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#457712 - 02/09/13 09:46 AM Today's Belize News: February 9, 2013
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The San Pedro Sun

Controversy continues over Guatemala’s INGUAT map claiming Belize
Guatemala-Tourism-Publication-Map-2The story of Guatemala’s territorial claim over Belize is only getting bigger. After The San Pedro Sun story of that country’s tourism publication INGUAT featuring Belize as a part of Guatemala hit the web, there is even more to report. The San Pedro Sun can confirm that Tourism Minister of Belize, Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. was gifted a signed copy of the publication, and upon being notified of the offending map, has officially written his Guatemalan counterpart. The matter of the map has been brought up at a Cabinet meeting, and it was agreed that a formal complaint be launched at the next SICA level ministerial meeting. While that venue has not been determined, Heredia is officially filing a complaint/protest at the next meeting scheduled within the next few months.

Alleged police brutality lands popular Caye Caulker Tour Guide in critical condition
The Professional Standard Branch Unit of the Police Department has launched an internal investigation into an alleged case of police brutality on the island of Caye Caulker. Well-known tour guide, Bert Nicholas, also known as “Ras Creek”, remains in a critical condition at the Intensive Care Unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). It is alleged that his injuries came about after a January 11th confrontation with police that resulted in several head injuries on Nicholas. The injuries went unnoticed until Thursday, January 31st when he began complaining of severe headaches. His common law wife Ann Sanson told The San Pedro Sun that Nicholas was onboard his boat, Heritage Cruze 2 and was brought in from the Caye Caulker Shark Ray Channel to a dock on the island by officers. Sanson went on to say that when Nicholas and his tourists were brought to the dock, a confrontation with members of Tourism Police Unit erupted, eventually leading to the police executing a beating on Nicholas. “He took out a tour around the island because it was one of the tourist’s birthday…The tourism police spotted them on the front dock and that is when he was beaten and taken to jail. He was beaten to the head and lips. He stayed two days in jail and then the police officers decided to take him to court on Tuesday (January 15th). He was not taken to a medical doctor he was just taken to jail… He never did tell me he was hit on his head. It was until Wednesday (January 30th) that he began complaining of a bad headache and that is when he said he was hit on the head,” said Sanson. She explained that the following day Nicholas’ headache got worse to the point that he became unconscious and by Saturday he had to be airlifted to Belize City for medical attention.

2012: A Remarkable Year for Belize’s Tourism Industry
2012 was an exceptional year for Belize’s Tourism Industry, particularly for overnight tourism. Overnight arrivals saw an overall 10.7% increase, in comparison to 2011 arrivals. In 2012, there were 26,872 more visitors than in 2011, recording 277,135 visitors for the entire year. The American market made up 63.7% of this total, while Canadians made up 8.7%. Airport arrivals saw a 16.3% increase in 2012, having 211,747 tourists arriving at the Philip Goldson International Airport; therefore, making up 76.4% of the total overnight arrivals. The total airport arrivals for 2012 were 211,747. Reflecting the overnight arrivals, airport arrivals were at its highest in March, with 25,982 visitors, and December followed with 23,312 visitors.

Looking back at Carnaval, through the eyes of Mrs. Tomasita Gomez
Tomasita Gomez“Carnaval is not really carnaval without the painting,” said the 84 year old Tomasita Reymunda Guerrero de Gomez on a warm Monday, January 4th afternoon as she sat on her couch in her living room. Señora Tomasita was reminiscing on her childhood and teenage days in the fishing community, back when the island had not more than 500 residents altogether. “There were only two roads and the beach front. The fishing community was from the primary school to near the community cemetery. Our yards were larger and our homes, mostly huts, were far apart and the use of firewood was common and its smoke formed a thick blackness on the pots,” said Mrs. Tomasita, as she explained that with the influx of people to the island, the fishing community slowly began changing, growing, developing and so did the traditions of the island.Carnaval-6 With a very clear and accurate memory of various events on the island, Mrs. Tomasita recalled the days that the island would host celebrations unique to the island; those that were a part of the settlement since the days of her great grandparents. One such event was the island’s carnaval celebration – one that Mrs. Tomasita said the island looked forward since it brought “alegria en el corazon” (joy to heart) of the children, adolescent and even the grown adults. “It was a festivity of painting that children and adults looked forward to. The parents would give their kids powder to go and paint and they would say to us ‘here go paint dad, go paint your brothers’ and it’s something that became a part of us. We all used to paint each other,” said a very cheerful Tomasita as she flashed back with a smile. She remembered the instances when, as teenagers, they would run through the outdoors kitchen huts to paint their peers.

Teachers without Borders work at island schools
Teachers-Without-Borders-5The Masters of Arts in Teaching Program at Christopher Newport University, located in Newport News, Virginia, USA is a rigorous program that serves to educate future teachers. One of the courses that the University offers is a trip to Ambergris Caye, Belize to engage in a multicultural teaching experience for two weeks. During our stay we were assigned to three different schools: San Pedro Roman Catholic School, Holy Cross Primary Anglican and San Pedro High School. At these three schools we were to observe how class was conducted as well as bring our own techniques and incorporate them into lessons. Some of the things that we saw when we arrived were the eagerness of the teachers to receive new ideas and learn from us. They asked us ways of teaching, ways to involve the students and ways to be a better teacher. The children were also very receptive of us being there. They were energetic and truly interested in learning.

Ambergris Today

Belize Boasts Remarkable Year for Tourism Industry 2012
The Belize Tourism Board has just released statistics for the country’s tourism arrivals for the year 2012 and is boasting an exceptional year for Belize’s Tourism Industry, particularly for overnight tourism. With their new Tourism Action Plan in full force and the launch the country’s identity, including a new logo and look, Belize is looking forward to a promising year for tourim in Belize. Overnight arrivals saw an overall 10.7% increase, in comparison to 2011 arrivals. In 2012, there were 26,872 more visitors than in 2011, recording 277,135 visitors for the entire year. The American market made up 63.7% of this total, while Canadians made up 8.7%.

Video Pick: Tommy Bahama Brand Promotes Belize
It was the summer of 2012 when clothing line Tommy Bahama came to Belize and filmed short promotional videos for the company. Here are two video we found on Tommy Bahama’s YouTube page. “Filmed on the beaches of Belize”, as they were described; they are two great clips that show Belize through the eyes of Tommy Bahama. Take a look:

Belizean Cuisine Amuse-bouche at Portofino Restaurant
Portofino Restaurant on Ambergris Caye Highlights Belize Ingredients with Signature Amuse-bouche It’s called an Amuse-bouche (pronounced a,myz?bush) and probably not too many people in Belize are familiar with it because it is typically done at finer restaurants in France and other parts of Europe. They are similar to hors d’oeuvres but smaller in portion and can be described as more whimsical and unique. One such restaurant on Ambergris Caye, Belize that is introducing amuse-bouche to the country is Portofino Restaurant, which has just recently redesigned its menu and introduced new techniques and products. The appetitive is meant to arouse the sense of taste with intense and distinct flavors. It’s typically the chef’s complimentary welcome and designed to entertain your mouth as a preview to the menu items to come. The Amuse-buoche changes from a day to day basis depending on the specialty of the evening and the chef’s creative flow. Before our evening meal at Portofino Restaurant, we were served the ‘Taste of Belize’ amuse-bouche that consisted of a shot of watermelon, Belize’s Marie Sharp habanero sauce, coconut cream and lime zest. Fresh Belizean flavors with the coolness of the watermelon and coconut cream balancing the sharp habanero sauce. It was definitely the perfect beginning to a wonderful dining experience at Portofino.

Misc Belizean Sources

Grand Caribe Belize Resort and Condominiums Recognized as One of the Top 10 Resorts in Central America
Awards are in season at TripAdvisor and Grand Caribe Belize Resort and Condominiums is proud to announce that they have nabbed a spot on TripAdvisor's list of Top 10 Resorts in Central America. Over the past 13 years, TripAdvisor has established itself as the authority on travel information all over the world. With its current user-base of 100 million travelers, and it’s business listings numbering about half a million hotels and half a million restaurants, it is only natural that their member reviews carry immense weight and help millions of travelers plan great vacations each year. Because the results are entirely user-generated, the site has become the most trusted source of insight into travel destinations and accommodations on the planet. Born out of the need for sites that feature authentic user reviews, TripAdvisor aggregates the reviews of its millions of members to determine finalists for its highly prestigious Traveler’s Choice Awards. Grand Caribe’s very first TripAdvisor review was a five star review on July 13, 2010. With 135 traveler reviews to date, Grand Caribe has rapidly climbed among the ranks of top resorts within Belize and all of Central America to finish among the Top 10 – quite an impressive achievement.

