#449135 - 10/19/12 02:35 PM
Today's Belize News: October 19, 2012
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The San Pedro Sun
Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage called on Government to ensure Free, Prior and Informed Consent for the Communities of the Toledo District
The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage supports the communities of the Toledo District and the Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM)with their call on Government to reschedule the planned public consultation for the US Capital Exploratory Drilling Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on October 25, 2012 for November 22 or at a later date. The Coalition has been informed that the EIA was deposited in the advertised communities on Sunday, October 6, 2012, which is only 2 ½ weeks to review a highly technical document.
Fire Drill exercise carried out at Holy Cross
Students at Holy Cross and residents of San Mateo were ruffled by the sound of emergency sirens and the scampering of children from the school compound on Wednesday, October 17th in the mid-morning. The commotion was the result of a routine fire drill carried out by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) – San Pedro, along with the Ministry of Education to monitor and evaluate the school’s preparedness in responding to the threat of a fire.
Four detained for the Murder of Emerito Itza
San Pedro police have detained four minors of San Pedro addresses pending charges of Murder for the death of Emerito Itza. Sometime around 8PM on Wednesday, October 10, 2012, San Pedro Police and PolyClinic Doctors were summoned to an area just off the beach south of the San Juan Roundabout where they discovered two injured males. The doctor on duty noticed that they were suffering abrasions to the head, and asked that they be taken to the clinic for further treatment. 24-year-old
SPRCS Students elect representatives to ACFSC.
Over 900 students at the San Pedro Roman Catholic School (SPRCS) will have a chance to practice their right to vote for the first time on October 17, 2012. The students are voting to choose two student body representatives that will sit on the Quality Child Friendly School Committee QCFSC.
Principal of SPRCS, Roxani Kay spoke on the elections. “Today the students are electing the students that will form part of the QCFSC. This committee will be working directly with all stakeholders to assure a high quality school; working hand in hand with the school to pin point our strengths and weaknesses and identifying ways in which we can improve in those areas where we identify weaknesses.”
The committee will be made up of two student body representatives, a teacher, a member of the Parent-Teacher Association, a member from the school’s management, and the businesses community among other stakeholders. On the committee, the student body representatives will be directly responsible of voicing the student body’s concerns as well as suggestions on how to improve their educational experience through an improved quality of school.
San Pedro Police Rounds Up Loafers off Public Places
The San Pedro Town Council is working arduously in making our Isla Bonita a cleaner and better community to live in. When the Mayor and Councilors were elected into office, they pledged on working in tackling a complete clean up of the island which would include getting a tighter grip on liquor licenses and bar establishments, lower the noise level at bars, crack down on houses of prostitution, fix the streets, drunkards freeloading at cemetery and football fields, drug trafficking, tax payments and much more.
Most of the above, if not all, have been tackled and on Wednesday, October 17, 2012, Councilor Wally Nuñez, whose portfolio includes Community Protection & Safety and Drug Awareness, along with Freddie Gonzalez and Rafael Torres of The San Pedro Alcohol & Drug Institute (SPADI) teamed up with the San Pedro Police Department to conduct the first ever round-up of loafers off public places.
Señor Marlins Sports Bar is Island’s Newest Hot Spot
One new hot spot in town that just opened this past weekend and is ready for the upcoming season is Señor Marlin’s Sports Bar.
It’s a great hang out spot that has a very inviting atmosphere and is situated right next to the beach, can’t beat that! With beach sand running into the open bar and a very casual setting to enjoy sports events on their multiple flat screen televisions and large wall projection, the lounge has very good appeal to both tourists and locals.
Señor Marlin’s is located on the beach in front of Daddy Rock Night Club, next to the municipal pier in downtown Central Park.
Black and White Reggae Bar Cleaning Up Bad Reputation
n a letter sent out to the local community of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, proprietor of Black and White Reggae Bar, Julia Martinez acknowledged the fact that the establishment had obtained a bad reputation on the island, but that she is in the process of transforming it once again into the reputable business it once was.
“For me at this time and age, I strongly believe that bringing the bar back to a Cultural Entertainment place will be more beneficial to my family, my place of business, the community I served and most of all promoting the Belizean Garifuna Culture in a very unique manner to our tourists, visitors and friends,” commented Ms. Martinez.
Black and White Reggae Bar had become a place for the bad element in town, creating an unhealthy environment on the island. Ms. Martinez has realized that this is not what she intended for her business to become. She is now promising the community of San Pedro that her establishment will once again be known as a Garifuna Cultural Entertainment Bar where they display and promote Belize’s Garifuna culture to visitors.
Miss Belize Enjoying Okinawa, Japan at Miss International Events
Destinee Dominque Arnold is enjoying Okinawa, Japan to the fullest! The Miss International Pageant final is set for Saturday, October 20, 2012, and for the past few weeks Miss Belize - Destinee Arnold along with 68 participants have been busy attending many events.
Miss Belize seems to be a favorite for the photographers as she is being photographed a whole lot and appears in most if not all the post made of the pageant. Some events that Miss Belize has been a part of include The Naha Great Tug of War Festival, The Yukata Experience, Introduction to History & Culture Program (Ryukyumura), Marine Activities and Shopping, Okinawa City Visit, Visit & Eschange at Ozato Junior High School and Urasoe Weaving Factory.
Misc Belizean Sources
At the movies
Last week’s closedown and demonstration in El Cayo might very well be, as one former politician put it, “previews of coming attraction.” Belizeans all over are very fed up with the high rate of crime and the low rate of conviction. Over the past five years we have had well over five hundred murders. Barely into the middle of October and we are already way past a hundred for this year alone; with no sign of the violence letting up anytime soon. While the Police have been quick to make arrests in most cases, very few of those suspects ever get convicted. In most cases, Police are sure that they have the right person but more than 90% of the time, they are unable to secure a conviction. The reasons given for the dismissals run the gamut from incredulous to ludicrous. As Tom Greenwood once said, “we have replaced “sub umbra florae” with “nolle prosequi”.
Of course, murder is only one of the serious crimes currently plaguing our once peaceful haven of democracy. Attempted Murder, home invasions, robberies, rape and burglaries are common place and even when someone is caught, the chances of getting off are far better than average. Many of these crimes are committed in broad daylight since most folks are terrified of going to court to testify. And with good reason for if statistics were available we’d be horrified at the number of witnesses that have come up murdered just for even thinking about giving testimony. While eyewitness testimony is still assumed to be the more reliable form of evidence, modern technology provides us with other means of solving crimes.
Coalition supports SATIIM and Toledo Communities
The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage supports the communities of the Toledo District and the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM)with their call on Government to reschedule the planned public consultation for the US Capital Exploratory Drilling Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on October 25, 2012 for November 22 or at a later date. The Coalition has been informed that the EIA was deposited in the advertised communities on Sunday, October 6, 2012, which is only 2 ½ weeks to review a highly technical document.
If the communities are to be meaningfully consulted, and their free, prior and informed consent gained, then sufficient time must be given to review the Environmental Impact Assessment. It is noted that the EIA is in the English Language which is not the first language of the primarily affected communities and therefore translation into appropriate languages will be required to ensure meaningful, effective consultation.
Foreign ministers of Belize and Guatemala to meet on Monday
Ambassador Hugo de Zela, chief of staff of the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, announced on Thursday, in response to press inquiries, that “the coordination with authorities from Belize and Guatemala has been completed for a meeting of the foreign ministers of the two countries, in the presence of the chief representative of the OAS.”
De Zela confirmed that, on Monday, Insulza will take part in the meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize, Wilfred Elrington, and Guatemala, Harold Caballeros, in Guatemala City.
Regarding reports about the postponement of the meeting between Belize and Guatemala, De Zela said that Insulza’s agenda “has never been an obstacle for the realization of the bilateral meeting, as he has been constantly willing to postpone other commitments to go where the governments of Belize and Guatemala deem convenient and on the date on which they agree.”
Saint Martin's Credit Union Celebration
Everyone should join a credit union! Saint Martin's Credit Union celebrated International Credit Union Day today with a mini-fair. They had music, food, games, and prizes. They also had plenty of information on all of the services they offer. Thanks, Saint Martin's Credit Union!
"Mrs. Robinson" Screening at GPC
Tonight at the George Price Centre, they'll be showing a screening of "Mrs. Robinson," which won at the Belize Film Festival. It will be followed by a pot luck social.
""Mrs Robinson" is a short documentary (15 minutes) about one woman's return to her country of birth after living abroad in Belize, Central America for 56 years. The main and only character is Mrs. Patricia Robinson, Director Thomas Hines's grandmother, well known and loved Belmopan resident and Friend of the Centre. She made a very big change at the age of 83 when she decided to return to England. In returning to the country of her birth and youth, she had to say good-bye to the country of her husband's birth, where she lived with him for many years until he sadly passed away when she was 60; her many friends who she became very close with over the years she spent there; and the lifestyle that she had become accustomed to for so many years."
VIDEO: Traveller's Liquors' New Ad
Traveller's Liquors has a new advertisement. Melanie Gillett is in there too. The quality of commercials is definitely going up lately.
"Traveller's Liquors 2nd Always There television Advert!! Check us out at Onebarrelrum.com, facebook.com/onebarrelrum!!! It was shot at Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom!!"
Semana Regional Pyme Sur Sureste
Beltraide, along with Marie Sharp, Bel-Car, Cuello's, and the BTB, are representing Belize in Chetumal. Looks like they are enjoying their time up there.
"Three companies: Marie Sharp, Bel-Car, Cuello's, and The Belize Tourism Board is accompanying BELTRAIDE at the Semana Regional Pyme Sur Sureste from October 17-19, 2012!! Here a summary of day 1!"
