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Specials and Events

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

The February 3rd, 2013 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • No Arrest Yet In The Murder of Steven Valencia:
    An arrest is yet to be made in the shooting death of Steven Valencia, 40, who was fatally shot inside his home at around 8:30 pm on the night of Friday, January 25, 2013. San Ignacio police reports receiving the 911 call from the victim himself who reportedly told police that an intruder was at his back door trying to break it down. Valencia reportedly stayed on the telephone with the officer right up until he was fatally shot and killed by the intruder. While the police rushed to the scene, valuable time was lost as they mistakenly wasted time checking the Pasadita Bar located across the street from Valencia’s residence. By the time the police rushed over to the right location it was too late as they came upon the lifeless body of Steven Valencia, face downwards, in a large pool of blood, on the floor inside his bedroom.
  • Canadian Man Allegedly Falls To Death Inside Police Cell:
    As the police investigate the police, it is reported that an internal investigation has been ordered into the circumstances leading to the death of a Canadian national detained by San Ignacio police. Acting on a report received at around 10:30 pm on Saturday, January 26, of a suspected dead body on the ground in the Savannah Area, near the Welcome Center in San Ignacio, a team of policemen rushed to the scene where they encountered a male Caucasian laying face down on the ground. The man was aroused by the police and, with the high aroma of alcoholic beverage coupled with his inability to stand on his own, was suspected to have been in high state of drunkenness.
  • Laid To Rest Master John Pinelo Sr.:
    It is with profound sadness that we join the community, and indeed the nation, in the expression of sincere condolences as we record the passing of a trade union giant, career teacher and principal, loving father, brother, uncle and true friend, Master John Pinelo Sr., MBE. After battling with cancer for several years, the 64 year old former President of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) passed away quietly at home in San Ignacio on Saturday, January 26, 2013. John Pinelo was born in Trapiche, Santa Elena, Cayo on November 24, 1948. He attended Santa Elena RC School and started teaching as a Pupil Teacher in 1964.
  • Food For Thought - "To ICJ or Not to ICJ?":
    The question that will be put to Belizeans in the Referendum this October is whether or not to take the still unresolved Belize-Guatemala dispute to the International Court of Justice for resolution. October seems a bit far down the road to some, but just around the corner to others. Somewhat like the threat of Guatemalan military invasion. For many older people, this was just a moment ago. To the younger generation? Ancient history. Something they themselves have no first-hand experience with. But while the historical animosity and failed attempts at diplomatic resolution form part of the collective historical memory for all adult Belizeans, ultimately it will be the ability, or inability, of the older heads to put the territorial dispute to rest. No matter the outcome, this will be our legacy to our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and all future generations.
  • The World Trike Tour Reached Belize!:
    On July 21, 2012 the German adventurers Andreas Zmuda and his partner Doreen Kroeber began there 100,000 miles trip around the world in a three-wheel, weight-shift ultralight plane, a kind of "flying motorbike", aim to set seven world records! There trip is planned to last approximately four years before landing in Sydney on August 31st, 2016. They will cross five continents, 74 countries and three oceans. Right now they make a brief stop till middle of February at Central Farm airstrip in Cayo and Placencia before flying to Honduras. Difficult weather conditions, delays caused by flat tires, a broken radio and long maintenance times have made every day and stage a new adventure. The traveling duo will document their four-year journey in their blog with detailed reports and photos with help from close-to-theaction 3-D cameras on the trike's wings. The trike can also be tracked on their website, Trike- Globetrotter.com.
  • Bidding Farewell To A Friend By A Colleague And Friend:
    BY: Mr. George Frazer, Colleague Educator and Trade Unionist. We are gathered here today-family, past and present educators, trade union leaders, members, sympathizers and friends to celebrate the Life, memory, achievements and contributions of our dear departed Brother, the late, John Pinelo Sr., husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle and friend; a humble, dedicated and great leader…who has inspired and touched many of our lives for the better and who has impacted many positive changes in the education and trade union system and movement of Belize and even beyond. John was a true, committed, visionary and fearless leader; a dedicated, loving and trusted familyman and friend, who, many times, went beyond the call of duty, even at great, personal sacrifice and that of his family to see and get things done.
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The San Pedro Sun

Wolfe’s Woofers: Organic Vegetables
Don't Panic! It's Organic! Buying vegetables gets complicated when having to explain what organic means.

