aid response and utilizing thing that maybe just would around you and also we started to work on learning the seven habit of effective teenagers and the first that we covered was about how to be proactive versus reactive.”

Oceana And GOB Back In Court
Yesterday the Government of Belize and OCEANA were back in court. Justice Legall heard arguments for an application by GOB to strike out the claim brought by Oceana, the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), which challenges the legality of the Production Sharing Agreements between the Government of Belize and six offshore oil exploration companies; Island Oil Belize, Tropical Energy, Petro Belize Company, Princess Petroleum, Providence Energy Belize, and Sol Oil Belize Ltd. Representing GOB was counsel Herbert Panton who argued that the Court of Appeal’s July 2012 decision in the case ‘Gilharry’s Bus Line versus Transport Board and Others, applied only to Judicial Review and that the Claimants had failed to stay within the limitation period required for them to pursue any legal claim. In response, the claimants’ represented by Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, disputed that proper examination of the Court of Appeal’s decision in the Gilharry matter fortifies the claimants’ position that the Public Authorities Protection Act is confined to private law matters and, as such, there is no limitation period for parties seeking action against the Government in matters of public law. After hearing submissions from both parties, Justice Legall reserved his judgment until Friday, August 24th.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow hosts press conference
Prime Minister Dean Barrow today hosted a press conference in Belize City to update the nation on the progress of the renegotiation of Belize’s external debt. This is in the wake of the government’s decision not to pay the stepped up coupon payment of twenty three million US dollars which was due on Monday of this week. The Prime Minister explained that the missed coupon payment has intensified interest in Belize’s super bond both at home and abroad, and therefore the decision to inform the Belizean people on the current state of affairs, and seek their support for the government’s debt restructuring exercise. The Prime Minister opened his presentation by explaining how the country arrived at over a billion dollars in foreign debt, saying that the majority of the amalgamated loans were accumulated in the five year period from the year two thousand, to 2005. This was under the Musa administration, and the Prime Minister says many of the loans were short term at very expensive rates and used for what he described as bloated and corrupt financing needs. For context, the Prime Minister said that during those six years under the growth economics era of the Musa administration, Belize racked up a debt of one billion, one hundred and twenty four million dollars, which all together became what’s known today as the super bond. Fast forward to today, and regarding the missed coupon payment on Monday, the Prime Minister explained that government could not source the funds needed to make Monday’s payment, and that given huge financial gaps facing the administration, it is unlikely that funds would become available in the near term. That is why, the Prime Minister said, it is crucial that the five hundred and forty four million US dollar foreign debt be renegotiated quickly, at much favorable payment terms. This he believes the creditors will understand and told a reporter from Bloomberg Financial services that he is of the firm belief that expected debt relief will eventually materialize. Making the case for Belize is a team, led by Ambassador Mark Espat, and inclusive of the Financial Secretary Joseph Waight and Governor of the Central Bank Glen Ysaguirre. That team left Belize today enroute to Washington, D.C. for talks with the Inter American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United States Treasury Department. Since the publication of the government proposals for debt restructuring, the reaction from creditors has not been accommodating of government’s offers. The Prime Minister says government is open to alternate suggestions on debt relief. And while the government’s debt renegotiating team is ready to meet face to face with bond holders, the ratings agency Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s investor services have again downgraded Belize’s ratings. In the case of Moody’s it has moved Belize’s outlook to negative, while gone from S & P has lowered the country’s rating to selective default. At the press conference this morning, Prime Minister Barrow said these defaults have no impact on the debt restructuring exercise. The Prime Minister says the super bond renegotiating team is ready to meet with investors as soon as they are ready, and he expects that signal to come within the next week or two. Barrow says his administration remains committed to making good on its obligations, but the government just cannot do so at the expense of the greater good of the country. Prime Minister Barrow says the UDP government is absolutely determined to put the nation’s debt on a sustainable footing and will stop at nothing to achieve this goal.

Scotiabank Punta Gorda Staff do community service
Scotiabank Punta Gorda Staff has embarked on a major community service project in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details

A happy family wins the famous Fantasy 5 Jackpot
The highest jackpot in Belize, Fantasy five’s, four hundred and sixty eight thousand dollars, was won last night.. The lucky winner is a family of four from Corozal Town. Today Love News spoke with Ronny Hernandez who told us he is sort of a handyman, doing any type of job that arrives at his door. He couldn’t hide his feelings of excitement His wife Heidy Lopez told us she never expected this surprise from her husband when he told her of the winning The couple who have two children, won with the numbers 19,01,09,06 and 20. And to add to the luck they also got the free ticket letter “M” for which they already obtained their free ticket. After deduction of tax the family walked away with three hundred and ninety seven thousand, eight hundred dollars. This is only the second time since its inception that the Fantasy Five jackpot has been won.