Belizean Powder/Poda Buns
Oh I love watching you make breads and these powder buns. Yummo. Can I make them just using butter cause I don't ever cook or use margarine for my family in cooking. Jada has the right idea with the chocolate chips lol yum that's something I'd add :) awesome video! Thank you.
Belize Mega Bingo Results For (17 October 2012)
Mega BingoStraight Line 100.00 Each (7 Balls)
71 28 41 68 40 11 51
Y 125.00 Each (13 Balls)
71 28 41 68 40 11 51 46 6 70 34 13 20
Letter X 750.00 Each (26 Balls)
71 28 41 68 40 11 51 46 6 70 34 13 20 7 56 53 60 50 55 25 12 61 44 8 54 17
Guat's Had A Quarter Mil In "Meth"
In last night's news - we told you about the pair of Guatemalan males who were intercepted by police coming into Belize near the western border.
The father and son were driving in a grey Volvo car with Guatemalan plates when they were stopped at a checkpoint on the border road, just a few hundred feet into Belizean territory.
The Police Anti Drug Unit had launched a special operation with the K-9 unit and the dogs sniffed out four parcels of suspected crystal - meth - which is an illegal, highly addictive drug popular in the United States.
The parcels weighed in at just under five kilos or about 11 pounds - which has a street value of about 125 thousand US dollars - that's a quarter million Belize.
Police believe the drugs were destined for Mexico since there is no market for them in Belize.
Elrington Heads To Guatemala; Bze Will Pay Quin Yat Fam 10 K USD
Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington is going to Guatemala on Sunday. Though border relations are believed to be tense at this time - this meeting has nothing to do with that; it's a previously scheduled meeting between both countries with the OAS and the international community. Belize and Guatemala hope to raise funds for the education campaign - which must precede the referendum, planned for October of next year.
Now, it may seem odd that a regular meeting would go ahead - when just a week ago Foreign Minister Elrington said that relations were at a crisis level after a BDF Sergeant shot and killed a Guatemalan civilian in the Chiquibul forest two weeks ago.
But, things may not be all that bad after all. CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexis Rosado told us that after Elrington's interview with 7news aired on Friday, Guatemala's Foreign Minister Harold Caballeros called Elrington personally to basically disclaim everything:
There is no threat to close the border, no threat to send home our Ambassador and no ultimatum to provide an answer on the death of Francisco Quinn Yat.
Fortis Tries To Block SSB Investment in BEL
Last week, we told you about Social Security's plans to invest 15 million dollars in BEL debentures and preference shares.
Well, the former owners of the power company, Fortis, filed an application at the Court of Appeal for injunction to restrain the current board of BEL from issuing these shares, and today, that application was heard.
The matter was heard today in another highly technical hearing.
After, we spoke to the attorneys for both sides about the points they made in the application.
Here's what they had to say:
Eamon Courtenay - Attorney for Fortis
"There are purporting to issue preference shares to the Social Security Board to finance operations of the company. We've ask the court to intervene and to stop them from doing that because if FORTIS wins the case and gets back the company we would then have a set of shareholders who are preferential treated as compared to the ordinary shareholders like FORTIS and the court heard our arguments and have adjourned to give us a decision."
Scrutiny For San Pedro Pre School
The Three Angels Pre School in San Pedro is under scrutiny tonight after a police report was made that a 3 and a 1/2 year old boy was molested at the school.
The boy's grandmother took him to the police station last Friday to make the report. The San Pedro Sun reports that the child has been checked by two doctors who certified the child presented signs that he has been sexually molested.
The Sun reports that "the school's principal called an emergency meeting with the Parents Teachers Association on Wednesday evening where she discussed the situation.
She told the parents that she was surprised when "she learnt from unofficial sources that the incident had allegedly occurred on the school grounds."
The Sun reports that she explained to the parents that it is highly unlikely that the alleged sexual molestation occurred on campus since there are three teachers at the school and generally the children are not left unattended.
At this point it is just an allegation and the investigation is ongoing. Police have not detained anyone - and the Ministry of Education says it is in the hands of the police.
"Tonz A Gunz" Destroyed
Today the police started a process to destroy over 700 guns. Some of them are firearms that the police have taken off the street - but most are weapons assigned to law enforcement that aren't good anymore.
But, as we found out today authorities want to make sure no part is ever used again:..
Jules Vasquez reporting
This morning, the hydraulic shears at the Queen Street Police Station were busy - the violent sound of the blades crushing barrels and stocks with mechanical precision.
The weapons slated for destruction came by the truckful - and the sacksful - 470 from police and 260 from the BDF.
It is part of an effort by the UN Office for Peace, Disarmament and Development - which also donated the hydraulic shears.
Robbery Victim Chases Down Assailant
Just before midday on yesterday, Lakers Mini Mart on Lawrence Avenue was targeted by armed robbers. According to the cashier - 21 year old Malcolm Mortis- the two armed, masked men walked in; one of them held a knife to his neck and took away his cell phone and other personal effects including his wallet.
Mortis was then taken to the cash register and forced to open it where the robbers snatched up an unknown amount of money in coins and cash.
Both then fled on bicycles. But they weren't so lucky to get away. Mortis and his uncle set chase and caught up with one of the robbers on McKay Boulevard. The other robber managed to escape.
Police have detained a minor of Alta Vista area in the Belize District and have recovered the stolen cell phone, and the wallet. Additionally one silver colored knife with a black plastic handle and a pair of scissors were recovered as exhibits.
Hair Braider Etiquette
Tourism product managers may cringe when they think that hair braiders are the frontline representatives for Belize's Tourism product. But, like them or don't, they are often get the first taste of the Belizean experience that cruise tourists get.
Make no mistake they're hard working ladies and an essential part of the tourism picture, but the BTB is concerned that they can be a little rough around the edges when making that sales pitch.
That's why the Belize Tourism Board is holding a 2 day training session for 23 hair braiders from the Fort Street Tourism Village. The session covers professionalism, etiquette, health and safety and, organization. One of the coordinators explained:...
Perry Bodden Jr. - Coordinator, BTB
"BTB is embarking on a 2 day training program for the hair braiders at the Fort George Tourism Village area. The areas that we are going to cover in the training are professionalism, etiquette, customer service and the health aspect of cosmetology and we are going to touch on some marketing strategies as well."
"The quality and assurance department main goal is to overall enhance the visitors experience on tourist on a whole, so the ladies could take the knowledge from this training and use it. Day two of this training we are going to have like a hand-on training of some different styles they could use at the village and as well we are going to teach them more or less how to use a computer and go out and YouTube it on different styles and just keep up to standards."
Caught With Counterfeit
Tonight, 29 year-old Denvoy Domingo, a laborer of Lakeview Street, and 29 year-old Christine Neal, teacher of Lord's Bank Village are out on bail after they were taken to court for possession of counterfeit currency.
According to Police, at around 6:30 p.m. on September 1, they searched his home, and they found 22 counterfeit 20-dollar bills all with similar serial numbers.
Police say that 29 year-old Christine Neal claimed the money as hers and as result, she was charged with 2 counts of possession of counterfeit notes. She was arraigned before Magistrate Aretha Ford on Tuesday.
She was given bail of $5,000 which she was able to meet, and she is expected back at court on November 23. Well, police believe that Denvoy Domingo is also connected to these counterfeit notes because they charged him with one count of possession of counterfeit currency, and he was arraigned this evening before Magistrate Ford.
Two Recovering Cops Named August
On Monday we told you about ASP Amin August - the off duty police officer who stood up to a trio of robbers in Esperanza village and wrestled with a gunman. He got shot in the process - but was spared the full impact because the bullet hit his belt buckle.
Still, he had to have surgery and the officer commanding Cayo Aaron Guzamn tells us ASP August is recovering well and is up and walking.
Police are still looking for the gunman - who is a person known to them. And another policeman named August, Sergeant Mark August who lost both his legs in a motorcycle accident is also recovering. Today the police minister John Saldivar visited him at his residence in the Camalote.
According to a press release, Saldivar assured him of the full support of the Ministry of National Security in assisting him and his family throughout the challenges associated with his accident.
Big Bucks For Burnt Oil
In Belize City there are very many hustles - but we met one man whose game is buying up all the burnt cooking oil he can find. He buys big from Chinese eateries and we found out why.
Jules Vasquez reporting
In the cantaloupe coloured evening light most people are winding down - but we found this 73 year old winding up.
We met Julio Florian in front of Chon Saan Palace fastening these buckets of burnt cooking oil unto his bicycle.
Now, who wants burnt cooking oil?:
Julio Florian, "El Pajarito" - Buys burnt oil
"This is for making gasoline for the gas station my sister has. I buy for $15 a gallon; this is for diesel and gasoline. From this I can get 4 gallons of gasoline and diesel."
Spanking New Succotz Ferry On The Way
IT'S A Belizean landmark - and a fairly ancient one - but the Succotz Ferry is on its way out - and will be replaced with a new ferry. And that's why the Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve will be closed to the Public from October 29th to November first.
According to a press release sent out by NICH, the closure has become necessary in order to facilitate the removal of the old ferry and the installation of a new one.
They Remember Rosita
If you don't have any plans for Saturday night, the artist community in Belize wants you to support a concert to raise money to assist one of their own.
As we've reported, Rosita Balthazar, a well-known dancer and teacher who has worked with NICH numerous times, has been diagnosed with cancer, and her colleagues are holding a benefit concert at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday night.
Joseph Stamp Romero, the concert's organizer told us this evening why the public should attend:
Joseph Stamp Romero, Organizer - Benefit Concert
"The message of this concert is that an artist community is that we acre about our own. We care about our country and we care about making a statement. On Saturday at the Bliss at 7pm Belizean artists are going to come together and make a statement saying that we are in support of our own Rosita Balthazar who have been diagnosed with cancer. We have to start taking care of our own people, even as artists and as a wider community, so when we see people coming up performing and giving their best to the audience we can understand that they are there for free for one and also to say that as a wider community in Belize its time that we started to share each other experience."
