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#458669 - 02/23/13 09:12 AM Today's Belize News: February 23, 2013
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The San Pedro Sun

AGUSM moves to mainland; new medical university starts in San Pedro
The American Global University School of Medicine (AGSUM) is no longer on Ambergris Caye after moving to a larger facility in Ladyville Village in the Belize District. The confirmation was made by the university President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Malik Soudah. He explained that there are new and exciting plans for AGUSM and for that reason, the university needed a larger campus. Dr. Soudah also explained that with AGUSM moving to mainland Belize, a new medical university has been operating in San Pedro under the name of Washington University of Health and Science (WUHS). Both universities are operating under a consortium with two different accredited charters from the Government of Belize but under one company, namely American Academic Services. WUHS-Students-San-Pedro-2“We wanted to expand and do more things with the university. One of the things we needed was more space; space that suits a medical school,” said Soudah as he explained why AGUSM was relocated to mainland Belize. One of those exciting changes explained Soudah is that AGUSM will be slowly moving to cater to the Central American and Caribbean markets. “There are some medical students who wish to study medicine in Central America or the Caribbean so we decided to move into that area and cater to that market as well,” Soudah explained.

Zulema Ayala wins 13th Annual Spelling Bee Zone 5 Elimination
2013 Spelling Bee-1Students of the various schools from both San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker Village participated in the 13th Annual Coca Cola National Spelling Bee Zone 5 Elimination. The event started at 9AM on Thursday February 21st at the San Pedro Lions Den. A total of 14 students competed from 7 different schools which included Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES), Caye Caulker Roman Catholic School, Holy Cross Anglican School, Isla Bonita Elementary School, New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School, San Pedro Roman Catholic School and The Island Academy. The winners will represent Zone 5 at the District Eliminations are scheduled to take place in Belize City on April 30th. 2013 Spelling Bee-5The competition went to five rounds, and in the end, The Island Academy’s Zulema Ayala took first place, while Kaylee Kumul took second place. Shanelly Guttierez of San Pedro Roman Catholic School took third place in the sixth round of competition. In the case that the first or second place winners are unable to compete, the third place winner will act as the alternate speller in the District Elimination.

Belize Male Volleyball Team prepares for Central American Games in Costa Rica
San Pedro’s own Gustavo Morataya and Orange Walk’s Abimael Godoy are the two Belizeans representatives who will participate in the regional games that will run from March 2nd to the 9th. The two athletes were selected from a three-stop beach volleyball tour which concluded last week. Head coach for the Belize Team is Arvid Arnold. The two young men will be representing Belize for the first time and according to Oscar Arnold, the Beach Volleyball Commissioner for the Belize Volleyball Association, “the team will have a huge task in front of them, as they will be going up against some very talented and experienced teams from Central America.” In speaking to The San Pedro Sun, Morataya explained that he is pleased and excited to be representing the jewel. “Beach volleyball has been happening here for quite some time. The last three years, Belize hosted the Central American Games at the Marion Jones Stadium so we have been playing it for some time now in Belize. For me, it is an honor, because it is the first time I am going abroad to represent my country to compete internationally. It’s a big step for me because I have always had the opportunity to play beach volleyball but never to represent my country,” said Morataya. He also took the opportunity to thank Cholo’s Sportsbar and Caye Caulker Water Taxi for their continued support in his endeavors.

Ambergris Today

Enhancing Belize’s Resilience to Adapt to the Effects of Climate Change
The Project “Enhancing Belize’s Resilience to Adapt to the Effects of Climate Change”, launched in September 2012 is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Government of Belize (GoB), and funding of the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (EU GCCA). The project aims to enhance adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change in national policies and demonstrate action in support of effective governance of climate change and climate change related impacts in the water sector in Belize. As part of the larger project, two activities, namely the “Enhancement of National Capacities to Plan for and to Coordinate a National Response to the threats of Climate Change” and the pilot entitled “Applied Forest Management: Building Capacities for the Restoration of Watersheds Impacted by Natural Disasters” valued at over €865,000 / BZD $2.2m are being executed in partnership with the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development.

San Pedro High School Enters Recycling Project in Visionary Challenge
On Monday, February 18, 2013, the San Pedro High School contacted Ambergris Today to showcase their Paper Recycling Project. The brains of the impressive project are academic students guided by their teacher Mr. Ricardo Sedacy. Together they plan on representing San Pedro High School on the Sagicor Visionary Challenge on March 20, 2013. The Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), SAGICOR, and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) partnered to form the first Science competition known as the Sagicor Visionary Challenge. Each high school across the country of Belize was asked to carry out a survey in their community to find a problem that’s affecting their community. Each high school team had to find a solution to the problem.

San Pedro AIDS Commission Carnaval Thank You Letter
Dear Editor: The San Pedro AIDS Commission wholeheartedly thanks all those who in one way or another helped make our participation in Carnaval 2013 yet another success for this group. I applaud the members who opted to dance during the three days of Carnaval and the members who donated or worked for this event. I also salute the “friends” of the AIDS Commission who joined in the festive dancing: Sara Sanchez, Shirley Eiley, Naie Duran, Alex White, Mari Magaña, Erin de Santiago, Brittney O’Daniel and Kristi Gonzalez. Great job guys! Gracias to our “Friends” for their continued support. Special thanks to Mata Chica Resort, Sandbar, Findley Halliday, Mrs. Elvia Staines & Ryan Edwards, Ellos Boutique, The Liquor Box, Tropic Air, Carmen & Alex Eiley, Super Buy, Juvinie Sabido, Mrs. Shelly Huber and Betty Villelda. Thanks to Bistro Mestizo for providing the tasty food following the dances and to Martin Ancona and Mauricio Aquino for their assistance.

San Pedro Lions Club Annouces Queen Pageant 2013
The San Pedro Lions Club will be holding a beauty pageant on Saturday, March 15, 2013, at the San Pedro Lions Den in which four beautiful young ladies will be vying for the title of Lions Queen. The lovely contestants are Alexis Del Valle, Lynda Quintanilla, Cecibel Cortez, and Lina Mazeriegos. This year promises to be a good show as the young ladies will be doing an opening dance as well be modeling in sportswear, talent competition, evening wear and the question and answer session. There will be lots to eat and fun entertainment at the San Pedro Lions Queen Pageant Saturday, March 16, so don’t miss out. Show starts at 7:00 p.m. entrance fee is $10.00. Come and support the local San Pedro Lions Club.

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Spotted Eagle Rays at Hol Chan Canyons
Spotted Eagle Rays at Hol Chan Caynons

Energizing Youth Entrepreneur Workshop Today
The Energizing Youth Entrepreneur Workshop is today in Belmopan at the University of Belize. It's only $10 per person, and that includes lunch. Speakers include Stephen Okeke, Shelly Usher, James Scott, and Kay Menzies. Sounds like it'll be highly motivational.

