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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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Ambergris Today

San Pedro Taking Steps to Alleviate Island Traffic Congestion
With this in mind, the San Pedro Town Council has taken the step of making it a law that delivery of goods be done only at night. Ambergris Today met with Mayor Daniel Guerrero who elaborated more on this issue. “We are working hard on getting this law gazette,” stated Mayor Daniel. “We hope that by March of this year all deliveries will be taking place during the night so as to alleviate the traffic congestion on our streets and mostly to avoid any accidents.” According to Mayor Guerrero, this is a big change in which the entire community will have to get used to especially those offering the delivery service and those receiving their goods. The island is rapidly growing and with development comes lots of changes. This is just one of the many changes that the current Town administration is working on to make San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye more safe and beautiful. Mayor Guerrero promised to keep the island more informed with these new laws as the Town Council comes closer into implementing them.

Helping Our Youth To Cope With Violence
In these current times, violent criminal acts and mass killings are at an all-time high throughout Belize – at the highest rate the country has ever seen. There is a country-wide crisis of senseless shootings and vicious gang-style murders being reported throughout the nation, almost daily, especially in Belize City. Whether or not we realize it, continuous and raw media coverage (television, radio, internet, and newspapers) of these gruesome, traumatic, and violent killings affects our young people, especially students, in very stressful ways. What is far worse, many of our very young people actually witness these violent crimes, and/or are victims themselves. What, though, are we doing today to help our young people, i.e. students from preschool up to university level, to cope and “heal” from all this unwanted stress and trauma that keeps mounting with each new report of violent killings and murders? As I write this article, no official crime statistics have yet been released for Belize in 2012; yet, according to Belize media, during the first 9 days of this year at least 8 violent killings/murders have been reported – that’s almost one per day!

Accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway; several persons injured
Just after 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, there was an accident near mile seven on the Phillip Goldson Highway. It involved a sports utility vehicle and a trailer truck. According to an eyewitness account, the SUV was extensively damaged while the trailer flipped on the right side of the highway. Reports are that a female employee of Ladyville Laundromat and Apartments had picked up the daughter of her employers and was travelling towards Ladyville. She reportedly lost control of the vehicle and slammed into the trailer that was coming in the opposite direction. Three persons, including a minor, travelling in the SUV were injured and taken by ambulance to the K.H.M.H. (Photos provided to Ambergris Today by Loskot Studios - News Source: Channel 5 Belize)

Belize National Football Team Travels to Costa Rica for UNCAF Competition
The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) National ‘A’ Selection is travelling to Costa Rica today, Wednesday, January 16, 2013, to participate in the UNCAF Central American Cup Competition. The delegation is headed by President of the FFB Ruperto Vicente; other members of the delegation are Secretary General of the FFB Michael Blease, Second Vice President and National Team Chairman Rawell Pelayo and others. The UNCAF Congress will be on Thursday, January 17, 2013, and the tournament commences on January 18 – 28 where Belize will be playing against Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua 18, 19, 22 respectively in the first round of play. The finals will be played on the 25 – 27 of January. The delegation travelling includes: Woodrow West, Frank Lopez, Elroy Smith, Evral Trapp, Tyrone Pandy, Dellon Torres, Cristobal Gilharry, Ian Gaynair, Andres Makin, Dalton Eiley Jr. (captain), Evan Mariano, Ashley Torres, Russell Cassanova, Jeromy James, Devon Makin, Shanon Flowers, Trevor Lennen, San Leobardo Mendez, Deon McCauley and Harrison Roches.

Taiwan Scholarship Program 2013
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is pleased to announce that on January 23rd, 2013 the Embassy will host a 2013 Scholarship Briefing at 10:30AM at the Chateau Caribbean Hotel, Belize City. The Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) offers two scholarships to Belizeans every year: 1) Taiwan Scholarship Program 2013: allows Belizeans to attend undergraduate or graduate program of their choice at universities in Taiwan starting from academic year 2013 (commencing in September 2013). A Mandarin Language Enrichment Program (LEP), for one extra year will be included to improve the recipients’ language abilities. Scholarship recipients will be provided with a round trip economy class airfare, and a monthly stipend of NT$30,000 (approximately US$1000) to cover the costs of tuition, board and lodging, books and medical insurance. The selected applicants will be considered based on their qualifications and being able to successfully be accepted by a University in Taiwan.

Gangnam Style Flash Mob in Caye Caulker, Belize
A flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression. Flash mobs are organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails. Check out this awesome Flash Mob organized by a group of tourists at the Caye Caulker Split. It’s a “Gangnam Style” started by one lady that becomes this great dance number that beach bums in Caye Caulker got to enjoy. Very Cool! We need more Flash Mobs in Belize.