Updates on the Corozal flooding
Residents in several areas of the Corozal District have been trying to recover from floods in the area a week ago. Reporter Arturo Cantun has the story. While in the field our reporter also came across some villagers who feel that negligence on the part of officials contributed to the extent of damages.

The Guardian

Statement on Superbond by the Prime Minister
Ladies and Gentlemen, Good morning, The nation has been aware for months now of Government's debt restructuring exercise, announced before the March 7 general election and commenced almost immediately thereafter. As the process accelerated, press releases have been periodically issued in an effort to update the public. Recently we published our indicative restructuring scenarios, our proposals as to how the Superbond might be reconfigured to provide Belizeans with the relief we both need and deserve. Then we announced last week that we would be unable to make the interest payment that was due on Monday. This last development in particular has greatly intensified attention, at home and abroad, on the issue. Hence, this press conference now to fully address the matter.

Vice President of Taiwan visits Belize
His Excellency Wu Den-Yih accompanied by Governor General, Sir Colville Young Motorists were a bit frustrated by interruptions in traffic along the Western Highway on Monday, August 20th, and along the Northern Highway on Tuesday, August 21st. However, it was for a good reason. The Vice-President of one of Belize’s closest allies was visiting the jewel. His Excellency Wu Den-Yih, the Vice President of the Republic of China, Taiwan arrived in Belize on a chartered flight on Saturday afternoon, August 18th. Wu was the Special Envoy of President Ma Ying-Jeou to the inauguration of Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina on August 16th.

Oceana in Shallow Waters
Shortly after eleven this morning, arguments were concluded in the court room of Justice Oswel Legall on an application by the Attorney General, to strike out the claim of Oceana in Belize, which is seeking to declare six Production sharing Agreements (PSA), granted to various oil exploration companies in offshore areas, null and void. Back in December of last year, Oceana brought a claim against the Minister of Natural Resources and the Attorney General seeking declarations that the PSAs of Island Oil Belize Ltd., Miles Tropical Energy Ltd., PetroBelize Company Ltd., Princess Petroleum Ltd., Providence Energy Belize Ltd., and Sol Oil Belize Ltd., were null and void in that they were awarded without any Environmental Impact Assessment, there was no public competitive bidding, the companies were unqualified, the PSAs were contrary to the Fisheries Act, the National Park Systems Act, and consequently they are unlawful and should not be renewed.

Making Life Better in Lake I
Area representative for the Lake Independence Constituency, Hon. Mark King is pressing on at making life better for his constituents.

Computers for Better City Management
On Wednesday, August 22nd, the Ministry of Local Government handed over five computers to the Belize City Council. The donation was made possible through the Municipal Development Project Fund. Receiving the computers on behalf of the Belize City Council was Councilor Bernard Pitts, Jr., who is responsible for MIS, Youth and Sports.

The Chamber’s Position on the Renegotiation of the “Super Bond”
In relation to the current debt restructuring of the “Super Bond”, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) believes that, without exception, debts must be paid and that we must be financially responsible citizens. However, where the economic viability of our country is at stake, the terms of repayment should not be so onerous as to strangle or deter the country’s economic growth. It is in this vein that the BCCI, in principle, supports the renegotiation of the bond with the goal of making debt repayment more manageable. Our debt burden must be restructured so that it is sustainable in the long term thereby enabling Belize to honor its financial obligations without further damage to the economy. The BCCI urges the Government to use any fiscal relief achieved through a renegotiated bond to introduce programs to stimulate and promote economic growth and investment. Further, the BCCI urges the Government to take appropriate measures to trim its own expenditure so that it can introduce balanced budgets and avoid the recurrence of an unsustainable debt burden.

Fixing the Bus Problems
The Ministry of Transport under the leadership of Hon. Edmund Castro is once again looking at addressing the problems that have been plaguing the bus transportation industry in Belize.

Charged for Drug Trafficking
Latoya Price, Francis Gill and Michelle Henry On Tuesday, August 21st, Latoya Price, Michelle Henry and Francis Gill appeared in Magistrate's Court where they were charged with drug trafficking. They appeared before Magistrate Aretha Ford where they all pleaded not guilty and were bailed in teh sum of six thousand dollars each and their case was adjourned until September 27th.

