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#453942 - 12/21/12 02:31 PM Today's Belize News: December 21, 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

Simulation at SPRC School puts the school’s evacuation plan to a test
How prepared is your child’s school in handling an emergency evacuation? Are the schools on the island prepared to deal with a worst case scenario? Those are some of the questions that resounded at the School Safety Plan workshop that took place on the 6th and 7th of December with 12 school representatives from both San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker village. Following the workshop, the participants conducted a simulation exercise at the San Pedro Roman Catholic School (SPRCS) with a “worst case scenario” to see if the school’s emergency evacuation plan is efficient and whether the school grounds were evacuated in a timely manner. The trainees made an unexpected visit to the SPRCS to conduct the simulation on Friday December 7th. The team’s cunningly plotted scenario: an earthquake that has caused a fire staring at the building that houses the cafeteria and the computer room. In addition lamp posts have fallen over two of the three gates and a tsunami warning has also been sent out. Children were out on break, some having a visit by their guardians; others were playing while others were in their respective classrooms when the alarm went off. After a quick briefing by trainees and the teachers were told of the scenario, two short and one long alarm went off, indicating to the students that the school grounds were being evacuated. All 900 students, who have been taught from the opening of the school year, knew how to evacuate the school grounds. The students, parents and teachers all orderly and calmly,but as fast as they could, ran to the main gate on Barrier Reef Drive and evacuated off the school campus.

ACES brings gifts of Christmas Tidings to parents and residents of San Pedro
With the Christmas season in full swing on the island, primary schools worked tirelessly for days, even weeks, to come up with amazing presentations to awed parents and guests and to showcase each school’s individual messages of Christmas. Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES) was no different. On Friday December 14th, ACES held their annual Christmas show at the San Pedro Lion’s Den. Students from all classes prepared colorful skits, songs and poems that brought the message of Christmas alive. Opening the show at the den was a group of students (from various classes/grades) who portrayed the story of Jesus Christ and the meaning of Christmas. The opening show was quite entertaining, with a group of non-believers (“bad boys”) taking the stage. These children did not believe in Christmas – but that disbelief was because they did not know exactly where it originated from or what the true meaning was. Through skits, the narrator told the story of a young virgin being visited by an angel who informed her that she will bear a child who should be called Jesus. The Angel told the young mother-to-be that this “Jesus” would be the King of the World. The youngsters showcased the birth of the Christ Child and the many characters that crossed paths, including The Three Wise Men that came bearing gifts.

National AIDS Commission holds first National Assembly
During the weekend of December 14th the National Aids Commission (NAC) held its first ever National Assembly. The Assembly saw approximately 110 participants in the National Response gather for a two day conference at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City. The National Assembly marked the first time that all the key members of the National Response to HIV in Belize from around the country convened. According to Executive Director of the Secretariat for the National Aids Commission, Dr. Martin Cuellar – this was the first National Assembly with the hope of it becoming an annual event. “We have couple objectives for this national assembly. But perhaps the most important is for us to re-commit our loyalty to working together as one united team and at the same time – strengthen our passion for the work that we do.” Other objectives included a review of successes and accomplishments throughout the year both locally and nationally.

Ambergris Today

Posadas at Corozal - The Cradle Of The Mestizo Culture
The latest census, estimates Belize at 330,000 inhabitants. Of this, Latinos and Mestizos make up approximately 60% of the population, an ethnic group derived from Spain, Europe and Americas Maya. Latinos in Belize are engaged in sugar production, banking, tourism and the merchant class, but diversification is evident, especially in the areas of mixed commercial farming, fishing, tourism and the public service. Corozal, Orange Walk, Ambergris Caye, as well as the western region in the Belmopan, San Ignacio and Benque Viejo del Carmen areas are major population centers where Latino and Mestizo culture is strongest. Latinos living in the Corozal, Orange Walk and Cayo districts observe a “nine nights” celebration at Christmas called the “Posada” in which they move house to house asking for a posada (a shelter). It is a Christian adaption of Christmas festivities beginning on December 16 with nine consecutive days of candlelight processions and lively parties.

Misc Belizean Sources

Maya Communities Mark end of 13 B'aqtun
Three messages to the world: 1. The Maya people are not gone - and you don't have to look to the ancient past to learn from us. 2. Maya livelihoods have much to teach the world - but are under threat and should be defended and celebrated. 3. If the apocalypse is coming, its cause isn't Maya prophesy - it's the damage to the planet caused by industrial capitalist societies

VIDEO: Prime Minister's Christmas Message 2012

VIDEO: Santa and Helper Elves Dance Gangnam Style
Santa's little Elves perform PSY Gangnam Style during Isla Bonita Elementary School annual Christmas Show at the Paradise Theater in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

VIDEO: Die Maya in Belize
Vorbereitung auf den Weltuntergang Was passiert am 21. Dezember 2012? Geht die Welt unter? Gibt es eine Revolution? Oder passiert einfach - gar nichts? Das Ende des Maya-Kalenders sorgt seit seiner...

UB vs SHJC Debate
The University of Belize hosted Sacred Heart Junior College for their debate. UB won. Congratulations to UB, and to all the debate participants. "Congratulations to the students of the UB Debate Club in winning the first Inter-mural Debate Competition, hosted by the University on November 21, in Belmopan. Our worthy opponents were Sacred Heart College, who have committed to coming alongside us in this collaborative effort to create avenues for our students to engage in academic exercises which will simultaneously address issues that deeply affect them. These students are a significant demographic of our society, whose voices need to be heard in a healthy, safe environment. The wider UB community is encouraged to continue to support the hosting of these student forums. The Debate Club of the University, under the leadership of Lecturer Tracey Sangster, envisions that the event will be held at the national level with the engagement of other schools throughout the academic year. Members of the winning team were Courtney Weatherburne, Alaysha Gilharry, Esther Gillman, Ashanti Garcia, Elizabeth Andrus-Reimer, and Kadijah Marin."

Channel 7

Three Teens Killed In Two Hours: Commish Comments
When we ended the news last night it was with the bad news that there had been a murder an hour earlier in the City. And as the newscast was ending, we heard sirens screaming past our Albert Street studio; another person had been shot and seriously injured. We responded to that crime scene and by the time we were leaving, there had been another shooting. By 9:30 pm - the KHMH morgue was full: three males, all teenagers - two of them minors - ages 15, 16, and 19 had succumbed to gunshot injuries. We've spoken to their families and we have their names and pictures of course, but we start tonight with an overview of the recent spate of crime. Six males have been killed and at least three others seriously injured with gunshots since Saturday night in the Belize District. That's a phenomenal amount of violence in just four days; and it also pushes the country's murder total for 2012 to 139, deep into the red zone, and way past the previous high of 129.

Arraignment for Brit Accused Of Extreme Acts Of Pornographic Exploitation Of Boys
And you'll note in that story that we repeatedly referred to one of the murder victims as being 14 years old. That's what early police information said, but he is Reynaldo Garrido and he was actually 15. Monica Bodden spoke to his family this morning and we'll have that story shortly, along with the stories of last night's other murders. But first…we take you to Dangriga. That's where 40 year old David Taylor appeared in court today for arraignment on charges of two counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature and committing an unnatural crime for having sexual relations with a 13 year-old boy. As we reported, police scanned Taylor's computer and found hard drives depicting four boys between the ages of 10 and 13 made to engage in revolting acts of pornographic exploitation with adult males. It is one of the most sickening cases we've ever reported on - and this morning Daniel Ortiz made the trip to Dangriga to see who is this David Taylor: Daniel Ortiz reporting 40 year old David Taylor, who's been working as a tutor, was arraigned today in connection with one of his alleged victims. It's a serious allegation where hundreds of explicit photographs involving young boys made to engage in pornographic behavior were discovered when police confiscated his computer and hard drives. And as such, police are treating the case with the seriousness it deserves:

15 Year Old Working Teen Killed For No Reason
And while that story has captured our attention for its vile nature, last night in the city was no joke either. As we told you at the top of the newscast, three teenaged males were killed. They are 16-year-old James Gladden, 19-year-old Raheem Requena and 15-year-old Reynaldo Garrido. We've spoken to all their families, but we begin with the youngest, Reynaldo Garrido who was walking his sister home one block from his home on East Canal when a gunman strode out and shot him in the head. He was rushed to the hospital and 7news arrived at the scene shortly after:... Monica Bodden reporting This is where the shooting happened here on East Canal - near to the South Street Bridge at 8:45 last night. Armed police officers patrolled the embattled neighborhood while bystanders looked on as the scenes of crime team searched for expended shells in the area. Neighbors heard when two gunshots rang off but only one expended shell was retrieved from the scene.

16 Year Old Killed, Just Like His Dad & His Cousins
In our first segment we told you about the 15 year old who was killed last night, Reynaldo Garrido. The next youngest victim in last night's murder spree was 16-year-old Robert Gladden. He was the first to get killed at 6:45 pm at the north end of Partridge Street - which is a far away from his home in the Pickstock area. Monica Bodden spoke to the ITVET student's family today:.. Monica Bodden reporting 16 year old Allan Gladden was gunned down here at the corner of Partridge and Lavender streets - just before 7 last night. When we arrived on the scene - he had already been rushed to the KHMH - and a pool of blood was visible on street - as the residents tried to wash it away. The young man was heading towards Lavender Street when he was approached by a man wearing dreadlocks - who fired the single shot at him - hitting him directly in the head. The man then rode away on Patridge Street. The teenager fought for his life - but he succumbed to his injuries just an hour later.

Fourth Former Took Eight Shots
The oldest person murdered in Belize city last night was 19 year old Raheem Requena. He was shot on Kut Avenue near its junction with Supal Street. Requena who is a 4th form student of Excelsior High was riding his bicycle on Kut Avenue -heading to his grandmother house when he was gun down. The incident happened around 8:15. According to family members, the young man was shot 6 times- one of those shots was to his chest. Today his family was too destroyed by grief to speak to us on camera, but they did tell us that Requena was not affiliated with any gang. Police press officer Rapheal Martinez filled in details of the shooting. Raphael Martinez - Police Press Officer "At 8:15pm, again, Crimes Investigation Branch Personnel visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where the body of 19 year old RAHEEM REQUENA, student of #3 Plues Street, Belize City was seen with one apparent gunshot wound to the right side of chest. Initial investigation revealed that on same date at about 8:10p.m., Raheem was riding his bicycle on Kut Avenue, Belize City, when four apparent gunshots were heard and REQUENA was found lying on Kut Avenue, with the fatal injury. He was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and later succumbed to his injury whilst receiving treatment. Raheem REQUENA was pronounced dead at 8:20pm. Raheem Requena was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead at 8:20p.m last night."

Police Prepared to Charge The Cop Who Beat Shol
Since Monday, 7News has been reporting on the death of 53 year-old Francisco Shol, a resident of PG, who is also the father of 10 children. His family says that police officers not assigned to the Punta Gorda Police Station beat him badly outside the PG Sports bar - and those injuries led to his death. Well, despite the public pressure which has been brought by residents of PG, specifically the PUP Town Council, police didn't address the media on the issue until today. 7News spoke with Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano, the officer in charge of Dangriga Police, and the investigator specifically assigned by the Commissioner of Police to investigate this incident. He updated us on the status of his case: Daniel Ortiz "The incident of Mr. Francisco shol has gone unreported to the media in the daily press releases from police. Can you give us an update on the information you guys have on that incident?" Sr. Supt. Robert Mariano "I was directed to go to PG to conduct an investigation and I went to Punta Gorda Town and I recorded statements from witnesses and on Tuesday 18th Dr. Sanchez conducted an autopsy on Mr. Francisco Shol and he reported that he died from severe head injuries as a consequence of a blunt trauma to the head. I can say that yesterday Wednesday 19th I completed the investigation and I am seeking advice from the director of public persecution at this time as to where to go on the investigation at this time."

Police Investigating Cops Accused Of Thuggery In San Pedro
And another internal investigation is happening with San Pedro police. Two San Pedro men and one woman say an off duty woman constable and a corporal grossly abused their authority early on Monday morning. Ricky Jurado claims that he saw a man grab his girlfriend from behind the waist. Jurado chased him off but when he went outside the bar, allegedly met Corporal Young who allegedly put his gun in Jurado's mouth and threatened to kill him. The police then assaulted a female friend of Jurado, Vianie Perez who was asking why he was being arrested. They also beat her husband Elder Mauricio. The officers in question were later confirmed to be Corporal Mark Young and WPC Sherifa Young. The narrative as it has been outlined in multiple accounts to the media is a frightening display of thuggery and excess. Today the officer commanding Eastern Division told the media that the officers will be dealt with. ACP Elodio Aragon, Jr, Officer Commainding Eastern Division "We've had people out there from yesterday and our preliminary investigation is being done. I think statements are being recorded from a number of persons and at the conclusion of this investigation which I hope should be concluded by this evening, so by Friday we should have some information in regards to the outcome to this investigation. I want to make it quite clear that where police officers have used excessive force - our police officers have acted outside the law they will be dealt with. Both officers have been placed on interdiction as is the process so that the investigation can be carried through properly and as soon as that is done we will get back to you with that."

