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#459285 - 03/02/13 08:57 AM Today's Belize News: March 2, 2013
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The San Pedro Sun

Casa Pan Dulce wins Saga’s Dessert-themed Cook-off
The Saga Humane Society monthly cook-off was a treat for the sweet tooth this month. The decadent Desserts Cook-Off was held at Average Joe’s, with all donations going towards the SNIP program. Along with the tasty desserts from the extraordinary cooks of Ambergris Caye, guests also got to enjoy Average Joe’s delicious $1 wings while the Small World Band played the night away. On Wednesday February 27th, contestants displayed their delicious desserts to tempt the sweet loving patrons. There was everything from cakes to pies, and those that made it in time were lucky indeed. For the minimal contribution of $10, lucky attendees got to sample all the treats and cast a vote for their favorite entry. After tasting and voting the votes were tallied and winners were chosen. With a scrumptious apple pies and vanilla ice cream, Casa Pan Dulce managed to edge out the competition and take first place, Elizabeth Burkey’s pineapple upside down rum cake with a twist, took second place. Black Orchid Restaurant’s deliciously gooey Baklava took third place.

Two Norwegian University students conduct research on oil issues in Belize
According to Espen Knutsen, their research has taken them to various parts of Belize. “We are researching oil exploration and production in Belize and we are looking into conflicts and issues that have arisen because of oil concession giving. We are also looking at exploration issues; for example, we have seen the conflict as it relates to oil in the Maya community. We are also looking at production in the Mennonite community in Spanish Lookout. We are also looking at the issue from a tourism perspective where people here [San Pedro Town] are not into drilling and exploration efforts offshore because of the consequences it can have on the reef. So we are looking at all the oil related conflicts in Belize.” Carl Knutsen said that they have also spoken to a number of people. “We have gotten a lot of support from the various communities. A lot of the interviews have been done with academics at the University of Belize which are particularly helpful. We have gotten quite a few interviews with NGOs (Non Governmental Organization) which have been opposing offshore drilling. However we have had trouble getting to government officials. They haven’t been forthcoming in talking to us; they have been avoiding us. ” The Norwegian students indicated that government officials have promised to get in contact with them but have not done so, which is one of the barriers encountered in Belize. “We have been to the Belize National Archives and done some research. We have actually found out that oil exploration goes back further than much people know in Belize. It is interlinked with many other social issues in Belize. It’s not just the oil and whether we drill or not; it’s a big political issue that digs deep into the society both historically and politically,” explained both researchers.

Let’s recycle with The Recycling Network of Belize
RECYCLE your OLD electronicsThe Recycling Network of Belize is a program managed by the Belize Tourism Industry association (BTIA) and Resource Recovery Recycling Limited. Within the program they encourage citizens of Belize to donate any material deemed recyclable, which they then process into new products such as cups and t-shirts. The Recycling Network of Belize’s mission is to be economically self-sustainable, with a low level of pollution. This is a nonprofit organization that strives to one day establish a nationwide recycling center available to the entire country. Since this program is managed under the tourism industry, its products are designed to strengthen Belize’s tourism industry by promoting Belize as an Eco-Friendly country. On March 2nd the Recycling Network of Belize will be holding an Electronics Collection Event. Any person wanting to get rid of old electronics in an efficient manner are invited to drop off their equipment at the former ITVET compound located in Belize City. The event will take place from 10AM to 4PM. This is an excellent manner to give a hand in the preservation of our country.

Fire Dancers light up the beach in San Pedro
Under a waning full moon the beach in San Pedro Town was graced on Wednesday night, February 27th with the sound of hypnotic music and glowing fire dancers. The group of dancers were visiting the island from Mexico and they held impromptu performances throughout the evening, entertaining those who were dining and drinking at beach side businesses. With the moon lit Caribbean as a backdrop, it was a magical moment watching the graceful moves of the dancers while the fire trails wove around them, creating radiant patterns in the dark. Read more: Fire Dancers light up the beach in San Pedro - My Beautiful Belize Follow us: @MyBeautifulBze on Twitter | MyBeautifulBelize on Facebook

Ambergris Today

No More Mayan Artifacts Thefts - U.S. and Belize Sign MOU
The Government of Belize has signed on with the United States Government to place restrictions on the Illegal importation and exportation of archeological material particularly Mayan antiquities. Through a Memorandum of Understanding signed on Wednesday, February 27, 2013, between Belize and the US, law enforcement agents from that country are authorized to restrict the antiquities from entering the US and have them returned to Belize. “The United States is committed to combating the looting and trafficking of cultural property of Belize just as it is all around the world,” stated Vinai Thummalapally, US Ambassador to Belize. “As they say it is the market that you have to address. If you can address the market and protect and keep people from buying stolen goods that’s how you make progress towards preventing from stealing in the first place.” Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism, stated that the signing of the MOU represents an equally important manifestation of the close and collaborative relation that the two nations have fostered and maintained since the Country’s Independence in 1981.

New Passport Application Process Implemented
The application process for attaining a Belizean passport has been revised and goes into effect Today, Friday, March 1, 2013. A countrywide awareness campaign will be launched to inform the public of the new procedures. Six application forms have been added to the revised process, including specific forms for minors, adults, persons living abroad, and for persons applying for a passport replacement. This procedure will also apply to applications for a renewal of passports. Also, application forms will now need to be signed by various authorized personnel; this particular adjustment applies to section five of the application form, the Authentication of Application. For persons under 16 years of age, a recommender must be provided and there are two forms that must be filled out. Form 4-A must be filled out by a Justice of the Peace, minister of religion, medical practitioner, notary public, or an attorney at law. Form 4-B must be filled out by a member of the House of Representatives, chief executive officer in any ministry of the Government, a head of department, or a licensed teacher.

Healthy Living and Fitness Tips by Kathy
Katherine Portillo (Kathy) is a San Pedrana at heart and known as a health and wellness enthusiast. She was born and raised on La Isla Bonita and then moved to the United States to join the U.S. Air Force. She is currently a Captain and serves as the Command and Control Lead for the Space Systems Engineering Directorate at Los Angeles Air Force Station. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from Auburn University and Masters Degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle University. Kathy describes herself as having ‘no athletic background” and has always struggled with emotional eating. She grew up feeling ugly, was teased by friends and felt she wasn’t good enough for anything in life. She found comfort in running by the beach and weight training…exercising became her therapy.

Misc Belizean Sources

New Playground Equipment at Santa Rita Park
On Fen 25, a short ceremony to inaugurate a new playground at Santa Rita Park was made on Feb 25. A substantial investment estimated at well over $250,000.00 BCY was a gift from The Rotary Club of Edmonton Glendora Canada with partnership from the Corozal Rotary Club and the Corozal Community.