Two Men Shot on Santa Familia Street
On Saturday, August 18th, at around 2:20 a.m., Jose Ku, 24, and Javier Lozano, 18, were wounded while at the intersection of the Belize-Corozal Road and Santa Familia Street, when they were fired at by a lone gunman, as they rode on separate bicycles. Lozano was hit in the upper left side of his chest, left ribcage, the right hand and left forearm, while Ku received a gunshot wound in the right rib cage. According to unconfirmed reports, Ku and Lozano were involved in a fight with the alleged shooter only a few moments before the incident in the vicinity of a popular night club. Ku and Lozano then left the area, but were later confronted by the gunman, who fired several shots at them. Both men were transported to the Northern Regional Hospital for treatment and were later transported to the Karl Husner Memorial Hospital. Two men have been detained by Orange Walk police in relation with the incident.

Edited by Marty (11/17/12 09:53 AM)

#445087 - 08/24/12 09:11 AM Re: Today's Belize News: August 24, 2012 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Alleged Slovakian Mafia Boss finds Refuge in Belize
On July 12th of this year, 42-year-old Karol Mello was transported by police from San Pedro Town to Belize City. Mello is a citizen of the Slovak Republics who is wanted by Interpol for a gang related murder of a woman and young boy in 2004. He was arrested in October of 2010 but due to procedural errors in the case, he was released from custody in May of 2011. He eventually fled from Europe and arrived in Belize late 2011. He has been residing at the Cloister's Resort in San Pedro and had been awarded permanent resident status in Belize. However, when an extradition request for Mello was sent to the Belizean government, law enforcement authorities proceeded to apprehend him and process the extradition request. An expulsion order dated July 16th was served on Mello but was not acted upon immediately. On July 17th Mello’s legal team applied for an injunction against the Minister of Immigration, which restrained the Minister and the Government from expelling him before the extradition request is heard before the court. That injunction was granted and Mello had a habeas corpus hearing on August 2nd. It is simply a hearing in which the grounds for detention of an individual is presented by the prosecution and questioned by the defense. In court on August 2nd, the prosecution claimed that Mello was being detained because he was a threat to the public safety of Belize. Mello’s attorneys used a public statement made by the Minister of Immigration, Senator Godwin Hulse, to dismiss the claim that Mello was a threat to public safety. In the statement, Senator Hulse said that Mello should “face the music” in his own country and “After that he is happy to come back to Belize to resume his residency." Mello’s attorney used the statement to show that he is not really deemed a public threat but is actually the subject of an extradition process. Proving that Mello was being detained solely to eventually satisfy an extradition request was crucial to the defense’s case because it could free their client since, admitted by Senator Hulse, “We don't have any extradition orders with [Slovakia]”. The habeas corpus hearing was before Justice Oswell Legall. He reserved judgment for August 10th.

Munchy gunned Down on His House Stairs
At about 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 19th, 33-year-old Felix Godoy was sitting on the stairs of his apartment located at the corner of Boots Crescent and Doris Brooks Street. According to relatives, he had just returned home from playing the sport he loves, basketball, and was cooling down on the steps. It was at this time that a gunman approached him from behind and fired several shots at him. Neighbours reported hearing as much as ten shots; many of which hit their target. Godoy died on the spot due to injuries sustained from multiple gunshot wounds. Godoy is known to friends as Munchy. He worked under the Conscious Youth Development Program. Family, friends and law enforcement authorities are still piecing together bits of information in an attempt to figure out why Munchy was so ruthlessly executed. Police believe they have someone detained who can help them with that answer. Quick police response to the shooting resulted in the detention of the man police believe pulled the trigger on Munchy. According to Police Pres Officer, Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, charges are expected to be filed against this individual soon.

Fined for Human Trafficking
A 35-year-old woman was convicted of human trafficking in the San Ignacio Magistrate's court. Estella Pinelo appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where she was fined 10 thousand dollars after being found guilty. The facts of the case show that a 14-year-old girl was forced into prostitution at the Riverside Resort in San Ignacio. The girl was held for 5 months and was forced to work at the establishment where she was never paid. She was reportedly beaten and forced into prostitution. While the maximum sentence for human trafficking is 5 years imprisonment, and 1 year imprisonment is the minimum, the Chief Magistrate only imposed a fine since the culprit is nursing a young child. The case was prosecuted by the DPP herself, who has indicated that she will appeal the sentence.

Emerson Trapp sentenced to Five Years
On Monday August 20th, 25-year-old Emerson Trapp appeared in Magistrate's Court to answer to charges of possession of a firearm and ammunition without a gun license. He appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was sentenced to 5 years in prison for possession of the firearm and 5 years for possession of 9 rounds of ammunition. The sentences are to run concurrently, so he will spend only 5 years in prison. In December of last year, police conducted a search at the Trapp’s home where the found the gun along with 9 rounds of ammunition inside his bedroom. In court, Trapp said that he was at home when a friend visited him however, he left his home to run an errand and when he returned, the officers were at his home to conduct the search. He further alleged that his friend later admitted to him that he had taken a gun into the house. At the time, both men were arrested but only Trapp was charged.