New World chief Kelleher still confident of Belize oil discovery
New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW) chief executive Bill Kelleher remains confident that the company will discover oil within its Belize acreage. The shares plummeted last week as the Blue Creek 2 well was determined to be non-commercial. The well did, however, confirm that an active hydrocarbon system exists within the acreage, and live oil shows were measured in both the Y3 and Hillbank reservoir targets. This was not enough to prevent a sharp drop for the New World shares, which at one stage had halved in value, but Kelleher remains undeterred. “I’m not hanging my head, in fact I’m encouraged,” he said in a call with Proactive Investors. “I’m incredibly positive [about the project]. We now know that oil has moved through this area, and we know it has accumulated in massive amounts – I’m talking about hundreds of millions of barrels. “And I believe it is just a matter of time before we crack the code on locating traps, and identifying the differences [in our data] between the sealed and the breached traps. “We’ve learned a lot, and the key thing to take away from this result is that we will make a discovery and we will be producing oil - so sit tight.” The problem with the Blue Creek prospect was that the ‘trap’ - the geological structure that would have contained the hydrocarbons was breached, likely as a result of late tectonic activity.

Ramon's Village Resort "Facebook Give-A-Way"

Treat Head Lice in Children
Mami Tree (Pouteria sapota) The Mami tree bears fruits that have a big seed in the center of each. The seed is used to treat head lice in children. Grind the seed and place in a bucket of water, store it and later wash the child's hair with the solution.

Mardi Gras Today on Burns
Tonight, Serendib will be having their Mardi Gras celebration on Burns avenue. There will be some great live music, food, beads, and beer. See you there. Thanks, Serendib!

Midas All White Pool Party
Midas Resort is having their Pre-Valentines Day All White pool party tonight. They have quite a line up: Mistah Geeh, Black Chiney, Tagg International, DJ Gilla, and many more.

King of Diamonds Birthday Bash Pictures
DJ Fingaz had his King of Diamonds birthday bash at Club Next. Once again, Danny Chung was there to get all the great pictures. Caribbean Coolers sponsored this bash too. They have got to get those into stores.

John Paul II JC Launch Promo
Cayo is getting another junior college, in Benque, at Mount Carmel. The John Paul II Junior College is having their official launch tomorrow evening. Stop by MCHS to find out about their Associates degree programs. They have an epic promo video out for the occasion. Well done! "Soon to be open John Paul II Junior College here in our hometown. This formation will produce free persons who, because they possess the intellectual, moral, and theological virtues, as well as professional competency, can direct themselves to their proper end of attaining true happiness and thus contribute effectively to the authentic good of humanity. Video courtesy of Mr David Brokke"

Channel 7

Hon. King And The Chaos He Caused
Last night, 7news showed you exclusive video of Mark King's brawl at the border. This followed the tantrum he is reported to have thrown in the Princess Casino at the border. At the Princess, he is reported to have confronted Casino staff and security, but the border is where he got into it with police. And we don't have to say allegedly in this case because we have the video which shows him wrestling with a police officer. Last night we got that amateur cell phone video just before the news; today, we've had more time to analyses and dissect it. Daniel Ortiz did that this morning - and here's his play by play of that confrontation:

Unemployment Up to 16%
Unemployment went up from 14.4% in April of 2012 to 16.1% in September of 2012. That 1.7% jump represents over two thousand persons. That's the finding of a national labour force survey was conducted in September, 2012. The statistical institute of Belize says that the jump is mostly attributable to downturns in tourism, citrus and sugar industries as well as to an influx of recent graduates into the job market. The Cayo and Corozal Districts have the highest unemployment rates and Maya's have the highest unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for males went up from 9.1 percent in April to 11.9 percent in September while the rate for females remained constant at an alarming 22.4 percent. Young people, those between the ages of 14 and 24 have the highest unemployment rate at 30% - which is almost double the national unemployment rate of 16.1%. It's highest in Cayo where 33.5% of youths are unemployed.

Director Of Immigration Departs Was She Forced Out?
Director Of the Immigration Department Ruth Meighan is director no more. Meighan had her farewell party this afternoon at Immigration Headquarters in Belmopan. Her term came to an abrupt end after Cabinet took a decision on Tuesday to transfer her to the vacant post of Finance Undersecretary. Today we asked Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse whether she was moved because she could not get along with Minister of State Elvin Penner. He told us quote, that "whatever exists between the minister of state and Ms Meighan was not the deciding factor." He said the fact is that there was a senior post open at the Ministry of Finance for which she was a fit. Hulse added that he hates to lose Meighan with whom he had worked on upgrading passport regulations. We also asked whether five visas recently discovered missing at the Westenr border had anything to do with her departure - and he said absolutely not.

GSU Recovers Items Stolen In Home Cleanout
Yesterday police reported that on Tuesday thieves burglarized the home of a 26year old Customs Officer of Almond Hill Estate, in Western Paradise Village. They stole an assortment of electronic items, jewelry, cash, personal documents and household items all valued at $35,180.00 dollars. Well, the Gang Suppression Unit say they have 4 men from the PIV gang arrested for that burglary. 20 year-old Lloyd Michael Parchue, 22 year-old Cilo Leroy Cherrington, 22 year-old Kareem Shakeem Yorke, and a 16 year-old male student were found in a home on Cannondale Drive in the St. Martin's area on Tuesday - the same day as the burglary.

Was Fire At NYCC Arson?
Right now, officials at the National Youth Cadet Corps are trying to determine the value of the damages caused by a fire which completely destroyed a building on their compound at around 7 p.m. last night. Although the youths who go to this facility are often troubled, the manager told 7News this evening that they had nothing to do with this fire. Here's how he described the blaze: William Swan, Manager - National Youth Cadet Services Corps "I was in the southern part of Belize, in PG coming back to Cadet Corps yesterday evening when I got a call from one of my night staff that one of the store rooms is on fire. I immediately told him to call the fire department and the police and he told me that had already done that which was good. On my return to the compound I found the building completely destroyed and I started a small investigation which you know I will leave it to the police to determine what is the cause. I will not point any fingers, but I have some of the cadets who saw two guys running from behind the building onto the village. We have about three cadets who said that they recognize who the guy is. I will not call names nor will I get involve at this moment, let the police take the course of doing their investigation."

No Change In Case For George Street Mass Murder
It's been almost a month since police have given the public an update on the mass murder on Dean Street. Today, at a handing over ceremony which we'll tell you about shortly, Officer Commanding Eastern Division Miguel Segura explained that there's nothing new to report. Miguel Segura, Officer Commanding Eastern Division "As far as I know the investigation Mr. Dawson has it. In fact we had a foreign British fellow who had a look at it but I am not in a position to say if they had made any developments because what we look in any investigation is who did it. There are many challenges when we look at the area because any investigation that we do at the initial stage (what I called the golden hour) is canvasing witnesses and there is deem way to prove it. Some of these are not forthcoming and I work within the frame of the law. I think at the right time there should be an opportunity that the investigator himself could then give you the media a proper update."

The media caught Segura as he was receiving a donation from the US government through its Central American Regional Security Initiative. Ten brand-new fully compact motorcycles were handed over - a total value of eighty thousand Belize dollars. ACP Segura told the media what the department plans to do with these bikes. Miguel Segura, Officer Commanding Eastern Division "First of all I just wish to express our gratitude to the US Embassy through the CARSI project on the donation of these 10 motor cycles. They came at a right time especially when we are seeing that crime is not only in the city - the urban areas but also moving to the rural areas. The deployment of these cycles as we have seen it - some will be in Belize City and some would be deployed to the villages like Maskall and those villages that we are seeing some increase in crimes."

