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The San Pedro Sun

Illicit activities in the Bacalar Chico area affecting wildlife and ecology
On a recent trip to northern Ambergris Caye, Green Reef took notice of various illicit activities occurring adjacent to the Bacalar Chico Reserve and the Basil Jones Area. These activities include the dumping of garbage, hunting activity, the harvesting of wood and black soil. While the hunting and deforestation is attributed to the actions of individuals, the dumping of garbage is believed to be the act of neighboring resorts in the area. It is a serious matter indeed and most definitely needs to be dealt with swiftly by the relevant authorities. Green Reef took the initiative to notify several agencies including the Belize Forest Department. Clearing of land is a most serious matter, especially so close to a reserve that serves as a natural habitat for many wild animals and general ecology.

12th Annual Industry Presentation highlights progress in tourism industry in Belize
Belize-New-LogoThe Belize Tourism Board (BTB) held their 12th Annual Industry Presentation for the first time outside of Belize City. Held on Ambergris Caye on Friday January 11th, the event saw the unveiling of a new marketing logo for Belize, as well as the launching of a new three-year campaign. At the presentation, Minister of Tourism and Culture Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. highlighted the BTB’s accomplishments and indicated that despite challenges, there was an increase of overnight tourism arrivals in Belize. Heredia was the first to officially speak and in his remarks stated that Belize’s tourism growth was far greater than expected in 2012. “Despite economic challenges, our country has truly performed like no other. The BTB reports that the industry has seen an increase of over 10% in overnight tourism arrivals in 2012, compared to 2011. To put this into perspective, the World Tourism and Travel Council indicated late last year that there was only a 2.7% growth in tourism arrivals globally in 2012 compared to the year before. This signifies that Belize’s performance has been extraordinary and establishes us as truly a major contender in our region’s tourism market,” said Heredia. He also said that all airlines that service Belize have indicated that flight destinations to Belize were sold from December 15, 2012 to January 15, 2013. The Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (PGIA) reported an increase of 16% arrivals in 2012 compared to 2011.

San Pedro Police placed under scrutiny over late night raids
Police-NewsThe San Pedro Police Department is back in the news as an investigation is ongoing into the allegations made by a senior citizen of San Pedro Town. The citizen claims that during a search conducted by four policemen at his apartment, a substantial sum of money went missing. The man, who is over 65 years old, made a formal report to the former Officer Commanding (OC) San Pedro Police Formation Assistant Superintendent of Police Vienne Robinson who commissioned an investigation. The San Pedro Sun contacted Robinson, who claims that there are a lot of inaccuracies in the report regarding the claimant. Robinson explained that the investigation stemmed from a search conducted by four police elements attached to the San Pedro Police Station, who on the strength of a warrant searched the property of the 65-year-old male citizen on Tuesday January 8th. The citizen claimed the surprise search was conducted at 2:30AM but according to ASP Robinson, their investigation indicates that the search could not have been that early since the police vehicle was not assigned to the officers that have been identified as part of the ongoing investigation. “A written statement was taken by me, but at no time did the man call any specific officer’s name. However we have indentified the officers that were on duty on the shift; we are aware [and know] that a search was conducted because of a warrant that was issued. There was reasonable suspicion and for that reason a search warrant was issued… an investigation has started and based on the investigation and the outcome, it will be determined what the course of action will be,” said Robinson, who has since been transferred but said the investigation has been handed to Inspector of Police attached to San Pedro Police Station Reynaldo Pook.

Central American Media participate in Crisis Management Tourism Workshop
“The media is a key partner in shaping the image of a country,” highlighted Marcelo Risi Principal Media Officer of the United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in his opening remarks at the International Seminar for tourism stakeholders and media houses held in Guatemala City on the 14th and 15th of January. The purpose of the workshop was to look at crisis management and its effects on a country’s tourism industry and how to better involved the media as a stakeholder especially when having to report on issues that have an impact on the country’s image. Tourism-Media-Conference-Guatemala-3The participants of the workshop came from a wide-cross section of communicators such as internationally known travel writers; well-known bloggers; international, national and local media personalities. A delegation of five from Belize was invited to attend the conference where they shared ideas and even participated in a debate as to how the world perceives tourism in Belize and how the media in Belize perceives tourism. During one of the debates, the communicators agreed that there needs to be more ongoing dialogue between communicators, specifically the media, bloggers, travel writers and the tourism stakeholders, especially in time of crisis. “When there is crisis in a situation affecting the image of the country, the media and journalists hate to be kept in the dark.

Misc Belizean Sources

Rebecca Stirm Fashion Show is One Week Away

Rebecca Stirm's Fashion Show is only a week away. January 26th, at 6:30pm at the Princess Hotel in BC. Here's the audio for the commercial. "Rebecca Stirm's new collection of ready-to-wear separates, cocktail dresses, and luxurious evening gowns, paired with Belizean Jewelry Designer Khadija Assales' [Caribbean Fashion Week- 2012] NEW collection of handcrafted jewelry."

