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#453506 - 12/14/12 09:35 AM Today's Belize News: December 14, 2012
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Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

Tropic Air inaugurates Maya Flats Airstrip
Tropic Air has added a new destination to their stops. Maya Flats air strip is located in the heart of the Maya Mountains, Cayo District. The air strip is only five miles from San Ignacio town and two miles from Benque Viejo del Carmen. The strip was officially inaugurated on Wednesday, December 12th in a brief ceremony. Invited to attend this inauguration were: Mayor of San Pedro, Daniel Guerrero; Mayor of San Ignacio, John August; Mayor of Benque Viejo, Miguel Velasquez; Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr.; Chairman of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, Michael Simmons and President of Tropic Air, John Greif III. The flight is about 45 minutes directly from San Pedro to Maya Flats. It takes you through amazing scenery of both the Caribbean Sea and the mountainous forests of Belize. This new flight brings the best of both worlds together; it is the surf and turf of Belize. The plane lands on an unpaved run way, and as you step out of the plane, you are met with a most beautiful landscape that leaves you breathless. Cayo District is considered to be one of the top beauties of the country – and she boasts greenery and mountainous regions that hide all manner of wonderful places to explore. It is no wonder that Tropic Air has ventured deeper into the territory to make traveling and exploring easier for Belizeans and visitors alike!

BEL Makes Submission to PUC as Required by SI 116 of 2009
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), in accordance with Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 116 of 2009, section 7, and in compliance with the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) Rate Setting Methodology bye-laws, is making a submission to the PUC showing that Cost of Power has increased more than 30 per cent above the PUC’s approved reference Cost of Power. This significant increase in Cost of Power has been occurring since July 2012 due to various challenges faced by the three largest Independent Power Producers that supply BEL with electricity.

San Pedro Triathlon Team competes at “End of the World” Marathon in Placencia
The “End of the World” half and full marathon took place in Placencia on Sunday, December 9th, and San Pedro was well represented. Making the long journey south from San Pedro were Eric Donis, Daniel “Ducky” Gregorio and Kent “Bob” Gabourel, and their combined efforts managed to bring home medals and trophies. Competing in the half marathon at a total length of 13.1 miles were Eric and Daniel. The boys went up against about 78 other competitors, and Eric managed to place third, while Daniel placed fourth. Bob competed in the full marathon which was a total of 26.2 miles. In the end, he was won by two international runners, taking third place with a time of 3 hours and 20 minutes. Thirteen males and three females competed in this competition.

Ambergris Today

Tropic Air Officially Inaugurates San Ignacio Service and New Maya Flats Terminal
Tropic Air held the official inauguration ceremonies for its new San Ignacio passenger and cargo service on Wednesday, December 12, 2012. The ribbon was also cut on its new terminal facilities at Maya Flats Airstrip which will serve the people of San Ignacio, Santa Elena, Benque Viejo and surrounding areas. In addition, the new route will serve to link the area resorts with those in the rest of the country. This will make travel easier, increase tourism, and further enhance the diversity of the available tourism product for Cayo. Mayors of San Ignacio Town, Benque Viejo del Carmen and of San Pedro Town were present at the inaugural ceremony and they all reiterated how the entire surrounding areas will benefit from the new flight service by helping with increasing tourism and jobs, not only in the towns of San Ignacio/Santa Elena and Benque Viejo, but also for the nearby villages.

Belizean Officers Trained in Contraband Detection
Earlier today, Col. George Lovell, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of National Security and His Excellency Vinai K. Thummalapally, Ambassador of the United States of America, hosted the first Graduation Ceremony of the Mobile Interdiction Team (MIT) on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at the Belize Police Training Academy in Belmopan. The ceremony commemorates a three-week training sponsored by the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) program. Eight instructors from the U.S. Border Patrol’s Special Operations Group (SOG) based in El Paso, Texas, trained twenty members of the Mobile Interdiction Team, represented by the Belize Police, Customs, and Immigration Departments. This team combats contraband and illegal smuggling on roads, highways, and clandestine border crossing areas throughout Belize.

Santa Wish Lists at Island Academy’s Christmas Pageant
Each student had an integral part to play in the Christmas Pageant and showed of their talent. They worked really hard in preparation for the main event and it was great to see all the props, costume changes and fun dances they put together for their audience. The singing was exceptional as every student shared in the joy of song and dance, which included some great solo songsters.

Letter to John McAfee
Dear John, We have been worried about you, and are happy to hear that you’re safe in the hands of the Guatemalan authorities. We are worried about your health, physical and otherwise, but it sounds like you’re in good hands and presumably receiving the best treatment money can buy across the border. It’s also good to hear that the jails are so much better there, and the “excellent” coffee must be an added bonus. At least it will keep you going until you’re back home and near a local Starbucks. Now that you are safe and sound and have some time to relax and reflect, we wonder if you can answer a few questions I and my fellow Belizeans have. We appreciate that blogging is keeping you very busy, so we’ll keep them short.

Misc Belizean Sources

Government Gazette, British Honduras, for the entire year of 1940
Interesting find, old Belize document Huge document, 443 pages plus 100 Supplements and 16 index pages. And a very interesting Forest Report.

Horizon Academy's Christmas Book Fair - Dec 15 &16
Come out to Horizon Academy's Christmas Book Fair: Date: December 15th (9am - 6pm) December 16th (9am - 4pm) Place: Horizon Academy, 3 1/2 Miles Phillip Goldson Highway Scholastic books will be available for children from pre-k to high school. See You there!

Meluchi's Black and White Party
Everyone had a wild time at Meluchi's last Saturday for DJ Porchy's birthday bash. This Saturday, they're having DJ Blaze's birthday bash.

Tropic Air's Open Day at Maya Flats
Tropic Air had its Open Day at Maya Flats yesterday, with the official ribbon cutting, to celebrate 12/12/12. Tropic Air at this point will have one flight daily from Belize City to Cayo. "12/12/12, what a perfect day for an opening. Tropic Air is officially open for business at the Maya Flats airstrip owned by Mr. Amin Bedran. We applaud Tropic Air for continually improving and creating ways to keep the country of Belize connected!"

Channel 7

Yhony Rosado In Jail!
In the past two years, Yhony Rosado the owner of Cavetubing.com has emerged as a national figure, well known for his outspoken tirades against bigger players in Cruise Tourism. But tonight Rosado is IN JAIL, on remand at the Kolby Central Prison in Hattieville. He was arraigned this morning in Belmopan Magistrate's Court on a charge of aggravated assault with a firearm upon Vitalino Reyes. Reyes is a competitor in the tour guide business who owns Cavetubing.bz - very similar to Rosado's Cavetubing.com - which is part of their professional rivalry. Almost four months ago, on August 23rd, Rosado is accused of going to Reyes's property in Frank's Eddy Village and pulled a gun on 22 year old Vitalino Reyes Jr. Multiple witnesses say he went to the property allegedly to threaten Reyes, Jr. They reportedly had a dispute earlier at a nearby store. This reported incident we should note was the product of an ongoing rivalry between the two companies. Reyes and six other family members made statements attesting to the event. Last week, Rosado attested to his innocence in an interview on 7news: Police took months to investigate - and based on a directives from the DPP's Office picked up Rosado at his home at mile two on the western Highway this morning at 6:30.

Court: BTL Can Pay Dividends
Tonight, accountants at BTL are getting ready to sign off on almost 12 million dollars in dividends after the Court of Appeal refused an injunction today. That injunction was sought by the British Caribbean Bank and Dean Boyce of the Employee's Trust. Viewers may remembers that the Caribbean Court of Justice gave an order back in September when the Ashcroft Alliance argued that BTL Annual General Meeting was being pulled up on the calendar to quickly declare a dividend - much of which will accrue to Government which holds controlling interests in the company. The CCJ obliged with an injunction restraining BTL for three months - which ends tomorrow. As we reported, the Ashcroft Alliance weren't taking any chances in the event the Court of Appeal hadn't decided on whether the acquisition of the Company was constitutional or not. They applied for interim relief to extend that restraint of issuing of dividends far past tomorrow when the CCJ's order ends. Written arguments were presented to the Court of Appeal several weeks ago - and that decision was handed down today by President Manuel Sosa. He announced today that the Appeal Court refused the injunction leaving BTL free to pay the dividends - which is 45% of the company's profits, about 11.9 million dollars. Attorneys for both sides discussed the outcome today:

Indian Couple Pays Fine For Bogus Visa Bust
Last night, we told you about the 2 illegal immigrants who showed up at the Phillip Goldson International Airport with fake Belizean visas. Well, they are in the custody of the Immigration Department, who will deport them to their home country at the earliest convenience. They are 25 year-old Chetankumar Patel, and his wife, 28 year-old Jagrutiben Patel, both Indian nationals claiming to be students on a visit to Belize as tourists. At around 9:40 a.m. yesterday, they arrived on the Taca flight from El Salvador and attempted to pass through immigration to be allowed entry into Belize. But when they presented their passports to the Immigration Officers, they immediately noticed several telltale features of their Belizean Visas which did not match those officially issued from the Immigration Department. Those features included a reflective surface of the visa, rough borders of the document, and seal and stamp on it which appears to have been printed on as compared to those on official Visas which are imprinted.

