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#455532 - 01/18/13 02:51 PM Today's Belize News: January 18, 2013
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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


Misc Belizean Sources

Benefit Blu's Jam today
Come out this afternoon for great Blue's music and support a worthy cause! Proceeds to Holy Cross, at Estels today 2pm - 4pm

Dogs for adoption, Belmopan Humane Society
These dogs are seriously up for adoption to good homes. If they don't get adopted by a caring family they will end up on the street as there are no foster homes available in Belmopan to help out. Please share this flyer and help these little cuties out. For further info call 602 7947!

Galen's Back to School Bash
Last night, Galen's SGA had their Back to School Bash at Meluchi's. Mistah Geeh miced the jams.

Channel 7

Teachers Ready To Strike
Tuesday, January, 29, 2013 - that's the day that teachers have set to lead a mass demonstration in Belmopan which could lead to a national teachers' strike. That's the word coming out of a Belize District Special General Meeting which was held this afternoon at the Holy Redeemer Parrish Hall. The meeting was convened to discuss a demand for a pay raise, which government has rejected. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of a mass demonstration and a sustained strike. The Belize District Branch President was guarded in her remarks - stressing that is only the position of one branch - and the votes of branches countrywide have to be collated at the National Executive level: Jules Vasquez "What is the outcome of the Belize District branch?" Kathleen E.B. Flowers, BNTU Belize District President "We promise we won't be holding interviews. The only thing I can say to you is that our membership is willing to participate in the actions that the BNTU is planning. At this point those actions I cannot say will be real or not because I don't know what the results of the other branches are." Jules Vasquez "We are told the proposed actions include a strike or a protest on the 29th in which teachers will not be at school." Kathleen E.B. Flowers, BNTU Belize District President "Alright you have begun an interview which I don't wish to participate in - we will talk about it after the national president has given the national results."

Illegal Rosewood At The Border, At The Port
This evening at six pm, two twenty foot containers filled with hundreds of flitches of illegal, unstamped Rosewood rolled out of the compound of Belize Engineering - which is adjacent to the customs building in Belize City. Those are being hauled to Belmopan where they have been impounded by the Forestry Department. It's the end result of what has been a long day for the Forestry Department and Customs - as illegal Rosewood has been appearing by the container-full all over the place! We start in Benque Viejo where this morning Customs came upon a 40 foot container stuffed with 28 tonnes of Rosewood that was being imported into Belize from Guatemala. Sounds strange and it is because the container's paperwork says it is to be shipped out from the Port Of Belize to a company in China. Now, Guatemala does not allow the exportation of Rosewood flitches. The flitches also didn't have any stamps FROM the forestry department in Guatemala. Actually, the only markings it had were chalk scribbling similar to the Rosewood catch that was burnt last week.

Serious Accident, But No One Seriously Hurt
Tonight, 3 women are very fortunate to have escaped fatal injuries after they were involved in a major traffic accident on Queen Charlotte Street, near the Yarborough Bridge. Sometime after midnight last night, the women were travelling in a grey Mazda Tribute SUV from the direction of Albert Street, when the driver lost control and slammed into a parked van. The accident didn't finish there because the vehicle was moving at a such a speed that it careened toward another parked van, which then caused it to flip over. We found the vehicle mashed up and in the middle of the road this morning. An eyewitness described to us what he saw: Roy Garbutt, Eyewitness "The vehicles were coming from Albert Street area and it looks like the vehicle went airborne and just slammed into this vehicle right here and it ricochets on the first vehicle and it hit that one over there. The two young ladies came out of the vehicle and one of them fell on the ground. This vehicle was parked there; it belongs to the home owner there. Obviously it's one vehicle that caused the accident. It's one vehicle that was coming ran off the street and hit the other vehicle. They were kind of depressed because their friend was lying on the ground and they were shook up - they were hurt pretty bad. The young lady on the ground keeping in and out of consciousness, she came back 3 times - she fainted and come back again."

City Council Says Cemetery Snafu's Are Finished
Last night, 7News told you about the latest complaint against the Belize City Council in relation to the mistakes being made under their administration of the cemetery. As we showed you last night, according to the Sebastian Family, City Hall employees confused 2 grave spaces and used the wrong one to bury their loved-one. Well, 7News gave City Hall an opportunity to respond to the accusations from the family, but they were unable to do so due to time constraints. So today, the newly re-appointed Public Relations Manager, Kenneth Morgan, spoke to the media for the first time in his new capacity, they grilled him in an extensive conversation about their mistakes since completely taking over the cemetery. First, he told us that the council and the Sebastian family have reached an amicable resolution: Kenneth Morgan, PR Manager - Belize City Council "As any new process you will encounter a few difficulties until we have gotten totally iron out and one matter that was in the news was the matter of the Sebastian family that has been resolved to the satisfaction of the family members. As a matter of fact this morning we met with them in our offices and came to an amicable solution with which the family was satisfied.

GSU: Do They Make Things Better Or Worse?
Two nights ago, we went back in our archives to discuss the genesis of the GSU and its founding principles. Tonight to follow up, we've got a more current story, one that looks back on the tumultuous times that we've seen since the rise of the GSU. Now, the tumult has surely not been all the GSU's fault, but the unit has played a pivotal, even catalytic role in some key events - extending far beyond just policing, into politics and the very foundation of law and order. Tonight's story will try and determine if it has all been worth it - and if their style of policing makes things better or worse. Jules Vasquez has put the story together with purely archival material for a broad look at the GSU's deep imprint - particularly on Belize City:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Their thorough, relentless, and often brutal tactics have earned the GSU a fearsome reputation on the streets - where in some quarters they are viewed as a death squad: Gerald Shiney Tillett, Leader - GSG "Government stupid unit - that is their death squad."

Police Paradigm Shift: Police Must Meet Performance Targets
And those rigorous figures will serve him well under the new regime of performance based accountability that's taking over the Police Department. Yesterday Minister of National Security John Saldivar met with the new Police Commissioner, Allen Whylie and all formation commanders from around the country to quote, "offer ministerial guidance and direction going forward." According to an official release, "there was a comprehensive revision of goals and strategies, as well as a full analysis of crime statistics." We note that though we have been asking repeatedly for it, those crime statistics have not been provided to the media. But…that's another story. Interestingly, the release says that quote, "specific benchmarks and timetables were agreed for measureable reduction in crime and for successful investigation and prosecution in respective areas." The release says that Commanders will quote, "be held responsible for ensuring that the targets are met within the specific timetables." This will be ensured by monthly meetings of zone and branch commanders; and quarterly meetings of senior leaders, to review the latest crime statistics.

Avian Influenza Spreads In Mexico; Belize Keeping Guard Up
Mexico is reporting that H7N3 Avian Influenza has spread from Jalisco to another state, Aguascalientes. BAHA reports that prevention measures have been stepped up along the northern border, with BAHA Quarantine on alert and poultry producers being requested to maintain strong biosecurity measures. A release says that the importation of poultry products from Mexico is prohibited. Still, consumers are reminded that poultry products are safe for human consumption. The disease rarely affects humans and requires direct contact with sick birds. In humans, the disease causes conjunctivitis and mild flu symptoms. The first alert was in September of last year.