3 year old boy sexually abused in San Pedro
On Wednesday, a pre-school in Belize City was attacked by armed robbers. The teacher was held at gunpoint in front of the classroom of four year old children. If that was not enough to shock everyone there is a report coming out of San Pedro Town tonight of a despicable incident. The family of a [...]
Foreign Minister Elrington headed to meeting in Guatemala
A meeting will be held in Guatemala City this coming Monday between Foreign Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington and Harold Caballeros, the Guatemalan Foreign Minister. The announcement was made today by the office of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington. According to a release, “the coordination with authorities from Belize and Guatemala has been [...]
Canada’s Fortis tries to block sale of B.E.L. shares
There were two weighty cases before the courts today. Submissions were heard before the Court of Appeal in a case against the government, brought by the former owners of Belize Electricity Limited, Fortis is requesting an injunction to restrict the issuance of preference shares to the Social Security Board. Prior to this afternoon’s hearing, attorneys [...]
Government Attorney says share sale would increase value of company
While S.S.B. has cash flow to sink in B.E.L., government’s attorney, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, argues that the multimillion dollar investment would actually increase the value of the existing shares. Denys Barrow, Attorney for Government “The question really is whether preference shares would be a good or a bad thing for the company and, [...]
Former Telemedia Executive Chairman, Dean Boyce, to take the stand?
In the other case this morning, a request was made to have former Telemedia executive chairman Dean Boyce cross examined in the Court of Appeal. Boyce submitted an affidavit refuting a sworn statement by financial secretary Joseph Waight regarding government’s ability to pay damages if the B.T.L. Employees Trust wins litigation over the company’s re-nationalization. [...]
Guatemalan father and son busted with Meth
A Guatemalan father and son team was busted attempting to bring meth into Belize. At around two-fifteen on Wednesday afternoon, personnel from the anti-drug and canine units of the Police Department intercepted a Volvo car with Guatemalan license plates at western border check point in Benque Viejo. During a search of the vehicle, the police [...]
26 arrests for 100 murders defines low conviction rate
Serious crimes are up according to the statistics from the Belize Police Department joint intelligence coordinating center. While the overall number of reported crimes in the nine month period from January to September has dropped by twenty-three, it is still high at two thousand and seventy. Murders notably went up in the first nine months [...]
More robberies in 2012
Attorney Dickie Bradley also spoke about the amount of robberies. There were fifty-five more robberies in the nine month period this year totaling three hundred and eighty-one. That statistic, a part of two thousand plus crimes is complicated by the fact that cases take years to be heard by the courts which leaves witnesses either [...]
Woman says Edward Martinez swindled her in land deal
Earlier this month Sylvia Baptist, a Belizean living in Los Angeles came to News Five’s studio, claiming that she had been swindled out of over twenty thousand dollars in a land deal with Edward Martinez. Baptist said she either wanted her money back or Martinez behind bars and it turns out she’s not the only [...]
…and even more allegedly swindled by Edward Martinez
Fairweather says that during her last visit to Belize in September, she realized she needed to take legal action against Martinez. After a visit to Belmopan and an attorney, Martinez reportedly found out about her efforts and asked her to back off. But at that time, Fairweather was in the country for a memorial marking [...]
Written Judgment on Appeal Court’s Justice Awich
The Belize Court of Appeal on Wednesday handed down a judgment that makes for interesting reading. Last week, Dean Boyce and the British Caribbean Bank had asked that Justice Samuel Awich recuse himself from hearing their appeal on the nationalization of their assets. Dean Boyce and Lord Ashcroft who have significant interest in the Bank [...]
Crimes of dishonesty are on the rise
Crimes of dishonesty are on the rise; in the first nine months of this year there were three hundred and eighty-one robberies, eight hundred and seventeen burglaries and seven hundred and six thefts. In today’s police blotter, there were two burglaries, a robbery and a theft reported. The robbery occurred on Wednesday morning at Laker’s [...]
Patrick Jones, 20, pulls gun on mother of his child
A Belize City woman is reportedly the victim of a violent attack by her baby’s father. According to twenty-one year old Layla Fuentes, she went to the home of twenty year old Patrick Jones on Tuesday to get money for their daughter. But Fuentes says that when she arrived at the Banak Street house, Jones [...]
Woman won’t face murder charge for death of husband
A domestic dispute three years ago ended fatally for twenty-six year old security guard, Albert Maverick Morgan, who was stabbed to death by his wife, Audrey Morgan. Since July sixteenth, Audrey has been the subject of a coroner’s inquest in the Magistrate’s Court to determine whether she will face charges for Albert’s murder. Today, a [...]
K.H.M.H. explains fee for service
Beginning November first, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital will be imposing consultation fees for non-emergency services and a new administration fee at the pharmacy in addition to the regular charge for medication. The K.H.M.H says it has expanded and improved services and that it needs to cover costs. News Five’s Duane Moody reports. Duane [...]
4 minors from San Pedro charged for manslaughter of Emerito Itza
At the top of the news we reported on the allegations of the sexual abuse of a three and a half year old boy in San Pedro. Well, there is more dire news coming out of the island. Minutes ago, four minors—all students—were charged with Manslaughter in connection with the death of Emerito Itza, who [...]
B.T.B. sponsors hair braiders training
Hair braiding is a budding business in the tourism industry. At the ITVET Compound in Belize City today, a two day interactive training session for twenty-three hair braiders from the Fort Street Tourism Village Zone was held. The Belize Tourism Board organized the training session, in which the hair braiders are learning about etiquette, health [...]
Healthy Living warms up with some stretches
It is accepted that exercise is important and necessary but what about stretching? There are many do’s and don’ts as well as when to and when not to. This week in Healthy Living, we get firsthand advice from a fitness instructor on stretching before exercising. Marleni Cuellar “Laces tied; music ready; perfect day for [...]
Two Guatemalans Detained for Drug Trafficking
Two Guatemalan nationals are in police detention in Cayo pending charges of drug trafficking. The two men, a father and son duo, were detained on Wednesday afternoon at a police checkpoint on the George Price Highway near the Western Border in Benque Viejo del Carmen. Accor...
Belize Tourism Board Provides Training for Women
The Belize Tourism Board is providing a special two day hair braiding training session for women of the Fort Street Tourism Village Zone at the ITVET in Belize City. The training comes as part of an effort the BTB is embarking on to enhance the visitor experience of cruise touris...
Woman Wounded by Baby's Father
A Belize City woman claims she was threatened with death by the father of her child. Twenty one year old Layla Fuentes reported to police that on Tuesday afternoon she went to the home of twenty year old Patrick Jones to collect money for her daughter. Fuentes says that whe...
Thursday, October 18 ----- Police News
One person is in police custody and authorities are looking for another following an armed robbery on Wednesday morning. The incident happened at Laker’s Mini Mart in Belize City around eleven forty yesterday morning. According to police reports, the cashier at the establis...
Another Acquittal Handed Down in Court for Burglary
Thirty-one year old Germin Bustillos, a laborer of Guinea Grass charged with the burglary of Quan’s warehouse in which over $8,000.00 worth of items were stolen, was acquitted of the charge today. After the prosecution closed its case, Bustillos’ attorney, Phillip Palacio, ...
Villager Acquitted of Firearm Charges
Thirty year old Francis Benitez, a resident of Windmill area, Hattieville, charged with kept firearm and ammunition without a gun license, was acquitted of both charges today. The incident occurred on June 28, 2012. The police was conducting a roadblock at mile 4 on the Western Highway...
Family of murdered man demands justice
San Pedro police have detained four minors in connection with the death of 45-year-old San Jose Succotz resident, Emerito Itza. As we reported yesterday Itza died on Monday morning at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Itza was reportedly hit to the head during an altercation last Wednesday night in San Pedro Town. Today, the brother of the murdered man told Love News the family is disappointed by the slow response of the police.
No charges have bee levied against any of the persons detained.
Entrepreneurial skills training for young people
This week the Department of Youth is conducting training for youths who want to become their own business owners and branch out into their individual fields of service or specialty. The entrepreneurial training, according to the Director of the Department of Youth Services, Christine Smith, is to expose the youths about the concepts of creating their own opportunities and becoming their own business owners.
The Department has teamed up with CARICOM to hold this current training. Heather Johnson from CARICOM is in Belize to oversee the training. She told Love News that what is being applied is taken from a manual developed from throughout the region, Belize included.
There are twenty six youths from across the city with food and service industry, graphic designs and pastry making.
Teacher accused of counterfeit currency
A teacher has been charged with possession of counterfeit currency notes. Police say on September 1st they conducted a search for illegal firearm and ammunition at a house on Lakeview Street. During the search police reportedly found twenty two counterfeit twenty Belize dollar notes with eleven of the notes bearing serial number DH998839 and the other eleven notes bearing serial numbers DJ468872 inside a chest drawer. Police say twenty nine year old Christine Neal, a teacher of Lord’s Bank Village claimed the counterfeit currency was hers as a result she was arrested and charged.
Robbers on the loose in Ladyville
The other robbery was reported in Ladyville. Yesterday around 8:29 pm, two armed masked men are alleged to have stormed into Lo’s Supermarket located on the Philip Goldson Highway in Ladyville. The men were armed with what appeared to be nine millimeter pistols. They disarmed the security guard and the proprietor and then escaped in a vehicle with an undisclosed amount of money and two nine millimeter firearms toward Belize City. Police are following some leads in this incident and an investigation is in progress for all three robbery incidents.