Constable Ack's "Wake-Up Call"
And it seems that when roguish police appear, they do so in spades! Constable #6, B. Ack made the news earlier this week when he was captured sleeping on the floor at the KHMH. It turns out he wasn't sick, and he wasn't waiting on a sick friend; he was on duty: caught on camera, out cold! Today his officer commanding said that he too has been dealt with:... ACP Elodio Aragon, Jr, Officer Commainding Eastern Division "In regards to Ack, the police officer whose photo was put on TV especially by Channel 7 which I think sometimes we as a department - we have to deal with these situations and in no way are we afraid to deal with these situations. I must tell you that Mr. Ack has been charge disciplinary and prejudice to both order and discipline; that is one charge and the other charge is that of being inattentive whilst on duty."

Accident Left Her Boyfriend Comatose
Police are also being called upon to investigate an accident that happened on the Valley Of Peace Road. 27 year old Eugene Sedacey was knocked down on Saturday afternoon near Young Bank. He was driving his motorbike to his job at a farm. Today his girlfriend told us he is in a coma and she can't get justice:.. Jeanna Yanes "I grab my bicycle and I pedal all the way from Roaring Creek to Belmopan Hospital. When I reach there I see him look awful; I have pictures in my phone with him. They told me that he needs to reach at Belize City hospital emergency. They told me that his throat is fractured and that he has broken ribs, his hands and feet are broken and he had internal bleeding in his head. They had drained the blood from head about two times because the bleeding couldn't stop. Finally they got control of the bleeding in the head and from they finish from the surgery he still hasn't got up yet. The person that hit him left him right there, it was another person who was passing at the time took him to the hospital."

Things Getting Hard For Easy Glen
At today's police press conference, the Commissioner also discussed the Easy Glen fiasco. As we've told you, as much as a month ago, Goldbourne Easy Glen Adolphus was implicated in a hustle using Michael Finnegan's name to boost money out of Government Departments and business people. Finnegan says he told the Commissioner, but the COMPOL was about to hop on a flight - and delegated the follow up - which meant there was no follow up - which also meant the alleged hustle continued unabated until this week when things came to a head. Henderson told us that while Easy Glen and his alleged partner in crime James Swaso have been detained, so far no one has made a complaint. David Henderson, Commissioner of Police "The Minister did inform me and I have since directed the officer to have the fellow picked up and make the necessary inquiry. Nevertheless he was not picked up at the time and the officer has been reprimanded for it - that situation and the other districts were informed. He has since been picked up and he is being dealt with at this time."

Police Say Palacio Alive, Family Disputes
Ten days ago we told you about Romel Palacio Jr who went missing two weeks ago. His family was concerned because his father Romel Sr was killed in a home invasion last year. There are rumours going around that he has been killed and buried, but today police said they believe he is alive:.. Supt. Alden Dawson "There is nothing to prove that Mr. Palacio is in fact dead or kill or anything. We are working on it and we recently have some information that he might be somewhere alive, we are working on that as well." Palacio's sister says that she have heard no such report, even when she spoke to police. She fears with increasing certainty that he is dead - and says police are not responding sufficiently to the leads the family is providing.

Dr. H. Gayle: The Cause Of "Senseless Murders"
So far, tonight most of our newscast has been about violence. It's everywhere and, indeed, on nights like this, seems like it is overtaking us. And most of the violence is what we would call senseless - such as the Garrido killing…why would anyone kill a working 15 year old who had only moved into a neighborhood a few months earlier? It's literally unbelievable….but violence anthropologist Dr. Herbert Gayle offered an explanation to these apparently senseless murders when he was here in 2010. That's when he was presenting his definitive study on male social violence in Belize. In a presentation at the Bliss Center, he explained the concept of social distance amongst oppressed persons - and why it accounts for much of the gun violence we witness daily:..

GSU Making More Busts
Tonight, 27 Year-old Dario Jason Cruickshank, 35 year-old Elvis Mitchell and 40 year-old Martha Sabio are at prison tonight after the Gang Supression Unit allegedly busted them with a firearm in Ladyville. According to the GSU, they conducted a raid this morning at Cruikshank's residence, located at #30 Mami Street in Ladyville. All 3 persons were present at the time, and according to GSU, in the attic of the house, they found a black 9mm Beretta pistol, which was loaded with 11 rounds of luger brand ammunition. The officers also found cannabis on the property. All 3 persons were charged with keeping unlicensed firearm and keeping unlicensed ammunition. Cruickshank was also additionally charged with 2 counts of drug possession. They were all arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer today, where they all pleaded not guilty to the charges. Because it's a firearm offence, they were all remanded to prison until February 7. According to the GSU, Mitchell and Cruickshank are reputed members of the Ghost Town gang.

Faber: Bus, Meet Boots!
So far tonight, all the news has been about police, or crime and violence. We'll take a break from that now…and turn to that other cut-throat endeavor, politics! As we told you last night, Education Minister Patrick Faber is campaigning hard to be his party's Deputy Leader - which would mean unseating current deputy Gaspar Vega. That has alienated Faber from some of his Cabinet colleagues who support Vega - and feel that Faber's candidacy is no less than an assault on party unity. One of those that Faber seems to be at odds with is Minister of Human Development, Anthony Boots Martinez. Martinez's Port Loyola Constituency was one of the few divisions from Belize District not at Faber's weekend Banquet. And it seems that as a Minister, Martinez is also giving Faber the cold shoulder. That's the impression we get after listening to Faber on KREM TV's W-U-B this morning where Faber was pressed to discuss the case of a constituent who tore down her house to wait for a new one from the Southside Poverty Alleviation Project, but it hasn't been forthcoming. Martinez administer that project and Faber doesn't seem to think much of the job he's doing. Here are his comments from this morning's show:..

OCEANA Suffers Serious Setback In Court
Remember those 8,042 OCEANA referendum signatures that were disqualified by the Chief Elections Officer just before this year's elections? For months, Oceana Belize has been in the Supreme Court trying to get those signatures recognized. Well, the Government struck a decisive blow against that case today - and it was on a simple tehcnicality. Government attorney, Denys Barrow, made an application to strike it out based on the ground that the applicants didn't file the document applying for judicial review before the 14-day deadline expired. Today, Justice Michelle Arana finally ruled on Barrow's application. She agreed with Barrow's submissions that they filed it on July 11, 6 days after the deadline. As a result, Justice Arana struck the claim out, ending the matter at the Supreme Court. Indications from the applicants and their attorney, Godfrey Smith, are that they will review Justice Arana's written reasons, and consider if they have a prospect of an appeal of the decision.

Mahogany Heights Goes To Greatest Of Depths, But Still Can't Get Water
Tonight, the entire village of Mahogany Heights is without water - and it has been that way for an entire week now. And the reason that they probably won't get it restored any time soon is because there is a huge discrepancy, which must be cleared up between the village's Water Board and BEL. The position of the residents is that they are being punished for a wrong which was done without their knowledge. Back in 2009, they also inherited a water system which was connected with stolen electricity. Well, the newly installed water board didn't discover that until early December. They moved to fix it, and when they called BEL to install a legitimate meter, the discovered that BEL had disconnected power to the pump room. 7News spoke to the Chairperson of the Village who said that BEL will not restore power to the pump room, which then circulates water to the homes in the village, unless a $72,000 dollar bill for 3 years is cleared up.

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Underway!
It used to seem like a far-off dream, but the plan to build a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit At The KHMH is taking shape now. Spearheaded by Kim Simplis-Barrow, the fundraising effort has reached the one million dollar thresh-hold - and today they marked that milestone by signing of the contract for the first phase of the construction works. We found out more when we stopped in at the signing ceremony:.. Kim Simplis - Barrow - Special Envoy for Women and Children "I was pleasantly surprised last week when Alan Gobi confirmed that he has reached his 1 million for the first phase of the pediatric intensive care unit and the reason why we are here today is we are signing and construction should start the beginning of January." Alan Gobi, Challenge GOBI Foundation "It was a great task but we have managed to raise a million for phase 1 and it's an ongoing project that will be going for a couple of years until we raised more money to keep it running professional."

Profile Of a Paraplegic with Purpose
If you aren't from Punta Gorda, you probably don't know Rodney Borland. He's a 22 year old student, cab driver and paraplegic - left that way after a shooting incident in 2002. He also lost his ability to speak without the aid of a voice box. Now, at first his voice may seem slightly odd, but let's just say it would give T-Pain major envy! But once you get past that little quirk, Rodney Borland has an important message about public access. He shares it with us in tonight's profile.

Streets: Apocalypse (Not!)
And after all that news tonight we all need some comic relief. And that's why our last story is about the so-called Mayan Apocalypse. December 21st., 2012 marks the end of the end of the 13th b'ak'tun of the Mayan Long Count Calendar. To the ancient Maya, 13 b'ak'tuns represented a full cycle of creation - which has led to all the doomsday predictions. It sort of hocus pocus - but it's great for tourism all through southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. But while the tourists eat it up, what are the streets of Belize saying about it? We asked our colleague Geovanni Brackett to change hats today and use his street smarts to get a sampling of public opinion. Here's what he found out:.. Interviewee "The world cannot end. We will end, the world will not end. The calendar will not end." Geovanni Brackett, reporter "According to the Maya calendar the world will end. Are you aware?" Interviewee "No way, the world would never end because the good Lord runs this world." Geovanni Brackett, reporter "Tomorrow is December 21st, according to the Maya calendar the world will end. Are you concern, how do you feel?" Interviewee "Actually I don't feel any way because to my understanding it's just the Mayan calendar year will end, it's not really the end of the world itself."

Channel 5

Murder Capital: 16 year old killed in Belize City
Terror reigned on the south side on Wednesday night as more blood spilled into the streets. In less than two hours, two minors and a nineteen year old were cold bloodedly killed in a string of murders. The mayhem started early in the evening when a sixteen year old IT-VET student was gunned down in [...]

15 year old murdered for absolutely no reason
The terror continued on Wednesday night and shots rang out once again in the south side. When the gunfire subsided, the youngest of three murder victims was ambushed and killed.  Fifteen year old Reynaldo Garrido, who had just moved to the City from his village, was heading to meet his sister. He was minutes away [...]

3 teens murdered in 1 night; Commissioner says keep steady
But before the murder of Garrido, nineteen year old Raheem Requeña was shot four times on Kut Avenue. He died within minutes and his body was transported to the morgue at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in the pan of a police pickup. According to one witness, as the vehicle sped off the body fell [...]

British National pleads guilty to abusing Belizean child
Accused pedophile, David Taylor, was transported from Placencia to the Dangriga court this morning to face charges of a sexual nature. Taylor was busted this week just as he was preparing to leave the peninsula. In his house, police found computers and hard drives containing pornographic material involving young boys from Belize as well as [...]

Headi Chable talks about the loss of her newborn
For months, we have been reporting on an unusually high number of women who allege that they left the Northern Regional Hospital in worse condition than when they were admitted. Among the allegations are the deaths of at least three babies due to medical negligence. The Medical Council has called for the removal of the [...]

Oceana’s case struck out on a technicality
There was a disappointing decision for Oceana, Audrey Marie Bradley and Thomas Greenwood in the referendum case against the government today. The case was taken to the court because eight thousand signatures were disallowed in the petition to trigger a referendum on offshore drilling in February. After a number of adjournments, attorneys for the government, [...]

Is cop on interdiction responsible for man’s death?
A police officer is on interdiction following the death of a Punta Gorda man. Fifty-three year old Francisco Shol, a driver for the Punta Gorda Hospital, died on Friday at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after it was reported that he was beaten on Thursday night, allegedly by a police officer attached to the Special [...]

“No wata noh deh!” Illegal electricity connection powered village water
The Christmas holidays are just days away but for the community of Mahogany Heights, there is no reason to celebrate. The community has been without water for two long weeks. Their lives have been severely disrupted since routine activities such as bathing and washing have become a major problem. The village chairperson says the disruption [...]

He slapped her, but denies hitting her with a rake
A Jane Usher Boulevard resident was convicted this for harming a teenager. He is thirty year old Glenford Brown, who was accused of hitting nineteen year old Tanisha Bodden with a rake on August second. After being found guilty, the Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith remanded Brown to prison until December twenty-fourth, when he will [...]

GSU finds guns, drugs and disposable rocket launcher for Christmas
The Gang Suppression Unit descended on Ladyville earlier today.  The first search was at the house of Dario Cruickshank on Mami Street. Cruickshank is described as a member of the Ghost Town Crips.  Also present during the search were Elvis Mitchell and Martha Sabio of Belize City. In the attic the Unit found a nine [...]

New pediatric intensive care unit to be constructed at K.H.M.H.
A new pediatric intensive care unit, to provide services to critically ill children, is soon to be constructed at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.  The PICU project is being led by Special Envoy for Women and Children and Lifeline Director Kim Simpliss-Barrow.  She is joined by the Ministry of Health, K.H.M.H. Authority, the Challenge Gobie [...]

