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#461178 - 03/28/13 03:12 PM Today's Belize News: March 28, 2013
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The San Pedro Sun

Dates for the 9th annual Eco Challenge set
Preparations for the ninth annual Lagoon-Reef Eco-Challenge are underway, and the 2013 dates have been set for May 25th and 26th. This challenge will once again take kayakers through the delicate eco system of Ambergris Caye. Organizers of the event Elito Arceo and Kira Foreman revealed that the only major change is the starting route. Due to the project taking place at the original starting location at the old football field, the race will now commence at 6AM at Central Park heading north to the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge where they will travel under the bridge and into the lagoon area of San Pedro. From there paddlers will follow the normal annual route.On the first day, the kayakers will paddle up to Basil Jones in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, where they will camp out for the night. On the second day, the kayakers will sprint southwards along the eastern coast of Ambergris Caye. The race will end in front of the Central Park. The routes are clearly marked so that the participants don’t get lost and the rules for the race remain the same as during past years’.

Kama Lounge Launches Wine & Cheese Bi-Weekly Event: Soirée
Presented by MIXEntertainment; Kama Lounge & Bistro Bar, located on the beachfront of Tres Cocos South, hosted the kickoff night for Soirée on Saturday, March 23, 2013. The evening boasted a mix of local residents and tourists enjoying the variety of unique wine selections that Karl H. Menzies provisioned for the evening. The wines, featuring Santa Carolina Vistana, Don David, Pedroncelli, and Seaglass, were paired with hand-selected Gouda, Brie, and Asiago cheeses, along with Focaccia and an assortment of fruits. The event will return on Saturday, April 13 at 4:00PM, and will be hosted on a bi-monthly basis on each 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. Each event will feature a new theme, with the next one slated to be called “Jetsetter”, Soirée: Jetsetter will feature wines from around the world, including from Italy, Argentina, Chile, and California. The wines for these events will be hand-selected from various wine distributors throughout Belize.

21 US teacher students receive first ever Belizean temporary teaching license
The Government of Belize (GOB), through the Ministry of Education (MoE) accomplished a historic milestone when 21 temporary teaching licenses were granted for the first time to foreign, volunteer student-teachers. The two-year temporary teaching licenses are the first of its kind ever to be granted in Belize and were bestowed during a short ceremony on Thursday March 21st at the San Pedro High School Conference Room. All recipients of the temporary licenses are senior students from the University of North Carolina, USA who are in their last semester pursuing their University Teacher’s Certification. According to the Professor and Director of the International Field Experience of the Foreign Exchange Program at the University of North Carolina, Dr. Dennis Kubasko, the 21 students come from a variety of specializations; including Early Childhood Education, Elementary (Primary) School Education, High School Education and Special Education. Kubasko explained to The San Pedro Sun that this trip marks the fifth year that the University of North Carolina is bringing student groups to Belize. This, he explained was an initiative resulting from the Sister City relationship that exists between the city of Wilmington, North Carolina and San Pedro Town.

Ambergris Today

Hol Chan Marine Reserve Holds Commercial Species Management Workshop
On Thursday, March 21, 2013, The Hol Chan Marine reserved embarked on a new endeavor by to improve the relationship between the marine reserve and those fishermen that use the area. A workshop was held with fishermen at the Fido's Court Yard to present fishers with a new project idea. The goal of the workshop was to hear from fishermen if they were interested in being organized as a group and working with Hol Chan and the Belize Fisheries Department to develop a sustainable management approach for the commercial fishery taking place inside the reserve, by adopting responsible fishing practices and implementing adequate fishery data collection in a participatory process that involves both stakeholders and marine reserve managers. The Belize Fisheries Department has been promoting a managed access approach to fishing in Southern Belize. Managed Access is where the fishery is controlled and each fisher has their designated areas to fish. The Department plans, in time, introduce it throughout the entire country. Hol Chan is unique in that the fishers in this area have been operating under this system since the establishment of the reserve; the process only needs to be formalized.

Living Healthy at Any Age, Take the Challenge
As we get older, chronic diseases creep in. It seems that only then, we realize how important our diet and physical activity is to our well being. Eating healthy and exercising is a lifelong habit we need to do our best to maintain. We may not be as agile, flexible and strong as we age but there are still activities we can do to keep our hearts healthy and increase our quality of life :) The motivational quote below has helped me; often times when it comes to eating healthier or exercising, we give up before our bodies adapt to the change we're looking for. We're a culture that wants immediate results, instant gratification. Do what's right, eat healthy, exercise frequently and in time you'll see the results :) Don't be a quitter, take the challenge!

Isla Bonita All Star Band Shines at Belize Bandfest
The Isla Bonita All Star Marching Band proudly represented San Pedro at the Governor General’s annual Marching Bandfest held in the capital city of Belmopan on Saturday, March 22, 2013. The team of some 20 drummers and 20 majorettes had been rehearsing since November of last year for this grand occasion and they showcased their talent in drumming and dancing on a four-mile parade route consisting of 14 marching bands. Marching bands from all over the country of Belize then performed an individual show at the football stadium in front of a huge crowd of fans and spectators. A very committed and energetic committee formed the steering group and ensured that the San Pedro All Star Band and majorettes had brand new instruments of snare drums and basses as well as custom-made uniforms in Chetumal which included from shoes to hats, gloves, pants, shirts, skirts, and suits which made the children and teenagers look totally bright and sharp.

No Hotels for Easter Break in San Pedro Village
The quaint and quiet fishing village of San Pedro was awakened in the 1950’s and 60’s by a rush of people coming to San Pedro to enjoy the Island and their friends and the Easter activities. Now here is the click. How could a lot of people be accommodated in San Pedro with no hotels available? This would seem like a contradiction or that I am making up a story or a lie. No, I am not. Years Ago in San Pedro the business people of Belize City would come to San Pedro and contact their friends on the Island to arrange for accommodation. A family of up to five persons would receive boarding and lodging free of cost with another family in San Pedro. Additionally this family would also bring along a few other friends who were always welcome. Many times the host family would even render their own beds to their friends of the city and towns. The hosts provided cooking facility, beds and hammocks, and fun fishing trips.

Misc Belizean Sources

Saving Little Bean
We cannot thank Keith Richard Kremlick and his family enough for their effort in saving a howler monkey found at Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS) on March 7th, 2013. Keith and his family found the monkey on a trail at CBWS covered with ants. Noticing that she was still alive and that no other monkey was in sight, they took her to the CBWS office and handed her over to the staff there. The guys at CBWS quickly reported this to the head office and from there all the arrangements were made to get her as quickly as possible to the Primate Rehabilitation Center in Sarteneja.

Closing days of the Embassy of Mexico
In accordance with the Belizean official holiday calendar, the Mexican Embassy will close its offices in Belmopan and Belize City, as well as the Mexican Honorary Consulate in Corozal from March 29th to April 1st. The consular services in Belize City, including the issuing of passports and visas will be suspended during those days. The activities will resume on Tuesday, April 2nd. The Mexican Embassy makes available to Mexicans an emergency telephone number open 24/7 in case consular assistance or protection is needed:

El Encuentro Procession
Benque held their El Encuentro Procession Tuesday. "The procession of 'El Encuentro' was brought to Benque Viejo in the late 1800's by the founding parents from San Andres in Peten. In the 1980's it was revived under the pastorship of Fr. John McHugh."

2013 BTL Directory Launch
BTL has their 2013 Directory out. They have a video talking all about it. They now have coupons in the phone book, and they have a section that copied Flavors of Belize too. "2013 BTL Telephone Directory and Yellow Pages Launch."

Oil Exhibit at SISE HoC
The new exhibit is ready at the SISE House of Culture, and the theme is oil. "They have a new exhibit at the SISE HoC, and it's all about oil. What it is, where it comes from, and where it is in Belize."

Belize Facebook Population Infographic
Here's a cool infographic about the Belizean facebookers, courtesy of iBelmopan. The numbers have gone up half as many percent as the value of fb has gone down in the stock market. In related news, a few months ago, Google Plus became the social media with the second highest active users, surpassing Twitter. If nothing else, it's good to have both since you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket. "As you may notice, this year compared to last year, the number of Facebook users has increased by 23% (making a total of 81,560 real users) as shown in the infographic below. That means that 25.93% of the total population of Belize has a Facebook account. Wow! Out of the 81,560 users 49% (39,964) are males and 51% (41,596) are females. Those averages didn't change compared to last year."

World Tapir Day Only a Month Away
April 27th is World Tapir Day, and the Belize Zoo will be having a grand event to celebrate it, including the displaying of their latest tapir, which is a full sized paper mache tapir created over the span of 2 months by Katie Shea Stevens. Don't miss the festivities at the best little zoo in the world! "Katie Shea Stevens made a life size tapir out of paper mache for the Belize Zoo. Don't forget that April 27th is World Tapir Day, and the Belize Zoo will be having special activities for it. The paper mache tapir is currently on display at the zoo."

Life Sized Paper Mache Tapir for the Belize Zoo
Katie Shea Stevens made a life size tapir out of paper mache for the Belize Zoo. Don't forget that April 27th is World Tapir Day, and the Belize Zoo will be having special activities for it. The paper mache tapir is currently on display at the zoo.

Cayo's Easter Fair Weekend
Cayo's Easter Fair will be at the Victor Galvez stadium this Saturday and Sunday. The SISE Town Council has a great line up this year. There will be plenty of games, rides, food, and music, along with entertainment from Orquidea Negra, a marching band, and the Nu Generation Dance Company. Happy Easter!