Robberies reported in Belize City
A series of robberies have been reported in Belize City and Ladyville. Christopher Lanza reported to police that sometime around 7:42 this morning he was at the corner of Faber’s Road and the George Price Highway, when he was approached by two armed men who attempted to take his vehicle. The men were unsuccessful in taking the vehicle but they did get away with his cell phone. Meanwhile, a teacher reported another robbery which occurred around 9:25 this morning. The teacher from Little Cadet Preschool in the Jane Usher Boulevard area, told police that two men entered the school compound under the pretense of enquiring about a student. When the teacher approached, they held her up and stole her cell phone.
Man accused of sex with 14 year old girl
Punta Gorda police are looking for an eighteen year old man in connection with an incident of carnal knowledge. A fourteen year old female accompanied by her mother reported to police that last Friday night 8:00 o’clock, the 18 year old male had sexual intercourse with her by the sea side in Punta Gorda. A doctor certified that the girl was carnally known. Police are now searching for the teenager who resides in the Magoon area of Punta Gorda.
Man accused or murderer walks free of charge
In February 2009, 44-year-old Enrique Castillo was murdered at his home on Belize Corozal Road in Orange Walk Town. Today, the man accused of the gruesome murder was found not guilty of the crime. In the Northern session of the Supreme Court in Orange Walk Town, Justice Herbert Lord directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty. Love News spoke with Castillo’s sister Pastor Antonette Young.
Tillett was represented by attorney Leo Bradley Jr. while Kristoff Rodriguez represented the prosecution. Castillo’s body was found inside his home in mid February 2009. A post mortem certified that Castillo died of a slit throat.
Supreme Court ruling hands partial victory to Rene Villanueva
Supreme Court judge, Justice Oswell Legall has handed down his decision on the case of the Development Finance Corporation versus Rene Villanueva, Senior and his son, Rene Junior. It was a stunning judgment, ordering the Villanuevas to pay four hundred thousand dollars to the Development Finance Corporation. The case involved a claim by the DFC of over eight hundred thousand dollars from the Villanueva father and son duo, who are proprietors of RSV Limited, the company which owns this television station. The claim stems from a loan facility originally extended to the Villanuevas to purchase the Cahal Pech property in San Ignacio town. It is business transaction stretching back to 2003 and over the course of several transactions, including the takeover of the nightclub by another businessman, with the concurrence of the DFC, the Villanuevas believed that they had settled the matter. But in November of last year, DFC initiated the lawsuit claiming outstanding balances against the owners of Love Television and Love FM. The judgment handed down on Tuesday awards four hundred thousand dollars to the Development Finance Corporation, a figure well below that the government institution was claiming. But the judgment has left the Villanuevas hopping mad, and today Rene Villanuva Senior told Love News that while the judgment can be seen as a partial success, it is still leaves a lot to be desired.
But the Justice Legall saw differently and said so in his twenty six page ruling. Aside from the four hundred thousand dollars debt the judge ordered the Villanueva’s to pay DFC, he also ordered the defendants to pay interest on that four hundred thousand dollars to the rate of six percent per annum retroactice to March sisteenth of 2010 and continuing until the full debt is honored. A counter claim by the Villanuevas was dismissed, and they were ordered to pay DFC’s attorney’s fees to the tune of ten thousand dollars. Villanueva says that based on his cursory reading of the decision, he finds that the judge made some key errors and he plans to appeal the ruling.
Rene Villanueva Senior and Junior were represented in court by attorney Michael Young and Melissa Balderamos Mahler.
New pressure group formed
Today a vociferous group that calls itself Belize Coalition for Justice, steadfast in its commitment to defend the Constitution of Belize and, as its name implies, advocate for justice, called a press conference. Its purpose was to launch an aggressive campaign against what it deems as quote……the national crisis facing Belize and its people……end quote. Its campaign followed a forceful meeting in San Ignacio on Sunday at which the leadership of some of the country’s most active organizations and unions were represented. BCJ’s aim, as its speakers amplified today, is to get Belizeans keenly abreast of the issues that are having and can have future effects on Belize as a country. At its core is the Belize/Guatemala territorial dispute, and the proposal by the Organization of American States to take the claim to the International Court of Justice for a definitive determination. Paco Smith was unyielding in his stance on the matter and called on the removal of the current Attorney General, Wilfred Elrington, from that office.
Another member, Geovanni Brackett, found displeasure in comments made recent by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington.
The Coalition’s National Coordinator, Nancy Marin, said that the group is an alliance of people from both political parties with one common cause who have made an oath.
Patrick Menzies said that the Coalition will endeavour to uphold the Constitution of Belize.
Other speakers at the conference included former politician, Hector Silva and Micah Gooding, who is the Founder of Nation Builders.
Court of Appeal affirms murder conviction
An appeal by 34 year old Orlando Wade, convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, was dismissed today by Belize Court of Appeal. Wade, a resident of Sandhill, was found guilty of the murder of 45 year old Dorla Pitterson, a mentally challenged woman whose nude body was found in an old septic hole behind Sylvia’s Cool Spot in Sandhill on June 24, 2008. Dr. Mario Estradabran, who performed the autopsy, said she died between 4 pm and 7 pm on June 23, 2008 and the cause of death was manual strangulation. Wade’s attorney, Simeon Sampson, had appealed on the ground that there was a miscarriage of justice because the learned trial judge deliberately misled the jury about Dr. Estradabran’s opinion of the time of death and it was unfair and prejudicial to the appellant. He said that the main witness, Barry Rosales, testified that he awoke around midnight and saw the appellant on top of the deceased beating her. He said that at that point the judge should have alerted the jury to the doctor’s evidence regarding to the time of death. The DPP, Cheryl Lynn Vidal, who represented the respondent, responded by saying that the judge did not err nor mislead the jury because Dr. Estradabran was not able to fix a precise time of death and the direction by the judge did not in any way misrepresent the testimony of the doctor.
Man killed in road traffic accident in Toledo
A fatal traffic incident on the Southern Highway has claimed the life of one person. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the story.
BCJ says "Remove Minister of Foreign Affairs now!"
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General, Wilfred Elrington has come under public pressure for comments...
Belize Coalition for Justice is officially launched
This morning's press briefing was also the Belize coalition for Justice's official launch. . The movement says that...
Hostile take-over of Citrus Industry at Boiling Point!
When it comes to Belize's industries, all eyes have been on the sugar industry up north in recent months with the n...
Businessmen attacked at US/Mexico border
Rumors have been spreading that popular Belmopan resident Gary Gentle had been missing in action and possibly thoug...
Two Guatemalan men detained at Benque with crystal-meth
Police in Benque Viejo detained two Guatemalan men last night after they were intercepted at a checkpoint. The poli...
Police in Belize City recover three stolen motorcycles
This morning (OCT 18) around 11:00am CIB personnel visited an abandoned lot on Neal’s Pen Road where they found thr...
One man caught and one escaped following store robbery
Another store is targeted by Belize City thieves. 21 year old MALCOLM MORTIS, an employee of Laker's Mini Mart, loc...
Home burglarized in Belize City
Thieves invade the home of a Belize City woman. CATHERINE MICHAEL, a resident of Queen Charlotte Street reported th...
Tools and cement stolen from construction site in San Igancio
Ambitious thieves make off with equipment and materials from a construction site. Business Jonathan Lohr of Stanton...
Two charged for Separate Attempted Murder Charges
On Tuesday, October 16th, two Belize City men were before the Belize City Magistrate’s Court to answer to separate charges of attempted murder in connection with two shooting incidents over the week.
Ellis Meighan, Jr., and Jeon Peebles, both of Belize City were charged in Magistrate's Court.
The first to be arraigned was 21-year-old Jeon Peebles, a laborer of #6892 Electric Avenue Belize City. Peebles is accused of pulling the trigger twice as he tried to kill 17-year-old Malik Dixon. He appeared before Magistrate Aretha Ford in Court #7 where he was additionally charged with the use of deadly means as well as dangerous harm and grievous harm upon Dixon.
Due to the nature of the offenses, no plea was taken and Peebles was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until December 6th.
In court, Peebles was unrepresented. He was informed of his rights to apply to the Supreme Court with the assistance of an attorney to seek Supreme Court bail in the matter since the magistrate cannot offer it to him.
Edward Arthurs acquitted of rape
In 2004, a 17-year-old female, claimed that Edward Wilfred Arthurs, then 26, a Belize City resident and friend of her brother, raped her then robbed her of her money.
The alleged rape had occurred in the Lord's Ridge Cemetery. After 6 years on remand for the rape and robbery, Arthurs was acquitted of the incident on Friday, October 12th. A jury of 9 people deliberated for a little over three hours and found him not guilty of both counts. The trial concluded at 2:12 p.m., before Justice Troadio Gonzalez after a week of trial.
Although he was set free of this offense, Arthurs was not free to go home as he is presently on remand at the Belize Central Prison on a murder charge so he was escorted back to the Belize Central Prison.
Prosecutor in the case, Thalia Megan Francis called as many as 6 witnesses to testify in the case against Edwards including the a 23-year-old woman. The woman took the stand at the commencement of the trial on Friday, October 5th where she told the court that on the night of July 13th, 2004, the accused was speaking with her brother near the Cumberbatch Field. When he left, she went to speak with her brother and then she left. That’s when Arthurs allegedly followed her as she walked by the cemetery.
Massage Therapist remanded for Pulling Pellet Gun
Jordana Frutos hides her face as she is escorted to prison
On Friday, October 12th, a massage therapist was remanded to the Belize Central Prison for 4 days after she pulled a pellet gun on another woman. 31-year-old Jordana Frutos, a resident of Ambergris Lake Villas on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye was remanded after she was accused by resident, Brendalee Henkis, who owns a Fitness Center on the island.