Belize group to conduct 'border clearing' exercise
A group known as the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) is planning what it describes as border familiarization exercise and clearing on Saturday on the western border of Belize with Guatemala. According to the BTV, the exercise is designed to increase the awareness of Belizean people, concerning the “all-too-real existence” of the country’s western border. “Despite the efforts by other to discourage our intended trek to the border, the people of Belize have bolstered our resolve. We have received commitments from Belizeans across the entire spectrum including: attorneys, members of the media and former security force personnel who are intimately knowledgeable of the border area; who have committed to join in this worthwhile endeavour,” the BTV said in a statement. The exercise is described as a “peaceful exercise in civic pride and, by extension, participatory democracy” as an exercise of rights as citizens of Belize, to educate people on matters with which they may not already be aware.

The Belize Barrier Reef Series
Sometimes I come across a photo that makes me look twice. At first I thought "this looks like a hell of a low tide, all that coral is exposed". But looking closer, I notices a slight break of waves over the top of some of the coral heads. In fact, the water is so clear, that it is an illusion that the coral heads are above water. This photo provides a clear view of what our barrier reef is - not rubble and dead coral skeletons - but a living, growing, healthy organism.

The Belize Barrier Reef Series
Many Belizeans should know this Caye, but some may not recognize it from this altitude; all should realize just how beautiful it is sitting on top of the Belize Barrier Reef.

VIDEO: Scuba Diving Hol Chan Canyon
Diving with our island guest Josh and Teryl Anderson from Edgar, Nebraska. Thanks for supporting our efforts to create awareness of reef conservation in Belize. Come back and see us, we have many more dive sites for you to explore.

Belize Economic Update Looking Good
Good news for Belize on the economic front: economic activity, real GDP growth, is forecasted to expand by 2.7% in 2013. Overnight tourism numbers are expected to go up also, and Cayo will surely benefit immensely from that. "Economic activity is forecasted to expand by 2.7% in 2013, as the underlying factors that boosted activity in 2012 are expected to moderate. The projection, which is subject to sizeable downside risks such as commodity price shocks and weather-related setbacks, assumes that the gradual upturn in global growth to 3.5% (Source: IMF World Economic Outlook) continues to support the tertiary sector through the tourism channel. The primary sector is expected to return to low single digit growth owing largely to a return to normal crop cycles and a forecasted downturn in citrus output. The secondary sector is expected to eke out a small increase despite headwinds facing the petroleum and domestic electricity generation sub-sectors."

Predator Party at the Belize Zoo
There are a couple of birthdays at the Belize Zoo this week, and some Cayo students got to go and celebrate the occasion. "The Belize Zoo recently celebrated two important milestones, with a fantastic “Predator Party” for Junior Buddy the Jaguar’s sixth birthday and Panama the Harpy Eagle’s tenth birthday. To mark the occasions, zoo officials invited children from La Democracia Pre-School and the Infant Two class from the Howard Smith School in Benque Viejo del Carman to join in the celebration and learn more about the contribution of these apex predators to the health of the forest."

Women Art Fiesta in Benque
Today the Benque House of Culture will have their Women Art Fiesta to celebrate Women's Month. They'll have art work on display, a corn tortilla competition, and live music from the Benque Marching Band, the Benque Marimba Academy, and Johnny and the Playmates. The festivities start at 2:00pm at Centennial Park.

Maya Fest at Sak Tunich
The 1st annual Maya Fest at Sak Tunich is one week away. It starts on March 8th, and will run though March 17th. Over the 10 days, they'll have cultural events, dancing, music, food, and much more. "You probably had heard all about the Mayan prophecy last year, which many people travel to the favorite Mayan Sites and carried out ceremonies as the world was predicted to end. Starting March 8th Through March 17th, 2013 – Be a part of the festivities as we celebrate all things Mayan. See Traditional Dancing, Cultural Presentation, Food, Music and much more. Location at Sak Tunich - on the road to San Antonio from San Ignacio"

Channel 7

Budget Boasts of Great Growth, No New Taxes, Heaps Bombast On Opposition
Today was Budget Day in Belmopan - and it was also the first post Superbond Budget. You might think that would lend itself to an air of celebration, or lightness, but in the budget titled "Achieving debt sustainability, Stimulating economic expansion" it was all business, with more than a little self-congratulation. Jules Vasquez was in Belmopan for his 19th Budget Presentation - and he has this report".. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "This Budget will see absolutely no new taxes and no overall spending cuts." Jules Vasquez reporting And that's because of unmatched economic growth: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Our economy grew by 5.3% during 2012, well above the 1.9% recorded for 2011 and just about the best in the Anglophone Caribbean." The projection for next year is that growth will continue at a more modest pace of 3% - but the growth in revenue from taxes will benefit public officers: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "I say again with great pride that we do not propose to increase any taxes in this new budget. Instead, we sound the tocsin of improved administration and efficiency of collection. And we believe that Public Officers will answer the call. For they, and we, know that, in the face of declining petroleum revenues and grants, it on this that the salary increases depend; it is this that must carry the day."

Leader Of The Opposition Not Impressed Or Inspired
The Leader of the Opposition will lead off that debate - and today after the House Meeting we asked him for his initial impression. Not surprisingly, he wasn't impressed or inspired:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca "To borrow your word I think it's a superficial budget. I think it did not excite my senses at all. It was very difficult to see through it but I want to give the process the benefit of the doubt. I want to be able to go back and look at the budget, look at all these figures - that's what we will do as a party now and of course we will hold consultations as we did last year with the private sector, with the unions, church communities, university students so that we can share with them what is in the budget." It is customary media practice to interview Leaders of the Opposition after the Budget Presentation for an initial response; Fonseca's was the shortest we've ever done.

Fonseca Won't go To Jalacte With His Machete
The Leader of the Opposition did have more to say about Wil Maheia's Clear the Border campaign which starts tomorrow morning at Jalacte. Fonseca said he's not going to the border with a machete, but he's not quite telling you not to go:.. Jules Vasquez "Will you be going to Jalacte with your machete tomorrow?" Hon. Francis Fonseca "No sir, I will not be." Jules Vasquez "Are you in support of those who do?" Hon. Francis Fonseca "I think they have a right to be there. I think the government could have and should have handled it better. I think the proper response should have been to say to the persons or group who are going out there, listen, this is a sensitive issue, it is a sensitive matter, and you have to be very cautious and careful in how you approach this matter." Jules Vasquez "If Wil Maheia were to ask your advice as a national leader what would you say? Should he clear the border or should he not?"