Watchdogs Kill Watchman Who Nursed Them From Pups
A watchman was killed by two watchdogs in Southern Belize on Tuesday night. The next morning at 7:00 am, the watchman, 66 year old Clive Bernard Coe was found dead at his workplace, Agriculture Development Service at 9 ¼ Mile on the Stann Creek Valley Road. Police say he was lying face up under the work shed with injuries to the face, arms and right leg - and bit marks all over his body. Two Fila Brasileiro dogs - which help him watch the compound were found beside him - one on each side. The dogs look like something like these ones we found on the internet. Police believe the dogs killed him - even though he raised them form they were pups. The dogs are two years old and belong to the company. They were put down with a gunshot this morning by the owner. The Fila Brasileiro is a rare and highly sought after breed of dog - and, according to WIKEPEDIA, in some countries it is illegal to own them and they are automatically classified as a dangerous dog in other countries.

Can't Stop The Rosewood Hustle
There's still an embargo on the Rosewood trade in Belize, that means no Rosewood can be harvested, extracted from the forest, or exported - but like junkies, the Rosewood smugglers just can't get enough. The Forestry Department recently picked up three different sets of Rosewood flitches in the Toledo District proving that trade is still happening. Two weeks ago, the Forestry Department found a large amount of Rosewood in a covered truck in the Trio area in the Toledo District. They confiscated it and have since cancelled the license of the short term forest license holder Gilmer Alamilla. And then on Sunday night, KREM Radio News reports that the Forestry and Police Departments found two thousand board feet of Rosewood - broken down into flitches - on the Boom Creek Road. When the team got there, they saw a Guatemalan truck speeding away. Forestry impounded it at the Machaca Hill Forest Station. But, overnight, someone stole it from there - and it still unaccounted for. And then last night Forestry made another bust outside Punta Gorda at mile 7 on the San Antonio Road where they found 70 flitches. Interestingly, these ones were found on a tractor belonging to the ministry of agriculture. In that case, reports are that some persons have been detained and charges are expected.

58 year-old Raul Magana Sr., namesake of the popular brothel, Raul's Rose Garden, which burnt down in June of last year, is facing 23,000 dollars in fines after he was taken to court for employing illegal immigrant workers - all females. According to the Immigration Department, yesterday at around 9 a.m., they conducted an operation on his new establishment, Temptation Bar, which is located at Mile 10 on the Western Highway. Immigration Officers interviewed 12 of his female employees who admitted that they did not possess valid working permits. As a result, Magana, who was identified as the employer by these persons, was charged with 12 counts of employing persons not in possession of valid employment permits. He was arraigned today before Magistrate Adolph Lucas where he pleaded guilty to all 12 counts. As a result, he was sentenced to pay fines to a total amount of $23,000. Magana has from December 28, 2012 to November 30, 2013 to pay these fines. Additionally, he was also ordered to pay the transportation cost for these women to return to their home countries because they also did not have any proper immigration status in Belize. We are told they were issued with orders to leave - but that must have meant to leave with Raul as we understand they left the Immigration Office with him this evening.

BEL Says Cost Of Power Crippling: Will It Ask For A Rate Increase?
3 months ago, we gave you a brief preview of the financial difficulties that BEL was facing. The main problem then as it is now is the cost of power. Rainfall was low this year, so there hasn't been enough Hydro power; BELCOGEN has been producing under capacity, and energy from Mexico was selling BEL power for almost 43 cents per kilowatt hour - which is about what you pay for it! And everyone knows you can't sell a product for the same price you're buying it for! In a press release sent out today, the company noted that since July of this year, their cost of power has spiked up to more than 30% since the rate reduction of January 2012. So, what does all this mean for you the consumer? Well, BEL representatives spoke to us today saying that by law they are required to report the costs of electricity at the current period as compared to when the new rates were effected. They told us that it is their obligation to report to the country and the PUC what their financial position is. Here's what they told us about the financial difficulties they've been facing with the soaring cost of power: Ernesto Gomez - Sr. Manager of Energy & Supply, BEL "Under the law, the cost of power that BEL purchases for its suppliers, it's just a pass through to the customers. So, the expensive of the cost of power, if you remove that from the rate, BEL has just a small margin to operate on, like 30%. So, if the cost of power rises, it takes away from our everyday cash to be able to operate. BEL has used all its resource to be able to easily keep the lights on for the customers. And as a result, the customers do not even know that this thing is occurring, but as a result, we are committed by law to report these changes to the Public Utilities Commission for them to look at it. And they may or may not make decision. That's their prerogative.

Police Get Guns + Ganja
In the Police Department, it should be numbers that matter, but appearances count for a whole lot too, and that's probably why, lately, the Special Branch has stepped up its public relations game to prove that when it comes to high value seizures, they're even more efficient than the GSU. On Saturday afternoon, Special Branch intelligence led to an open lot at the corner of Oleander street and Rose Lane which turned up half a pound of cannabis. And then yesterday morning, at 6:30 the Special Branch led Police to the Ebony street residence of 33 year old Darren RAMIREZ, who was at home with 49 year old and 25 year old Edmond WILLIAMS. Police found two live .38 rounds of ammunition - which is enough for a charge of "Kept Ammunition Without a Gun License." And then yesterday afternoon, the Special Branch led police to 46 year old Delroy CHAMBERS, a furniture maker of Police Street Extension.

McAfee Says He Faked Heart Attacks
John Mcafee arrived in Miami last night - where he was greeted like a dignitary and treated like a Rockstar - which, we gather, is what it's really all about for this shameless, compulsive self-promoter. We've compiled a number of international news reports which talk about how he came off the plane - and how he 'fessed up to faking those heart attacks in Guatemala. The story starts at his hotel, the Beacon on South Beach. OK then! McAfee is the only persons of interest in the Greg Faull murder and Belize police have no other leads. They have not indicated if they will request that US authorities send him back for questioning.

A Programme With Purpose
This morning the Ministry of Education Apprenticeship Program held its 3rd graduation. We've told you about the program before where at-risk youths are enrolled and given employable skills with job training and the opportunity for further employment. This morning at their third graduation Monica Bodden found out why for some it was a celebration. Monica Bodden reporting The third graduation for the Ministry of Education Youth Apprenticeship Program was held today inside the King's Room at the Princess Hotel. The program first started off with 30 at risk youths in its first intake. By its second intake it was double the amount. Today one hundred and thirteen youths completed the 6 month program and were awarded with certificates - that's more than triple the amount of young people when the program first started. Dianne Finnegan- Coordinator, Apprenticeship Programme "The program focuses on young people who did not finish school and single mothers ages 16-29. It is about giving them the opportunity to become transformed from idleness into productive citizens making sure and understand that they have a space and a place within our society that they can do just as well as an individual who went to school. The program also kind of make sure that they go back to school, so the majority are going back to the Gwen Liz Evening Division. We've seen graduates already from the program that is already going to six form; the evening division college and we have one who have won the Barton Scholarship who is going to UB." And while these young men and women are given the opportunity to transform themselves into productive citizens - there is a process they each need to undergo.