Belize Senior Female Team win Bronze at World Championship Qualification Tournament
The members of Team Belize are: Sherylee Young-Thurton (Captain), Jasmine Anderson (Libero), Precelia Hoare, Nelissa Ramirez, Kimberly Spence, Tichele Solis, Marika Zuniga, Shelmadine Cacho, Tanesha Encalada, Emma Hoare, Tisha Solis, Shantell Arnold, Yvette Price (manager), Leah Waight (coaching staff), Allan Sharp (Coach). The Belize Senior Women’s Volleyball Team won bronze at the World Championship Qualification Tournament, Group G, held in Panama City, Panama this past weekend. This is a first for Belize’s female team, and is the result of the development of players and teams despite the many challenges faced. Belize females returned to international competition in 2008 and in four years, improved well enough to qualify to the second round of the World Championship qualification process, which will take place in 2013. Jasmine Anderson of Team Belize also won Best Libero for the tournament. She was also a close 2nd for Best Receiver. 18- year-old Tichele Solis was fourth as Best Scorer. Shelmadine Cacho and Shantell Arnold were tied at 3rd for Best Blocker while Sherylee Young-Thurton was 2nd as Best Server. Congratulations to Team Belize on this historic accomplishment and step forward for female volleyball. - Press Release -

Police Station for Crooked Tree Village
Residents of Crooked Tree Village are in great spirits after a visit from Area Representative, Hon. Edmund Castro, on Wednesday, August 22nd. Residents have been complaining about a recent spike in crime and violence in the area. Many have called for an increase in police presence in the village to deter criminal elements from acting at will. On Wednesday, Hon. Castro visited the village along with the Commissioner of Police, David Henderson. After meeting with residents and hearing their concerns, it was concluded that police presence must increase in the village. The plan is to deploy more officers to the village. To facilitate that process immediately, a house will be rented to act as a police station and residence for officers. The long-term plan is to build a police station in the village. Residents welcomed the news. It brought great hope that their once peaceful village may once again be a tranquil haven.

Tuff “E” Nuff is Interoffice Basketball Champions
Tuff “E” Nuff is 2012 Interoffice Basketball champs The 2012 Belize City Interoffice Basketball Championship came to an end on Friday August 17th, at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City with the fifth and final game played in the series. The championship series, which was played between the budding champions Tuff “E” Nuff and Alamilla’s/MOE had to utilize the full five games before a champion was determined. In the fifth and final game, Tuff “E” Nuff defeated Alamilla’s/MOE by the score of 58-45 to lay claims to its second title in many years. The top scorers for Tuff “E” Nuff were Tyrone Edwards with 13 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal; Keith Acosta, who scored 12 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals; and Ian Lennon with 11 points and 7 rebounds. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Alamilla’s/MOE were Carlisle Barrow with 15 points, 3 rebounds; Brandon Rogers with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and a steal; and Gregory Rudon with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. We say congratulations to the Tuff “E” Nuff team for winning the 2012 Interoffice Basketball League competition. The championship awards were presented by the Hon. Herman Longsworth, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports with direct responsibilities for Youth and Sports.

22nd National Women’s Softball Championship this weekend
The 22nd National Women’s Softball Championship is scheduled for Friday August 24th -Sunday August 26th, 2012, at Rogers Stadium, the home of softball in Belize. This year’s championship will feature the following teams from across the country: Belize City Telemedia (defending national champion), Mirage Lady Rebels, Cayo Camalote United (Cayo champions) Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy (sub-champion), Belize Rural Easy Does It (Flowers Bank), Sandhill Unstoppable (sub-champion) and from Orange Walk Falcons. The championship will commence on Friday, November 24th, at 6:30 pm with two games on the schedule. The first game will feature Camalote United and Mirage Lady Rebels followed by game two, which will see Sandhill Unstoppable against the defending champions Telemedia. The championship will then continue on Saturday, August 25th commencing at 9:00 am with Easy Does It from Flowers Bank against Falcons from Orange Walk. The official opening ceremony is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Saturday, August 25th, with Gold Medalist Brenda Johnson-Gabourel declaring the championship open. During the Official Opening Ceremony, 1974 Gold Medalists will be presented with citations. The championship will conclude on Sunday, August 26th, 2012, with five games on the championship including the championship game.

13th Annual Lionman Triathlon is set for September 2nd
The 13th Annual Lionman Triathlon is scheduled for Sunday, September 2nd, 2012. The event will utilize the main area in front of the Mexican Embassy on the Barracks in Belize City. The tri-athletes will be involved in a 1500-metre swim, a 40k ride and a 10k run. This year’s Lionman Triathlon will attract the two time defending champions Kenroy “Smokes” Gladden, as well as defending female champion Kaya Cattouse and former champion Shalini Zabaneh.