Belizean Ballers Withdraw From Guat Tourney In Protest, Return Home
Last night, we told you that the Belize National Basketball Selection would withdraw from the Guatemalan tournament called "New Era of the Mundo Maya", which was organized by National Sports Federation of Guatemalan Basketball. The withdrawal is in protest of the Guatemalan Sports Federation's logo which boldly displays Belize as a part of Guatemala. Well today, they arrived back in Belize after playing only one game -which they were urged to do in this jersey - which contains the offending logo. The national team members did not wear the jersey. They were greeted on arrival by the Vice-President of the Belize Basketball Federation. Here's how he explained the decision to us and the coach also have us his reaction: Charles Ellis - VP Belize Basketball Federation "We got an invitation from the Guatemalan federation and we jumped on the opportunity because we are preparing for the Central American Games to held in Costa Rica the end of next week. This was a good opportunity for us to give our players some game time preparation and it was basically for free.

The Ties That Bind Bze And Guat: San Benito Mayor Visits
While there is hostility in the sports world and tension at the Jalacte border between Belize and our Western neighbor, there was only goodwill to Guatemala in City Hall today as Mayor Darrell Bradley welcomed his counterparts from the city of San Benito, Peten. The visit included the Mayor, Sonia Rivera and councilors of San Benito as well as members of Congress from Guatemala City. It's a reciprocal visit after Mayor Bradley went to San Benito in January. An agreement on the establishment of a Sister City Relationship was signed between the municipalities of San Benito Petén and Belize City. The mayor explained the significance of this:.. Mayor Darrell Bradley "This visit of today is the exchange and response to that visit, so that the same way that they have extended a hand of friendship to us now we respond in kind and we are signing today a document that will signal a formal friendship between the City of San Benito and the City of Belize.

The Trouble With GPS Devices On The Border
At this hour, Wil Maheia and the Belize Territorial Volunteers are making last-minute preparations for the first day of a venture that has never been embarked upon in Belizean history. They will attempt to clear the Belize/Guatemala border using machetes. Maheia says that BTV and he have made realistic contingency plans to ensure that they do not enter and infringe on Guatemalan territory by having the support of extensive maps, compasses, and GPS devices. The GPS is one of the most high-tech instruments that they can use to track their location, but even this equipment has its limitations. Today, Ian Gillett, who is an experienced surveyor, and who has been studying GPS for years, explained to us just how it works, and what those limitations are: Ian Gillett - GPS Expert "GPS is basically a navigational system. It is system built by the US Defense System, it has 24 satellites that are in orbit and they circle the earth 2 times per day in 12`hour sequence. They operate basically with atomic clocks. What we go in the stores and buy are receivers. The average person can go and buy a handheld receiver. Just as with any other thing - the cheaper the receiver the less accurate it is. The more expensive the receiver the better accuracy you get from a receiver. For a GPS to function properly you need a fair view of the sky. GPS are used only outdoors. Limitations occur when you are in heavy forested area and when you are against tall buildings. Once you are against a tall building or a heavy forested area and you do not have a direct line of sight between the receivers that is in your hand or satellite then you have a decrease in accuracy or basically a limitation and then the accuracy is thrown out.

A War Of Words Across The House Floor
On Tuesday, we showed you villagers from Blackman Eddy who were clearing out land behind their village - with the intent to settle the area - with or without approval from the lands Department. It's the Harmonyville model - peppered in this case with more than a little politics. And while government gave wings to the Harmonyville initiative - they won't do that in Blackman Eddy. In fact, at today's house meeting, they threatened to shut the villagers down. The discussion of the subject gave rise to a much wider discussion on land distribution - a discussion that got very ugly. We start though at the beginning with Mesopotamia Representative Michael Finnegan:.. Hon. Michael Finnegan "When you representative seek to fool people and have them in Teakettle Blackman Eddy cutting out land as though the area representative is the Minister of Lands - fooling the people, making them sweat that they chop land and the get land. Mr. Speaker, that is being dishonest to their own supporters. I can understand then being dishonest to us and be dishonest to certain people in this country, but when you will be dishonest to your own supporters and having then with machetes sweating with the impression that they are going to get a piece of land and they could be able to build houses on the piece of land, Mr. Speaker, that is taking it too far. I would want to advise them in this House to desist and stop with what they are doing. You are fooling these people and the government will have to get involved and intervene and put an end to that."

A Suspect Plane Disappears From Belizean Airspace
This plane, an Aero Commander 500 is under investigation after it reportedly left Belizean airspace from a licensed airfield in Western Belize on the afternoon of February 21st without a flight plan. It might sound like just some missing paper work, but the absence of a flight plan makes it impossible to land at any legal airport in the world. More than that, it suggests that illicit cargo could have been involved. Typically, such a flight - if it intends to leave Belizean airspace - would have to first fly to the Phillip Goldson international, check with immigration, customs and police and file a flight plan with civil aviation, and then it could leave the country. The plane was reportedly equipped with long range tanks to enable a longer flight - about 800 miles. Due to the late breaking nature of the story, we were unable to get comment from Civil Aviation. We will follow up on Monday though.

GSU "ber Alles"
We used to regularly tell you about seizures made through Special Branch intelligence - so many that they were outmatching the GSU, which usually dominates the news. But since the GSU and Special Branch have been realigned to come under the same commander, ASP Marco Vidal, we haven't been hearing anything from the Special Branch - and the GSU is back in the news with high value seizures, starting tonight with 2 more guns taken off the street. On Sunday, the GSU searched an open lot on Lakeview Street where they found a 12 gauge sawed-off shotgun in a plastic bag tucked under a pile of garbage. No one was in the area, and as a result, it was deposited as found property, but the GSU believes that it belongs to a member of the Ghost Town Crips who resides nearby. Then at around 10:45 today, GSU officers were operating on Prince Street, and they conducted a search on an abandoned house. The officers discovered a 9mm pistol, which was holstered into a cement block on a portion of the house.

Farrakhan Visits Belize On Monday
In December of 2012, 79 year-old Minister Louis was forced to cancel his trip to Belize because he fell ill from exhaustion and dehydration on a tour across the Caribbean. He's better now and the Leader of the Nation of Islam is coming to Belize on Monday. Today, the coordinator of his visit spoke to us and he told us why he should be warmly embraced by the Belizean people, young and old: Nuri Muhammad "Minister Farrakhan is schedule to come back into Belize on Monday the 4th and he is happy to be coming back because he knows the level of disappointment that happened in Belize and the Bahamas as a result of his incapacity. More than half of the population was not even alive at the time that Minister Farrakhan came 27 years ago. I think that his message 38 and 27 years ago would be very similar to his message today because that message is a universal message. One important aspect of it is that you have to discover a sense of purpose in your life. You cannot live your life switching everyday into this and that and the other. You must find a purpose and then you must discipline yourself to work towards the achievement of that purpose. Out of that comes self-improvement. Out of that come improvement with those who are around you."