The Fashion at Wedding Spectacular Featuring Rebecca Stirm
Best of luck to Rebecca Stirm and Chantae Guy, who are representing Belize in Jamaica at the Wyndham Wedding Spectacular this weekend. "So I noticed that Rebecca Stirm will be one of the designers showing at Wedding Spectacular this weekend and I remember that name causing quite a buzz from the last season of Mission Catwalk, so I decided to click on over to her facebook page to get familiar. I immediately liked what I saw! ... She seems very talented at draping, a skill that’s hard to get right. I love this burgundy dress and the styling with the teal and I love the braiding on the green dress! Couldn’t you see yourself in that for something formal? How about your bridesmaids?"

European Commission proposes to open plurilateral trade negotiations on services
The European Commission today asked the Council to give its green light for negotiations on a new international agreement on trade in services. To begin with, 21 WTO Members will be at the negotiating table, but the EU is keen to encourage others to join. The EU is also pushing for the agreement to dovetail with WTO rules so it can be later folded into the WTO system. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said: “The perspective of a new broad-based trade in services agreement is excellent news – for jobs and for economic growth. I encourage all WTO members who support market opening and strong rules for trade in services to join this initiative.” The negotiations will cover all services sectors, including information and communication technology (ICT) services, logistics and transport, financial services and services for businesses. But the EU, like the other participants, is looking for the negotiations to go beyond simply further opening up markets for services. The aim is also to develop new rules on trade in services, such as those applying to government procurement of services, licensing procedures or access to communication networks.

Rebecca Stirm and Chantae Guy are representing Belize in Jamaica
“Thanks to Belize Bank, Rebecca Stirm will be heading to Kingston Jamaica, along with Belizean headline model Chantae Guy [Miss Belize World 2012], to show her “Pfuma Ye Nyika” collection on the runway this weekend at the Wyndham Wedding Spectacular!”

Channel 7

University Student And Mother Of Two Murdered in Toledo; 16 Year Old Suspect
A female university student was chopped to death in Punta Gorda yesterday afternoon and a teenaged minor I being held for the crime. At 3:30, an off duty BDF soldier saw 24 year old Corina Coh in the bushes on the outskirts of Laguna Village with multiple chop wounds. She was conscious enough to tell him her name and the identity of the person who had chopped her - she gave him the name of a 16-year-old farmer from the village. He called to the village where a car owner rushed her the 11 miles to the PG Hospital - but she succumbed to her injuries shortly after. Police have detained the 16 year old farmer - and expect to charge him for murder. The motive is not known at this time. Coh was riding a bicycle to the junction of the Southern Highway to catch a bus to go to her afternoon class at the University of Belize. She told the persons who took her to the hospital that the young man was pursuing her and wouldn't leave her alone. She was a mother of two young children and had a common law husband.

Two Men Shot In City
Two men are in the KHMH tonight recovering after they were shot while working on a house on Jane Usher Boulevard Extension this afternoon. It happened at a few minutes to two when the three men were resting under the house. That's when an unmasked shooter rode up and walked from the street with a nine millimeter pistol. He shot 39 year old Cecil Hinds and Moses Del Cid. Del Cid got the more serious injury, he was shot in the jaw, but luckily, the bullet exited through his cheek. Hinds was shot two in the arm and once in the shoulder. The third man - who was the homeowner, fled to safety in the nearby bushes. Hinds had to presence of mind to jump into the property owner's vehicle and drive Del Cid to the hospital. The vehicle was parked in the emergency room driveway when we got there. Both men are in stable condition. The 43 year old property owner, who asked us not to release his name, told us that he has no idea why anyone would want to target them. He says Del Cid is form the Cayo District and 39 year old Cecil is an older, working persons with no enemies. The property owner is also a working man - who was fixing up the home on his vacation. Police do have a suspect who has been detained.

Garbage collector Run Over And Killed By Garbage Truck
A garbage collector lost his life in Belize City around 2:30 this afternoon when he was run over by his own garbage truck. It happened on Holy Emmanuel Street in the Lake Independence area. KENRICK MONEY SUTHERLAND - who is a temporary worker on his first day of work with Belize Waste Control was sitting on the edge of a small garbage truck when he fell off, right beneath the back wheels of the truck. According to eyewitnesses, he had just jumped unto the truck as it was moving off and never did stabilize himself. The driver didn't have time to react and ran over his chest without even knowing. The driver had to be alerted that he had just run over someone. He was rushed to the hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival. We spoke to the George Lamb, the General Manager of Waste Control who didn't yet have much information:..

Sentenced To Five Years For Her Boyfriend's Bullets; Can Woman Get Free
One month ago we told you about 25 year-old Natalie Coleman, who was sent to prison for 5 years after she was convicted of illegally possessing four 12-gauge shotgun cartridges. She was charged jointly with her boyfriend, 22 year-old Randy Dominguez, but Dominguez's attorney was able to get the charge withdrawn when they presented to the court that he was not present at the time of the search. And so, Coleman stood trial alone for the ammunition discovery and in her defence, she told the court that when the police conducted the search, she was only present because she was visiting her boyfriend. Still, she was the only one there and the Magistrate gave her 5 years in prison. IT seemed unfair to a group of citizens and now they are working to get her free. Darrell Carter told us more:..

Cattle Soon to Be Exported To Mexico (Legally)
In August of last year, we told you about the cattle sweep that was being conducted. It's a massive effort to develop what's called a biological passport each exportable head of cattle in Belize. That means they are rigorously tested, screened and documented so that they can meet the standards to be legally exported into Mexico. It's a huge undertaking - but after six months, it's almost off the ground. In fact, this morning the first batch of cattle were to be exported form Blue Creek but the truck coming from Mexico never made it. Apparently, the massive cattle truck had a registration problem and Mexican Authorities would not let it pass over. So while the cattle owners in Blue Creek are ready - and even now a little impatient, the first legal exportation of cattle from Belize has had to be re-scheduled for next week. We stress the word "legal", because illegal exportation has been happening for some time.

Guatemalans Object To Maheia's Border Clearing Effort
On February fourth, we told you about Will Maheia's dramatic drive to cut the line along entire border. Here's how he explained it then:.. Wil Maheia - PNP "One of the things that we will be starting in 3 weeks' time - we have secured 100 machetes. We will begin to clear the border lines ourselves, just like when we started to place the flag it was one of us; two of us. Rufus when you went down there maybe it was 6-10 of us, now its bus loads. We will start to clear that borderline by had with machetes - one machete at a time and we will start from Gracias Adios, up the Sarstoon River and we will begin chopping and we will chop and chop until we get up to the Chiquibul and Caracol. I don't know how long it's going to take but in a couple of weeks we will start chopping along the borderline." Now the date for the event has been set. It starts on Sunday March 2nd, when Maheia's group called the Belize Territorial Volunteers will begin a project called "Clearing Our Borderline."