Frutos who was represented by Attorney Andrew Bennett, was arraigned in Belize City Magistrate's Court and as that took place, she broke down in tears. Henkis, alleged that on October 9th, Frutos assaulted her with a pellet gun.
After 4 nights behind bars, Frutos was brought from prison and when she appeared again in court, she received good news that Henkis told the court that she wanted no further court action.
The court prosecutor however, requested an adjournment in the matter stating that since the crimeis said to have occurred with the use of a pellet gun, he wanted to get the DPP’s guidance before disposing of the matter based on the request of the virtual complainant. The Magistrate denied him an adjournment, however, and dismissed the charge against Frutos and she was free to go home.
Frutos had pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to her on Friday. Her attorney, at the time, told the court that this was his client's first allegation for an offense of this nature and that she has been cooperating with the police. He added that she has a good defense and that she had handed in herself to police after the alleged incident had occurred.
Remanded for Gun and Ammo Possession
An employee at the Ex-Service Men’s League, 21-year-old Ludrick McKay is behind bars after police claim they found him in possession of a 9 mm pistol loaded with 8 live rounds.
McKay, who was unrepresented, appeared before Magistrate Aretha Ford in Court #7 on Tuesday, October 16th where he was read two criminal charges - a count of keeping unlicensed firearm without a gun license and a count of keeping ammunition without a gun license.
Allegations are that on October 14th, 2012, whilst at Belize Ex-Service Men’s League, he was found in possession of a 9 mm pistol loaded with 8 live rounds of Luger brand ammunitions.
In court, McKay pleaded not guilty to the charges but due to the nature of the offenses, he was denied bail and remanded to the Belize Central Prison until December 5th, 2012.
Man walks from Murder Charge
The gruesome and brutal murder of Enrique Castillo on February 13th, 2009, inside his home in Orange Walk Town shocked many especially, his loved ones. While they admitted that his sexual preference contributed to his death back in 2009, the verdict on Wednesday, October 17th shocked them even more as the man accused of his murder was acquitted in the Corozal Supreme Court.
23-year-old Nimrod Tillett, who had been charged for the murder, was acquitted before Justice Denis S. Hanomansingh. During the trial the judge ruled during a voir dire that a confession by Tillett in which he admitted to killing Castillo was inadmissible as evidence.
This was the only piece of evidence that the prosecutor, Christopher Rodriguez of the DPP’s office was relying on to seal a conviction against Tilllett. After the ruling, Rodriguez closed his case with no other evidence to present to the jurors. With that, Tillett’s attorney, Leo Bradley made a no case submission asking the judge to direct the jurors to return a not guilty verdict, which they did.
Bailed after being shot by Special Constable
Cotton Tree resident, Owen Parham was allegedly shot twice in the leg on Friday, October 12th. As a result, he had to be taken to the KHMH for treatment. The man, who shot him, is a special constable whom Parham claimed he had gone to sell weed to but he ended up being robbed. He was additionally charged with 5 criminal offences.
On Tuesday, October 16th, Parham appeared in Court #7 before Magistrate Aretha Ford where he was charged with a count of attempted robbery upon Special Constable James Stuart. He was also charged with harm, aggravated assault, going equipped and resisting lawful arrest.
In court, the prosecutor objected to bail submitting that Parham gave the court an address of Cotton Tree and that he is a vendor, who sells clothes, yet one of the charges against him is that of going equipped to commit the crime of burglary. He was allegedly found with a crowbar, which is not a tool of his trade. There was also the objection based on the fact that attempted robbery is a very serious offense, which carries a jail term of up to 20 years on summary conviction.
In his defense, Parham told the court that he had gone to sell weed to the special constable in the Ladyville area and when he got there, the man told him to go meet him in a back road. Whilst on the back road, the man pulled out a gun and shot him twice in the leg at close range. He claims that the man then robbed him after which police came and he was the one charged.
Edited by Marty (11/17/12 03:42 PM)
#449136 - 10/19/12 02:36 PM
Re: Today's Belize News: October 19, 2012
New Executives in Cayo North East, Lake I and Freetown
The United Democratic Party held meetings on Wednesday, October 10th, 13th, and 16th to name executive committees in the Cayo North East, Lake Independence and the Freetown divisions respectively.
On Wednesday, a meeting was held at the UDP Cayo North East constituency office at 26 Sixth Street San Ignacio Town where Fermin Magana was selected to be the chairman of the constituency committee. He will be assisted by members: Doreen Nunez, Anthony Rosado, Melissa Parham, Daniel Waight, Abimael Herrera, Alfonso Cruz Aury Quintanilla, Shern Robateau, Teodola Witz, David Gallardo, Wayne Casey, Shelan Humes, Norman Dueck, and George Plett. Alternates selected were Jose Antonio Cardoza, Enrique Arrollo, Wilmer Monroy, Jose Perez, and Elisandro Padilla. Hon. Elvin Penner heads this committee as the current Area Representative.
Extreme Advocates of Doing Absolutely Nothing – Belize Coalition for Justice says “Can’t Trust the ICJ”.
Geovani Brackett, Nancy Marin-Juan and Pack Smith
The Belize Coalition for Justice, in its first few days in existence has turned the single unifying issue in Belize into the most divisive. The Guatemalan claim of Belize’s territory has been an issue of concern throughout several generations. Politicians, in both countries, have used the issue to gain political mileage. That practice made a complicated situation even more unstable. Through the support of the Organization of the American States, both countries were able to agree on a path forward - one that could finally bring the dispute to an end, that is the decision to take the case to the International Court of Justice.
New Attorney for Police Prosecutions
Recognizing that one of the greatest problems facing the country's crime-fighting capacity is the lack of proper evidence gathering and case file compilation, Cabinet has agreed to bolster the prosecution arm of the Police Department.
PM - Peaceful Protest in Cayo
The Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon. Dean Barrow, has offered his congratulations and thanks to the thousands of Belizeans from the Cayo District and across the country who participated in the San Ignacio/Santa Elena peaceful protest against crime. The Prime Minister views this latest mass action against the greatest scourge in our country, as a continuation of the same Cayo spirit and resolve that he highlighted in his Independence Day Address.
Hon. Joy Grant represents Belize in Seoul on Climate Change
Senator, the Hon. Audrey Joy Grant, travelled to Seoul, South Korea to attend the Forum on the Future of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Minister Grant was invited by the Korean Government and the Korea Development Institute to chair a session entitled “How could the Green Climate Fund support The Developing World to shift towards Green and Climate-Resilient Economic Development." Attendees to the forum included high-level government officials, civil society and private sector stakeholders from both developed and developing countries. The President of Korea, Hyun Oh-Seok, and Prime Minister of Korea, Kim Hwang-sik, delivered remarks at the opening ceremonies.
New Multipurpose Centre for Guinea Grass Village
On Friday, October 12th, the Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Gaspar Vega launched a project for the construction of a new multipurpose centre for the village of Guinea Grass in the Orange Walk District that will address the training needs of the women of the village and, empower the existing groups to collectively engage in income-generating activities.
Forensic Lab now has Ballistic Identification Capacity
On Friday, October 12th, Hon. Diane Ablonczy, CanadianForensic Lab now has Ballistic Identification Capacity. Minister of State of Foreign Affairs handed over a state of the art Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS) to Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security. The donation was made in April 2012 and it took 6 months for the delivery to be made.
Information Communication and Technology Road Show goes to San Ignacio
The Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology, and Public Utilities, in partnership with the Caribbean Telecommunication Union recently held a successful road show in San Ignacio Town. Under the theme, “Harnessing the Power of Innovation - the engine for ICT - enabled Caribbean Development”, the road show brought together many stakeholders in the local Information Technology Sector such as the Belize Linux User Group (www.belizelug.org), a group of Belizeans, who are now gaining an audience for their "Open Source Movement" in the rest of Central America.
New Addition to Tourism Attraction: Medical Tourism
Dr. Adrian Coye, Director of Medical Services at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital performed the first open heart surgery in Belize on Monday, July 16th, of this year. He performed a cervical revascularization on a 73-year-old man. Luckily for the patient, he did not have to seek medical attention abroad. Coye said that such a surgery would cost around US$100,000 in the United States. The patient, like the majority of Belizeans, would find such a surgery impossible to afford. Drafters of Belize’s medical tourism policy are hoping that the new industry will eventually end the practice of Belizeans going abroad and significantly increase the number of foreigners coming to Belize for medical care because, according to Coye, “that same heart surgery would cost a little more than $10,000 in Belize”.
Government Rehabilitates Punta Gorda Municipal Building
The rehabilitated Administration Building and adjacent Town Hall in the municipality of Punta Gorda was officially inaugurated on October 11th.
New Police Vehicle for San Ignacio
In an effort to better equip the San Ignacio Police Formation, the Ministry of National Security handed over a new pickup truck to that formation. The vehicle was handed over on Thursday, October 11th to the formation commander. The vehicle is part of the Ministry's response by the citizens of the Cayo District, who are asking that the Police Department be better equipped.
Remarks by Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar at Handing-over Ceremonies for Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS) donated By Canadian Government
Hon. Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Canada; Mr. Hugues Rousseau, Canadian High Commissioner and other members of the Canadian Delegation; Carlos Perodomo, Cabinet Secretary; Colonel George Lovell, CEO Ministry of National Security and other members of the Ministry of National Security; Alexis Rosado, CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Patrick Andrews, Honorary Canadian Consul; we are also blessed with the presence of Mr. Douglas Singh, previous Minister with the responsibility for the Ministry of Police and Public Safety; Mrs. Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecution; Ms. Ann-Marie Smith, Chief Magistrate; Mr. David Henderson, Commissioner of Police and other members of the Police Department; Brigadier General Dario Tapia, Commander BDF and other members of the BDF; Captain John Borland, Commandant Belize Coast Guard; Ms. Genoveva Marin and members of the National Forensic Science Service; Members of the various media houses represented here today; other distinguished guests; Ladies and Gentlemen; a good morning to one and all.