Working In Canada: The Other Side Of That Story
Last week we told you all about the 150 Belizeans recruited to work at MacDonald's in Western Canada, and the more than 1100 who lined up for job interviews. On the surface, it's an attractive offer, after all minimum wage over there is about 9.50 US per hour. But a Canadian news agency reports that it's often not what it's cracked up to be. CBC.CA the website for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has a lengthy print feature on the plight that many immigrant workers face. It describes one 21-year-old from Mexico working at a fast food chain "who says he found himself walking to work in the snow and living in a basement with five other Mexican men." Karl Flecker, the national director of anti-racism and human rights for the Canadian Labour Congress says that quote, "Many of these migrant workers who are coming in for work, who are often desperate for work, are put in incredibly vulnerable situations where exploitation, abuse, dangerous, unsafe working conditions are actually too often the norm for their situation." Earlier this year four Mexican workers launched a human rights complaint against the former owner of two restaurants. One official is quoted as saying that quote, "The only people who are willing to do this work at those wage rates are people who are willing to live three, four and five people within an apartment."

Salvation Army: Soldiering The Burden
The Salvation Army Annual Christmas dinner was held at the Holy Redeemer's Auditorium today. One thousand, two hundred students from various Belize City Primary schools were hosted at the luncheon. It is an annual event that is made possible with a little help from the Belize City Council along with many other sponsors who all believe in making the Christmas season special for the less fortunate. We found out more:.. Major Joliker Leandre - Regional Commander "It's really a pleasure for us having the children come in today for the Christmas dinner and as you can see for yourself they are enjoying themselves." Monica Bodden "Tell me how many students were invited here for the luncheon?" Major Joliker Leandre - Regional Commander "About 1,200 children in all. Apart from this we also have other distributions at other places so it's really a joy having these children coming here today to participate in this event." Monica Bodden "I know you guys do this annually, are the students from different schools in the city? What's the selection process like?"

Belize Bank Buys Bus For "Babylon"
And the spirit of giving was in the air because this morning the Belize Bank gave the Eastern Divisions police a big ole bus. Now, it's not like the police are going to compete against BBOC…so what is the bus going to be used for? Officer Commanding Elodio Aragon explained: ACP Elodio Aragon, O/C Eastern Division "It is a bus that is much needed for our department and you all know the police department is always involve in the movement of police officers whether it be for operations or whether it be for things like funeral yesterday for Mr. Escalante - this bus will come in very handy for us so that we could assist in seeing that our police officers are moved in a comfortable bus - a good working bus." Misty Michael, Marketing Manager - Belize Bank "It's valued about BZ$20,000.00. Given the current crime situation in Belize the bank wanted to do whatever we could to assist the police in fighting crime and violence and when we are approached by them to assist we were eager to do what we could and fortunately we were able to make this donation today to them."

Beenie Man In Belize
And they'll probably need a busload of those cops to provide security for tomorrow night's Digicell 10th anniversary concert. 5 of Jamaica's biggest dancehall celebrities are in Belize tonight for that event. 7news was there to greet the King of the Dancehall himself Beenie Man along with Leftside A.K.A Doctor Evil, Chan Dizzy, Future Fambo and Trevor Off Key. They told us they are hyped to get on stage on Friday night: Beenie Man "It always feels good to be in Belize. Belize is a beautiful country - beautiful audience, beautiful people, people who love music, people who create their own music. Jamaica have been to Belize for how many years; from Belize's existence, so you have to know that we are always happy to be here and when it comes to doing a show its one of the greatest fans and greatest audience and the most liveliness audience. All you have to do is come do your best and the best will support it, so I am feeling very good." Geovanni Brackett, reporter "This is your first time in Belize?" Leftside A.K.A Doctor Evil "No this is my third show. I was here two years ago me and Wayne Marshall."

Lotto Winner Sat On Winning Ticket For 3 Months
It's the Christmas season, and citizens all across the country are trying to find that Christmas money. But, one Belize City resident who isn't having that problem - at least not anymore - is Karen Lanza. She won the Lotto 3 months ago and just cashed in her ticket today for the jackpot of more than $57,000 dollars. 7News caught up with her today, and told us how she'll use that money: Karen Lanza, winner "It was a quick pick and I am happy and I am thankful to God." Marion Ali, reporter "This was any time in the recent past - this was about almost 3 months ago." Karen Lanza, winner "I was away." Reporter "How did you find out that you won?" Karen Lanza, winner "I check the website after every draw." Reporter "What was it like for you knowing that you have this winning here and you were not here to collect?"

PROFILES: Ernie Alpuche
Tonight's profile is about Ernie Alpuche. You may not know his name but you may have seen his photographs. Tonight on profile he talks about how he took the road less travelled and chose to become a creator of images:..

Mexican Army Will Build Bridge
And in two follow up items that we don't have space for on last night's news - and hardly have time for tonight…we note first a report coming out of Quintana Roo that that the Mexican Senate has authorized new President Enrique Peña Nieto to send 11 elements of the Mexican Army to come across to Belize to help to build 800 meters of road to the new bridge linking Mexico and Belize. A colonel, a captain, a lieutenant and eight troop elements of the Mexican Army Engineers, will participate in the construction of the new road. They must travel to Belize without weapons and uniforms, for a period of four months. And, in a follow up to the story we did about the FFB's complaint about the use of the MCC Grounds for a concert, the National Sports Council has replied. That organization which manages the field says that Belizean Organizations can rent any of its facilities for non-sporting functions, provided that the event does not conflict with sporting events - in which case the sporting event will get preference. The FFB had complained that concerts damage the pitch.

Channel 5

Illegal logwood, 6 busted; including Agriculture Ministry Employee
On Wednesday, we reported that a moratorium has not stopped the extraction and exportation of rosewood from the south. And tonight, the Forestry Department has its hand full because a shipment of various species of precious woods was confiscated at the Belize City Port on Wednesday; the third this week. As required, Forestry officials were [...]

Indian couple bought fake Belize visas in South America
An Indian couple was busted at the Phillip Goldson International Airport on Wednesday morning when they arrived in the country using forged Belize Visas that were issued in South America.  Twenty-five year old Chetankumar Mohanbhai Patel and his wife Jagrutiben Babubhai Patel flew into the PGIA shortly before ten o’clock on a Taca flight from [...]

Raul, of Rose Garden fame, busted for work permits at Temptation Hill
Businessman Raul Magana Senior was slapped with a hefty fine in court today after pleading guilty to hiring a dozen women without valid work permits.  Magana’s bar and brothel, Temptation Hill, was raided by immigration officials on Wednesday night during an ongoing sting operation.  Magana and the women were escorted to court today by Immigration [...]

Can’t understand how two dogs just killed a man
The life of a caretaker in the south was cut short when he was mauled to death by two ferocious Fila brasileiro dogs, commonly known as the Brazilian Mastiff. The sixty-six year old caretaker went to work on Tuesday evening but sometime during his shift, he was viciously attacked by the guard dogs. It is [...]

Appeals Court says B.T.L. can now issue dividends
An oral decision was handed down in the Court of Appeal shortly after two this afternoon, which would allow Belize Telemedia to issue dividends to shareholders. The shares would have been issued in October, but an application by Dean Boyce and British Caribbean Bank (BCB) to the Caribbean Court of Justice restrained the government, as [...]

But when will $30 Million U.S. debt to BCB be paid?
The attorneys for BCB and Boyce hope the dividends would be placed into an escrow account but today’s ruling will probably launch more counter suits. Barrow believes that the eight amendment solidified government’s control of Telemedia and it would come down to a monetary payment rather than a return of the company to the previous [...]

4 lawsuits to be filed against Northern Regional Doctor
The government will be receiving notice of four lawsuits against Nicaraguan Doctor Geovannia Orozco of the Northern Regional Hospital and the Attorney General’s Office this Friday. Dr. Orozco is the obstetrician at the center of allegations of medical negligence at the hospital in Orange Walk where several women and newborns suffered severe complications after c-section [...]

McAfee back in Florida, but wants 2 girlfriends to join him
Businessman John McAfee was deported from Guatemala to the United States on Wednesday. He left behind his twenty year old girlfriend Samantha Vanegas, who accompanied him when he went into hiding. McAfee is wanted for questioning about the murder of his neighbor Gregory Faull, an American national who was shot in the head in the [...]

B.E.L. says $30 Million owed to consumers will keep electricity cost constant
The Belize Electricity Limited is applying to the Public Utilities Commission for a rate adjustment because it says that since July, the cost of acquisition has been thirty percent above the approved cost of power. If the adjustment is approved, B.E.L. says that it will have little or no impact on your electricity bill in [...]

Belize Bank gives a needed bus to the police
In the spirit of Christmas, the Belize Bank has been spreading good cheer. This morning, the Police Department received a brand new vehicle to shuttle officers to their different destinations. The twenty thousand dollars bus will immediately hit the road. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.   Isani Cayetano, Reporting The Belize Police Department’s Eastern Division, [...]