B.E.L. employees donates Christmas hampers to customers
The Public Utilities Commission has not yet made a decision as to whether or not electricity rates will increase in the New Year. But for some citizens, Belize Electricity Limited intends to provide free electricity. B.E.L. latched onto a Golden Citizen program in 2012 and gave free electricity to fifty senior citizens. For 2013, the [...]

Healthy Living’s digests the facts about indigestion
For many of us, Christmas is a time of indulgence, an occasion to catch up with family, build new memories, enjoy experiences of laughter and joy and – most definitely – enjoy some great food and drinks. If you’ve been counting down to the ham and turkey and all the other Christmas treats, this week’s [...]

LOVE FM

KHMH Construction Announced at Ceremony Today
About a year ago, a groundbreaking ceremony announced the construction of a new wing for the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital which is the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. However construction didn’t immediately start because the budget which increased from a couple thousands ...

Triple Homicide In Belize City Reported Last Night
Three teenagers, all students of Belize City and Ladyville were murdered within a two hour period last night due to gun violence in the old capital. The first to die was sixteen year old Robert Allan Galdden of Ladyville. Police say they found Gladden lying face down at the corne...

Trio Charged for Firearm Offences
Two men and a woman were charged with firearm and ammunition offences when they appeared in court today. They are Dario Cruickshank, Elvis Mitchell and Martha Sabio. Cruickshank alone was charged with possession of an undetermined amount of cannabis. They pled not guilty to the charges...

Police Investigate Armed Robbery on Hummingbird Highway
Police in the Stann Creek district are investigating a report that two employees of Belize Food Processors Limited were the victims of an armed robbery on the Hummingbird Highway. The incident reportedly happened in Middlesex village on Tuesday evening of last week. Thirty seven ...

CTV3

No Report Submitted On Case Of Alleged Police Brutality In San Pedro
It has been four days that the Belize Police Department have been investigating two of their very own at San Pedro Town for “brutality” against two residents of the island. While the group was out socializing at the Tackle Box Bar in the early hours of Monday morning, sometime around 12:40am, Ricky Jurado noticed a dark skinned man dancing provocatively behind his girlfriend. When Jurado approached the individual to question him, the individual became irate and left the establishment. Shortly after that, the group decided to leave the establishment and head home to avoid any sort of confrontation. As the group was making its way down the pier to land, they noticed the dark skinned man with two females, one a noticeable female officer, waiting for them on the dock. When approached by one Mr. Young, Jurado alleges that Young pulled out a pistol and placed it to his mouth while grabbing him by the neck. Jurado and his friends noticed that the perpetrators appeared to be highly under the influence. At this point is when Jurado noticed that all three were police officers. He alleges that he immediately put his hands in the air in a surrendering gesture but was still grabbed and dragged to the sand and up Barrier Reef Drive by Corporal Young with his gun to Jurado’s head.

Vehicle Consumed By Flames, Two Are Lucky To Be Alive
Two men are today lucky to be alive after their vehicle was engulfed into flames right in front of Diamonds Restaurant in the village of Trial Farm. Twenty-four year old Isair Alcoser was driving home through the village of Trial Farm just minutes before four o’clock this evening when he noticed smoke coming out from the front of his white Pick Up truck bearing license plate CZl C-17520. Traveling along with Isair was his fifty-eight year old father Evaristo Alcoser, when the vehicle was consumed by the flames. Orange Walk Firemen responded almost immediately but the vehicles machine was totaled. The duo were on their way back home after making some stops in town and were just two houses away from their residence when the unfortunate incident happened. Eyewitnesses say that the situation could have been deadly should Isair and Evaristo not notice the smoke at the time they did. As a result of their quick evacuation from the vehicle, no one was injured.

The Race For UDP Deputy Leader Is On
In what is gearing up to be one of the biggest Political Conventions in the history of the United Democratic Party, it is also gearing up to be a pivotal one in the Party’s future. The topic making headlines across the country is the race for Deputy Party Leader. Vying for the post are incumbent Orange Walk North Representative Gaspar Vega and challenger Collet Area Representative, Patrick Faber. For a couple of weeks now, both Ministers of Government and high ranking members of the United Democratic Party have been seen canvasing the country attempting to garner support for their campaign. Incumbent Gaspar Vega has held on to the Deputy Party Leader’s seat for over about eight years now, and Fabre has publicly stated that he believes he could do a much better job at that post that what Vega has been doing. But that hit to Vega’s campaign is mild compared to the one recently sustained at a Gala Banquet held by Minister of Education Patrick Faber for those supporting his candidacy for DPL. The banquet was well attended by delegates, party stalwarts, executive members, past party leaders, and elected representatives with expected absence of Queen Square which is the Party Leader’s constituency, and Port Loyola, who is firmly behind Gaspar Vega’s candidacy.

LOVE TV

Charges laid against man accused of sex with teenage boys
Police have arrested and charged a man from Placencia village following allegations of child sex abuse and child pornography. According to reports, David Toylor was today charged with two counts of the crime of aggravated assault of an indecent nature and the possession of pornographic material. Love News understands that Taylor, seen here in a picture obtained from his Facebook page is scheduled to appear in the Dangriga Magistrate’s court on Thursday. As the investigation continues, it is possible that more charges may yet be brought against the school teacher who was known to offer private tutoring on the Placencia Peninsula. As we reported on Tuesday, Taylor was taken into custody after allegations surfaced that he had had inappropriate contact with teenage boys in the village and when police searched his computer, reportedly found pornographic videos and photographs of himself engaging in inappropriate behavior with children.

Man charged in crash of government vehicle
Four days after a government vehicle was destroyed in a crash on the George Price Highway, police today identified the driver of the vehicle. Thirty six year old Paul Faber was behind the steering wheel of the pickup truck which overturned and was extensively damaged at the corner of Fabers Road and the George Price Highway around four o’clock on Saturday morning. Police say that Faber was charged for the crimes of driving a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license, failure to provide a specimen and driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention.

Allegations of wrong doing levied at police officers
The police department is in the news again … and again it is not positive press. A police officer in Caye Caulker village is being accused of extortion. Police Press Officer Raphael Martinez provided little details on the alleged incident in the daily press release, saying only that a resident of the island village claims to have been extorted by the officer while he was conducting a checkpoint. The Officer Commanding Easter Division, under whose portfolio Caye Caulker police falls, has dispatched a team of investigators from the Professional Standards Branch to investigate the incident. The same team of investigators will also go to San Pedro town to investigate an allegation of police brutality in which a woman claims that the police used excessive force against her. According to police reports, on Monday of this week, a police officer in San Pedro town was in the process of detaining a resident of the town who was reportedly behaving disorderly, when she was videotaped by San Pedro resident, twenty nine year old Viana Perez. It is alleged that an altercation ensured between the police officer and Perez during which both the officer and Perez sustained injuries. Viana Perez was later charged for the offence of assaulting a police officer and wounding. A counter claim has been made by Perez that the police officer used excessive force. The investigative team is expected to interview both parties as well as witnessed before coming up with a final report on the incident.

Shooting incident leaves one man injured
A shooting incident early this morning has left one persons injured. The victim has been identified as Robert Tracey. Police say when the visited the emergency room around two o’clock this morning, they say Tracey with a gunshot wound to the left wrist. Initial investigations by police revealed that around one twenty five this morning, Tracey was riding his bicycle on Holy Emmanuel Street when he saw two men on separate bicycles following him. Tracey told police that one of the men stopped following him but the other continued behind him and that as he reached Holy Emmanuel Street he heard four apparent gunshots and realized that he had been shot. Police investigations continue.

Man detained after allegedly impersonating government minister
The area representative for the Mesopotamia Division Michael Finnegan is known for his colorful and sometimes humorous presentations on the floor of the House of Representatives. But yesterday, the outspoken Minister made some explosive allegations that could land two men behind bars on some serious charges. According to Finnegan, Goldburn Adolphus, also known as Easy Glenn, has been impersonating him and along with another man, collecting money from various businesses in Belize City and Belmopan. The allegations were contained in a candid interview that the Housing Minister gave to our colleagues at 7 News. Today the police press officer Raphael Martinez noted in the daily press release that Goldburn Adolphus and James Swazo were detained in Orange Walk and would be transported to Belize City. They are now detained pending charges.

Gay rights activist to challenge Belize’s Immigration laws
As if the legal challenges from the former owners of BTL and the impending challenge to section 53 of the criminal code are not enough, tonight there is word of another legal challenge that the Barrow administration may have to deal with. And this time it comes from Jamaica. Homosexual activist Maurice Tomlinson, who is the legal advisor for Marginalized Groups at AIDS-Free World wants the government of Belize to remove a section of the country’s immigration laws which Tomlinson claims violates freedom of movement for Caribbean Community nationals. According to an official release posted on the internet Tomlinson, was invited to Belize to conduct training and sensitization sessions in the middle of January; but because section Five of the Belize Immigration Act lists various categories of persons barred from entering the country, he claims that he is automatically denied entry, because he is gay. Tomlinson has written to the government of Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller asking the Jamaica government to insist that the government of Belize removes what he describes as an unreasonable travel restriction. Furthermore, Tomlinson wants the Jamaica government to bring the matter before the Caribbean Court of Justice on the grounds that Belize’s immigration act breaches the provisions of free movement of persons under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. And he says that if the Jamaica government fails or refuses to bring the matter before the CCJ, he intends to try and do so himself. Tomlinson’s release ends by saying that, quote:” the offensive and overboard prohibitions of Section 5 of the Belize Immigration Act must be repealed in order to combat the crushing stigma and discrimination against vulnerable populations that still pervades most of the Caribbean, restricts the fight against HIV and contributes to the fact that the region has the second highest HIV prevalence rate in the world after sub-Sahara Africa,” end of quote.

Minister says public transportation system will run smoothly for Christmas
This Christmas season commuters who must use the public transportation system to get around will no doubt have some anxious moments getting from point A to point B, including back and forth from home and work. While the transportation system is far from perfect, Edmund Castro, who is also the Minister responsible for Transportation, told Love News that traffic officers will be out over the holiday to enforce the laws as best as they could. With reference to two private bus owners having different issues with the Transport Department, one regarding Jenine Hamilton who was accusing the Department of boxing her out and the other regarding the Haylock’s bus from which the little boy fell a few weeks ago, we asked the Minister to give us updates.

New police station in Maya Beach, Placencia
A new police station has been inaugurated in the Maya Beach area of the Placencia Penninsula. This past Saturday, Commissioner of Police David Henderson was in the village to oversee the opening of the facility, which is the result of the community coming together to assist the law enforcement agency in keeping the village safe. Inspector Mark Flowers is the officer commanding the Placencia police. The commissioning of the new Maya Beach police precinct coincided with the installation of a group of new police constables. Inspector Flowers explains. That was the officer commanding Placencia police, Inspector Mark Flowers.

Two people reported missing, including a schoolboy
Two people have been reported missing. The first we’ll tell you about is a ten year old Belize City boy. According to police reports, Ashton Samuels Junior left home on Monday and has not been heard from or seen by his parents since. According to the boy’s father, his mother allowed him to go outside of the house to play; but he did not return home Ashton Samuels Junior is described as being of brown complexion, slim built, stands about four feet, five inches tall and has a scar on the left side of his face. Samuels was last seen wearing a pair of blue jeans pants, blue striped shirt and a pair of slippers. His parents tell police that this is the third time that the boy has gone missing. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Ashton Samuels Junior is asked to call the nearest police station. The second missing person’s report comes from the Cayo district. Twenty three year old Guadalupe Percy Himes is reported to have left his family home in Santa Familia village around nine o’clock on Sunday night and has not been seen or heard from since. Guadalupe Percy Humes is described as being of creole descent, stands five feet, five inches tall, has a low hair cut, with tattoos on most parts of his body. Humes has a teardrop tattoo below his eyes and was last seen wearing a yellow shirt, long jeans pans and brown shoes. Police investigations continue.

Belizean man face extradition hearing
Thirty-five year old Khalid El Turk, a naturalized Belizean originally from Lebanon, was taken to the # 1 Magistrate’s Court today for an extradition hearing. Turk, who was detained by police on October 16, is wanted by the U.S. Government for the alleged importation of pseudo-ephedrine into the U.S. Senior Crown Counsel Magali Perdomo appeared for the office of the Solicitor General and presented a bundle of documents that corresponded to Article 7 of Belize’s extradition treaty with the U.S. Tasha Young, an officer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, identified the document as the evidence by the U.S. Turk was represented by attorney Edwin Flowers. The hearing was adjourned until February 7, 2013.