PUP: Solidarity With Musa Or Perverse Political Opportunity?
Yesterday we told you that the Former two term Prime Minister Said Musa's house was shot up. It's one more unprecedentedly violent act in what has been a terribly violent year. Today his party took the very unfortunate incident as an opportunity to express solidarity with all victims of crime but also as a sort of weird opportunity to seize upon the very disturbing event as what seems to us to be a perverse political opportunity:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "We the leaders, the members and supporters of the People's United Party both past and present wish to express our strong solidarity with the Rt. Hon. Said Musa and his family during this time of personal challenge. As we all know the Rt. Hon. Said Musa has served as our PUP leader from 1996-2008; as Prime Minister of Belize from 1998-2008 and of course he still currently an elected member of the House of Representatives representing the Fort George division. As we gathered here today condemned in the strongest possible terms this act of violence against Mr. Musa and his family. We view any personal attack or act of violence against the Rt. Hon. Said Musa and his family as an attack against the People's United Party family." "As we meet this morning too many of our communities are a grip with fear and uncertainty. Too many of our fellow citizens have lost their sense of personal security. These are very troubling, very challenging times for our country and we in the People's United Party have made it absolutely clear that we are a part of the solution; we are very much interested in working with anyone who is prepared to work with us to try to solve this very difficult challenge facing our country."

Profile Of A Lamb Who Rode Like A Lion
If you followed cycling in the 90's then you'll know the name Douglas Barcelona Lamb. He was a perennial contender and one of the nicest guys you'll meet in the sport. Now he's a coach - but as a child who went form home to home - his upbringing wasn't easy. He explains in tonight's profile:..

Lodge Helps The Hood
For the next few days, the members of the Steadfast Masonic Lodge will be preparing to make major donations to the needy residents close to their Vernon Street headquarters, which covers the gang-affiliated area known as Ghost Town. Today, the leaders of the organization called a press conference to announce to residents that they will receive a portion of a cargo of goods which is valued at $28,000 dollars. The members say that generosity is a part of their mandate, and their leader, based in Tampa Florida, has seen the needs of the community, and he is trying to respond appropriately: Oscar Ramos "What we see here are goods that came in a 40ft container and they arrive here in December and they finally got it into the compound here and into the building. We will be distributing these donated items to the needy of the country. One of the things of this lodge is to exercise and apply charity because that's what we are based upon. We must understand that the lodge is not a religion but we act religiously and will tell you that the container bore 127 barrels and 8 cartons of donated supplies which cover anything would actually satisfy the needs of the poor and needy. At this present moment what we are doing is practically assorting that of which we have gotten before the actual distribution start sometime next week and we are planning to touch all the majority of the needy kids in this country but more especially those of this particular neighborhood because we realize that poverty is very strong in this country and in this area here."

Mexican Vets In Belize
11 Mexican veterinarians are in the country to participate in an epidemiological survey. This is in relation to Belize's attempts to export cattle to Mexico. They will assist with the testing of cattle countrywide in the ongoing Cattle Sweep. The Cattle Sweep has another 18 months or so to go. So far just under twenty thousand heads of Cattle have been identified in Blue Creek. Exports can commence when the sweep in the northern zone is finished.

Channel 5

Move over pseudoephedrine; Rosewood now the hottest commodity
Move over pseudoephedrine, rosewood is now the hottest commodity. There were three busts of rosewood made today which signals that its illegal exportation is a brazen, lucrative and well organized scheme. Late this evening, two containers stored at Belize Engineering Limited adjacent to the Customs Compound on Caesar Ridge Road were opened at the request [...]

Third batch of rosewood confiscated in 24 hours
There is yet another bust that took place on Tuesday in the Independence area. It happened at farm twelve near the village of San Pablo which is located about fifteen miles from the Swasey Bridge. Forestry and BDF personnel conducted an operation over the past weekend and found the illegal cargo last Sunday evening. The [...]

Musa thinks shooting at his home was a hit!
The nation was still recovering from the massacre of four gang affiliates, when it was stunned by another escalation of violence; the shooting at the King’s Park house of the former Prime Minister, Said Musa,  on Tuesday night. Musa’s house was hit by bullets, as was his wife’s vehicle parked in the yard. The attacked [...]

B.N.T.U. gets militant; a demonstration is set
For the past few weeks the leadership of the Belize National Teachers Union has been calling on its members to attend an important meeting to discuss critical issues. Those issues include the collective bargaining agreement, crime, the economy and the ICJ. Now, when the B.N.T.U. gathers en masse and with serious issues like these on [...]

Faber says decision is final; subsidy to UB will be discontinued
Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, came under fire recently because of a decision by the Ministry to discontinue the subsidy given to new students registering at the University of Belize. It’s a decision which has caused no end of anxiety with students who say that without the government subsidy, they simply won’t be able to [...]

City Council’s new P.R. Manager speaks shoddy work at cemetery
We have been reporting on the slew of complaints since the take- over of burial service by City Hall. As recent as Wednesday News Five spoke to David Coye, proprietor of the David Coye Funeral Home and Parlour. He had nothing but criticism for the Belize City Council. Now…that translates to big losses for Coye [...]

What can Belize lose by going to the ICJ to settle Belize/Guatemala dispute?
On Wednesday the Referendum Unit created to lead a strategic awareness campaign on the pros, cons and risks of going to the ICJ hosted a media mixer. Speaking to a wide cross-section of mainstream and independent media personnel were experts and officials in the dispute negotiations and referendum process including Ambassadors Stuart Leslie and James [...]

Winners of NEMO Essay Competition
The National Emergency Management Organization held an essay competition at the primary school level last December. The names of the three winners have been announced:  first place winner, Dayne Guy of St. Benedict R.C. School, second place went to Sharin Espejo of Grace Primary and Noammi Ortiz came in at third place. All three winners [...]

Sudden death of fisherman in the south
The sudden death of a fisherman in the Harvest Caye Point area near Monkey River Village is being investigated by police. Sixty-three yr old Eugene Roberts’ body was discovered with his hands hanging on the capsized canoe and the rest of his body in the water at around two pm on January sixteenth.

An acre of marijuana goes up in smoke
Rosewood is not the only hot commodity. Earlier today, the Police Department’s Anti Drug Unit and the Belize Defence Force Special Assignment Group launched an anti-drug operation in Silver Creek in the Toledo District. According to the Police a one acre plantation of marijuana was discovered which contained over five thousand plants. The operation also yielded [...]

P.U.P. meet in solidarity; crying for change to crime situation
On Tuesday night the social and political landscape in Belize was shaken when an unknown person or persons fired up to six shots at the home of former Prime Minister Said Musa. Fortunately nobody was injured even though several of the bullets hit the house. In an interview on Wednesday a visibly upset Musa told [...]

Steadfast Masonic Lodge receives donation
The Steadfast Masonic Lodge received a donation from its Grandmaster Lodge in Florida which they hope will help the children in the community. Eric Vernon is the Senior Warden and he told us exactly what was donated and who will benefit from the generous donation.   Eric Vernon, Senior Warden Steadfast Masonic Lodge “We have [...]

Healthy Living looks at detox diets
From the start of the New Year – and maybe even before, many are struggling to kick start a healthier routine. One of the more common trends that is buzzing is the detoxification diets or better known as the detox diets. People who attempt or the few who succeed at detox do it for different [...]

LOVE FM

Investigations Underway On Container of Rosewood Flitches At Western Border
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development today issued a statement saying an investigation is ongoing as to the origin and legitimacy of rosewood material confiscated at the western Border in Benque Viejo del Carmen. According to the government statement, an...

Minister and CEO of National Security Meet With New Police Commissioner and Senior Officers
The Minister of National Security, John Saldivar and the CEO in the Ministry of National Security, Colonel George Lovell, met with the new Commissioner, Allen Whylie, and commanders of all formations, substations and branches from around the country yesterday. The primary purpose...

Main Opposition Party Holds Conference Following Attack on Former Prime Minister's Home
It has been two days since the residence of former Prime Minister, Said Musa, came under attack. Today, the People’s United Party held a joint press conference at their Queen Street Headquarters along with its United Women’s Group, to express their solidarity with Mr ...