Teaching Teachers the Development Reader Assessment Technique
A group of twenty-four volunteers from the United States of America have fanned out to several primary schools in the Cayo District this week to teach teachers about the Development Readers Assessment (DRA). This technique uses sound and word games, and other tools to measure students’ status in reading to differentiate instructions based on that assessment. The missionaries are part of a group of instructors, from the Belize Education Project, now headquartered in Colorado, and are on their sixth mission to Belize. They will be here for one week to continue their solidarity with Belizean teachers to improve the literacy rates of students, say organizers. Their objectives are to improve reading among students; teach teachers to read; provide scholarships, provide the tools for reading and improve general family literacy.
Germany upgrades Computer Lab of Women’s Department
The computer lab of the Women’s Department Office on Albert Street was extensively damaged by Hurricane Richard in 2010. The downpour from Richard caused the computer lab to be flooded and water flowed into the power sockets, which damaged the electrical infrastructure of the building. Furthermore, the water caused one of the walls to deteriorate beyond the possibility of repair.
Belize City Youths to Launch 4 New Businesses
The children of Belize are not allowed around the table when the financial affairs of the family is being discussed. In most cases, it is not until the individual finds a job and is expected to contribute that they learn of the family expenses. The practice of not involving young people in the economic affairs of the household has contributed greatly to the rise of a generation of economically stunted individuals. This is also the case for the rest of the Caribbean and, it extends from the home to the very society where we live and learn. Experts have pointed to this practice as the reason for the low sense of entrepreneurship in youths of the region.
Airport and BWSL leads in Basketball Firms’ Competition
The Belize District Basketball Association Firms, and U-23 Competitions continued at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City with a number of games over the last weekend.
On Saturday, October 14th, in the first of two U-23 games played, Tigersharks edged Cellular World by the score of 59-58. The top scorers for the Tigersharks were Winston Pratt with 16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and Ryan Zuniga with 14 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals.
For Cellular World, the top scorers were Marvin Skeet with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 steals; and Justin Wade with 11 points.
In the second game played, Tuff E Nuff won over Belize Bank by the score of 58-51. The top scorers for Tuff E Nuff were Jamal Kelly with 28 points, 6 rebounds; and Luis Pitterson and Jarrell Velasquez with 8 points each. Meanwhile, the top scorers for the Belize Bank were Lincey Lopez with 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals; and Brian White with 8 points.
In the first Firms’ Competition game of the evening, Bowen N’ Bowen defeated Atlantic Bank by the score of 62-58. The top scorers for Bowen N’ Bowen were Steve Bonnell with 26 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals; and Darren Neal with 9 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. For Atlantic Bank, the top scorers were Jermaine Tillett with 18 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal; and Ervin Orosco with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 6 steals.
Belmopan Bandits and Placencia Assassins At top Of Football Standings
The Premier League of Belize Football Competition continued over the last weekend with a number of games across the country.
On Saturday, October 13th, at the Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo Del Carmen, Verdes handed FC Belize its second defeat in this year’s competition by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Julian Maldonado in the 35th minute of play.
Out at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence Village, the Belize Defence Force won over the Paradise Freedom/Fighters by the score of 3-2. The Paradise/Freedom Fighters got on the scoreboard first when Leonard Valdez scored the 1st goal of the game in the 16th minute of play to give his team the lead. However, the lead was short-lived as the Belize Defence Force was able to get on the scoreboard when Harrison Tasher scored his team’s 1st goal in the 20th minute of play.
Once again the Paradise/Freedom Fighters took the lead in the closing minutes of the 1st half of the game when Alexander Peters scored his goal in the 45+ minutes of play for a 2-1 lead.
In the second half of the game, the offence for the Belize Defence Force came alive when it was able to score 2 more times. The Belize Defence Force’s equalizing goal was scored by Luis Mendez in the 64th minute of play while the winning goal was scored by Richard Jimenez in the 82nd minute of play.
Smart Mundalito at the MCC Grounds
The Smart Mundalito 13 & U Competition continued on Saturday, October 13th at the MCC Grounds with four games on the schedule.
In the first game of the day, Third World won over United Rangers by the score of 2-0. The goals for Third World were scored by Marquis Conorquie.
In the game two, City Boys Junior defeated Ladyville Jaguars by the score of 1-0. The goal for City Boys was scored by Keron Patnett.
In the third game of the day, Hattieville won over Young Stars by the score of 1-0. Kenyon Lewis scored the only goal of the game.
In game four, Brown Bombers and Ladyville Japan played to a 0-0 draw. And in the final game of the day St. John Vianney won over Jane Usher by the score of 1-0. Kenroy Linarez scored the only goal of the game to give St. John Vianney the win.
Primary Schools Football Competition begins Countrywide
The 2012-2013 National Primary Schools Football Competition commenced on Tuesday, October 16th countrywide with the respective district urban and zones competitions.
In this year’s Belize City competition, some twenty-four teams are competiting in both the girls and boys competitions. The teams in the Girls’ competition are Buttonwood Bay Nazarene, St. John Vianney, St. Luke Methodist, Wesley Upper, St. Ignatius, Holy Redeemer, Belize Elementary, St. Martin De Porres, Muslim Community and Queen Square Anglican. Meanwhile, the teams in the Boys’ competition are Buttonwood Bay Nazarene, St. John Vianney, St. Luke Methodist, Wesley Upper, St. Ignatius, Unity Presbyterian, Calvary Temple, New Horizon Academy, Holy Redeemer, Belize Elementary, St. Martin De Porres, Muslim Community, Queen Square Anglican, Ebenezer Methodist, Salvation Army and St. Mary’s Anglican.
On Tuesday, October 16th, at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, in the only girls’ game played, Belize Elementary School blanked St. Martin De Porres School by the score of 3-0. The goal scorers for Belize Elementary School were Juliana Ramos with two goals and Chelsea Williams.
In the first of three games in the boys’ competition, St. Martin De Porres edged Belize Elementary School by the score of 2-1. The goal scorers for St. Martin De Porres were Marquis Conorque and Alex Estell and the goal scorer for Belize Elementary was Cousion Wong.
Interoffice Softball Planning Meeting This Thursday
The Belize Softball Federation informs all Interoffice Softball teams that the 2012 Planning Meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, October 18th, 2012, at the Softball Office commencing at 6:30 pm.
The 2012 Belize City Interoffice Softball Competition is scheduled to commence on Sunday, November 1th1, 2012, at Rogers Stadium.
Teams that are interested in participating in this year’s competition are invited to attend the Planning Meeting.
The New Faces of the PUP
A friend of mine enquired of me last week how I managed to submit an article each week to The Guardian, considering that every submission involves identifying and developing a different subject. I had to admit that recently, I have not been very consistent with my articles for the simple reason that while I totally favor commenting on political issues, the PUP is presently so dormant that there is very little for me to confute them on! Seriously, I envy the Amandala’s editor and publisher, who are able to come out week after week with diverse and interesting topics for readers to appreciate, and they never complain like I do.
The reality is, though, that the attempted humor in my introduction actually bears some truth: the PUP has really neglected, for the most part, their responsibility to be an active Opposition and seem contented to let others paddle their canoe. Even at the last House meeting, they were eager to walk out as if there were other more important business for them to attend to, other than represent their constituencies. The issue with the walk-out (I was there and I saw), was that it was impromptu; initiated by the former, and highly unpopular, PUP Prime Minister. He literally snatched the reins of the Party from Fonseca and ran with it. They did not walk out on the buffet, though, and they all later came out of the House looking smug and stuffed.
The face of the Opposition has, with this lack of leadership, taken the shape of a scattering of organizations that either have a personal grudge against the present Prime Minister or are slugging for their master (or dislike the PM on behalf of their master). The official organ of the PUP, the Belize Times, is only being published on-line, and I do glance at it from time to time to see what their new gripe is, but always it’s stale news. In this new era of continuous political engagement, it is Channel Fox who leads the fight against the UDP, deep in mire for its boss; the latter being the same chap, who has just been appointed to the Privy Council. Luckily, we got out of there in time!
Channel Fox, which is managed by a past editor of the Belize Times, has the unique knack to twist and turn an innocent news item into a blistering UDP shortfall.
Peaceful Shutdown of Business District in Western Belize
There was a shutdown of the main business section, with the exception of the banks, in San Ignacio on Thursday, October 11th, 2012. Citizens from around the country, in a sea of purple, came to breathe the fresh air of democracy, voicing their concerns on crime. These joint citizen actions had been catapulted by the recent murder of University College of Belize student, Suzenne 'Purple' Martinez, bringing to fruition with it, 'The Purple Movement.'
First ever Annual “Sugar City Rum Festival!”
Monica Chabel is Best Bartender...
On Saturday, October, 13th, Belize celebrated its first-ever Rum Festival at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town. The event featured the three major rum companies of Belize in conjunction with cultural presentations.
Work for New Santa Elena Bridge kicks off
Work to construct a new bridge that will connect Santa Elena and San Ignacio has commenced. Minister of Works, and Area Representative for Cayo Central, Hon. Rene Montero told The Guardian on Wednesday ,October 17th that work started two weeks ago.
The project, which will cost some 58 million dollars, got under way with the signing of a contract between the Ministry of Works and CISCO Construction in April of this year. It has taken up until a couple weeks ago for the physical work to commence but, so far, it is well underway. In this phase of the project, the Loma Luz Boulevard will be paved leading up to the river. This is one of 4 components of the project.