Misc Belizean Sources

Cheese Making Courses at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch in Belize
Caves Branch Jungle and Adventure Lodge in Belize, Central America, is offering a pair of cheese making courses over the latter half of the month of January. These courses are designed for the home cheese maker and for anyone considering small-scale commercial cheese production. The mantra of Caves Branch is that with basic kitchen equipment and as little as four ingredients, students will be able to make hundreds of exquisite cheese types. In order to participate, interested travelers may purchase one of their Cheese Making Adventure Packages. The packages include a 5-night stay at the lodge, meals, a day’s worth of tours, 3 days of cheese making instruction and full access to the facilities around the resort, including the pools, hot tub, and botanical gardens. Travelers may choose from either of the two courses, depending on their interests: Cheeses of Italy (January 17th - 22nd, 2013) This course explores classic Italian cheeses and how to make them. Italy has been a center of cheese production for well over 4,000 years, and some of the world's best known and loved cheeses hail from the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, and Sardinia. Cheeses from Around the World (January 24th - 29th, 2013)

Kick Start 2013 With a Belize Yoga, Sea Kayaking and Snorkeling Adventure at an Island Basecamp
Bring on the New Year! Island Expeditions will be offering early morning yoga by-the-sea with certified instructors on select Belize travel adventures between now and April 2013. Rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit and re-awaken your sense of adventure on a trip that combines the restorative effects of yoga with 'play-time' spent exploring, snorkeling and sea kayaking the tropical marine parks of Glover's Reef or Lighthouse Reef Atoll. The benefits of daily yoga practice for health, fitness and well-being are well known. Island Expeditions' teachers adapt the sessions to complement paddlesports and snorkeling activities with an emphasis on strengthening the core and increasing paddling endurance and efficiency. A morning yoga sun salutation sequence in this glorious marine setting is a great way to wake up, stretch out, and prepare for your day. Spend your time snorkeling, sea kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, or just reveling in the simple pleasure of lounging in a hammock with a good book. At the end of each day relax, share stories, and enjoy the bounty of fresh seafood and tropical fruits.

Romantic Chocolate Spa Treatments Highlighted at Chaa Creek
Belize’s The Lodge at Chaa Creek is offering lovers everywhere the opportunity to put some exotic adventure in their lives while being immersed - literally - in the one of the ancient Maya’s greatest gifts to the world; chocolate. Bryony Fleming-Bradley, who coordinates Chaa Creek’s adventure romance tours and all-inclusive Belize vacation packages, said that she and her staff are putting a special emphasis on chocolate throughout the month of February as a tribute to lovers and Belize’s ancient Maya forbearers. “Many people are surprise to learn that chocolate has its origins right here in Belize, where the ancient Maya first cultivated cacao to create what they called Xocoatl or the ‘Food of the Gods’. Since chocolate has always been linked to romance and was even considered to be an aphrodisiac, it has also been called the ‘Food of Love’, and that will be our emphasis during February and especially around Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated very enthusiastically here in Belize,” she said. Cacao has always held a special place in Maya culture and was cultivated and traded throughout Central America long before the birth of Christ. When the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in the 16th century AD they became enamoured with the hot, foamy beverage known as Xocoatl, which was served to them by Maya royalty. When Cortez noticed in 1519 that the Aztec ruler Montezuma drank several goblets of the drink before entering his harem, he assumed that it was an aphrodisiac, and chocolate’s reputation as a lovers’ treat was firmly established in popular imagination. Today, chocolate is still an important part of Maya culture and day to day life, drank in the mornings hot and spiced with chili just as it has been for thousands of years. Ms Fleming-Bradley said chocolate is also important at Chaa Creek, where it is offered in many different forms. “Our guests can sample chocolate in its original form as well as its many different incarnations. For example, we serve chocolate-themed drinks in our Jungle Lounge, scrumptious chocolate desserts in our restaurant, and even have chocolate body wraps and massages at our hilltop spa,” she explained. Ms Fleming-Bradley said that February will see a special emphasis on Chaa Creek’s “Chocolatissimo” spa treatments such as a Maya Chocolate Polish, Lovers Peppermint Chocolate Pedicure, Cocoa Massage or a Chocolate Fondue Wrap , which she said are “all designed to enhance beauty while heightening a sense of wellbeing and, as some happy guests report – love. “Anyone who loves eating chocolate can imagine what happens when the essences and active ingredients of pure, local organic cacao is absorbed through the skin. It’s just amazing,” she added.

Belize Motivational Missionaries Tour
Bert Oliva and Robin Korth, motivational speakers, came to Belize to motivate the youth and instill self-esteem. Looks like they did a great job. Cayo is featured in this video starting around 3:50. Wait, is that Tarun bending steel...with her neck? They are coming back to visit Cayo again on February 8th. "World renown speakers, Bert Oliva and Robin Korth, are bringing a unique event to the caribbean in early 2013 called Motivational Missionaries. The first stop in the tour is Belize, where the focus is to motivate and energize our future, the children of today. Follow the journey and don't miss the change. Be a part of the Human Connection movement today where you too can become a Potentialists! 'IT'S NOW OR NEVER!'"

Blancaneaux Lodge Ranked with World's Best
Blancaneaux Lodge, located in Cayo's Mountain Pine Ridge, has been called one of the world's best lodges by Fathom. They give recognition to Roni Martinez, their conservation officer, along with many others for their outstanding service. "There's something special in the air at Blancaneaux Lodge, Francis Ford Coppola's magically remote, secluded oasis, situated on 70 acres in the northwest corner of Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in western Belize's Cayo District. It's the warm familiarity you feel visiting beloved friends and family... The staff is terrifically friendly (first name basis, please) and includes fun and informed guides (Eddie, Geraldo, and Jorge), the passionate conservation officer, Roni Martinez, and genuinely hospitable veteran manager, Bernie Matute."

El Contrabajo at the GPC
Tonight the one man play, El Contrabajo, will be performed at the GPC. "Tonight Thursday, January 17th at The George Price Center in Belmopan, 7pm. Proyecto Lagartija and Ruben Pagura of Costa Rica present the one-man play "El Contrabajo". Call 664-9719 for info. Support the Performing Arts in your community!" Best of Cayo's insight:

1000 Foot Falls
The highest waterfall in Central America is found in Belize. 1000 Foot Falls actually measure around 1600 feet. Mountain Pine Ridge has it all.