Vega Cup Tournament continued in San Jose Village
The 2012 Vega Cup Tournament continued on Sunday, August 19th out in San Jose Village with four games in Division B. In the first game of the day, San Juan FC blanked Athletics FC by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Henry Linares in the 88th minute of play. In the second game, it was San Jose Survivors who edged Blackwater FC by the score of 2-1. The first goal for San Jose Survivors was scored by Brandon Manzanero in the 28th minute of play, while the 2nd goal was scored by Doni Alcoser in the 74th minute of play. Meanwhile, the only goal of the game for Blackwater FC was scored by Jonathan Martinez in the 10th minute of play. In game three, Douglas Galaxy and United Ballers played to a 4-4 draw. The goal scorers for Douglas Galaxy were Lorenzo Diaz in the 15th minute, Edwani Munoz in the 25th minute, Aldair Chan in the 35th minute of play and Jarret Hyde in the 79th minute of play. For United Ballers, the goals were scored by Ernell, Kevin, and Roque Canul in the 57th minute of play and Eliazar Mandez in the 83rd minute of play. In the final game of the day, San Antonio Jaguars, and the host team, San Jose Pumas played to a 2-2 draw. The goal scorers for San Antonio Jaguars were Gerardo Sosa in the 10th minute of play, and Peter Canul in the 78th minute of play, while the goal scorers for the San Jose Pumas were Aurelio Gongora in the 22nd minute of play and Martin Francisco in the 81st minute of play.

Vega Cup Tournament to continue This Sunday in Trial Farm
The 2012 Vega Cup Tournament will continue this coming Sunday August 26th, with four games in Group A at the Trial Farm Football Field. In the first game scheduled for 10:00 am, San Luis FC will see action against San Roman FC. In game two, San Pablo FC will go up against San Cruz FC, followed by game three in which Old School FC will go up against New River Dynamites. In the fourth and final game of the day, Barrio Boys will see action against the Untouchables.

Little Brighton returns Home: Funds raised to take Him Abroad
A recuperating Brighton Cordova On Saturday, August 18th, a BBQ sale was held at the Queen Elizabeth Park to raise funds for 10-year-old Brighton Cordova, who was in a critical condition, after a house collapsed on him and his younger nephew on July 26th.

Belize National Classification System For Hotels And Tour Operators
The Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) and the Quality Assurance Department at the BTB is in its preliminary stage of executing a “Belize National Classification System for Hotels and Tour Operators”. The system’s overall goal is to define realistic classifications with clear definitions and minimum standards as basic mandatory licensing requirements for each recommended class. “This is a great opportunity for Belize to take the lead in destination competitiveness,” stated Terry Wright, Tourism/Environment Project Coordinator at the STP. “The firm, Tourism and Leisure Europraxis, has been awarded the consultancy to develop a classification scheme for accommodation facilities and tour operators throughout the country based on international standards but adapted to the country’s reality. It is intended that the scheme will guide and incentivize the hotel and tour operator industry by promoting excellence as a national priority. It will also serve as a valuable marketing tool.” The initial stages of developing the system include meetings with tourism stakeholders and a presentation of the framework of the system to tourism Industry Partners. Following stakeholder consultation, there will be a verification, assessment and training period anticipated to begin in September 2012, with the establishment of a new cadre of BTB hotel inspectors focused on standards and quality. Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of accommodation establishments within the country will also form a component of the consultancy scheduled for completion in January 2013.

The Reporter

Tragedy averted at Belize Western Gas on the Western Highway
A butane storage tank caught fire and exploded, putting the other storage tanks in danger of exploding A butane storage tank caught fire and exploded, putting the other storage tanks in danger of exploding. One of four butane gas storage tanks exploded this evening around 5:10 in the Belize Western Gas Company compound at Mile 4 on the Western Highway, and there was great concern that the resultant fire would spread to other, larger butane tanks, which would have been a major catastrophe for the people of the area and the adjacent Bravo Motors. However, quick response by the Belize Fire Service averted the tragedy. They arrived in time to cool off the tanks with water, and they also locked off the valves. Auri Diaz, the manager of the Belize Western Gas Company, told Amandala that the fire began at the pump house when a wire on the compressor in the pump house got overheated and caught fire, and the flames quickly spread to the tank. She said that they had received a large shipment of butane gas and were unloading it to the storage tanks when the incident occurred. Witnesses from nearby Bravo Motors who saw the flames spreading to the tanks told us that they alerted the workers that the tank was on fire, and the workers ran, leaving the flames to spread. Two of the workers ran into the swamp behind the compound, and another two scaled the fence to escape. The witnesses said that one of the tanks then exploded.