Channel 7

Donald Matura Succumbs Weeks After Being Shot
Today at noon, we received the surprising news that shooting victim Wallace Donald Matura had died. The 48 Year old was shot on February 15th in front of VIP Wireless at the corner of Orange Street and East Canal along with two other people. Matura was the target and his injuries were the most serious; he was shot eight times, leaving him with injuries to the stomach, left leg and in both arms. At the time, he told the press in a statement that the shot to his stomach had perforated his bowel, and added that a bullet that got lodged in his cellphone may have spared any damage to his organs. That was the last we heard from Matura on February 19th, four days after he was shot. He had been spared and was on the mend, we believed. But it turns out that Matura had many post injury complications including infection - which led ultimately to pneumonia. He had been in and out of the hospital and was placed in an induced coma yesterday. A statement from his family today said that "after 5 and half weeks of battling for his life he succumbed after he experienced septic shock and his organs began failing.He passed away this morning, reportedly after his lungs collapsed. For many in Belize City, it is a shock particularly so close to the Cross Country - as Matura was often known to drive an official vehicle in the big races. He was immortalized in 2004 Richard Holder photo interpreting the Last Supper where Matura was pictured as the Christ figure - seen in the middle breaking bread.

Cops Explain How They Saved The Million Dollar Baby Hostage
Last night we told you the story of how police foiled a kidnapping on Corozal. A small child, one-year-old Ivy Chan was abducted from her mother, Mei Tang Chen at gunpoint on Sunday night in Corozal Town and held for a ransom of 450 thousand US dollars. It's the kind of thing that hasn't happened in Belize for over a decade - and police hope that with the strong, effective response it won't happen again anytime soon. A special press conference with all the police brass was held this morning in Belize City to outline the sensational case. Daniel Ortiz was there: Daniel Ortiz Reporting Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Belize "On Sunday, to be exact, we had a very heinous unspeakable crime that was committed against a young mother. In the Corozal district sometime after 7:30 that night, she was driving on a road in Santa Rita Village area, where 2 vehicles intercepted her vehicle and stop her from moving. Several persons came out of that vehicle and took her baby away, basically kidnap her child, a 1 year old baby." Superintendent Andrew Ramirez - Officer Commanding, Corozal Police "We have also confirmed that the child was taken in the Corozal district - Orange Walk district in a village during the course of Monday and then back to Corozal. We also confirmed that there was a contact number that was placed with the victim and through that number she was contacted at 11:03 p.m. where the demand for a certain amount of money was made."

Vega Says Compensation for Son's Girlfriend Not At Market Value
Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega may be stronger than ever within his party after overcoming a challenge for his deputy's post a month ago. But while he's strong in the UDP, in the court of public opinion he's come under heavy scrutiny for transactions of public land being sold on the cheap to his relatives. The most recent case involved his son's girlfriend, Dominique Gomez and other UDP friends in the Vega orbit who were sold properties within the Placencia Lagoon. Turns out villagers had their eyes set on the land as a possible reserve area; they raised a fuss, and the PM ordered that the lands be re-acquired by government. Now, the Prime Minister has said the compensation should come at market value, not a refund of the acquisition price - which would mean a significant "come-up" for the friends and family. Today Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega told the media he doesn't know what the compensation value is, but he's sure it's not at market value: Reporter "Is Dominique Gomez your daughter in law?" Hon. Gaspar Vega - Minister of Natural Resources "No, no but she is the girlfriend of my son."

Finish Line For Cross Country Must Move
There was chaos in the Cycling Association for months, but things have settled down to organize the centerpiece of the cycling calendar - and a major cultural event unto itself, the annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic. In its 85th running, the race is still from Belize to Cayo and back, but this year, the finish line is moving. After work on the Marion Jones Stadium forced it to move to the memorial park in 2008 - it's become a staple at the location. But the four year run is over! That's because now work is underway on the Memorial Park - and while it will finish before the never-ending Marion Jones, it won't finish in time for Holy Saturday. So the finish line has been moved to another location on Princess Margaret Drive. Race Organizer Kwame Scott explained that it will mean a slightly shorter race:. Kwame Scott - Cycling Official "There was way too much uncertainty about the route getting to Memorial Park and the working group that has been organizing races since December, we met last night, the group headed by Mr. Hilly Martinez, and we came to a conclusive decision that we would bring the finish line about three quarter miles shorter. It finishes right here near Hour Bar where there is infrastructure in that we have the use of the use of the Hour Bar yard where the podium will be and the judges can be on their stand. We can do the post-race interviews inside there and at the same time we have paved asphalt were the riders can finish on as opposed to getting from the BTL Park to the Memorial Park where we have been promised that it would be ready to a certain extent. Time is running out and we weren't seeing things happening, so we had to make a hard and fast decision, and we do think we made the best decision."

Foreign Businessman Pays Fine, Gets Back Cigs
Last week we told you about the major cigarette bust in Jalacte - where the Customs department found 1300 cases of cigarettes valued at $143,000 US Dollars. They were stuffed into a house near the border crossing - and it's clear the intent was to move them across the border. It was an unusual end for the cigarettes which Guatemalan businessman, Jose Antonio Ramirez had bought legitimately in the Free Zone and gotten the customs to escort to Customs in PG - where he was supposed to send it off to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. But something went wrong with that connection - and the cigarettes next turned up as uncustomed goods in Jalacte. Customs confiscated all of it - and transferred the over one thousand cases to its bonded warehouse in Belize. Since then, Ramirez retained the services of attorney Godfrey Smith who approached customs to offer a settlement where the cigarettes would be released and re-exported. Customs agreed and Ramirez paid a fifty thousand dollar fine to have the cigarettes released. This time, customs escorted it to the western border with Guatemala.

What Pure Poverty Looks Like
In Easter Week, or "Semana Santa" as Spanish speaking people call it - many of us choose to reflect on our blessings. And, the old saying still rings true, that no matter how bad you've got it, someone always has it worse. And, yesterday, Monica Bodden found a family who's down to almost nothing, except the will to carry on. She visited with Edith Ramirez, a mother who's struggling - quote literally - to stay afloat as she finds herself living in a swamp. Here's her family's story. Monica Bodden Reporting Monica Bodden "Tell me what you like doing at school." Wondell "Read, write, do lots of work and the teacher let us work with lots of writing that we write" Monica Bodden "What class are you in?" Wondell "Standard 1." Monica Bodden "So you enjoy going to school?"

Police Catch Alleged Killers In North
On last night's newscast, we told you about the progress police's investigation into the killing of 37 year-old Israel Matu, the resident of Patchakan Village whose body was found in a cane field off the road leading to his village. Well, tonight, 2 men from Chan Chen Village are now charged with his murder; they are 35 year-old Venancio Williams, and 33 year-old Arturo Keme. They remain in custody while awaiting an arraignment, but police formally charged them yesterday. Today at the police press conference, the officer commanding Corozal Police told the media what he observed as an investigator: Superintendent Andrew Ramirez - OC, Corozal Police "I personally had visited the scene on Sunday evening, where I saw the male individual nude. He had an injury to the left eye; an apparently bulged big, made me to believe he was hit. The investigation continues, and it shows that he was at a bar in Chan Chen village Friday night at 10:30 p.m. thereabouts. So within 10:30 p.m. to Sunday afternoon when we receive the information about a person in the cane field, that is where we are in the investigation. We had 2 persons in custody who have been charged for murder."

Belize And Guat Agree On Major Cross Border Conservation Initiatives
Both the UDP Government and the PUP Opposition have rejected Guatemala's request to move the date for the referendum on the ICJ. And while things remains muddled at the official level, on the ground everyday there are transactions where Belize and Guatemala learn to live as neighbors. Earlier this month one of those came up when Friends for conservation and development arranged a summit with with officials from Guatemala's Division for the Protection of Nature known as DIPRONA. They met with officials from Belize's Forest Department, BDF, Police Department, Immigration and FCD staff. Both sides discussed the environmental crisis faced in the Chiquibul forest. On the second day a field visit was made to Chiquibul and Caracol where they observed the illegal logging, xate trails and the farms along the western flank of the Chiquibul forest. And, reciprocating, one week later on the 21st of March, FCD personnel attended a one day event in Poptun, Peten. The workshop was called "An Environmental Security Strategy with a bi-national focus: Chiquibul- Maya Mountains and South Peten.

M and M Vindicated, But Still Not Paid
Last week we told you about the core samples being taken on the concrete pavement on Freetown Road. Contractor Roque Matus of M and M Engineering took those 12 core samples to an independent company and reports that all of them met and exceeded the four thousand PSI promised and documented in his company's scope of work. The only problem is that the mayor told us last week that they require five thousand PSI - and if they don't get that, the contractors won't get their final payment. Matus says that doesn't make sense because the council did not specify any PSI in its contracting document. He says the mayor only came up with that five thousand PSI after. In the interim the council continues to hold out on the final payment to M and M Engineering. Matus says he's out that amount plus an additional ten thousand dollars he spent to conduct the test on the core samples.

San Pedro Tops Says Trip Advisor
In January of this year, Belizean resorts dominated Trip Advisor's 2013 awards for the categories "Top 25 Small Hotels in Central America" and "Top 25 Hotels for Service in Central America." Well, once again, travel destinations in Belize are getting major love from the popular travel website. It released its survey, and after all the results were tabulated, Belize's Ambergris Caye was named the top island choice by travelers who use the website to travel. It's a major recognition for Belize's premier travel destination because it was elevated above more than 100 winning islands cross Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, South Pacific and the U.S. Coming in second was St John, in the US Virgin Islands, and Third place went to Bora Bora, in French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean.

New BTL Phone Book Bigs Up Agriculture
And while those Trip Advisor users love San Pedro's seas, breeze and coconut trees, they also love the Belizean food. It's true, tourism surveys repeatedly show that Belize's diverse cuisine and the availability of fresh food are strong selling points for our tourism product. And that's what BTL is championing in its 2013 telephone directory. The cover was unveiled today at a ceremony in San Ignacio. Chief Operations Officer Karen Bevans said agriculture is where it all begins: Karen Bevans - Chief Operating Officer, BTL "Today BTL is highlighting the fact that agricultural produce and the resulting Belizean cuisines, places us at a culturally unique status within the region and makes Belize a home away from home for many, many tourist." Hon. Gaspar Vega - Minister of Natural Resources "As you look at it, the words, fresh, vibrant, colorful, nutritious and abundant come to mind when looking at this picture. I believe it is a strong statement on our nutritious local food."