BELTRAIDE Facilitates WorkshopTo Enhance Customer Service Delivery for Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Belize
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), with the assistance of Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is facilitating the delivery of a three-day training workshop on “Enhancing Customer Service Delivery for Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in Belize”. The workshop is being held at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. It commenced on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, to Thursday, January 17, 2013, from 8:30a.m.- 5:00p.m. The facilitator for the workshop is Mr. Brian Lin. He is the Business and Investment Facilitation Officer at BELTRAIDE, and the consultant for the workshop. Throughout the course of the three days the participants will be educated with information on several topics, including: How to build a service delivery strategy Customer retention strategies Methods of measuring service levels How to get effective customer feedback Developing a customer service action plan

Channel 7

Someone Shot At Rt. Hon. Musa's House
Tonight, the country is still in shock after witnessing another unprecedentedly violent event. Fortunately no one was hurt, but for the first time in memory, a politician's home has been shot up - and not any politician, it's former two term Prime Minister Said Musa. That is a first, and the very worst kind - as it establishes a precedent that seems to bring Belize to the precipice of a dangerous tipping point. It happened last night, but was not discovered until this morning. 7news was there and Jules Vasquez has the whole story: Jules Vasquez Reporting Last night at two minutes to 11:00, a gunman shot at Said Musa's house at the corner of E Street and Princess Margaret Drive. Residents reported hearing five or six shots in rapid succession. Musa says he heard it too Rt. Hon. Said Musa - Home Shot Up "We turned off the lights and went to bed at about 11 o'clock last night, and shortly thereafter, I heard this burst of gunfire, about 4 or 5 - possibly 6 shots - being fired in rapid succession. I got up, and went into the bathroom, which is adjacent to the bedroom, pulled the curtain, and looked outside towards Eve Street. I saw nothing unusual or suspicious. My wife, she got up as well, and she looked out the bedroom window toward Princess Margaret Drive, and she too saw nothing unusual. So, I suspected - I thought - it was gunfire coming from a distance away from this particular neighborhood. So, we went back to bed."

City's First Shooting In 10 Days
And while that shooting is definitely one of the most troubling appearances of violence we've seen, the fact is the city has been uncharacteristically calm since the Dean Street massacre. There had not been a shooting reported since January sixth - that is until last night. At 7:00 pm, Kent Moss was shot on the verandah of a home on Raccoon Street extension. He was having a conversation when a male came up from behind and fired several shots at him. He was shot three times - but survived. Police are looking for a man from Jane Usher Boulevard, for questioning.

Another City Shooting
And there was another report of gunshots this evening in the city. It happened at around 6:00 pm at the corner of Mex Avenue and Kraal Road. According to police, no one was hurt - but the shooters did have an intended target.

Kenyon Charged For a Murder From Last Year
Exactly a week ago, we told you about 21 year-old Kenyon Dominguez, a Jasmine Street Resident who was charged for attempted murder and aggravated assault. Well tonight, he is on remand for murder. It's for a killing, which dates back to mid-2012. At around 6 p.m., on June 11 of last year, 24 year-old Keith Lewis and 3 other men were socializing on Roches Street in Belize City, when a gunman approached from the direction of McKoy Boulevard. He fired a hail of gunshots at the group, and quickly made his escape. The 3 other men who were along with Lewis reacted quickly and managed to escape injury, but no one stopped to check on him. It was not until early the next day that residents in the area found him dead; he suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his chest, back and legs. Police investigated for 6 months and they arrested and charged Dominguez for his murder. He was arraigned today before the Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer, who remanded him to prison until March 5. And as we told you he was arraigned and remanded in connection with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, wounding, and aggravated assault.

Teenaged Accident Victim Gets 80 Stitches
Tonight 57 year old Mary Yorke and her daughters are lucky to be alive after she drove into a cargo truck's back wheel yesterday. The accident happened at mile 7 on the Northern Highway near Raul's Rose Garden at 4:00 pm yesterday. According to police, Yorke was driving her small SUV to Ladyville and the truck was going in the opposite direction. She ran under the truck into the truck's back wheel causing it to overturn. She received the most serious injuries while her two daughters aged 19 and six received minor injuries. The truck driver was not seriously injured but his sideman was injured. A notice of intended prosecution will be served on Yorke when she gets out of the hospital. And in an update on the accident story we ran earlier, the family of the victims in the small SUV tell us that in fact driver Mary Yorke was not the most seriously injured. We got that report from Ladyville Police, but the family says that a 15 year old girl, Alexis received the most serious injury: she got 80 stitches to her face.

Education Sector Launches Major Reform Initiative
The Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank and other Partners launched The Belize Education Sector reform project this morning at the Radisson. The project is aimed at putting in place proper strategic plans to improve the quality of education on a whole in Belize. Minister of Education Patrick Faber explained how the project will work for your children: Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education "In short, Jules, what it does is that it set a proper plan - the strategic plan that is - it puts in specific objective, specific targets that we want to accomplish, and to improve our quality of education in this country. And it allows us to say to people, 'Listen, we have a concrete plan. Everybody, as we've been saying in education, it is everybody's business. Everybody can buy into what we're doing here, and we can move collectively as a society to try to improve education."

