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Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The February 17th, 2013 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Pineda In Critical Condition At KHMH:
    A Honduran man today is in a coma on life support at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. The incident which landed the man in the hospital is reported to have occurred inside Las Ninfas de Mariana Bar, located at #23 Back Street in San Ignacio which is operated by the victim’s estranged common law wife from whom he has been separated for about two months. When police arrived on the scene at around 2:00 am on Sunday, February 10, 2013, they first came upon a male person of Hispanic descent sitting on the ground in the yard. His face was swollen and blood was coming from the nose and mouth. He was identified as Jose Santos Pineda the estranged common law husband of the bar operator, Mariana Galvez.
  • Benque Teen Drowns:
    The body of Rodney Javan Guerra, 15, the victim of a drowning incident on Sunday afternoon, February 10, was laid to rest today in his hometown, Benque Viejo Del Carmen. It is reported that after having dinner at around 3:00 pm Guerra left home on a bicycle in the company of a younger brother. About an hour after leaving home, the family was notified of the tragedy which reportedly occurred in a popular swimming area of the Mopan River just behind the new clinic in Benque Viejo Town.
  • Another Man Is On Life Support At The KHMH:
    Another man from San Ignacio, suffering from a blow to the back of the head with a blunt instrument, is on life support at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. It was around 2:00 am on Sunday, February 10, 2013 when the police was summoned to the emergency unit of the San Ignacio Community Hospital where they encountered a male Hispanic person, with an injury to the head, undergoing emergency medical treatment. A male youth who was present at the hospital identified the patient as his father, Pedro Choc, a taxi operator. The 16 year old boy told the police that, after the close of the Blue Angeles Night Club, his father was on a job transporting three male persons to Bella Vista Street just off Bullet Tree Road also in San Ignacio.
  • Who Is LyIng?:
    One incident, two exact opposite pronouncements. A vehicle, admittedly the personal property of the Cayo North PUP elected Area Representative Joseph Mahmud was photographed with the front driver’s side wheel, on top of a 17 year old boy. The politician confirms that he is the owner of the vehicle but that he was neither in the vehicle nor on the scene of the incident. The child’s aunt who was the first responder is adamant as she continues to insist that the politician was on the scene and that when he and his associate refused to assist in getting her nephew for under the weight of the politician’s vehicle, she reportedly began hurling curse words in their face.
  • Editorial: The Days Of The PUP Are Numbered:
    The House of Representatives met last Wednesday during which Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced to the nation that the dreaded PUP Super Bond has been successfully renegotiated just like he publicly promised in the days leading up to the March 7, 2012 general elections. Wednesday, February 13, 2013 was just another day in which another possibility was transformed into reality. While economies of regional states are crumbling around us, Belize is recording unprecedented economic growth. While neighboring nations states are announcing tax increases, the cutting of thousands of jobs (aka retrenchment) occasioned by the inevitable entering into stand by arrangements with the dreaded International Monetary Fund, the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow stands proud, beats his chest and tells the IMF to go fly a kite.
  • Jamaica In Crisis Debt-Swap Plan:
    Jamaica has announced plans for its second debt swap in three years in the face of a "serious economic crisis". Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is taking measures to reduce its debt, which currently stands at 140% of gross domestic product (GDP), one of the highest ratios in the world. "If this debt is not reduced, Jamaica faces a dismal future," she said. The move is aimed at satisfying conditions demanded in a deal with the International Monetary Fund. About 55% of government spending goes towards paying the nation's debt, while 25% goes on wages. That leaves just 20% for everything else - including education, security and health.
  • Do You Have A Favorite Child? You Should Read This:
    It is perhaps motherhood's dirtiest little secret: Favoring one child over another. Favoritism is usually not intentional and can happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe one kid is the most well-behaved in the brood, especially talented, has an inexplicable bond with a parent. And often times the opposite can be true: If one child has behavioral problems, he can become the favorite because he requires extra attention. And while moms may objectively realize that favoritism isn't ethical or even a conscious act, a new study published on Tuesday in the February issue of the journal Child Development shows that showing more love to one kid harms more than just the "naughty one"—it damages the entire family unit, causing increased mental health problems in children such as aggression, attention, and emotional problems.
  • Learn These Basic CPR Steps:
    CALL 911 FIRST!Check the scene for immediate danger. Make sure you are not putting yourself in harm's way by administering CPR to someone unconscious. Is there a fire? Is the person lying on a roadway? Do whatever is necessary to move yourself and the other person to safety. Assess the victim's consciousness. Gently tap his or her shoulder and ask "Are you OK?" in a loud, clear voice. If he or she responds, CPR is not required. Instead, undertake basic first aid and take measures to prevent or treat shock, and assess whether you need to contact emergency services. If the victim does not respond, continue with the following steps. Call 911, give the dispatcher your location, and notify him or her that you are going to perform CPR. If you are alone, get off the phone and start compressions after that. If you have someone else with you, have him or her stay on the line while you do CPR on the victim.
  • Chicago Names Joaquin Guzman Public Enemy No. 1:
    The city of Chicago has named its first public enemy number one since Al Capone - a drug cartel leader who lives in a mountain hideaway in western Mexico. Joaquin Guzman is the leader of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, which is suspected by federal agents supplying the bulk of narcotics sold in Chicago. The Chicago Crime Commission has named other public enemies, but the 1930s gangster was the only prior number one. The US has offered a $5m (£3.2m) reward for Guzman's capture. He has been indicted on federal trafficking charges and US officials want him extradited if he is ever captured, said on Thursday.
  • Oscar Pistorius: Olympian and Paralympian faces murder charge:
    South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is facing a murder charge after his girlfriend was shot and killed at his Pretoria home. His arrest over the death of model Reeva Steenkamp has stunned the country where he is considered a national hero. The 26-year-old is due to appear in court on Friday. Pistorius made history in London last year when he became the first double-amputee track athlete to compete in the Olympic Games.
  • Six Arrested Over Rape Of Spanish Tourists In Acapulco:
    Six men have been arrested in Mexico in connection with the rape of six Spanish women near the holiday resort of Acapulco last week, officials say. Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said the suspects had confessed. The women were raped by masked gunmen who had broken into their bungalow. The police said they were looking for one more suspect. Acapulco is one of Mexico's most famous beach resorts, but it has recently suffered from drug-related violence. The brutality of the case shocked Mexicans and foreigners living in Mexico alike.
  • Bolivia: Morales Criticises Chile Over Sea And Soldiers:
    Bolivia's President Evo Morales has renewed his calls for the release of three soldiers arrested in Chile. The soldiers were arrested in January after crossing the Chilean border carrying an assault rifle. In a speech marking the 134th anniversary of the war in which his country lost access to the Pacific Ocean, Mr Morales called the men "great defenders of the sea". It was the first time in decades that a Bolivian leader celebrated the event. Chile says the men were detained after entering the country illegally, while Bolivia argues they were following car smugglers as part of an army operation.
  • Pope Benedict Hints He Will Retire Into Seclusion:
    The outgoing head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, has hinted he will withdraw into seclusion after stepping down at the end of this month. "Even if I am withdrawing into prayer, I will always be close to all of you... even if I remain hidden to the world," he told a meeting of Roman priests. The pontiff, 85, shocked the world's biggest Christian Church on Monday when he announced his resignation. He cited his advanced age as the reason for resigning. The Pope appears to be planning a complete retreat from the public eye, the BBC's Alan Johnston reports from the Vatican.
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The San Pedro Sun