Doctor Love: Competition between friends
The scenario: 2 friends, and 1 always copying what the other does. Should the first friend speak up?

Misc Belizean Sources

A Tribute To The Late Belizean Mayan Activist Julian Cho
In 1996, Belizean Mayan activist Julian Cho visited Washington in the United States to draw attention to the plight of the Belizean Mayans and to stop 17 logging concessions that that the Belize government under the Esquivel Administration had granted to international logging companies, one in particular, the Malaysian logging giant Atlantic Industries, to log on Mayan ancestral lands. A law suit was filed against the Belizean government to stop the logging but Cho who died mysteriously afterwards did not live to see the fruits of his struggle as the Belizean Mayas won an unprecedented victory against government in the Belize supreme court a few years later. Today illegal logging continues to plague Belize's Ministry of Natural Resources and its forestry department under the Barrow administration. The documentary celebrates the struggle of this Belizean revolutionary.

Exclusive Economic Zone (Maritime) BELIZE ?
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm in the north, 3 nm in the south; note - from the mouth of the Sarstoon River to Ranguana Cay, Belize's territorial sea is 3 nm; according to Belize's Maritime Areas Act, 1992, the purpose of this limitation is to provide a framework for negotiating a definitive agreement on territorial differences with Guatemala (source CIA factbook-1999)

Commentary: The ICJ and the Belize-Guatemala issue: A den of strategy and deceit
By Frank Edward Paco Smith, Jr., JP This past week the government of Belize (GOB) launched its “(mis)education campaign” involving the push to take the matter of Guatemala’s unfounded claim on Belize’s sovereign territory to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a supposed “final determination”. I have pulled no punches in terms of my assessment as to why those vested with the responsibility of governing and ensuring the well-being of Belize have embarked on this illogical and seemingly detrimental path for the nation. Simply put, sound reason has given way to the self-interests that accompany the prospects of obtaining a fair share of upwards of US$15 million in order to engage and facilitate the aforementioned campaign, as well as to carry out the referendum. With that said, this article deals with other salient issues that accompany the potentially treacherous and highly questionable path on which the GOB seeks to guide the nation of Belize.

Belize Cancer Society AGM
The Belize Cancer Society is having their 15th annual general meeting today at the George Price Centre in Belmopan at 7pm.

John Paul II JC Launch
The John Paul II Junior College at Mount Carmel High School had their launch last night for the MCHS graduates. "MCHS requests the presence of Mt Carmel graduates at the launching of the John Paul II Junior College. The evening will include a presentation followed by entertainment and refreshments. Hope to see you there!"

Bang the Drum All Day
First of all I want to apologise for including the same photo twice in yesterday’s edition. I know quite a few of you love (sic) the rebar photos. And you cannot have too much of a good thing! But it was just plain sloppiness on my part. Rainy spells for much of the morning allied to the fact that the dreaded Spurs stole ( OK I am a little biased) three points from West Bromwich Albion made for an uninspiring morning. That was until I heard the sound of drums in the distance. I got my camera and went to sit on the veranda and very shortly after this the cause of the drumming appeared, it was the Island Bonita Marching Band on a charity drive on the beach to raise funds to buy uniforms. Where else but Belize can you sit on your veranda and see sights (and hear sounds – but cannot share these with you) like these?