General Examining His Army's Readiness
Yesterday, we got an opportunity to speak to the newly installed BDF Commander, Brigadier General David Jones. He's been the leader of the nation's military force for exactly one month, but he's got decades of experience in the BDF along with a wealth of international military leadership training. He discussed the military's needs and the road ahead: General David Jones "Today has mark exactly a month. I took over on the 28th, and what I have been doing so far is making checks to see what sources the BDF have and what we need and looking at the structure of what we have and then revising what structure we need because with the current threats that we have we don't believe we are structured the right way, so we are going to revised the structure and then looking at increasing the size of the force or doing a re-structuring to meet threats that we are now facing. With the budget exercise we went through it seems they are not going to be really unkind to us this year. I think we may get a little increase; there is always a need for more equipment. As you know the government is not in the financial situation that we would like. We need to make the best the budget that we get and make the best of the resources that we have."

Who Will Be Miss African Queen
They call themselves "Concerned Belizean Women", a group of ladies who have joined forces to help fund raise and donate to various female, and child-centric organizations and charities. One of their biggest fundraisers for the year is their annual "Miss African Queen" Pageant- which will be taking place this weekend. It's the fifth year for the pageant and 7 young women will be vying for the title. 7news got a glimpse of the girls at this morning's rehearsal. Karen Vernon "Miss African Queen 2013. This is 5th Annual Miss African Queen. This idea came about because of women came together, we call ourselves "concern Belizean women" and we do fundraiser to assist women and children in need. We have two major fundraising effort for the year; Miss African Queen being one and then Little Miss Independence in September." Reporter "Of course there are several segments to the pageant and one of the main things that we heard from the contestants is the fact that it's an educational pageant. Tell us about that."

Elrington Lashes Courtenay In House
As we told you at the top of the newscast, it was Budget Day in Belmopan. And while the Budget was the biggest news of the day, the hottest news came on the adjournment when opposition members spoke on matters of national interest. Representative for Orange Walk Central John Briceno raised an issue that his bosum companion Eamon Courtenay raised in a letter to the Amandala two weeks ago -in which Courtenay questioned the competence of current foreign minister Wilfred Elrington. Briceno got a fiery reply from Elrington, only thing is Elrington was answering to Courtenay - who was also a formers foreign minister. Here's how it started: Hon. John Briceno "Isn't it in the best interest of Belize now that negotiations are over that the Foreign Minister brings to this Honorable house a amendment to the Maritime Areas Act to claim the full amount of our territorial sea Mr. Speaker."

Channel 5

Barrow’s Proposed Budget: No cuts and No new taxes
The second reading of the General Revenue Appropriation Bill for Fiscal Year 2013/2014 took place this morning during a meeting of the House of Representatives.  The presentation of the budget proposals for the upcoming financial year was made by Prime Minister Dean Barrow.  He emphasized that the impending fiscal calendar will not see any new [...]

Foreign direct investments and tourism up
In the banking and financial sectors, Prime Minister Barrow also reported that there is excess liquidity in commercial bank holdings due, in large part, to foreign direct investments, as well as tourism.  The surplus, he said, serves to limit the interest rates currently applied to loans.     Prime Minister Dean Barrow “Reflective of the [...]

Sedi Elrington blasts critics on the maritime areas act
The Budget reading turned to the topic on the tongue of every nationalist, the unfounded Guatemalan claim on Belize, and in this particular instance Belize’s maritime area. In mid-February, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Eamon Courtenay published an article in the Amandala Newspaper in response to statements made by Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington during [...]

National basketball team bounces out of competition in Guatemala
Belize’s territorial rights are at the forefront of current national discourse. And if it were any other year, it wouldn’t be the maritime area but homegrown topics such as love and basketball that would be discussed in the living rooms and barbershops. But the next item encompasses love of country, territorial rights and…basketball. The National [...]

Guatemalan Mayor in Belize; Sister City Relations established
Belizeans are not exactly happy with neighboring Guatemala right about now given the upcoming October sixth referendum and this week’s fiasco with the national basketball selection in Peten. The referendum will decide whether the Guatemalan claim to Belize’s territorial land should be taken to the International Court of Justice for final settlement. But despite the [...]

Mayors comment on territorial dispute
And with the dispute between both countries on the forefront of the medias, the mayors say that the national politics should have no effect on the exchanges between the two cities.   Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor “Our jurisdiction has to do with the municipalities. And our interest is that the City of Belize would [...]

Farrakhan returns to Belize for third time
The visitors from Petén are not the only official delegates seeking to speak with Belizeans. The highly anticipated visit of the Head of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan, was postponed in December, 2012 at the eleventh hour after Farrakhan experienced exhaustion and dehydration in Saint Thomas. Farrakhan’s Caribbean Tour was cut short to [...]

GSU discovers firearms
The minister intends to take his firebrand into the heart of troubled communities and that is also where the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) removed two firearms from the streets. On Sunday February twenty fourth, members of the GSU were on operation on Lakeview Street, Belize City, and conducted a search in an open lot. The [...]

First woman to be charged for escape
  The minister has a history of speaking to those who try to run from their problems in life. And perhaps he would also speak to people similar to twenty-one year old Latifah Augustine, the first woman to be tried for the offense of escape.  Augustine is the first female to be tried for escape [...]

Caught twice in possession of weed
  Forty-nine year old Benjamin Lester Chaplin, a resident of Fabers Road, appeared unrepresented this morning before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart where he pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled drug.  Chaplin, who was before the court three weeks ago for assaulting a minor with a belt, was busted twice in one [...]

150 wheelchairs; 3 donated to K.H.M.H. and its Auxiliary
One hundred and fifty wheelchairs are being donated to Belize. Earlier in the week, three were handed over to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and its Auxiliary. The donation was made by the Saskatchewan Canada Rotary Club through the local Rotary Club. The other wheelchairs were received a week ago and the club is wasting [...]

Preschooler parade for launch of Child Stimulation Month
There are events to honor our senior citizens, and others to showcase productive students at the Festival of Arts. But this entire month of March is one dedicated to our children. News Five’s Duane Moody attended the launch of Child Stimulation month in the Yabra area of Belize City.   Duane Moody, Reporting Today hundreds [...]