Faber Still Wants Deputy Party Leader
And while Faber was acting in his official capacity as Education Minister today - his political ambition to unseat the Deputy Leader of the UDP Gaspar Vega is what's making news tonight. Faber has until a February 7th deadline to submit his name as a candidate for the February 17th convention. The conventional wisdom is that maybe he should hold off - for the sake of what some UDP's are calling party unity. He told us that there's no pulling out now; it's full speed ahead: Jules Vasquez "Will you still go ahead and submit your name? We know that it's becoming extremely intense. We know that there's a lot of division amongst your peers and colleagues. We've heard that you've been ostracized to some extent. You said yourself that some aren't taking your calls." Hon. Patrick Faber "That's - I think that's over-exaggerating it, Jules. Certainly - well let me answer the first part of your question first. Yes, I am completely in. I don't think that there is anything that can cause me to not put my name forward now. But, while you are saying that it has created division - and yes, people will take one side or the other, but it has not created the kind of division really in our party that some are proclaiming has happened.

Nurses "Bex"; Demand Answers From Allen
Today a few dozen nurses bum-rushed the office of CEO in the Ministry of Health, Dr Peter Allen demanding answers. They wanted answers just like their colleague Dianne Pascascio did when she confronted Allen in his office last week. And while they demanded the meeting in the heat and height of a rage over administrative indifference, the always-smooth Dr. Allen seemed to have clamed them down with a spoonful of sugar: he agreed to put 14 nurses into the training programme at the University of Belize; the same programme that Nurse Pascascio wanted to get into - except this 14 does not include Nurse Pascascio. He explained to PLUS TV this evening why it took so long to settle the matter: Dr. Peter Allen - CEO, Ministry of Health "Well, we are always in agreement with our nursing staff. Let me tell you what the challenge was. For several years, we found that our nurses have been under-staffed, and especially in the specialized nursing areas. So, we've been working on designing a course for operating room technicians.

Chicken Dread Goes Legal
Since December of last year, Paul Ferguson, known as the Chicken Dread, has been at war with the Belize City Council. We've shown you numerous confrontations he's had with the police officers because according to City Hall, he's been selling his chicken without a proper permit. Well this evening, he prepared his stall for the first time with the blessing of the council. 7News caught up with him and for once, he wasn't being confrontational: Paul Ferguson - Obtained His Peddler's Permit "It's a wonderful day, beautiful day. First, I want to thank the City Administrator and the Mayor for getting me my peddler's license. And I also want to thank my legal advisor, Mrs. Mellissa Mahler, and my best friend, Anthony Mahler for their support and pushing for me to acquire this peddler's license."

Another CITCO Cemetery SNAFU
Last night, 7News told you about the response from the Belize City Council in relation to the cemetery mishap at the 13 Miles in relation to the late Zebedee Pitterson Jr. Well, it seems that as soon as City Hall puts out one fire, another starts because another family is claiming mismanagement. Today, the Sebastian Family spoke to us and said that even with that 48 hour period to make the administrative and construction preparations, they still got it wrong. Rita Sebastian told us that City Hall mixed up 3 graves and didn't give them what they paid for. According to her, the administration did not inform the contractors properly, and they prepared the wrong grave, which they didn't pay for. Here's how she explained the details of the situation: Rita Sebastian - Claims Cemetery Mismanagement "My brother passed away on Friday. We made arrangements with the funeral home to deal with the body, pay for the removal an already-entombed grave for my father, which was done for him 6 1/2 years ago when he passed away. At the time, at that was being taken care of by Mr. Coye. The plan was that they would take the top of my father's tomb, and build up so that we could have set him in and cover it. When we went to the cemetery this morning, we saw it.

Referendum Committee Will Start ICJ Campaign
So far, all you've been hearing about the ICJ is from those who oppose it. COLA has adopted a high profile No ICJ campaign and today we saw this flier from a PUP friendly group called the Save Belize Alliance. So there's all this backlash against the ICJ - but who's for it? Well, there's a Referendum Committee working out of the Ministry of foreign Affairs and that group's formal public education campaign will be launched officially next week. Referendum Coordinator Stuart Leslie told us the main thing they want to do is to get you to vote: Stuart Leslie - Referendum Coordinator "The campaign is going to roll off officially at a launch on January 23, at 10 o'clock in the morning, right here at the Radisson Fort George, which is going to be official launch of the campaign. And like I was saying in our session today, we're looking at educating the voters about the referrendum. We're talking to them about the case for the ICJ, the pros, the cons, and the risk, and we're looking at working at all the different media that we can assist us to get the message out because we want Belizeans to be completely knowledgeable of the process, and off why we should submit this question.

Wilfred's Worst Fear...
And this morning the press got a first taste of the campaign with a media mixer and information session. Every talk show host you could throw a shoe at was there - and with free lunch provided - by the end of it, Vaughan from Vibes and Fonso from Fus Thing Da Mawnin' were shoulder to shoulder like old Kumbaya Comrades. And that's because they finally found something they could agree on: during the question and answer session, they jointly lasered in on Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington, forcing him to first concede that - no matter how strong Belize's case - there is always some litigation risk in going to court, and second, to entertain his worst case scenario. Here's what Elrington said: Vaughn Gill - Positive Vibes "The Government of Belize and the Secretariat needs to be straightforward, and let the public know that there is a risk. The way that it is being worded is that there is no risk. So to me -" Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Minister of Foreign Affairs "Now, if you read that, that is wholely wrong. As a matter of fact, I will tell you this, Vaughn, every moment of the day, there is a risk that your heart will stop beat. There is a risk that you'll stop breathing. Life is made of risk, but you're not supposed to become - "