Wildtracks, protecting our vulnerable species
Wildtracks 4Belize is a natural jewel housing some of the most extraordinary flora and fauna. With the immense square footage of forest and marine waters it is almost impossible to properly protect our natural resources. With the increasing amount of hunting and boat activity, some of Belize’s once thriving species are now dwindling in numbers. Three species that have been placed on the endangered list are the Manatee, Howler Monkeys and Spider Monkeys. These animals are continuously being further endangered because of deforestation, fast boating and poaching. As such, it is extremely necessary for immediate action to be taken to alleviate the problem. Wildtracks Conservation, Education and Research Center is working tirelessly toward sustaining the natural resources of Belize and has been since 1996. Wildtracks is a non-profit organization supported fully by volunteer workers and donations by generous sponsors. Their facility is based in the Corozal Bay Wildlife Reserve south of the nearby village of Sarteneja in the Corozal District. Wildtracks goals include the rehabilitation and release of rescued manatees and monkeys to the wild in order to sustain the population.

Cayo District Zone/San Ignacio Police Formation awarded for Crime Reduction
Saldivar-Addresses-Zone-Branch-CommandersOn February 13, 2013, Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar presented awards to officers commanding the Cayo District Zone and the San Ignacio Formation for their performance during the month of January in reducing crime within their jurisdiction. Crime Statistics for the month of January, 2013, show an overall reduction in crimes committed countrywide, the largest reduction being in the Cayo District Zone where crimes went down by 41.51 percent. Within that zone, the San Ignacio Formation recorded the largest reduction during that month.Zone-and-Branch-Commanders Guzman-Receives-ChequeThe awards, which will be a monthly feature, consist of a certificate of appreciation to the outstanding formation and a cash reward of $1,000 to the winning zone for the month in question, funds which will be used as the Officer Commanding that zone and his team determine as they continue to step up efforts to provide better safety and security in their respective jurisdiction.