Lotto winner claims her 48 thousand Christmas dollars
A winning ticket was purchased for the October twentieth lotto draw, but for almost two months, the fifty-seven thousand, five hundred dollar jackpot went unclaimed. That is, until this afternoon when Belize City resident Karen Lanza, turned up at the Tropical Gaming Company’s office on Queen Street. Just in time for the Christmas, she collected [...]

Healthy Living strolls with a restless leg syndrome
Some medical conditions are very tricky to diagnose especially when the symptoms are a bit difficult to explain. That is the case with this week’s topic on Healthy Living. Restless leg disorder is a neurological disorder that does exactly as the name suggests. Healthy Living gets the stats from one medical professional.   Dr. Francis [...]


Businesswoman charged with the murder of her partner
Police in San Ignacio town have arrested and charged businesswoman, forty three year old Rosalilia Castillo for the crime of murder. Castillo, also known as Lilly, is accused of fatally stabbing her partner, thirty four year old Pamela Perez on Saturday night inside the Las Palomas Del Norte Bar located on Carrillo Puerto Avenue in Santa Elena Town. Perez was taken to the La Loma Luz hospital following the stabbing incident, but she died while undergoing treatment. Police press officer, Raphael Martinez told reporters on Monday that Lilly Castillo told authorities that four men attacked Perez inside the bar and ran off. Police, however, say that they noticed scratches on and a cut wound on Castillo and she was detained along with a 19 year old man. A post mortem examination on Perez’ body certified that she bled to death. Castillo was arraigned in the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court this morning. No plea was taken because the offence is indictable. She was remanded to prison until her next court appearance on March sixth, 2013.

Youth charged with murder of a man gunned down near primary school
Twenty year Henry Cornejo, a resident of Plues Street, was charged with the murder of 29 year old Marvin Nunez when he appeared today in the number two Magistrate’s Court today. No plea was taken because the offence is indictable. Neither could the court offer him bail. He was remanded into custody. Nunez was shot 4 times, 3 to his head and 1 to his chest around 1 p.m. on Friday, December 7 in front of St. Ignatius Primary School on Euphrates Avenue. Nunez was pronounced dead on arrival at KHMH a short time later. Cornejo was recently acquitted of the murder of Gilbert Olivera who was shot to death in 2009. Olivera who was a witness in a murder trial, was shot in his back while he was walking on Plues Street. The case for the prosecution fell apart when an oral confession was not admitted as evidence and the main witness did not come to court to testify.

Man guilty of attempted murder and destruction of a child
A jury of 8 women and 1 man deliberated for almost 3 hours today before it found 22 year Henry Patnett guilty of attempted murder, child destruction and wounding. The jury’s verdict was unanimous. Patnett asked the trial judge Justice Adolph Lucas to sentence him today and Justice Lucas sentenced him to 12 years in prison for attempted murder, 12 years for child destruction and 2 years for wounding. He stipulated that the 12 year sentences are to run concurrently to each other and consecutively to the sentence of 2 years. The incident occurred around 1:30 a.m. on August 2, 2010 at the residence of Patnett’s ex-girlfriend 30 year old Valerie Sheran, located at 132 Neal Pen Road. Sheran, a mother of 3 who was about 7 months pregnant with Patnett’s baby at the time, testified that she was awakened from sleep by a light on her cell phone and when she got up she saw Patnett in front of her armed with a machete. She said she struggled with Patnett and wrestled away the machete from him but that Patnett produced a knife and stabbed her multiple times. One of the stab wounds was to her abdomen and it caused her to bleed profusely, resulting in the death of the unborn child. Sheran’s boyfriend, 73 year old Ernesto Ireland, who was sleeping on the bed beside her, testified that he was awakened by her screams and he was stabbed 7 times in his arm and shoulder when he put his arm around Sheran to protect her. Four doctors and a nurse testified at the trial. Throughout the trial Patnett remained silent. Patnett was not represented by any attorney. Crown Counsel Stevanni Duncan represented the prosecution.

Police recover AK-47 in Roaring Creek
Another powerful weapon is safely it the custody of the police as law enforcement authorities in the nation’s capital continue their stepped-up operations for this time of the year. Our Cayo correspondent Fem Cruz reports.

Bush and pickup truck collide; man dies
A man from the Corozal district was killed and another seriously injured in a road traffic incident last night on the Phillip Goldson highway. The victim has been identified as forty one year old Jenaro Gaspar Sanchez. According to police reports Sanchez was northbound around six thirty last night, when upon reaching between miles fifty nine and sixty on the Phillip Goldson Highway he crashed into passenger bus that was heading to Orange Walk town. A passenger traveling with Sanchez, identified as forty five year old Primitivo Cano sustained cut wounds to his head, abrasion to his left arm and complained of chest pains. Our Orange Walk Burau Chief Manuela Ayuso Cantun was on the scene shortly after the incident, and spoke with a passenger on the bus, Elias Cantun about the crash. No one on the passenger bus belonging to Belize Bus Owners Cooperative was injured in the crash.

PG clinic opens late; residents complain
Concerns about the tardiness in the opening of a health facility in Punta Gorda town have been addressed by authorities in that southern municipality. Our Toledo Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Red Cross and Jane Usher community celebrate collaborative effort
The Belize Red Cross and the Jane Usher Neighborhood Association today hosted an open at the community Basketball Court. Organizers say the purpose of the open day was to let the community know about the work that the Red Cross is doing in the area. Lily Bowman is the Director General of the Belize Red Cross. President of Jane Usher Neighborhood Association Noreen Hulse told Love News about what the organization has been doing since its inception. Bowman says that climate change can have very dramatic impacts in urban communities such as the Jane Usher boulevard community and it is of utmost important that they educate themselves as to the approaches they can take.

Information kits on HIV released
Discrimination and stigma towards people living with HIV/AIDS has been a common practice by people in general, but now with an agenda to decrease the number of new cases, create better networking to stomp out the stigmatization, and including more publicity on the positive lives that people living with the disease lead. So today, the National AIDS Commission, the Collaborative Network of Persons Living with HIV in Belize, or CNET Plus, and relevant and supportive agencies, introduced a bi-lingual informational kit and held a media luncheon in its bid to reverse the current status. Executive Director of C-NET, Eric Castellanos, said that the informational kits include data on topics that people don’t know much about. He explained the contents of the kits, developing a new poster with people of all walks of life with the disease, and then shared why today’s meeting with the media is an important step. Meanwhile, Adi Mai is HIV positive and said that three months ago when she delivered her son, she had to travel abroad to take the C-Section that she opted to take in order to prevent the infant from acquiring the disease during childbirth. The informational kits will be distributed among persons living with HIV/AIDS across the country.

Baby needs special care; family appeals for financial assistance
At this time of year everyone is making their wish list of things they want to receive this Christmas. But all that one family from Forest Home Village, Toledo would really like to have is to spend their first Christmas at home with their newborn baby. The problem is that baby Sanjay Armstrong was born two months ago with a rare disease that requires him to spend most of his days in the Pediatric Ward at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The infant needs a specialist diagnosis not available in Belize and medication in order that he might live a normal life. With that, Pediatrician at the hospital, Dr CecilioEck, has written a letter for the family, who is asking you to help them keep their little boy alive. Doctor Eck explains what the medical condition is that the baby is suffering from. But in order for Baby Sanjay to receive the professional diagnosis and medication he needs in order to live a normal life, he needs your help. His grandmother, Edith Armstrong, says that her family is turning to you for that help. The cost of the specialist treatment is too much for the family to afford, but if the community comes together, they can raise the estimated five and ten thousand dollars they need in no time. If you or someone you know can help Baby Sanjay with the money he needs to get the proper diagnosis and treatment abroad, you may contact his grandmother, Edith Armstrong at cell number: 669 3383. That number again is: 669 3383.