The Future of Fencing
International Fencing in Belize? Up until November of last year, who would have though of it? That's when Xunan Smith made history by going to el Salvador for the Central American & Caribbean Championship. Well, building on that success, this evening, the Belize Fencing Association is hosting an international Fencing Athlete and trainer, Nestor Rosario. He is here to help young Belizean athletes prepare for international competition. Rosario comes with an impressive and long tenure in the sport, and he told 7News this evening, that he is here to inspire our young talent: Frank McKenzie - Coach, Belize Fencing Association "Mr. Rosado is here to help us with tips because we'll participating in Central American Games, and they'll be doing epee, and foil." Daniel Ortiz "Why do you feel that the athletes need international exposure such as this?"

Channel 5

Police security offered to Musa and Opposition Leader
The death threats followed by the very real danger of bullets being fired at his home have brought the crime situation in Belize up close and personal to the former Prime Minister. Both he and Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca spoke on the very different and difficult times being faced today.  Fonseca also says [...]

Home of former Prime Minister, Said Musa, riddled with bullets
2012 was a record year for murders with one hundred and forty-five reported and the New Year has started with another record for murders. It is a new era in Belize; one when personal security cannot be taken for granted. That point was forcibly driven home when bullets riddled the home of former Prime Minister [...]

Chamber demands that G.O.B. stop negotiating with criminals
The Belize Chamber of Commerce has issued one of its strongest release expressing grave concern about the escalation on crime following the shooting at the house of the former prime minister. The BCCI is calling on the government to   take immediate and serious measures given the gravity of the situation.   The B.C.C.I. is demanding that [...]

Kent Moss shot three times in shooting incident
A Belize City man is recovering from gunshot wounds at the Karl Heusner Memorial hospital after being shot on Tuesday night. Just before seven, twenty year old Kent Moss, a laborer of a Freedom Street address in Belize City, was conversing with a friend on a verandah on Raccoon Street when a lone gunman came [...]

Nurses protest against Health C.E.O., Peter Allen
On January tenth, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Peter Allen was caught in an altercation with a veteran nurse in Belmopan, and today he was again the center of controversy involving nurses. A group of nurses gathered on the University of Belize Campus in protest after they claimed that Allen arbitrarily cancelled both [...]

Precursor to officially launch of ICJ awareness campaign
As the ICJ question looms larger with the announcement of a set date for the referendum on October sixth, people all over the nation are starting to sit up and take real notice. And to ensure that they not only take notice but are presented with all the facts, the Referendum Unit formed to educate [...]

Does cabinet support minister’s action to burn half a million dollars of rosewood?
Belizeans have not been at all reticent about weighing in on the rosewood burning issue.  Last Friday morning in Golden Stream, Minister Lisel Alamilla set on fire a stock of confiscated rosewood from a bust that yielded over seven hundred flitches. It was the Minister’s way of signaling her frustration since even with a moratorium [...]

February U.D.P. convention: Faber versus Vega for Deputy Party Leader
The U.D.P. National Convention is scheduled for February, and in the past months much attention has been focused on the royal fight for deputy Party Leader. The incumbent, Gaspar Vega, is no lightweight, at least in terms of money and power. The challenger, current Chairman of the UDP Patrick Faber is considered a formidable opponent [...]

Were challenges at B.E.L. also put forward by previous owners before nationalization?
On Tuesday, the Public Utilities Commission held a press conference to present its final decision on the approved almost seventeen percent increase in electricity rates. The final amendment is for government to pay less for street lights and to pass on the shortfall to the consumers. It means that government will spend fifty-five cents per [...]

Police charge suspect in death of Keith Lewis
  In June of 2012, twenty-one year old Keith Lewis was gunned down in the Lake Independence area in what was classified as a gangland slaying. He was ambushed by three men and shot multiple times, and his body was discovered the following day. Seven months later Police have a suspect. This morning, twenty-one year [...]

Businesswoman raped in Hopkins Village
In news from the south, a fifty-three year old businesswoman of Sittee Point reports that on Sunday she was asleep in her van that was parked in Hopkins village when she was awakened by movement inside the vehicle. She then saw a man wearing dark clothing with a rag over his face. The woman claims [...]

Price of burying your loved ones has just shot up
There is ongoing discontent in the burial service industry since the Belize City Council arbitrarily announced that it would be taking over those services. And it is bound to get louder because the cost of providing those services has now increased drastically, in some cases by as much as two hundred percent. And as to [...]

B.D.F. receives a $1.4 Million donation from U.S.
The Commander Designate of the Belize Defense Force on Tuesday received new vehicles to add to its current fleet and enhance their ability to patrol our borders and aid in fighting crime. This morning Colonel David Jones, who takes over command of the B.D.F. on February first, received another donation. The US Embassy is handing [...]

Football Team head to Costa Rica
Today the National “A” Selection Team left the jewel with an upbeat spirit en route to Costa Rica to participate in the Copa Central Americana tournament. The team is hoping to put off an A act when they play against three Central American power houses. The team is comprised of some familiar faces as well [...]


Gunshots Fired At Former Prime Minister's Home
The home of former Prime Minister, Said Musa, came under attack on Tuesday night in Belize City. The incident, however, was not discovered until this morning when Mr. Musa came outside to leave his home. He spoke with reporters inside his yard after police had processed the...