Eight more murders in January 2013 than January 2012
The Belize Police Department today Friday February 15th, released the crime figures for the first month of 2013. While overall crime showed a decrease in most categories, the most notable and significant increase is in murder. There were a total of 12 murders, eight more than the four recorded in the month January of 2012. Of the 12 murders committed in January 2013, 11 were in the Belize District while one was from the Cayo District. Rape, robbery, burglary and theft saw moderate decreases, but carnal knowledge saw a spike of over 100%, increasing from five cases in January 2012 to 14 cases for the same period in 2013. The report also indicates that police continue to make little progress in overall arrest figures. The following is a breakdown of the statistics submitted by the police for the entire country.

Misc Belizean Sources

Expressive Talent Pictures
It was an amazing night of music, poetry, and artistic expression at the Soul Project last night. Lyric Nation, from Belmopan, recited some deep poetry. There were many singers and guitarists throughout the night on the stage. Emmanuel Mangar, Catherine Garnett, Peter Enriquez, the Blue Grass Dudes, and many more. The Soul Project is really doing it right, bringing culture, art, and great music to Cayo. Currently, the exhibit on display is the Soul Revolution exhibit, but the Soul Project will be closed until Tuesday to edit all the great video that was captured last night.

Belikin and La Ruta Maya
Only 20 days until La Ruta Maya. It starts on Friday, March 8th, at the Hawkesworth Bridge. Belikin is a proud sponsor, and you'll see their tents at every stop. They'll also be at the Cayo Welcome Center on Thursday, March 7th for the pre-LRM Culture Night.

Mr. and Ms. Succotz Festival
Last night was the final show of the Mr. and Ms. Succotz Festival. It happened at the Cancha San Jose Succotz at 7pm. See who'll represent Succotz.


More On Meth Bust In Chetumal
Belizeans Ermelindo Vasquez of Orange Walk and Hugo Casanova of Corozal, have been detained at the Centro De Readaptacion Social in Chetumal Quintana Roo since Sunday February 10th. As we enter the weekend the men are hopeful that that the Sixth District Court will resolve their legal status after their lawyers requested the extension of the constitutional term of 72 to 144 hours, to prove their innocence. The 144 hours ends on Sunday when the Judge, based on the evidence provided by the Mexican Navy, will determine whether Vasquez, Cassanova, and six other Mexican individuals are guilty of drug possession for the purpose of sale or will be set free. The arrest of the men comes as a result of a raid conducted by members of the Mexican Navy at the home of Carlos Cabañas Catzin, alias “El Monstruo” described as being the Mexican drug lord of the Pelones in Chetumal. During the sting operation 45 kilograms of suspected crystal meth valued at close to one million U.S dollars were confiscated. Fifty thousand doses of the drug were ready for distribution and retail marketing. Inside the residence police found Carlos Cabañas Catzin, Nestor Alberto Catzin Cabañas, Luis Juárez López, Alejandro Lugo Courtenay, Fabiola Lopez Juarez, Patricia Rosa Morales Olán, Hugo Casanova and Ermelindo Vazquez who all pled not guilty to the charge. We’ll bring you the verdict on Monday’s newscast.

Teenager Reported Missing For More Than Two Weeks
While 87 year old Mamerto Castillo has been missing since Wednesday, a 15 year old boy from the Village of Libertad in the Corozal District has been missing for two weeks now. According to 45 year old Belizean housewife Olympia Bull, her nephew, Hilmar Ical, left home on January 31st to sell homemade bread in Corozal Town. He was accompanied by his uncle as is usually the case. But while the uncle returned home, the same cannot be said for the 14 year old who is nowhere to be found. Despite the fact that the minor went missing two weeks ago, the report was recently made at the police station. Ical is described as being of Mestizo descent, brown complexion; 5 feet in height, medium built and weighs about 85 lbs. If you know the whereabouts of Ical you are asked to call 911 or the nearest police station.

Problems At Temporary Bus Terminal
The bus terminal located adjacent to the Ministry of Works here in Orange Walk was to be a temporary one yet there seems to be no movement forthcoming in order for busses to be relocated. And while time goes by, complaints about the terminal keep rolling in especially from vendors who rely on their everyday sale to make ends meet. Today we were once again called out to the terminal and when we arrived we found vendors up in arms. Hipolito Novelo reports. Just beside the entrance of the Orange Walk Town Bus Terminal are four vendors who every day struggle to make ends meet. Today; however, they are up in arms because of a construction that is taking place inside terminal grounds. The benches located under the shed are being upgraded in order for commuters to lean their back. While commuters applaud the initiative, those on the other side of the fence say it will affect their sale and are asking for an open space to be left between the benches in order for buyers to have easier access to their products.