Joint Statement Issued By Mayan Leaders
The Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcaldes Association today issued a joint statement on the situation of the illegal harvesting of Rosewood in the Toledo district. The joint statement says that the illegal harvesting of rosewood trees from land owned by Maya villages and ...

Government Employee Obtains Property By Deception
Thirty-four year old Jason Miller, an employee of the ministry of Works who allegedly collected a refund of $75.00 from Bowen and Bowen by using a document that was not genuine, was charged with obtaining property by deception when he appeared in court today. Miller pleaded not guilty ...

Teenager Charged For Smuggling Drugs In Prison
Nineteen year old Karen Welch, an unemployed of 38 Logwood Street who allegedly made an attempt to smuggle five point three grams of cannabis in her shoe when she went to visit her boyfriend at Belize Central Prison, was charged with possession of a controlled drug. Welch pleaded not g...

Belize Has New High Commissioner In Canada
The new Belize High Commissioner to Canada Nestor Mendez has presented his letter of introduction to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The meeting took place on Wednesday in the Office of the Prime Minister in Ottawa, Canada. High Commissioner Mendez and Prime Minister Harper discus...

CTV3

PUP Holds Press Conference On Former Prime Ministers' Attack>
And while the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry sent out that strong worded release, members, affiliates and leaders of the People’s United Party got together this morning at Independence Hall in Belize city. Seated at the centre of the table were Party Leader Francis Fonseca, Former Prime Minister Said Musa, and Immediate Past Party Leader John Briceño, who were flanked on both sides by elected area representatives, mayors and executive members of the party. It was the first time in a long time that the party was united, and united for the core principle of the party, betterment and safety for all Belizeans. The PUP has taken the shooting on the house of former Prime Minister Said Musa’s home as a point of no more. Supporters pledged to stand together with the Party to send a clear message to the Government of Belize, that enough is enough. The overwhelming sentiment in Independence Hall this morning was that the country has reached a point that demands action; the time for talk has long gone.

ESTM Fund Raising Towards a New Science Laboratory>
Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico has been educating the young minds of the Northern Districts for the past thirty years. The high school is situated in the San Roman Village of the Corozal District and has presently enrolled 667 students from both the Orange Walk and Corozal districts. With the present amount of student intake, the school has been pressured to seek means of expanding their classroom and structural capacity. One of the most urgently needed facilities is a new science laboratory equipped with all the necessary equipment. The school has been raising funds for the construction of this new science lab for quite some time now but have not managed to secure the full amount needed for its completion. In one of its biggest efforts of raising these funds, the school has organized as part of their thirtieth anniversary celebrations, a radio-ton in hope of meeting their target for the new facility. The school will celebrate the big 3-0 on Friday, January 25th on the school grounds and Principal of the school Carlos Castillo told us more.

Teachers Union To Demonstrate Against GOB>
Last night in or newscast we told you about an emergency meeting scheduled by the Belize National Teachers Union for today in each district. This afternoon, members of the BNTU Orange Walk Branch convened at the La Immaculada Auditorium at 1:30pm behind closed doors. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the proposed salary adjustments for teachers and public servant, who argue that the cost of living has risen drastically over the past years in Belize. This is the main topic of discussion along with twenty-three other concerns listed 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. After the meeting we spoke to President of the Belize National Teachers Union Otilio Muñoz, who is satisfied with the turn out in the attendance of teachers from the Orange Walk District. Otilio Muñoz-President BNTU Orange Walk “We need to inform our members as to what is the recent development with this collective bargaining agreement between three unions and GOB and that was the objective of this meeting was to inform the membership and inform them of a plan of action that the BNTU has already propose but we just wanted the endorsement of membership and the support of the membership as well and we had a good turnout today and I would say more that 90% of our total number of members taking part in our demonstration which will be held on the 29th of this month in Belmopan so we will be having that and they had a lot of concerns and they were very frank with their decision and they are very serious with their decision that I can actually provide with a number of those attending the demonstration about 320 teachers from Orange Walk Branch who are going for this demonstration in Belmopan on the 29th on this month.”

Contraband Rosewood Seized By Local Authorities>
Just as we thought there wouldn’t be any new development to report on in the never ending illegal trade of Rosewood, we are forced to guess again. In a press release issued this afternoon by the Government Press Office, the official announcement was made of a forty foot container which had been seized by the Belize Customs Department at the Belize/Guatemala Border. The Container is said to contain approximately twenty-eight tons of rosewood flitches which was allegedly being introduced into Belize from Guatemala on Wednesday, January 16th. An investigation has been launched by both Belize and Guatemalan authorities in efforts of ascertaining the origin and legitimacy of the rosewood material. Information to our news room indicates that Guatemala had also imposed a restriction on the exportation of Rosewood in log form, which are the flitches, sawn wood or as veneer sheets. After the issuing of this press release, further information into this latest confiscation of rosewood has been slow in coming. We will continue to investigate this latest incident and bring to you any new developments.

Hurricane Hattie Exhibit Open At Corozal House Of Culture>
On January 11th we told you about the grand presentation of an exhibit entitled the “Hurricane Hattie Exhibit” that was opened at the Corozal House of Culture. Today, we caught up with Debra Wilkes Gray the coordinator at the Corozal House of Culture, who shared with us about the tragedy of when British Honduras, now Belize, was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Hattie in 1961 as a Category 5 Storm. “The Corozal House of Culture open the exhibits on behalf of NICH and we open this Tuesday January 15th and it will be on for a month until roughly around February 15th and the exhibit itself is an educational exhibit, it is supported with many photographs, document on the devastation of Hurricane Hattie as well as documented information for the public. Real educational tool, this exhibit talks about the preparation, the devastation and rebuilding. There were over ten thousand people left homeless after the hurricane so there is information about Hattieville being built as temporary refuge as well as the new capital Belmopan being introduce and this is something that all Belizeans to come and see and really grasp the magnitude of hurricanes.”

BCCI Issues Strong Message To GOB>
In the wake of the recent spike in violence and criminal activity, many Belizeans have begun living under a state of fear and to a certain extent, siege. Three weeks into the New Year, the murder and violence percentages have drastically increased as compared to last year 2012. The threat to the security and safety status of Belizeans on a whole took a drastic turn for the worst with the slaying of the four ranking members of the George Street Gang. But, the criminal elements took the situation to a higher level on the night of Wednesday 16th of January when shots were fired at the house of former Prime Minister Said Musa. In what out rightly appears as an attempted hit on Musa, speculations have been circulating on the possible motive for the attempted assassination with the main one centring on extortion. With the high level of violence and civilian fear, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued a strongly worded release to the Government of Belize. The release starts off with grave concern for the safety of the Belizean people and says, we quote, “The Private Sector calls on the Government and citizens alike for adherence to the rule of law and the protection of our citizenry. We demand that the Government implement measures that are directed at improving the quality of life in Belize and adopts a position of zero tolerance to crime and known criminals.”

Villagers To Learn A New Musical Instrument>
The Pied Piper commands children to follow his tune, nonetheless, the ones following the melodious tunes of the stringed instrument known as the Mountain Doximer will not be children, but adults from six different villages in the Corozal District. The participating adults will learn about, and how to play the instrument this Sunday, January 20th. The idea of the new musical program comes through the Corozal Organization Leading Cultural Heritage and Arts chaired by Mr. David Ackerman. Josue Gray is the facilitator of the program and we caught up with him this morning and he told us more. “A music outreach program to the villagers in Corozal District and so it is being co-sponsored by me and a group called coucha and we are starting the program off this Sunday at the House of Culture. So the three hour the people would come and they would learn to tune-up and we will play somewhere about five to seven songs to learn how to read the system by looking at numbers and symbols so that what you see you can translate into rhythms on the instrument and be able to actually to play songs. The idea is that there will be a club in each village and they could come together at a schedule that they themselves come up with and they might come ones a week and practise for an hour or two or they might come out more frequently and the idea is that they come together and have all the villagers in the program will actually have about ten of these instruments as the community instruments.”