Man Acquitted Of Rape; Victim Refuses To Testify
Moving now to court news….alleged rapist 41 year-old Carlos Matura, was able to go home free today after the victim requested no further action. The victim reported that in January 2012, she was inside her home, when Matura allegedly forced his way into hr home. She said that he threatened her, and raped her at knife-point. According to her, she woke up the next morning, and found the accused lying down beside her, and as soon as he left, she ran to a neighbor for help. His trial started today, but when Crown Counsel Leroy Banner called her as his second witness, she asked that she be excused from the witness stand. When she was asked why she didn't want to continue testifying, she told the court that she wanted no further court action, but she did reiterate that he was the person who raped her.

2 Years For Tush; He Tried To Abduct A Jogger
There's no such luck, for 38 year-old William Tush, a resident of Kelly Street, is spending the second night of a 2-year sentence after he was convicted of aggravated assault yesterday in Magistrate's Court. Viewers may remember that in July of last year, a female jogger was held up on the Northern Highway, near the NAPA roundabout as she took her evening jog. She recounted to 7News how the attacker abducted her at knife point, but she was able to escape and alert a driver who rescued her. Police detained him, and charged him with aggravated assault and wounding because in the process trying to get away, the victim got cut by the knife.

Minor Collision Into Recently Donated Police Mobile
This evening our 7News team happened upon to a traffic accident at the corner of Allenby Street and Amara Avenue. The driver of the red Dodge Durango, seen here, was on Allenby Street was about to cross the intersection, when an oncoming police mobile slammed into its front end. The police mobile was travelling on Amara, and they did have on their lights and sirens to indicate that they were moving with urgency to respond to a report on Jane Usher Boulevard. Also, at that intersection, there is a stop sign on Allenby Street, which indicates that the police should have had the right-away. Fortunately, no one was injured, but both vehicles sustained damages.

Belize Voices Protest of Guatemalan Map
Tonight, COLA is rattling its sabers again after Belize was disrespected at the OAS earlier this week. It happened on Wednesday at a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council when the Guatemalan Representative Jose Rodrigo Vielmann de Leon shared a video presentation on his country. The video was illustrating his nation's readiness to host the forty-third General Assembly of the OAS in June of this year. But the video shows a map - where Belize is part of Guatemala. Belize Representative objected strenuously: H.E. Nestor Mendez, Belize Ambassador to the OAS "When this video was shown in the General Assembly in Bolivia; the delegation of Belize took the floor and protested the use of a map that shows Belize as part of Guatemala. Subsequent to that we were assured by the Secretariat that they would ensure that whenever this video would be utilized again, that image would be removed. Everybody is aware that Belize and Guatemala have a diferendum that it is being dealt with under the auspices of the OAS that hopefully it will be resolved at the International Court of Justice but it is still not yet resolved. The use of this video and this image puts in serious jeopardy the process that we have undergoing with the good offices of the General Secretariat of the OAS and Belize cannot accept the use of that video. We protested it at the General Assembly and we once again protest it."

Mission Milagro Paying Homage
Today the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela held a luncheon at the Biltmore Plaza to pay homage to those who have contributed their efforts to its Mission Miracle Program. Mission Miracle is a social humanitarian program that was designed by the Governments of Venezuela and Cuba in 2004 -to attend free of charge to low income population who are facing health visual problems. The program was implemented in Belize in 2010 and since then over four thousand Belizeans have benefited. Gabriel Sanchez, Charge D' Affaires, Venezuelan Embassy "Basically what we did today is the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela wanted to pay a little homage to all those people who made an effort or who have contributed to Mission Miracle. Mission Miracle is a social and humanitarian program implemented here in Belize in 2010 to help Belizean people with surgical intervention to get eye surgeries. With this homage we wanted to show a little bit of presentation with the figures if three years that we have been working in Belize. What we did was presented certificates to all people who have involve in Mission Miracle to put this all together to get more people to go to Venezuela and also the Mayors because without the Mayors it would be almost impossible to do it. We have the best connection with the Belizean people - the community that are related to Mission Miracle."

Tourism Figures For December 2012
Earlier on we told you about the unemployment figures which show an increase between April and September of last year. And while that's the bad news, the good news is that during that same period overnight tourism arrivals were sharply increased. That's not really a surprise, since we'd been reporting on it all last year - but now, the December figures are in, and they show that the tourism year ended with a bang! December had the second most arrivals with 23 thousand visitors arriving at the Philip Goldson International. Overnight tourism overall saw a 10.7% increase, that's 26,872 more visitors than in 2011. US Visitors made up 63.7% of this total, while Canadians made up 8.7%. And while the numbers have been going up and up for overnight tourism, we can't say the same for Cruise Tourist Arrivals; those have been going down from year to year. Those arrivals decreased by another 12% in 2012.

Hon. Hulse Speaks On Now Former Immigration Director
As we told you at the top of the newscast, Immigration Director Ruth Meighan has been transferred to the Ministry of Finance. She had worked well with her Minister Godwin Hulse, but reports are that she ran afoul of the minister of state Elvin Penner. And so, Cabinet decided on Tuesday to transfer her, and 72 hours later, she was gone. Today in Belmopan, pour colleagues at Plus TV asked Minister Hulse about it: Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration "Actually she is not leaving, she is being transferred to the Ministry of Finance to fill a post that has been vacated by an officer who has resigned and whose last day is Friday. so Miss Meighan will be filling that post and we will be upgrading somebody within the department to take the directorship that she will be leaving. That has not been determined yet, so we don't want to disclose who that person will be and who the deputy or others will be. That is really the only change. Any other rumors that are circulating are nothing more than just rumors because you know when there are these changes, there are all sorts of things circulating over the place. The fact of the matter is that she is going to the Ministry of Finance to fill that post and so we have to fill her post in the department of Immigration. There is no other change in the ministry whatsoever. Minister Penner remains the Minister of State and I remain the substantive Minister."

A Look-Back At Hon. Mark King's Public Life
Hulse's Cabinet Colleague Mark King, now on suspension has been making news all this week. But, in truth, his career in public life, has always been newsworthy. King isn't like any political newcomer we've ever seen: he's brash, bold outspoken, and daring - his critics say, he's crazy. Maybe all those traits led to an embarrassing event at the Princess Casino in Corozal on Tuesday morning… Tonight we look back at his some of his more outrageous moments since he burst on the scene in 2006 - to try and see if Tuesday's events could have been foretold. Jules Vasquez reports:.. Jules Vasquez reporting When we first met Mark King in February of 2006 - he wore a sheepish look - and that's because he was seeking nomination as a city council candidate in a city in which he was not even a registered voter. February, 2006 Stuart Leslie, Chief Elections Officer "Basically Mr. King is registered in the Belize Rural Central Division and so he did not appear on our list for Belize City." Jules Vasquez "Certainly you must have strong words for candidate." Hon. Dean Barrow "Absolutely. I don't how that could have happened but I don't want to make too much of it, all is well that ends well."

Lobster Fest At Bird's Isle
Caye Caulker, San Pedro and Placencia do their Lobster Fest in June, but Belize City has its one in February when Lobster season is about to close. And so, for the last of your Lobster cravings, on Sunday Birds Isle is where you need to be. On Sunday at the third lobster fest, you can choose from over 13 lobster dishes. We spoke with one of the organizers who told us that on Sunday there will be a lot of sun, fun, and fine food. Joe Lawrence, Organizer "Sunday from 11am in the morning until 8pm in the evening. There will be games for the children like tarpaulin; bounce house and water slides; there will be tombola, fish pond, it's really going to be a family affair." Monica Bodden "In terms of lobster; what will there be serving?" Joe Lawrence, Organizer "All the emphasis will be on lobster. This will be lobster heaven except for the lobster, but lobster will be serve in 14 different styles, to name a few there will be garlic lobster, lobster salad, curry lobster, lobster burger, fish cabab - if you are a lobster lover, don't miss Bird's Isle on Sunday." Tickets are five dollars for adults, two for children.

Dara's 11th Annual Tribute to Bob Marley
And while they are catering for those who can afford Lobster Grassroots Philanthropist Dara Robinson is fundraising for the less fortunate. This weekend he is having his 11th annual Bob Marley Birthday tribute concert. The concert is not only to celebrate the life of the reggae icon - it is to also raise money for needy families. On Wednesday he held a food drive that he say turned out to be successful. But with all that he is still urging everyone to come out to the concert this weekend and donate at least one can of food. The Tribute to Bob Marley Concert will be back to back - with Saturday night in Orange Walk and Sunday night in Belize City. Dara Robinson "First I want to thank God most of all because the visions I got to do it the Wednesday on Bob Marley birthday and separated from the concert was the best idea. I have never yet over the six years of doing food drive receive so many food and still it continue coming in. There are so many other businesses, schools, common people, everybody is chipping in. I guess after I brought the message and they heard it more - from the teachers conscious that the situation is grim but I am grateful to do my part and get my support." "Like I said this is my 6th year that I am doing the feeding program. Whatever we could share meaning I look for single mothers; like a granny who may need stuff and sometimes even the kids parents benefit from the program. Majority of the items we will use at the program."