Man jailed on committal warrants; face theft charges
Forty-four year old Keith Harris, a truck driver of 124 Freetown Road, was charged with 3 counts of theft and 2 counts of handling stolen goods when he appeared today in the #2 and #1 Magistrate’s Courts respectively. Harris was charged with the theft of a laptop computer when he went to the #2 court. He pled not guilty to the charge and he was offered a bail of $1,500. And his case was adjourned until February 6, 2013. The theft occurred on December 3. The complainant, 33 year old school warden Maria Belizaire, reported to the police that she loaned Harris her computer and went she went to get it he did not have it. Harris was charged with the theft of twelve 40 feet containers, valued at $120,000. when he was taken to the #1 court. No plea was taken from him because the offence is indictable. The theft occurred between October 5 and October 8, 2012 and the containers were the property of Marine Services Company Limited. He was also charged with handling stolen goods for the containers. Harris was charged with the theft of $25,000. from Arturo Matus. He was also charged with handling stolen goods for 100 sheets of plywood, the property of Caribbean Tires. The plywood is valued at nine thousand, four hundred and sixty six dollars. The theft from Matus occurred between October 5 and October 8, of this year. The handling stolen goods occurred on October 27. Apart from the criminal charges, Harris is faced with several civil suit judgements for which committal warrants have been made out. One judgement is for five thousand and thirty one dollars owed to Monica’s Pawnshop. Another is for one thousand and ninety two dollars owed to Caribbean Tires. Harris was taken to prison on the strength of the warrants.

COLA states its official position on Belize-Guatemala referrendum
On Sunday Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action COLA, launched a Position Statement on the Referendum on Belize-Guatemala Territorial Adjudication at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This document outlines their arguments on not supporting the move of going to the ICJ to resolve the territorial claim. President of the organization, Geovannie Brackett stopped by Love News today to tell us about some of those motives. Brackett also cited other recent cases like that of Colombia and Nicaragua in which Colombia withdrew from the treaty that recognizes the Court, their president commenting that Boundary issues should not be put in the hands of a court. COLA’s document according to Brackett is not just saying no, but it also comes with recommendations. COLA is currently also campaigning on their opposition in this matter to make people aware of the implications the action might have. Advertisements on the radio are also part of COLA’s No to the ICJ campaign. Brackett says they will use the little that they have to educate the population on the subject.

Roaring Creek man injured in road traffic accident
A villager of Roaring Creek Village remains hospitalized at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital following a traffic accident yesterday. Correspondent Fem Cruz reports.

KHMH celebrates achievements
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital celebrated quite a few achievements in 2012 in terms of advanced and new kinds of equipment and services if now offers. Another major accomplishment in the next few weeks will be the construction in the next few weeks of what can be considered a mini children’s hospital on the compound. Coupled with that is the implementation recently of better salaries for its nurses. KHMH CEO, Dr. Gary Longsworth, discussed the two achievements with us. The children’s hospital will be built at a cost of a million Belize dollars.

Belizean doctor gets international citation
While the KHMH is boasting new and improved services for 2012, it also has among its highest ranks in the medical field, an accomplished physician. Doctor Jorge Hidalgo has been at the centre of many major life-saving surgeries over the past several years and he is now internationally recognized for that. Today Dr. Hidalgo told Love News about his prestigious award. Dr Hidalgo graduated from medical college in 1994.

Christmas luncheon for KHMH staff
Every year around this time, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital holds a special Christmas luncheon to honour its hard-working staff and to recognize the ones that have perfect attendance, have long service, or are retiring. Today that event was held and as we discovered, there were quite a few of the staffers who were recognized. Love News spoke with a few of those who were recognized. The KHM was built in 1995 and replaced the old Belize City Hospital that was located on Eve Street.

Christmas goodies for Lake Independence residents
Hundreds of people lined the streets this morning in the Lake Independence area of Belize City, but they weren’t out there because of some tragedy, they were out to receive toys coming from a small parade coordinated by area representative Mark King. Two residents of the area Sarita Peters and Ann Tench, expressed their joy and appreciation of the initiative to Love News. The parade included a band with majorettes and a big truck which included toys and cartoon characters.

Belize Rural North residents get Christmas hampers
Today the villages in the Belize Rural North were bustling as villagers were busy transporting hundreds of bags loaded with basic grocery items and farm produce. They were Christmas hampers destined for 15 hundred families in the constituency from their Area Rep, Edmond Castro. Love News was present for the collection of the hampers and spoke with Castro about the gesture. The gifts came in handy for not only the recipients, but also the farmers who made quite a handsome sum from the sales in time for the Christmas season. But while the farmers and the villagers were happy, supplying 15 hundred families with food hampers is not a cheap task. So we asked Castro where the money came from to carry out such a costly deed. Castro says that 500 families along the old Northern Highway, as well as 500 families in the Belize River Valley and another 500 from Sand Hill to Rhaburn’s Ridge will receive food hampers this year.


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OAS and Euoprean Union sign agreement
The Organization of American States and the European Union have signed an agreement to support the Peace Fund project which implements Confidence Building Measures in the Adjacency Zone between Belize and Guatemala. The Peace Fund is managed by the hemispheric organization. Speaking at the signing on Monday, the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, noted that it was an important occasion, given that the OAS and the EU have been working on this for a long time, with a very fruitful cooperation from both governments. The Secretary General recalled that Belize and Guatemala agree on the notion that the territorial differendum is to be solved in a peaceful manner and therefore decided to go to the International Court of Justice. That decision by the governments must be ratified by a simultaneous referendum in the two countries, to take place on October sixth. For his part the Permanent Observer of the European Union to the OAS, Joao Vale de Almeida, said there is no better way to resolve conflicts than through a peaceful process, which his organization wants to support that. The contribution from the European Union is in the amount of 2 million Euros, or 2.5 million US dollars. It will be used to support the confidence building measures in the adjacency zone; and to support the information campaigns in both countries, leading up to next year’s referendum. Present at yesterday’s signing ceremony were the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert Ramdin; the Permanent Representative of Belize, Nestor Mendez; the Permanent Representative of Guatemala, José Rodrigo Vielmann de León; representatives of Member States and Observers, and other high authorities of the organization. The OAS provides technical and political assistance with regard to the differendum between Belize and Guatemala by facilitating the negotiations taking place under the “Agreement on a Framework for Negotiations and Confidence-Building Measures” signed by the Governments of Belize and Guatemala in September 2005. Likewise, the OAS General Secretariat’s Office in the Adjacency Zone between Belize and Guatemala conducts verifications and activities in support of a number of government institutions. Several projects are also under way to foster development and integration of the communities in the Adjacency Zone, along with community resettlement projects.

BDF soldiers are served Christmas lunch
Christmas came early for members of the Belize Defence Force. Love TV’s Marion Ali explains.

PlusTV

16 year old Robert Allan Gladden fatally shot walking in Belize City
It was a violent Wednesday night in Belize City as three teenagers were shot dead in separate incidents in Belize C...

19 year old Raheem Requena killed while riding his bicycle
A little over an hour later, more shots were fired, and another teenager was dead. At about 8:10p.m., 19 year old R...

15 year old Reynaldo Raymundo Garrido fatally shot
Just about half an hour after the second teenager was gunned down in Belize City, a third teen met his untimely dea...

Police Commissioner addresses recent eruption of violence in Belize City
With the recent eruption of violence in Belize city last night, a police press conference was held today in Belize ...

Romel Palacio Jr. may be alive
Romel Palacio Jr. may be alive. The Palacio family has been in the news before after their loved-one, 53 year-old R...

Alleged pedophile David Taylor has been remanded
Alleged British pedophile David Taylor has been remanded. Earlier this week the seaside fishing and tourism communi...

Exporter will be prosecuted for illegal lumber
Last week Wednesday the Forestry Department impounded a container filled with lumber filches at the Belize City Por...

Forestry Department faces challenges in enforcing moratorium
A moratorium was placed on the highly priced and much coveted Rosewood earlier this year. Despite the cessation tho...

Romel Palacio Jr. may be alive
Romel Palacio Jr. may be alive. The Palacio family has been in the news before after their loved-one, 53 year-old R...

Oceana’s referendum case struck out in court
Oceana’s referendum case was struck out today in court. Oceana was taking GOB to court over the validity of the 8,0...

Disciplinary actions taken against sleeping cop
The image of the sleeping cop on the floor of the KHMH has made the rounds on the internet. According to the top br...

Keith Harris charged with 3 counts of theft
44 year old Keith Harris was charged with 3 counts of theft and 2 counts of handling stolen goods when he was arrai...

Mayan calendar ends tomorrow
Fears that the end of the world is tomorrow Friday December 21 have spread across the world with the end of the May...

Homosexual organizations ready to challenge another legislation
Homosexual advocacy organizations and individuals are getting ready to challenge another of Belize’s legislation. A...

The Guardian

Police Station inaugurated at Maya Beach Special Constables sworn in for Placencia
On Saturday, December 15th, 2012, a new Police Station was inaugurated in the Maya Beach area, now designated as a precinct of the Placencia Formation in the Stann Creek District. The fully furnished and outfitted Police Station is the product of effective collaboration between the Ministry of National Security, the Placencia Police Formation and the business community and residents of the Peninsula, over 70 of whom have donated material, cash and labor.

Belize Telemedia launches 4G
Over the past couple of weeks, Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) has been turning on the 4G network in Belmopan, Ladyville and Belize City and on Friday, December 14th, the company held a soft launch to introduce the new super fast mobile speeds.

Electricity Expansion for Bradley’s Bank in Cayo
A new commitment for the electrification of Bradley’s Bank in Santa Elena Town, Cayo District has been made. Some forty families in the Bradley’s Bank Area of Santa Elena Town, Cayo will soon be connected to the electrical grid. In a launching ceremony on December 16th, ranking officials joined in the joyous occasion to announce that electricity will be supplied to the Bradley’s Bank Area.

Rural North’s New Executive
The Belize Rural North constituency selected a new executive committee on Saturday December 17th. The meeting was held at the Black Orchid Resort. Elected as chairperson was Denton Belisle with Zellie Tillett, Helen Castro, Jessie Bernard, Norman Middleton, Andrew Chacon, Charles Galvez, Lesby Cortez, Jeanette Grinage, Jean Tillett, Rudolph Crawford, Geraldine Joseph, Juanita Banner, Jacqueline Casasola and Winford Broaster, Jr. being elected as members. Alternates are: Erlean Baptist, Melanie Revers, Robert Tillett, Dolores Aguilar and Angie Smith.

Sustainable Management of National Conch Fishery
The Fisheries Department advises and reminds the fishing community and the public that it has implemented a range of management measures for the conch fishery to ensure that employment and livelihood opportunities for fishers, processors, and others associated with the fishing industry are safeguarded over the long-term future. The measures being implemented by the Fisheries Department are also focused on sustaining the abundance of the conch stocks and the integrity of the environment upon which these species depend.

Eight Laws Passed by the National Assembly
Before the members of the National Assembly break for Christmas, they gathered to pass eight pieces of legislation. Those are the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Bill; the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions (Amendment) Bill; the Statistical Institute of Belize (Amendment) Bill, the Crime Control and Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill; the Income Tax (Avoidance of Double Taxation) (Caricom) (Amendment) Bill; the Land Tax (Partial Remission of Arrears) Bill; the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Bill and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Prohibition) Bill.

Feeding Program must continue says Foundation in Cayo
The San Ignacio based Cornerstone Foundation held a Mini Fair on December 15th, in an effort to keep its feeding program for children afloat. With reduced funds from external sources, the NGO has had to do some local fund raising drives.

UDP Fort George Children’s Christmas Party A Loaded Success!
Roger Espejo's Christmas Party ... We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. - unknown

Harsher Laws against Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children
The National Assembly of Belize passed eight pieces of legislation in its last sitting on Friday, December 14th, in the House of Representatives and Wednesday, December 19th, in the Senate. For human rights activists, two of those bills were of paramount importance- the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Bill, 2012 and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Prohibition) Bill, 2012.

Mark King spreads Christmas Joy in Lake I
Hon. Mark King led the motorcade in Lake I The entire Lake Independence constituency came alive with the festive mood of Christmas on Wednesday, December 19th as the area representative, Hon. Mark King, led a motorcade through the principal streets of that constituency.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) assists Restore Belize’s “Computer Assisted Learning” Program
On Monday, December 17th the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) handed over BZ$318,936 to the RESTORE Belize Program for the launching of the “Computer Assisted Learning” program. The finances will be used to purchase 100 computers, which will be used to teach people how to read.

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. In her closing remarks, Cynthia Pitts, Attorney-at-Law and who is also a trustee of the HRCB, thanked the Governor General Sir Colville Young for his presence and for his concern about Human Rights. In his welcome address Attorney-at -Law, Leo Bradley, Jr. and who is the current President of HRCB, also recognized the Governor General for being an active partner; participating in all of HRCB’s events.

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.