LOVE TV

Former PM’s house riddled with bullets
An investigation has been launched to determine who was behind a frightening incident where multiple gunshots were fired at the home of former Prime Minister Said Musa. Love TV’s Marion Ali reports. The shooting at the former Prime Minister’s residence promoted a release from the business community. The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Business Bureau issued a joint release in which it says it is gravely concerned about the recent acts of violence in Belize. It calls on the Government and citizens to adhere to the rule of law. The release goes on to condemns quote “the Government’s perceived need to negotiate with criminals while the demands of law-abiding citizens for protection and safety are repeatedly ignored” end of quote. The release goes on to say that the Government’s willingness to engage in negotiations with gang leaders sends a dangerous signal to Belizeans and the international community. The Private Sector says it renews its recommendation that the Government sanctions a wholesale implementation of the Crooks report, rather than the piecemeal implementation of select recommendations. It demands that Government makes sufficient allocation to the police, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Judiciary to ensure that those offices are sufficiently staffed and trained to investigate and prosecute criminal acts.

Ministry of Education launches reform initiative
The Ministry of Education is about to make some improvements to the education system with the launching today of the Belize Education Sector Reform. The Reform follows the development and introduction two years ago of the Belize Education Sector Strategy. Chief Education Officer, Chris Aird, says that a number of areas will be addressed. Aird says that the implementation starts almost immediately.

BELTRAIDE holds customer service training
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, BELTRAIDE, is holding a two-day workshop which aims to enhance customer service delivery for people in micro, small and medium sized enterprises in Belize. Love News spoke with BELTRAIDE’s Business and Investment Facilitation Officer, Brian Lin, to find out how this workshop aims to achieve that objective. The funding for the training was provided by the Caribbean Development Bank.

Orange Walk residents meet to discuss crime situation
Following the shooting of two Orange Walk residents on Liberty Avenue in the Louisiana Area in Orange Walk Town, and several other shootings preceding that incident in the same vicinity, the Orange Walk Town Council held a zone meeting with residents of the area last night. The primary focus of the meeting was to address the growing concern among residents on safety and therein devise proper mechanisms for crime control and prevention. Love TV’s Dalila Ical reports.

Murder charges 7 months later; woman jailed for stealing
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. He was remanded into custody until March 5. The incident occurred on June 12, 2012. The victim, Keith Lewis, was standing in a yard on Roches Street with three other men when his assailant came from Mckoy Boulevard and fired a barrage of shots. Lewis was shot in his chest back and legs. His body was found the following day in a swampy yard. Dominguez charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault were for an incident which occurred on January 6, 2013 in which Justin Richards was grazed by a bullet while he was with Leroy Zuniga Jr. Twenty-two year old Cassandra Sutherland, a mother of three, became an inmate of Belize Central Prison today when she appeared in Court and pled guilty to the theft of three boxes of Happy Cow cheese, valued at $105.00. She was fined $300.00 by Magistrate Dale Cayetano and she was given until March 31 to pay. But she was taken to prison because she was unable to pay outstanding court fines for three convictions which amounted to $900.00. Sutherland will serve four months for the fines amounting to $900.00 and she will serve three months for the fine of $300.00. The theft occurred yesterday at Bottom Dollar Store, located on North Front Street. Sutherland was caught stealing the cheese and she was detained and handed over to the police. Sutherland said she stole the cheese because her mother is going away today to get surgery.

Belize Defence Forces gets new buildings
The Belize Defence Force today took receipt of two new buildings. Love TV’s Patrick Jones reports.

NEMO competition winners announced
The winners of a competition organized by the National Emergency management Organization were announced today. Correspondent Fem Cruz was there and files this report.

Furniture donated to Toledo primary schools
The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust on Monday handed over furniture to two primary schools in the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

U.S. military offers free medical services in Corozal district
Residents of the Corozal district were this week the recipients of free medical services from the United States government. Love TV’s Patrick Jones and video journalist Brian Castillo took a helicopter ride to the north today to bring you the following report.

PlusTV

Major Unions gearing up for possible strike action
Yesterday we told you that three of Belize’s largest and most important trade unions, the Belize National Teachers’...

People’s United Party rally behind Said Musa
The People’s United Party is rallying behind Said Musa after shots were fired at the Ex Prime Minister’s home. This...

BCCI. and BBB are asking for zero tolerance on crime
While the PUP has voiced its opinion on the crime situation on Belize, so have the Belize Chamber of Commerce and t...

BAHA quarantine on alert for Avian Influenza
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority has strengthened its national poultry health alert. This follows Mexico of...

The Forest Department is working on the origin of rosewood container
Only last week the Ministry of Forestry confiscated a large quantity of rosewood in the South. It's almost a week l...

Police propose Field Training Officers Program
Supt. Linden Flowers and Assistant Supt. of Police Richard Rosado appeared on Rise and Shine to speak about some ch...

Gumercinda Meza wanted for robbery
Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for Gumercinda Meza. Earlier this month, we reported on an incide...

Minister Patrick Faber says he's qualified to be first deputy leader of the UDP
The UDP convention is scheduled for February 17th in Corozal. Minister Patrick Faber is in a tightly pitched battle...

Minister of National Security meets with Police Commanders of all Formations
Yesterday the Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar, accompanied by his CEO, Colonel George Lovell, met ...

Road surfacing begins on Nim Li Punit Street in Belmopan
Belmopan residents are already dreaming of a smoother ride on one of the most trafficked commercial streets in Belm...

Police investigate a sudden death near Monkey River Village
Police in Independence are investigating a case of sudden death. Yesterday at about 2:00pm Police visited Harvest C...

Ida Cucul reported missing
A woman has been reported missing. 27 year old Ida Cucul is a Belizean banana worker in the Stann Creek district. A...

Marlon Maclaren, charged for Drug Trafficking.
On Wednesday January 16th at 8:15am Police officers were on mobile patrol at the corner of Mapp and Cran Street, in...

Two residents of Hopkins charged for Drug Trafficking
In Dangriga yesterday evening, Police were on mobile patrol on the Hummingbird Highway when their attention was dra...


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#455533 - 01/18/13 02:52 PM Re: Today's Belize News: January 18, 2013 [Re: Marty]
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The Guardian

Said Musa’s House shot At
A visibly shaken, and still shaking, Said Musa, former Prime Minister of Belize gave a statement to the media at his home located at the corner of Princess Margaret Drive and E Street. The Rt. Honourable Said Musa told the press as they gathered on his lawn, that sometime around 11 on Tuesday night, he was roused from his sleep to the sounds of gunshots in his neighborhood. He said that he and his wife got up and looked outside through the windows that face Princess Margaret Drive and saw nothing unusual. Musa said he discounted the gunshots as having come from some distance from his neighborhood and they went back to bed. His deduction of the shooting having taken place elsewhere was negated when on Wednesday morning as he was making his way out of his house to go to the gym, he noticed that the main door of his house had a hole in it. He said he also found a slug on the ground. Further inspections led him outside where he found that his wife’s vehicle, a Santa Fe had the rear passenger side window shattered, also by a bullet. Police were soon called in and they report that 5 expended 9 millimeter shells were found on the outside of Musa’s property on E Street.