Channel 5

Guatemala’s other map usurps Belize
The road to the October referendum should be one filled with education and awareness about the unfounded claim to Belize’s territory by Guatemala. But that campaign will be on a bumpy road as provocative images place Belize as part of Guatemala. On Wednesday, the Guatemalan Ambassador to the OAS, Jose Rodrigo Vielmann de Leon, showed [...]

Fire at Youth Cadet Corps guts building
A fire broke out on Thursday night at the National Youth Cadet Service Corp Compound at mile twenty-one on the George Price Highway. No one was injured, but an entire building was reduced to rubble. Early investigations point to a disturbing sign that the fire was deliberately set. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.   Duane [...]

Another lukewarm B.N.T.U. consultation in Dangriga
Word coming out of Dangriga after Thursday night’s union membership meeting is that teachers and public officers are not exactly jumping up and down with joy over G.O.B.’s salary adjustment proposal. News Five understands that only a little more than one hundred union members attended the meeting, primarily teachers, and the reception of the proposal [...]

Contraband and clashes with Customs
Contraband and clashes with Customs – those are two of the staples in the rural northern Belize way of life. On Monday evening, one man from San Victor in the Corozal District had a brush with a Customs patrol which landed him in the hospital. He claims that he accidentally ran into the back of [...]

Director of Immigration moving to higher heights
For the past week the rumor mill has been buzzing busily and viciously after word that Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan was being removed from her post. Meighan gained recognition for her tenure at the Elections and Boundaries Office and, previous to that, she worked with the Transport Department. Perhaps because while she was Immigration [...]

No nationalized Guatemalans without proper measures
In December 2012, Minister Hulse did something which had never been done by his predecessors. For the first time, Guatemalans will not take part in swearing in ceremonies for new citizens to Belize. Today, Minister Hulse told News Five that he was not satisfied with the process through which Guatemalans renounced their citizenship and alliance [...]

Top cop says showing video of Minister could hurt case
Minister of State Mark King was charged for Threatening Words, Disorderly Conduct and Aggravated Assault in the Corozal courtroom of Magistrate Clive Lino for an incident that occurred after his friend, identified as Diego Witz Junior was ejected from Princess Casino at the Corozal Free Zone. There is cell phone footage showing King and his [...]

Still on danger list, barrier reef visit wrapped up
Belize which boasts one of the world’s wonder’s, the Barrier Reef, was given more prominence when it was declared a World Heritage Site. But soon after in June 2009, UNESCO included Belize on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.  Commercial land sale and development within sensitive parts of the reef along with site [...]

Boat captain acquitted of rape
  Forty-one year old Carlos Matura, a Dive Master and Boat Captain of Belize City, was acquitted of a rape charge when he appeared before Justice Troadio Gonzalez this morning. Two witnesses had already been called to testify by prosecutor Leroy Banner, but the case fell apart when the complainant informed the court that she [...]

18 months in the slammer for stolen lumber
  Unlike Matura, forty-three year old Leandro Roches will be serving an eighteen month jail term effective today following his conviction for the offense of burglary.   Roches, who was on remand at the Belize Central Prison, was accused of burglarizing and stealing, on the night of October thirty-first,  2012, three pieces of lumber from the [...]

GSU recovers stolen items
The Gang Suppression Unit is reporting that it has recovered a list of items stolen from the Hattieville police Station which included one thousand eight hundred and ten dollars in US currency, a laptop, cell phones, an X-Box and watches. The treasure trove was found this past Tuesday during a search of a house on [...]

CARSI revs up with 10 motorcycles for police
The Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) has donated close to thirty vehicles and twenty motorcycles to the police department. Earlier today the U.S. Embassy another donation via the CARSI program, ten Honda XR-250 motorcycles valued at eighty-two thousand dollars.  The motorcycles will be deployed in Belize City and rural areas where violent crimes such [...]

Are U.D.P. delegates coerced to vote for Vega?
The United Democratic Party will hold its National Convention on Sunday, February seventeenth, and all eyes are on the prize of first Deputy Leader of the party. The incumbent is Gaspar Vega, who is considered a party heavyweight in the north. He is being challenged by current U.D.P. Chairman, Patrick Faber, who is considered a [...]

Venezuela honors the Mission Miracle helpers
Mission Miracle is the Venezuelan humanitarian program that started back in 2010; some seven hundred and nine persons have received eye surgeries, free of cost, under the program which extends to eleven other countries of the region. Today, the Venezuelan Embassy held a luncheon at the Biltmore Plaza to honor coordinators and mayors from the [...]

Tourism stats show 10% increase
The Belize Tourism Board has released its tourism arrival numbers for 2012. On the bright side, there is an upward trend in overnight stays, but numbers went down in cruise ship arrivals. But generally, the industry notes a ten point seven percent increase overall. Duane Moody reports.    Duane Moody, Reporting A remarkable year for [...]

Teaching guides and mariners to protect manatees
In some parts of the world, manatees are endangered species. Belize enjoys a healthy manatee population, but mariners who speed along the coast and mangrove regularly come into contact with the mammal. The Sea to Shore Alliance and the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute have been recording deaths caused by boat collisions. The organizations [...]


Public Consultations Kick Off On Human Rights
The human rights of people has made it to many a roundtable and increasingly so over recent years. Many groups rely heavily on the argument of their human rights to state their case or make their claim, whether it is the indigenous of the south, immigrants and refugees, or the ga...

Arson Suspected At The National Cadet Service Corps
For the past 14 years, the National Cadet Service Corps located across from the Youth Hostel off the George Price Highway at mile 22 has been offering remedial services to youths considered to be at risk. But on Thursday night the management of the institution found itself fighti...

Ministry of Health Starts Health Information System
The Ministry of Health has started a project to expand the health information system in the western and northern parts of the country. A contract was signed on Thursday with the Belize City-based company Fultec for the provision of just under sixty thousand dollars worth of computer ha...

Belize City Council Announces Street Closure
The infrastructural work on Freetown Road has taken quite a few weeks complete and it has caused a few street closures on other arteries leading to and from that thoroughfare. Before we can all enjoy a fully resurfaced Freetown Road and surrounding streets, motorists will have to...

Senior Citizen Robbed At Gunpoint
Orange Walk Police are investigating a reported case of robbery in the Orange Walk District. 64-year-old businessman Jose Ernesto Garcia told police he arrived at his business place just before four o’clock on Tuesday morning to open for the day when he felt someone put a g...

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Comment On Guatemala's Presentation at The OAS
Yesterday we reported on an incident during a Permanent Council Meeting at the office of the Organization of American States in Washing, D.C. on Wednesday. It occurred when Guatemalan Ambassador to the OAS, Jose Vielmann De Leon, during a presentation, used a map of Guatemala tha...

First Murder Trial Without Jury Scheduled For Next Week
The Chief Justice, Hon. Kenneth Benjamin, has set February 15 as the date when he will sum up the case and give his verdict in the trial of 22 year old Nicoli Rhys, charged with the murder of Andre Trapp. It is the first murder trial that is being held without a jury. Trapp was gunned ...

Young Couple Says Hospital Was Negligent Resulting In Their Baby's Death
The Northern Regional Hospital has once again come under fire as a family is alleging negligence at the institution. Reporter Dalila Ical has the story. DALILA ICAL A young couple calls out the Northern Regional Hospital on negligence as another baby’s death is reco...