Accused Pedophile Taylor Meeting Adjournments
On December 20, 2012, British Belizean David Taylor, the man who is accused of outrageous acts of Pornographic exploitation of 4 boys on Placencia, was arraigned on 2 charges of aggravated assault on an indecent nature, and committing an unnatural crime for having sexual relations with a 13 year-old boy. At the end of that arraignment, he was denied bail, and so when residents of Placencia got news that he was out, they became alarmed, and all sorts of rumors started flying around. There was one rumor that he could have possibly left the country, but tonight, we can confirm that he is in the country, and more than that, he's complying with the courts. It all started when he applied to the Supreme Court and got bail, but Placencia police were not notified, in fact, they believed that he was still on remand because they registered their strong objections to his bail in the first instance that he is a flight risk. This evening, 7News contacted Inspector Mark Flowers, the Officer Commanding Placencia Police who told us that the police department responded to the community who were alarmed that Taylor was missing his adjournment dates in court, and so they started to search for him on Placencia.

Advocacy For The Aged
VOICE Belize City is an advocacy group for older persons and today they launched one of their latest projects. It's a preferential seating system for the elderly and disabled and Russell bus line has embraced the initiative. 7news caught up with the members of the group this morning as they were hanging up signs in the buses. Shaz Davison, VOICE, Member "We are an advocacy group for older persons and right now we are working on preferential seating for older persons so that when they go on board they know that they have a place to sit without having to stand up." Monica Bodden "How will that work?" Shaz Davison, VOICE, Member "Right now this is the sign here and we will do is that Mr. and Mrs. Russell will come and we are going in and start placing them up onto the bus seating in the first two rows so that people will know that these seats are for the older persons and other people of need."

Art In the Street
It's the third year for the annual Street Art Festival and according to organizers, there will be new surprises for those art lovers. On Saturday afternoon downtown Albert Street will be lined with booths showcasing live art, fashion and a wide selection of entertainment. The festival was created to build a national forum for artists and offers artists the opportunity to showcase their talent and artwork to a crowd. We caught up with the team at NICH who told us what families can expect tomorrow. Karen Vernon "The Street Art Festival 2013 takes places this Saturday on Albert Street as usual. It starts from 2pm to 10pm and it starts at the junction with Belize Bank and it goes all the way down Albert Street to where Doony's is. This year we will be featuring the vendor's booth as usual artist promoting our local artist. We have a food court on Treasury Lane; we have a kid's zone which will be very interesting this year with puppets. We have a fashion street which is new. We will be having different designers displaying what they do in clothing and jewelry and we will have a runway on that street featuring different fashion show throughout the day. We have a youth stage where youths will be featuring; they have competition and entertainment on that stage from 2-8pm. It's quite exciting. Also on the youth stage there will be a flash which is new and exciting for us this year."

The Dubious Border At Jalacte
As we told you earlier in the newscast, the Guatemalans have sent a diplomatic note urging the Belizean government to intervene and stop Will Maheia and his Belize Territorial Volunteers from commencing with their project called "Clearing Our Borderline". It starts in Jalacte which is an area we visited with Maheia in 2008. At the time there was a dispute about a warehouse which a Guatemalan businessman had placed in Belizean territory. It took months to get that removed - even though it was squarely in Belizean territory. The businessman was form Santa Cruz Guatemala which is the Guatemalan village adjoining Jalacte in Belize. Through commerce and daily life, they are like sister villages, and they have established a much used - though unregulated border crossing. When we went there, we found out how difficult it is to two the border line. Tonight we repeat only a small excerpt of that story that noted the contrasts and the similarities between Jalacte Belize and Santa Cruz Guatemala. Unlike Jalacte, it has electricity and Belizean shoppers come here for Gallo beers, and cheap products. The village - or most of it - is in Guatemalan territory - the cemetery for example is believed to be inside Belizean territory. But it's a fine, widely unknown line, and the entire village exists under the eye of the BDF treetops observation post - the sole indicator of Belize's domain in the area.

Channel 5

Guatemala dismantles Comision de Belice
The Guatemalan government dropped a major bombshell late on Thursday evening following recent statements by President Otto Perez Molina in respect of the October sixth referendum. The government has moved decisively to dissolve the main agency in charge of monitoring matters relating to the unfounded claim against Belize. While the reports spread like wildfire in [...]

100 machetes to clear border line faces resistance
There is another development in respect to the territorial claim by Guatemala. For the past few years, Punta Gorda’s activist Wil Maheia and a group called Belize Territorial Volunteers have raised the flag along the border with Guatemala. The celebratory and symbolic gesture has taken them as far as Gracias de Dios. The group feels [...]

Youth allegedly kills woman for insulting him
Punta Gorda police have recorded the first murder for this year in that municipality.  A UB student, Corina Coh, was murdered on Thursday evening about a mile from her house in the village of Laguna and a minor has been charged for her murder. Coh was found bleeding by a B.D.F. soldier who was travelling [...]

2 shot on Levy Slusher Street
After a few days of relative peace on the streets, there was a mid afternoon shooting in the city which landed two men to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Cecil Hinds, Moises Delfin and a third person were at a wooden house on Levy Slusher Street in the Jane Usher Boulevard area when a lone [...]

Land grab on Placencia Peninsula
The Placencia Lagoon, a fifteen mile body of water west of the Caribbean Sea just behind the peninsula, has, for the past fifteen years, been the subject of protection by environmentalists lobbying for government to declare it as a reserve.  The lagoon, which is connected to three important rivers in South Stann Creek, is renowned [...]

Belizean woman dies following domestic dispute in U.S.A.
Police in North Las Vegas, Nevada are on the hunt for the husband of a Belizean woman who died following a domestic dispute. The woman is forty-year old Beverly McFarlane. Police found her at her home last August and took her to the University Medical Center where her brain injuries were so severe she could [...]

Bullets found in his home, but pregnant visitor convicted
It’s not fiction but you can actual show up at a friend’s house during a police search and wind up in prison. That’s what happened to twenty five year old Natalie Coleman. The pregnant woman visited the home of her boyfriend, Randy Dominguez and police found four sixteen-gauge cartridges in the building. Both of them [...]

Several injured in accident on Stann Creek Valley Road
Sometime around four-thirty this morning, thirty-two year old Felipe Williams, a Belizean driver of Corozal Town was transporting cement on a truck with a trailer from Dangriga to Corozal. Upon reaching Mile ten on the Stann Creek Valley Road, the truck experienced transmission problems and Williams reversed from off the highway into a feeder road [...]

Cane field fire and smoke causes 3 car pile up
An accident occurred on the Philip Goldson Highway on Thursday evening at approximately six p.m. It was caused by a fire from a cane field which spread to the overgrown shrubbery on the side of the highway. The smoke became so thick that our news team in the area had to slow down. That’s when [...]