What is There to lose in going to The ICJ?
On Wednesday, January 16th the Ministry of Foreign Affairs began its recruiting exercise to have media organizations become partners in the education campaign that will see Belizeans vote on a referendum on whether to take the age old Guatemalan Claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or not. Presenting at the media mixer was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington. He explained that by all indications, Guatemalan Government officials are convinced that they will be able to get a ‘Yes’ vote from their people and the question is whether Belize will be able to follow suit. He explained that while a ‘No’ vote would not have a dramatic deterioration in relations with Guatemala, it could possibly mean that there would be an increased number of Guatemalans making their way illegally into Belizean territory. Additionally, he said that the friendly group of nations that are currently supporting the process and are financing the office at the Western border are likely to pull financing, they have expressed as much, he said. In his personal legal opinion and based on legal opinions which Belize has gotten, Minister Elrington explained that there is a great chance that Belize will be successful at the ICJ. “People go to court to get justice and they get it” he stated.

Arthur Saldivar Ripping American Dreams Away
On Friday, January 11th, retired American couple John and Cynthia Englehardt reached out to the media in a desperate plea for help. The couple is accusing the People’s United Party’s Standard Bearer for Belize Rural North, Arthur Saldivar of fraud. The Englehardts claim that they retained the lawyer’s services in 2010 in order to obtain the title to a condo unit they purchased on the island of San Pedro. They were told by Saldivar that the process would be completed within four weeks time. It is 2013, and they still have not received any title documents from Saldivar. They decided to make their complaints public after several attempts to reach Saldivar had failed. John Englehardt said that after he was told several times that Saldivar was not available, the secretary then said that he no longer worked at the law firm. Cynthia Englehardt’s single request was that Saldivar act in a professional manner. She said that the lawyer should report what, if any, road blocks there are that is holding up the process. After three years, the couple is no longer interested in doing business with Saldivar. They do not even want to hear his explanation. All the Englehardts want is their US$6,500 that they paid Saldivar for stamp duty tax and legal fees for the acquisition of their property title.

Referendum Education Gets Off
Representatives from virtually all media houses were present on Wednesday, January 16th at the Radisson Fort George Hotel as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented a comprehensive look at the Guatemala Claim. Making presentations was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington; Dr. Herman Byrd, Director of the Belize Archives and Records Service; H.E. Alexis Rosado, CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and; H.E. Stuard Leslie from the Referendum Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The topics presented on ranged from a general overview of the Guatemalan claim to understanding the 1859 and 1931 treaties to the Special Agreement, which has Belize now involved in holding a referendum to the Awareness Campaign, which the Ministry is now tasked with administering to encourage voters to come out and vote on the issue. On December 8th, 2008, there was a Special Agreement signed between Belize and Guatemala in which both countries agreed to hold simultaneous referenda in both countries asking their people whether or not to take the territorial claim to the International Court of Justice. Since then the date for the referendum has been set of October 6th, 2013 and the education machineries are now coming into full gear.

Colonel (Ret.) George Lovell; Commander Designate, Colonel David Jones; and Minister John Saldivar
On Tuesday, January 15th, newly named Commander Designate of the Belize Defense Force, Colonel David Jones, received on behalf of the BDF two brand new Mahindra Pickups. The two vehicles handed over by Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar at the Ministry Headquarters, were purchased by the Government of Belize and are the latest installment in a number of recent additions to the BDF fleet. Colonel Jones said these two new vehicles, along with recent similar acquisitions, and a few more that are expected shortly, will go a long way in enabling the BDF to carry out its essential functions, which include patrolling the borders and helping to counter narco-trafficking and other illegal activities. Colonel David Jones, who is currently the Deputy Commander of the BDF, assumes full command of the Force on February 1.

Police shoot Men caught in the Act
Police have arrested 6 men, who were caught in the act of robbing a Chinese grocery store located at the corner of Mahogany and Mopan Streets. At about 9:00 p.m. on Saturday 12th January, police responded to a robbery in progress at Jian Vin Shop located at #10 A Corner Mahogany and Mopan Streets in Belize City. The establishment’s proprietor, Jian Guang Li, 62, reported that whilst he and his wife, 33-year-old Chan Yan Zhu were inside the shop, six male entered the store. One of the men, who was armed with a handgun, hit him and his wife with the firearm to their jaw and demanded money. The store owner then handed over $2,500.00 in cash, a DVD player, a laptop computer, a carton of Independence Cigarettes, a carton of Colonial cigarettes, and two packs of cigars. Quick police response led them inside a room on the second floor of the building where a shot was fired at the police. Police returned fire and hit 17-year-old Wilbert Gabourel, to the left and right thigh. Also injured was 20-year-old Gregory Knox, who received gunshot wounds to the left and right foot. 19-year-old Jean Pasqual received a gunshot wound to his right thigh. 18-year-old Alexis Ku, received a gunshot wound to his left thigh.

Belize Bank wins Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race
The Belize Canoe Association sponsored its 6th Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race on Saturday, January 12th, 2013. Some 22 canoes registered in 5 different categories for the yearly “warm-up” race. In the Elite category, it was the defending La Ruta Maya champions the Belize Bank that was able to hold off a strong challenge from NICH to capture 1st place in a time of 1:27:03. NICH finished 2nd, with 3rd place going to Westrac. In the Intramural category, 1st place went to Natius Boys of St. Ignatius High School in a time of 1:29:54. In the other categories, Sprouts took 1st place in the junior class in a time of 1:29:54; in the Mixed Category, 1st place went to Beat di Burn in a time of 1:32:40. In the Masters Category, Wat a Thing of Sea Sports Belize took 1st place. Grumpy Old Men finished 2nd in the Masters Category. In the female category, 1st place went to the University of Belize.

Belmopan Police Officer charged for PG Killing
On Tuesday, January 15th, police officer attached to the Special Patrol Unit in Belmopan, Leon Higinio, was arrested and charged for the manslaughter of 53-year old Francisco Shol. On December 14th of last year Shol was socializing at the P.G. Sports Bar when he was allegedly beaten up by Higinio, who was off duty at the time. According to reports, Shol was then transported to the hospital but he discharged himself and was later found dead in a drain. Shol had suffered a fractured skull. Police made the arrest after receiving statements from as many as ten witnesses in their investigation. Police Constable Leon Higinio is currently on interdiction and awaiting trial for manslaughter.

Remanded to Prison for Attempted Murder
Belize City police cracked an attempted murder case in which a man of the Rhaburn Ridge area was shot in March of 2012 and on Monday, January 14th, 28-year-old Humberto Garcia, a construction worker and resident of the area, was charged with the crime. Garcia appeared before Senior Magistarte, Sharon Frazer where he was charged with attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm upon 29-year-old Francisco Sosa, a resident of the same village. The shooting incident is said to have occurred on March 1st, 2012. In that shooting incident, 29-year-old Francisco Sosa was shot three times, once to the left palm, right index finger and in both legs. In court no plea was taken and due to the nature of the offenses, Garcia was denied bail. He is due back in Court #2 on March 4th, 2013. According to police, on March 1st, 2012, at about 9:45 p.m., they visited a wooden house in Rhaburn Ridge after receiving information of a shooting incident. When they arrived at the home, they saw blood stains. They later visited the Orange Walk Hospital where they found 29-year-old Francisco Sosa with injuries. Sosa gave police a report on the shooting incident and he also positively identified Garcia as his shooter. On Friday, January 11th, police captured Garcia.