They Did It For Peace
This afternoon the future leaders of the country sent a strong message to the criminal elements-they want peace. Students of La Inmaculada Primary School took a stand against crime as they walked through the streets of town with placards in hand sending out a message of hope. Hipolito Novelo reporting… The entire student body of La Inmaculada Primary School rallied together to send one message- they want peace. Manuel Polanco, Principal “It’s a response from our Bishop. Our Bishop has called on all catholic groups and communities to do something and get involve seeing how together we can assist to finish off with crime and violence in our country and bringing peace to Belize. The children were tasked with the idea of coming up with their own message through banners, posters, plackers and to display out there and let the public see those messages that the children are calling for.” After the short rally, students took to the streets of town where they spread the message of hope. And while one might think that walking for peace will not solve the rampant crime plaguing the country, Principal Manuel Polanco says it’s a start.

Yes Or No To The ICJ?
Belize and Guatemala agreed to conduct a simultaneous referendum on October 6th, 2013 to decide if Guatemala’s territorial claim against Belize should go before the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Presently an educational awareness campaign is being carried out in both countries. All indications are; however, that the ride towards the referendum will be a bumpy one. First it was a map of Guatemala showing Belize as part of its territory and now Guatemala’s President Otto Perez Molina says that Belize should restore its referendum law to what it was in 2008 if it wants to save the 6 October 2013 referendum. As the law stands, 60% of the electorate must participate in the referendum in order for it to be binding. Fifty one percent will have to say yes to go to the ICH. This is contrast to Guatemala’s referendum laws which provides for a simple majority of the electorate to make a decision. Pérez Molina considers that the percentages in Belize are too high and that the ratification is in danger. According to the Prensa Libre Newspaper, Perez Molina told the Associated Press in Madrid that Guatemala will not spend 240 million quetzals, which translates to $40 million in a referendum that is pointless because of the high voting percentage level in Belize.

In Corozal- Art In The Park
Art in the park is an event that has been gaining popularity in Corozal Town as it exposes the talent of many artists. The idea is one that was conceived by Photographer Debra Wilkes Gray, the now director of the Corozal House of Culture. In 2009 Gray presented her idea to the Institute of Creative Arts at a Corozal Committee General Assembly. Of course, members of the committee embraced the initiative and immediately the work began with the first Art in the Park being held on September 12th 2009. To date Art in the park has become one of the main attractions in Corozal both for locals and tourist. And if for some reason you have not been to one of the events then you have an opportunity to do so tomorrow when another edition of Art in the Park is scheduled to take place at 7:00pm. Art in the Park has brought much richness to Corozal as talented artists are exposed, at the same time receiving the recognition they deserve. Without a doubt the event provides a permanent exhibit space for young visual artists.

Octagenarian Has Been Missing For Three Days
Today marks three days that an 87 year old man from the Village of Yo Creek has been missing. His family is distressed and appealing to the public for their assistance in finding their loved one. Mamerto Castillo, better known as Don Mito, was last seen on Wednesday February 13th around 9:30am when he left home to gather some wood in an area close to the Village of San Lazaro. He has not been seen or heard from since. According to family members they have searched the areas that Castillo often frequents but to no avail. Castillo was last wearing a light pink long sleeve shirt and kaki long pants. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Mamerto Castillo is asked to contact the nearest police station or call 303-2047.

Responsible Leadership in Diversity and Dialogue
From February 27th to the 28th, the 5thGlobal Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations of the United Nations, preceded by a Youth Event on February 26th will take place in Vienna, Austria where more than 1000 political leaders and civil society representatives will meet to discuss the topic of “Responsible Leadership in Diversity and Dialogue”. This time round Belizeans can take heed to a very unique opportunity. On this occasion, a photo exhibition at the conference venue will visually display different perspectives on the topics of the conference. An invitation is opened for photo shoots to be submitted on one of the following three categories: Perspectives on Religious Pluralism, Freedom of the Media Matters and a new Narrative on Diversity Conditions for applying are the following: participants must be under the age of 35; photographs must be in digital format and submitted as electronic attachments via e-mail at, only one photo can be submitted per person. All submissions must include the photographer’s name; date of birth and email address; as well as a short explanation of the photograph (no more than 10 sentences). Submitted photo files must be minimum 1MB, maximum 5MB; 2000x2000pixels (with minimum 150 DPI). The best photos will be displayed at the conference venue as well as on the homepage of the UNAOC Global Forum 2013 while the top 5 photographs will be printed on postcards and distributed among those attending the Global Forum. Deadline for submissions is Sunday February 17th, 2013.