Cop and accused both claim to be the victim
  Twenty-eight year old, Mickalee Williams, a car washer of Belize City, appeared in Court before Magistrate Hettie-Mae Stewart where he was charged with one count of aggravated assault and harm upon a police officer. But Willaims told the court that he was in fact the victim of police brutality. The alleged incident occurred on [...]

A.P.S.S.M. meeting, president Castellanos absent again
Executives from the Association of Public Service Senior Managers were scheduled to meet this morning with president Jose Castellanos in Belize City to discuss a way forward following recent consultations on the proposed salary adjustment.  Castellanos did not attend the scheduled meeting which proceeded in his absence without any decision. Castellanos had also backed out [...]

P.U.P. against Castro’s alleged fiefdom over Port Authority
The Ports Commissioner Major John Flowers called it quits at the Port Authority on Tuesday. Flowers told News Five that Minister of State Edmund Castro had him hire his daughter and then insisted that Flowers hire his son. When Flowers resisted, Castro said he would take it to cabinet to have Flowers removed. With all [...]

NICH’s third annual Street Art Festival
NICH is staging its third annual Street Art Festival.  It takes place this Saturday in the downtown area of Belize City where whatever genre of art you prefer; there is likely to be something for you. Artists from around the country will be joined by clothes and jewelry designers and others who will be showing [...]


European Union Funds Comprehensive Scholarship Scheme
There are scholarship opportunities for Belizeans who wish to read for a Masters degree or a Doctorate. The scholarships are being offered under the Caribbean, Pacific Island Mobility scheme. Lloyd Enriquez is the Development Officer at the University of Belize. LLOYD ENRIQUE...

Street Art Festival Scheduled For The Weekend
Promoting Belizean Artists and Activities at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts is what gave birth to the Street Art Festival in Belize City. The third year of the Festival will be marked this weekend as Albert Street will come alive featuring all genres of art as explained...

Interact Club From Canada Gives Santa Rita Villagers A Refurbished Park
The park in Santa Rita Village, Corozal is receiving a face lift. The project is being carried out by seventeen members of a Canadian Interact Club, a service club for youth which is an arm of Rotary International. Interact clubs receive sponsorship, support and guidance by individual ...

Police Questions Teenager For Woman's Death
A woman from the Toledo District is dead and authorities have detained a teenager for questioning. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details. PAUL MAHUNG "From what police report confirmed, 24 year old Corina Co did not make it to her Thursday evening clas...

#458670 - 02/23/13 09:13 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 23, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here


Civilians pledge to clean the Belize border with Guatemala
The referendum on whether or not to take Guatemala’s unfounded claim to the ICJ for final resolution is still a few months away and the land dispute between Belize and Guatemala continues to hover over us, but one group has decided to take a proactive approach and in their own way, dispel any doubt of where the border with that country lies. The Belize Territorial Volunteers, which was formed over a year ago will, with the assistance of conservation groups and interested Belizeans, clear the full length of our border with Guatemala. It is a daunting feat never before done by civilians, but according to Will Maheia, who is a member of the group, it is an exercise that is very possible if all able-bodied individuals decide to take part. The exercise will begin on the weekend of March second and third. People who want to be a part of the effort can reach Will Maheia at 610-0978 or on Facebook. For people traveling from outside the Toledo District, they need to be at the junction of the Southern Highway/San Antonio Road morning of March second. From there, they will be taken to the border point at Jalacte village to start the process. People in Punta Gorda Town and surrounding areas can board the bus at the PG Central Park.

New deputy Mayor of Belize City chosen
And while Mayor Bradley looks to complete his first years as the City’s chief executive officer, a new deputy has been chosen at City Hall. At a meeting on Tuesday of last week, councilors voted among themselves to elevate Councillor Eric Chang to the post of Deputy Mayor. Chang will take over the post of Deputy Mayor on March fifteenth, succeeding Dion Leslie. He is the first Taiwanese-Belizean to ascend to that post at the Belize City Council.

Mayor Darrel Bradley talks about infrastructure works
The Belize City Council, under the leadership of Mayor Darrel Bradley is perhaps the most progressive administration in recent times. And while there have been many complaints about the inconveniences caused by sometimes unannounced street closures to facilitate cementing, by and large most people are starting to see the big picture. That of a city transformed. One transformation that is a part of the bigger picture is happening on Newtown Barracks. And that where Love TV’s Patrick Jones and video journalist Brian Castillo met and spoke with Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley this morning. Mayor Bradley says he hoped to have at last sixty streets fully cemented by the time he celebrates his first year in office next month.


Young mother of two murdered
The senseless murder of a young mother of two has rocked the small village of Laguna in the Toledo District. The victim, 24 year old Corina Coh was walking to The University of Belize, where she attended school, when she was attacked and chopped several times. According to police,...

Traffic Accident leaves several injured
Tonight Police are investigating a traffic accident that left several people injured. The accident happened early this morning, on the Stann Creek Valley Road. HARRY ARZU – Dangriga Correspondent: Reports here say that they were heading to Tikal, Guatemala, when they departed just before dawn this morning from Hamanasi ...

3 persons called to the bar
This morning 3 persons were called to the bar before the Chief Justice, Kenneth A. Benjamin in the Supreme Court. They are 25-year-old Candice Westby Fisher, the daughter of Former COPOL, Gerald Westby, , 39-year-old Michelle Trapp-Zuniga, a Belize City resident and an employee at Legal Aid, along with...

25-year-old Natalie Coleman given bail as notice of appeal is filed
25-year-old Natalie Coleman, was convicted on January 3 of this year and sentenced to 5 years for possession of 4-16 gauge cartridges. But today, Coleman was given bail in the sum of $5,000 plus one surety of the same amount. Her attorney, Anthony Sylvester, took the matter of bail...

Belmopan home broken into during broad daylight
A home in the city of Belmopan was broken into during broad daylight. A resident of an Iguana street address in the Mountain View area, reported to police that sometime between 7am and 3:30pm on Tuesday, someone broke into her house and took off with a number of items....

Hubert Vaccaro charged with vehicle theft
A man was arrested for theft when he took a joyride in his friend’s car. A Belize City mechanic told police that yesterday he was along with his friend Hubert Vaccaro in his vehicle when he decided to park the car and went to purchase food. That was when...

Local artists showcase their talents
Belize’s local artists rarely get opportunities to showcase their talents. The Bliss Center for the Performing Arts has for the past three years changed that with a Street Art Festival in which it brings art and talent to the streets of Belize City. Bliss Theatre Director Karen Vernon tells...