Moonracer Farm Wins Trip Advisor Award
Moonracer Farms, ranked number 1 in San Ignacio on Trip Advisor for Bed and Breakfasts, has won yet another Travelers' Choice award. Best in its class. Congratulations, Moonracer! "Staying at Moonracer was a fun and unique experience! It was like camping only way better! The cabin we stayed in had a screened in porch with a hammock, perfect for hanging out and listening to the jungle wildlife. Tom and Marge were outstanding hosts. We enjoyed the dinners in the palapa and talking about our adventures with them. Marge is an excellent cook and made sure when we went out hiking or visiting temples, we had a superb lunch packed in a cooler. Everything was provided to make our stay enjoyable; flashlights, swim towels, etc. Tom and Marge also suggested some excellent tours which we really enjoyed. If you're looking for a unique experience, Moonracer is definitely a must! "


Ten Things You Need To Know About the Coconut Orchid
Maxillaria tenuifolia, abbreviated Max. tenuifolia, is a unique orchid that has a strong coconut scent that smells just like a Pina Coloda. According to the American Orchid Society, this orchid has recently been reclassified as Maxillariella tenuifoli. Here are ten things you need to know about the coconut orchid. 1.) This species of orchid was discovered near Veracruz, Mexico by Karl Theodore Hartweg, a German Botanist. 2.) The coconut orchid grows at low elevations from Mexico to Central America and is recognized by its long, thin leaves and deep red blooms. The orchid draws its name from its distinctive scent, and is propagated by dividing clumps of pseudobulbs into smaller separate plants.

If it Don't Fit
Another chilly start to the day. But, I am not complaining because I have seen the photographs of what it is like in the UK. Blizzards, blackouts, schools closed, industry adversely affected and predictions that it could cost the economy £11 million. So, my thoughts as I sit on the veranda feeling slightly cold in shorts and ‘T’ shirt, are with my family and friends in the UK. Had breakfast whilst ‘overdosing’ on the choice of Premiership games to watch on TV. I chose the Liverpool v Norwich game ( good choice because there were five goals) but switched channels throughout to keep in touch with the Manchester City v Fulham and Newcastle v Reading games. Enough to whet my appetite for the Chelsea v Arsenal game that kicks off at 6.30 am tomorrow morning. A curtailed time on the veranda for me tomorrow. Having had my fix of football it was time for Rose ( she spent the morning making jewellery) and I to head off to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. As we approached our land we heard the exceedingly welcome sound of the concrete mixer churning away. It’s a good sound for us because when it’s being used there are normally tangible results – we can see the concrete and the shapes that it is forming.

A Gala in Washington D.C. to Benefit the Children of Belize
Attention Belizeans, Friends of Belizeans, and Everyone living in the D.C. area and surrounding states

International Sources

On Mission to Help the Environment With Surfing
It was around five years ago that Brazilian surfer Jairo Lumertz got the idea to join his two passions of surfing and protecting nature by creating surfboards made out of plastic bottles. The 39-year-old surfer is now traveling from beach to beach with his girlfriend Carolina Scorsin promoting his invention to help children take up surfing and reduce waste at the same time. Lumertz’s “eco surfboards,” which he first developed in 2007, consist of bottles supported by PVC tubes and glue. The bottles are treated with dry ice to make them stronger and more floatable. A standard board is made up of 41 bottles, and a stand up paddleboard is made using 73 bottles.

Costa Rica tops Belize on Arrieta goal at 2013 UNCAF Copa Centroamericana
Costa Rica took the field for the third and last match on Friday at the National Stadium, ending the 2013 UNCAF Copa Centroamericana's launch day with a challenging 1-0 Group A triumph over a resolute Belize. The result improved the Ticos' record in tournament openers to 10 wins and two draws in 12 games, including four victories against Belize. Before the visiting defense had an opportunity to get its bearings, Costa Rica came close to netting within the first minute. Forward Jairo Arrieta nailed a right-footed shot off the post of Woodrow Wilson's goal. As the half wore on and the Ticos continued to apply pressure, Belize looked increasingly dangerous on the counter and created some half chances.

Antivirus pioneer John McAfee reveals new details to Dateline NBC
It’s been more than two months since Greg Faull, a 52-year-old American expatriate living in the tropical paradise of Belize, was found murdered in his beachfront home. It was an execution, plain and simple—Faull was shot once, in the head, and there was no sign of struggle or robbery. Local police are no closer to solving this crime today than they were two months ago. The person they would most like to talk to is Faull’s neighbor: the wealthy American Internet entrepreneur John McAfee. But McAfee hid from police, then fled the country in early December. He is now safely back in the United States, and about to cash-in on book and movie deals about his life on the run. You probably think you know the story already. A tattooed tycoon with a bevy of teenaged lovers and a fondness for guns taunts the police from secret hideouts. Armed with a laptop and smart phone, he simultaneously maintains his innocence while hammering the Belizean government with scattershot claims of rampant corruption. But you probably don’t know the half of it.