Guatemalan Woman caught using Her Aunt’s Passport
On Friday, January 11th, a Guatemalan woman, who resides on San Pedro appeared in court after she is alleged to have been caught using her aunt’s passport for the past 7 years. 35-year-old Olga Marina Gutierrez Larios, a Guatemalan national, who has been residing in Belize for some years and who has 5 Belizean children, appeared in Magistrate’s court before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart. She was charged with using a passport she is not entitled to. She wasted no time and pleaded guilty to the offense as a result Magistrate Stuart imposed a non-custodial sentence, a fine of $1,000, which she was ordered to pay immediately in default 6 months imprisonment. Olga Marina Gutierrez Larios, used a passport in the name of Noelia Larios, which she was not entitled to use. According to Immigration officers, they caught up with Larios after her Aunt, Noelia Larios went to the Immigration Office in Belize City to renew her passport with number P0259626 issued on August 6th, 2002. It expired on August 5th, 2012. Her application form was referred to the investigation unit in Belmopan for further queries as the system had another woman under that name. Further investigation revealed that her niece, Olga Gutierrez had received a passport under her name as well. Larios admitted as much and told authorities that she had been using her aunt’s passport from 2006.

10 Years for Burglary
On Friday, January 11th, Police Street resident, 30-year-old Sheldon Lewis was found guilty of burglary and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Lewis was accused of entering the home of Police Sergeant, Frank Augustine on October 29th, 2011, in the Village of Mahogany Heights. The evidence against Lewis was overwhelming, so much so that when he initially appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court back in October 2011, he had pleaded guilty but on that same day, he changed his mind and pleaded not guilty. The trial continued in the court of Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was found guilty of burglary. Because he has a previous conviction for burglary and another case of burglary pending, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

Ruckus at Magistrate’s Court Cell Block
On Tuesday, January 15th, the Belize Emergency Response Team’s Ambulance had to be called out to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court after a fight broke out inside the Belize City Magistrate’s Court cell block with. The fight was between prison inmates, who were detained in the cell block waiting to be arraigned, and police officers who work at the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. The problem began early at around 9:00 a.m. when the Hattieville Prison bus, which was carrying as many as 68 prisoners, arrived with inmates to appear in court for charges such as murder, rape, robbery and other crimes who were to appear before a judge at the Supreme Court for. The presence of the media personnel outside the court did not go well with several prisoners when they were being escorted to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court cell block area to be kept until time for their transfer back to the Hattieville Prison.

Riding a High Horse
As I watched the long-winded interview being afforded by Love TV to Hon. Requeña from Toledo West regarding Minister Alamilla’s burning of the confiscated rose wood, I was reminded of an incident which occurred in 1998. The newly elected PUP Government under Hon. Musa had, accompanied by a hefty entourage of party elements, gone on a trip to Taiwan to borrow money. Although his return was delayed by Hurricane Mitch, he made the “joyful” announcement from the plane that he had successfully secured a loan of $100 million from the Taiwanese government. Immediately after Mr. Musa’s announcement, all his Ministers began spending measures of this money in all ways imaginable. Each interview given by government officials invariably included the words “and this can be accomplished with some of the funds from Taiwan”. These proposed development programs included improved infrastructure, poverty elimination, new classrooms, new schools, new houses - hell, new everything and anything. Indeed the PUP preached that with this loan, they had secured the panacea for all of our country’s maladies. Well, we got to find out that a hundred million is chicken feed for the PUP, and the money “come and gone” on heaven knows what. Our people still remained poor, broke and unemployed for the most part. I guess the millions trickled down, but not too far from the “Group “. Now back to Mr. Requeña. He was saying that Minister Alamilla should not have burnt the rosewood, but instead exported it and then use the revenues to fix the Forestry Department’s outposts, assist all the needy schools in Toledo (East and West), feed the poor and a host of other noble causes. The PUP is good at that; giving lip-service, but what they say and what they do are two completely different things.

Belize Bank wins Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race
The Belize Canoe Association sponsored its 6th Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race on Saturday, January 12th, 2013. Some 22 canoes registered in 5 different categories for the yearly “warm-up” race. In the Elite category, it was the defending La Ruta Maya champions the Belize Bank that was able to hold off a strong challenge from NICH to capture 1st place in a time of 1:27:03. NICH finished 2nd, with 3rd place going to Westrac. In the Intramural category, 1st place went to Natius Boys of St. Ignatius High School in a time of 1:29:54. In the other categories, Sprouts took 1st place in the junior class in a time of 1:29:54; in the Mixed Category, 1st place went to Beat di Burn in a time of 1:32:40. In the Masters Category, Wat a Thing of Sea Sports Belize took 1st place. Grumpy Old Men finished 2nd in the Masters Category. In the female category, 1st place went to the University of Belize.

St. John’s College leads in High School football
The Central Region Secondary School’s Football Competition opened on Thursday, January 10th, 2013 with 2 games on the schedule at the MCC Grounds. In the first of two male games played, Ladyville Technical High School defeated Nazarene High School by the score of 5-1. The goal scorers for Ladyville Technical High School were Jervis Myvett, Leon Sedacy, Michael Herrera, Gustavo Salazar and Devaun Rhaburn. Meanwhile, the only goal of the game for Nazarene High School was scored by Eric Lamb. In the second game of the day, St. John’s College blasted Sadie Vernon Technical High School by the score of 15-0. The goal scorers for SJC were Deandre Pitter (4), Sydney Bradley (3), Harold Nava (2), Demitri Fabro (2), Tarique James, Trevaun Rhaburn, Dennis Zuniga and Raheem Flowers, with one each. The competition then continued on Friday, January 11th with two more games on the schedule. In the female game, St. Catherine Academy and Ladyville Technical played to a 1-1 draw. The goal for St. Catherine Academy was scored by Deidra Gill while the goal for Ladyville Technical was scored by Shanesse Rhaburn.

Football Federation calls Junior Footballers to Training
The Football Federation of Belize calls the following female footballers to commence training for the up-coming Central American Games in March. The female footballers will report to the FFB Headquarters on Friday, January 18th at 3:00 pm and leave on Saturday, January 19th. The female players that should report to training are: Rhonda Hernandez, Ermin Ferguson, Sarah Arzu, Kaya Cattouse, Idania Ramirez, Sheream Tracey, Khadija Assales, Ashanti Velasquez, Noemi Magana, Jennisha Scott, Miriam Villamil, Zulma Ortega, Iris Centeno, Rashida Guerra, Samantha Carlos, Heidy Cob, Leonella Chuc, Elisa Cario, Emmerlyn Nunez, Eris Galdamez, Shanell Gentle, Shirley Codd, Beatrice Alfaro, Sherane Welch, Cindy Bush, Jaslyn Cadle, Myrenie Drysdale, Erica Vallecillo, Dorita Ramos,Tamara Baptist and Melonie Tasher. Meanwhile, the following male players are asked to report to the FFB Headquarters on Saturday, January 19th, 2013 at 4:00 pm. Avran Crawford, Khambrel Blease, Delone Torres, Collin Westby, Luis Torres, San Leobardo Mendez, Jamil Cano, Eduardo Gongora, Edmund Pandy Jr., David Madred, Denmark Casey Jr., Brandon Jones, Howard West, Jason Thurton, Jermaine Jones, Gilroy Thurton, Carlton Thomas, John King, Brandon Cacho, Jaron Myvette, Darrell Myvette, Kyle Flowers, Tarrell Flores, Nahjib Guerra, HighKing Roberts. All players must bring along their football gear, workout clothes and toiletries.