BNE Trust Donates Furniture to Toledo Primary Schools
The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust on Monday handed over furniture to two primary schools in the Toledo District. During the morning ceremony attended by students, teachers and other invited guests at the Punta Gorda Methodist School, 112 students arm chairs were handed ove...

PUC Holds Press Conference on Increased Electricity Rates
Last month the Public Utilities Commission announced that effective this month, electricity rates would increase by just over 16 percent. Yesterday the Commission held a press conference after the time for interested parties to submit comments had expired. There were ...

Mother of Three Jailed For Stealing Cheese
Twenty-two year old Cassandra Sutherland, a mother of three, became an inmate of Belize Central Prison today when she appeared in the #4 Magistrate’s Court and pled guilty to the theft of 3 boxes of Happy Cow cheese, valued at $105. She was fined $300. By Magistrate Dale Caye...

Belizean Laborer Charged With Murder
Twenty-one year old Kenyon Dominguez, a laborer of Jasmine Street who was charged last week with attempted murder and aggravated assault, was brought back to court today and charged with murder. Dominguez was arraigned in the #2 Magistrate’s Court. He was remanded into cu...


Two Men Charged For Attemp Burglary And Unlawful Imprisonment
Corozal Police are tonight looking for a man wanted in connection to a robbery conducted at knife point on the seventh of January. Corozal Police received a report from twenty-four year old Edilberto Rejon, Belizean Labourer of Paraiso Village, in which he informed police that sometime around 9:20 the night of January 7th, he was riding his bicycle home when he was stopped by two men on the Santa Rita Road just in front of the Majil Mexican Products depot. Both men rode up to him on their bicycles and demanded Rejon hand over his money. Rejon informed the men that he only had $5.00 which caused one of the men to produce a knife and hold it at Rejon’s abdomen prompting him to quickly hand over the $5.00. Both men were not satisfied with the take and so escorted Rejon to his house by holding on to his bicycle. Once Rejon arrived home, he managed to escape from the two men and ran inside of his house locking the door behind him. Both men attempted to break into the house, but Rejon quickly called the police which prompted the duo to quickly make good their escape.

O/W Liquor Licensing Board Holds First Quarterly Meeting
The first quarterly meeting of the Orange Walk Liquor Licensing Board was initially scheduled to take place on January 14th 2013 but due to membership changes by the Ministry of Local Government, the original slate proposed, accepted and trained was replaced. That prompted the first meeting to be postponed two days and was held this afternoon at the Crystal Palace Auditorium in Orange Walk Town. The meeting was convened and saw the participation of all business owners who in one form or another sell alcoholic beverages; whether it be in a restaurant, liquor store, grocery store or bar. Mayor Kevin Bernard represents the Town Council at the Liquor Licensing Board and told us about today’s meeting. Kevin Bernard- Mayor Orange Walk “The objective today is however is to ensure that we remind license holders of the rules and regulations pertaining by the act that governs and as well as part of the council we insisted reminding these business owners. This council had made a decision that we will no longer be granting licenses to those individuals whose property are in arrears where they conduct that trade and so that is why I was very specific in my opening remarks this afternoon with these people because if we are to collect the monies and provide a service to the people of Orange Walk then we need those revenues.”

Former Prime Minister and Family Threatened
Despite the various degrees of protests, violence, murders and crime that have plagued the country of Belize, we have always had a certain level of comfort knowing that we are far from assassination attempts on our political and governmental leaders. Well, it appears that the criminal elements of Belize are changing this never before heard of crime in our country. Late last night, after former Prime Minister Said Musa and his wife went to bed, shots rang out in his neighborhood. The former Prime Minister said in a press conference held impromptu in his yard, that when they had gone to bed sometime around eleven in the night, soon after they heard several shots fired. When Musa went to take a look from his bathroom window, he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. He then stated that his wife looked out of their window facing Princes Margaret Drive, again, nothing seemed out of the norm. Musa went on to say that when he was about to leave his house at six in the morning to go to the gym, he noticed a bullet casing on the floor close to the door. Further inspection revealed a bullet hole on the door and a further check outside let Rt. Hon. Said Musa to discover bullet holes to his wife’s Hyundai Santa Fe with the right rear window shattered. Musa said he drove off so as not to startle his wife and informed police officers on duty by the Princess Hotel and Casino.

Government of Belize has closed off negotiations
It has been over a decade since the last salary adjustment for teachers and public servants of this country, who contend that the cost of living has risen drastically over the past years. This, in addition to twenty-three other concerns tabled for negotiations between Marion McNab, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Public Service on behalf of government, and the Belize National Teachers Union, the Public Service Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers. The collective bargaining agreement was first presented to government over four years ago, in late 2008. The executive of the BNTU have stated that the Government of Belize have closed off negotiations regarding salary increments. In light of these allegations, the BNTU is having a Special Extra ordinary general meeting on Thursday the 17 of January right across the length and breathe of the country in all districts. Otilio Muñoz-President of the Orange Walk branch of the BNTU told us more.