CTV3

Unions Tight Lipped About Meeting With Prime Minister
The Prime Minister of Belize met his promise of meeting with the teachers and unions for dialogue today in Belmopan City. As was expected, everyone was anxious to get the ball rolling and both sides described it as cordial, amicable and respectable. This meeting was requested after a massive demonstration on Tuesday of this week in which Minister of Education Patrick Faber calls it notable. Teachers were requesting a 30% salary increment. Well, tonight word is that agreements were met between the unions and the government, even though the Belize National Teachers Union seemed to have had a setback when their union representative, Jose Castellanos, did not attend the meeting today. Suggestions and concrete proposals were made but neither side went into detail. “It was a cordial meeting, a lot of suggestions and concrete proposals were presented. We cannot go into the details of those proposals until we’ve discussed it with our membership. But we must say we want to thank the Prime Minister for having this cordial meeting. And it was a mutual respect on both sides and so we’ll go back to our people before we dispel anything to the media.” Luke Palacio, president of the Belize National Teachers Union, stated that a way forward was agreed to.

Corozal Resident Sentenced To 5 Years In Jail
Corozal resident Natalie Coleman has been sentence to five years in prison. Coleman was charged on January 23rd, after she was found guilty of keeping unlicensed ammunition consisting of (4) 16 gauge cartridges. According to reports, officers searched the house of 22 year old Randy Dominguez in Biscayne Village, sometime last December. Dominguez is Coleman’s boyfriend and reports are that when police arrived at the house, Dominguez ran out through the back door leaving Coleman to face the police alone. Officers searched the house and found the ammunition in one of the bedrooms and since Coleman was the only person present at the time, she was arrested and consequently charged for the offence. In her defence, Coleman told the court that she was simply visiting and that she does not reside at the house but rather in Libertad, Corozal. The judge did not buy into the explanation and served Coleman with the maximum penalty which is 5 years in jail which she began serving immediately.

Bridge Linking Mexico And Belize Complete
A new bridge at the Belize/Mexico border has been in works for years. The commencement of the construction was dated to initiate in 2007 by both Mexico and Belize. Mexico started construction of their side of the bridge and has completed their task four years ago in 2009. Belize however began construction on our side of the bridge way back in 2007 as was agreed and still could not complete their part of the task in 2012. That is until recently when Mexico turned into the Good Samaritan. The Quintana Roo Ministry of Communications and Transport decided to pick up the slack and invested four million dollars to complete the infrastructure at the border providing all labour and materials. Today we took a tour to the work site.

Three Students Charged for Drug Trafficking
In last night’s newscast, we brought to you the story of the group of students from Orange Walk Technical High School that was arrested by Orange Walk Police about 3:40 in the afternoon. According to reports, school officials called the police because they believed that the group of students was in possession of drugs on the compound. When police arrived minutes later they noticed the group acting suspiciously and so proceeded to conduct a search on the group which led them to the discovery of about 9 grams of marijuana. Reports are that some of the drugs was already bagged for sale. Of the group only three students were charged including a female student who attempted to escape from police. The trio, who are all 14 years old were charged for drug trafficking.

Family Of Luis Sosa Claims He Was Given Bogus Charges
The last we reported on 26 year old Jose Luis Sosa was on Tuesday when he handed himself over to Orange Walk Police in the presence of his lawyer, Kevin Arthurs. According to police, Sosa was wanted in connection to a recent burglary that occurred in Belize City. Arthurs told us that police told him that Sosa will be transported to Belize City Police Station to be question and that police had 48 hours to charge him with a crime. Two things to note: Sosa was charged but he was never taken to Belize City and it didn’t take police 48 hours to charge him. In fact he was charged that very Tuesday morning. According to family relatives, three of the four police officers made an official complaint stating that Sosa tried to hit them with a blunt object. And so, Sosa was charged with what the family calls bogus charges. However it is still unclear if the family will pursue the possibility of suing the Orange Walk Police Station for the lethal force used on Sosa. Sosa was shot on the right leg by a junior officer when the four policemen went to detain him at his residence at San Lorenzo Housing Site on Thursday January 24th.