International Olympic Committee Officials in Belize
The Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association is currently hosting three officials of the International Olympic Committee here in Belize. The IOC delegation consists of IOC Member Richard Peterkin, Joanna Zipser-Graves of Olympic Solidarity and. Nils Holmegaard, NOC Project officer, arrived in the country on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 and will depart on Friday, January 18th. The IOC Delegation will meet with the Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State with responsibility for Youth and Sports on Thursday, January 17th, and with the Presidents of the National Federations that belongs to the NOC/IOC later in the afternoon. On Wednesday, January 16th, the IOC Delegation held a meeting with the Officers of the National Olympic Committee.

San Estevan FC and San Lazaro Revolution FC lead in Orange Walk Football Competition
The Orange Walk Football Association 1st Division Opening Tournament competition continued on January 13th with three games on the schedule. In the first game that was scheduled to be played between San Felipe United FC and San Fran FC. San Felipe United FC won via the default route. The score stands at 3-0 in favour of San Felipe United FC. In game two, San Lazaro Revolution FC blasted Crystal FC by the score of 7-0. The goal scorers for San Lazaro Revolution FC were Ruviney Carillo, Jason Carrillo, Carlos Jones, Andre Martinez, Gian Sosa, and Ismael Tillett. And in the final game of the day, Progresso FC defeated Carmelita Athletics FC by the score of 4-0. The goal scorers for Progresso FC were Armando Chi, Wilfredo Lino, Eduardo Correra and Hector Carlos. All three games were played at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town. The competition will continue this coming Sunday, January 20th at 9:00 am at the People’s Stadium. In game one, New Hope United FC will go up against Crystal FC. In game two, San Estevan FC will see action against San Fran FC, in game three San Felipe United will square off against Progresso FC and in the final game of the day, it will be Guinea Grass United against Real Juvenil.

Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition opens
The 2012-2013 Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition opened on Monday, January 14th, with a single boys’ game on the schedule. In the game played, St. Martin De Porres School defeated Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School by the score of 24-5. The winning pitcher was Derrick Menzies and the losing pitcher was Brian Molina. The competition then continued on Tuesday in both the girls and boys competition. In the girls’ game played, Central Christian School blanked St. John’s Primary School by the score of 17-0. The winning pitcher was Hanna Usher and the losing pitcher was Nia Jenkins. In the boys game played, St. John’s Primary School defeated Central Christian School by the score of 17-10. The winning pitcher was Warren Smith and the losing pitcher was Trovette Flowers.

Referendum Education Gets Off
Representatives from virtually all media houses were present on Wednesday, January 16th at the Radisson Fort George Hotel as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented a comprehensive look at the Guatemala Claim. Making presentations was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington; Dr. Herman Byrd, Director of the Belize Archives and Records Service; H.E. Alexis Rosado, CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and; H.E. Stuard Leslie from the Referendum Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Low Morale at Supreme Court Opening
This year’s opening of the Supreme Court was perhaps the least enthusiastic in the history of Belize. While the Bench, Bar and Attorney General partook in the recently accepted norm by making swipes at each other, there was one point of agreement. In the words of His Excellency Kenneth Benjamin, Chief Justice of Belize, “the criminal justice system is in crisis”.

Belize Education Sector Reform
After almost two years of planning and consultation, the Ministry of Education launched the Belize Education Sector Reform Project on Wednesday, January 16th. The project has three main objectives: improving governance in the education sector with emphasis on improved student achievement; increasing access and equity at all levels of education and; enhancing quality and relevance throughout the education system.

Pay Us Our Severance!
Orange Walk Town Mayor Kevin Bernard, who now sees himself as a sage in giving out advice at the level of National Security without even knowing the facts of a case, is heard to be traipsing to and from the Unites States every so often. Suddenly, he is flushed with cash to afford these extravagances.

Precincts for Belize Police
Incoming Commissioner of Police, Allan Whylie announced at a press conference called by the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow on Tuesday, January 8th that the police department will be undergoing some major changes in the coming weeks.

Minister of National Security, John Saldivar visits Site for Corrective Training Facility at Mountain Pine Ridge
On January 11th, Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar toured the site at Mountain Pine Ridge in the area of the D’Silva Forest Station which has been chosen as the location for the new Corrective Training Facility for petty offenders.

2013 Taiwan’s Scholarship Briefing
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:

Tax Fair at the Complex
Customs officer, Dianna Palacio, gives children a tour The Charles Bartlett Hyde Building known as the Complex building was teeming with activity on Monday and Tuesday of this week as the three main tax collectors in the country pulled out their information sheets, pamphlets and brochures to share with the public.

Opinion
Opinion is what you have in the absence of evidence or when the evidence that is available contradicts deeply held beliefs and traditions. The opinion of residents of the George Street community that the GSU is responsible for the murderous events of January 8th, 2013 must be seen in the context of the longstanding antagonism and distrust between some Southside communities and the police, in particular the GSU. The GSU has been high-handed and confrontational in its methods and some residents in the community have consistently frustrated attempts by the GSU to carry out their lawfully mandated work in the area. One recent violent confrontation resulted in injuries to residents and in turn, a lawsuit against the GSU from some of those injured. This has also led to threats by a few GSU officers against community leaders and counter threats to GSU officers and their families. The Police authorities and the Prime Minister deny the accusation of GSU involvement in the quadruple homicide but this has not changed opinions on the street. Police authorities are investigating but some people are of the opinion that their neutrality cannot be trusted and they are calling for an independent investigation. Since neighbours were alerted to the crime before the police were called and the crime scene was severely compromised, it may not be possible for anyone to come to a useful conclusion based on the evidence. Post mortems were conducted but given the limited forensic capacity available, it is not certain how much practical information can be obtained from them.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

ATLANTIC BANK: Caye Caulker Branch
DEAR CUSTOMERS, KINDLY BE ADVISED THE ATM WILL BE OUT OF SERVICE FROM SATURDAY, JANUARY 19TH AT 1:00PM TO SUNDAY, JANUARY 20TH, AT 7:00PM. THIS IS NECESSARY FOR US TO INSTALL A SECOND ATM AS PART OF OUR SERVICE TO YOU. WE APPRECIATE YOUR UNDERSTANDING AND PATIENCE IN THIS ENDEAVOR. WE ALSO APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED.

Blogs

Pook's Hill Lodge Wins 3 TripAdvisor Awards
Congratulations to Pook's Hill Lodge for winning 3 of Trip Advisor's Travelers' Choice awards! Pook's Hill, which is ranked as the best hotel in Cayo on TA, won in the Bargain, Best Service, and Small Hotels categories. Well done, PH, well done. "This is an amazing place. The setting is fantastic--tucked deep in the forest. The facilities are wonderful. The individual cabanas are extremely well designed. No space is wasted, but they do not feel restricting. They fit into the surroundings spectacularly. The staff is top-notch."

Ole Miss & SHJC Students Visit Octavia Waight
The 27 residents of the Octavia Waight Centre were paid a visit by a student group from the University of Mississippi and Sacred Heart Junior College's Hands for Life student group to do some 'Heart Art.' Everyone had a great time. "Students from the University of Mississippi and Sacred Heart Junior College went to Octavia Waight to do some 'Heart Art' with the older generation. There was even some live music."

Belizean Trifle
Trifle is somewhat of a cake. It's not very sweet and not as light as Belizean Light or Belizean White cake, but it very satisfying. The coconut flakes inside the cake offers a nice surprise of chewy bits.