"Belizeans Love Them Some Chicken!"
And while agriculture is now immortalized with its own phone book cover shot, poultry production is also a major part of Belize fresh food profile. You might not know wit but Belize eggs and chicken are among the cheapest and most high quality in the region. Tonight, the Belize Poultry Association is holding its 17th Annual General meeting to discuss its fortunes in the past year. According to the numbers, Belizeans consume over one hundred pounds of chicken per year: Orlando Habet - Manager, Belize Poultry Association "Today on the production of the poultry, we are growing little at a time, very little because Belize consumes a lot of poultry. We had been up to 110 lbs which was per person per year chicken meat and now we're at 105 lbs of chicken meat per person per year, which sounds like it has gone down a little bit but that's just what was reported from the commercial production. Those figures does not account for the other chicks that are raised by small farmers who do not afford to get a production, so putting all of it together we're possibly a lot lower than under 10lbs per chicken meat per person per year. Eggs, we are covering over 160 eggs per person per year. That is particular important because for our people who do not have a daily means to buy other expensive proteins, eggs is one of the cheapest form of proteins, also the most complete form of proteins."

Alleged Woman On Woman Crime
Sofia Hyde, a Belize City resident, remains out on a $500 bail tonight after she was taken to Magistrate's Court on Monday for threatening words against Linda Bailey. But tonight, the victim of an aggravated assault says Hyde did more than insult, she threw acid in her face. The incident happened around 2am on Sunday in the vicinity of Tropicana. The 19 year old woman, she had just left the club and was walking when a vehicle pulled up and Sofia and 3 other females exited the ride. One of the females began assaulting the young woman when Hyde allegedly doused acid on her face. The women then left the scene. The injured woman was taken to the Queen Street police station to make a report and then rushed to the KHMH. Her injuries were classified as harm.

Channel 5

Half million dollars ransom, but kidnapped baby found
There are more details tonight about the kidnapping of a Corozal toddler who was abducted within days of celebrating her second birthday. The child is the daughter of a well-to-do Chinese couple who have investments at the Corozal Free Zone as well as in Corozal Town. The kidnappers wanted closed to a million dollars for [...]

Shooting victim Wallace Donald Matura dies
Belize City police are tonight resuming their investigation into the shooting death of forty-eight year old Wallace Donald Matura, who was the target of a pair of armed assailants on February eighteenth.  Sometime after nine o’clock that night, while Matura stood in front of VIP Wireless on Orange Street, he was shot multiple times and [...]

2 charged for Chan Chen/Patchakan murder
The naked body of Israel Matu was found on March twenty third in cane field off the Chan Chen/Patchakan road. The tell tale signs of murder included a swollen left eye and a cut wound to the right ear. According to reports, Matu was socializing at a bar in Chan Chen Village and left for [...]

Woman alleges cop raped her
A woman from Bullet Tree village in Cayo has accused two police officers of rape. The alleged incident occurred on March twenty-third after she and her partner were having a dispute and were reportedly intoxicated. Both persons were removed separately from the bar and the woman subsequently claimed she was raped by two officers. According [...]

Pakistani and Guatemalan nationals escaped police custody
During this morning’s now rare police press conference, the media took the opportunity to ask the ComPol about two recent incidents of perpetrators escaping from within the confines of police stations. Pakistani and Belizean national, Abbas Khan, was detained in Corozal on March third for having the passports of several Indian nationals in his possession. [...]

P.M. out of the country for Easter holidays
  Thousands of Belizeans have begun the annual migration to coastal communities within the country to enjoy their Easter vacation near the waterfront.  Others will await the results of the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic before departing for their weekend jaunt.  Among those who have opted to travel abroad is Prime Minister Dean Barrow, [...]

Are the unions and G.O.B. at a statemate?
The Joint Unions Negotiating Team is currently making the media rounds as they prepare for a meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the government team on April fifth. They claim that after receiving government’s proposal, they consulted with their membership, and then submitted a counter-proposal. They call it negotiation one on one proposal followed [...]

Senator Shoman says P.M. closed-mouthed on BIL
The Government of Belize’s Special Purpose Vehicle, Belize Infrastructure Limited, or BIL, has been receiving a lot of attention and little of it is good. The company, a private/public mix which will be in charge of sixty million dollars for projects including the Belize City Center, is said to be a for-profit organization, with directors [...]

Senator Montejo says Belizeans are living a nightmare
Today the Senate met in Belmopan to ratify the 2013/2014 budget. It is a forum which traditionally gets little attention, and more often than not the galleries are absolutely empty, but that doesn’t seem to stop the members from airing the issues in great detail and at great length. House meetings have to a large [...]

…But U.D.P. Senators say country is now better off
The Opposition Senator Collet Montejo says we are living in a nightmare, the U.D.P. appointed senators say that we are living in a good country and yes, they are both referring to the very same country, Belize. Senator Joy Grant’s address to the senate contained words like growth and prosperity, while Senator Marconi Sosa spent [...]

$23,000 for life taken in traffic accident
After a week-long trial, an Orange Walk man was sentenced today for Causing Death by Negligence. Sixty-three year old Orlando Ramirez appeared before Justice Herbert Lord in the Orange Walk Supreme Court where he heard his fate. Ramirez was found guilty on Tuesday of causing the death of fifty-two year old Justo Tzul in a [...]

Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Guats have not backed out yet
The government is writing to Jose Miguel Insulza, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, formally rejecting two proposals by Guatemala.  Firstly, Guatemala proposed that Belize amend the Referendum Act and secondly, that Belize hold the referendum on October sixth and if there is a Yes vote, then they would follow suit. Neither [...]

Cops reach out to communities
With the Easter holidays upon us, the Police Department embarked today on a community outreach program in the City’s hot spots to keep criminals at bay. The department hopes that building relations will assist with crime prevention and ultimately lead to safer communities. Police were on the beat in two neighborhoods earlier today and News [...]

CTV3

Guatemala's President Accuses Hon.Elrington Of Breeching Their Agreement
Yesterday the Government of Belize announced that they rejected Guatemala’s referendum proposals in its entirety. Those proposals were lined up by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, in the first session of the Budget Debate on March 21st. According to Elrington, Guatemala made two proposals in which they are asking Belize to amend its referendum legislation so that it would be identical to theirs in terms of requirements for a referendum to be successful. Guatemala also proposed that Belize holds its own referendum and if a yes vote to the ICJ is obtained, Guatemala will hold their referendum before the end of June 2014. Word tonight is that Guatemala’s President Otto Perez Molina is not pleased with the actions taken by Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Guatemala’s newspaper, La Prensa Libre, quotes the president as stating that during the meeting held in Washington on March 17th, it was agreed that Guatemala, Belize nor the Organization of American States, would divulge the contents of Guatemala’s proposals to the media until consultations were carried out and a response was obtained. According to Otto Perez Molina, by elaborating on Guatemala’s proposals at the House on Thursday, Minister Elrington breeched the agreement.

2 Men Charged For Murdering Israel Matu
Two men from the Corozal District have been arrested and charged for the murder of 37 year old Israel Matu, a resident of Patchakan Village in the Corozal District who was found in a cane field located near the village of Chan Chen on Sunday afternoon. Police believe that 35 year old Venanacio Williams and 33 year old Arturo Keme, both from the Village of Chan Chen, are responsible for Matu’s murder and as such charged them for the crime yesterday. The men were expected to appear before the Corozal Magistrates Court today but since no Magistrate was available, they were remanded to prison until a further date. Matu went missing on Friday March 22nd. Two days after, his body was found in a cane field. Police believe Matu was badly beaten with a blunt object and left in the area to die.

3 Officers On Disciplinary Charges In Relation To Abbas Khan Escape
Tonight, 38 year old Abbas Khan, the naturalized Belizean businessman of Corozal Town, who escaped from Orange Walk Police on March 4th, is still on the run. Viewers might recall that on March 3rd 2013, Belmopan Police searched Khan’s residence located on number 18 3rd Street, Corozal Town, where they found five Indian passports belonging to Tajinder Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Parminder Singh Baryar, Gurdeep Singh and Surjit Singh. How Khan managed to escape from the Orange Walk Police Station has never been revealed by authorities, that is, until today. According to Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, three police officers have been placed on disciplinary charges in relation to Khan’s escape. Allen Whylie- Acting Commissioner of Police “Mr. Abbas Khan, again, investigation was done in that regards. it showed negligence in the part of three police officers. Those three officers have been placed on disciplinary charged as the regional commander can testify too. I believe that one of those officers have pleaded guilty and the two other have not pleaded guilty and those matters are before an adjudicator. So that matter has been dealt with and again Mr. Khan, we have not located him but we have been reliably informed that he is in Chetumal and the commander has spoken to his Mexican counterparts to assist us. We don’t know exactly where he is or his status but we do know that he is a Belizean. So I don’t know how long Belizeans are allowed to stay over in Chetumal without stamping.”

Belize Police Department Explains How Kidnapped Toddler Was Rescued
Tonight one year old Ivy Yang is back at home safe in the arms of her parents after she was kidnapped on Sunday night. Reports are that around 7:30pm on Sunday, thirty one year old Mei Tang Chen was traveling back to Corozal from the Corozal Free Zone where she owns a business, when upon reaching the road near ITVET, located in the area of Santa Rita Heights, two vehicles closed in on her, one from the front and one from the rear. Tonight we know that several men, armed with firearms, exited the vehicles and kidnapped baby Yang leaving behind a cell phone with the mother. Chen was informed that she would receive a call and when she did, the kidnappers demanded a ransom of U.S$450,000 for the return of the toddler. Yesterday there were a number of speculations on exactly how the kidnapping and the recovery of the toddler played out. Tonight we have the police’s version of the matter even though it is in bits and pieces as still does not clarify some of the rumors. At a press conference held today in Belize City by the hierarchy of the police department, it was reveled that various units, including ADU, Mobile Interdiction Team and the Special Patrol Unit, corroborated in the high profile investigation in order to crack the case which at the end of the day resulted in the child being reunited with her family without any ransom being paid.