Annual Christmas program ready to take off on Love FM
It is that time of the year again, and the biggest event of the season starts in under twenty four hours time. We’re talking about the annual Twelve Days of Christmas program organized by our sister network, Love FM. The program has been a staple at Christmas time for several years now, and this year it takes on an added twist. Organizers of the Twleve Days of Christmas are taking the show on the road, this year, literally. The new venue for the presentation will be the confines of the Old Belize Museum at mile five on the George Price Highway. Carmen Barrow is the chief coordinator of Twelve Days of Christmas. Aside from the new venue, Barrow says Belizeans can expect many of the mainstays of the program, such as the Toy Tree. The show nightly at seven o’clock, right after the Evening News. Sponsors for this year’s event include BTL, Karl H. Menzies, Courts, Fultec Systems, Coca Cola, Cuellos Caribbean Rum, Marie Sharp’s Fine Foods, the Belize Bank Limited, the Habet and Habet group of companies, that is Brothers Habet, Habet and Habet and Builder’s Hardware, Quality Poultry Products, Home Protector Insurance and Image Pro.

#453507 - 12/14/12 09:36 AM Re: Today's Belize News: December 14, 2012 [Re: Marty]
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More News: Scroll up from here


Belmopan Taxi Operators meet with Senior Traffic Officer Kevin Jones.
The big meeting with the taxi operators and Mayor Lopez was set for this morning at 9am. But when Plus news team ar...

Drugs and firearm recovered in Belize City
On Saturday, Police searched an abandoned lot on Rocky Road, Belize City, which led to the discovery of two plastic...

Belize Bank donates bus to Eastern Division Police
Police Department receives a bus from Belize Bank. This morning the official handing over ceremony was held at the ...

Woman with HIV talks about discrimmination
Earlier this week we aired a piece on the work of the National AIDS Commission as it continues to advocate for prop...

OCEANA’s lawsuit against GOB has been adjourned OCEANA’s lawsuit against GOB has been adjourned to next
Thursday: A showdown was scheduled yesterday morning in the...

John Saldivar addresses crime solutions on Rise and Shine
The Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar spoke to the need to arrest the crime situation when he was o...

David Gegg must pay delinquent GTS by December 21
David Gegg was accompanied by his attorney, Andrew Marshalleck, and his accountant, when he appeared before Magistr...

Baby boy needs special treatment for a rare condition
A baby boy needs special treatment for a rare condition: The family of 2 month old Sanjay Armstrong of Belize City ...

Belize City businessman arrested or drug and firearm offence
Belize City Police have arrested a businessman for drug and firearm offences. Yesterday at 12:50am, Police conducte...

Three arrested in Belize City for illegal possession of ammunition
Two men and a woman have been arrested in Belize City for the illegal possession of ammunition. Yesterday at 6:30am...

Belizeans train with U.S. Border Patrol’s Special Operations Group
Last night we told you about the immigration and customs officers who underwent five weeks training along with sixt...

Dangriga Police investigate Sudden Death
Dangriga Police are investigating a Sudden Death. Yesterday at 7:00am, Police were called to the machine shop at th...

Employee tied up during robbery
An employee was tied up during a mid-morning robbery. A businessman of Belize City told Police that yesterday morni...

12 years old boy is missing
A 12 years old boy is reported missing. Suzette Balan who lives at the corner of Jasmine Street and Croton Lane, Be...

The Guardian

UDP Pickstock’s New Executive Committee
On Saturday, December 8th, the Pickstock UDP Division met and elected their New Executive Committee. Elected to serve were Dawn Coye as Chairperson; Dorla Staine, Arlette Bevans, Lloydia Johnson, Deborah Flowers, Sheila Carter, Shelmadine McCauley, Shirlene Leslie, Therese Peters, Dorian Avilez, Loretta Helmsley, Luis Ayuso, Stephanie Craig, William Locke, and Francis Arana as members. Gaye Coye-Mckenzie, Carla Jones, Dion Martinez, Shirlette McGregor and Gareth Gill were named alternates.

From Bad to Worse at Orange Walk Town Hall
The Orange Walk Town Council finds itself in a position where it is simply collapsing. When last we reported on the escapades of the Mayor, we pointed on the self-imposed financial struggles in which he had put the Council in. Now, sources from within Town Hall indicated that the Traffic Manager has been given his walking papers. That fellow, in the name of David Madrid, had come in shortly after the PUP took up office at the Town Council but no sooner had he made it in than he is being booted out.

Charting A Way in Sports
Currently in Belize are two consultants, Mark Mungal and Andre Collins, both directors of the Caribbean Sport and Development Agency (CSDA). They are in country after they bid to be the consulting agency, which will chart a way for sports in Belize. CSDA is tasked at coming up with a strategic plan, which will guide sports in Belize. The project is funded by UNICEF to the tune of $25,000.

Eden Drive in Santa Elena, Cayo has been paved with Asphalt
Students and teachers of the Eden Seventh Day Adventist High School in Santa Elena Town have welcomed the asphalt surfacing last Friday of the portion of Eden Drive, which runs parallel to the school. The modernization of Eden Drive comes thanks to funding from the first phase of the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP), a comprehensive project which seeks to improve infrastructure in Municipalities across Belize.

Situation Analysis of Gender and Politics released
Under the Millennium Development Goals to promote gender equality and empowerment of women, Belize should have at least 30 percent women representation in the National Assembly. Sadly, that is a far cry from where Belize currently stands and the Women’s Commission, which has been a lead advocate for the empowerment of women launched a study on Monday, December 10th seeking the answers as to the disparity.

Situation Analysis of Gender and Politics in Belize: 1998 – 2012 Launch
A Situation Analysis of Gender and Politics in Belize “Toward Equality of Opportunity for Equality of Results” was launched today, Monday, December 10th, 2012 by the National Women’s Commission (NWC) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), at a ceremony held at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. This is an important milestone of the partnership launched in February 2011 when a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by UNDP and the NWC, which would seek to document the impediments that preclude the presence of female representatives in the House of Representatives. The main findings of the Report were presented by the consultant Debra Lewis.

Officials from the Government of Belize and the IDB meet in Belize City
At the request of Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno, senior officials from the Bank, including Vice President Roberto Vellutini, met in Belize City yesterday with officials from the Government of Belize to discuss the future of their partnership and strategies to advance the country’s social and economic agenda. As a member of the IDB since 1992, Belize values the Bank’s contributions in the form of loans, grants and technical assistance to address development challenges. Belize intends to remain an active member of the IDB. Belize's membership in the Bank has also provided unique perspectives and distinctive programs. In the last two decades, the IDB has provided US$190 million in loan financing and US$25 million in grants to Belize. The current Bank-financed portfolio in Belize includes loans in the areas of tourism, agriculture, water and sanitation, flood mitigation and citizen security, along with technical assistance grants for sectors such as health, education, social protection and disaster risk management. In the context of the forthcoming Country Strategy 2013-2017, and in a manner consistent with IDB's role in the international financial system, the Bank and Government will continue to explore alternatives to help Belize to surpass its development challenges and achieve its national development goals.

Opportunities for Belize from India
On Thursday, December 6th, the new Indian High Commissioner, H.E. Sujan R. Chinoy presented his credentials to Governor General of Belize, Sir. Colville Young. Chinoy arrived in Mexico in August of this year and presented his credentials in that country in October. He was then invited to visit Belize to do the same.

Belizean Law Enforcement improves Illegal Smuggling Interdiction Skills
On December 12th, Col. George Lovell, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of National Security and His Excellency Vinai K. Thummalapally, Ambassador of the United States of America, hosted the first graduation ceremony of the Mobile Interdiction Team (MIT) at the Belize Police Training Academy in Belmopan.

San Andres Village Council Team Ready
On Sunday, December 9th, the UDP held a meeting in the Village of San Andres in the Corozal North Division where the United Democratic Party selected the team to contest the upcoming village council elections.

Ministry of National Security Clarifies and rectifies Issue Regarding Transfer of Corporal Sharmane Young
The Ministry of National Security wishes to clarify that the re-posting of Corporal #834 Sharmane Young from the San Pedro Sub-formation to Belize City is well within the established transfer policy of the Police Department. Reports of her transfer to the Placencia Sub-formation have been confirmed to be completely inaccurate. The letter to Corporal Young dated November 27th, 2012 states that the re-deployment is from San Pedro to Belize City, “under the overall command of the Officer Commanding Eastern Division with effect from November 27th, 2012”. The records confirm that Corporal Young asked for and received, as per regulations, an extension of the transfer date to December 15th, 2012. The Ministry is satisfied that this reposting to Belize City had nothing to do with the incident involving an American tourist, and regrets that the timing of the incident and that of the redeployment have led to understandable speculations about the motive for the decision.