Prime Minister of Belize Presents Proposed Budget
The House of Representatives met this morning in Belmopan. The main agenda item was the presentation of the proposed budget for fiscal year 2013/-14 by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The Prime Minister started his budget speech by telling the nation that the budget for the next fisc...

Belize and U.S. Sign Memorandum of Understanding
On Wednesday, the Government of Belize and the Government of the United States of America signed a Memorandum of Understanding which seeks to restrict the importation to the US of Belize’s archaeological and cultural heritage properties dating back to the early and later colonial...

Belize City Mayor Signs Sister City Relations With Guatemalan City
History was made this afternoon at City Hall in Belize City when for the very first time, Belize City signed sister city relations with a Guatemalan city. Belize City and San Benito City in Guatemala are now officially sister cities. It’s more than a symbolic signing ...

Activities Held In Punta Gorda For Child Stimulation Month
Activities for Toledo Pre-Schools were held this morning in connection with official opening of Child Stimulation month celebrations in March. The program began with the National...

Belize Tourism Board Presents Tourist Arrival Figures
The Belize Tourism Board issued the numbers for tourist arrivals for January. In the overnight sector an increase of 17.2% compared to last year’s statistics. A total of 28,431 overnight tourists were recorded in January, an increase of 4,168 compared to January 2012....

#459286 - 03/02/13 08:57 AM Re: Today's Belize News: March 2, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here


2013/2104 proposed Budget speech presented today
The 2nd Sitting of the House of Representatives for 2013 took place this morning. The Prime Minister presented his budget speech for Fiscal Year 2013/2014 at this morning’s sitting. In his presentation, PM Barrow stated that the global economic recovery since the financial crisis of 2008-2009 continues to be...

Brigadier General David Jones advises against border clearing activity
All this week we have been covering the plans of a group called Belize Territorial Volunteers to begin clearing and marking the border between Belize and Guatemala, starting on Saturday. We have previously heard from Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington who has disassociated the Belize Government from the initiative...

Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, discusses UB payroll audit
The University Of Belize’s Faculty and Staff Association has been very vocal regarding its dissatisfaction with the UB payroll audit. The association has maintained that the audit report, contains financial and managerial irregularities involving the Board of Trustees. The board issued statements in response, saying that the payroll audit...

Police discover more drugs in Stann Creek District
Police have discovered more drugs in the Stann Creek District. PlusTV correspondent Harry Arzu has the story. HARRY ARZU – Dangriga Correstondent: Personnel from the Police Special Branch and the Quick Response Team conducted an anti-drug operation this morning in Alta Vista Village in the Stann Creek District. The...

Brigadier General David Jones talks about his new position
The BDF changed leadership at the start of February, with Brigadier General Dario Tapia retiring to make way for Brigadier General David Jones. General Jones is well-known to viewers for his expertise in dismantling bombs and grenades and was called on during the grenade spree of 2008-2011 when several...

Japheth Bennett sentenced to life in prison for murder of Ellis Meighan Sr.
A convicted murderer will spend the rest of his life in prison. Investigators say 20 year old Japheth Bennett gunned down Ellis Meighan Sr. in September of 2009. Bennett, who was only seventeen at the time, was found guilty of the crime on Tuesday. A witness of the 2009...

Bert Vasquez has six common assault charges dropped
Belize City businessman Bert Vasquez made headlines last year when he was charged with the murder of 13 year old San Ignacio resident Jasmine Lowe. This led to a domino effect of numerous under-aged girls accusing Vasquez of trying to lure them into his car, with one teen even...

Belize Defense Force receives three new vehicles
Yesterday, the Belize Defense Force was the recipient of three new vehicles. The handing over ceremony took place at the Price Barracks in Ladyville, where Brigadier General David Jones accepted the vehicles on behalf of the BDF, from Minister of National Security John Saldivar. General Jones says the new...

Changes in the passport application process
The Immigration Department enacted some new policies that take effect today. The early announcement of the changes in the passport application process caused quite a stir amongst the public, and yesterday, people poured into immigration offices in order to meet the deadline of the old process. Officials from the...

Leader of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan, arrives on Monday
It was delayed for several months, but the leader of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan, is scheduled to make his third visit to Belize starting on Monday, March 4. Organizer of the trip is Nuri Muhammad. Nuri Muhammad: Minister Louis Farrakhan is scheduled to arrive in Belize...

Mayor of San Benito, Peten Guatemala, visits Belize
The Mayor of San Benito, Peten Guatemala is in Belize on a tour of the Towns and Cities of the western Corridor. Her entourage includes several of her counselors, senior staff members; including the City Planner and City manager, and 3 members of the Guatemalan congress. The tour started...

Children in Santa Rita Village have new playground equipment
Kids in Santa Rita Village have a new playground equipment to enjoy. The Corozal Rotary Club completed restoration works on a community park in the village earlier this week. The Rotary Club, along with community members cleaned the park, painted benches and installed a brand new playground equipment. The...

Belmopan man dies after tree falls on him
A Belmopan man died after a tree fell on him. The incident happened on Thursday morning near mile 8 on the Hummingbird highway just outside Belmopan. 62 year old Hugo Rodriguez, a resident of Salvapan, Belmopan, was at mile 8 cutting down a tree with a chainsaw. The tree...

Gunmen rob Tacos Vendor in Trail Farm Village
Police are looking for two men believed to have robbed a woman of thousands of dollars. The incident happened yesterday morning in Trail Farm Village situated in the Orange Walk District. A tacos vendor told police that she was at her place of business along with her workers and...


The US, the primary market, agrees to help block illegal trade, and protect archaeological and ethnographic objects from Belize After years of negotiations, officials from Belize and the United States this morning inked a milestone bilateral agreement, in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), for the protection of Belizean archaeological and ethnological objects. US Ambassador to Belize, HE Vinai K. Thummalapally, said the MOU will permit US authorities to impose import restrictions on Belizean antiquities imported and sold on the US market, from the pre-ceramic period (9000 BC) through to the colonial era. In fact, the import restrictions would apply to indigenous antiques older than 100 years. Director of the Institute of Archaeology, Dr. Jaime Awe, who spearheaded the scientific aspect of the work, told Amandala that anything older than 100 years is deemed an antiquity and the property of the state, unless the Government has granted a permit to an individual in Belize to hold such an item. Apart from that, he said, an antiquity cannot be bequeathed or sold unless permission is granted by the Government of Belize, and it should remain in Belize. Awe told us that, “Every once in a while you go on eBay and you see stone tools or beautiful pottery vessels on sale… Well any of these objects now, once they are put on sale, that’s against the US law.”