An overnight stop in Placencia featuring plenty of gelato
It was very difficult to leave after only two and a half days at the lovely Hickatee Cottages just outside of Punta Gorda. On the positive side, we would be stopping for a night in Placencia to break up the trip home to Ambergris Caye, a place we loved when we visited back in January. Ian gave us a lift into town, saving us the long hike. We picked up a couple of things we needed, including a muffin at the Driftwood Cafe for Barry for the bus ride (I still had my PB&J muffin saved from the day before!) We were plenty early so had some time to hang around the PG bus terminal -- and to get a choice seat on the bus, since this is where the bus north originates. We got off the bus in Independence on the mainland and hiked 1/2 mile down the road to catch the ten minute Hokey Pokey ferry over to the Placencia Peninsula. Our last and only time on this boat, it had been pouring rain, so we'd been under a tarp for the entire ride and unable to see a thing. Today was much improved! Our soon-to-be new friends, Heather and Lauren, in the front row as we approach Placencia Placencia IS just as nice on a second look. We liked it before, and we liked it just as much this time around. Placencia is a charming and quaint village and never seems to be very busy, unlike San Pedro; however, there were a lot more folks on the beach now that school's out than when we were here in January. Back then we felt like we were the only ones there! When we debarked the Hokey Pokey, we took a short walk through the village to our hotel for the night.

Do over
Ever have one of those days where you just need to go back to bed and start again? I am having one 2 days in a row. Flash back to yesterday…. Our net is still down, left at 6:30 am to go catch up on work at El Divino and could not connect there either. I did manage to take care of a few things and get them on a flash drive so tacoboy could email them from work for me. Since my tech troubles started yesterday, I was smart enough to do an email draft of one thing I needed to send so that makes it easier for Paul as he only has to add attachment and hit send. I am officially on me time, hoping I find some good music videos on tv while I do a good stretch and doing a scan while I wait for net to come around. Afterward I got doing some offline work, put on Van Halen and my fav black cocktail dress to shake my tech induced bad mood. Back to this morning, I had just finished editing and adding pictures this post, hit publish and it all disappeared. I do not have time for this, supposed to be heading north right now instead I am having to redo everything I just did – sigh.

Handprint Cave and Actun Tunichil Muknal
Great review of a day at ATM with archaeology instructor Sherry Gibbs. "This was hands down my favourite part of my entire trip. This was a completely unreal and amazing experience. I felt things that were beyond my imagination... Sherry Gibbs was my favourite professor at Galen University as well; so hanging out with her for the day was awesome... We hiked to Handprint Cave first, and that was really cool. It’s hard to imagine a giant skull looking out over the jungle. But that’s exactly what it looks like if you had the means to cut down all the overgrowth that covers it now. I thought the painted hands littering the cave walls were even more interesting. It really left an interesting mark on that specific ceremonial center. Mrs. Gibbs talked about so many different functions that may have gone on in that cave. She showed us where pots were found and she discussed how looters were still trying to carve the hand prints off."

Luis – Big Up The Caye’s Silent Hero!
When you live here, year in and year out – you get to realize that in the day to day running of Caye Caulker there are some silent heros. These are the people who really do make a difference to our community but they get very little acknowledgement or praise for what they actually do. One such person that will always have my huge respect is Luis Alcocer. Luis has been born and raised in Caye Caulker, truthfully not far from the Raggamuffin Tours office – and for 10 of his 29 year life, he has worked at the Village Council. Now truthfully there are a number of willing and able men and women that work at the Village Council (all of whom really should get a mention) but Luis has been one of the longest standing and that deserves a medal itself!! Luis is the man that we have to thank for our clean streets. He walks up and down the island daily raking and picking up garbage and fallen tree leaves making the streets that have captured the imagination of so many, the picturesque images that they are today. What makes his job so unbearably exhausting is the tropical heat and humidity he has to undertake his work – and that, twinned with the unrelenting sunshine beating down on his head, would be enough to make most of us give up after a week – never mind 10 years! What makes this man our hero today is that even though he has one of the toughest jobs in the world, Luis is one of the friendliest and charming characters on the street today. He remains so up-beat, despite being layered with thick clothes and hat to protect him from the sun – his demeanor being more of a person on the way to the Split for a relaxing swim and a beer than somebody at work! One of Luis’s water stops is Raggamuffin, as he always stops in to fill up his bottle with our cold water – always polite, always grateful for his small reward and always, always with a huge smile on his face. Thank you Luis for all your hard work for Caye Caulker – your endeavors have not gone un-noticed!