Good News For Residents Of San Antonio Road
Earlier in the newscast you heard Orange Walk Town Mayor Kevin Bernard speak about the council’s latest project which consists of the paving of 13 streets within town. Tonight there is also good news for residents of San Antonio Road, who for years, have been clamoring for the road to be upgraded by the ministry of Works. There cries; however, have fallen on deaf ears and the present town council has done all it can to bring the road to driving standards and to alleviate the dust problem. News tonight is, that despite the fact that the road does not fall under the councils jurisdiction, work in the area will soon commence. Kevin Bernard, Mayor OWT “We have done a bit of road just this week because the people are crying. I mean if you drive that street now at least it is in a better condition. But the council is looking at methods and ways how we can also upgrade that street to a better standard and hopefully the Ministry of Works and the Government of Belize will look in taking part of their responsibility and address San Antonio Road.”

OWTC Set To Pave 13 Streets
One of the key factors that voters are looking at when it comes to the infrastructure of a municipality is streets. The Orange Walk Town Council is bent on getting the most dilapidated streets in town to the perfect driving standard. Mayor Kevin Bernard has revealed the council’s plan to pave 13 streets using the council’s funding. Bernard told us how the project works and how they are saving money. Hipolito Novelo reporting… The Orange Walk Town Council has launched an infrastructural development project that will see the paving of 13 streets in Orange Walk Town. Work on the streets begun last week and to date, residents are already seeing a difference. Kevin Bernard, Mayor OWT “We have looked at Barbados Street. We are working right now in Stains Alley. We are joining Cemetery and Gravel lane and we are going to be paving Baeza Alley. So those will be set, hopefully by next week Friday. Those streets are scheduled to be completed by next week Friday and immediately after, work is expected to commence on eight other streets.

OWTC Lawsuit Update
Last week we told you about the lawsuit that was filed against the Orange Walk Town Council at the Supreme Court. Failed UDP Standard Bearer for Orange Walk Central, Denny Grijalva, is taking the council to court for a large sum of money that was not paid to his business, De Mars Stone Company, by the previous town council. When the council received the claim last week, they were notified that Grijalva is demanding a full payment of $88,000 for the upgrading of Benque Viejo Street and a portion of Stadium Street. The contract is originally for $138,277.40 out of which the previous town council paid Grijalva a mere $49,634.83. Now, it is up to this present council to clear the remaining balance. Today we spoke to Mayor Bernard who gave us an update on the legal battle.

PlusTV

Senate meets to discuss 2013/2014 Budget
A special sitting of the Senate was held today in the Assembly Chambers. The session was to debate and ratify the Budget Bill which has already been read and approved by Parliament last week Friday; in order for it to reach the Governor General desk for final approval. Hon....

Police give latest developments in abduction case
The kidnapping and subsequent safe return of a one year old baby girl has stunned the nation. The incident took place on Sunday evening in Corozal Town and the kidnappers made a huge ransom demand – US$450,000. They even threatened to harm the baby if the matter was reported...

Wallace Donald Matura succumbed to injuries
PLUS News has learned that Wallace Donald Matura, 48, has succumbed to injuries sustained from a shooting incident on February 15, 2013.That night, Matura was assaulted by a youth whom he later said was “roughing up” a young female until he, Matura, intervened. That happened earlier in the day...

Arrests made for murder of Israel Matu
Police have issued an update on their investigations in the murder of Corozal resident Israel Matu. On Sunday Matu was found nude, with visible injuries to his body in a canefield in Chan Chen Village. A post mortem examination conducted on his body shows that he died from a...

Mother of four convicted for the tenth time
A mother of four convicted for the tenth time for drug offences, begged the court for leniency at her sentencing yesterday. In court, thirty six year old Shinette Staine who has found guilty of drug trafficking, asked the magistrate not to send her to jail because even though she...

Prime Minister Departs Country
The Office of the Prime Minister informs that the Hon. Dean Barrow has departed the country today on personal leave. During the Prime Minister’s absence, Hon. Gaspar Vega, the Deputy Prime Minister, will act as Prime Minister. Prime Minister Barrow expects to return to Belize on Easter Monday, April...

BTL unveil their 2013 Telephone Directory
BTL says au revoir to 2012 as they unveil their 2013 Telephone Directory. This morning, the Belize Telemedia Limited launched the new directory in San Ignacio Town. The book comes stacked with regular telephone listings, cellular listings and government listings. So it’s a just your ordinary phone book right?...

St. John’s Junior College produces GMO
St. John’s Junior College becomes one of the first tertiary institutions in Belize to successfully produce GMO. GMO, which stands for genetically modified organisms are organisms whose genetic material has been changed using genetic engineering techniques. Proponents of GMO call it a miracle grain that would eventually put an...

Ambergris Caye wins Trip Advisor Award
Ambergris Caye has been named the top recipient of the Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Island Awards. The acclaimed travel guide – Trip Advisor - honored the top islands around the world based entirely on travelers’ reviews. Trip Advisor describes the Belizean island as “a vacation sweet spot: just enough...

Armed robbers target Granite Enterprise in Orange Walk Town
Armed robbers targeted Granite Enterprise in Orange Walk Town. According to the owner of the store, sometime around 4:30pm, he was at his place of business when three men, one armed with a handgun, entered, demanding money. The cashier handed over $800.00. Witnesses say they then fled the area...

Family seek help in locating 15 year Janette Gonzalez
The family of a missing girl is tonight seeking your help for her safe return. The mother of 15 year Janette Gonzalez says that around 7 o’clock on Monday night, her daughter left their home in Camalote Village en route to her aunt’s house, which is also situated in...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Mineli ‘Bugs’ Young for Chairperson


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Amandala

UNIONS AND GOB AT LOGGERHEADS OVER $18 MIL SALARY ADJUSTMENT
11,000 workers ask for at least 5% raise in the new budget. Roughly 11,000 teachers and public servants, including police and military officers, are pressing the Barrow administration to agree to a 5% salary adjustment, as a minimum, starting in 2013, with subsequent salary raises in the years ahead, which, they maintain, is necessary to offset escalating cost of living. “They are saying that the inflation rate is not waiting until 2014…” said Marvin Blades, president of the Public Service Union. What if government maintains that it can’t afford the salary increase, we asked. “That’s one of the reasons why we are in negotiations,” he replied. “We can show you [GOB] why you can afford the salary adjustment.” The Auditor General’s report points to $400-plus million in arrears due, $108 million for lands alone, he added. “That’s the salary adjustment plus everything else you can think of,” said Blades.

IS THERE A CLAIM? LET THE GUATEMALAN PEOPLE SPEAK
Why is it that our representatives always seem to be ducking and dodging when the Guatemalan President and his agents push us around with their diplomatic antics? Isn’t it about time that we launch our own diplomatic offensive? For one, I don’t think it is the best thing for us to refer to “Guatemala said this” and “Guatemala is saying that” and “Guatemala the other.” We should be specific and say that “the Guatemalan government” or “the Guatemalan President” or “the Guatemalan Foreign Minister”. How do we know that, on this Belize issue, they are speaking correctly for the Guatemalan people? Just like we need a referendum here before going to the ICJ, likewise they need a referendum there, not only for the ICJ, but for this whole “claim” matter. The Guatemalan President and former army general Otto Perez Molina has made a big deal about Belize’s referendum law requiring 60% turnout to make the referendum valid. What, does he think a matter as critically vital as this should be determined by a small handful, say 20% or 30% of the voting population in a nation? Is that how he runs things in Guatemala? He maybe doesn’t know that a vast majority of Belizean citizens are still angry with our Foreign Minister for signing the “Compromis”, and are very uncomfortable with this decision we now face, to vote “Yes”, “No” or not to vote at all in the referendum. Belizeans generally consider this whole matter an insult to our sovereignty as a nation, and would consider any outcome other than the complete and total rejection of this unfounded Guatemalan claim to our territory to be a national disaster.

8TH ANNUAL OUTSTANDING WOMEN’S AWARD TO BE HOSTED AT BLISS ON WEDNESDAY
Under the theme, “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum,” Women’s Month 2013 is being celebrated internationally and here in Belize. One highlight of Women’s Month takes place the night of Wednesday, March 27, 2013 – that is, the 8th Annual Outstanding Women’s Awards, to be held at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts in Belize City. Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Anthony “Boots” Martinez, said, in his International Women’s Day/Women’s Month Message that, “Expectations of how men and women should act in our society and what roles they should play are shaped by culture, religion, and even economic, political and social circumstances. So they are not static; they can be changed.” He also noted that “…gender equality cannot be achieved without men’s participation.”

DOCTORS SAY GRACIANO BRICEÑO, 12, IS RECOVERING
The youth fell out of a tree and hit his head; doctors gave him a slim chance of survival. After being in a coma since February 24 in the intensive care unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, suffering with a swollen brain and a fractured skull and doctors giving him only a slim chance of survival, Graciano Briceño, 12, of Orange Walk, is showing signs of improvement. His mother, Mellissa Briceño, told reporters yesterday, Monday, that he has awakened and is moving his right hand, fingers, and is focusing on people when he is spoken to. He is still unable to talk, however. All of the tubes that were attached to him have been removed, except the feeding tube. Graciano is still unable to eat, so he is being fed through a tube that is attached to his stomach. His brain is still swollen and will take another two months to go down, said Mellissa, but at least he is smiling a lot now.