Juan Carnaval Burns Through Schools
Last week Friday you heard Debra Wilkes Gray from the Corozal House of Culture explain the celebration of Juan Carnaval. The celebration is a Mestizo tradition that takes place before the beginning of the Lenten season. Today, in order to keep the custom alive, members of the Banquitas House of Culture visited numerous primary and secondary schools in Orange Walk taking along with them Don Juan Carnaval. We met the group at La Inmaculada Primary School and joined in the festivity. Hipolito Novelo reporting… Many might have an idea of what the celebration of Juan Carnaval is all about. But truth of the fact is that the Mestizo tradition is dying and that is where the Banquitas House of Culture comes in. Yvette Torres, BHOC “Juan Carnaval is a tradition which was adopted by the Spanish and the Spaniards and the Indians. This is an old tradition that has been done in the pass and we want the schools and even the high schools and children to know that this is part of our tradition and we want to instil it in them. This year we did a twist to our actual Juan Carnaval which we normally do at the House of Culture for the past two years we have been doing the revival of Juan Carnaval at the House of Culture. So this year we are talking it, the re-enactment, to the schools.”

The Belize Times

Who is Laying the Pipe at BWS? – Union silent amidst string of firings & resignations
On Wednesday February 6th 2013, four employees of the government-owned water company, Belize Water Services, were given their marching papers. Collin Morrison, IT Support Technician; Don Gillett, Senior Customer Service Representative; Charlett Barnett, Customer Service Representative; and Mark Menzies, lab technician were all fired. All of them are members of the Belize Water Services Workers Union. A memo issued out a day after, on Thursday February 7th by BWS’ Chief Executive Office, Alvan Haynes, stated that the terminations had to do with “confidentiality of information, failure to cooperate fully with the investigation, including providing false information or withholding information”. This “investigation”, pointed out in the CEO’s memo, was regarding “a number of malicious letters which contain slander, gossip, and misuse of information”. The BELIZE TIMES has obtained copies of the “malicious letters” which all carry the signature of the company workers’ Union President, Lorelei Westby, but do so falsely, we are told. The letters, prepared by an anonymous author, make scandalous allegations against managers and employees at BWS. It spills out highly controversial “bedroom business” about who is sleeping with who and inside which office at BWS; political cronyism that is affecting the efficiency of the company; and the many instances of abuse and waste of company resources. The letters hit hard – naming executive and senior managers, as well as regular employees. It has made executives nervous and has turned BWS upside down as it was sent to the Prime Minister and also to the spouses and families of those named in the information.

Farrakhan re-schedules visit to Belize
The BELIZE TIMES has confirmed that Leader of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan, has re-scheduled his visit to Belize, after cancelling an on-going Caribbean tour in December last year. According to the local coordinator, Nuri Muhammad, Minister Farrakhan will arrive in Belize on March 4th ...

World-renowned Grill targeted by UDP Chairman
By Mark Paulson Alberto “Betito” Villanueva, the failed chairperson of the Caye Caulker Village Council, appears to have stolen a page out of Darrell Bradley’s book of political victimization. Readers may recall that late last year Darrell Bradley forced well-known DJ ...

Oceana Seeks Permission to Appeal Referendum Strike-out Decision
Oceana et’al has applied for permission to appeal against the decision of Justice Michelle Arana, which resulted in the dismissal of the case against the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) and the Governor General on the basis ...

Do You Smell Smoke
We have acres of beautiful land in Belize. I remember one evening while returning to the city on the western road I could not help but notice dark, thick smoke floating in the sky. As we drove further we could see fire all over the bushes for miles and miles. ...

PUP condemns GOB’s divisiveness
On February 7, 2013 the Clerk of the National Assembly of Belize wrote to PUP Members of the House of Representatives and Senate advising that the National Assembly would meet on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13, 2013 for Special Sittings on a “Government of Belize Restructuring Motion.” That ...

In my perspective – What does it take to be a Minister in Belize? Not much
by Rayford Young As I have said many times in this column, growing up in Corozal was a joy. My childhood experience was a pleasant one. One of the more exciting times in Corozal was when the circus from Mexico came to town. The elephants, tigers, riding the merry- go-round and ...

How to fix the economy!
Part I by Richard Harrison Belize is 31 years into Political Independence. It finds itself in a position where unemployment is over 18%, with an even higher unemployment among the young population. Poverty is over 40%, as more and more the middle-class is being wiped out. GDP growth is below the ...