OWTC Holds Public Forum In The Louisiana Area
Last night, the Orange Walk East community along with the People’s Coalition, the Orange Walk Town Council, and the Orange Walk Police Department, organized a neighbourhood meeting on Liberty Avenue. The public forum was held under the theme, “Crime Prevention – It’s everybody’s business” and was organized in the wake of the recent shootings in the area. The night centred around many, crime oriented topics, but all came down to one consensus, more community involvement is needed to prevent and solve these crimes. This message was echoed throughout the entire night but none-so-more than by Mayor of Orange Walk Kevin Bernard and Intelligence Officer Isaac Pascual. Kevin Bernard – Mayor, Orange Walk Town “We know that we have good citizens in this country that want to see things better and we want to see things better, we don’t want Orange Walk to turn into what we saw happen in Belize City and that is a reason why I think it is a great start for us to get on board and form a group, to be proactive, we need to speak out when things are going wrong and I think many at times as well some of us see things happening but we are afraid to call the police, we are afraid to inform the various organs that probably assist in solving these crimes and so as a citizen of this town as well I ask and I plea to you for us to all be involved and for us to take our initiative to try and see how we can solve this matter of crime.”

Belize Versus Costa Rica In Its First Match
The Football Association of Belize has undergone several major changes in the past year including the changing of the President of the Association to Ruperto Vicente, changing of the executive and district associations. With a long history of difficulties facing our boys of the national selection participating in international tournaments in the past, Belizeans had reached a point of major disappointment with the overall sport in Belize. There was a shining light turned on in the sport in November of last year when a team of Under 15 boys brought home gold medals in the Santo Domingo U-15 International Football Tournament. With that, a beacon of hope was once more installed in Belizeans across the country and abroad. Pride set in once more in the sport many love. Hoping to continue the good fortune in international play, Belize’s A-Selection travelled today to Costa Rica for the UNCAF Copa Oro Tournament. Acting Chairman for the Orange Walk Football Association, Rafael Avila, told us more on the magnitude of the tournament.

More Illegal Cutting Of Rose Wood Confiscated
In last night’s newscast we brought to you the story of the on-going frustrations Minister Lisel Alamilla and the Ministry of Forestry are facing in regards to the illegal cutting of Rosewood. As media houses across the country hit the airwaves with updates on the half a million dollar seizure and burning of Rosewood, and the message sent by Alamilla to her Ministry and higher governmental powers, a fresh report of rosewood confiscations flowed into their newsrooms. Our news room began buzzing with information of this latest confiscation minutes before news time and reports reaching indicate that a sizeable amount of rosewood flitches were confiscated just outside of Farm 12 of the Independence Area. It’s not a huge amount as the one burnt by Minister Alamilla, but it totalled forty-seven flitches which were quickly confiscated and taken to the Independence Police Station’s compound. At news time tonight, the rosewood flitches sit on a flatbed trailer and no one has claimed it as yet. It has been documented as found property and our several calls placed to the Chief Forestry Officer were unsuccessful. We were told that he would return our calls, but has not done so yet.


Shots fired at former Prime Minister's house and car
Former Prime Minister, Said Musa, woke up to find bullet holes in his front door and in his wife's car. Hon. Said M...

Kent Moss shot in Belize City
There was another shooting incident in Belize City last night. This time, someone was hurt. Sometime around 6:30 la...

Education sector reform project launched
At the Radisson today, Minister of Education Patrick Faber led the launch of the Education Sector Reform Project. T...

Nurses gather to hear whether courses at UB will be cancelled
30 of 40 nurses gathered this afternoon outside the CEO's office for the Ministry of Health Dr. Peter Allen to hear...

Minister of Education Patrick Faber says campaign against registration failed
Earlier this month students at the University of Belize threatened to refuse to register for classes unless Governm...

PUC Holds Press Conference on Increased Electricity Rates
As we told you yesterday, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a rate increase of 17% for Belize Elec...

Trade Unions update media on negotiations with Government
Members of the joint negotiating team representing three of Belize’s largest and most important trade unions – the ...

Rape reported in Stann Creek District
A rape was reported in the Stann Creek District. A 53 year old Businesswoman of Sittee Point, Stann Creek District ...

Referendum Commission appointed to oversee the education campaign meets the press
A confident Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington took center stage this morning ...

Bus check by police led to drug trafficking charges for Virgil Perez
A bus check by police has led to drug trafficking charges for one man. On Tuesday January 15, Benque Viejo Police c...

18 year old Darwin Manuel Ruiz arrested for charges of aggravated burglary
Yesterday, we told you about a 17 year old girl who was sleeping when a man came into her room and fondled her. She...


A Tale of Five Cities: Witnessing a Pilgrimage
Before we leave Campeche and move on to the next city on our Mexico trip, we need to backtrack just a bit to share an interesting bit of Mexican culture that we knew nothing about but witnessed up close and personal during our travels. As we were on the bus from Merida to Campeche, we started noticing both individual and groups of cyclists along the shoulders of the road. Some of them carried flags, posters, lights, and lots of other gear. We had no idea what this was all about at the time, but knew it had to be something other than random chance. They were riding in pretty poor conditions in some places, like in this construction zone as we approached the city, which was hilly and had gravely shoulders and large vehicles passing by. Gotta give them lots of credit for this difficult journey! When we finally had a chance to do a little research online, we discovered that December 12 marks La Virgen de Guadalupe (Our lady of Guadalupe, i.e., the Virgin Mary) fiesta. This date is widely celebrated throughout Mexico's predominantly Catholic community. Many of the faithful make pilgrimages to Mexico City, where the Basílica of Guadalupe is kept; while others travel, primarily by bicycle, to other churches throughout Mexico for the celebration. According to this site almost everywhere there is an altar to the Virgin Mary, a celebration occurs on December 12, which is "one of the most important dates on the Mexican calendar." The photos above were taken on December 10 and 11th as the faithful headed to Campeche's churches for the celebration.

