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#461232 - 03/29/13 03:07 PM Today's Belize News: March 29, 2013
Marty Offline


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The March 31st, 2013 issue of The Capital Weekly is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • EXCERPTS FROM BUDGET DEBATE:
  • ICJ Referendum DOA? Belize Government Rejects Guatemala’s Proposals:
    On March 26, 2013, the Governemnt of Belize, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, issued the following self-explanatory Press Release: The Government of Belize, having had occasion to review the proposals by the Republic of Guatemala as presented in writing on 17th March, 2013 to Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, for the parties to consider postponement of the referenda for an indefinite period or for Belize to proceed on its own to hold a referendum on the agreed date, has decided to reject the Guatemalan proposals in their entirety. The Government of Belize notes that tremendous efforts over many years and through successive administrations have been spent in finding a negotiated solution that would bring to a definitive end Guatemala’s unfounded claim to Belize, and that the failure of these attempts is what led to the signing of the Special Agreement by Belize, Guatemala and the OAS on 8th December, 2008.
  • Big Up the Cops! Quick Response Foils Kidnapping:
    Police have foiled a kidnapping in Corozal. On Sunday Night in Corozal Town, a one-year-old child, Ivy Yang Chen, was taken at gunpoint from her mother, Mei Tang Chen. Kidnappers demanded a ransom of US $450 Thousand. But, the Police responded quickly and their prompt action freed the child form her kidnappers. Here is the story as related by the Police to the media on Wednesday, and as reported by Channel 7 News. Allen Whylie Police Commissioner: “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.”
  • Who Will It Be Now? Cross Country Classic Coming!:
    After five-years of Belizean drought, with Foreigners drinking up all the Cross Country glory, last year, 2012, young Giovanni Choto reclaimed the Garland for Belize and made all of us proud. Who will it be in 2013? That’s what everybody wants to know. On Holy Saturday, March 30, 2013 we will all find out. Belizean again, or back to the Foreigners? What will it be; and who will it be?
  • From the Desk of the Chairman: Life and Death - Cycle of Cycles:
    It’s that time of the year once again when issues of Life and Death come into sharp focus. It is, of course, the Easter Season, which is centrally about how one Man died in order that all Mankind might live. Everywhere, in every way, the cycle of Life and Death constantly plays out before us and around us. But, in this part of the World, in this peculiar Land, there is something in 2013 that tells us there is more at hand than just another turn in the regular cycle. Indeed, by all accounts, the year just ended a quarter ago marked for us the end of an entire cycle; the cycle of cycles, if you will; and the beginning of something completely new.
  • Congrats!:
    The Ministry of Health extends congratulations to Dr. Marjorie Parks on her Outstanding Women Award by the Women’s Department of the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation. Dr. Parks was nominated for this award by the Nurses’ Association of Belize. The award was given to her Wednesday Night, March 27, 2013 at a ceremony at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. Each year, the Women’s Department chooses six women - one from each district - for their outstanding contributions to their organization and community. The Women’s Department feels that “it is important to take note of all the honourees’ contribution and to use the ceremony to reenergize their efforts in the path that leads to women’s empowerment and respect for human rights.”
  • New Venezuelan Ambassador Presents credentials to Governor General:
    His Excellency Yoel Del Valle Perez Marcano, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Belize has presented his credentials to the Governor General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville Young. The Governor General extended a warm welcome to the Ambassador on behalf of the people of Belize; and both the Governor General and the Ambassador expressed hope for the continuation of their strong and cordial diplomatic relationship.
  • Prime Minister on Leave:
    The Office of the Prime Minister informs that the Hon. Dean Barrow departed the Country Wednesday, March 27, 2013 on personal leave. During the Prime Minister’s absence, Hon. Gaspar Vega, the Deputy Prime Minister, will act as Prime Minister. Prime Minister Dean Barrow expects to return to Belize on Easter Monday, April 1, 2013.
  • PUBLIC CAUTION Prime Minister on Leave Rising Cases of Hepatitis A:
    The Ministry of Health is investigating a cluster of fourteen suspected cases of Hepatitis A that have occurred over the last three weeks in the Trio Village, Stann Creek District. One such case has been confirmed by lab. Hepatitis A is a food and waterborne disease with symptoms that may include yellowing of the eyes and skin, dark urine, light-colored stool along with mild fever, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite among others. This self-limiting disease can also be contracted from close contact with infected individuals. T h e Ministry advises the public to take necessary precautions (as listed below) to prevent contamination and spread of the virus.
  • “Stop Trying to Scare the Belizean People!” Belmopan Member Rebuts Leader of the Opposition:
    Let me first observe that there are two traditional markers, standards or yardsticks used to judge a country’s performance, or in this case, the performance of the United Democratic Party Government, My Government. And Mr., Speaker, let me say for the record that there are some who take issue with my reference to this United Democratic Party Government, this Government of the Honorable Dean Oliver Barrow, as “My Government”. I continue to so unabashedly because, unlike those on the other side who are ashamed of the record of their government between 1998 and 2008 and ashamed of associating themselves with the Government of Said Musa, I am extremely proud of this United Democratic Party Government, and exceedingly proud of my Prime Minister, the Honorable Dean Oliver Barrow (applause).