UDP buying votes with land in Xaibe Village – Residents given promissory notes which take effect if the UDP wins
On Friday afternoon February 8th, 2013 Hugo Patt, the Corozal North UDP Representative and the UDP slate running for the Xaibe Village Council headed by one Leidy Trimminius held a ceremony of their UDP Cronies in ...

SCALES OF JUSTICE – Why Mark King should have been remanded!
If a “normal person in Belize” had done and said what the Minister of Gang, Mark King is alleged to have done and said to Police Constable Nelson Ramos, he would have been immediately carted off to prison. And, he would have gotten some serious licks from ...

Marion Jones Complex Workers No Pay & No Job!!
The definition of Nepotism is the exploitation of power and authority to provide a job or favor to a ...

Union Leaders Eat Cake – Get Zilch, Nada!
Contributed As the Prime Minister crooned, in B Flat minor, Happy Birthday to George, in the Cabinet room, poor George swooned and began to blush, and even flush. It was beginning to look like a really gay convention, or perhaps just ...

Mr. Guatemala
In the days of Mr. Goldson and Mr. Price, any politician smooching up to Guatemala would be met with some heavy public tongue lashing and perhaps lynching. Both national heroes have left us, but we Belizeans still don’t trust Guatemala. So why are the Mayor of ...

Hon. Joseph Mahmud, Cayo North Area Representative, clarifies media allegations
It has been brought to my attention that there is a photo circulating on the social media purportedly showing a vehicle owned by me and indicating that this vehicle was used to deliberately run over a young man on Saturday night. This defamatory story has also been run ...

BGYEA plans land demonstration in Belmopan
The Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association is planning a national demonstration on Tuesday February 26th to protest the disrespect shown by the Ministry of Natural Resources to their efforts to empower poor ...

Cabinet roots out Immigration Director
With so many scandals rocking the Barrow Administration, one would wonder why it is that the UDP Cabinet has busied itself creating more controversies. On Tuesday last week, Cabinet issued a directive for the ...

Let’s take the Mayor to Court
Dear Editor, Should the Mayor of Belize City Darrell Bradley be taken to Court? The answer is yes, on behalf of all residents who are hurting over his administration which has introduced more taxes to fulfil his ambitions. In fact, even the Minister of Local Government Godwin Hulse is hinting that ...

Liberty Children’s Home Director Delfena Mitchell Says Farewell
Dear Liberty Children Home’s friends and supporters, I am writing this letter to thank you for your support over the past six years and let you know of my resignation as Director, Liberty Foundation, effective 31 March, 2013. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the children and staff at Liberty ...

Belize may be the only country in the world where its Government can still try to dope its population with sedative doses of “political coincidence”. For Belizeans, the downside of our warm, friendly and peace loving nature is that quite often any critical historical or socio-scientific analysis is either swallowed by the stubbornly recurrent priorities of daily living or suffocated by the power structure who thrive on the scarcity of relievable data. We have been cultured to readily and willingly forgo the tediousness of uncovering the correlations between social, political and religious events especially if that exercise temporarily leads us through a valley whose dark trials are crowded with hurriedly developed conspiracies. Deep scrutiny is extremely important, however, because contemporary Belizean politics is surely not linear in its progression. As a young Belizean population matures through political puberty, we must be thankful for the information revolution, increased literacy and an unrelenting wave of high stakes issues. Whether it has been territorial integrity, oil explorations, LGBT rights or Constitutional metamorphoses, our people have been forced to shed their naivety. Healthy socio-political consciousness demands that we recognize that the only constants are that: appearances deceive; conspiracies and political scheming drive history; power, greed, fame, money, and sex account for all and, most importantly, nothing is haphazard. This brings us to Sunday. ...

Wheel and come again
By G. Michael Reid The disagreement between the teachers of Belize and the government seems far from being settled and might yet reach the point of confrontation. The Prime Minister thought he had worked his magic when he was able to win over union leaders with a cake, a song and ...

BNTU branches reject GOB’s salary proposal – “What IF the PM is lying?!” ask teachers
The members of the Belize National Teachers Unions (BNTU) have scoffed at Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s proposal to consider giving them a meagre salary increase in 2014 if government’s revenues show any signs of life. The general ...

NO MORE SUPER BOND EXCUSES – PUP Leader tells Barrow to “Get the work done!”
For the past five years, the “Superbond” has been used as the UDP’s excuse for not growing the Belizean economy. The Superbond, which was a highly-applauded re-financing of Belize’s external debt with terms that gave enough ...

UDPs Caught in Major Drug Bust! – Officials suspect US$1M crystal meth was transported from Belize
Two Belizean businessmen, who openly supported and campaigned for the United Democratic Party in the northern districts, Ermelindo “Melin” Vasquez of Orange Walk Town and Hugo Cassanova of Carolina Village in the Corozal District, were caught ...