#457713 - 02/09/13 09:46 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 9, 2013 [Re: Marty]
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Guatemala provokes diplomatic incident with erroneous map at OAS
A diplomatic incident has erupted at the Organization of American States involving Belize and Guatemala. And it stems from a provocative map used by Guatemala in a video presentation showcasing our neighbor to the west where the OAS General Assembly will meet later this year. The incident happened on Wednesday at the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. and Belize’s permanent representative to the hemispheric body did not let it slip. He protested immediately and got the Guatemala representative at the permanent council to offer an explanation for the use of the provocative map. We’ll show you what happened during the meeting shortly; but this afternoon, Love News spoke by telephone with Ambassador Mendez from his Washington D.C. office and asked him about the context in which the erroneous map was used by Guatemala. And while going forward Ambassador Mendez does not see any significant impact of the Guatemalan diplomatic misstep, the incident is important to note, given that the education campaign has started leading up to the October sixth referendum on whether or not the unfounded claim by Guatemala should be referred to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for final arbitration. That is why as soon as the erroneous map was shown, Ambassador Mendez registered his disapproval before the permanent council. Following Ambassador Mendez request for clarification, the Guatemalan representative gave a somewhat vague explanation. And to emphasize the importance of the diplomatic misstep by Guatemala, Ambassador Mendez emphasized his objection to the offensive man for a second time during yesterday’s meeting. Prensa Libre The simultaneous referendum to determine whether or not Guatemala’s unfounded claim to Belize should be referred to the ICJ for final arbitration will take place on Sunday, October sixth. [VO STARTS] And while the education campaign leading up to the historic day is ongoing, Love News has gained possession of a document dating back to September of 1967 in which a British foreign ministry official was quoted in the Prensa Libre as saying that the British government was reaffirming its refusal to cede Belize to Guatemala. The British government spokesman in 1967 told the Prensa Libre newspaper that the possibility of ceding the territory of Belize to Guatemala was never discussed in London, even as the movement to Independence for Belize was starting.

Lake I representative arraigned on criminal charges
Lake Independence area representative, thirty eight year old Mark King, was formally arraigned this morning in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court on three criminal charges. When he appeared before Magistrate Clive Lino, King was read charges of aggravated assault, use of threatening words and disorderly conduct. King pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on a bail of four thousand dollars, plus a surety of the same amount. He was ordered to return to court on April 16. The charges stem from a “breach of the peace” incident inside of the Corozal Free Zone, on Tuesday morning.

Comatosed man wakes up
Two weeks ago, on January 11th, a Caye Caulker tour guide had an unpleasant experience with a tourist police officer who allegedly lost control and allegedly hit him in the head shortly after he had completed a tour at the Caye Caulker Water Taxi dock. Forty-nine year old Bert Nicholas started to complain about an excruciating headache last week and it got worse with each passing day, until eventually he slipped into a coma. From all accounts, there were several eyewitnesses, who were tourists on Nicholas’ boat, but his common-law wife told us today that those visitors have long returned to their countries and alleged that the police had them delete the video footage of the incident they had recorded. But while Nicholas’s family and friends hoped for the best at his bedside, on Wednesday, they got the first sign of good news when he awoke from his coma. Nicholas, also known as “Ras Creek”, continues to receive intensive care at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. His common-law wife, who spoke to us on the basis of anonymity, said that he is alert, recognizes his relatives and friends and is able to move his hands and legs. Nicholas has been a tour guide for at least 20 years and his family and friends fear that the severity of the injury will inhibit his ability to continue in that demanding field of work, which requires underwater diving and snorkeling. They are contemplating possibly taking the matter to court.

Man jailed for attack on woman who was out jogging
Thirty-eight year old William Tush, a resident of Kelly Street who attacked a woman with a knife, was sentenced to 3 years in jail today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser after he pled guilty to aggravated assault and wounding. The incident occurred around 5:20 p.m. on July 22, 2012. The complainant, 47 year old Desiree Adolphus, reported to the police that she was jogging on the Northern Highway heading towards Belize City when she was accosted by Tush who came up behind her and put a knife to her throat. The woman said Tush began to drag her to an unpainted building and that she struggled with him. During the struggle she was cut on her thumb finger but she managed to get away. Adolphus said that she ran on to the highway and she stopped an approaching vehicle and she told the driver what happened. She said that shortly after that she saw a police vehicle coming from the direction from which she came and Tush was inside the pan of the vehicle. Tush said that he was drunk when he committed the offences and he was sorry for what he did. He asked Senior magistrate Fraser to be lenient with him and asked for a fine instead of prison time. But Magistrate Fraser told him that she cannot impose a fine and she gave him the custodial sentence.

Consultations on salary adjustments start in Belize City
The Unions have begun the process of informing its general membership about the salary adjustment deal agreed on last week by the Councils of Management for the unions and government. One of the first public consultations was held on Wednesday evening in Belize City and while no official information on how the meeting went has been made public, Love News understands that the public officers in attendance at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall had some serious concerns about the proposed deal. Love News understands that an expected vote on whether or not to accept the deal was not held and has been deferred to another date, possibly this weekend. As the Prime Minister explained when he appeared on the Love FM Morning Show yesterday, the agreement to give the teachers and public officers their salary adjustment is hinged largely on am expected revenue surplus; but this appears to be of grave concern to the teachers, at least in the early going.

Minister comments on illegal Rosewood harvesting
Since the Minister of Forestry, Lisel Alamilla, signed a Moratorium banning the harvesting of Rosewood in Belize, extractors have not stopped in the illegal trade and a number of seizures have been made. One was made in January just before making it on the dock for shipment near the Customs compound on Caesar Ridge Road. The containers were confiscated and held for an investigation to proceed. Today reporters caught up with the Minister of Forestry, Lisel Alamilla, who on one occasion ordered the symbolic burning of a load of the precious wood to discourage further illegal harvesting of the product. So far it appears that that act has had very little success in achieving its goal. Today Minister Alamilla gave us an update on the confiscated product near the Customs compound while the Chief Forest Officer, Wilbur Sabido, explained the background of the incident, and revealed that there were other types of forest products in the container. Meanwhile the Forest Department is also dealing with more flitches of Rosewood confiscated in Benque Viejo and Medina Bank in southern Belize last month. Sabido said that the seizure of the one in western Belize is of a more sophisticated nature. Minister Alamilla could not say what they will do with the rosewood seized, but admitted that the Forestry Department continues to make discoveries of harvested Rosewood, and clarified that one of the persons who held a license to harvest forest products and who also bears the same last name as she does, is not her relative. Meanwhile, a Forest Officer who was stationed in southern Belize has been transferred after evidence suggests that he was involved in wrongdoing. Minister Alamilla assured that the Forestry Department is currently investigating the employee’s involvement.

UNESCO team in Belize to assess world heritage site
Belize Barrier Reef For some time now, the treasured Belize Barrier Reef has been on UNESCO’s list of endangered World Heritage Sites and faces the possibility of being permanently delisted as such, due to licenses granted for the exploration and drilling of petroleum. Currently in Belize to conduct an assessment of how far Belize has advanced in taking corrective measures is a UNESCO team. Minister Alamilla shared the latest on that with us. Meanwhile, Fisheries Administrator, Beverly Wade, who was late last year appointed as Belize’s representative on the UNESCO mission, was candid in her views about what we as a country need to do to ensure that development and conservation go together. Concerns over catfish invasion On a separate but perhaps as damning an issue environmentally is the threat that the armoured catfish or devilfish poses to Belize. Wade says this free-roaming marine predator has the potential to cause problems even to the tilapia, which is responsible for the dwindling numbers of other local fish stocks. Fisheries Administrator, Beverly Wade.

Government seeks to reduce dependence on fossil fuel
The Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities today launched its first of three forums which look to engage the private sector into looking at the possibility of changing from the use of fossil fuel to renewable energy. But just to be clear at what MESTPU is trying to get at, it is important to understand what renewable energy is, and that is explained by Minister of MESTPU, Joy Grant. Grant also told us about what today’s forum would be featuring. And while the forum is geared at having the participation of the public sector in renewable energy initiatives, Grant explains why MESTPU decided to venture into that area. The forum was officially launched with an opening ceremony which featured the welcome address by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Santiago Castillo who said that MESTPU has the support of his ministry in this initiative. This would be followed by various presentations as explained by Minister Grant. Most importantly, Grant told Love News who was attending the forum. Two similar forums will take place soon in the North and South of the country.

Upgrading of PG streets begins
Infrastructure works have begun on streets in Punta Gorda town. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Minister Herman Longsworth on nationwide tour
The junior minister of Education, Youth and Sports today continued his nationwide tour in the south. Our Stann Creek correspondent Harry Arzu reports.