British Bulldogs
Written by Jamil Matar. Several people have remarked that at last, there was something positive that spun off in the BTL debacle, which was the acquiescence of the CCJ on Wednesday to allow dividends to be distributed to the small shareholders of the telecommunications company. These 1,400 shareholders are “small fry” in this big fight, and they only invested to have a little something at the end of the year, yet still have their shares preserved for the future as the Belize market expands. The general feeling in purchasing shares was that if BTL is later deemed to be the property of the British national, then all recent investments are to be refunded with a little interest. Sounded like win-win situation to the small investors; that is, until the British Bulldogs started barking again, and this time they went for the jugular: to halt all dividend distributions. There was a sense of anxiety for a while there, then calm after the last CCJ decision on Monday, December 17th. There would be little extra cash, after all, to buy something nice for Christmas. But what will happen to BTL in the future? As a simple person, I don’t share the elevated optimism that I observe attorneys usually exude, on both sides of any argument, and I always feel that the side I support will ultimately lose. I don’t know if I read too much into things, and I may be totally wrong here with my pessimistic attitude; but as the Russians are fond of saying, a pessimist is actually an informed optimist.

Businessman arrested for Theft
Police have arrested and charged a businessman, 44-year-old Keith Harris. He appeared before Chief Magistrate and was remanded to prison following the issue of a number of committal warrants against him. In court, Harris was charged with as many as 6 criminal offenses including the alleged theft of two 40-foot containers. When the police could not verify his real address, bail was denied. He was remanded to prison until February 6th, 2013. Harris first appeared before the Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer after he is being accused of staling female friend Maria Belezaire’s HP laptop valued at $1,500. Belezaire reported to police that she loaned her laptop to Harris on December 3rd, 2012, and when she asked him for it, he told her that it was at a friend’s home being fixed.

Extradition hearing starts for Lebanese national, Khalid El Turk
On Wednesday, December 19th, police officers escorted 35-year-old Lebanese national, Khalid El Turk in cuffs and under heavy guard to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. He was pushed hurriedly through the back entrance and whisked off into Court #1 where he appeared before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith to start extradition proceedings. In court, Attorney from the Solicitor General's office Magali Perdomo, submitted documents to the Chief Magistrate, which they are relying on to extradite El Turk. He was represented by Attorney, Edwin Flowers. Also present in court was Tasha Young, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

First Former gunned down in Lord’s Bank Village
15-Year-old Dayne Bodden, Jr. was executed mercilessly on Park’s Road in the Lord’s Bank area on Sunday, December 16th. According to reports, Bodden was riding home on his bicycle just before 8 p.m. when a gunman came out of a bushy lot and shot him to the head, chest and foot. The minor died on the spot. Bodden was a first form student of Ladyville Technical High School. He is known as a humble and mild-mannered youth. Why then was he gunned down? Word on the street is that it was a case of mistaken identity. Bodden shares physical resemblance with a wanted gang-affiliated individual, who resides in the Lord’s Bank area. According to reports, gunmen were waylaying that individual when Bodden passed by on his bicycle. Police have not named any suspect as yet in Bodden’s murder.

Man found hanging on Ferry in Cayo
Martin Cesar Castellanos was found hanging from a yellow rope on the Baking Pot Ferry on December 14th, near Central Farm in the Cayo District. The forty-year- old Castellanos resided in Santa Cruz in the Santa Elena Area. Martin Castellanos leaves behind two children, his youngest child being only a year old. He also leaves a 16-year-old, now in third form at the Eden Seventh Day Adventist High School in Santa Elena town. Castellanos was buried on Sunday after a church service at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in San Ignacio Town. The sudden death of Martin Castellanos has had a tremendous impact on the family. Maria Castellanos told us that with her husband now gone, she does not know how she will continue to send her daughter to high school. If you would like to assist Maria Castellanos, please call her at 631-8718. An account number for Maria Castellanos has been set up at the Belize Bank, San Ignacio Branch. That account number is 650-222-81804.

55-year-old guilty of 3 counts of carnal knowledge on 14 year girl
On Monday, December 17th, a jury of 9 stepped into the deliberating room at 10:29 a.m., to decide the fate of 55-year-old Winston Dennison, who was accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl on three separate occasions in 2012. After three hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a unanimous verdict of guilty on all charges. Justice Troadio Gonzalez deferred sentencing to Friday, December 21st, when mitigation pleas will be heard on his behalf.

Officers on Interdiction
On Wednesday, December 19th, Members of the Professional Standards Branch and the Criminal Investigation Branch of the Police Department have been deployed to the island of Ambergris Caye to investigate reports of police brutality on that island town. According to Ricky Jurado, he was at the Tackle Box Bar in the early hours of Monday, December 14th when he became involved in a confrontation with another man at the bar. Jurado told the San Pedro Sun that he had just come out of the restroom to find a man dancing behind his girlfriend in a seductive manner. He got into a verbal exchange with the individual after which he left. Jurado and a group of his friends, including his fiancé Vianie Perez would follow suit only to be confronted by three people including police corporal Mark Young and WPC Sherifa Young. Jurado says that Cpl. Young placed a gun to his head and roughed him up on the way to the police station. Looking on, Perez attempted to videotape the incident when she was attacked by WPC Sherifa Young who, with a baton, hit her to the face and head causing her to bleed profusely. As a result of the incident both officers have been put on interdiction pending the outcome of investigations.

Pleads Guilty of being in MS 13 gang
On Monday, December 17th, 20-year-old Angel Antonio Ruiz, who confessed to police that he is a member of the criminal gang, MS-13 was charged for displaying a gang insignia before Magistrate Adolph Lucas. He had originally pleaded not guilty to the charge but quickly changed his plea to guilty when he learnt that bail could not be offered on the charge. His mother, who was present in court, also influenced him in changing his plea as she began to cry uncontrollably when she realized that her son was going to be remanded to the Belize Central prison for Christmas. For the offense, Ruiz was then fined $500 plus a $5.00 cost of court. He has until March 23rd, 2013 to pay his fine in default 5 months.

Pedophile in Placencia
Police in Placencia have arrested British National 39-year-old David Taylor and he is expected to be charged with two counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature and possession of pornographic material. Toylor was arrested after police conducted a search on Taylor home earlier this week and found pictures and videos of him and young boys engaged in homosexual acts. Reportedly, the search yielded as many as 50 videos and 500 photographs of 4 young boys between the ages of 10 and 13 posing nude and engaged in homosexual activity with young men. The investigation into the matter continues and it is likely that there may be more files that have not yet been found as those found only cover a period between August to November 2012. Of note is that Taylor was a tutor of students.

Pleads Guilty to stealing Christmas Ornaments
On Monday, December 17th, 40-year-old Jason Wade, a welder from Camalote Village appeared in Magistrate's Court to answer to charges of theft. He appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer, where he pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to a fine of $200 plus $5.00 cost of court. He must pay by January 31st, 2013, or in default he will spend 2 months in prison.

Murder in Taylor’s Alley
22-year-old resident of Taylor’s Alley, Gushany Wagner was shot multiple times to the body at around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, December 16th. Wagner and a 16-year-old minor was standing at the mouth of “Pregnant Alley”, which is located in front of the Salvation Army Primary School on Cemetery Road when a gunman rode up towards them and opened fire. Wagner was struck by bullets to the head, back and arms; he died at the scene of the shooting. The minor received gunshot injuries to the right side of the chest and left foot. He was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for treatment. The shooter rode off to a clean escape. Police believe that the shooting was a direct result of the brawl that occurred minutes earlier at the BTL Park. Their investigation into the incident continues.

Belmopan Comprehensive High School is National Basketball Champions
The 2012-2013 National Secondary Schools Male Basketball Competition came to an end on Saturday, December 15th, 2012, at the Independence High Schools Basketball Court in Independence Village. Four schools representing the various regions of the NSSSA participated in this championship. The schools are from the north, San Pedro High School, central, defending champions Sadie Vernon Technical High School, from the west, Belmopan Comprehensive High School and from the south, Stann Creek Ecumenical High School. On Saturday, December 15th, in the male championship game, Belmopan Comprehensive High School defeated Stann Creek Ecumenical High School by the score of 62-49 to regain the national high school basketball title. The top scorers for Belmopan Comprehensive High School were Akeem Watters with 17 points and Kevin Brown with 15 points, while the top scorers for Stann Creek Ecumenical were Quinton Brown with 21 points and Brandon Castillo with 12 points. In the consolation game, Sadie Vernon Technical High School defeated San Pedro High School to finish this year’s competition with the Bronze medal. The top scorers for Sadie Vernon Technical were Jamal Augustine with 20 points and Lincey Lopez with 15 points.Meanwhile, the top scorers for San Pedro High School were Russell Linarez and Jose Guerrero with 13 points each.

Belmopan vs Belmopan in Football’s Biggest Showdown
The 2012 Premier League of Belize Football Competition has now entered its championship round with the top two teams coming directly from out of Belmopan. It will be the first time since the semi-pro era that the finals will be played between two teams from Belmopan. On Saturday, December 15th, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the home team Belmopan Bandits advanced to the championship round when it eliminated the defending champions, Placencia Assassins from further play in this year’s competition. At the end of the second and final game of the semi-final series between the two teams, the game ended in a 0-0 draw, but the Belmopan Bandits were able to advance to the championship round with a previous 1-0 victory for the Placencia Assassins a week earlier. Meanwhile, the national sub-champions the Police United also earned the right to the championship round for a second straight season when it eliminated the Belize Defence Force on Sunday, December 16th also at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan. The Police United squad, like the Belmopan Bandits, had just one week earlier defeated the Belize Defence Force by the score of 2-1 out at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio. The first game in the championship series will be played on Sunday, December 23rd, at 3:30 pm out at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan between the Belmopan Bandits and Police United. The second game in the series is scheduled for Saturday, December 29th, at 7:30 pm at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium

San Antonio FC Interdistrict Football Champions
The Football Federation of Belize 2012 Interdistrict Football Competition came to an end on Sunday, December 16th out at the Ricalde Stadium in Corozal Town between San Antonio FC and Benguche FC from the Stann Creek District. In the 2nd and final game of the championship series, the home team San Antonio FC defeated Benguche FC by the score of 3-1. The goals for San Antonio FC were scored by Russell Cassanova in the 21st and 90th minute of the game and Eaveral Bodden in the 60th minute of play. Meanwhile, the goal for Benguche FC was scored by Shanti Castillo in the 58th minute of play. However, because of San Antonio’s win over Benguche FC during regulation time, the game then had to go into overtime, to determine a victor. At the end of overtime the game remained scoreless which then lead to the penalty kicks. It was in the penalty kicks period that the San Antonio FC was able to score 4 goals to Benguche’s 1 goal, which then decided the championship. The goals for San Antonio FC were scored by Johann Clavel, Russell Cassanova, Darnell Mossiah and Christian Pena, while the goal for Benguche FC was scored by Kenton Flores. At the end of the championship, the following received the 2012 Individual awards: Most Goals - Darwaine Castillo (Benguche FC), Best Forward - Russell Cassanova (San Antonio FC), Best Midfielder – Christian Pena (San Antonio FC), Best Defender – Freddy De La Rosa (Benguche FC), Best Goalkeeper – Darren Hinds (Independence Scorpions), Most Valuable Player – Russell Cassanova (San Antonio FC), Manager – Beauty Daniels of San Antonio FC, and Coach – Stanley Murillo (Benguche FC).

San Estevan FC leads Orange Walk Football Competition
The Orange Walk Football Association 1st Division Opening Tournament 2012 continued over the last week with a number of games on its schedule. On Saturday, December 15th, 2012, at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town, San Estevan FC defeated San Fran FC by the score of 5-1. The goals for San Estevan FC were scored by Diego Mencias and the three by Adimael Patt, The goal for San Fran FC was scored by Nathaniel Williams. On Sunday, December 16th, at the Louisiana Field, in the first of three games played, San Lazaro Revolution FC blastsed New Hope United FC by the score of 7-1. The goals scorers for San Lazaro were Ruviney Carrillo, Arris Serrano, Darwin Sanchez, Andres Alvarado and Ismael Tillett, while the goal for New Hope United FC was scored by Jason Williams. In game two, Carmelita Athletics blanked San Felipe United by the score of 2-0. Both goals for Carmelita Athletics were scored by Ryan Wade. And in the final game of the day, Real Juvenil FC blanked Crystal FC by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Yassin Chan.

St. Catherine Academy is Back-to- Back National Basketball Champions
The 2012-2013 National Secondary Schools Sports Association National Basketball Championship came to an end on Saturday, December 15th, 2012, at the Independence High School in Independence Village in the Belize District. The championship commenced on Friday, December 14th, 2012 with two games in the female competition. The schools that participated in the championship are from the northern region, New Hope High School (NHHS), from the western region, Belmopan Comprehensive High School, from the southern region, Delille Academy and from the central region, defending champions St. Catherine Academy. On Saturday, December 15th, in the female championship game, St. Catherine Academy defeated Delille Academy by the score 23-21. The top scorers for St. Catherine Academy were Gilda Estrada with 14 points and Indie Dixon with 5 points, while the top scorers for Delille Academy were Moesha Enriquez with 10 points and Shayama Caliz with 7 points. In the third place game, Belmopan Comprehensive High School defeated New Hope High School by the score of 16-14. The top scorers for Belmopan Comprehensive High School were N. Lewis and A. Gonzalez with 8 points each. For New Hope High School, the top scorers were Emma Doherty with 7 points and Danielle Reneau with 5 points.