New Elementary School San Jose Village Orange Walk-Belize
A new school building that will benefit over 434 students of San Jose Village in the Orange Walk District was officially inaugurated this morning by the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Gaspar Vega. The San Jose Government School project was implemented by the Social Investment Fund in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and was financed by the Government of Belize through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) at a total cost of $461, 875,000. The works scope for the project included repairs to a building measuring 26 ft by 70 ft long including the removal of the existing roof system and replacing it with reinforced concrete slab and beams; installation of solid timber doors and aluminum windows with security grilles, upgrading of the electrical system, replacement of existing celotex partitions with metal structures and painting of the walls. The project also included the construction of a first floor above the repaired building measuring 26ft by 64ft long. The ground floor will house 3 classrooms while the first floor will house two additional classrooms and a computer room. Construction of male and female bathrooms blocks equipped with separate units to serve students with special needs were also included as part of the project. Other works included repairs to the staff bathroom block, upgrading of the school’s kitchenette and supply of kitchen equipment, school furniture and repairs to the school building adjacent to the newly constructed building. These repairs included painting and replacement of fascia boards. The school contributed $3,500 towards the project.

Children of Hope Foundation making a difference in Belmopan
I am excited to introduce you to an organization making a difference in the lives of our youths in Belize, It is called the Children of Hope Foundation in Belmopan. According to Mrs. Sandra Hall, who is a board member of the Children of Hope Foundation and The Belmopan Int’l Women’s Group, The Children of Hope Foundation (COHF) in Belmopan was founded by a Belizean who returned from the US to retire in Belmopan. The organization sends 195 children to school (primary through high school) through a sponsorship programme funded mainly by donors in the US. The COHF has since constructed “Heart House” where the children go to after school and are tutored by a few members of the Board. The children come mainly from the San Martin, Salvapan, Mopan area of Bmp and from villages like St. Matthews. It is a very successful programme. The Belmopan Int’l. Women’s Group supports the COHF with monthly financial donations (through fund-raisers) to assist with transportation costs and lunches for those children who commute from the villages. The website can be located at

International Sources

Scott Mallick of Announces New Ocean Estates in Belize Built by Armando Graniel
Scott Mallick of is proud to announce that builder Armando Graniel will be completing new Ocean Estates in 2013 as part of Mallick’s private island resort project in Belize. Graniel owns a construction company located in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Graniel has built over 100 custom homes and completed many large additions, as well as smaller jobs like kitchen and bathroom remodeling, custom decks and gazebos. With his 25 years of hands-on construction experience, he has the background, professional knowledge and experience to handle building projects like this one. He can, and has, built everything from an entire resort to a single lounge chair. "When we build a home, we can handle the entire project from foundation to roof, including most of the furnishings. We will complete your home with moldings and doors, cabinets for both kitchen and bath, tiled counters, tiled showers and tubs, and tiled or hardwood floors," Graniel said. “Our own cabinet shop builds beds, tables, chairs, desks, entertainment centers, and lamps." The recently completed resort Star Island project (a private island with five villas with mahogany vaulted ceilings) and the VIP Beach Resort with Restaurant and Bar with an infinity pool and cabanas (an amenity for resort guests) are a couple of examples of his work completed in 2012.

Mount Mercy MBA students head to Belize working for common good
Sixteen Mount Mercy University students enrolled in the Master of Business Administration program are traveling to Punta Gorda, Belize, to work for the common good and development of the country this week. Students will partner with entrepreneurs in the country to enhance development of five different businesses, varying in services from solar dried fruit to an Internet café. Punta Gorda is the southernmost sizable town in Belize with a population of approximately 5,500 people representing seven ethnic groups. The group will leave for Belize on January 19 and return January 26. They will hold poster presentations on Tuesday, February 5, in the University Center Commons from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. featuring their experience. Associate Professor and Chair of the Business Department Bob Walker, Ph.D., and Adjunct Professor of the MBA Program Celina Peerman, Ph.D., are leading the trip. “This provides a unique opportunity for our MBA students to apply all of their knowledge, skills and talents to help increase the economic development of Punta Gorda,” Walker said. “The students will have a direct impact on these small businesses, increasing revenues and sustainability, which will have a ripple effect through the community.” Mount Mercy’s Director of International Programs Catharine Cashner said of all the study abroad programs at Mount Mercy, this trip is the most unique.

Today we tried to visit the Goss Chocolate factory in Seine Bight, Belize. After traveling to get there we had a big surprise. Watch the video to find out what happened and how we handled it. So, instead of eating yummy chocolate, we ventured into the village of Seine Bight. We ate some pretty yummy fried rice at the only restaurant that was open, saw a ton of kids having a great time playing, snapped a picture of two goats in someones front yard, and had an enjoyable mile-long walk. Most importantly, instead of visiting a touristy place, we got to see the “real” Belize. Seine Bight is a typical third-world, Belizean village where people burn their trash in their front yards and kids play in the mud and overgrown grass. The homes are mostly rundown and the clothes people wear are second and third generation hand-me-downs. But everyone was friendly. In contrast to the village, along the road from Seine Bight to Placencia Village are western resorts where people spend upwards of $300 a night on a hotel room. In fact, director Francis Ford Coppola owns a resort called Turtle Village where cabanas can be as much as $700/night during the busy season. As we walked along the road I couldn’t help but think about western decadence and the privileges we have just because we were born in a first world country.