Belize Mega Bingo Results For (22 August, 2012)
Belize Mega BingoStraight Line 100.00 Each (12 Balls) 39 ­56 ­8 ­60 ­33 ­28 ­57 ­46 ­17 ­31 ­5 ­32­ Y 125.00 Each (14 Balls) 39 ­56 ­8 ­60 ­33 ­28 ­57 ­46 ­17 ­31 ­5 ­32 ­48 ­65­ Letter X 750.00 Each (19 Balls) 39 ­56 ­8 ­60 ­33 ­28 ­57 ­46 ­17 ­31 ­5 ­32 ­48 ­65 ­12 ­68 ­40 ­51 ­64­

International Sources

Lake Forest family finds Paradise?
Article 'bout Americans who went to Belize in search of paradise and found it where they least expected...Lan Sluder is mentioned.

Belize's first default in 2006
Interesting PPT presentation on Belize's first default in 2006 which lead to the Super Bond. Barrow's latest approach is decidedly different; but was it his plan all along?

This gorgeous world map depicts all of Earth’s hurricanes since 1851
Data visualization expert John Nelson likes to illustrate risk. Usually he focuses on individual events, but in recent months he's directed his design talents towards a series of bigger projects, in the interest of communicating information about "general geographic trends in existential risk." Translation: beautiful maps depicting the distribution of natural disasters over time. Using publicly available data from organizations like NASA, NOAA and USGS, Nelson has created maps for six decades of U.S. tornados, more than a century's worth of global earthquakes, and now over 150 years of (recorded) tropical storms and hurricanes. The results, as you can clearly see, are nothing short of jaw-dropping. First of all, this map is best appreciated in hi-resolution, so click here to see it nice and big. Check the legend at the bottom right hand corner of the image for information on things like the proportional strength of hurricane seasons and relative increases in our ability to detect storms over time. (As with his previous projections, point color is tied to storm intensity.) Got it? Good. Moving on. For his data set, Nelson referenced an archive of storm paths and wind speeds maintained by NOAA. One of my favorite things about this visualization is the unusual map projection that he selected to present the information; this particular view, known as a polar projection, places Antarctica at the center of the map. The Americas are situated to the right, Australia and Asia to the left. Africa can be seen peeking up from the bottom.

Scourge of the Lionfish
About 20 years ago, one of the world’s most beautiful and otherworldly fish, the red lionfish, started showing up in south Florida and the Caribbean. Now, they’re a plague. Millions of them live from northeastern South America to New York, from water you can stand in down to depths of a thousand feet. In a world where the main concern about fish is overfishing, and the main demand on fish is to feed an increasingly hungry human-dominated world, it may see odd to complain about abundance. But theirs is an abundance that produces widespread scarcity. That’s because invaders from afar often crowd out or gobble a wide array of desirable natives. And as an invading saltwater fish — the lion is king. Lionfish are native to the west Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Red Sea; they’re quilled with venomous spines. The sting is not fatal, but from the descriptions I’ve heard of the pain, victims might wish it were. (Yesterday while working underwater with a scientist I got barely nicked through a glove; it produced an immediate sensation and a bump). Lionfish are here in the Atlantic, it seems, because of owners of living room aquariums who tired of the upkeep but didn’t want to kill their fish. With compassion in their breasts, they released them, in numbers sufficient to get them established. Then—remember the phrase, “balance of nature?” Well… No native fish in the Atlantic looks like the lionfish, hunts like it, or stings like it. Result: No native fish in the Atlantic recognizes it as a predator. No native fish in the Atlantic gets alarmed when lionfish are on the “hunt,” because a hunting lionfish looks like a drifting piece of seaweed. And no native predator — sharks, say, or barracuda — wants anything to do with those venomous spines. And so, as I said, there are millions of them. The problem: they’ll eat anything in sight.

Nicaragua's jungle graveyard gives hints to future
Half-buried in the fringes of a thick jungle along Nicaragua's southern Caribbean coast, the remains of a once promising British colonial outpost hide shyly from the rest of the world. Greytown, as the British called this river-mouth trading post in the 18th and 19th Centuries, is now a quintessential ghost town. There are far more graves than living souls here. A rusting iron fence marks out four cemeteries: British, Catholic, Masonic and Sabine, the last named after a US frigate that lost eight crew and officers here the mid-19th Century. The last residents of this former British protectorate (1748 -1860) were relocated a few kilometres upriver in 1984, after a firefight between Sandinista soldiers and Contra rebels burned the town to the jungle floor. Today, Old Greytown is mainly home to exotic migratory birds, tapirs that plod about and sleek wild cats that paw their way through the underbrush. Occasionally, human life appears in the form of a tourist poking around the graves. Peter Stevenson, a British citizen who works for the Inter-American Development Bank in Managua, had come in search of long-lost family ties. Among the Masonic graves, Mr Stevenson found the headstone of Florence Edith Maud Schardschmidt, who was laid to rest in 1901 by her "heartbroken husband," Howard Schardschmidt.