GUAT PROPOSALS RILE BELIZE GOVERNMENT AND OPPOSITION
Belize “completely” rejects Guatemala proposals for referendum delay; GOB stands on Special Agreement signed in December 2008. Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced this afternoon via press release that it has rejected Guatemala’s proposals to delay the October 6, 2013 referendum which would give voters in both Belize and Guatemala the option to say whether they want the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to settle the territorial differendum between the countries. Guatemala has requested a delay, citing changes Belize made to its Referendum Act which require 60% of the voting population to participate before the results of the referendum could be declared valid. Cabinet Secretary Carlos Perdomo told Amandala that the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was issued after Cabinet took its position today. That position is that the Government of Belize “completely” rejects those proposals, and it stands on the Special Agreement signed in December 2008, to take the issue to the ICJ, pending voter approval. “Let’s stick to that,” Perdomo conveyed. The Guatemala Government wants Belize to change its Referendum Act so that it will be identical to theirs, meaning that a simple majority vote would validate the referendum, without the need to reach a 60% threshold of voter participation.

“MILLION-DOLLAR” KIDNAPPED BABY RESCUED
A one-year-old baby girl of Corozal Town was this morning returned to her family after being abducted on Sunday, March 24, 2013. Reports are that sometime around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, the mother, a Chinese businesswoman, was with her child on her way home from her business at the Corozal Free Zone. She was on the ITVET Road near Santa Rita Heights when two vehicles blocked her path, and a group of men reportedly armed with guns, jumped out the vehicles, grabbed her child, gave her instructions and a phone, and sped off. The instructions were that she was to pay a ransom of US$450,000 (almost a million dollars Belize) before the child could be returned, and she was not to go to the police or the media or the child would be killed. Our sources say that the 1-year-old was taken to a village in the Orange Walk District, and on Monday the kidnappers hired a driver to take them along with the baby back to Corozal. Sometime before midnight Monday, Police were tipped off that some men were acting suspiciously near the Corozal seaside, and that they had a child with them.

VERDES UPSET BDF IN PLB WEEK 7, MID-WEEK AND EASTER GAMES IN WEEK 8
Week 7, which completes the 1st Round, was another tough one in the Premier League of Belize 2012-2013 Closing Season, with all 8 teams still mathematically in the race for the championship. (See standings at bottom.) The San Felipe Barcelona vs Police United game was postponed until April 10, but there was ample excitement in the 3 games played, two on Thursday night, March 21, and the other on Sunday, March 24. The biggest upset so far in the season occurred on Thursday night at the Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo, where cellar dwelling Verdes FC gave a shocking 2-0 hurting on the visiting league leaders, Belize Defense Force, courtesy of two first half goals by Julio Ayala (28’ & 33’). Meanwhile, nearby at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, defending champion Belmopan Bandits were also having a hard time, but managed to pull out a draw after trailing home squad San Ignacio United. Rosny Martinez (44’) gave San Ignacio the first half lead, but Darren Myers (81’) got the second half equalizer for the visiting Bandits to secure the 1-1 draw.

CROSS COUNTRY TIME IS HERE, AND SO ARE THE FOREIGNERS
With the Junior Cross Country now over, the time is drawing near for the Big One, the 85th running of the oldest and most romantic cycling event in the western hemisphere, our very own Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic. Defending Cross Country champion is Belize’s Geovanni Choto of the Belikin-Western Spirit Cycling Team. Geovanni was the first of 78 riders who started the race last year, finishing the 142.4 mile journey to San Ignacio’s Colombus Park and back to the finish at Memorial Park in 6:16:45, more than half hour behind the record of 5:40:12 set by American Ryan Baumann in 2008. Second was Brandon Cattouse of C-Ray and third Darnell Barrow of Santino’s. The most recent big race winners are David Henderson, Jr. of Santino’s in the 2013 Krem New Year’s Classic; and a couple weeks ago Marlon Castillo of Santino’s won the Belmopan Classic. Everyone is picking their favorite Belizean cyclist to take the garland on Holy Saturday. Some of the names that keep coming up include those above, as well as 2006 champion Shane Vasquez, Byron Pope, Gregory Lovell, Ron Vasquez, Richard Troyer, etc.

BELIZE, TRINIDAD PLAY TO SCORELESS DRAW
Belize and visiting Trinidad & Tobago played to a 0-0 draw in a CONCACAF Gold Cup warm-up match Saturday at the FFB Stadium. It was the second goalless draw between the two sides in two all-time meetings. The encounter produced no shortage of action, but neither side could find the back of the net despite the presence of veteran players with proven offensive credentials. Deon McCaulay, who tops the scoring table in 2014 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying with 11 goals, played nearly the entire game for Belize. The potent attacking Trinidad duo of Kenwyne Jones and Cornell Glen were paired together up front for sixty-six minutes. Glen had two opportunities to score in the opening 20 minutes. Both efforts, however, went just wide of the mark. After 30 minutes, McCaulay dragged a shot inches wide of the left post for the host’s best chance of the game. Port Vale midfielder Chris Birchall was outstanding throughout the night for the Soca Warriors and came close four minutes before the interval.

BELIZEAN UNITY AND BELIZEAN PROSPERITY Editorial
There are two important benefits we Belizeans should want to achieve during this period of national and regional focus on the bogus Guatemalan claim. We should focus on increasing our national unity, and we should be interested in increasing our national prosperity. Let us first consider the matter of national prosperity. The Guatemalan upper classes and the American/transnational corporations which are embedded in Guatemala’s socio-economic matrix, know that the territory of Belize is a wealthy territory where natural resources and development potential are concerned. The Guatemalans and their corporate allies want to acquire as much of Belize’s territory as they can, and they want to, failing that, enter contractual arrangements which will achieve maximum economic benefits for the republic and the corporations. The situation is, presently, that the Guatemalans export more than ten times the value of products to Belize than they import from Belize. Statistics printed in Prensa Libre recently, and we assume the figures are in U.S. dollars, say that Guatemala exported more than 52 million dollars worth of products to Belize in 2012, and imported five million dollars plus of Belizean products. Belize can sustain these kinds of undesirable trade imbalances with neighbors like Guatemala and Mexico, because of our large and productive work force in the United States. It is important to recognize our diaspora work force. Big respect, Belizean diaspora.

FROM THE PUBLISHER
Around August of 2003, a few months after the PUP had won a second consecutive term of office under Said Musa, a powerful faction of the ruling party infiltrated the gang which controls the Partridge Street area where Kremandala is located. As a result of that infiltration, I came under personal threats. As a Belizean citizen, my first response was to seek assistance from the police, but I soon realized that the seemingly casual attitude of the police meant that the people behind the threats also had power at the highest levels in the Police Department. This is not something which I could prove in a court of law, mind you, but when I’m in trouble I go with my gut instincts. That usually works for me. A similar episode, though less frightening, had happened to me around 1977, 1978, when I was supposed to be in an alliance with the ruling PUP. A PUP-friendly muscle man was behaving in a very hostile manner to me. When I complained to the very big man in the government, he was sympathetic to me. As time went along, however, I realized that the chances were great that he was the very person who had given the intimidator his instructions. This is how dangerous our political system can become for citizens who are outspoken but not within the mainstream of the ruling party. The politicians who control the police also have big influence in the underworld. If a mainstream politician wants to lean on you, he can recruit underworld elements, and then have the police behave as if they don’t understand what you are complaining about.

GMO AWARENESS MONTH WEEK #5 – WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Letters
Dear Editor, We commend the Amandala for providing the opportunity to inform the public about Genetically Modified Organisms. By now, this final week of GMO AWARENESS MONTH, we have all learned a great deal — enough to know that the growing of GMOs commits the entire country to the monopolistic control of the petroleum-based chemical corporations that control Big Ag and ultimately seek to increase our dependency on products that make us sick and keep us broke. The Greed and the tremendous influence of these mega-corporations involve the pushing of their ‘products’ at us under threat of trade sanctions, should we not accept their agricultural ‘assistance’. Belize will need to avoid the immediate attraction of short-term gains and instead act with futuristic foresight for the long-term good of all, standing with the Central American and Caribbean countries who have said NO to GMOs.

COMPTON DISCUSSES GUATEMALA’S “BLACK EYE” Letters
The Editor Amandala March 26th, 2013 Dear Sir, It is amazing that in this age of instant communication the Guatemala Minister of Foreign Affairs, Señor Fernando Carrera, realizing that a “family emergency” which required his presence, would not have informed his Belizean counterpart or even his OAS handlers that he would not be in Washington DC on Sunday, March 17, thereby allowing the Belize delegation to abort their mission saving time, money and the resulting embarrassment to our Foreign Minister and by extension to the independent country of Belize. There is little doubt that Guatemala has suffered a diplomatic “black eye” by this insult, but that is the price they are prepared to pay for what seems to be the new tactic, that of propagandizing their unfounded claim via bogus maps and the stepping up of the indoctrination of their next generation of school children. We should take these as a tactical warning of the repeat modus operandi from the past.

WELLINGTON RAMOS WRITES Letters
Dear Editor, The dispute with Guatemala is old and is not going away anytime soon. For this dispute, our country needs to send some bright young Belizeans abroad to study international law. I have not heard anything of substance coming from the Belize Bar Association in regards to this matter. Is it because the lawyers in Belize do not care, or they do not possess the credentials to speak on this issue? I more believe it is because of the latter reason. One would think that our lawyers would want to lend their expertise on such an issue of vital importance to our people and nation. I now call on all the Belizean people, especially those who live in the United States and abroad, to conduct their own research on this matter and then put it to the public to educate them, because this is the only way Belizeans will be able to understand what has been transpiring with this Guatemalan bogus claim for centuries now.

IDEAS AND OPINIONS – THE DEATH PENALTY VI
I have written five essays on the subject of the death penalty for murder, not for any other crime; certainly not for adultery, which is not a crime in any Christian democracies. I have been an advocate of this form of punishment for that specific crime because it would save lives, especially in the present climate, where people are killed by gang members in order to establish themselves with their comrades as vicious and ruthless. All these years that I have been expressing these views, not once has any member of the clergy or the laity pointed out to me that they are contrary to the teachings of Christ. If they had, I would have given full weight to their counsel and considered revising my opinions. They have not and they cannot, because nothing I have written is contrary to the Christian faith. Now, I am made to understand that the Anglican Church is in favor of the abolition of the death penalty. My understanding is based on a article in Amandala titled Anglican Community leads the charge to abolish the death penalty. A statement to this effect was made by Canon Leroy Flowers, Pastor of St.Mary’s Parish. To support his church’s position, Canon Flowers refers to an incident in the Bible, where the woman who was caught committing adultery sought Jesus’s protection from those who were going to carry out the sentence, imposed by Mosaic Law, which was death by stoning. How can that incident support a change in church policy on the death penalty? The woman didn’t kill anyone. If she had, she would have been tried before a judge. The state of Israel had courts to determine the guilt or innocence of persons accused of committing crimes. She was not brought before a court. Those who were going to stone her were the same as a lynch mob. Many were adulterers themselves and, Christ exposed them.