Charged for Carnal knowledge
On Wednesday, December 12th, Stann Creek Valley resident, Ever Alex Ortiz, 21, appeared in Magistrate's Court in Belize City after being accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl. He appeared Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer where he was read a single charge of unlawful carnal knowledge. Due to the nature of the offense, the Senior Magistrate informed Ortiz that the lower court could not grant him bail for the offense until 90 days’ time. She informed him that it is his right to apply for bail through the Supreme Court with the assistance of an attorney. He was then remanded to the Hattieville Prison until February 13th, 2013.

Gion Bernard committed to stand Trial for Attempted Murder
On Monday, December 10tha preliminary inquiry into two shooting incidents concluded before Senior Magistate Sharon Frazer. The PI, were in the case of 27-year-old Gion Bernard, a resident of #27 Castle Street. At the conclusion of the inquiry, the Magistrate found that there is sufficient evidence to commit the cases of Bernard to the Supreme Court. Bernard will have to answer to the charges of attempted murder in the shooting of Carrington Bowden which occurred on April 23rd, 2012. He is also to stand trial in the attempted murder of 30-year-old Jermaine Garnett, who was shot a day after Bowden, in the same vicinity on April 24, 2012. At the end of his PI, Bernard, who was on remand at the Belize Central Prison, was offered bail in the sum of $10,000 plus two sureties of $5,000 each. He was told that he must appear in the January Session of the Supreme Court set to commence on January 15th.

Two Years for Attempting to assemble a Firearm in Prison
On Friday December, 7th, 27-year-old Cecil Castillo was found guilty of attempting to assemble a firearm whilst inside prison. Castillo appeared before Magistrate Adolph Lucas. On the evening of Wednesday, May 29th, 2012 whilst an inmate at the Belize Central Prison Castillo was caught with the firearm on his bunk bed by a prison officer. According to the officer, Castillo admitted that the firearm was his, despite the fact that three other inmates were inside the cell. At the end of the prosecution's case, Kaysha Grant, the Crown’s representative was able to prove the charge against Castillo and Magistrate Lucas found him guilty. Castillo had nothing to say in mitigation and was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment effective October 4th, 2012 when the charge for keeping a prohibited firearm was downgraded to attempting to assemble a firearm without a gun license.

Guilty of Possession of Prohibited Firearm
Kareem Harvey, Christopher Sosa and Ashton Anderson On Monday, December 10th, two of three Belize City men busted at a home in the Port Loyola area on June 19th, 2011 in possession of prohibited firearms and ammunition were found guilty in Magistrate's Court. They had been charged jointly with possession of a .40 pistol with an empty magazine, and a .38 revolver loaded with 4 live rounds. The men, Kareem Harvey, Christopher Sosa and, Ashton Anderson had been jointly charged with firearms and ammunition offenses but of the three, Harvey and Sosa were convicted while Anderson was found not guilty. The men were sentenced to 5 years in prison on each count by the Chief Magistrate. All told, it adds up to 15 years in prison; however, because the charges stem from a single incident, they will spend only 5 years in prison since the sentences are to run concurrently.

Man charge for Midday Murder
On Tuesday, December 11th, 20-year-old Henry Cornejo appeared in Magistrate’ Court before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer where he was charged for the December 7th murder of Marvin Nunez. Cornejo who was unrepresented, was read a single charge of murder for the shooting of 29-year-old Marvin Nunez. No plea was taken and he was remanded to the Hattieville prison until January of 2013. Just as classes were about to resume for the afternoon session at Saint Ignatius school on Friday, December 7th, Marvin “Inches” Nunez had accompanied his wife and two step-children, ages 6 and 8, to the school. As Nunez’s wife walked into the compound with the children, he was approached by a gunman who opened fire on him. Nunez was hit three times to the head and once to the chest; he died whilst receiving treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The man accused of the killing is Henry Cornejo, a unemployed resident of #58 Plues Street. He is a known associate of the George Street area.

Two men found Guilty of Robbery
On Monday, December 10th, 28-year-old Ernie Miranda also known as Ernie Hyatt and Edward Burns were to appear in Magistrate's Court to answerto robbery related charges; however, only Burns was present. Both men were accused of robbing 37-year-old Marilou Smith, a telephone operator with the Police Department, in the wee hours of the morning of November 11th, 2012 whilst she was heading to work. Burns appeared before before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer where he gave a dock statement where he said that he didn’t have much to say but he has accused the police of wrongfully arresting him because he never robbed “anyone in m life." In making her ruling, Magistrate Frazer told Burns that while she is certain he did not rob Smith, the evidence pointed to Miranda as being the one who robbed Smith. She however, found that there was enough evidence to show the court that he was Miranda accomplice in the robbery as he stood there armed with a machete as Miranda robbed with woman.

Domestic Dispute between Women ends in Death
At about 11:30p.m. on December 8th, police received information that a female had been transported to the La Loma Luz Hospital, a private hospital located in Santa Elena Town, Cayo District. On arriving at the hospital, the authorities saw the lifeless body of a female person, lying on the bed with stab wounds to the throat. Further investigation revealed that Rosalia Castillo was the person who had transported Pamela Perez to the hospital. Police then picked up Castillo at her residence at #4 George Price Avenue, where she informed them that her bar had been robbed. Police visited the establishment, Las Palomas Del Norte Bar located on Carrillo Puerto Avenue, Santa Elena Town. There, they saw blood on the floor, broken bottles and a pair of shoes belonging to Perez. As a result, Castillo was detained and taken to the San Ignacio Police Station. Further investigations into the incident revealed that Castillo and Perez had a domestic dispute at the bar, where Castillo pulled out an object and stabbed Perez to her throat. Witnesses say that the wound on Perez was caused by Castillo. Rosalia Castillo has since been arrested and charged for murder. She has appeared before a Magistrate, where she is now remanded to the Hattieville Prison.

New Library for ACC thanks to BNE Charitable Trust
On Wednesday, December 12th the Anglican Cathedral College officially inaugurated its new library. The library, which features Internet-ready computer stations, an Audio Visual component with overhead projector, WiFi access, a study area and book shelves, came at a cost of 54 thousand dollars. ACC's school principal, Ismael Requena told the Guardian that he has been at the high school for the past 20 years, 9 of which he has been the principal, and since that time, there has been no real library at the school. He explained that there were areas designated as library areas but they were not true to the word. The newly equipped and designed area now does fit the billing and Requena says the school is truly appreciative of the Charitable Trust's contribution. He said that the library will serve the student and the community as a whole well. He added that while the school has some books to fill the shelves, there is capacity for additional books and the school is accepting contributions. The library was built in 8 weeks at a cost of 54 thousand dollars and included the repair of the ceiling, tiling of the floor, installing bookshelves, and repairs to windows and doors and the installation of air conditioning units. The library will serve 550 students from ACC.

A Panoramic History of ‘El Cayo’ presented
Joe Awe, son of Elias Awe; Dr. Jaime Awe, Head of Belize’s Institute of Archaeology; Melanie Santiago-Smith The first Annual Elias A. Awe Memorial Lecture was held on December 7th, 2012 at the Octavia Waight Conference Center in San Ignacio. The lecture was held in memory of Elias Awe, a community member of San Ignacio, who recently passed away. Awe was a contributor to the Towns’ dynamism in history, culture and humanitarianism, especially to the aged. The lecture was organized by Melanie Santiago-Smith, a Belizean sociologist, who also lectures at the University College of Belize. The first lecturer was Dr. Jaime Awe, Head of Belize’s Institute of Archaeology, who offered an anthropological history of the Cayo District. Dr. Awe reviewed the extensive cave systems in the Cayo District and how they became repositories to the history of the Maya. These caves, which number in the thousands, were once used by the Maya for religious purposes. The Maya used the caves, because they were portals to the underworld. They believed that the Corn God is re-born inside a cave. As a consequence, there was blood letting in those caves as the Maya offered sacrifice to the gods, as was evidenced by skeletons in several areas within the cave systems. A sword and an olive pot found in Cayo and examined by Awe signified that the Maya had eventually made contact with Europeans. In 1623, there was a major revolt by the Maya and that had tremendous significance to modern-day Belize said the Belizean expert.