Belize Medical Mission Offers Services In Corozal
As the teachers are currently in the negotiating process of obtaining a salary raise, Belizeans on a whole are finding it difficult to make ends meet. With the price of every day groceries at an all-time high, the buying power of a dollar is no longer what it used to be. In order to make these ends come close to meeting, many Belizeans sacrifice many things for that to occur. Many families give up family trips, vacations, new clothes, among many others things. One of the major sacrifices which households make is that of receiving proper medical attention. Whenever illnesses or health complications arise, parents would quickly self-medicate rather than going to the hospital and paying for proper medical services. Only when the pain cannot be medicated, will Belizeans then seek a doctor’s assistance.

Walk For Peace Held In Corozal
2012 has been a very bloody year in the country of Belize with murders made the news headlines almost every other day. Last year recorded an unequalled number of homicides occurring between January first and December thirty-first giving it the most murders in a year. As a result Belizeans have come to adopt an uneasy stance of fearing for their lives. The government of Belize has attempted to change that scheme of things by maximizing on the number of police patrols and implementing healthy programs. However, it is still not enough hence why today an initiative in order to invite peace to our country with the Bishop’s Walk for Peace. The walk for peace started off at the Rio Hondo in the north and is intended to end at the Sarstoon River Banks on February 13th. “It began this morning a little after six o’clock at the foot of the bridge which is intended to go to the Sarstoon River. The objective this morning it to bring awareness, to promote this culture of peace because ther is space for peace here in Belize and with the crimes that is going up there is a bigger need to bring awareness of this culture of peace that we are losing.”

LOVE TV

New Commander for the BDF
A new commander of the Belize Defence Force has been installed. The former Lieutenant Colonel David Jones is the new Brigadier General of the BDF. He took over command of the BDF today from retired Brigadier General Dario Tapia. Brigadier General Jones takes over command of Belize’s military as the BDF celebrates 35 years of service to the nation. Love TV’s Natalie Novelo and video journalist Myles Gillett report from Price Barracks, Ladyville.

New rules to obtain a Belize passport
The passports regulation has been revised and amended to take effect on March 1. According to the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality, the amendments are intended to strengthen the application process and to ensure that persons applying for passports are who they say they are and are Belizeans. The Department of Immigration and nationality will be conducting a countrywide campaign to introduce the new process to the public.

Trade Union leaders and government meet in Belmopan to discuss salary adjustments
Three days after threatening to strike if their memberships did not get their salary increase, today the Presidents of the Belize National Teacher’s Union, Luke Palacio and Marvin Blades of the Public Service Union were giving signals of a different tone. They, along with the President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, Dylan Reneau and lead BNTU negotiator, George Frazer met today with the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, and the entire Cabinet in the Cabinet Room in Belmopan and started what was the first in a series of meetings towards reaching common ground. Noticeably absent from the discussion was Jose Castellanos, the President of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers, who earlier this week had presented to the media, figures showing how the Government could afford the raise. He has not availed himself to the media or his fellow union leaders, who today could not answer our question of why he opted out of the negotiations at the eleventh hour. But the meeting did proceed along as planned and during the lunch hour, the PM invited the media in for a briefing on how far they have reached. The mood seemed cordial and indeed, even though they could not give definitive outlooks, when they spoke, there was no visible tension. PSU and BNTU Presidents, Marvin Blades and Luke Palacio spoke first. Prime Minister Barrow also did not delve into the details of the discussion in light of the fact that the negotiations are ongoing. A couple of the proposals that the unions had on their list going into the discussions included, among others, a more airtight system within the General Sales Tax Department that would improve revenues by around 30 million dollars per annum, trimming the size of the Cabinet, which would result in significant savings. Coupled with these, the unions were also relying on the 2014 projected growth of the Gross Domestic Product. As BNTU President, Luke Palacio said, the union leaders will meet with their Councils of Management at the Belmopan Convention Hotel on Saturday to go over what strides were made today.