SENATE TO DEBATE BUDGET WEDNESDAY
The National Assembly announced on Friday that there will be a special sitting of the Senate on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in the National Assembly Chambers in Belmopan. The main matter to be deliberated by the Senate will be the 2013/2014 National Budget, with $934 million in overall spending, approved by Parliament on Friday, following two days of debate by elected officials of the House of Representatives. The proposed budget, presented by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow, assumes growth in the Gross Domestic Product of about 3% over the fiscal year, which is concluding; $934.3 million in total spending; and total revenue and grants of $871.7 million. The budget also calls for an overall deficit of $62.6 million, or about 1.9% of GDP and $64.5 million for loan amortization, leaving a financing gap of $127.1 million. Barrow said that his budget strikes two high notes: that the super-bond has been tackled and tamed; and that there will be “absolutely no new taxes and no overall spending cuts….”

8TH ANNUAL OUTSTANDING WOMEN’S AWARD TO BE HOSTED AT BLISS ON WEDNESDAY
Under the theme, “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum,” Women’s Month 2013 is being celebrated internationally and here in Belize. One highlight of Women’s Month takes place the night of Wednesday, March 27, 2013 – that is, the 8th Annual Outstanding Women’s Awards, to be held at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts in Belize City. Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Anthony “Boots” Martinez, said, in his International Women’s Day/Women’s Month Message that, “Expectations of how men and women should act in our society and what roles they should play are shaped by culture, religion, and even economic, political and social circumstances. So they are not static; they can be changed.” He also noted that “…gender equality cannot be achieved without men’s participation.” Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis-Barrow notes that, “The work towards gender equality never stops, but the progress being made becomes especially clear in the month of March, when outstanding women and girls are recognized for their achievements and for fostering the change needed in their communities.”

COUPLE AND UNCLE REMANDED FOR BULLETS
Computer technician, teacher and unemployed remanded after police found 8 live rounds Tonight three persons are remanded at the Hattieville Prison after police reportedly found eight 9mm live rounds of ammunition in their Belize City yard. According to a police report dated today, Monday, at around 5:00 this morning members of the Gang Suppression Unit descended on a residence at #6 Casuarina Street to conduct a search for illegal drugs and firearms. Present at the time of the search were Brian Myvette, 32, a computer technician; his wife, Daneen Myvette, 31, a teacher; and his uncle, 54-year-old Cecil Louis Gill. According to police, when they searched the house, no illegal drugs were found, but they found a black plastic bag containing the live rounds in the yard. Brian Myvette, Daneen Myvette and Gill were all represented by attorney Alifa Elrington Hyde when they pleaded not guilty to the charge.

HEPATITIS OUTBREAK, MOH ISSUES WARNING
The Ministry of Health issued a press release today, Monday, informing the media of several cases of suspected Hepatitis A in Trio Village, Stann Creek. There have been 14 suspected cases of the disease reported in the village over the past three weeks and one of those cases has been confirmed to be Hepatitis A. The release stated that other cases have been recorded in the districts of Corozal, Cayo, and Toledo. Hepatitis A is a food and waterborne disease. Symptoms may include yellowing of the eyes and skin, dark urine, light-colored stool along with mild fever, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite. The disease is contagious through close contact with someone who is infected. The Ministry of Health advises the public to take good hygienic and sanitary measures. Prevention practices include washing hands properly using soap and clean water especially before preparing or serving food, after using the toilet and after changing diapers. Wash all vegetables, fruits and other raw food with clean water before eating it. Do not consume contaminated water or ice. Boil and treat all drinking water with chlorine. Disinfect contaminated dishes, toilets and common surfaces.

The Reporter

Our language, our Bible: the importance of the Kriol Bible
It took the Kriol Council 20 years to translate the Bible into Kriol, because of a widespread rejection of Kriol as an established language. Yvette Herrera, lead translator for the Belize Kriol Project, the literary arm of the Belize Kriol Council, said that great strides had to be made in getting Kriol recognized as an official language before they could garner the support from the religions communities in Belize.

Abducted one-year-old returned
Kidnappers, who reportedly abducted a one-year-old child Sunday night and demanded a ransom, have returned the child today, Tuesday – the deadline for the said ransom. Unconfirmed reports say that the abductors demanded US$450, 000 for the child’s return; however, the Reporter was unable to verify whether or not that amount was indeed paid.

Police found dead in New River
Orange Walk Police say they do not suspect foul play in the death of Police Constable Antonio Chan, 44, whose body was found floating in the New River on Saturday, March 23. According to a police press release, the police visited the New River at an area east of Honey Camp Street in the Village of Trial Farm, and found Chan’s body floating in the middle of the river.

Radisson Fort George celebrates 60 years in Belize
The Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina this month celebrates its 60th anniversary of providing Belizean hospitality – years which have allowed the Hotel, through training and service, to become a leader in Belize’s hospitality industry. The Fort George has come a long way since it first opened its doors in 1953. Several renovations over the years have included the addition of the Club Tower and the Villa Annex. Fort George Hotel joined the Radisson chain in 1990, and the hotel continues to improve while retaining its Colonial charm and its position as an impressive Belize City landmark. It remains the first choice for heads of state, celebrities, dignitaries, business travellers and tourists alike.

Unions and Government will discuss salary adjustment next month
The three trade unions, the Belize National Teacher’s Union (BNTU) the Association of Public Service Senior Management (APSSM) and the Public Service Union (PSU) are scheduled to meet on Friday, April 5, with Prime Minister Dean Barrow to see if the impasse over salary adjustment can be broken. Following a meeting with government on February 1, the government made certain proposals and the unions indicated that they would be taking those proposals to their membership for ratification. That was done and the unions came up with their own counterproposals. But all indications are that Prime Minister Barrow has rejected the unions’ counterproposals. President of the BNTU, Luke Palacio told the Reporter on Monday that the prime minister said he is not in agreement with some of the counter proposals that the unions submitted following their meeting on February 1. Palacio said he does not know if theunions will attend next month’s meeting.

PUP says “No” to Guatemala’s proposal to delay ICJ referendum
Leader of the Opposition People’s United Party, Francis Fonseca called an emergency press briefing to register his party’s rejection of Guatemala’s diplomatic maneuver last week to delay the October 6 simultaneous referenda. Reading from a prepared statement at the PUP’s Independence Hall headquarters, Fonseca said: “On Sunday March 17, 2013 Guatemala put forward certain proposals that make clear its intention to breach its agreement with Belize to hold simultaneous referenda on October 6, 2013.” “The simultaneous referenda in Belize and Guatemala that has been set for October 6, comes under the terms of an agreement brokered by the Organization of American States for the more than a century- old territorial claim of Guatemala over portions of Belize to be adjudicated at the International Court of Justice, in the Hague, Netherlands. “The special agreement, or compromis, which was signed on December 8, 2008, by the foreign ministers of Belize and Guatemala, was hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough by the international community”. Fonseca told reporters: “The People’s United Party rejects any proposal which violates the spirit and letter of the Special Agreement signed by Belize and Guatemala in December 2008.”

Belize rejects Guatemala’s proposals
The Government of Belize has written to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, informing him that Belize has rejected Guatemala’s two proposals to delay the October 6 simultaneous referenda. Following Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, GOB stated via press release that Belize is committed to abide by the Special Agreement, signed in December 2008. Government’s rejection of the Guatemalan proposals comes less than 24 hours after the Opposition People’s United Party issued its own rejection of the proposals that was presented to the OAS last weekend, in Washington. PUP leader Hon. Francis Fonseca, speaking at an “emergency” press briefing at Independence Hall, said: “The People’s United Party rejects any proposal which violates the spirit and letter of the Special Agreement signed by Belize and Guatemala in December 2008.” Insulza had invited a delegation from Belize to a bilateral meeting with their Guatemalan counterpart, after the Guatemalans indicated that they wanted a change in the referendum date.

Child, 4, dies in locked car
Dangriga Police are investigating the “sudden death” of a 4-year-old boy, who was found unconscious inside his mother’s Toyota Camry, around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Police reported that the child, Jahrion Joseph Lightfoot, was transported to the Southern Regional Hospital, where he died as he was being attended by a paediatrician. While the police investigation into the matter continues, it is believed that Jahrion may have accidentally trapped himself inside the car whichwas parked in the yard. It is also believed that the joint effect of the confined space and the high temperatures recorded over the weekend may have caused the child to suffocate.

Unions and Government will discuss salary adjustment next month
The three trade unions, the Belize National Teacher’s Union (BNTU) the Association of Public Service Senior Management (APSSM) and the Public Service Union (PSU) are scheduled to meet on Friday, April 5, with Prime Minister Dean Barrow to see if the impasse over salary adjustment can be broken. Following a meeting with government on February 1, the government made certain proposals and the unions indicated that they would be taking those proposals to their membership for ratification. That was done and the unions came up with their own counterproposals. But all indications are that Prime Minister Barrow has rejected the unions’ counterproposals. President of the BNTU, Luke Palacio told the Reporter on Monday that the prime minister said he is not in agreement with some of the counter proposals that the unions submitted following their meeting on February 1. Palacio said he does not know if theunions will attend next month’s meeting. “If our counter proposals are not on the agenda, we will not attend,” Palacio said. The PSU president Marvin Blades said that the unions’ counter proposals come from their membership.