Belize makes Trip Advisor’s Top Ten Inspiring Places List
Belize makes the list of the “10 Most Awe-Inspiring Places Around The World.” The Trip Advisor, the world’s largest online travel guide, recently released a list of the most astounding places in world, and this year, one of Belize’s national reserves cracked the top 10. The Great Blue Hole...


The piece below is a writeup in The Studio Museum in Harlem Magazine Winter/Spring 2013 edition. The original piece could be viewed with his picture at www.studiomuseum.org. E.J. Hill, Jr., is an MFA candidate in New Genres at the University of California, Los Angeles, specializing in performance. Hill is interested in questions of identity, territory and alienation. Using durational and interventionist strategies, he advances counter-narratives in which marginalized bodies are free to inhabit spaces of their choosing—physical, emotional, social or political. Can it just be a body? Hill moved to Chicago in 2007 to study at Columbia where he initially focused on painting and drawing. After watching a collection of videos by artist Chris Burden, known for his confrontational performance style that tested the limits of the human body, Hill initiated what he refers to as his first performance: a psycho-geographical duration exercise for which he crawled, à la William Pope.L, between the town center and a so-called “bad part of town” in Evanston, a suburb on the far north side of Chicago that is home to prestigious Northwestern University. Weighted down with a backpack filled with drywall from an abandoned house, Hill intended for this—as well as a later work, This Is an Imaginary Border (2009)—to open a dialogue about the economic (and occasional racial) segregation that remains a reality in cities such as Chicago. “I had no idea I was ‘black’ until I moved to Chicago,” says Hill “I’m a first-generation American—my family is from Belize. They moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s. When I got to Chicago, my Belizean identity was taken out of conversation, unless I brought it up.”

At the risk of offending some of my compatriots, I will take issue with the statement that the Guatemalan claim is unfounded. We reject the claim because it can’t be made against Belize. Guatemala has no claim against Belize but, their claim is founded on their assertion that they are the successors of Spain, which once owned the territory that now belongs to our country. The claim does exist, and it will not go away until it is settled. Guatemala should have dropped her claim when Belize became an independent nation state. The territory originally claimed, being administered by Great Britain as a colony, is now an independent country. It has not dropped its claim. Perhaps, it cannot. That is a consideration that Belizeans might take into account when we vote. Left out of my column of last Sunday’s edition were the names of the current members of the International Court of Justice. I think it is important to have this information, which should allay our fears that they can be influenced in their judgment by other considerations besides the facts of the “claim.” They are listed below: - 1. Hisashi Owada (Japan) 2. Ronny Abraham (France) 3. Kenneth Keith (New Zealand) 4. Mohamed Bennoura (Morocco) 5. Leonid Shetnikiv (Russian Federation) 6. Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia) 7. Antonio Augusto Cancalo Triadalc (Brazil) 8. Christopher Greenwood (Great Britain) 9. Xue Harquin (China) 10. John E. Donoghue (United States of America) 11. Jula Sebrtinde (Uganda) 12. Georgio Gaja (Italy) 13. Dalvier Ghandari (India)

Union presidents have said that they have completed their countrywide membership consultation and are preparing their counterproposal on the salary adjustment negotiations to present to the Prime Minister within the next two weeks. Belize National Teacher’s Union president Luke Palacio made it clear that the unions did not accept the government’s proposal as the final decision, but accepted it to serve as more of a basis for discussion among membership. “It is not a done deal, it was never a yes or no,” he said. “What we had said to the Prime Minister is that we accept the proposal. Our Councils of Management saw some merit in the proposal and that we would be taking that back to our membership for them to give us their recommendation and their suggestion, and then we will come back with an answer,” he went on to say. Palacio said that they don’t really have answers from the membership, but they have recommendations. “As we went around the country we did our consultation; they have given us some recommendations, some suggestions,” he said. “All of those things will be compiled and form part of the counterproposal.” Public Service Union president Marvin Blades took the opportunity to dispel rumors about the meetings not having a good attendance. The meetings did not have full attendance of membership, but Blades said that was due to the time the meetings were held.

Police say the females were a part of a “shipment” busted on Tuesday. Yesterday, seven persons were brought to court where they were deemed prohibited immigrants after police and immigration officers intercepted a white van they were travelling in on the Philip Goldson Highway. During the operation, which occurred at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the tires of the van were shot out, allowing some of its occupants to be captured, but police believe that some of the passengers, which included women, were able to escape at that time. These women were apprehended in Los Lagos yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, by police, and they were learned to be Yessenia Guadalupe Santamaria Gonzalez, 18; Miriam Santamaria Guevara, 19; and Maribel Antonia Guevara, 24, all of Chalatenango, El Salvador. Two minors, 17, were also apprehended along with the three women, but they were handed over to the Human Development Services. It is believed that the women illegally entered the country via the Mopan River in Benque Viejo, Cayo, and, with the help of locals, were being facilitated with their journey to United States.

The group has secured 100 machetes and asks other nationalist groups to join them. Wil Maheia, Punta Gorda nationalist, activist and leader of the People’s National Party (PNP), told Amandala today that last year a group of concerned Belizeans came together and formed a group dedicated to protecting our Belizean patrimony — the “Belize Territorial Volunteers.” The group’s mission is simple: “We exist to educate our people as to the reality of our Western border and to maintain a watchful eye, to ensure that Belize’s territorial sovereignty is never called into question.” The group was formed, Maheia said, because our borders have been neglected and as a result, there have been several incursions into our beautiful, sovereign country. Recently, there have been an increasing number of incursions and as a result, some villagers have been negatively affected. Guatemalans, said Maheia, have come into the villages and pillaged people’s farms and stolen their horses. Many times when they are caught, he said, they claim ignorance about entering Belizean territory.

The Chief Justice ruled that proof of loss to GoB cannot be substantiated. Former PUP Minister Jose Coye held a press conference today, Wednesday, to announce that his case before the Supreme Court of Belize, brought by the Government of Belize, to answer to a charge of misfeasance, has been struck out. Coye and former PUP Minister Florencio Marin were accused of underselling 56 parcels of land in the Caribbean Shores area and causing the government to suffer loss. The issue dates back to just before the general elections of 2008, when Coye was the area representative for Caribbean Shores and Marin was the Minister of Natural Resources. They sold 56 parcels of undeveloped lands, which were inaccessible swamp grounds at the time, for $4,000 per parcel to a private company. In the aftermath of the 2008 elections, the new government claimed that the lots were worth far more than what they were sold for, and therefore caused a loss to the government. The lands, they contended, were in a highly coveted residential area – immediately behind Belize Healthcare Partners hospital and adjacent to University Heights. They estimated that the lots were sold at a loss of $924,000 to the government. The case was first heard in May of 2009 by then Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh, who ruled that the government could not bring such a case against a former Minister. The Government of Belize appealed, and the Belize Court of Appeals overturned CJ Conteh’s ruling.