  • Faith Lift By Zelda Hill: The Resurrection of Christ: Blind Faith or Fact?:
    Without the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, Christianity is baseless. Today, over 2 billion people worldwide claim to be Christians and thus embrace faith in the deity, virgin-birth, suffering, death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians in Belize join yearly with Christendom to commemorate the Lenten Season and Easter, during which many commit to fasting and to giving up certain luxuries while others reflect on and celebrate the spiritual significance of Jesus’ sufferings and triumphant resurrection from the dead.
  • All in Two Days’ WorK PM Barrow Wraps Up Debate on 2013-2014 Budget:
    Mr. Speaker, let me try to deal as quickly as I can with what the main protagonists on the other side had to say. You know I was told that I should try to respond to at least each of their Deputy Leaders, but there are so many deputy leaders, that I am afraid I have to abandon the enterprise (applause)! A lot of chiefs and very few Indians over on that side! Anyway, I do want to bear well in mind, Mr. Speaker, as we conclude this marathon session, your admonition right at the start as to conduct. And I think, by and large, you have been rewarded; I feel the debate has been relatively civil. I don’t want to depart from that, but I do have to sound a warning, Mr. Speaker. It is a hollowed parliamentary tradition everywhere in the civilized world, you know, for opponents to deploy language as a weapon. This is what happens in high-quality debates; you employ words as a sword on which to impale the other side. There’s nothing quite like a well-turned phrase; a shaft that hits the mark.
  • “Busy Serving the People” (Presentation by Hon. Rene Montero during Budget Debate 2013-2014):
    Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the 2013/2014 budget. But before I continue with my presentation I must take time to publicly congratulate our Prime Minister the Hon. Dean Barrow for his stewardship in the successful renegotiation of the super bond. Once again he has proven the ‘nay-Sayers’ wrong, and has proven that only a UDP Government can successfully deliver this country through financial hardship. The past year has been a successful one for the Ministry of Works regardless of the many challenges we have been faced with and the numerous obstacles we had to overcome. Nonetheless, I am pleased to report that due to superb leadership, dedication, and hard work of the WORKS TEAM we were able to show marked improvement in the road infrastructure of this jewel. Budgetary constraints continues to be a reality not only in this country, but in all developing economies thus the reason we are ever mindful of our Prime Minister’s advice of the need to enhance the institutional capacity of ministries and encourage sustained improvement in their performance and management so that we can meet the expectations of the various stakeholders in our development efforts.
  • Congrats & Welcome : Recruit Intake #88 130 New Officers Join The Ranks of the Belize Police Department:
    Graduation Ceremonies were held on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 for 130 new officers of the Belize Police Force who make up Recruit Squad #88. During the Ceremonies, Awards were given out in various categories. Baton of Honor went to RPC 1528 Andy Rodriguez; In the Written Exam, First Place went to RPC 1450 Rodrigo Castillo, and Second Place to RPC 1528 Andy Rodriguez; the award for Most Consistent Recruit went also to RPC 1528 Andy Rodriguez. The Best Physical Condition Award was taken by RPC 1480 Daniel Jimenez; the 1st Shooting Qualification Award went to RPC 1467 David Gongora; the Commandant’s Prize was received by WRPC 1544 Lourdes Torres; and the 1st in First Aid Award went to RPC 1579 Zair Pott.
  • More Expert-Training for Crime-Fighters UN and UK Sponsor Forensic Ballistic Training:
    The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) in collaboration with the British High Commission in Belize and the Ministry of National Security has conducted a one-week Training on Forensic Ballistics mainly in support of criminal investigations and the counter-proliferation of firearms and ammunition. A one day seminar entitled ‘Overview of Forensic Ballistics for Decision-Makers and Policy-Makers’ was followed by a 4 day technical course exclusively for forensic technicians, forensic scientists and other specialized personnel. These activities form part of UNLIREC´s broader technical assistance to countries of the Caribbean and Central America focused on curbing illicit small arms trafficking and reducing armed violence.
  • Police Restructures to Meet New Challenges:
    Some significant fine-tuning has been taking place within the Police Department to better equip it to meet the new challenges. On March 18, 2013, Commissioner Allen Whylie summoned the media to a Press Briefing where he outlined the changes which are intended for greater efficiency and effectiveness. “We cannot be satisfied in terms of the status quo, and the way how things have been done in the past. And whilst there will be pit falls, challenges and difficulties, rest assured that we firmly believe that the senior leadership level, that these changes are for the betterment of the department as well as the services to the nation.” The policing zones of the country have been re-constructed to ensure that important administration is carried under the direct command of senior officers. There are 4 different regions or zones; Commander of the Northern Region is Sr. Superintendent Joseph Myvette. Eastern Zone Commander is Assistant Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura. Senior Superintendent Aaron Guzman commands the Western Region. And Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano commands the Southern Region.
  • Belmopan Kids and Youth Cup 2013:
    Belmopan City Council Kids and Youth Cups 2013 (Organized by Belmopan Football League)