Human Rights Commission of Belize celebrates World Human Rights Day
The Human Rights Commission of Belize (HRCB), Belize’s principal human rights advocacy group, has celebrated World Human Rights Day. The theme of World Human Rights Day is “My Voice Counts” and that was put into practice on Monday, December 10th, 2012 with a meeting near the Belize Police Force Headquarters in Belmopan. This international celebration also coincides with HRCB's 25th Anniversary. According to a United Nations website, Human Rights Day represents an opportunity every year to celebrate human rights, focusing on specific issues. This year the attention falls on the rights of all people - women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor - to make their voices heard and be included in political decision-making. In his address at HRCB’s function, guest speaker Gustavo Perrera, who was once the program Director for the Society for the Promotion of Education and Research SPEAR, called on everyone to move beyond the ‘participatory approach’ to the ‘deliberative approach’. He called on participants in the Democratic process, to first get the facts, consult and reach shared decisions.

Liberty foundation holds fundraiser
On Sunday, December 16th, 2012, Liberty Children Home will be having a family fair and concert on Bird’s Isle to raise much needed funds. The fair will be from 10 am to 8 pm. Free entrance will be from 10 am to 12 noon. After 12 noon, entrance fee is $5.00 for adults and children age 14 and below is $2.00. There will be lots of games for children and adults with great prizes, fun rides, a variety of delicious food, pastries, fresh fruit juices, sodas, and beer. Santa Clause will be visiting from 12 noon to 3:30 pm with a gift for every child. The management and staff is asking that you come out and support our children as you get into the holiday spirit. Digicell and Smart will be offering top up and double up on the Bird’s Isle fair grounds from 10 am to 8 pm. Liberty Foundation is an NGO which relies heavily on donations cares for abused, abandoned, and neglected children who are placed in their care by the Department Of Human Service. For more information, visit their web site at www.libertychildrenbelize.org or if you wish to make a donation contact Delfena Mitchell, director at 225-2158 or 624-3696.

Rotary Club annual Orthopedic clinic
The Rotary Club of Belmopan, in collaboration with the Illinois Rotary District 6510 and World Peace Partners, announces its annual Orthopedic Clinic for the Belize Children’s Project with Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Coles L’Hommedieu from St. Louis, Missouri. The Belize Children’s Project is an ongoing collaboration with Rotary Clubs in Southern Illinois and Shriner’s Hospital for Children in St. Louis to help children throughout Belize suffering from bone abnormalities such as curvature of the spine, shortness in one leg, difficulty walking, club foot, etc. Since 1972, periodic clinics have been held countrywide to assess new children brought in and revisit children currently in the program. Once a child has been accepted into the program, his or her progress will be monitored until 18 years of age. The clinics will be held again in 2013 in Santa Elena, Belmopan, Dangriga, Belize City and Orange Walk. The dates and times for the clinics are:

Belize Elementary Girls are National Primary Schools Football Champions
The 2012-2013 National Primary Schools Football Championship came to an end on Friday, December 7th, at the ITVET compound and the MCC Grounds. In the girls’ championship game, Belize Elementary School, representing the Belize District, defeated Santa Elena Primary School, representing the Cayo District, by the score of 3-1 via penalty kicks. The goals for Belize Elementary School were scored by Donna Che, Keila Qyuela and Chelsea Williams, while the goal for Santa Elena Primary School was scored by Shantel Robinson. In the first girls’ game, Belize Elementary School defeated Trial Farm Government School, representing the Orange Walk District, by the score of 3-0 via penalty kick. The goals for Belize Elementary School were scored by Alyssa McKenize, Iyannie Castillo and Donna Che. In game two, Santa Elena Primary School won over Ranchito Government School, representing the Corozal District, by the score of 4-1 via the penalty kick. The goal scorers for Santa Elena Primary School were Shantel Robinson, Jinelly Bentacourt, Sherile Williams and Marie Fernandez. The goal scorer for Ranchito Government School was Becky Cassanova. In game three, Holy Ghost School defeated Belize Elementary School by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Kaylin Mejia. In the fourth game of the day, Golden Stream Government School, representing the Toledo District, edged Santa Elena Primary School by the score of 3-2 via penalty kicks. The goal scorers for Golden Stream Government School were Regina Cal, Emma Pop and Ellia Pop, while the goal scorers for Santa Elena Primary School were Shantel Robinson and Shelby Smith.

BWSL Firms Basketball Competition Champions
The Belize District Basketball Association Firms Competition came to an end on Saturday, December 8th, 2012, when the budding champions BWSL defeated the competition’s favourite Port of Belize in 2 games. In the 2nd and final game played, BWSL captured the championship when it defeated Port of Belize by the score of 59-51. The top scorers for BWSL were Karim Thompson who scored 21 points and 8 rebounds; Travis Lennon who also scored 21 points, and 11 rebounds; and Ashley Hemsley who contributed 9 points towards the win. For Port of Belize, the top scorers were Lennox Bowman with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists; and Leroy Forbes with 9 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal. On Friday, December 7th, in the first game of the championship series, BWSL edged the Port of Belize by the score of 53-50. The top scorers for BWSL were Travis Lennon with 15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal; Karim Thompson with 11 points, 11 rebounds;1 assist and 3 steals; and Lindburg Graham with 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. | Meanwhile, the top scorers for Port of Belize were Ian Augustine with 15 points, 12 rebounds,1 assist and 2 steals; and Lennox Bowman with 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.

Police United and Belmopan Bandits win
The semi-final round of the 2012 Premier League of Belize Football Competition commenced on Saturday, December 8th, out at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence Village and then continued on Sunday, December 9th at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town. On Saturday, December 8th, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, the visiting Belmopan Bandits blanked the national defending champions Placencia Assassins by the score of 1-0. The Belmopan Bandits were able to get on the scoreboard when Jerome James scored the only goal of the game in the 22nd minute of play. Meanwhile, at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town in a game between the security forces, it was the Police United squad that won game one in the series when it clipped the Belize Defence Force by the score of 2-1. The home team, the Belize Defence Force was able to get onto the scoreboard first when Vallan Symms scored his team’s only goal of the game in the 11th minute of play. Meanwhile, the Police United squad was able to get onto the scoreboard when Evan Mariano scored his team’s 1st goal of the game in the 33rd minute of play to tie the score at 1-1 by the first half of the game. ended 1-1.

Sadie Vernon Technical and St. Catherine Academy to defend National Basketball Title
The National Secondary Schools Sports Association Basketball Championships will be played this coming weekend at the Independence High School on Friday and Saturday, December 14th - 15th, 2012. The schools that are participating in this year’s competition are the defending champions in both the female and male categories from Central Region St. Catherine Academy (female) and Sadie Vernon Technical High School (male). From the Northern Region, New Hope High School (female) and San Pedro High School (male), from the Southern Region Delille Academy (female) and Stann Creek Ecumenical High School (male) and from the Western Region, Belmopan Comprehensive High School’s male and female teams. The competition will commence on Friday, December 14th, 2012 with four games on the schedule. In the first female game, St. Catherine Academy will go up against Belmopan Comprehensive High School. In female game two, it will be New Hope High School against Delille Academy. In the first male game also on Friday, it will be Sadie Vernon Technical High School against Belmopan Comprehensive High School and in the second male game, it will be San Pedro High School against Stann Creek Ecumenical High School.

St. Catherine Academy repeats as Central Champs
The Central Region Secondary Schools Female Basketball Competition came to an end on Friday, December 7th, 2012, when the defending champions St. Catherine Academy edged Wesley College by the score of 31-30 in overtime to repeat as Central Region Female basketball champions. The top scorers for St. Catherine Academy were Indie Dixon with 17 points and Gilda Estrada with 10 points, while the top scorers for Wesley College were Genae Samuels with 10 points and Kristy Terry with 6 points. St. Catherine Academy advanced to the championship game when it eliminated Gwen Lizarraga High School on Thursday, December 6th, by the score of 33-24. The top scorers for St. Catherine Academy were Gilda Estrada with 14 points and Indie Dixon with 10 points, the top scorers for Gwen Lizarraga High School were Shaneen Flowers with 10 points and Ann Ma Chen with 8 points. On Tuesday, December 4th, Gwen Lizarraga High School eliminated Pallotti High School via the default route.