Acquittal, drug trafficking and theft on the crime blotter
Twenty-one year old Timroy Neal, charged with the murder of Enrique Orellano, was acquitted of the charge today in Belmopan Supreme Court. A confession statement that Neal allegedly made was not admitted as evidence because it was obtained from Neal, who was only 15 at the time, in the absence, of his mother. As a result, Justice Denis Hanomansingh directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty. The incident occurred on December 27, 2006, in Roaring Creek Village. According to the evidence, Orellano and another person had an altercation and during it Orellano was stabbed in his heart. Neal was represented by attorney Bryan Neal. Senior Crown Counsel Cecil Ramirez represented the prosecution. Twenty-seven year old Daniel Flowers, one of four persons charged with drug trafficking for 428 grams of cannabis, was fined $10,000.00 today after he pleaded guilty to the charge. He was given until April 30 to pay. If he defaults on payment he will serve four years. Flowers also pled guilty to possession of one gram of cannabis. He was fined $400.00 and he was given until April 30 to pay. If he defaults on payment he will serve four months. The sentences are to run consecutively. The charge of drug trafficking against the others was withdrawn. They are Daryl Mayen, Godfrey Jones and Evan Neal. Mayen was also charged with the possession of two grams of cannabis, a charge to which he pled not guilty. He was released on a bail of $1,000.00. The bust occurred around 4:30 p.m. yesterday. Members of the GSU went to a house on Lizarraga Avenue and when they searched it they found the cannabis in a garbage bag in a garbage bin. Twenty-five year old Nyokia Smith, who was convicted of theft of a ball of Dutch cheese from a supermarket, was charged with the theft of a box of cool aid from Bottom Dollar Store when she appeared in court today. She pled not guilty to the charge and she was released on a bail of $2,000.00 and her case was adjourned until March 4. The incident occurred yesterday. A Security guard at the store reported to the police that he saw Smith take the cool aid from the shelf and he detained her until the police came and took her to the police station.

Passenger bus runs off the George Price Highway
There were two accidents at night this week that reportedly involved trailers that were not outfitted with reflectors. On Thursday night, a commercial bus ran off the road and crashed into a pole before coming to a halt in what could have easily ended in a mass fatality situation. Love News spoke with Andy Shaw, the owner of Shaw’s Bus Line, who told us what happened. Shaw said that the loss alone in terms of the value of the buss is around 22 thousand dollars, plus the commercial runs that it provided.

Pediatric clinic held on Sunday in Belize City
A free clinic for children suffering from bone problems will be held on Sunday in Belize City. The orthopedic clinic is being carried out as part of the World Pediatric Project, Belize Chapter. Khandice Tillett is the local project manager. The clinic will be held on Sunday at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Tillett says those seeking to take advantage of the free service should come early and bring along their Social Security Card. The clinic is scheduled to start at eight o’clock on Sunday morning and continue through to five o’clock in the evening or until all the patients have been consulted. Tillett says that the surgery schedule will be released on Sunday evening.

Nutrition program under review in Toledo
Officials of the Ministry of Health and representatives of the World Bank Japanese Social Development Fund Grant met yesterday with members of the Toledo District Health Council. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

Our Lady of Guadeloupe High School holds science fair
It has been around for ten years now and today, Our Lady of Guadalupe High School on the George Price Boulevard in Belmopan set aside today to showcase what its students have learned in the areas of Science and Business. Love News stopped in and found out that there were also incentives for the winning groups. The school has an enrollment of about 4 hundred students.

Toledo community group elects news executives
A community group in Punta Gorda town has chosen its next set of leaders. Our Toledo correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Blogs