Octavia Waight Centre and Help Age Celebrate
Deputy Mayor of San Ignacio and Santa Elena , Bernadette Fernandez, giving her address at the Octavia Waight Centre Party The Octavia Waight Centre in San Ignacio held its yearly Christmas Party on December 16th. The home for the elderly held its party for the first time at its own Convention Hall. It was a community effort, in the season of giving, to Belize’s developers of the past. The party for the Octavia Waight residents and some three hundred other guests involved much singing and music by Magana’s Band, a local band from San Ignacio. Noted signer, Lucille Mendez was present to entertain everyone. Deputy Mayor of the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, Bernadette Fernandez says that it has become traditional to invite members of the community to the party in order for the residents to socialize with them. The party for the elderly and community was made possible through kind contributions by Belize Telemedia Limited. Other contributors were Alberto August, Hodes Place, Running W Brand Meats, Chuc’s Gas Station, Cayo Chemical Laboratory, Maya Mountain Lodge, Tropigas, the Saint Martin’s Credit Union, Greedy’s Pizzeria and many others. The Octavia Waight Centre is a home for the elderly, which currently shelters some twenty seven residents. The fourteen females and thirteen males come from around Belize. The Centre opened its doors in 1986 and works closely with Help Age Belize.

Remembrance – Edward Flowers
My beloved brother Eddie, as he was affectionately known, was not just a brother to me. In my growing up, he was protector and a best friend. In my early adult years, he became my confidant and continued being my best friend. Eddie was always an easy-going, unassuming type of guy who went about his business whistling, smiling and wishing folks the time of the day, quite oblivious to his surroundings. He enjoyed the life which he lived to its fullest. Eddie was a survivor from birth. He was born in the early morning of the 1931 hurricane. My mother of ten spoke of the adverse effect the storm had on her young family. All her belongings and personal effects were either lost or destroyed; the few pieces of clothing she had for the new born baby were also gone missing. Fortunately, there was a Chinese merchant in the building where she weathered the storm, this kind gentleman went into what was left of his store and brought her an empty sugar sack with which she wrapped her new born (the sugar baby) until she was rescued. There were many sides to my brother - I remember one Christmas, Mom received a turkey from up river. She was known for her meticulous personality and starting purging the bird with Epson salts in readiness for the Christmas dinner. However, she must have overdone the treatment; the turkey died. When brother Ed came in from work and heard the bird had just died he shouted in a loud voice “Cook-a-mom, cook-a-cook-the- turkey!” We all thought it was funny and laughed at him. For brother Ed it was not funny; he was quite serious. On another occasion, Eddie was coming to visit with us in Canada. And at the airport in Texas, the story goes, he either missed his connecting flight or nearly missed it due to his casual and happy-go-lucky attitude. He found time for the friends he encountered at the airport.

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE - 2012
Written by Dr. Oliver Ottley, District Superintendent Emeritus, Church of the Nazarene Matthew 1:21-23 (KJV) 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. “WHAT CHILD IS THIS?” The genealogy and birth of Jesus are recorded in both Matthew and Luke. Luke’s record begins with Jesus when He was about thirty years of age and goes backwards to Adam and to God. Conversely, Matthew begins with Abraham and ends with the birth of Jesus. The purpose of both writers is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but each is inspired to present it from a different approach. Furthermore, Matthew’s account of the Nativity is clearly prophetic, and deeply theological. “GOD WITH US” Some Bible religions choose to interpret the fulfillment of this prophecy in terms of natural, human understanding. Accordingly, they reject the benediction of “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.” (cf. 1 John 5:7). True, it transcends human comprehension, but it is sound, biblical theology. Interestingly, the term, God, is revealed as both quality and individuality; essentiality and personality (cf. John 1:1).

“Lisa Haadpay Star?”
In September of this year, Lisa Shoman had the opportunity to travel to the UN General Assembly in New York, courtesy the Taiwanese Embassy in Belize. There is nothing unusual about this kind of courtesy extended to someone; however, what has taken place after the trip is worth mentioning. The Guardian is reliably informed that during the General Assembly, the Government had to pay for hotel expenses incurred by those who attended. This is because, generally, the sponsor does not make the payments until all expenses are tallied and receipts are handed in. That was done, and the Taiwanese embassy made direct payment to those who were sponsored since part of the money given them included allowances. The understanding was that the participants were to reimburse Government for the expenses incurred. Now all the delegates who attended the conference have since handed in their portion of the money for the hotel accommodations except Madam Lisa. It is unclear why she has not yet done; so, however, she has been written to on at least two occasions to reimburse the money but to our best information, she has not yet done so. That's how they in the PUP do it!

Small Shareholders get Dividends...GOB and SSB - not yet
As of Wednesday, December 19th, small shareholders, some 1,400 of them, will be collecting dividends from Belize Telemedia Limited. That is representative of some $2 million, which will now make its way to the small shareholders just in time for Christmas. While that is now the case for the small shareholders, still not declared is $9.9 million dollars which is due to the Government of Belize and the Social Security Board. GOB was to have received $7.5 million and the Social Security Board $2.4 million. That is not to be yet as the Caribbean Court of Justice ordered that BTL not pay out these monies. In effect, the attorneys for the Ashcroft Alliance have temporarily deprived the Government and the SSB from much needed money. They came like Grinches and snatched the finances temporarily from the hands of the people of Belize. The attorneys have been maneuvering in court for months now and earlier this year, the CCJ had ordered that dividends not be declared until not before December 14th. Since then, the matter was heard in the Court of Appeals where the Ashcroft Alliance had applied for interim relief to stop BTL from issuing dividends. That was refused by the Belize Court of Appeal on the 13th of December. No sooner had that taken place than the Ashcroft attorneys cried to the CCJ on that same day to stop the paying of dividends. By the time the court met at 9a.m. on Friday, December 14th, in compliance with the Court of Appeals decision, Executive Chairman of BTL had already began to distribute dividends. The decision incensed the CCJ and it ordered that money in the sum total of dividends that were to be issued be put on escrow until the matter was completely settled.

MCC not just for FFB but for All Belizeans
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth, held a press briefing on Wednesday, December 19th, to address concerns raised by a group of individuals, who are protesting the use of the MCC Grounds for non sporting events. His message to them was simple: “The MCC Grounds is owned by the National Sports Council and there is no plan to turn ownership over to any other organization.” The protesters spread around photos of the condition of the field that were taken the morning after the concert in an attempt to draw support to their cause. Minister Longsworth and those familiar with the pitch at the MCC know that the damage seen in the pictures is comparable to that of “any football match played in rainy conditions”. Longsworth said that he is more concerned about the damage outside of the pitch which was caused by motor vehicles. As a result, the council has adopted a policy to ban the use of vehicles in the compound. The council will continue to rent out the grounds for public events because, according to Longsworth, “it is the only enclosed and secure venue for mass public activities.” He said, “As a sporting facility, clearly sporting activities will be given first preference” but if there is no sporting activity scheduled, the council reserves the rights to rent the facility for public festivities. Longsworth said, “We have a moral responsibility to assist at this time when there is no venue for huge cultural and social activities.”


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#453944 - 12/21/12 02:34 PM Re: Today's Belize News: December 21, 2012 [Re: Marty]
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Blogs

‘If I Were a Carpenter’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize
‘If I Were a Carpenter’ is a single, written by Tim Hardin, that was released by Bobby Darin in 1966 and reached number 8 in the US charts and number 9 in the UK. I chose this song as the theme for the headline because most of the work on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today was concentrated on woodwork- fitting the supports for the forms for the concrete pour of the roof of the water tank. All Rose and I could hear when we parked the golf cart at the build was the sound of hammers hitting nails and an electric saw. There were nine guys ‘on duty’, seven guys putting the supports in place and two on wheelbarrow work ( more about this later). A lot of attention ( I am vey pleased to report) is paid to accuracy for the positioning of the support boards.

A Fairy Tale Night At El Secreto On Ambergris Caye, Belize
I got invited to head almost 10 miles north to the new private, luxurious resort of El Secreto. I jumped at the chance to experience something new. Wow. That is all I can say about the evening. The pictures do not do the resort justice. It was absolutely amazing. I truly felt like a movie star. Here’s how it went…. We were picked up at the Amigos del Mar dock on their “employee boat” at 6:30pm. It is a free service to and from the resort that leaves at specific times. A free boat ride 10 miles north? Who could complain. The ride took about 25 minutes and playing the game of “what resort is that?” on the way up made the time go much faster. When we arrived, the dock was lit up by iridescent purple lights and I knew the night was going to be one I would not forget. We were welcomed by an entourage of employees and we each had our own “flashlight leader”. Yes, that is right, we each had our own person that held a flashlight up the dock so we could see where we were walking. True service.

Belize’s Chaa Creek in Final Countdown to Maya Solstice
“It’s been frustrating to us that the true achievements of the Maya , who have been called the world’s greatest philosophers of time and developed one of the most advanced civilisations of the ancient world, have been overshadowed by apocalypse theories that have absolutely no basis in fact and were never mentioned by the Maya themselves. “The Maya were an astute people who developed huge cities such as nearby Caracol, which had over 160,000 people at its peak and was sustained by sophisticated urban planning and agriculture. They were among the first people to develop writing and, make paper, discover the concept of zero and a mathematical system allowing for calculations that continue to astound scholars. For example, they knew precisely when this 2012 Winter Solstice would occur thousands of years ago. “When you think about it, it’s amazing that the celebrations we’re hosting today were anticipated by the Maya well before Columbus arrived in the Americas,” Ms Fleming said. Ms Fleming said that Chaa Creek’s guests, after having received a grounding in Maya history and culture, are now well prepared for the 2012 Winter Solstice ceremonies. After a traditional Maya feast they’ll join local villagers in a candle lit procession to the temple at Tunichilen to participate in the Winter Solstice ceremonies before ending the evening with a celebration. “We wanted to combine education with a sense of adventure and fun to create something truly special. And judging from the feeling of anticipation right now, I’m very happy that we succeeded. It is, after all, truly a once in a lifetime experience,” Ms Fleming said. “And looking around here, you certainly don’t get the feeling that the world is about to end”, she added.

Local firms urged to fund school trip to Belize
COMPANIES in Caithness have been asked to help a group of pupils realise their ambition of going to Central America for a once-in-a-lifetime school trip. Wick High has put out an appeal to firms based in the far north to give donations to enable the youngsters to take part in a conservation project in Belize in June. The senior pupils have raised more than £15,500 so far but are still £12,500 short of their £28,000 target to make the trip a reality. During the month-long excursion, pupils plan to work alongside the Royal Botanic Garden to conserve plants as well as carry out community projects in schools and orphanages. The trip gives pupils the chance to gain their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, Silver Youth Achievement Award and John Muir Award. Trip leader and principal of computer science, Chris Aitken, said Belize represented an opportunity for the pupils to see what life was like on the other side of the world and prepare them for life outside of the classroom. "The Belize 2013 project is a fantastic opportunity for those students involved to become more globally aware, broaden their horizons and really think about their future careers," he said.

Chewing the cacao in Belize where the Mayan doomsday is not the end of the world
According to the Mayan ‘long count’ calendar, December 21, 2012 marks the end of a 5,125-year cycle. Some view its advent as a time of rejuvenation and the beginning of a new era. Others, meanwhile, predict apocalypse, believing the date marks a ‘doomsday’ foretold in hieroglyphs. Throngs of tourists are expected to flood into southern Mexico and Central America to 'celebrate' the occasion. But what do the locals here in Belize make of it all, I wonder? It’s almost 10pm in San Jose, a village without electricity in the heart of the Maya Mountains, and we should have arrived hours ago. The bus suddenly stops and honks twice, the sign to let my homestay host know I’ve arrived. Getting here was an adventure in itself, involving a short flight to Punta Gorda, in southern Belize, before travelling along bumpy, unmade roads, through lush jungles, past mountains riddled with caves and over underground rivers. Within a few minutes, my host appears out of the darkness. I grab my backpack and start walking as the bus disappears into the distance. We hike together in silence up a steep, slippery path to the family home, lit only by the dimmest of candlelight.

Off the Grid and Loving It in Belize
Turquoise waves lap the shore 30 feet from where I sit writing on my borrowed veranda in southern Belize. As a pair of large birds glides gracefully through the sky, I think to myself that this remote, off-the-grid home is exactly where I belong at this moment. When my husband and I first started dreaming about taking a six-month “family sabbatical” with our four young kids somewhere in Central America, we’d considered Costa Rica and Panama as well as Belize. But then I met a British couple who lived in southern Belize. We stayed in touch and they often gave me advice about our unfolding plans. When they decided they needed a house sitter, they asked if we would be interested. We were! We now live in their darling 2,400-square-foot furnished home directly fronting the Caribbean Sea. The house is only accessible by boat. We have two large bedrooms, two and a half baths, a living room, dining room, kitchen, and several porches, as well as a cabana for our guests’ use, and a caretaker’s home. We have access to a paddle boat, a sailboat, fishing equipment and two sea kayaks. The owners even left us chickens with a steady supply of fresh eggs!