He was one of SJC’s distinguished class of ’37 and was their class leader for four consecutive years. Shortly after graduation he, with other classmates entered the civil service (as it was then called); as did most outstanding students of St. John’s, Wesley, and St. Michael’s Colleges. Three members of the class of ’37 reached the highest level of the Public Service (the new name for government workers). Justo Castillo and William Hoy were appointed and served as senior managers of several Ministries with the title of Permanent Secretary. Rafael Fonseca became Financial Secretary. The Permanent Secretaries were chief administrators and advisors to the Ministers concerned. They were men of the highest integrity and under their leadership, the public service was considered to be incorruptible. In his private life, the late Justo Castillo was the head of a family of nation builders. He was a model of what a Christian gentleman should be. The name of his friends was “legion” and, I have not heard of his detractors.

Under pressure in Belmopan on Tuesday morning when his numbers did not materialize, Nigel Petillo, the leader of the Belize Youth Grassroots Empowerment Association (BYGEA), displayed a fierce determination on national television. For this, he must be given big respect. The fact that the BYGEA demonstration in the national capital did not have major support is a setback to BYGEA. But, more important I think, it is a defeat for the masses of the Belizean people. Everyone knows that the target of the demonstration – the Lands Department of the Natural Resources Ministry, has caused more frustration, heartbreak, and pain for the Belizean masses than any other government department. But, the Belizean people did not show up in numbers on Tuesday. In their post-mortem discussions, the BYGEA leadership will have to figure out why that was so. In this column, I only wish to look at the situation in overview, and from a distance. BYGEA chose to make their stand in Belmopan, which is about 7 or 8 miles east from Harmonyville, the land development which BYGEA essentially controls. From Harmonyville to Belmopan, you are operating in the electoral constituencies of Belmopan and Cayo South, which are controlled by the UDP’s John Saldivar and the PUP’s Julius Espat, respectively. In targeting the Lands Department, you are confronting Natural Resources Minister/Deputy Prime Minister, Gapi Vega, whom Saldivar just openly supported in a national convention ten days ago. You therefore expect that Saldivar will be very much opposed to your demonstration efforts, and that he will do all in his power to ensure that you fail.

Dear Editor, Belmopan is called the Garden City. Taking care of a garden is hard work. I live next to two vacant lots. I was told once there is an ordinance against vacant lots not being mowed, chopped, or macheted. The lot next to us has not been attended to for so long I can’t remember when it was chopped. The lot beyond was never chopped and this is going on seven years. I have been trying to get City Hall to do something for more than two weeks. Mr. Philip Timmons has put me off too long. I then went over to the man’s house who owns the lot, got his name and street where he lives. This information I gave to Mayor Simeon Lopez. Nothing has happened. I am tired of living next to a jungle. Every day there are tarantulas in the dogs’ water and feed bowls. One as large as a baseball was in our houses.

Dear Editor, Belize has been entertaining the possibility of planting Genetically Modified Crops for more than seven years now. Unfortunately, our current understanding of GMOs does not appear to be any better than when discussions first began. Roughly 95% of people asked on the streets in Belize this past month were unable to say what the letters “GMO” stood for. How did a laboratory-created food crop become so prevalent in the world environment with so many of us knowing so little about it? The truth is, a tremendous amount of secrecy has surrounded GMOs since they were first released for commercial planting in 1996. One such secret is how the bio-tech industry was able to convince the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that GMO crops are the same as non-GMO crops. The FDA identified GMOs as “substantially equivalent”, meaning that no testing was required for either safety or nutritional standards. With the blessing of the FDA, Genetically Modified Organisms were permitted to be grown and put into our foods without any labeling requirements, without contest, and with no one really knowing if they were even safe to eat.

Dear Editor, During the days leading up to the recent elections in The Jewel, there was a grand uproar about the nationalization of immigrants by the ruling United Democratic Party. While there were some valid concerns raised; much of the criticism was politically motivated, and to some degree hypocritical, since in reality, the mad rush to secure votes is an established, albeit corrupt practice by both political parties. Politics and demographics aside, however, I feel compelled to express my thoughts on a subject that comes close to home. While going through the motions of applying for US residency status recently, I faced a uniquely American predicament during the finger-printing process. When asked why I hadn’t marked off the Hispanic box as my race, I explained to the officer that it’s because I am not a Hispanic, but a Mestizo. He didn’t seem amused so I opted for “Race Unknown.” Had he been any nicer, I would’ve pulled out my Destination Belize magazine and given him a lesson in geography. Truth be told, of all the labels and categories that are flying around these days, the only one I embrace whole-heartedly is “Belizean.” The question is…what does it mean to be a Belizean? And is there such a thing as a true Belizean? Who among us can say with certainty that he/she is a real Belizean? There are some who would argue that our country is a melting pot, somehow suggesting that everyone and everything has merged with one unique result…one unique Belizean face as it were.

An unprecedented drama will be played out this weekend when Wil Maheia leads his band of Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) to the Belize border with Guatemala in Toledo and tries to clear the border so that it can be demarcated. Symbolically, this would represent the first time that any Belizean or group of Belizeans has put up a red flag for the Guatemalan government to see, essentially saying to Guatemala City that these are territorial rights Belize is declaring, for Guatemala, the region, and the world to see. This coming weekend’s expedition represents, again symbolically, a rollback of the “confidence–building measures” of 2005 wherein the Organization of American States (OAS), Guatemala and Belize agreed to replace the border between Guatemala and Belize with an enlarged area called an “adjacency zone.” Predictably, the Guatemala government protested last week to the Belize government when they heard about the mission of the Belize Territorial Volunteers. The Belize government reacted by immediately calling on Wil Maheia to cease and desist from the Belize Territorial Volunteers’ expedition, declaring that the members of the expedition would be in physical danger, and basically telling the BTV that they would be on their own, or, in other words, that the security forces of Belize would not provide any cover for them. Where we found the Belize government’s response to the Guatemalan government’s diplomatic note to be disappointing, was in the panicked speed of it. The Maheia expedition was ten days away: the Belize government could have hemmed and hawed a little, but they rushed to try to discipline the Belize Territorial Volunteers, using scare tactics. The Belize government behaved like an adjunct of the Guatemalan government. The Belize government did not behave like a sovereign, independent government.