The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro Town traffic signs get revamped
Traffic-Signs-EasterThe San Pedro Traffic Department has installed brand new reflective traffic signs across the town. Donated by an anonymous donor, the new traffic signs will help aid promote safe driving, especially with the influx of visitors arriving for the Easter vacations. The additional signs that have been placed in the main streets of San Pedro Town will compliment to the heavy inspection that will be done by the traffic wardens over the weekend. According to Councilor Kenrick Brackett, whose portfolio includes traffic and waste management, these steps have been taken to ensure safety for pedestrians and drivers alike during this busy weekend. Street markings have also been repainted so as to more clearly show the “no parking” zones.

Employee Assistance Policy survey conducted for public servants in Belize
The Ministry of the Public Service and Elections and Boundaries, in an attempt to improve the performance standards and services delivery by public servants in Belize, has embarked on a number of modernization initiatives. A priority among these is the development of an Employee Assistance Policy (EAP) that will form the base for an EAP program for the Belize Public Service. Thus the services of a private consultant was retained to conduct a sample survey amongst public servants that will look at some of the challenges facing the public service and ways it can be improved through the EAP grogram. The survey was conducted in all the municipalities, with the last stop being San Pedro Town on March 27th. In an interview with The San Pedro Sun, the Government Supervisor of Quality Assurance and Customer Service, Freya Parham-August explained that a sample of the public service workforce was asked to fill out the survey form.

Wildtracks receives grant from PACT
Wildtracks is a non-profit organization that aims to conserve Belize’s endangered species and educate people about the importance of sustaining these species. Their mission, “working towards the sustainable future of the natural resources for the people of Belize, through conservation, research, education and sustainable development,” is upheld with their constant successful rehabilitations of both the Antillean Manatees and two species of primates: Black Howler Monkey and Spider Monkey. One of Wildtracks’ goals is to build a primate nursery unit for the eight baby monkeys at the center. Founders of Wildtracks, Paul and Zoe Walker, estimated the cost for the nursery at $18,500 Bze. The Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) has eased Wildtracks’ burden by granting them a Support Grant of $10,000 Bze. This grant received from PACT will now allow Wildtracks to commence construction on the much needed nursery.

Ambergris Today

Crystal Water's Stay Healthy, Stay Hydrated Commercial
Crystal Water from the Crystal Bottling Company, Belize has just released a new video commercial that promotes “Stay Healthy, Stay Hydrated”. It is another great video with some familiar island faces that promotes a healthy lifestyle by drinking water. Do you recognize anybody in the commercial spot?

Government of Belize Responds to Guatemala’s Proposals
The Government of Belize, having had occasion to review the proposals by the Republic of Guatemala as presented in writing on 17th March, 2013 to Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, for the parties to consider postponement of the referenda for an indefinite period or for Belize to proceed on its own to hold a referendum on the agreed date, has decided to reject the Guatemalan proposals in their entirety.