ACC leads high school softball games
The Anglican Cathedral College boys, St. John’s College and Nazarene High School boys all enjoyed big wins in the first week of the high school central division softball competition at the Rogers’ Stadium and the Lord’s Bank field last Friday and Saturday, February 9th. The ACC boys outlasted the Nazarene High School boys 12-9 on Saturday. First baseman Rene Flowers led ACC with 3 runs and Devon Gabourel scored 2 runs, while Nazarene High’s Anfernee Brooks, Bruce Hilton, Jerry Cassasola and Raheem Brooks scored 2 runs each.

SJC topples ACC for football nationals bid
The St. John’s College won the 2013 high school central division football finals by outgunning the Anglican Cathedral College boys 3-2 in a penalty shootout on Monday evening, February 11. In Game 2, Tarique James set table beautifully for Raheem Flowers to tap the ball into the empty goal, only to see Flowers dump his shot over the crossbar. Regulation time ended nil-zip so it came down to penalties. ACC’s first 2 kickers applied for a pilot’s license and Tyler Luis stopped ACC’s 4th try, so only Sergio Luna and Devaugn “Beckham” Zuniga scored for ACC.

Wesley girls are central football champs
The Wesley College girls won the 2013 female high school central division football finals 3-0 against the St. Catherine’s Academy girls at the MCC garden on Monday evening, February 11th. In Game 1 of the finals last Friday evening, February 8, the Wesley girls had struggled to a nil-zip draw with the SCA girls. In Game 2, speedy Shanice Neal and Elisha Bernardez sled the Wesley attacks, but the SCA defenders held them scoreless to the end of regulation. Jada Parchue almost scored the winning goal for SCA late in the second half, but Wesley’s goalie Latesha Hughes just barely averted that disaster by deflecting Parchue’s shot away from goal. She and Julia Arzu had led the SCA offensive with the help of midfielders but the Wesley defenders would have none of it.


Delightful "Valentine's Day" dinner at Aji
We rarely go out on Valentine's Day any more since most nice restaurants do special (i.e., more expensive) menus, and we also prefer to avoid crowds. So we decided to have our "Valentine's" dinner out two nights before the actual day of hearts and flowers. It's just a day, right? We hadn't been to Aji in a long time, and it couldn't be more convenient since it's in very close walking distance of our condo, so off we went. We had a lovely table in the garden with a view of the sea. And once the sun went down, the twinkling white lights combined with the clear, starry night sky provided the perfect setting. There was a good breeze so no bugs bothered us, an added bonus. We started with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and our cute waiter, Rudolph, brought us a plate of bruschetta to accompany the wine. It tasted like parmesan cheese bread, homemade of course. Yum. We both ordered the special, Tropical Snapper. Rudolph commented that he could tell we'd been married a long time since we ordered the same thing. We laughed and told him how we did that so often in Mexico -- I'd order from the Spanish menu, and Barry got very good at saying "lo mismo" (the same)! We really do enjoy most of the same foods and accuse each other of "copying" in restaurants quite often.

The War Against Time – The Secrets Of The Incas
The Inca Empire, at its peak, was the largest kingdom on Earth. The Incas were known as master builders, fearsome warriors, and practitioners of human sacrifice. Yet in the year 1532, this mighty state was conquered, overnight, by fewer than 200 Spanish adventurers. How could this happen? Step by step, clue by clue, Sullivan decodes the myths of the Incas to reveal that they embody an astoundingly thorough record of astronomical events – a record so precise it can be checked against a modern computer program. And he uncovers the Incas’ tragic secret: they knew they were doomed. As they watched the skies for over a thousand years, the priest-astronomers of the Andes came to believe that great transitions in the heavens foretold great transitions here on earth. In the fifteenth century, they read the sky and saw the signs of an apocalypse. So the Incas took a desperate gamble: if events in the heavens could influence those on earth, perhaps the reverse was true. Their rituals of warfare and human sacrifice were nothing less than an attempt to stop time, to forestall the cataclysm that would sweep their world away. The Inca gamble failed, for just at the time the prophecy predicted, the Conquistadors arrived. Yet even as their world collapsed, the Andean shamans set their wisdom afloat in the waters of time, aboard the vessel of myth. In this book, after four centuries of oblivion, their message has been received.