The Belize Times

Houdini inside the House!
By G. Michael Reid After many years of listening to House meetings and debates, Belizeans were finally informed as to what these exercises are all about. For two days last week, different members of our government took turns telling us what it is that they do in the House. I, for ...

Taking Belizean for Stock: Behind the Budget Numbers (Part I)
While the verbose politicians will be deep in the bowels of the National Assembly presenting the single most important piece of law for the next twelve months, most average Belizeans will be more concerned about their failure to secure a room on San Pedro for Easter or what price fish ...

U.S. citizen busted with false passport
Corozal District, March 25, 2013 Belize authorities have expelled United States citizen, Daniel Rae Morris, after he was busted at the northern border attempting to enter Belize with a false passport. According to reports, Morris showed up at the Immigration desk with a passport that didn’t belong to him. The passport had ...

OW business shut down for Casino-type machines
Route 88 Limited Sports Bar, a business located on Belize-Corozal Road in Orange Walk Town, has been shut down by the local authorities after an inspection of its premises revealed more than 40 gaming machines at the business place. The business, owned by Chinese businessman Jian ...

Convicted Guat escapes Police Custody
Two Police Officers face criminal charges after they reportedly assisted a Guatemalan prisoner to escape from Police custody at the San Ignacio Police Station. 22 year old Walter Leonel Boteo Ralda ...

Who will win cross country?
In a couple of days, we will have our annual Cross Country cycling classic race. Riders from all over the country and even from other parts of the world will be in this race. It has been a bittersweet experience for Belizeans as we eagerly wait for a Belizean to ...

WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – AN ABUSE OF PROCESS
By Dolores Balderamos-Garcia The two day debate on the General Revenue Appropriation Bill 2013 to 2014 took place in the House of Representatives on Thursday and Friday March 21st and 22nd, 2013. The debate on the Opposition side was robust, vigorous and forceful, but then, as you all know, I am biased! I ...

HOME ECONOMICS – Belize National Budget 2013/14 – A Rapid Scan
By Richard Harrison The Belize National Budget exercise is the governments’ general guide to their forecast for the public sector and general country performance during that given year. It is sort of the governments’ BUSINESS PLAN for the upcoming year. The general thrusts of the government’s budget for 2013/14 are: (1) no “new ...

Remarks by Hon. Jose Mai on the Budget for fiscal year 2013/2014
Mr. Speaker the Belizean People want to know: a) What is the Government’s strategy to lower the more than 40% poverty rate in the country? b) What is the plan to reduce the more than 25% unemployment rate? c) Yes, this is what the University graduates and sixth formers want ...

Budget Response by Hon. John Briceño
We live in very challenging times, the days of 8% and 10% annual economic growth are gone. All over the world the number of people falling into poverty is increasing. Given this backdrop I celebrate with those on the other side the fact that the hard work and dedication of ...

GMO SEEDS – ARE THEY HERE? – This spells bad news and industrial blackmail
Contributed The visiting Israeli Ambassador to Belize recently let the cat out of the bag when he publicly announced that his government is donating “advanced seeds” to Belizean farmers. Are these “advanced seeds” Genetically Modified Organisms? As far as we know, it remains official policy not to allow the importation of GMOs ...

Traitor vs. Teacher
Aside from the fact that both these words start with the letter “t” and end in the letter “r”, there aren’t many things that Traitors and Teachers have in common. Teachers are selfless, caring, nurturing, dedicated and committed to providing students with the knowledge and skills to ...

Minors rob Councilor Roger Espejo of $50 fashion chain
Crime affects everyone, and UDP Councillor Roger Espejo just found that out in real terms when he was robbed by a group of minors. 35 year old Espejo told Police that he was hanging out on Newtown ...

Of this and that…
Fishers of money Everyone wants fish. We need a good piece of Jack or red snapper. Cross bun taste better with fish. It is this way from befo time. Fish is usually $4 a pound. Sorry if you shop at Santi expensive supermarket. You will pay lots more. Better you ...

NO to Guatemala! – PUP leader stands up for Belize
Leader of the Opposition Hon. Francis Fonseca was decisive on Monday evening, when he warned the Barrow Administration that if it was going to “bend backward” for Guatemala in the face of that neighbouring country’s latest stunt over the Belize-Guatemala differendum, the PUP wants no part of it. In a meeting between Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chief Executive Officer Alexis Rosado and Guatemala’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs held last weekend (which was snubbed by Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Luis Fernando Carrera), Guatemala had informed that it had unilaterally decided to abandon the December 2008 commitment to hold simultaneous referendums on October 6th of this year. The emissary further informed that Guatemala is giving Belize two options. Option 1 is to amend its Referendum Act to reduce the 60% threshold needed for a referendum to be binding and Option 2 is for Belize to hold its own referendum on October 6th, and if the popular vote is for Yes, Guatemala will then hold theirs at a later date. Belize’s Foreign Minister Sedi Elrington seemed unperturbed by Guatemala’s erratic moving of the goal post and too accommodating and compromised when he uttered that ““Belize is prepared to accommodate whatever suggestion is coming from the Guatemalans.”

Espats will join UDP ranks – Beware Herman Longsworth, Lee Mark Chang!
Mark Espat is a full blown UDP. Has always been. He acts like them and thinks like them. How else can one explain his narcissism to the nth degree and serial backstabbing nature? To us it came as no surprise that Michael Finnegan has called out Espat, twice, making it known that it’s ok for him to come out of the closet and declare his UDP-ness. But what was Finnegan talking about? Espat joined their ranks the day he publicly accepted to become a UDP Ambassador. Dean Barrow pretended that Espat was doing some generous service for the people and country, until we later learnt that aside from the Ambassador post Espat had formed a company named Hall Mark and was charging the Government $20,000 a month. That’s the UDP way of self-enrichment. Espat came out of the closet long ago. He even bald his head and wears bright red colours at UDP events. Now he is in bed, politically speaking, along with the likes of Doug Singh, the former UDP Chairman and his throng of losers.

Another UDP crony collects – How many unlawful land grab cases are there, Mr. Minister??!!
Documents obtained by the BELIZE TIMES confirms that more UDP cronies are collecting thousands of dollars belonging to taxpayers as a result of unlawful land grabs carried out by the Ministry of Lands under Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega. The latest UDP known to have benefitted is Rosita Aragon, the sister in law of former UDP Minister Elodio Aragon, who was paid $148,000 as “compensation” for a parcel of land which was taken away from its rightful owner and sold to her wrongfully. The document obtained by the BELIZE TIMES is a Supreme Court Order for Claim No. 188 of 2010, in which the Ministry of Natural Resources agrees to pay Rosita Aragon $148,000 to “extinguish or withhold” legal proceedings against them. The case involves parcel 1-6-1820, Block 1, Consejo Road South East Registration Section of Corozal, which was taken from its owner, and sold to Aragon, reportedly for a pittance. Similar land grabs in the area were sold to other UDP cronies for as little as $1,500. The BELIZE TIMES will provide more details on these, next week. After the Court found that the land grab was illegal and ordered the return of the land, the Ministry saved face by agreeing to “compendate” Aragon.

1 yr. old baby abducted in Corozal! – Half-a-million-dollar ransom demanded
A one year old child was returned to her parents last night during a rescue operation following a frightening abduction that took place on Sunday. Information is sketchy but the BELIZE TIMES understands that the one year old baby was taken away from her mother during a kidnapping carried out by a group of masked men on Sunday night. The mother was forced to bring the vehicle to a sudden stop when the windshield glass was suddenly shattered. The parents of the baby are well-known in Corozal. They own a business in the Commercial Free Zone. The BELIZE TIMES understands that since Sunday night, the kidnappers contacted the parents and demanded half a million dollars for the return of the child. They also warned that if the abduction was made public, it would place the child’s life at risk.

Shame the Devil – Taking Belizeans for Stock (Part II)
As we said in these pages last week, the Easter is upon us and that means sun, smiles, spirits and swimming. It may be coincidence that the budget bill and fiscal year all hide themselves behind the festive spirit of Easter but the importance of deconstructing the numbers that were thrown around in the House of Representative on March 21 and 22, cannot put on a swim suit, grab a rum and coke and hit the banks of the Belize River. As we have said, three hundred and fifty thousand Belizeans live with these figures for the full three hundred and sixty five days of the year. Belizeans are hardworking people and as such, no one will point a finger when we take off our steel toe boots and let some air between our toes. Life in Belize, after all, has become a task and a gamble just to stay alive. Our energies are evaporated, we already have to deal with UNIBAM, Off-shore drilling, GMO, nationalizations, compromis, ICJ’s, OAS’s and Guatemala’s taunting. These, mind you, are only a short list of the issues of substance that dominate intellectual conversations and honest political thought. The list of nuisance issues and transparent lies which burn at the Belizean public’s eyes are too depressing to even give any consorted denunciations. The land scandals, government antagonism, ministerial arrogance, nepotism, victimizations, the “Sedi curse” and astronomical wastage drain us. Tempted as we may be to chalk these up to the nature of the evil that is a “politician” especially when that beast gets into Government and brandishes absolute power, it is more a reflection of the lack of integrity and bankruptcy of competence, which haunts this UDP administration. This second term of the UDP will be recorded and characterized by history as a countdown to an inevitable exit in the next national elections. Desperation and the inescapable eventuality of the UDP defeat is the theme of every action of the Government. Needless to say that this is catastrophically bad for the country which euphemistically boasts “developing nation status” geo-politically, “at risk” sociologically and “frail to vulnerably dependent status” economically.

Cayo’s Zamir Guerra – wins Junior Cross Country Classic
Team Cayo High Road’s Zamir Guerra broke Byron Pope’s record by over 3 minutes, clocking 3:34:38 on his 72-mile victory ride for the 14th annual Junior Cross Country Cycling classic on Sunday. In the sprint to the finish Guerra edged out Tarique Flowers riding unattached to take home the winner’s garland of roses, a $300 cash prize from the Cycling Association, a trophy, a jersey donated by 2005 Cross Country champion Bill Elliston, a silver chain and cycling pendant from Yvonne Robinson and Xishel and a box of Trail Mix from Smart Speednet. Tarique Flowers held on to beat Team BECOL uprising’s Michael Wagner and claim the $200 2nd prize and a trophy. Wagner took home the $100 3rd third prize and a trophy.