The other component will also see the paving of Joseph Andrews Drive from Sacred Heart College to the intersection with the Benque Viejo Road. Another component is the filling of Joseph Andrews Drive up to the Macal River. And the last component is for the actual construction of the bridge.
Minister Montero says that while the work has commenced on the first lot, the bidding process is still open for the other three components. The contracts will be awarded by the Caribbean Development Bank, the financing agency, along with the Ministry of Works.
DFC gets judgment against Rene Villanueva and Son - Ordered to pay $400,000 to DFC
On Tuesday, October 16th, Rene Villanueva, Sr., and his son Rene Villanueva, Jr., were ordered by the Supreme Court of Belize to pay 400 thousand dollars, which they owe to the Development Finance Corporation (DFC). That money is to be paid at an interest rate of 6% per annum from 16th March, 2010 up to the time when the debt is settled. They are also to pay $10,000 cost to the DFC.
The ruling came after the DFC took the Villanuevas to court back on July 25th. Since then, there were three other hearings, which concluded on Tuesday.
DFC had originally claimed $898,408.39, which was the balance on a loan of $1,423.562.90, which was given to the Villanuevas on January 31st, 2003. That amount was what was paid for Cahal Pech Tavern, which contained a night club and bar along with nine cabanas. At the time, the Villanuevas made a payment of $40 thousand dollars bringing the balance on the purchase price to $1,310,000. Additional fees brought that balance to $1,423,592.90.
From Bad to Worse at the Orange Walk Town Council - Employees can’t be paid
It appears that not a single week can go by without bad news coming out of the Orange Walk Town Council. In the first week of October, the Orange Walk Town Council reported that a number of traffic Stickers had been stolen from the town board's offices. At the time, the Mayor admitted that the traffic Stickers had been placed in an unsecure filing cabinet that was accessible to anyone. That allowed for anywhere between $11,250 and $20,000 worth of license stickers to be stolen.
Since that incident took place, there are multiple complaints coming from the residents of Orange Walk Town, who claim that the council's incompetence is now beginning to become chronic with no maintenance taking place on any of the streets. The problem has become so disastrous that most, if not all, of the streets in Orange Walk have been left to develop potholes. When the town board finally decides to fix these streets, they would be unsalvageable. The same can be said about drains in the municipality; there is little or no maintenance on them. The traffic lights too cannot be repaired going for months without them functioning. And the neglect by the Orange Walk Mayor is reflected in the financials, which the town council posted on its website. When it was available, (since we last reported on it, the financials have become unavailable on the website) the financials showed severe underperformance in the council's revenue streams with trade license and liquor license collections hitting an all-time low, not even coming close to what was projected to be collected. The financials also showed that there was next to nothing spent on maintenance of streets, drains, the cemetery or garbage dump yet salaries and wages more than doubled. Also increasing exponentially were expenses for contracts given to cronies, including computer repairs which saw over 6 thousand dollars spent on a single month when all that was allocated was 34 dollars.
Caye Caulker Chronicles
Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2012
As everyone knows Trip Advisor has a huge influence when it comes to businesses and their reviews but nevertheless Trip Advisor does its best in helping businesses grow by providing tips and hints on how to better the business in regards to reviews given by the travelers. For the past few weeks businesses on Caye Caulker have been receiving their CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE FOR THE YEAR 2012 and we would like to congratulate them for a job well done. According to Trip Advisor, to qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.
Few businesses who have come to our attention are Carlos Tours, Raggamuffin Tours, Frenchie’s Diving Services, Belize Diving Services, Caye Reef Condo, Seaside Cabanas, De Real Macaw, French Angel Expedition, Healing Touch Day Spa, Scuba Sensation, Oasi Apartments, Maxhapan Cabanas and others. Some of these businesses mentioned also got the 5 star rating which is the highest.
Here is a certificate, if some of you are wondering what it looks like and once again congratulations to all the businesses and keep up the excellent work!!!
Halloween at The Lazy Lizard Bar and Grill
Halloween is right around the corner and The Lazy Lizard Bar and Grill is at it again with another ghoulish party. Come dressed in your best costumes and join the competition for the scariest, most original, funniest and other categories!! Then join us on Sunday for the after party!!
Managing without the trust of the delegators
It would be safe to assume that each and every Belizean understands that in one way or the other the government of Belize has to expand our economy.
It is also fair to suggest that people are not ignorant to fact that the tenets of globalization have augmented the degree to which countries need to maintain sound diplomatic ties and trade arrangements with foreign countries.
In the Supreme Court, man acquitted of 2004 rape
Edward Arthurs, 34, a Belize City man who was arrested on June 13, 2006, was acquitted of charges of rape and theft before Justice Troadio Gonzalez in the Belize Supreme Court on Friday, October 12.
Government will appoint lawyer to help Police Dept. with criminal investigations
The Government of Belize has announced its intention to beef up public prosecutions by seeking the services of a trained attorney to head the Prosecution Branch of the Police Department.
The move is believed to be a direct result of citizens’ protests in the twin towns of San Ignacio / Santa Elena last week.
Extra sleep may improve kids’ conduct
Letting kids sleep a little longer may help improve their behavior and make them less restless in school, according to a new study.
On the flip side, cutting back on kids’ time asleep seems to make them more likely to cry, lose their temper and become frustrated, according to the researchers, who published their findings in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.
“You can think about it from a lot of different angles. What we are showing here is that it can go both ways in terms of behavior and academic performance,” said Reut Gruber, of Montreal’s McGill University and Douglas Research Center, who led the study.
10 ways to improve your quality of sleep
The great King Solomon said, “that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to reap, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to rejoice, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). There is also a time to toil and a time to rest.
But why do we need to rest?
It is important to note that we can go without food for weeks, but we cannot go without sleep for more than a few days. Our bodies depend on the sleep cycle in order to rest and repair. Even during the day, the heart rests after each beat, and the lungs after each breath of air.
Donizetti Vasquez wins O. Walk Bypass Criterium
Mexican cyclist Donizetti Vasquez of the Depredadores team from Chetumal Quintana Roo won the annual Orange Walk Bypass Criterium organized by the Orange Walk Central Sports Committee and the Belize Cycling Association on Monday, October 15.
Ladyville Japan & Brown Bombers lead Smart Mundialito football
The Brown Bombers and Ladyville “Japan” are leading the Smart Mundialito Under-15 football competition. Both are undefeated because Ladyville Japan held the Bombers to a scoreless draw in the third week of competition at the MCC Grounds on Saturday, October 13.
The Bombers now lead the tournament with 7pts. Sherwin Requeña led the Bombers to triumph 2-0 over Hattieville United Youth Sports Club the week before, scoring the first winning goal in the first half, and adding a second goal in the second half. Requeña was also the author of the Bombers’ first winning goal in their 2-0 victory over Ladyville Jaguars in their Smart Mundialito debut.
Cameron Diego added a second goal for the 2-0 win.
The Ladyville “Japan” is ranked second with 5pts as Angel Gutierrez had scored the winning goal for their 1-0 victory over the City Boys Juniors in their mundialito debut, but Jane Usher Boulevard team held them to a scoreless draw in the second week of the tournament.
Third World of the St Martin de Porres area is tied for second also with 5pts; they enjoyed their first victory when Marquis Conorquie scored both goals to lead the team to a 2-0 victory over Unity Rangers.
It was the Unity Rangers’ first loss. They had held the Ladyville Jaguars to a scoreless stalemate the week before, and had also held the Hattieville United Youth Sports Club to a scoreless draw in their mundialito debut.
Third World has similarly drawn 0-0 with St John Vianney in its second outing and 0-0 with Jane Usher Blvd. in their first outing.
U.S. may ban conch imports
The United States’ Secretary of Commerce has been asked to place the queen conch (Strombus gigas) on the list of threatened or endangered, under the Endangered Species Act, which would then prompt the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (C.I.T.E.S.) to move the queen conch from Appendix II to Appendix I, which would ban all trade in conch.
A C.I.TE.S. ban would affect not only the U.S., which is Belize’s major market for conch exports, but all other countries which are signatories to CITES.
This would effectively kill Belize’s conch fishing industry, Chief Executive Officer Dr. Wendell Parham of the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development warned representatives of the five fishing cooperatives at a consultation held the Coastal Zone Management Authority Institute on Friday, October 12.
WildEarth Guardians, a U.S. conservation non-governmental organization made the petition to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to also request that the National Marine Fisheries Service designate critical habitat for the species in U.S. waters, but Belize and other countries which export conch to the U.S. have a window of opportunity, until October 26, 2012, to submit information and comments to the Secretary of Commerce.
Belize and other conch exporting countries are naturally lobbying to oppose the listing, because of the profound economic impact it would have on their fisheries industry.
History making harvest in Banana Bank
Belize Camping Experience (BCE) has made a historic undertaking by uniting more than 20 farmers and 11 combines for the Harvest for Kids project.
The event took place on the farm of John Carr, in Banana Bank in the Cayo district on Saturday, October 6.
Twenty acres of crop land were harvested by eleven combines working in tandem, yielding 100,000 pounds of corn in only 26 minutes. According to Alexander Perez, director of BCE, “We harvested 117, 000lb wet, 99,261 lb dry. That is 5850 wet per acre and 4963 dry per acre or 50 sacks of corn per acre.”
Perez indicted that the corn will be sold locally, mostly for chicken feed, but he anticipates that the corn will one day be sold on the international market.
He went on to say: “We will not know how much profit we will get for BCE until the corn is sold.” Proceeds from the sale of the corn will fund the various summer camps and other community work BCE does. However, overhead expenses must be cleared first, then BCE gets to keep the net value.