Sadie Vernon Technical Central Champs again,
The 2012-2013 Central Region Secondary Schools Basketball Championship in the male competition came to an end on Monday, December 10th, 2012, when the third and final game in the championship series was played at the Bird’s Isle. In the third and final game, the defending champions Sadie Vernon Technical High School defeated Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 56-49. The top scorers for Sadie Vernon Technical High School were Lincey Lopez with 17 points and Jamal Augustine with 15 points. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Gwen Lizarraga High School were Akeem Richardson with 19 points and Albert Longsworth with 9 points. On Friday, December 7th, Sadie Vernon Technical High School won the pivotal 2nd game when it defeated Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 69-47 to force the must win game three. The top scorers for Sadie Vernon Technical High School were Lincey Lopez with 19 points and Deon Roches with 18 points, while the top scorers for Gwen Lizarraga High School were Albert Longsworth with 26 points and Akeem Richardson with 9 points. On Thursday, December 6th, in the 1st game of the championship series between Gwen Lizarraga High School and the defending Central Region Champions Sadie Vernon Technical High School, it was Gwen Lizarraga High School that captured the 1st game by the score of 52-49. The top scorers for Gwen Lizarraga High School were Akeem Richardson with 21 points and Albert Longsworth with 10 points. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Sadie Vernon Technical High School were Kadeem Olivera with 15 points, Lincey Lopez with 13 points and Jay Palacio with 12 points.

Faith Nazarene is National Primary Schools Football Champions
The 2012-2013 National Primary Schools Football Championship came to an end on Friday, December 7th, at the MCC Grounds. In the boys’ championship game, Faith Nazarene School, representing the Cayo District, defeated San Pedro Roman Catholic School representing the Belize District by the score of 2-1. The goals for Faith Nazarene were scored by Brandon Cante, while the goal for San Pedro Roman Catholic School was scored by Jason Maldonado. In the third place game, La Inmaculada Roman Catholic School, representing Orange Walk defeated Golden Stream Government School, representing the Toledo District by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Amir Munoz. In the first boys’ game, San Pedro Roman Catholic School defeated La Inmaculada Roman Catholic School by the score of 4-0. The goals for La Immaculada School were scored by Melvin Trujillo and Jason Maldonado.In game two, Faith Nazarene School won over Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic School representing the Corozal District by the score of 1-0. The goal scorer for Faith Nazarene School was Edberto Concha. In game three, San Pedro Roman Catholic School also blanked Christ the King Anglican School, representing the Stann Creek District, by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Jason Maldonado. In the fourth game of the day, Faith Nazarene defeated Golden Stream Government School, representing the Toledo District, by the score of 1-0. The goal scorer for Faith Nazarene was Edberto Concha.

Public attention this week was drawn to an incident which saw the lackluster PUP Orange Walk South Area Representative, Jose Mai caught in a very compromising situation. Reports are that Mai was caught at a checkpoint set up at the Chan Chen cut off with 15 cases of Miller Beer. Thing is, that the importation of beer is not allowed unless persons have a permit. That was not the case for Mai and the beer was confiscated. Mai was allowed a "bly" as he is an elected representative. It is not the first time that Mai has found himself in this kind of sticky situation before. He was reportedly found in a compromising situation in Chetumal a few months ago involving a firearm. He managed to wiggle his way out of that one as well.

GST Gets Gegg
Sheffield Eck, David Gegg and Andrew Marshalleck Businessman David Gegg, the owner of Discovery Expeditions and Cruise Solutions, lawyered himself up on Wednesday, December 12th when he made an appearance at the Magistrate's Court in Belize City to answer to charges of not paying General Sales Tax (GST). Gegg appeared alongside his attorneys Andrew Marshalleck and Priscilla Banner. A day earlier, Gegg was to have appeared in court on a committal warrant; however, he never showed up, instead his accountant, Sheffield Eck appeared on his behalf. After that court session, the committal warrant was lifted after a meeting was held between Gegg and the GST Department in which the Commissioner of GST allowed him time to pay. Gegg was still asked to reappear in court on Wednesday and he did so before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. The GST Department has been after Gegg for the past 6 months for non-payment of GST. Representative for GST, Jacklyn Meighan informed the court that there are two outstanding fines against Gegg. His company Cruise Solutions had owed GST in the sum of $111,530 and his other company, Discovery Expeditions, owes GST in the amount of $152,584. On Tuesday, he made payments to both the accounts which brought the balance on the Cruise Solutions account to $56,584 and $89,912.60 for the Discovery Expeditions account. He now has an outstanding $146,496.90. Gegg agreed to make payments on the balance by February of 2013.

McAffee deported to the U.S.
John McAfee left Guatemala at La Aurora International Airport on an American Airlines commercial airplane seated in coach at 2:00p.m. on Wednesday, December 12th; his destination was Miami. The plane landed in the U.S. at 6 p.m. According to U.S. news reports, McAfee was escorted by federal authorities after he cleared customs and would not make any appearance in any public part of the terminal. McAfee had been detained in Guatemala on Thursday last week after he entered into that country illegally; he was seeking asylum after he fabricated a story of being persecuted in Belize. That application was denied but he remained in detention by immigration authorities after which the Supreme Court ordered that he be released and expelled to the US. McAfee entered Guatemala after he was being sought in Belize for the killing of fellow American national, Gregory Faull who was shot and killed in San Pedro on November 11th. McAfee was the victim's neighbor and police were seeking him for questioning in relation to the murder.


Island Academy annual Christmas Pageant
This morning while I was getting the pictures from Drop Box that my junior blogger Nina had successfully sent in, I kept getting google+ emails for a cool kite-surfing video that Richard Branson had posted. After the original one came and I watched it in I got 5 more and decided if one more came in while I was retrieving and sorting Island Academy pictures I would include the kite surfing video too. Although it was taken in Maui it made me happy to think that it is mid December and the weather is perfect for outdoor beach activities like kite surfing Hobie cats and jet ski’s. Island Academy Christmas Pageant, opened it’s doors at 7oo:pm so people could relax and mingle with friends and a cocktail after work, before the show started . This year instead of a pitch in, the decided to sell food tickets from 3:00pm – 5:00 pm at the Island Academy office. Tickets were $20 per adult and $10 per child and raised funds for the school.

Island Academy Does It Again: The 17th Annual Holiday Pageant
The Island Academy put on an amazing Christmas show again! These kids work amazingly hard to put on a very serious production. This year's theme was Christmas lists in today's world. Tweeting, IMing, textings Santa...we found out that in the end, he's all about the old fashioned way. Santa, apparently, loves a letter straight from the heart. Awwww... Before the show, the ladies checking out the after-performance baked goods table. The parents, teachers and administrators looked GORGEOUS! Here are Lisa and Wilema. The huge tent, that was relatively empty when I first arrived, was packed for showtime. There were lots of people standing to enjoy the show. Let me take a moment to again moan about my lack of night time photography skills. Some of these pics are blurry...some are way too dark...sigh. Maybe a few more years of practice? Wilema, the school administrator and Lady Dixie Bowen, the founder and the principal gave the opening welcome speeches.

Swimming with sharks at Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Belize

Settlement Day 2012, Dangriga
A small collection of images from the 2012 Settlement Day celebrations in Dangriga, Belize

International Sources

Crystal Skull Follies
Some amusing news for the week. Dr Jaime Awe, the Belizean archaeologist, Is suing the creators of the last Indiana Jones movie. No, not because the movie was horrible beyond belief, but for using a replica of the skull. The comments in the Huffington Post article are worth reading. "Dr. Jaime Awe, a real-life Indiana Jones and director of the Institute of Archeology of Belize, is suing on behalf of the country of Belize, according to THR. Awe is demanding the return of the crystal skull, which he says was stolen by the treasure-hunting family Mitchell-Hedges 88 years ago and used as a money-maker, as well as damages from 'illegal profits' accrued by Disney, Lucasfilm, and Paramount for allegedly using a replica 'likeness' in the 2008 Steven Spielberg film."

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), at its Thirty-Fifth Meeting held in Guyana, made an historic decision by adopting the Regional Standard for the Labeling of Retail Packages of Tobacco Products as presented by the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ). All Member States present at the Thirty-Fifth COTED Meeting voted in favour of the Regional Standard. CARICOM Member States have now taken a major step in meeting a significant obligation under Article 11 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to which most Member States are signatories and which entered into force in February 2005. Article 11 calls on countries which are a party to the Convention, within a period of three years after entry into force, to adopt and implement effective measures to ensure tobacco packages are labelled according to guidelines developed by the WHO FCTC Secretariat.

Chris Sailer, Niguel Miguel among Notre Dame Hall of Fame inductees
Sherman Oaks Notre Dame has announced its 2013 inductees into the athletic Hall of Fame on Feb. 23 in the school gym, and among the honorees will be kicker Chris Sailer and basketball standout Nigel Miguel.


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