Police screwed up — the two won acquittal, even without legal representation in court. On July 7, 2012, Mark Mitchell’s home was broken into, and police arrested and charged Lloyd Parchue, 20, and Wayne Herrera, 22, for the crime. But today, at the end of the trial, the prosecution failed to prove its case, and Magistrate Adolph Lucas, Jr., found the two accused not guilty of the crime. Mitchell had reported to police that he had left his home properly secured on July 7, 2012, and travelled to Chetumal. But on July 8, he received a call informing him of the burglary, and he returned the same day to make a police report. Stolen from his house were a black Playstation valued at $1,300; an Amazon brand Kindle valued at $500; a white Apple iPad valued at $2,000; an assortment of computer wires; an LG computer monitor; a black 32-inch flat screen television valued at $2,500; 3 video games; and a black Magnavox DVD/VHS player. According to police, Parchue was found in possession of the iPad, Kindle, Playstation and computer wires, while Herrera was found with the other items. Herrera was charged with handling stolen goods as well as burglary when he was arraigned, while Parchue was charged only with burglary.

In Southern Belize, Sarstoon Temash National Park holds within its 42,000 acres the most pristine rainforest in the country. Its primary forests have been attributed by National Geographic as remnants of the ancient Maya’s agroforestry systems, and today continue to be sustainably maintained by the Maya peoples of Southern Belize. The Supreme Court of Belize ruled in 2007 and again in 2010 that the Maya who have ancestrally cared for these forests shall hold the legal titles to these lands. This court ruling, along with national and international laws, mandates that indigenous peoples must give their free, prior and informed consent before any development project that may affect them. But that right has been trampled on again and again by the Texas-based oil company US Capital Energy, which received a concession from the Belize government to extract oil in Southern Belize beginning in 2001. In further flagrant violation of the Maya land rights under national law, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and recommendations by the Inter American Human Rights Commission, the government has now granted the oil company permits to move to the second phase of exploratory drilling in the park and on indigenous territories.

Alex Neal vs Mohammad Harmouch; F.C. Belize vs BDF. Boxing is finally returning to Bird’s Isle after an extended leave; and the Premier League of Belize goes into full football gear with Week 3 of an already hotly contested 2012-2013 Closing Season; and it all happens this weekend. The “Island” in Belize City will be the scene of an all-Belizean amateur boxing card beginning at 11:00 this Sunday morning, February 24, involving boxers from four local gyms – San Pedro Boxing Gym, Leo Pol Gym from Belize City, Lions Den Gym from Ladyville, and Lions Den Gym from Cayo. Promoter Clinton Tucker, manager of the Ladyville gym, says there will be a number of youth and female bouts, with two main events, one female and one male. In the female main event, Shenique Michael of Ladyville’s Lions Den Gym tangles with Pauline Reneau of Belize City’s Leo Pol Gym; and the male main event features San Pedro Gym’s Mohammad Harmouch vs Alex Neal of Ladyville’s Lions Den Gym. And after boxing, Belize City fans will shift their attention to the MCC, where the Premier League Week 3 match-up at 4:00 p.m. will see home standing F.C. Belize, who are 1-1, taking on Belize Defense Force, who sport a 2-0 record.

Coach Bernie Tarr, who is presently spearheading the “King James Project” in Belize, forwarded the following email with attached picture to us that he received yesterday from one Jim Morris. The short note says simply: “Kachief Thomas from Sadie Vernon, 2012 graduate, playing for Iowa Western Community College. They are 27-2 and ranked #5 in the country.” Before travelling to the U.S. last year through the King James Project, Kachief was the most decorated Belizean high school basketball player in recent times, winning multiple national championships and MVP honors in the Sadie Vernon High School uniform. Right on, Kachief!

Dear Editor, These past few months Belize has begun hearing again about GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms. BAHA and the Ministry of Agriculture have repeatedly promised that no permits have been given for the importation of GMOs into Belize for planting. At the same time, we have been made aware of a serious push from the Belize Grain Growers Association in Belize for the importation of GM Bt corn for planting. So, while the Government of Belize is following its own Bio-safety guidelines, there is an urgent and active, funded lobbying effort, financed by the Belize Grain Growers Association, attempting to change Government’s policy. The current bipartisan policy of the Government of Belize was created under the PUP and approved by the UDP. It took several years and only after many public consultations throughout the country of Belize was it eventually finalized. The decision made at that time was the precautionary approach: if the import, use, and handling of GMO technology present uncertain risks, then the Government of Belize will choose to err on the side of caution. Contrary to what many may believe, GMOs are NOT a done deal in Belize. Government has pledged its protection with laws which require that ANY importation of GM feed, seed, or plant material MUST be preceded by a scientifically rigorous and sound risk assessment.

“The so-called extremist right is directed and approved by the army. I recall a visit to the town of Gualan in the department of Zacapa. I went in there with a team of students from the National University to establish a new youth center. A week after the group was organized, its president received a death warning from the Mano Blanca (White Hand). “I went alone to visit the head of the Mano Blanca and asked him why he was going to kill this lad. At first he denied sending the letter, but after a bit of discussion with him and his first assistant, the assistant said, ‘Well, I know he’s a Communist and so we’re going to kill him.’ ‘How do you know?’ I asked. “He said, ‘I know he’s a Communist because I heard him say he would give his life for the poor.’ “With such a definition of communism, we find many new names in the Communist ranks, including Christ’s.” - Blasé Bonpane, a priest working in Guatemala, in THE WASHINGTON POST, February 4, 1968 Some people say Christ is God, and other people say Christ was a great man, but not divine. For the purposes of this column, it really doesn’t make any difference if Christ was God or man, or both. What we know is that His life is chronicled in the New Testament by four different “evangelists” – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In these Gospels, Christ’s actions and teachings are recounted in detail by four different men, and there are few discrepancies among the Gospels.

The Belizean people are under a great deal of pressure these days. Violent crime is at an all time high, and the police have their hands full trying to keep up with the criminals. The judiciary is very much embattled. Then, there is the matter of territorial integrity and national sovereignty. While desperate Guatemalan peasants are swarming across our borders in order to rape Belize of its gold, lumber, xate, wildlife, and other resources, the oligarchy/military which runs the Guatemalan state has laid claim to half of Belize’s land and sea, and powerful regional and international forces are calling for the claim to be treated as a legal matter in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). There are two other fronts, religious and political, on which the people of Belize are under attack. Never before has Belize been penetrated by so many different religions, and never before have these religions been so aggressive and so much a part of everyday life, through the electronic broadcast media. The preachers, most of who come in the name of Jesus Christ, claim that the Belizean people have to turn to Jesus for a solution to our problems. But, Belize is a country dominated by Christian religions from the nineteenth century, and everything is already done in the name of God. In electoral politics, a year ago the Opposition party came close to being elected to office. It would have been a surprise victory, and they apparently can’t get over what might have been. Whereas there is normally a calm after a general election campaign is over, the Opposition rhetoric has been shrill, and it appears that there are leaders amongst them who are operating on the belief that they can force another general election before the ruling party completes its five-year term.