O, Land of the free by the Carib Sea, Our manhood we pledge to thy liberty No tyrants here linger, despot must flee This tranquil haven of democracy The blood of our sires which hollows the sod, Brought freedom from slavery oppression’s rod By the might of truth and the grace of God. No longer shall we be hewers of wood. Arise! Ye sons of the Baymen’s clan, Put on your armours, clear the land! Drive back the tyrants let despots flee- Land of the free by the Carib Sea! Nature has blessed thee with wealth untold, O’er mountains and valleys where prairies roll; Our fathers, the Baymen, valiant and bold Drove back the invaders; this heritage hold From proud Rio Hondo to old Sarstoon, Through coral isle,over blue lagoon; Keep watch with the angels, the stars and moon; For freedom comes to-morrow’s noon. Arise! Ye sons of the Baymen’s clan, Put on your armours, clear the land! Drive back the tyrants let despots flee- Land of the free by the Carib Sea!

Things Can Only Get Better
Got up this morning slightly later than usual at 5.45 am to find that there was no power (subsequently found out that the power loss occurred just before 5 am). Bummer. No electricity meant no coffee. No Internet. No The Times. Not a great start to the day. With power returning at around 8.30 am I thought things were looking up but they just got worse. Arsenal played Blackburn Rovers (a team one division below them) at home in the fifth round of the FA Cup and with home advantage should have breezed through. Ninety-four minutes later after huffing and puffing but not more than that we are out of the ‘Cup. And with Bayern Munich on Tuesday in the Round of 16 of the Champions League it looks like another trophy less season for us again. Nor feeling particularly ebullient Rose and I (more Rose than me it has to be said) focused on producing ‘minutes’ of the meeting we had with Daniel Camal, the building contractor for our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize, yesterday evening. The meeting lasted just over an hour and we focused on window types (need to be ordered any time now) just to be certain that Daniel and us are ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’. Pleased to say that his detail matched ours. We then moved on to discussing the railings we want for the veranda walls and were able to provide Daniel with a photo of exactly what we are looking for. He confirmed he can give us what we want.

International Sources

Milwaukee County Zoo displays new jaguar cubs
The Milwaukee County Zoo is displaying jaguar cubs for the first time since 1975. Visitors had only previously been able to watch the three-month old brothers through a web camera. They made their debut on Wednesday. They are important because they're introducing new genes to the endangered species' captive population. Unlike most zoo babies, their father, Pat, was born in the wild. He was captured in Central America after being deemed a problem for attacking cattle. He also has a book named after him, "Pat the Great Cat: A Jaguars Journey," which was written by children in Milwaukee and Belize as part of a literacy program. One cub will be named in a local contest and the other will be named by children from Belize who helped with the book.

Belize fundraiser a stylin’ event
From all appearances, the Best Western Lodge in Nederland appeared to be hosting a cocktail party. On a cold, February Saturday night, one could hear the Celtic music squeezing through the door into the night, smell the aroma of spaghetti sauce simmering, see the delicate, scrumptious desserts and the guests chatting, wineglasses in hand. It was much more than a party. The group of folks at the Best Western was there to donate to sending a group of Nederland High School students to Belize, where they will fix the floors of a schoolhouse and paint it, but it will be much more than a remodel. As the students work, they will become ambassadors, will hang with the Belize students and share stories of their lives. They will represent the goodwill and caring nature of Nederland as well as the United States. Diversity teacher and trip organizer Lori Kinczel said the event was just one of the activities planned to ensure that every child will have the means to make the trip. This year 22 high school students and two 20-something young adults will accompany five staff members to the poverty-stricken town of San Ignacio. The floors of the school are made of particle board and the people have been stepping through the weakened wood. Under the guidance of a muralist, the Nederland youth will also join forces with the Belize students to create a mural. The kindergarten through eighth grade school children loved the Nederland students in their first trip to Belize last year. It wasn’t all about work. The teens also read to the students, played soccer, rapped and sang. Every time there was a recess, the ambassadors were swarmed by the children wanting to know more about the Americans.

Expressive Talent Pictures
You don't necessarily have to strap on gas tanks to see spectacular sights beneath the waves. In some places, all you need are a mask, flippers and a snorkel. This lack of cumbersome equipment can be liberating. It encourages a long, languorous approach to underwater exploration, stretching it out over a day rather than compressing it into an hour or so. These places, some of the finest places to snorkel in the world, also happen to have beautiful coastlines as well. 2 Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Belize The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef, extends through Belize, Guatemala, the Honduras and Mexico. Belize is good for English speakers because its official language is a Creole dialect of English. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve, a few kilometres from the town of San Pedro and about 15 minutes by boat, is perfect for a day trip snorkelling on the reef. The reserve is divided into different zones according to its different habitats. The reef channel is home to a wide variety of fish including jacks, snappers and barracuda, as well as turtles and dolphins. Manatees - also known as sea cows - swim in the seagrass beds.