Party Leader meets with UDP delegates
We’ve been covering the race for first deputy leader in the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) between incumbent Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Natural Resources and Orange Walk North Area rep for two terms, and incumbent chairman and Minister of Education Patrick Faber, who has been representing...

Minister of Immigration speaks on the Director of Immigration post
The Director of Immigration has been transferred to Ministry of Finance. Plus news received reports earlier this week that Cabinet had made a decision on Tuesday of this week to remove Mrs. Ruth Meighan from her position as Director of Immigration. It was a report we couldn’t confirm and...

New reform laws for Immigration coming
Minister Godwin Hulse is preparing to launch new reform laws for Immigration coming March the 1st. SI No. 16, being “THE PASSPORTS REGULATIONS, of 2013″ was signed on the 17th January; these amendments are intended to strengthen the application process and to ensure that persons applying for passports are...

Fire in Hattieville
There was a fire last night in Hattieville. It happened at about 7 o’clock at the National Youth Cadet Corp located at mile 21 on the George Price Highway. A 24 by 18 feet board structure with cement foundation and zinc roofing became engulfed in flames. Workers at the...

Gruesome Quadruple Murder Case Going Nowhere Fast
Today marks a month since the gruesome discoveries of four bodies of young men living in an apartment complex at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets. Their throats had been slit and bodies stabbed as many as 22 times each. It was a horrific sight and the mere...

Orange Walk Business Robbed
An Orange Walk business was the target of a robbery. 64yr old Jose Ernesto Garcia, a Belizean Businessman of Trial Farm Village, reported that on Tuesday of this week at 3:45am he arrived at his business place to open for the day and went behind the counter when he...

Another Unsolved Police Case
Another recent crime that Police needs help on is the recent home invasion against foreign nationals in the village of Boston on the Old Northern Highway. On Sunday three armed masked men stormed the house and held its seven occupants hostage, sexually assaulting at least one person and pistol-whipping...

CARSI Donates ten New Motorcycles for Belize Police
CARSI donated motorcycles to Police today. Last June the Police Department received a big boost in its crime fighting capabilities in the City with the donation of ten trucks from the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), a partnership between Central America and the United States of America. Today...

Venezuela rewards Belizean officials for “Mission Miracle” cooperation
Venezuela and Belize have long had a special relationship, most typified by the Mission Miracle program which provides free transportation and care for patients with diseases of the eye such as cataract and pterygium. Today, the important people in charge, the Mayors of Belize’s 9 municipalities and local coordinators...


William Tush, 38, pleads guilty to attacking woman, 47, while she exercised on the Northern Highway. Today, William Tush, 38, a resident of #21 Kelly Street, was sentenced to a total of 3 years in prison after he changed his not guilty plea to guilty for the charges of aggravated assault and wounding. According to police, at 5:20 p.m. on July 22, 2012, Desiree Adolphus, 47, was exercising on the Northern Highway heading south toward Belize City when, as she arrived in front of an abandoned building situated between Gonzalo Quinto & Sons and Matus Brothers, a Hispanic man with long hair grabbed her from behind and put a knife to her neck. He then told her “Let’s go.” He then dragged her to the side of the abandoned building, but Adolphus started struggling with Tush and she grabbed the knife. As a result of the struggle, Adolphus cut her thumb on the knife, but managed to free herself from Tush, run to the roadside and flag down a vehicle and related her story to the driver.

Belize Ambassador to OAS, Nestor Mendez, will formalize protest in writing to OAS. Guatemala Ambassador says dotted line that separates Belize and Guatemala on map is “adjacency line” At a conference of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington on Wednesday, February 6, 2013, Permanent Representative of Belize to the OAS, His Excellency Nestor Mendez, protested against Guatemala’s use of an erroneous map of Guatemala that features Belize’s territory in the same color, as if Belize were a part of Guatemala. The map, which has been used by Guatemala before, was shown in a video presentation by Guatemala Permanent Representative to the OAS, His Excellency Jose Rodrigo Vielmann de Leon. The map showed Belize separated from Guatemala only by a dotted line. The inference, obviously, was that Belize was a part of Guatemala. Ambassador Mendez protested, for a second time, the use of the map. Ambassador Mendez’s response to the use of the map was as follows: “When this video was shown in the general assembly in Bolivia, the delegation of Belize took the floor and protested the use of a map that shows Belize as part of Guatemala. Subsequent to that, we were assured by the secretariat that they would ensure that whenever this video was utilized again, that image would be removed.

Jones was accused of killing Cameron Blease, 18, and Jermaine Trapp, 29. Shaquille Jones, 21, who was accused of the double murders of Cameron Blease, 18, and Jermaine Trapp, 29, in December of 2008, walked away a free man after Justice Troadio Gonzalez upheld a no-case submission by Jones’ attorney, Arthur Saldivar. According to police, in the early morning hours of December 26, 2008, Blease and Trapp were socializing at the Princess Hotel and Casino on Newtown Barracks. They both got into a car which was parked on the compound, and while inside, they were ambushed and shot multiple times. Trapp died on the spot, but according to police, Blease, who died several days later on January 5, 2009, was able to give them a statement in which he told them that Jones was the person who shot them. Police said that that statement was then read back to Blease, after which he signed it with an “X”.

The Lake I area rep charged with aggravated assault, threatening words and disorderly conduct for Corozal Free Zone “ministerial tantrum”. Shortly after 10 this morning at the Corozal Magistrate’s Court, Hon. Mark King, area representative of the Lake I constituency and Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation, was arraigned on charges of aggravated assault, threatening words and disorderly conduct. The charge of assaulting a police officer was brought against him, but this was withdrawn by the prosecution, because the aggravated assault charge already covered that offense. He pleaded not guilty and was released on bail of $4,000 and ordered to return to court on April 19, 2013. He was represented by attorney Ellis Arnold, who, when King was being taken to the police station to sign his bail, told his client not to speak with the media. King had to wait for a man from Orange Walk, one Martin Hernandez, to travel to Corozal to sign the surety for the bail, before he was released. While waiting for his surety, the Minister did not have to wait in the discomfort of a holding cell. Rather, he was kept in the court building office. After he was released, he left in his private vehicle en route to Belize City.

Faber is accused of stabbing Corrington Villanueva, 32, at Carmita’s Bar. This morning Rudy Faber, 29, a construction worker of Biscayne Village, was taken before the Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith and charged with attempted murder and use of deadly means of harm. According to police, at 6:30 on Monday evening, they visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and saw Corrington Villanueva, 32, a resident of #12 Bride’s Alley, suffering from a single stab wound to his stomach. After conducting their investigation, police learned that at 5:00 that evening, Villanueva was at Carmita’s Bar, aka “Bucket Bar”, which is located at the foot of the Swing Bridge, having a drink when Faber entered the bar. According to Villanueva, Faber then just walked up to him and stabbed him, for no apparent reason.

In times past, our typical sporting Sunday in Belize City would begin at 11:00 a.m. with either basketball or boxing at Bird’s Isle, then, after a quick lunch, it was over to the MCC at 3:30 in the afternoon for football “Fire on the Barracks.” Semipro football returns to the MCC this Sunday, February 9, with F.C. Belize hosting FC San Felipe Barcelona in the start of the Premier League of Belize 2012-2013 Closing Season tournament. With both F.C. Belize and the Police United FC teams using the MCC Grounds as their home field this season, fans can look forward to Sunday afternoon football at the Garden each week for the next few months. Whatever the plans for basketball, in a couple weeks time it will be like old times again, as the Belize Boxing Federation and Lions Den Promotion will be hosting a 9-bout card of amateur boxing at Bird’s Isle on Sunday, February 24. Lions Den Boxing Gym manager Clinton Tucker visited our sports desk this morning along with two of his boxers, Alex Neal and female boxer Shenique Michael, who will be among those featured on the card.