Harvest for Kids began in April, an effort by BCE to reach out to at risk south-side children. The children were taken out to the farm and were taught the various practices of farm work, viewed the planting process and were also introduced to some of the machinery used in crop growing.
US welcomes Cuba decision to end foreign travel permits
The United States has welcomed the decision by the Cuban government to abolish the requirement for exit permits.
The U.S. State Department said the move was consistent with the universal right to leave or enter any country.
Under the reform, highly-qualified professionals such as doctors will still continue to face travel controls.
Cuban exile groups in the U.S. said the move by Havana was insufficient and “plagued with restrictions”.
Cuban state media said the reform would come into effect on 14 January.
Cubans currently have to go through a lengthy and expensive process to obtain a permit and dissidents are often denied one.
Those who have permanent residency on the island will also be allowed to stay abroad for up to 24 months, instead of the current 11, without having to return to renew paperwork.
“This is consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that everybody ought to have the right to leave any country,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
“So we are analysing, obviously, all of the details and any implications it may have for our processing [of Cubans].”
Belize welcomes medical tourism
Belize may soon become popular as the place for well-off North Americans to come to have elective surgery, dental work or other quality medical care at an affordable cost, if BELTRAIDE, Belize Tourism Board and the Ministry of Health have their way.
Medical tourism is a billion-dollar global industry, and some southeast countries, Thailand for example, receive a million medical tourism patients per year. Other Central American countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama are also well-established in the medical tourism market, but Belize has a tremendous advantage in that it is the only English-speaking country in Central America and is positioned only a short flight away from gateway cities like Miami, Houston and New Orleans.
Mike Singh, the chief executive officer of the Ministry of Trade Investment Promotion and Private Sector Development, sees it as a tremendous opportunity for Belize. The industry would offer increased employment, not just for Belizean doctors and nurses, but also laboratory technicians, medical assistants, the staff of private clinics, hotels and spas, as well as tour operators and taxi drivers.
There would also be a transfer of technology as foreign specialists who would set up shop in Belize would also help to train local doctors in new procedures, techniques and treatments. The result would also be improved health care made available to Belizeans hear at home so they would no longer need to travel to Merida or Guatemala City for specialist treatment or surgery.
GOB denies Toledo Alcaldes’ request to delay consultation
The Government of Belize has refused a request from several Toledo village Alcades to postpone a consultation on an Environmental Impact Assessment prepared and submitted by U.S. Capital Energy to explore for oil in an area that encompasses their villages.
The Department of the Environment invited them to the consultation scheduled for October 25, but the alcaldes want to reschcedule to November 22 or later.
Their rationale, as explained in their letter to Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria on October 12, is that they need to properly understand the EIA, a 300-page document that is written entirely in English, which is not the Alcaldes’ first language. The report is also at a level of English that even the English speakers in their communities would have difficulty understanding.
What a difference a year makes & a new restaurant opening
Last year was the first time we'd ever been in Belize in the month of October. It was not our favorite month. I remember it as being gray and rainy and still, with not nearly enough breeze to keep the mosquitoes and sand flies away. I remember plowing through deep pond-sized puddles on the road north of the bridge as we traveled from our condo to town and back again, time after time. I remember washing our bicycles over and over since the puddles were deeper than our bottom brackets. About the only thing positive I can recall about last October was that it was cooler than the summer months. October, we were not sorry when you melted away into November.
What a difference a year makes. This October has been much drier, sunnier, and the breezes a bit more constant. There have been a few mosquitoes and sand flies, but nothing like last year. It has been, really, gorgeous and bright, with only a few days that tourists wouldn't love. Those folks who got cheap low-season rates for October vacations here are no doubt feeling a bit smug. Hurricanes? Nope. Tropical storms? Not even close.
The biggest difference in the October of 2012 and the October of 2011, though, is the roads. Sure, less rain has helped, but thanks to a big effort by the new town council, the road north of the bridge (at least as far as Grand Caribe), was graded and filled with load after load of gravel this summer. And it's holding up well. There are a few areas where potholes and "moguls" are developing, but this is nothing even close to the "great lakes" of October '11. And in a few of the larger holes, more heavy-duty gravel was dumped just in the past week or so, after a few wet days made a bit of a muddy mess in a couple of lower-lying spots. This rocky gravel isn't the most bike-friendly stuff I've ever seen or ridden on (thank goodness for wide beach cruiser tires), but it certainly beats putting one's legs up and going "wheeeeeee!" through deep, silty puddles you can't see the bottom of.
Sunrise at Victoria House, Ambergris Caye, Belize
This past week has delivered us some stunning weather. Incredibly hot, bright blue with crazy sunrises and sunsets. Yesterday we had a high of 92. That is sweltering hot for San Pedro. There is little relief from the breeze. The wind is blowing every so slightly (we could use a bit more, please) and the sea has been perfectly flat.
I don't take very good pictures of sunsets. They just never turn out right. So today I got outside early (sunrise was at about 5:45am) to take some pictures of the sunrise on the way to Victoria House Resort. Here's what I got as the sun rose.
Belize Awaits 2012 Winter Solstice Celebration With Excitement
I want to experience the 2012 Maya Winter Solstice at Belize’s Chaa Creek because it would really make me feel in touch with a culture that has interested me for years.
I first read about the Mayan culture in high school. What really struck me back then was the brutality of the Spanish towards the Aztecs, the Mayans, and other natives. The more you read about it the more you discover how much was lost, burned, and destroyed. Try to research the Mayan culture and you’re stuck with a lot of speculation, considering there are only 3 existing documents. Their breadth of knowledge of math and astronomy and who knows what else that was lost; it really haunts you.
The best way I’ve found to experience Mayan culture is to go to the ruins. I was particularly fortunate, on a side trip to Ek Balam, to meet a native working as a guide there who also worked on the excavation team. No one else was there, and I got a personal tour of everything. Climbing to the top of the largest building – there’s still color on the murals! You look out over the jungle and see trees and, occasionally, stone. You can get lost wondering what’s out there and what we’ll never know about.
Land dispute ruffles palm fronds on Mexico's Isla Holbox
Developers seek to build a high-end resort after longtime residents — who say they were cheated — sell their rights to communal lands known as ejidos. Separated from the Yucatan Peninsula by a lagoon, this pristine island has streets of sand, iguanas that roam among humans, and a police presence best described as casual. In the tiny town on its western tip, golf carts are the primary mode of transportation.
"It's like out of movie, isn't it?" said a chuckling Ramon Chan, a 41-year-old vendor who on a recent day was hacking away at fresh coconuts from a cart on the beach.
In recent years, however, Isla Holbox (pronounced "holl-bosch") has sat at the center of a complex legal dispute pitting powerful developers seeking to build a high-end resort against a group of longtime residents who say they were cheated out of their rights as holders of revolutionary-era communal lands, known as ejidos.
The fight illuminates the growing practice of transferring communal ejidos — which make up slightly more than half of the national territory — to private hands, a practice that was authorized in 1992 but remains a legal twilight zone.
In separate cases, nine islanders allege that Peninsula Maya Developments offered to buy their individualized ejido parcels in a 2008 deal to which they agreed. But in the process, the ejidatarios allege, the developers also persuaded them to unwittingly sell their permanent, constitutionally guarded titles to the Holbox ejido at large.
Because Mexico's agrarian law refers to "inalienable" titles to ejidos, the islanders are asking courts to nullify the dual sale of their parcels and titles.
In response, the company said the sales were legal and clear and suggested in a statement that the ejidatarios are trying to shake them down for more money than the original price of about $388,000.
Belize: New World Oil and Gas provides Belize drilling update
The Blue Creek #2 well commenced drilling operations on 27 September 2012, and to date all operations are on schedule and under budget. As at 06.00 CST in Belize on 15 October 2012, the Well had drilled to a depth of 3,150ft. The Company expects to reach the target depth ('TD') of 7,000ft on or before 15 November 2012. At this depth the Well will have reached the base of the mid Cretaceous Y2 interval. Should an oil discovery be made at B Crest, field operations will likely continue through year-end and into next year to determine the total potential of any find. Drilling operations have proceeded without any reported accidents and incidents, and the Company's on-going efforts are directed to ensure a safe and successful drilling campaign.
RPS Energy reports the B Crest Prospect to contain a P50 un-risked prospective resource of 92.1MMbo (Y1 and Y2 intervals) and a P50 un-risked NPV10 of US$2.4 billion. The drilling of the B Crest prospect is the first of a three well programme at Blue Creek. The table below outlines the volumetrics and the expected timetable for the programme:
1994: Story with Colette in it! Helpers of the hounded: Mark Handscomb on a roving, alternative clinic that treats homeless people's pets
'If you've no home and you've lost your ties with your family, your dog is often your only lifeline,' says Colette Kase, a dog trainer and pet counsellor who was herself once homeless and now co-ordinates Hope in her spare time. 'Since these owners are never going to be able to afford conventional veterinary care, we hope the vaccination service we offer will keep their pets healthy and happy.'
I met Colette on one of Hope's regular Sunday afternoon clinics in London. Previous clinics have been held underneath railway arches; this week it was Claremont Road, a street in suburban Leyton where opponents of the M11 motorway extension have been squatting.
The vet for the day is April Jones, who has her own private practice in London. Today, she has spurned the traditional white coat for leggings and a baggy T-shirt. Sporting cropped hair, she is Britain's only black woman vet.
Photo of the Week – Flying High In Ambergris Caye
It was my first time flying on a ‘puddle jumper’ (a very small airplane) and I was a nervous wreck! However, I still managed to turn on the camera and snap some shots while we flew above the paradise island, Ambergris Caye off the coast of Belize. And what a beautiful sight it was..
As you can see in the picture, we’re passing over the end of the island, covered in lush green plants and large mansions hugging the shoreline.
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