The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) announces the official Male U-20 and Female national teams final list of players who will be travelling to Costa Rica on Sunday, March 3, for the Central American Games. The selected players are: Male U-20 players: Avian Crawford, Khambrel Blease, Delone Torres, Luis Torres, Edmund Pandy, Jamil Cano, Denmark Casey, Brandon Jones, Jason Thurton, Jermaine Jones, Gilroy Thurton, John King, Kyle Flowers, Highking Roberts, Darrel Novelo, David Madrid, Nahjib Guerra, Eduargo Gongora. Female players: Idania Ramirez, Ermin Marie, Rashida Guerra, Zulma Ortega, Miriam Villamil, Sherean Tracey, Jennisha Scott, Iris Centeno, Noemi Magana, Samantha Carlos, Kaya Cattouse, Shirley Codd, Shanell Gentle, Cynthia Salazar, Melonie Tasher, Sarah Arzu, Beatrice Alfaro, Abbe Halliday.

The 2013 SMART Bi-Annual Junior Ranking Tournament took place this past Saturday at the BES Auditorium, “the home of table tennis.” With some 72 participants ranging from ages 7 to 18, and from high schools and several primary schools, the first SMART Junior Ranking “kicked off” at around 1:00 on Saturday afternoon with three categories being contested – 18Under, 15Under & 12Under. The tournament started with a Round Robin group phase, from which the top two from each group would advance to a Final Double Elimination competition. The 18Under Category started off with 19 players divided into 4 Round Robin groups, from which the 8 top finishers advanced to the Double Elimination Championship Finals. Top seed Harim Ochaeta and Fabio Carballo, along with Daniel Sanchez, Gian Lisbey, Joshua Gegg, Aaron Stock, Ashar Arthurs and Matthew Usher all advanced to the Finals.

The Belize National Triathlon Association would like to congratulate Sidney Turton, Jr. who placed 3rd in his first race representing Belize regionally. The race was held on February 16 in Roatan, Honduras. Sidney Turton, Jr. and Eric Donis will be representing Belize in the upcoming Central American Games on March 9 in Costa Rica. Giovanni Alamilla President Belize National Triathlon Association (Ed. Note: Congrats to Sidney, Jr. from the sports desk! It is the first time we are hearing of him, so we asked Giovanni for some background information on Sidney. His reply: “Sidney is a 17-year-old Belizean who lives in Belize City and is a student at Belize High School. His parents are Karla Turton and Sidney Turton, Sr., both Belizeans. He has participated in a number of our smaller races. Because of his age, he was not allowed to partake in the Lionman.”)

Belize Territorial Volunteers marches to Belize-Guat border on Saturday! Wil Maheia, activist and leader of the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV), issued a press release today, Thursday, assuring the public that the Western border cleanup project is still on for Saturday, March 2, despite persistent efforts by the Government of Belize to scuttle the project, called “Clearing Our Borderline.” During the past week, there has been strong opposition from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, who has told the media that no one knows where the border between Belize and Guatemala is, and those who participate in the project can risk being arrested by Guatemalan authorities, and can even cause an international incident. The Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced its disagreement with the BTV project through a diplomatic note to the Government of Belize. All those acts of discouragement seemed to have been in vain, because Maheia and the BTV has not backed down. In fact, the group has exceeded its 100-persons support team aim. Maheia said that so far, they have around 200 committed volunteers, and enough machetes to accommodate that number.

Reports were made repeatedly, but GoB acts as if it “couldn’t care less” There were reports last week Monday that about 20 Guatemalan trawlers had been spotted operating in the waters of southern Belize, south of Punta Gorda, but word to us at press time tonight, Thursday, is that the trawlers are still in what is believed to be Belizean waters. Punta Gorda activist and leader of the People’s National Party, Wil Maheia, told us tonight that this is a regular occurrence whenever the weather is good, as it is now. “We have reported this time and again to our Belizean authorities,” he told us, “but nothing is ever done – the Guatemalans do as they like.” Maheia said that he blames the lack of enforcement in the area for the repeated acts of illegal trawling by the Guatemalans. It is for this reason that Maheia started his activism, because he feels that there is no official concern for what is happening in that area. This incident only brings to mind the situation Belize and Guatemala are in as they prepare their countries for what could be one of the biggest historical events in both countries, the October 6, 2013 referendum on the matter of taking the territorial, maritime and insular dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

CitCo’s $2.3 mil debt to Waste Control inherited from Fonseca administration, 2005 New garbage collection fee coming soon – but Mayor says no sale of assets Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley was spared from being cited for contempt of court today, after his attorney, Michael Young, SC, bought time—just over seven weeks—for Bradley to begin to meet payments towards a $2.3 million debt the Belize City Council (CitCo) has owed the Belize Waste Control since 2005. “As of today, I can tell you that the total debt owed under the judgment is about 2.3 million…” said Fred Lumor, SC, attorney for Belize Waste Control. “Not one cent has been paid.” Bradley’s United Democratic Party administration inherited the liability from the administration of former UDP Belize City Mayor Zenaida Moya, who inherited it from the administration of David Fonseca of the Opposition People’s United Party. Young points out that at the time BWC was awarded the settlement, the tab was $1 million, but because it has remained unpaid for nearly 8 years, the debt has more than doubled. The court has agreed to give Bradley’s administration until Monday, April 22, 2013, to begin to settle the debt—or he could face a contempt citation and possible imprisonment for such contempt.

“I have accepted that the jurors found me guilty, but as there is a God above, I did not kill him” On Monday, February 25, Japheth Bennett, 20, was found guilty of killing Ellis Meighan, Sr., 37, on September 13, 2009. Today, Thursday, he was sentenced to life in prison by Justice Adolph Lucas, Sr. Meighan was shot in the back of his head, while at the corner of Banak Street and Central American Boulevard. A statement from Meighan’s brother-in-law, Marlon Middleton, had to be admitted into evidence by the officer who recorded it because when Middleton took the stand, he denied that he told police everything that was in the statement. That statement turned out to be the proverbial nail in the casket for Bennett, as it stated that Middleton saw him standing over Meighan’s body, holding what appeared to be a black colored handgun. Although Middleton had to be treated as a hostile witness by the prosecutor, the jury believed the statement he gave, and not his testimony from the stand.