Even the ducks ran for cover last Saturday, but a hardy (or some might say foolhardy) bunch of golfers donned their wet suits and played the second tournament of the year for the Belize Amateur Golf Association (BAGA). Congratulations to Lorenzo Forbes who filled his basket with awards on Saturday. Thanks to the players who donated prizes. Alan Graham, who added the Bogey Man award. The Southern Possie added the usual chip-in prize, with Rob Lee and Bill McKenzie donating golf balls. We appreciate all these and thank everyone for that. The next tournament is on February 23. This is the Belize Jungle Dome 2-Person Scramble. All are welcome. This is a 2-player team event. Results from February 2nd Tournament: Gross – Without HDCP: 1st Andy Hunt – 66; 2nd Bill McKenzie – 67; 3rd Tim Heath – 72. Net – With HDCP: 1st Lorenzo Forbes – 64; 2nd John Sansone – 68; 3rd Steve Hack – 69. Senior – With HDCP: 1st Steve Maestre – 69.

The Belize National Cricket team played their first game in the (ICC) International Cricket Council’s Americas Division Two Tournament, which is being held in Nassau, Bahamas. Team Belize batted first with a score of 116 runs with loss of nine wickets. Conway Young top scored for team Belize; he batted 34 runs, and Mykelt Anthony batted 12 runs. Mykelt Anthony and Keve Flowers both took four wickets for Belize. Panama beat Belize by a score of 118 runs for 6 wickets in nineteen overs…. Wed. Feb. 6, 2013 …Team Belize took the field and held Bahamas to a score of 149 runs in twenty overs. Belize took to bat but was only able to muster 86 runs all out in 14.5 overs, with Herbert Banner batting 19 runs and Jermaine Pook 14 runs. Kenroy Roca and Dirk Sutherland took two wickets each for Belize…

Our sources say that a couple prominent Belizeans in the United States were not pleased with our Tuesday editorial on Belizeans in the diaspora. (That editorial is reproduced in this issue.) Our position is, at least there was a response. We’re not going to take anything personal where Belizeans in the diaspora are concerned: they are in a position where they can save us from Guatemala, but if they believe themselves unable or unwilling, for whatever reason(s), we’ll just do what we have to do. A Belizean friend of ours in the diaspora has pointed out that the older generations of Belizeans in the United States have largely died out, and the younger generations are not well versed on the Guatemalan claim to Belize, and its history where Belizean politics is concerned. Let’s see if we can address that lack of historical information. Around 1938 or so, Guatemala was being run by a military dictator named Jorge Ubico, and he saw that Great Britain was tied up with the threat being posed by the German Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler. So, he took that opportunity to revive the Guatemalan claim to Belize. Note that amongst the neo-European class which runs Guatemala, there is a substantial German element. This Guatemalan claim to Belize is supposed to be something they inherited from Spain, after Guatemala became independent from Spain in 1821. Spain in theory owned Belize, but Spain never exercised control over Belize. This was a land of the Maya, and then European pirates, mostly British, began using Belize as a base in the seventeenth century. From here they raided Spanish shipping between Spain and New Spain (Cuba, Texas, Mexico, etc.), and afterwards they became woodcutters, cutting and shipping logwood to Europe. In order to expand the woodcutting, they began bringing in African slaves, which is where we Belizeans “of dark complexion” entered the picture. Today, we say the country belongs to us, but Guatemala is demanding that we prove it.

Compared to the Mississippi, the Rio Grande, which separates the United States from Mexico, is not a wide river. So, if you are travelling by road west to El Paso, Texas, on Interstate 10, when you are approaching El Paso at night on your left you can see the lights of the Mexican city across the river. That is Juárez. If you have a kilo of cocaine in Juárez, all you have to do is get it across the Rio Grande to El Paso, and that kilo will increase in value maybe forty times. In a nutshell, this is how the trade in illegal narcotics becomes so violent. Because of the incredible “value added” between two cities which are physically close to each other, a man will do anything he has to do to protect his kilo as he moves it from Juárez to El Paso. And conversely, another man will do violent and dangerous things to separate him from that kilo. The owner of the kilo will be more exposed, more at risk, as he travels from Juárez to El Paso. Juárez is an extremely violent city, because Juárez is so close to the American market, where illegal narcotics skyrocket in value. Some of the cocaine which reach Mexican/U.S. border points, from Texas all the way west through New Mexico and Arizona to California, has passed through Belize by land, by sea, and by air. Cocaine is not going to increase forty times in value between its arrival in Belize and its departure into Mexico. But, there are occasions on which people have managed to move the narcotics directly into the United States from Belize, and those narcotics do take on the phenomenal value added. If the value added from Belize to Mexico is only five or ten times, say, there is still a lot of money to be made, much more than in legitimate business, in the transshipment of drugs through Belize.

by Andy Jones Dear Sir, I write this letter with a humble heart and all the respect due to your office and your country. I write regarding your claim to our wonderful country of Belize. I am a descendant of the original settlers of Belize. Please can you tell me and my countrymen why exactly you wish to take away our country from us? We are a God-fearing people and have never threatened you or any other country. We try to live in peace with all our neighbors here and abroad. I will be honest with you that I am very scared of your country taking over. Many people in Belize are scared of what Guatemala will do to us. We have seen how you treat your own people in the past. The stories of what you have done to them and their families are still very fresh in most people’s minds – stories of whole families killed or disappearing, all done by your government.

by Hakeem Bush Dear Editor, I must agree in your editorial with Mr. Welch supporting football in Belize. As an attorney, he’s one of the few putting back finance in the league. He’s a truly good Belizean. Big up, Mr. Welch. He stayed in the saddle and supported the sport. I wish others would follow. Hakeem Bush

To begin with, Guatemala does not have a claim against the sovereign nation of Belize, which is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and of the United Nations. We are a sovereign country because we belong to the British Commonwealth of Nations and, our titular Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II. Guatemala declared its claim to the territory that now forms the nation state of Belize, which was being administered at the time by the British Government. It based its claim to the lands formerly owned by Spain and recognized as such by the Catholic nations, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Russia, which ruled the world, on a doctrine called “uti possidetis.” The doctrine posited that Guatemala was the successor to Spain in the New World, and inherited her possessions. Britain rejected Guatemala’s claim, which gave rise to the British/Guatemala dispute. The dispute was apparently settled by the 1859 Treaty between the two countries, where a boundary was drawn between Guatemala and the disputed territory then known as the settlement of Belize. Subsequently, Guatemala declared that the 1859 Treaty was invalidated because Britain failed to comply with one of the conditions agreed and re-advanced its claim to all of British Honduras, which Belize was named when it became a Crown Colony in 1860. Since then, Guatemala has advanced a claim to smaller and smaller portions of British Honduras, in pursuit of its dispute with Great Britain up to 21st September, 1981, when Belize became an independent nation/state.

It will soon be a year since a moratorium was placed on rosewood extraction and the wood became a regular topic in the news. The outcomes of the most recent incidents involving the uncovering of illegal operations having to do with the extraction, storage or transportation of the timber have for the most part been unknown. Well, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Hon. Lisel Alamilla, along with Chief Forest Officer at the Forest Department Wilber Sabido, has addressed that issue. Sabido said that the department is dealing with two cases involving rosewood being found in containers. One of them came to their attention when they received a report in December 2012 that there was a container carrying what was suspected to be rosewood. He said when they did the inspection, the wood in the container turned out not to be rosewood, but a mixture of different types of timber. “The situation with that is that the exporter had reported that they wanted to export only grenadine; however, when we opened the container and we found zericote in round or log form, that is against the law essentially,” Sabido said. “The zericote is a protected species that can only be exported as a value added product. So in that particular instance, we seized the produce from the container,” he explained. Sabido said that the exporter, Anita Lui, is a known exporter to them, who was originally exporting out of Roaring Creek, but later moved to Orange Walk.

by Miriam Longsworth. Oceana Belize and representatives for the Ministry of Natural Resources met in the courtroom of Supreme Justice Oswell Legall on Tuesday, February 5, for the complete hearing of environmental group Oceana’s ongoing fight against offshore oil drilling in Belize. Oceana Belize, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage were represented by Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith and the GoB was represented by Senior Counsels Denys Barrow and Naima Barrow. Both sides gave their oral arguments in a lengthy hearing that lasted about four hours. Oceana Belize is challenging the validity of Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) that were part of the offshore drilling contracts which the Ministry of Natural Resources granted to Island Oil Belize Ltd., Tropical Energy Ltd., Petro Belize Co Ltd., Princess Petroleum Ltd., Providence Energy Belize Ltd. and Sol Oil Belize Ltd. The contracts, which were made in 2004 and 2007, are for blocks of land ranging between 200,000 acres and two million acres in size. The environmental groups’ arguments included the assertion that the contracts for the PSAs were granted in breach of regulations and that they violated the Environmental Protection Act, the Fisheries Act and the National Parks Act. They also argued that the entities to which the contracts were granted did not carry out specific requirements.

The Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU), the Public Service Union (PSU), and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) held a meeting yesterday, Wednesday, with their Belize City membership to present the proposal given by the Government of Belize with regards to salary adjustments. It was expected that about 600 union members would be present at the meeting; however, only about 150 attended the meeting at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall. Amandala understands that it was speculated that the turnout was due to the time of the meeting, which was scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., and a number of members could not make the meeting. Others speculated that some of the membership was disappointed in the proposal because they were expecting something more concrete than what the government has offered. Those with that concern said that the proposal entails too many “ifs.” Those “ifs” relate to the fact that the salary adjustment is dependent upon the government’s recurrent revenue. If the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) results in a growth in recurrent revenue, then there will be financing to provide the salary adjustment. That conditionality seemed to not have settled well with the membership.

Wade is accused of carnal knowledge with a minor, 15, and impregnating her. Today, inside the courtroom of Justice John Troadio Gonzalez, newly appointed prosecutor for the DPP’s office, Leroy Banner, made a nolle prosequi motion in the case of Yannick Wade, 26, a Police Constable. Wade, in July of 2011, was charged with six counts of carnal knowledge after it was learned that he had engaged in sexual intercourse with a minor, 15. According to the reports, Wade started a relationship with the minor when she was only 13, but it was not until the minor got pregnant by Wade, and the pregnancy became visible, that the report was made and he was charged. The minor told police that she and Wade had been in a relationship since June of 2009 until March of 2011. She also told them that during that time, they engaged in sexual intercourse a total of 6 times, and that sometimes she would go to his home. When Wade was arraigned, it was because the minor, who described Wade as her boyfriend to the police, had just given birth the day before.

Marilyn Matus, the complainant, requested no further court action. In June of 2012, Constable Norman Bol, 29, was charged with extortion after Marilyn Matus reported to police that she paid Bol $400 for the release of her husband, Roberto Matus. PC Bol, when he appeared for his arraignment, pleaded not guilty to the charge and his attorney, Kareem Musa, had requested that disclosure be provided to his client two weeks before the trial. But when they arrived at court this morning for the trial, Marilyn Matus appeared before the court and requested no further court action in the matter. When the incident allegedly occurred in June, 2012, Roberto Matus had been detained, pending charges of threatening words. When Marilyn Matus went to the police station, according to her report, PC Bol told her that if she paid him $400, her husband would be released and no charges would be levied against him. Matus said she paid PC Bol the money and they left, and she then reported the matter to police.


A Tale of Five Cities: Birds of Mexico
Before we head back to Belize, this seemed as good a spot as any to share the photos of birds we saw in various spots in Mexico. Although this was not a trip where we focused on birding, as some of our mainland Belize trips have been, we did bring our binoculars (of course!) and managed to see some beautiful birds. Several species we'd already seen in Belize (or in the US), but we managed to snag a few new ones for our life lists. The following birds were all seen in the beautiful Orquideas Moxviquil botanical garden, which we previously blogged about. This was a real haven for hummingbirds, thrushes, and flycatchers especially.

The Most Exotic Foods to Eat in Belize
Apart from the white sandy beaches, phenomenal flora and fauna and friendly people, the country of Belize also offers a potpourri of delicious fare for locals and visitors alike. Belizean cuisine has been described as an amalgamation of all ethnicities since the food is some of Central America’s most varied. When you visit Belize, a distinctively noticeable characteristic is the countless influences that are incorporated into the food. Offering an eclectic fusion of Caribbean, Mexican and European cuisines — food in Belize is fit for any appetite. Check out our list of the best foods to eat during your visit –

Interesting Facts About The Ancient Maya
Often misunderstood for savages, the ancient Maya were a fascinating civilization. At the height of their empire, they had the five fundamentals aspects of culture: food, art, customs, language and religion. A few of their achievements are the creation of massive architectural wonders, extensive travel and trade routes, and usage of an advanced system of writing and mathematics. Here are a few interesting facts about the ancient Maya: 1. The Maya would drastically enhance their features in search of beauty. They were known to flattening their forehead, sharpen their teeth pointy, create holes in their teeth and fill them with jade, and deliberately crossing their eyes. 2. The Maya loved getting high. According to mayanist Mark Van Stone, ingesting hallucinogenic drugs was an important part of many ancient American indigenous religious ceremonies. Interestingly enough, in preparation for rituals, one of the favorite ways the Maya got into trance was by licking the back of Cane toads (bufo marinus).

Getting Better
Having witnessed the progress that has been made on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize during the last few days it is extremely difficult to keep our expectations under control. Not to expect too much. Keep our feet on the ground. Rome wasn’t built in a day, not to run before we can walk, etc. Well we are trying and trying hard. But it is difficult, bloody difficult. We have to remember that progress was stunted recently by the heavy downpours. There is still a long way to go and there could be another hiatus or two before the house is complete and we can move in to our new home in Ambergris Caye, Belize. We are quietly confident, however, that Daniel Camal, our building contractor, will finish ahead of the scheduled forty week completion date of 11 August. We feel this because every day we visit it’s getting better all the time. But not wishing to be like the idiom ‘counting your chickens …’ we have extended the lease of the condo we are renting with the understanding that we can extend again if we need to. Anyway enough of the idioms, proverbs and my musings and on with the reason why the vast majority of you bother to use your valuable time visiting this blog – our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Abstract of Statistics Belize 2012 Volume 1
Have you ever wondered which Immigrant group has the most population in Belize? We did, and here are the numbers that answer that question.

International Sources

Venezuela sharply devalues its currency
Venezuela's government announced Friday that it is devaluing the country's currency, a long-anticipated change expected to push up prices in the heavily import-reliant economy. Officials said the fixed exchange rate is changing from 4.30 bolivars to the dollar to 6.30 bolivars to the dollar. The devaluation had been widely expected by analysts in recent months, though experts had been unsure about whether the government would act while President Hugo Chavez remained out of sight in Cuba recovering from cancer surgery. It was the first devaluation to be announced by Chavez's government since 2010, and it pushed up the price of the dollar against the bolivar by 46.5%. By boosting the bolivar value of Venezuela's dollar-denominated oil sales, the change is expected to help ease a difficult budget outlook for the government, which has turned increasingly to borrowing to meet its spending obligations.

Mexico Screening Horses for Virus at Belize Border
Inspections of horses are being stepped up along Mexico’s border with Belize to prevent animals infected with equine encephalitis from entering the country, the Agriculture Secretariat said. The “preventive measures are being taken on the southern border strip” due to outbreaks of the highly contagious disease in two areas, the secretariat said. Officials have sent National Food Health, Safety and Quality Service, or Senasica, specialists to the border region to help identify the viral strain involved, the secretariat said. Animals susceptible to infection will be vaccinated under the Binational Strategic Cooperation Plan for Health Matters and Trade, the Agriculture Secretariat said. Epidemiological monitoring in the region has been expanded and horse owners have been asked to notify officials if any animal begins exhibiting neurological problems, the secretariat said. Suspicious cases in vulnerable equine populations are being investigated in southern Mexico, the secretariat said.

Cool cats of Belize
Close encounter with jaguar highlight of Island Expeditions tour . ’m having second thoughts as I hear the clink of the cage being locked. I’m inside — along with four other people — waiting for a wild animal to be let loose. “He’s stalking us,” says Jamal Andrewin, an environmental educator at the Belize Zoo. Sitting with a bucket of chicken feet, Andrewin calls for the animal to come closer. Next thing I know, there is a 115-pound jaguar just inches from my face and I can’t help but feel like a scared caged animal myself. I’m in the Belize jungle with Island Expeditions, which specializes in adventure tourism to this country and parts of Mexico. I am learning about the history, culture and environment of the Central American nation first-hand on the Canadian travel company’s 10-day Glover’s Reef and River of Caves tour. A group of seven of us, ranging in age from late 20s to 60s, spent the morning scaling ancient Mayan pyramids. We are spending the afternoon getting up close and personal with native Belize animals. After a few moments of staring to the jaguar’s huge black eyes, I begin to think 6-year-old Junior is more like my house cat than a nocturnal hunting machine.


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