Belize holds Soca Warriors to 0-0 – Belize improves to 128th in FIFA-ranking
FIFA has upped Belize’s ranking in the world from 132nd to 128th, after the Belize “Jaguars” held Trinidad & Tobago “Soca Warriors” to a nil-zip draw for a second time in 2 encounters. Over 3,500 fans bought filled up FFB stadium in Belmopan on Saturday night, March 23rd to support the international friendly match, as the two teams prepare for the July 2013 Gold Cup to be played in the U.S.A. Despite the Soca Warrior’s starting four of their 2006 World Cup players for the first time in over three years, the visiting team was unable to execute an effective offensive play. Team captain Densill Theobald and Christopher Berchall were creating the plays at midfield and Keon Daniel tried to work the ball up the sidelines, but they had to contend with Belize’s midfielders Evan Mariano, Floyd Jones and Everald Trapp, while Dalton Eiley held down the defense with the help of Ian Gaynair, Tyrone Pandy and Trevor “Burger” Lennon.

Easy Does It belts – Alfred Dawson Cricket Club 157-65
Easy Does It won 157-65 over Alfred Dawson Cricket Club when the 2013 SMART Harrison Parks national cricket competition continued in Lemonal on Sunday. Chris Banner took 5 wickets and scored 37 runs for Easy Does It, while Thomas Dawson scored 11 runs for the visitors and Zaggi took 6 wickets. The match between Bright Star and Wicked Eleven was postponed. The second half of the competition resumes on April 6, after the Easter weekend. Other matches: Isabella Uprising vs. Brave Union – 163-71 Sunrise of Lord’s Bank vs. Police – 198 -109 Brilliant vs. Surprise – 223-30

Blogs

A Trip to Lamanai: It’s Not Just Mayan Ruins
Visiting a Mayan site is at the top of many vacation lists for people visiting Belize. One of the best is a day trip from Ambergris Caye…a long day trip. But after seeing birds, monkeys, crocodiles, cool Mayan carvings. and questioning whether you can get back down the STEEP temple that you just climbed, it’s a trip that I think is well worth it. My tour company Seaduced by Belize picked me up at my dock at 7am with a full boat. A quick introduction speech from our guides and we headed across to the mainland, through a large lagoon, up the Northern River to the tiny village of Bomba. (About an hour) We stopped at one point to take a closer look at some teeny, tiny bats nestled in an old log. For a creepy flying rodent with prehistoric looking wings, kinda cute.

Ambergris Caye Wins Top Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Island Award
Belize’s Ambergris Caye is the top winner of the Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Islands awards. These awards honor top islands around the world, based entirely on the millions of valuable reviews and opinions from Trip Advisor travelers. In total, more than 100 winning islands were named across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, South Pacific and the U.S. “Ambergris Caye hovers in a vacation sweet spot: just enough amenities to make it exciting, but not so overdeveloped that you’re tripping over flip-flopped tourists. A mangrove swamp is the eye of this white beach island, the largest in Belize, and golf carts are the main form of transportation along the sandy roads. Reef divers drool over the Belize Barrier Reef and the Blue Hole, a 400-feet deep circle of limestone that teems with angelfish, elkhorn coral, cleaner shrimp and stalactites” states the article entitled “Top 10 Islands in the World” published yesterday March 26th 2013 on the Trip Advisor website.

“Running in the Family” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Got up early and recommenced my review of a contract for a friend. Nearing the home straight on this I took a breather by looking (very fortunately as it transpired) at the Ambergris Caye Forum to learn that there was a planned power outage ( for power equipment replacement ) between 9 am to 1 pm. Bang went my plan to have a final review of the contract whilst eating a late breakfast at Estel’s. Picked up on the loss of power though in good enough time for Rose ( ably (???) assisted by me) to rustle up breakfast before we lost the power. The power loss also took out the Internet so we very quickly moved to Plan B and ‘retired’ to the beach for a little bit of Kindle. The power came back earlier than scheduled at around 11.45 am but we stayed on the beach for another 30 minutes and I resumed my review of the contract until I finished it around 2.30 pm when it was time for our visit to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. When we got there both ‘mixers were in operation. Not using the mix in the same volumes as for the concrete pours but the guys are still using a hell of a lot of it.

A Short Briefing On Maya Architecture
In this video taken at Caracol by my friend Julie Schwietert Collazo, prominent Belize archaeologist Jaime Awe explains the fundamentals of Maya Architecture and what makes it distinct and impressive. He draws examples from other countries such as Canada and the US, and how architecture is used to make visual statements that demonstrate national identity, ideology and cultural symbols. I find this particular recording intriguing because Dr. Jaime Awe has a way of making complex information simple. In university I took courses such as Cultural Anthropology and Mesoamerican Civilization with him and I clearly remember how my interest peaked at each of his classes. He’s just an all around cool guy. One of those guys that all men want to be like and all women have crushes on – I’m not kidding.

International Sources

Global Internet Slows After 'Biggest Attack in History'
The internet around the world has been slowed down in what security experts are describing as the biggest cyber-attack of its kind in history. A row between a spam-fighting group and hosting firm has sparked retaliation attacks affecting the wider internet. It is having an impact on popular services like Netflix - and experts worry it could escalate to affect banking and email systems. Five national cyber-police-forces are investigating the attacks. Spamhaus, a group based in both London and Geneva, is a non-profit organisation that aims to help email providers filter out spam and other unwanted content. To do this, the group maintains a number of blocklists - a database of servers known to be being used for malicious purposes.

Tanya Carter Brings A Twist To Jamaican Music
A new album might not be on the cards right now, but Belizean singer Tanya Carter was more than excited about her recent visit to Jamaica and about recording a song with producer Christopher Birch. Carter, whose stay in the island ended recently, said she came to Jamaica to promote her Birch-produced song Ex-Boyfriend and branch out into the Jamaican market. "Being the top artiste in Belize is one thing, but when you realise that you have plateaued, you have to kick it up a notch. I had to come to where the real reggae music is," she told The Gleaner. Since being in the island, she made the rounds at several events and also recorded another song with Birch. Since releasing the song, which is called Secret (written by Duane Stephenson), she said the response has been good, with radio stations asking for it.

New World slumps on £6m share issue
New World Oil and Gas (NEW) has raised £6.3 million through the issue of 315 million shares at a price of 2p per share. The Belize and Denmark-focused company said the proceeds of the placing would be applied to test and appraise the Rio Bravo 1 well which the company is currently drilling in Belize subject to a successful well-logging programme. The well commenced drilling on 1 March, and to date all operations are on schedule and under budget. A total depth of 8,800 feet, targeting the Upper Jurassic Margaret Creek Formation, is expected to be reached by late April. Drilling results will be released once the total depth has been reached. In the event that the well is not tested and appraised, the funds will be used to drill two wells targeting the Harboe and Jelling prospects at the company's Danica Jutland Project in Denmark; for seismic interpretation and competent person's report costs at the project; and additional general working capital purposes. Interactive Investor view Investors have reacted to the placing and inevitable dilution of share capital that will occur as a result, causing shares to fall 27% on Thursday morning.

New World Oil and Gas raises proceeds for Belize well
New World Oil and Gas shares plunged Thursday as the oil and gas company said it has raised 6.3 million pounds to test and appraise the Rio Bravo 1 well in Belize, Central America. The group raised the proceeds through the issue of 315m new ordinary shares at a price of 2.0p each. The company started drilling operations at the well on March 1st and expects to reach a total depth of 8,800ft by late April as operations are on schedule and under budget. Drilling results will be then be released. In the event that the Rio Bravo 1 well is not tested and appraised, the funds will be used for drilling of two wells at the Danica Jutland project in Denmark. It would also be used for seismic interpretation and competent person's report costs at the project, and for additional general working capital purposes. Drilling is in progress in Belize at the West Gallon Jug prospect targeting an un-risked prospective resource of 113m barrels of oil.

Tough Call: Belize And Its Experience With Oil
KINGSTON, Jamaica – As prospectors are about to drill for oil in Bahamian waters, it’s worth taking a look at the recent experience of petroleum licensing in a fellow CARICOM state – Belize. #Over the past several years, the government of that little Central American nation – sandwiched between Guatemala and Mexico – secretly handed out licenses to a slew of shell companies to drill for oil throughout the country and its offshore waters, including in protected areas. #This sparked the formation of the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage, which has been fighting a running battle with the government over oil licenses. The coalition includes scores of civil society groups and is supported by Oceana, an international marine conservation society. #A “people’s referendum” was organised just before the last general election (in March 2012), which resulted in an overwhelming no vote against offshore oil drilling by more than 29,000 people. The coalition also took the government to court, with a decision expected next month.

PHOTO: Serving in Belize
Staff Sgt. Jon Van Osdell, radio frequency journeyman from the 236th Combat Communications Squadron of the Louisiana Air National Guard, configures an antenna to acquire a satellite signal for secure voice and data communications for an exercise called New Horizons. New Horizons is led by U.S. Southern Command and provides medical and dental treatment, as well as constructs school structures throughout Belize. It gives U.S., Belizean and Canadian service members the opportunity to train side-by-side in an exercise setting, in order to be prepared to meet future challenges when and where needed. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jeff Mace)

Women's Adventures in Science
The Web site iWASwondering.org is a project of the National Academy of Sciences intended to showcase the accomplishments of contemporary women in science and to highlight for young people the varied and intriguing careers of some of today's most prominent scientists. The site draws from and accompanies the publication of a ten-volume series of biographies entitled Women's Adventures in Science, co-published by the Joseph Henry Press (an imprint of the National Academies Press) and Scholastic Library Publishing.


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