Even with super-bond savings, financing gap is nearly $130 mil “…a statutory instrument will be presented to amend the Sports Act, to expand the gamut of doping tests to be administered in Belize.” At around 10:00 this morning, the House of Representatives is scheduled to convene for the presentation of the proposed national budget by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dean Barrow. Amandala understands from an official source that the budget book was still being published by Print Belize as we went to press Thursday night, but it should be available first thing today. Multiple government sources indicate to Amandala that the numbers in this year’s budget are not much different from last year’s. The proposed recurrent revenue for the new budget is $823 million, compared to $819 million for the outgoing year; whereas recurrent expenses are estimated at $777.9 million for the upcoming financial year, compared to $727.7 million for 2012-2013. The financing gap was estimated at $139 mil for 2012-2013, and the new budget could have a financing gap of $129 mil, if current estimates hold. Amortization of debt will require another $64 million. This figure, we were told, was derived based on the new terms of the renegotiated super-bond. The budget deficit is also projected at roughly $60 million, or just about 2% of GDP.


Road work continues & a fun visit with friends
The town has been widening parts of the unpaved road in the Tres Cocos area of Ambergris Caye this past week, as we showed in some photos in a previous blog entry (Ch-ch-changes north of the bridge). In some areas, this involved plowing down vegetation and relocating fences that were apparently encroaching into the town right-of-way. In other areas, it is swampy or low near the road on the lagoon side, so fill had to be brought in. The fill consisted of a mixture of tree branches, stumps, vegetation, and dirt (probably gleaned from early-week plowing). Yesterday, the dozer was at work again flattening it all out. This is the area right across the road from Lazy Croc BBQ. Looks like the low concrete walls that demarcate the driveway for this home/bed & breakfast (to right in photo above) are going to have to be torn out as they extend into the right of way, which I believe runs right up to the power pole. We snapped the photos above on our way to Lazy Croc with Chunky and Ruthie. We had barely seen them since they arrived back on the island in November as they've been having nearly continuous visits from family or friends. It was great to catch up with them again. They are always so much fun to hang out with and full of laughs.

Cold front and how I saved us $145 a month
I am sure most of you who live here and a many who are repeat visitors to Ambergris Caye have a ‘how rumors get started’ story or two. My last one started late last night when tacoboy arrived home from Trivia at Pedro’s Pizza and a night with the Bat Sub boys. He came home with a report that Sunday was supposed to be the record coldest day in San Pedro in a very long time. I thought it was possible because at 3:00am we could already feel the cold front moving in. I was at Belize Telemedia paying our internet bill today and decided we could drop down from 2mb to 1mb connection this would save us $110 a month. While sitting at the customer service desk I decided to take a chance ask if we could loose our land-line since we never use it and do not even own a telephone and much to my surprise she said yes. Years ago when we got our BTL account it was not an option and they made everyone get a land-line and today I learned that the policy had been changed for the past year. Had I known, we could have saved another $420 [never mind the other 4 years we paid for a service we never used lol.] I was happy to finally loose the land-line and bump up our savings to $145 a month. Check out BTL website for full range of Belize internet rates.

A Cold Front Moves In and The BIG Ruta Maya Race
After almost a week of what seemed like unseasonable very warm, very humid and very pretty weather on the island... A hammock hanging limp at Victoria House. ...a cool north wind is blowing this morning, the temperature has dipped perilously into the mid-70s and the sky is grey and overcast. Let's hope the sun returns for next weekend's huge Belikin Ruta Maya River Challenge (for the viewers at least, the racers would probably enjoy the coolness). An intense 4 day, 180 mile, 300 participant canoe race right across Belize. I have always wanted to go...and this year, I'm gonna do it. I feel like it's my duty to cheer on the sweaty, exhausted racers by saluting them with a cold Belikin beer. I know they will appreciate it.

The Weekly Photo: Sunset in Belize

It’s Party Time for Predators at the Belize Zoo!
The Belize Zoo recently celebrated two important milestones, with a fantastic “Predator Party” for Junior Buddy the Jaguar’s sixth birthday and Panama the Harpy Eagle’s tenth birthday. To mark the occasions, zoo officials invited children from La Democracia Pre-School and the Infant Two class from the Howard Smith School in Benque Viejo del Carman to join in the celebration and learn more about the contribution of these apex predators to the health of the forest. Environmental Educator Jamal Andrewin-Bohn shared information on wildlife conservation with the children and, as a special treat, gave them an up-close encounter with Lucky Boy, the black jaguar whose rescue by the zoo and return to good health in its care has captured the hearts of people all over Belize and beyond. All in all, it was another great day at the “Best Little Zoo in the World!”

Up on the Roof
Sitting on the veranda this morning with my friend Mr Coffee at around 4.45 pm I realised what a wonderful day it was. Why? Well, it was thirty-eight years ago today that I met Rose for the very first time. We met at a bar called The Horns in Shoreditch. She was the best looking girl in the room . And she still is (now that should make up for not getting an anniversary card. Hopefully?). I mentioned in yesterday’s edition that when I was up on the roof I got a good view of the road that there has been a great amount of comment about on the Ambergris Caye Forum. It starts just in front of the Bamboo House, our soon-to-be-neighbour Bertrand’s house, and runs through to where a right will take you to the Palapa Bar and Grill and straight ahead will eventually take you to Grand Caribe.

International Sources

Belizean artist shines at EvCC
If you have spent any considerable amount of time in Whitehorse Hall art rooms, you've probably noticed him. Nicomedes Gomez spends most of his time in the painting studio. He is very relaxed in his surroundings and smiling as he focuses in on some details in his latest masterpiece in progress, a portrait of a boy. If you haven't noticed him, you will notice his art soon. A painting by Gomez was just selected by Student Activities to purchase. The large painting is of a tropical landscape rich in color, with vivid imaginary and bold lines. It features a sunset, the ocean, palm trees, sea and wild life, including a Keel Billed Toucan, the National Bird of Belize. The painting does not have a name, but Gomez said that if he was to name it, it would be "A piece of peaceful paradise". "My paintings are about where I live and where I come from," Gomez explained. "I come from a tropical, very peaceful place. It's very relaxing there. In my paintings I use a lot of bright colors from the tropics." Gomez was born and raised in Belize, where he worked as a professional artist. He relocated to Everett in 2009 because it was where his wife was from and worked as an elementary teacher. The couple has since started a family, and settled in the area.

Belize Baboon Sanctuary
Get close and personal with black howler monkeys in this community-run project in Belize. (Locals refer to howlers as "baboons," hence the Community Baboon Sanctuary name.)

Ads Worth Spreading: See The 10 Most World-Changing Ads, According To TED
Communicating on behalf of a brand can be tricky business. A decent idea once passed through the brand’s filter and massaged and molded to hit key messaging targets can come out the other side a shell of its possible self.

Don’t Be A Victim – Your Smartphone As A Personal Safety Device
Traveling can be a magnificent adventure, but there are some places where traveling can be somewhat unsafe.

How does 200 calories look like
Amounts of various foods it takes to equal 20 calories


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