There is this ridiculous talk among some unenlightened football fans, that this or that player is “too old” to play in the Premier League. In business, there is a thing called the “free market;” and it basically says that, if you have the “goods,” and there is a “demand” for the goods that you have, then you’re “in business.” If F.C. Belize thinks that at 40 years, Norman “Tilliman” Nunez can still help them to win a championship, then who are you to question the wisdom of F.C. It is ironic that some critics who might not even qualify to “tie the shoe las’n” of a legend like “Tilliman,” would have all kinds of negative things to say about his rumoured return to action at the MCC this weekend. According to Wikipedia, England’s greatest football legend, Sir Stanley Matthews, “.. kept fit enough to play at the top level until he was 50 years old.” And, talking about national teams, “On 15 May 1957, Matthews became the oldest player ever to represent England, when at 42 years and 104 days old he turned out for the victory over the Danes in Copenhagen.” Another living legend, “El Rey” Pele celebrated his 50th birthday in 1990 by playing 40 minutes of a game with the Brazil national team against a Rest of the World selection. Rest of the World won, 2-1.

On Saturday, February 16, 2013, the Belize Olympic & Commonwealth Games Association held its elections. The 17 member Associations were represented by 2 members each. The Elections were presided over by an Election Commission, appointed in coordination with NOC/PASO and Mr. Charles B. Hyde, Sr., President of Belize NOC/OA Fair Play Commission, which comprised of Mr. Raymond Lashley, Rt. Pharmacist; Ms. Sharon Frazer, Senior Magistrate; and Ms. Hadie Gomez, Rt. Principal. The meeting was called to order, the National Anthem was sung by Mr. Sean Saldano, and the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi was recited by all. Sir Colville Young, Governor General of Belize, was unanimously elected and appointed as Patron of the Belize Olympic & Commonwealth Games Association. Elected to office are: Mr. Hilberto (Hilly) Martinez – President; Mr. Owen (Sonny) Meighan – Vice President; Mrs. Yolanda Fonseca – Secretary General; Ms. Josephine Flowers – Assistant Secretary; Mr. Giovanni Alamilla – Treasurer; Mr. Herman Pastor, Jr. – Member; Mr. Allan Sharp – Member; Mr. Arturo Vasquez – Member.

A 19-year-old student of the University of Belize, Belmopan Campus, was robbed while walking from school, and the thieves got away with his phone cell phone, valued at $375, with calling number 631- 4157, and $3.50. The thieves then punch him in the face and escaped into the surrounding area. The incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. on Monday night, February 18, at the university compound beside the Jabirou Building. The student told police that he was walking through the compound when two men rode up on a bicycle and stopped in front of him and demanded his properties. He became fearful that they were going to kill him, and he handed over what they demanded Police came, but the thieves had already escaped.


Ch-ch-changes north of the bridge
Had to snap a few shots on our way home from town today of all the work being done from the Palapa Bar north to Grand Caribe all of a sudden. It's a real beehive of activity. There's road work, construction, and lot clearing. The road between the Palapa Bar and Grand Caribe is being widened quite a bit. You can see the widening around the curve here. (Sorry it's blurry, I was riding my bike while snapping photos.) In the photo above, you can see where Barry is standing with his bike. The road north turns to the right. To the left, there is a road that used to be little more than a narrow path. Now it's a lot more than that. Here's the new view down that "path" to the left. As for why this was widened, it remains to be seen. Are they hoping to bring in large vehicles laden with construction supplies the back way? Possibly. Now, looking north up the road where it is being widened up to people's fences.

Bizarre News Story and My Big Excitement
I just read a strange Belize Mexico story this am from Ch 7 news According to Por Esto newspaper out of Quintana Roo, a couple from Belize were caught in Mexico stealing from a Walmart. The pair were busted by a security camera trying to leave the store without paying for a pair of headphones and a watch. The items totaled $598 pesos which is almost $95 Belize dollars. The pair were given a choice, either pay three times the value or go face a Mexican judge. Of course they opted to pay the triple value be set free. I don’t know about you but I have never heard of charging a shoplifter more money and letting them go, that definitely qualifies as a bizarre news story in my book. As I was on my first walk today I took a picture so you could see the stylish fence that Xanadu Resort is putting up to replace the old chain link one. I also snapped a pic of the guy cleaning the aquarium at Tropic Air. It was super hot so I stopped by there to cool down a minute and chat with Quicksilver Dianne while she was doing cell phone rental deliveries and pick ups. She said “Tropic Arrivals have been way up the past two weekends” That does not surprise me, it was super busy the whole time we were there.

Lunch at My Favorite - Wild Mango's and a Bit of Chocolate
Why does it seem like the whole Facebook world is on a dietary cleanse? All this talk of it makes me hungry. Plus, I can think of no better way to celebrate my return to San Pedro than with a lunch at my favorite splurge lunch spot, Wild Mango's. The food, the cocktails (order the caiprinha...not on the menu) and smoothies and the atmosphere make it far and away my number one lunch spot. I always recommend it. Yesterday was a gorgeous day...our view of some kids playing while their parents finished lunch. We arrived relatively late (around 2:15pm) and had our pick of tables...which is not always the case. Lunch in Belize is a pretty strict noon to 1pm affair. If you haven't been to Mango's in a while, during the last slow season, they expanded the deck for more outdoor seating (good) and put a little lounge area inside (very good).

Discovery Channel Names the Great Blue Hole of Belize a Top Amazing Site on Earth
The Discovery Channel has named the great Blue Hole of Belize as an amazing place on Earth. Formed during the last ice age, the great Blue Hole of Belize is a submarine sinkhole that is 300 meters wide and 124 meters deep. It’s made up of karst limestone formations, which, over the years, have evolved into ledges that fall away into the chasm of darkness beneath. “From the air, the Great Blue Hole of Belize resembles an otherworldly maw, intent on drinking down the surrounding Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Geologists believe that an underlying cave system collapsed under increased pressure some 10,000 years ago due to rising sea levels. The dark hole descends 412 feet, terminating in lightless depths where a lack of oxygen prevents most forms of life from thriving. Divers rarely plunge these depths, however, as most are content to explore the stalactite-rich caverns accessible from depths of some 130 feet below the surface” states the article which was written by Robert Lamb and Amanda Arnold.