A Tale of Five Cities: Onward to Palenque
After visiting the Old City Wall in Campeche, it was time to check out of the Hotel Castlemar, leave the colorful centro historico district behind, and begin the long hike to the ADO bus station to catch our bus to Palenque, in Mexico's Chiapas state. It was again a warm day, so we got quite a workout carrying our packs. Now you see how we eat so much on these trips without putting on tons of weight! The bus to Palenque stopped at a couple of different towns along the way. These stops gave us a chance to stretch our legs and get a snack if needed. Escarcega was one of the stops. Along the way we went over the Usumacinta River, an important trade route for the ancient Maya before roads existed in this area. We also witnessed (after the fact) a very serious accident involving a couple of tractor trailers. Hopefully everyone involved was okay. On the way to Palenque, we briefly went through the fourth Mexican state of our trip, Tabasco. There we stopped at another town, Emiliano Zapata. I stayed inside the bus this time, but Barry had a look inside the station, finding it much different from the typically modern, chrome and glass ADO terminals we had become accustomed to. Until he showed me the photos, I didn't understand exactly what he meant when he said that the station was "very Mexican" inside. Once I saw the photos, I understood immediately. This station takes first place in the categories of "most festive" and "most colorful" along our route! Looks like a great place for a kid's birthday party.

One stop Shopping in Placencia
This post is going to be a short work in progress as I am still editing my pictures of Placencia and I decided not to keep you in suspense any longer about where I stayed and who I caught up with while there. First off, my home base was Roberts Grove, which is a lush tropical Hacienda-style beach resort on the water. With span of 22 acres, 3 restaurants, 3 pools, onsite dive shop and lagoon marina, the beach resort definitely qualifies as one stop shopping. You definitely would not have to leave the resort if you really wanted to kick back and relax. While there I enjoyed a mix of much needed down time and exploring. I also got to visit with Anna and Gunter who were living in San Pedro and relocated their business Mathieu’s Deli to Roberts Grove Resort. For those of you who are fans of Gunters cooking, it is worth a trip to go see him. The deli has its of his yummy treats both savory and sweet options. They also have a nice selection of breads, deli meats and delicious Belize Cheese from Ian Anderson’s. While catching up with Anna and Gunter the two days I was there, I enjoyed the cookie and iced coffee options. If you are planning a stay at Robert’s Grove Beach Resort be sure and check out their community service page to find out how you can help them with worthy causes such as Seine Bight Elementary School and the Placencia Humane Society.

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.

Presenting Belize's New Ambassador To Canada
Ambassador Nestor Mendez is Belize's new High Commissioner to Canada. Mr. Mendez presented his credentials to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa on Wednesday. With the added responsibility as Belize's chief diplomat in Canada, Nestor Mendez is also Belize's ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the United States of America and permanent representative to the Organization of American States. Huge Congrats Mr. Ambassador! It's a huge task and a lot of responsibilities.

Security Awareness in Belize [TECH]
How far are we in Security Awareness in Belize? Before asking that, perhaps the right question to ask here is, Do we know what Security Awareness is? This is the meaning provided by the Wikipedia: Security awareness is the knowledge and attitude members of an organization possess regarding the protection of the physical and, especially, information assets of that organization. Basically, security awareness is how much you know of the protection of the physical and virtual information or assets in your organization. I can ensure you that that your security awareness is extremely low if you don't know what I am talking about. But if you have an idea, then you are on the right track to learn more about Security Awareness and why it is important in these times. Cyber criminals are the primary ones that love to hear that you are not practicing security awareness because they see this as an excellent opportunity to attack or hack your systems.

How to make your blog more popular
I am not an SEO expert but nowadays everything is about location, location. In order to make your blog more popular on the whole wide web, you must first ensure that you are popular locally. Let us say for example you have a food blog. Your first followers more than likely will be people who are interested in local food information. So you write about food that you can find locally. Nobody wants to read about food from somewhere else because the reality is that we can't cook all kinds of food. When you have achieved a massive local audience and readers, then you can focus on the big map. Then you can start to write about food in the districts and so you expand your topics and your audience - little by little. These baby steps are important and that is how you make your blog more popular. Don't forget that location is the most important thing.

The ‘A’ Team in Ambergris Caye, Belize
One of the things I have found about writing a blog is that you start to take a keen interest in other people’s blogs about the same area that you live in. Whether consciously or subconsciously you start to consider the ‘dos’ and don’ts for your own blog. You start to read forums more. When I was in the UK I would never have considered joining a forum let alone make contributions to them. Now I read them avidly and contribute when I feel I have something to offer. Writing a blog can also reawaken any competitiveness that may be part of your make-up. When I worked for a living I think I was fairly competitive. I always stove to ‘beat’ the other guy in a negotiation for example. It was a competition of sorts. Always tried to produce the best I could. Blogging provides the stimulus for similar traits to show themselves. You start to gauge the quality/appeal of an edition by how many views or visits it received. The stats will either enthuse or deflate you ( not to suicidal levels but …). You get a buzz when you get comments (feedback) from those that take the time and have the interest to follow your blog.

International Sources

Belize & the Drug War
Belize, scarcely populated and often forgotten, is getting its fair share of drug action. The desolate western portion of the nation, which borders often lawless northern Guatemala, has become a breeding ground for growing drug trafficking organizations in the area. The tourist driven coastal area to the east has become a playground for dollar spending drug lords looking to launder money and relax for a few days. Belize City, the largest city, is seeing an urban struggle between street gangs for drug profits. Recent news reports have stated that the DEA has 5 commando style squads that have been deployed to Latin American countries to help in fighting drug trafficking organizations. Belize is one of those countries. Within the last two years the Zetas have pushed into western Belize, while drug style murders have risen in Belize City from street gangs. The US has given $15 million in aid money to Belize to help fight the rising drug organization threats. However, $15 million can hardly combat the billions that the DTO's are making. The northern Guatemalan province of Petan, which borders Belize, was the home to the ranch massacre that left 27 workers murdered and decapitated. An estimated 200 gunmen, believed to be Zetas, arrived at the ranch in buses. The Zetas have attacked land owners and local drug lords in a recent power seize in the area.

Police protection for former PM
The government of Prime Minster Dean Barrow has offered police protection for former Prime Minister Said Musa. This follows an incident on Tuesday in which multiple gunshots were fired into the Belize City home of the veteran parliamentarian. Musa told reporters here that late Tuesday, he and his wife had just retired to bed, when they heard the gunshots ring out. The former Prime Minister said on looking outside, they saw nothing and proceeded to bed. However on Wednesday morning he realized what happened “I noticed the main door had a hole in it. I looked down and saw a piece of metal, like a slug” On further inspection, the former Prime Minister noticed that “the door had been shot through,” and that the rear passenger side window of his wife’s vehicle had been shattered. Musa who was Prime Minister between 1998 and 2008, said he proceeded to report the matter to the police who responded immediately. He told reporters that he and his wife had receiv

4 spectacular sunsets on Caye Caulker
The Belizian island of Caye Caulker (pronounced “key” Caulker) is known for its slow-paced lifestyle and no-worries attitude with a gorgeous Caribbean backdrop. We spent about five days on the lazy island of Caye Caulker, so we had plenty of opportunities to experience one of its greatest charms: its sunsets. I’ve seen some beautiful sunsets in my life, but Caye Caulker’s definitely rank near the top with their vibrant hues of blue, pink, and orange. Here are four of my favorite sunsets from our time on Caye Caulker:

Actun Tunichil Muknal Pictures
Wow! These are the best pictures of ATM ever! Check out some of Ben Kim's amazing pictures from when Pacz Tours took him through the cave last weekend. Spectacular pictures! "Just got done with post processing this assignment. It takes my back to my roots in adventure and travel. I did a lot of caving when I was a bit younger. ATM Cave was an absolute pleasure to photograph. I have to give a really, really, big thanks to Jamaal Crawford at PACZ Tours for inviting me and Jaime Awe at NICH for making this possible. What a great way to start off the new year!"


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Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
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