What Was Behind Mysterious Collapse of the Mayan Empire?
The city states of the ancient Mayan empire flourished in southern Mexico and northern Central America for about six centuries. Then, around A.D. 900 Mayan civilization disintegrated. Two new studies examine the reasons for the collapse of the Mayan culture, finding the Mayans themselves contributed to the downfall of the empire. Scientists have found that drought played a key role, but the Mayans appear to have exacerbated the problem by cutting down the jungle canopy to make way for cities and crops, according to researchers who used climate-model simulations to see how much deforestation aggravated the drought. "We're not saying deforestation explains the entire drought, but it does explain a substantial portion of the overall drying that is thought to have occurred," said the study's lead author Benjamin Cook, a climate modeler at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in a statement.

Former Colonial School District teacher aims to bring children's books to Belize
Retired Colonial School District teacher Susan Castle spent years explaining basic science to eighth-graders at Colonial Middle School. These days, Castle chairs the Colonial School District Education Foundation, which means she spends countless hours evaluating requests — typically from teachers — for grants to fund projects designed to enhance CSD classroom experiences. Of late, talking up a children’s book about the jaguars of Belize is also front and center on the local educator’s to-do list. In short, Castle is part of a campaign to provide every fourth-grader in the Central American country of Belize with a copy of “Pat the (Great) Cat.” The English-Spanish book was co-written by students in Milwaukee, Wis., and Belize and recounts the plight of its title character and other jaguars — powerful but highly endangered — indigenous to the Belizean jungle. The species is the only American great cat as well as the largest spotted cat in the world. But when Pat, a real jaguar, broke his canine teeth, he also lost the ability to survive in his native wild. Rescued by Belize Zoo’s Problem Jaguar Rehabilitation Program, he was eventually resettled in the Milwaukee County Zoo thanks to Wisconsinites Nancy and John Kennedy — friends of Castle who played a major role in funding and facilitating the 2008 move. The two also helped spearhead the North American-Belizean student collaboration that produced “Pat the (Great) Cat.”

Taiwanese draftee develops app for Belizean farmers
An Android app designed to calculate the exact amount of fertilizer needed to be applied to crops has been invented by a Taiwanese national who is performing his alternative military service with a technical mission in Belize. Lai Chun-fa, who graduated from the Department of Information Management at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, said Tuesday that the idea was inspired by Cheng Kun-mu, a technician with a Taiwanese agricultural technical mission who has been helping local farmers in the Central American nation for several years. With Cheng’s help, Lai learned agricultural knowledge from step one and finally developed his app, the main purpose of which is to help technicians promote the concept of using fertilizer among local framers. Use of the app can allows technicians to calculate the exact amount of fertilizer farmers need to apply to different crops, which could greatly reduce costs and time, he said. Lai, who will complete his service within the coming month, said he would like to dedicate the app to Belize, one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. He noted, however, that the app is currently not actually available from the Android store.

Battle over Belize bond showcases default dilemmas
The central American country of Belize faced off against its bondholders this week in a battle that will once again highlight the power which small states with limited desire to access international capital markets can have in forcing through debt restructurings. ..

Another agency reduces Belize's ratings outlook following bond default
Moody's Investors Service has changed the outlook on Belize's ratings to negative from developing. The foreign currency rating remains at Ca local currency rating remains at Caa3. The rating action reflects the government's decision, announced on August 14, to renege on the 8.5% August coupon payment on the $547 million sovereign bond maturing in 2029 (the Superbond), after publicly budgeting for the $23.5 million outlay in the 2012/13 budget discussion held in June. The Superbond, which accounts for 48% of total central government debt and 57% of external debt, is itself the result of a distressed debt exchange completed in 2007. Moody's estimates that the indicative scenarios released by the government on August 8 -- a par bond and two discount bond options -- result in bondholders absorbing losses of 70-80% in net present value (NPV) terms. While this marks the beginning of a negotiation process between investors and the government, Moody's expects the debt restructuring process to impose severe losses on investors.

Belize is Earth's 4th Happiest Country
Belize ranked number 4 in the top happiest countries in the world. Of course! Central America features prominently in the top 10 with 6 of the 10 happiest countries. "Belize achieves a Happy Planet Index Score of 59.3 and ranks #4 of all the countries analysed. Belize's HPI score reflects a high life expectancy, relatively high levels of experienced well-being, and a moderate ecological footprint."


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