Touring Marco Gonzalez Maya Ruin with Jan Brown
I will leave you with lots of pictures and a A few facts I pulled from Marco Gonzalez Maya site. - Marco Gonzalez the first Maya Site National Park on Ambergris Caye. - Local Sanpedranos and visitors have known about the 7.57 acre site for many years. - in the summer of 2010, an archaeological field school led by Dr. Elizabeth Graham and Dr. Scott Simmons caused the need to build a temporary footbridge over a quarter of a mile into the site. - Ambergris Caye was home to an estimated 20,000 Maya traders at the height of their occupation of the island. - Pieces have been identified from a span of 200AD to 1500 AD. Larger pot fragments can be seen which have remains of painting whereas others are decorated with typical Buk-Phase-style incised designs. - Many of the pieces excavated during the 1980s indicated trade connections with Lamanai. - This eco-tour is unlike any other as you walk through history, walking the grounds is like a step back into time. The black soil is blanketed by broken pottery many centuries old. It is an awe inspiring experience to be so close to the ancient Maya, to imagine platforms supporting houses with thatched roofs, to visualize the making of jewelry from Queen Conch and sea shells and shark’s teeth. A sharp eye may see pieces of obsidian and flint used as cutting tools or a stone ax and spearhead. - Future plans, on-site Visitor Center containing artifacts and exhibits of island lifestyles. Educational Center with classes and tours for the over 2,000 school children on the island of Ambergris Caye. Guided tours through the archaeological site and eco-tours including birding, animals and creatures found within the Site.

Is a Tomato a Fruit or a Vegetable?
When it’s locally grown, it not only tastes better, but also supports the lives of many in the community. Mr. Mick Fleming holds his hand out and displays the seeds he has picked up from the Chaa Creek Maya Farm on the 365-hectare private reserve in western Belize. Mr. Mick, his wife Lucy and their Maya Farm staff have been farming on this land on and off for over 30 years. Every living thing has a life story, and the life story of a tomato can be very different depending on where they are grown and for what purpose. The biggest differences between a tomato grown on the Maya Farm and a tomato that is imported is the quality of the nutrition and taste it provides to our guests, the consumer. We do our very best to produce the most natural tomatoes you can find in our area! The Aztecs and ancient Maya of Mesoamerica used the fruit in their cooking. The exact date of domestication is unknown but by 500BC, it was already being cultivated in southern Mexico and Belize. The pueblo people are thought to have believed that those who witnessed the ingestion of tomato seeds were blessed with powers of divination. The large, lumpy tomato, a mutation from a smoother, smaller fruit, originated in Mesoamerica, and may be the direct ancestor of some modern cultivated tomatoes.

International Sources

Do A-Rod & Other MLB Stars Have Ties with Grads of Belize Offshore Med School?
Bosch started a number of failed medical businesses before returning from Belize in 2009 with a degree from the Central America Health Sciences University, according to Miami New Times. He wore a white lab coat with “Dr. Tony Bosch” embroidered on it, the article said, and a medical degree from the university hung on his wall. Many believed he was a medical doctor, including Romero, and by looks alone, he played the part well. He was smart and sounded well informed when he spoke about treatment, Romero said.

Family of Calgary man who suffered fatal injuries in Belize not buying police story
Family members of a Calgary father who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody in Belize have deemed police claims about what happened “unequivocally false.” Jeffrey Furgala, 35, was found badly hurt in his jail cell early Jan. 27 after being taken in by police, who claim they found him heavily intoxicated the night before. He died in hospital Tuesday. But claims from local authorities published by Belize media that Furgala slipped or fell are not true, reads a statement provided to Metro on Sunday. “The family has been apologized to by the Belize media for this statement, and they have since retracted it,” the statement continues. Furgala was remembered by friends last week as a skilled martial artist who was always there to lend a hand to others. Police are expected to shed new light on their joint civil-criminal investigation Monday, according to Patrick Jones with Belize media outlet Love TV. But while one claim about Furgala’s death appears to have been diffused, Jones told Metro a police source close to the investigation has now informed him that the Calgarian was not alone in his holding cell as previously thought. “There are so many questions still at this point,” Jones said, adding a number of people have been harmed while local police custody in recent months. “There is a lot of mistrust with the local authorities.” Media in Belize are reporting an autopsy conducted on the body of Calgary father Jeffrey Furgala on Friday determined he suffered a fractured skull and concussion that could be consistent with a fall. Some members of Furgala’s family have journeyed to Belize and are working with authorities in their ongoing investigation, a friend who requested their name be withheld said Sunday.