Top Hiking Destinations around Belize
Apart from its popular and prestigious barrier reef, ancient Maya cities and ceremonial caves, and other numerous attractions, Belize also has an incredible and spectacular array of opportunities for hiking. Below we have compiled the top ten best hiking destinations around Belize: Shipstern Wildlife Nature Reserve: Located near Corozal, in the northeast corner of Belize, Shipstern Wildlife Nature Reserve contains 32 square miles of forest, savanna and wetlands for hikers to explore. These unspoiled habitats of well-known Belizean insects, birds and mammals consist of both hardwood forests as well as the rare Kuka Palm forest – the only dry forest of Belize. A butterfly aviary, botanical trail and natural history museum, along with magnificent trails located throughout the reserve, help tourists to become immersed in and appreciate Belize’s jungle at a new level.

Up for Breakfast
Delayed reading The Times until I got to Estel’s (Dine by the Sea to give its full name) for a late,late (especially as I was out of bed and up for breakfast by 4.30 pm) breakfast at 10.30 pm. Decadent living ! Well, at least decadent for me. Don’t think I have mentioned it before but I read The Times for a few reasons. I like the newspaper (and its sister title The Sunday Times too for that matter). The subscription is relatively inexpensive at the equivalent of approximately BZ$24 per month. And I want the owner of the newspaper- News International – to make money because in a few years time I will draw my News International pension. So am making some belated pension contributions! Anyway, back to my breakfast. At BZ$15 you get a great selection to make your choice of four items from. And for a further BZ$2.50 you get unlimited coffee ( it may not be truly unlimited but I always have to call a halt because if not they just keep refilling the mug). Having been a reader of other blogs for a while it appears that it is de rigueur to include a photo of your meal. So here it is.

International Sources

High Speed Vessel Swift Kicks off Southern Partnership Station in Belize
BIG CREEK, Belize (NNS) -- Sailors disembarked High Speed Vessel Swift 2 here, Feb. 18, to begin Southern Partnership Station 2013, a U.S. 4th Fleet deployment designed to strengthen civil and maritime capabilities with regional partner nations in the Caribbean. The team was comprised primarily of Seabees from Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 2 and Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202. Each team will spend time working with host-nation partners to stregthen relationships and joint interoperability. CBMU 202 Seabees will build a multipurpose open bay structure, known as a seahut, and provide the materials for up to two additional buildings. RIVRON 2 Seabees will share their expertise with the Belize Defense Force and help them improve their skills in areas such as interdiction and inserts and extracts of security teams on the water. The two units have separate missions but share a common purpose; to maintain a strong relationship with the Belize Defense Force and share ideas, experience and technology. "We'll be working with the Belize Defense Force Special Boat Unit," said Riverine Squadron 2 Detachment 2 officer in charge, Navy Lt. Joe Turner. "We will train with them and share ideas and best practices. This enables us to work together better as a unit to fight criminal activities on the waterways and in the rivers." The mission for the Seabees deployed to Big Creek differs only in the areas of execution.

The magic of Belize: Tours are a great way to explore
Our guide adjusts her headwrap and looks over her shoulder at the rainforest. The hem of her powder-blue dress twists in the breeze as she waits for us in the shade. For a second, the combination of heat, heavy shadow, and bright colour make me feel like I'm staring at a Diego Rivera mural. "She'll be waiting for you over here until you're ready, nice people," Ann-Marie Avona calls out, breaking the spell. It takes a second for me to realize that our guide is talking about herself in the third-person. I could listen to her Kriol-laced accent (similar to Creole, but with English instead of French) for hours. It's Friday afternoon and aside from the staff and vendors in the parking lot, the temple site at Altun Ha is completely abandoned. When Ann-Marie catches me staring at a half-finished building beside the main gate, she fans herself slowly and jokes, "This is Belize. Nothing here gets done quickly, just eventually." Steve and I are halfway into our Maya Reef Explorer tour with Pemberton-based Island Expeditions. Earlier that day, the staff at our lodge in Crooked Tree Village (roughly an hour inland by car from Belize City) pulled some strings so we could arrive at the Altun Ha temple complex after all the other tour groups had left for the day. After we pass through the entry gate, two of the tougher American women in our tour group waste no time. Here, like many other archeological sites in Belize, you can still race to the top of the massive pyramids and look out over the Belizean rainforest and savannah.

Bahamas to chair upcoming Flyingfish ministerial meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad
On Friday, 22 February 2013, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will convene a meeting of seven Caribbean countries currently harvesting the Eastern Caribbean flyingfish (scientific name: Hirundichthys affinis), in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, to review governance and management issues that require immediate attention. The ministers, who make up the CRFM Ministerial Sub- Committee on Flyingfish, are also expected to provide guidance to the participating States, the Caribbean Fisheries Forum and CRFM Secretariat on the way forward. According to a CRFM research report, “...the flyingfish has been recognised as the single most important small pelagic species in the southern Lesser Antilles.”

8 Trips You Must Do Once
Looking for something besides yet another trip to the beach for your next vacation? From cooking lessons in the hills of Tuscany to snorkeling the waters off Belize, these eight trips should be on everyone's list. Snorkeling in Belize With knockout beaches on Ambergris Caye, Caye Kaulker, and Placenia, plus inland jungles, 600 species of birds (think toucans and motmots), and Mayan ruins, Belize is paradise for landlubbers. But nothing beats exploring the blue sea and getting up-close-and-personal with the underwater residents on a snorkeling adventure. A visit to the five-square-mile Hol Chan Marine Reserve with a good outfitter will include all snorkeling gear and the chance to hobnob with colorful coral, angelfish, grunts, snappers, rays, nurse sharks (it's okay, they're harmless!), and maybe even a manatee from June to September.

Extreme Birding
Usually when I tell people that my husband and I are birders I often get an exchange that goes something like this: Other person: “Excuse me, did you say, birder? What’s that?” Me: “Yeah, I said birder as in birding or what most people call bird watching.” Other person: “What do you do exactly?” Me: “Well, we like to find different species of birds and it takes us to interesting places like Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico and even Panama where we’re going this Spring.” At this point some people generally drop off in their interest in hearing anything more about birding. Some will give me the raised eyebrow with a “Really?” response. Others will be eager to change the subject because they don’t’ have anything else to say because think they don’t know anyone else who is a birder. Overall, it seems as though most people think birding is just a boring hobby and so they want to get out of a boring conversation. And then I pull out this photo… Steve and I with the "men with guns" who protected us our morning at El Pilar …and I explain about our birding adventure in Belize two years ago where we were birding El Pilar and needed to hire “men with guns” (as our guide, Eric Tut put it) to accompany our group. El Pilar is on the Guatemala / Belize border and is known for its bandits. The prior year Eric had taken a group to the same area (sans men with guns) and some bandits jumped his van, made Eric pull over, tied up the birders and Eric, took their money, jewelry including wedding rings, cameras, and binoculars.

Caribbean and Diaspora News Round-up
Belize’s debt breakthrough Caribbean diaspora urged to give something back Reparations case outlined TT and Barbados at London Fashion Week Bolt, Trini news team do the Harlem Shake


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