World Keeps Turning, Maya Keep Celebrating at Chaa Creek
As the Maya calendar rolls over in Belize with the end of the 13th Bak’tun and the beginning of a new 5,125 year cycle, the celebrations continue in Belize at The Lodge at Chaa Creek, according to marketing administrator Larry Waight. “Surprise, surprise; we’re still here,” Mr Waight said as a large group of guests, staff members and their families, Chaa Creek’s owners and local villagers prepared for the procession to the ancient Maya temple of Tunichilen and an exuberant celebration to, as Mr Waight said, “Mark the end of one long cosmic cycle and the beginning of another.” A far cry from the apocalypse scenario some people were predicting over the internet, and made highly profitable by the 2008 Hollywood blockbuster film, “2012”, the mood at Chaa Creek was upbeat and enthusiastic, Mr Waight said. “People seem to be really engaged with the sense of a new beginning, that rather than the world ending, there is a future out there for all of us to participate in,” Mr Waight said, “In that way, with all the positive energy, this is the most meaningful New Year’s celebration I’ve ever experienced,” he said.

International Sources

End of the World? Not for the Maya of Belize
Much has been made about December 21, 2012 by doomsday prophets, busily proclaiming that the end of the world is upon us. But archaeologists and scholars of Maya culture explain that the mystical date of 12.21.12 will not be the catalyst for apocalypse. The Maya’s long-form calendar will end, but not the world itself, which will simply enter a new period. In Belize, the end-of-the-world hype is being used as an opportunity to offer experiences that give visitors a more accurate understanding of Maya culture. The most significant of these is a once-in-a-lifetime event held at Caracol, one of Belize’s most important Maya archaeological sites. The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) will be holding the last of four overnight camping trips at Caracol on the “end of the world” date. The trip will be led by the NICH’s most prominent archaeologist, Dr. Jaime Awe, and is limited to 200 participants, who need to bring their own camping gear. The $150 cost includes a traditional Maya dinner and fire ceremony. Members of Belize’s roughly 40,000-storng Mayan community will prepare the meal, build the fire and lead the prayers and chants. The highlight for many previous campers has been Dr. Awe, who gives a 2.5 hour long guided tour of the Maya site during the camping trip. In the 1970s, Awe led the first official excavation of Caracol by a Belizean team (some exploratory excavations occurred in the 1950s, headed by an American archaeologist). Today, Awe is considered to be the site’s greatest authority and remains at the forefront of archaeological excavation and preservation in Belize, where it is thought that more than three-quarters of Mayan sites have not yet been discovered or excavated.

The December 2012 issue of The BELIZE AG REPORT is online HERE

This Issue's Stories:

  • Turkey (Domesticated) (Meleagris gallopavo): By Orlando Habet The domesticated turkey is a large poultry bird. The modern domesticated form descends from the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo). It was domesticated by the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica at least 2,000 years ago, with the evidence pointing to what are today the central regions of Mexico (Guerrero, Veracruz and Jalisco). Ancient Mesoamericans domesticated this subspecies, using its meat and eggs as major sources of protein and employing its feathers extensively for decorative purposes. The Aztecs associated the turkey with their god of night and sorcery, Tezcatlipoca (“Smoking Mirror”), as well as the patron deity of Aztec kings and of young warriors. Domestic turkeys were taken to Europe by the Spanish. Many distinct breeds were developed in Europe. In the early 20th century, many advances were made in the breeding of turkeys, resulting in the modern breeds which are efficient meat producers and which have also been bred to produce a large breast compared to the remainder of the body.
  • GOOD PESTICIDE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FARMER RECOGNITION INITIATIVE: By Miriam Ochaeta-Serrut, MA The Pesticides Control Board (PCB), in collaboration with the Food Safety Department of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, the Extension Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources & Agriculture (MNRA) and the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) in Belize is pleased to announce the commencement of a voluntary initiative designed to assist horticulture farmers in improving their pesticide management practices. Since its inception in 1988, PCB has focused on the promotion of rational pesticide management for the protection of human health and the environment among pesticide users, primarily those involved in crop production, through its national training programme for the certification of users of restricted-use pesticides. The decision to use pesticides requires great responsibility on the part of the pesticide user. “Pesticides kill not only pests, but also pests’ natural enemies; their overuse can harm farmers, consumers and the environment” (Save and Grow, FAO, 2011). The rational management of pesticides entails the judicious decision-making process carried out by the pesticide user including, but not limited to, the proper identification of the type of pest and the extent of pest damage as well as the consideration of pest control options within an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy.
  • Fair Exchange: Seed Swapping: By Mitylene Bailey I returned home from my two–year study in Taiwan with a hunger for my local greens. At my first opportunity I went to the market to seek out my favorite, calalloo, also known as vegetable amaranth. (See Issue 17 of Belize Ag Report.) As I walked around the Belize City Queen’s Square Market I spotted a few different varieties I had never noticed before. I walked up to the stall that had calalloo with the most luscious leaves and took a couple bunches home. I found myself at the market every other day taking a bunch or two home. I decided that if I started to grow my own, and a few other vegetables that I liked, it would be most convenient for me. I started browsing around the market selecting the choice vegetables and fruit with intent to collect the seeds and sow them in my own burgeoning garden. The fruit and/or vegetable that I could not retain seeds from or were not the best seed fruits I discarded and returned to the vender that sold them to me to ask for seeds. I asked the vendor that sells me the calalloo to share some of his seeds with me. He asked me what I had and I did not know what he meant. He told me that if I wanted seeds from him then I was to share some of whatever I had with him. It was then that I was made aware of the modus operandi for seed acquisition in that market: seed swapping. Joseph Lawrence, a Jamaican-born vendor at the Belize City Queen’s Square Market, decided to let me in on the seed swapping procedures; whenever he receives a new seed he plants it first to observe the plant and its growing habit on his farm. If the plant seems to have a successful life history he allows it to bloom and seed and he now has seeds ready to exchange.
  • Recent Test Shows Dangers of Genetically Modified Food: By Bill Lindo The verdict is now in -- Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) NK603 corn causes cancers in rats. September 19th, 2012 the independent team led by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini at the CRIIGEN lab at the University of Caen published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology the findings of a two-year feeding trial of rats using Monsanto’s NK603 Roundup tolerant corn (maize) and Roundup herbicide (the brand name weedkiller containing glyphosate many GM crops are designed to resist). The research found: • Death rates in rats fed GM maize was 70% in females and 50% in males compared to the 20% and 30% in control animals. • Female death rates were 2-3 times higher than the controls. • Mammary tumors were the most common cause of death in females. • Treated male rats showed increased liver and kidney problems. Above are Photos from the study of the massive tumors caused by the GM corn & Roundup The researchers suggest the observed effects are due to the hormone-disrupting effects of Roundup and the impacts on metabolism of the GM trait that makes the corn tolerant to the chemical Roundup.
  • WEEDS: By Dr. Morris F. Keller I have been doing a lot of gardening lately, so weeds have been on my mind as well as in my garden. As a very small child, I remember crawling in the grass of our small back yard and being enthralled with the little yellow flowers that bloomed there in the spring. However, much to my amazement, no one wanted dandelions in their grass; adults spent much time and energy prying them up with a two-pronged tool - until “weed killer” came along. During my infancy and youth, we lived in a suburban neighborhood of modest one and two family homes. The home next to ours was owned by a ninety-six year old lady, Mrs. Ashley, and her middle-aged, unmarried daughter. I distinctly remember, as a small child, that Mrs. Ashley asked everyone whom she knew in the neighborhood to save dandelions for her. With these “weeds”, she made soup, tea and even wine. Mrs. Ashley obviously knew something that we did not know. When I revolted against the medical industry after healing myself of serious illness with natural methods not taught me in medical school, one of my goals was to learn how to grow my own healthy food without man-made chemicals, while preserving and improving the earth around me. I began to read books and the first book I read was called Secrets of the Soil. The first statement that jumped out at me in this book was, “a weed is a plant that you do not know yet”. Many years later, when I was an apprentice to a master organic farmer, I was assigned the lowly job of weeding his large vegetable gardens. During my long hours of toiling with a hoe in my hand, my observation showed me that first of all, the “weeds” had many holes in the leaves from being devoured by insects, much more than the leaves of the vegetables we were growing and when the weeds had been removed, the insects began to eat our valuable crop. Perhaps the insects knew something that we did not know? Now we know that many so-called weeds are edible and medicinal plants and at the very least make a good green manure or fertilizer for our gardens if turned under and allowed to rot slowly.
  • BEYOND THE BACKYARD: A Passionate Pursuit, By Jenny Wildman In London back in the sixties my Aussie and New Zealand flat mates introduced me to a dynamic duo: Pavlova and passion fruit, the first being a famed baked meringue created and named for the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, and the second said to be an absolute must as a topping: kiwi, strawberries, passion fruit and cream. Now some 40 years later I am finally growing passion fruit in my garden. Although there are over 500 species of passiflora and evidence of early cultivation in North America it is claimed to hail from South America, discovered by 15th century Spanish missionaries. As the priests cast their eyes on the glorious blooms on this vigorous vine they were struck by the design of the 10 petals, which they said represented the 10 faithful apostles (scratch 2), the 3 stigmas signifying the nails on the cross, the crown of thorns, the 5 stamens as the 5 major wounds and the tendrils as the whips. This inspired them to christen it passion fruit or so the story goes. I prefer to think it was the musky aroma and abundance of seed conjuring up passion and pleasure. There are also many cultivars from those species but commonly cultivated are two main types, purple or yellow. Mine is the purple variety that clings to almost anything with its tendrils but does require a strong frame. I would suggest a wire fence with a slight overhang at the top at about 8 feet high maximum as higher may make for treacherous harvesting, as it is capable of great heights.
  • Gimme Dat Good Black Soil: By Harold Vernon I have heard many an exclamation all over Belize that “black soil da di best!”. When people are asked just what is black soil, the answer is usually that my mother, grandpa or some relative in the rural areas always said so and as long as it is black it is good. There is both truth and falsehood in that statement and this article attempts to provide an explanation of the real situation. It is true that soils with fair amounts of sand, silt and clay and lots of organic matter are usually easy to cultivate and are usually rich with available nutrients. On the other hand, soils with lots of clay, little silt and sand with high organic matter are very heavy and difficult to cultivate and are the blackest of soils. These heavy soils are known as vertisols. So just what are good black soils and are they truly the best? The degree of blackness of soil is caused by the presence of decomposed organic matter or humus that has been converted from green leaves, dead animals and other things that were once alive. People who do composting learn very quickly that the material being composted usually turns a deepening dark brown. The same applies to the dead leaves and trees that fall to earth, decompose and become what we typically call “organic matter”. Earth worms, fungi and bacteria aid the breakdown processes and in turn contribute to a building up of organic matter.
  • Humates to the Rescue: By Dottie Feucht The importance of nitrogen (N) in the soil is well understood; what may not be well understood by farmers is the adverse long-term effect of synthetic N fertilizers on the soil. Recent research by University of Illinois scientists shows that its application over time depletes the soil of carbon and undermines the health of the soil. They discovered at the Morrow Plots, the oldest research plots in the USA, that high inputs of N stimulate soil microbes to feed and eventually that accelerated process causes the organic matter to disappear before it can become humified (i.e., humification is interrupted by removal and volatilization of carbon before it reaches the form of humus.) Plant residues that are left behind in crop production, and various tilling and residue management methods make use of that residue as a means of adding organic matter to the soil. But with synthetic N, it was found that soil microbes degrade plant residues and reduce their carbon content and nutritional content into plant available forms and long-term fully degraded carbon, which is the backbone for forming soil humus. The acceleration of microbial oxidation of humin by N stimulation reduces the carbon rich humin to the less carbon-rich humic acids, and finally to fulvic acids, which have very little carbon content. Then as soil carbon levels decline, it is more difficult for soils to store nitrogen. As the ability of the soil to store nitrogen declines, more N inputs are needed, resulting in a vicious cycle.
  • Attracting Butterflies to your Belizean Backyard: By Marguerite Fly Bevis Landscaping your yard to attract butterflies is as simple as providing food, water and shelter for all stages of the butterfly life cycle. Adult butterflies feed on nectar while caterpillars and larvae eat the leaves of specific plants, their “host” plants. You can improve your chances of attracting butterflies to your garden by implementing a few principles into your landscape and planting shrubs and flowers butterflies love. Butterflies are attracted to masses of colorful flowers in sunny locations and they need shady cool-down areas for protection when it is hot. Plant a variety of flowering annuals and perennials for mass color. Belize has a number of butterflyfriendly native plants that grow very easily. Some are so prevalent that they might be considered weeds. But once you know the beneficial ones, you can keep them in your yard, pruning and taming them to fit your landscape. One common plant countrywide is “Red Head” or “Firebush”, Hamelia patens.(See Issue 18, pg.22.) This plant grows everywhere land has been cleared.
  • THE SWEEP IN BLUE CREEK: By Dr. Miguel DePaz BACKGROUND Nov. 2012 Belize was an exporter of live cattle to Mexico in the 1980’s, but the foot and mouth disease epidemic of 2001 in the United Kingdom led to Mexico closing its borders to Belize to trade in animals and animal products. This effectively destroyed the confidence of the farmers of the Belize Livestock Producers Association (BLPA), as the formal trade of live cattle to Mexico stopped completely. Ever since, Belize has put as one of its priority the resumption of the export of live cattle to Mexico. In 2009 Belize commenced The Belize National Cattle Sanitary Cattle Project, financed by the European Union, Government of Belize, OIRSA/ SENASICA, BLPA and the cattle producers with the objectives of (1) demonstrating the animal health status of the national cattle herd with respect to bovine tuberculosis and bovine brucellosis and (2) implementing an animal traceability system in order to fulfil the requirements for unrestricted trade with Mexico. This project is for a period of 3 years. It is expected that the prevalence of bovine diseases is very low as it has never been found during testing of targeted herds during the past. The southern border of Mexico has a total of 1149 kilometres, of which, 956 kilometres are shared with Guatemala and 193 kilometres, with Belize. It includes the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche and Quintanna Roo.
  • Quality Poultry Products: In 1960, just 2 years after Spanish Lookout was founded, a poultry company was also founded. In 1975 that company became a co-op, Quality Poultry Products, now the leading poultry business in Belize, processing about half of the chicken in Belize and employing 130 people in Spanish Lookout. Processed chicken comes in varying sizes, depending on feed and length of time in the barn. (Chickens to be roasted are usually the largest in size.) The original plant was expanded in 1974 with another expansion in 1983. The current plant, completed in 1998 is being expanded again, incorporating HACCP standards. Over 130 poultry farmers under contract, with average lot size of 5,000, but ranging from 3,000 to 17,000 chickens, keep the supply of chickens steady through an 8 week rotation by geographical location all around the Spanish Lookout area.
  • GRAIN GROWERS IN BELIZE FORM NATIONAL ASSOCIATION: By Hugh O'Brien Over 50 grain farmers, mostly from the Cayo and Orange Walk districts have come together to form the Belize Grain Growers Association (BGGA). Registration was conducted at regional meetings that were held in October and November this year in the Corozal, Orange Walk and Cayo districts. An initial steering committee, chaired by Mr. Henry Wolfe of Spanish Lookout led the successful registration drive, and grain farmers have pledged their support to the efforts of the steering committee to organize grain growers into a formal and legal entity. For some time now, grain farmers are complaining that issues such as the high cost of inputs, availability of land, need for research into new varieties, heavy insecticide use to control armyworms, and the lack of concrete marketing arrangements, especially to facilitate exports to Guatemala under the Belize- Guatemala Partial Scope Agreement, have had serious effects on the profitability and long term sustainability of the corn industry. The desire to address these and other problems facing corn farmers as well as represent the interests of grain growers at the national level, drove the formation of the BGGA. On November 14th, the first general meeting of the BGGA was held in Spanish Lookout and the farmers were briefed on the progress made to date, and various policy issues were discussed. It was agreed that any farmer who farms an acre or more of corn, rice, beans and such grains would be allowed to join the association. Board members, once elected would serve for 2 years, and have no time limit for being on the Board.
  • Soils: By Cory Schurman What makes up soil? This is a question I get from time to time. Soil is predominately organic matter and silicon dioxide, although it also contains an assortment of various minerals. More specifically, for plants to live and grow in the soil, a balance of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon along with 14 other essential elements (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, zinc, boron, manganese, iron, copper, chloride, nickel, molybdenum) are needed in a high enough quantity to meet the needs of growing plants. For optimum growth and maximum crop production, growers use fertilizers to fill in soil deficiencies, which increase crop yields and quality. Farmers use soil analysis tests to determine what minerals their soils are both high and low in. From the results of the tests farmers can formulate nutrient blends that provide what the crop needs. Studying soil analysis is important for optimizing the quantity of fertilizer to be applied; that is, the correct rate can be calculated to match what the soil can hold. Furthermore, nutrient applications can be timed to maximize their effectiveness. When farmers look at crop production from this scientific method they can maximize yields and economic returns on their farm, while doing the best job environmentally. When farmers calculate their nutrient plans they should look at the following factors:
  • Internet Access and Agriculture in Belize: By Shamin Renwick Until my visit in October, Belize, in an abstract sort of way, was just another “island” in the Caribbean – up north and to one side. This is a view shared by many other Caribbean persons despite knowing that it is a Central American country. However, general background reading for a “small islander”, prior to a visit, does not prepare you for Belize. Having to go through Miami is the first indication that something is different. Then flying over the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (one of the top 5 largest coral reefs worldwide), vast areas of wetlands and great lengths of “white” roads underscore how distinctive it is. My visit was being undertaken in order to conduct research for my doctoral dissertation entitled “Planning for Food Security: Decision Making and Information Use in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Belize.” This article deals with another surprising aspect of life in Belize which I discovered in researching information use. It is the cost and quality of internet access and the implications for agriculture.
  • Agriculture Prices at a Glance- $$$$$: A-B denotes the difference between 1st preference & second preference and sometimes between wholesale & retail and bulk or small amounts . Trend (H) means Higher over last 30 to 60 days (L) Lower (S) Steady. Prices intend on being farm gate in Belize dollars - usually price per lb
  • Light Rein - Therapeutic Horseback Riding: By Marjie Olson “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.” I’ve seen it quoted by Winston Churchill, John Wayne, Roy Rogers, John Roberson Sr., John Carr and definitely me. It is true. As with a dog or cat, it has been proven that animals are a healing mechanism for many. Whether it is for an emotional healing or a helpful physical strengthening, animals of all forms have virtually performed miracles. Everyone is familiar with the leader dogs and the helper dogs, but few realize that therapeutic riding programs are a wonderful gift to people of all disabilities. I, myself, have used horses to bring about a young man’s self worth, and to create a physical strength he didn’t know could exist…Danny was born with Pervasive Developmental Disorder N.O.S. and his parents had been told, “Oh NO; don’t ever let him near horses; it will be just a disappointment for him or he could be killed.” Among his other issues, Danny had hypermobile joints and low muscle tone, but with a special little mare, who had that innate ability to understand, and his mother’s belief, one year later he was qualified to run that little barrel horse at the NBHA Youth World Championships. He not only rides 13 yrs later, he also played football through his high school career which allowed him to “fit in” and be one of the team - so important for a teenager, who is “different”.
  • BLPA –AGM – 2012: By John Carr A fairly well attended Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Belize Livestock Producers Association (BLPA) was held at HQ on October 27th, 2012. Most of the presenters focused on the upcoming cattle sweep dealing with TB and brucellosis testing and identification and registration (traceability) of every cow critter in Belize. Through ear tags, every birth, death, sale and cattle movement will be recorded. The chairman’s address echoed of major concerns for our country as it relates to economic stress, crime, corruption and other major problems. His message took a spiritual direction that recommended that if we don’t take God and biblical principles into our partnership “How and who will make Belize into that very special country we all dream about?”.
  • Current Investment in Cattle, Land, Cattle Equipment: All Belize Dollars – October 2012 – BLPA –AGM Total Investment $485,000,000- we expect these numbers to double
  • Producing Quality Hay: By Maruja Vargas Clarence Thiessen of C.T. Farm in Spanish Lookout is the year round source for quality hay for cattle, horses and sheep. Clarence has evolved a sophisticated and wellmanaged full time haying operation, which depends upon his knowledge of grasses, soils and equipment utilization. The table on page 21 lists the types of hay available, their nutrient content, average pricing, and suitability for use in cattle, horses and sheep. C.T. Farms has also tested its grasses (where marked with *) for crude protein content. Weight of square bales is between 42 and 50 pounds. Weight of round bales is approximately 900 pounds. Clarence describes bismoto as a grass midway between star grass which stands up to 24” and Bermuda average height around 10”. It is highly palatable and very appealing to horses due to its soft texture, which is similar to the texture of blue stem. C.T. Farm bales milo and RK straw in the dry season for cattle. Clarence describes these products as ‘survival’ for the dry season. He noted that cattle will generally leave the RK stems and eat only the leaves. He rarely bales straw of black eyed beans, black and kidney beans.
  • Opportunistic Foraging: By Dr Mandy Tsang, BMChB, DRCOG This time we are taking a break from the edible plant monographs; I would like to talk more about how people can incorporate foraging into their everyday life, without making it into a chore. Take every opportunity to incorporate daily life with foraging; in this way you are more likely to do it as a daily or weekly routine in your life. One simple example is to take advantage of every walk, such as going to the market or shops, to observe plant life all around you; look up at the tall trees and most importantly, look down at the ground. Abandoned plots are a absolute gem for foraging. In one plot in Punta Gorda, I spotted five different forageable foods in a tiny abandoned yard. Walk around your back-yard or land; look at the weeds that you usually pull out and refer to local people or the internet to check if any are edible.
  • Cultivating a Culinary Delight: How to Grow Pitayas: By Richard Rasp Growing pitaya cactus in your backyard or field can be rewarding when your vines produce a bountiful crop. Once your plants have matured, they can provide a nearly continuous supply of the gourmet fruit from May through November. Not only is the magentacoloured flesh a treat for your eyes and taste buds, it is also a nutritional source of betalain, known for its anti-oxidant and antiradical activity. To ensure enough pitayas for your family and friends you need to follow a few guidelines for successful cultivation. Growing pitayas takes an investment of time and money, but hopefully it will be worth the expense. It certainly is exciting to follow the progress of April’s first flower buds as they develop into blossoms that burst open in a dazzling display of white, become fertilized, and grow into fruits that you can harvest a month later. As you taste your first homegrown pitaya of the year you’ll know that it indeed was worth the effort.
  • “Apples of Belize” Featuring the Bell Fruit and Sugar Apple: By Mary Susan Loan of Cristo Rey Village Most of the apples in this series are not botanically classified as apples; however, they are commonly considered to be apples in Belize and other tropical countries. Bell Fruit Bell fruit (Syzgium Samarangense), commonly known, among other names, as wax apple, love apple, java apple, Jamaican apple, wax jambu, champoo, ohi’a, royal apple, water apple, mountain apple, cloud apple, rose apple, lembu, macepa, and jamrul fruit, is a member of the myrtaceae family. Bell fruit is a ‘cousin’ to the Mallay apple which shares many of the characteristics of the Bell fruit. The Bell fruit tree is becoming more popular in Belize, thanks in part to the introduction of the Bell fruit varieties popularly grown in Taiwan, by the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) in Central Farm, Cayo. Michael Zheng, head of horticulture, reports; “Wax apple is the most famous fruit is Taiwan; through off-season cropping the production is from November to April (normal season is from May to August).”
  • Making Artisan Cheese at Caves Branch: When Ian Anderson purchased sheep for a petting zoo at his Caves Branch Resort, cheese making was not on his mind. The petting zoo blossomed to showcase sheep, goats and chickens in an environment where children from across the country could touch and hold small animals. After collecting the eggs, egg sandwiches were served to the children and they were given glasses of sheep or goat milk to enjoy. Given Ian’s natural exploring instincts, it wasn’t long before he yearned to produce something with his milk. Internet searches yielded many recipes for cheese which he tried. Ian’s wife, Ella, and son Gabe, who was the chief taster, were supportive of the culinary venture, but encouraged him to find proper cheesemaking classes. After more prowling on the internet Ian found an article on cheesemaking by a Vermont family of professional cheese makers, the Faillace family of Three Shepherds Farm, in Warren, Vermont. In September of 2011, Ian flew to New England and took a two week course with Dr. Larry and Linda Faillace on their farm. On his return, Ian again tackled cheesemaking, beginning with one gallon batches, working up to the current 30 gallons per day production. Caves Branch now has a 500 sq. ft. working cheese kitchen, with a 250 sq. ft. wine and cheese tasting room attached. There is a glass half wall enabling tasters to watch what is going on in the kitchen. A 12 x 14 walk-in aging room kept at 55° F completes the set up. A relationship with the Vermont Faillaces has resulted in their visiting Caves Branch on various occasions as Ian continues improvements in the facility and expands his product line. Currently all cheeses are made with cow’s milk, purchased from a neighbor’s dairy. This winter, Caves Branch will be importing both milk goats and more sheep from the U.S.A.
  • Cattle Population by District: Chart estimates prepared by BLPA, October 2012. Population on Farms
  • Ag Briefs: U.S. slipping as corn export leader, U.K. farm incomes are expected to plateau in 2013,
  • Letters To THE EDITOR

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