Misc Belizean Sources

Ray Auxillou passed away last night
RAYMOND DENNIS AUXILLOU Jr., my father, was fondly known as “Captain Ray” by the local Reef community of Caye Caulker & his Sail buddies worldwide; “Raymundo the Magician” by some of his oldest & dearest friends who remember his brief early years as a traveling magician; the familiar “RAY” or “DAD” or “Grandpa” as his children & grandchildren referred to him, was 75 at the time of his death, after fighting a valiant battle he eventually lost to Cancer. Ray is one of three children of Tina & Raymond Auxillou, Sr. born on November 11, 1937 in Sheppards Bush, London, England just before World War II. He recalls his childhood, playing in bombed out ruins of brick buildings & of being buried alive twice with his mother during German air raids, eventually being dug out by rescuers alive due to small steel cages people had in their basements. In 1945, his father was a Senior Colonel with the British Army posted in Vienna, Austria and his family was allowed to join him. He lived in Austria from 1945 to 1949 which led to additional war stories prevalent of his childhood. His father Ray Sr. immigrated to Canada with the family when Ray Jr. was 12 years old & the young kid was about to start a new life.

The Mennonite History in Belize, A video documentary of life in Spanish Lookout, Belize, from 1958 to 2008.
Very interesting videos on the immigration of Mennonites into Belize and their sheer perseverance to survive the tough tropical rain forest environment. This is truly a history lesson especially for those of us who were living in Belize in the 60's and remember their first ventures into Belize City selling peanuts, honey, chickens and furniture on North Front St., decked out in their blue coveralls and white hats and they probably still dress the same way today. If you are able to watch it on a big screen TV, it will be even more inspiring.

Upgrades at Belize’s Gaia Riverlodge
Gaia Riverlodge receives quality upgrade, one of top things to do in Belize. One of the top things to do in Belize is relax at a tranquil resort. Luckily, a reputable accommodation that has undergone renovations and a name change is welcoming guests to explore its breathtaking property. The Gaia Riverlodge, overlooking the iconic Five Sisters Waterfalls, has always retained its signature outlooks and ideal location in the beautiful Pine Ridge Forest. However, guests can now indulge in luxurious upgrades as well for an even more unforgettable stay. Special features of the new riverlodge Each cabana now boasts smooth hardwood floors, stylish decor, plush linens, and dark wood furnishings that are all new to each room. Those staying at Gaia will notice the main lodge has also experienced a makeover with relaxing bar, welcoming reception area and a charming gift shop stocked with local Belizan wares. Indoor and outdoor seating in the cabanas and lodge offer panoramic vistas of the falls as well as the lush flora and fauna. Belizean cuisine is served from these vantage points too so visitors can truly immerse themselves in the exotic and rich culture of the forest region.

Please do not follow turtles too closely
I hope everyone has a safe and joyous Easter Holiday. And PLEASE allow at least 3 diver lengths between you and the turtle in front ... it is no fun rear-ending one!

Sawdust Art Project 2013
The Benque House of Culture and Via Real Sangre de Cristo are having a full day of activities for Good Friday, starting with the Sawdust Art Project. They'll end the day, at 6:00pm, with the Funeral Procession.

NES National Validation forum

Channel 7

Alleged Jose Shoman Plotters Set Free By Appeals Court
Viewers may remember the Shoman 5; they were a group of 5 men who convicted in March 2011 of attempting to rob and kill businessman Jose Shoman Jr. Well, tonight, 4 of those men are in the process of being freed and released from prison due to major developments in the Court of Appeal. They were 47 year-old Miguel Mayorga and 27 year-old Cesar Aldana, who were sentenced to 14 years in prison, and 21 year-old Jose Cordova, 21 year-old Eswin Rosalez, and 22 year-old Carlos Juarez who were sentenced to 12 years in prison on a combination of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit robbery. A jury deliberated and found them guilty on testimonies that on December 12, 2008 two of Shoman's employees Eric Miranda and Hector Perez over-heard the five talking about a plot to kill and rob Shoman. They said Mayorga invited them to his house and told them he had some money for them and they were to leave the back gate to Shoman's premises open. Police made a pre-emptive strike, and reportedly caught Mayorga with 2 loaded pistols, and they arrested and charged the 4 men in connection with this alleged plot.

Finally, Rhett Fuller Gets A Break In His Case
Rhett Fuller is now approaching the 15th year in his campaign to resist extradition to the USA. He is wanted in that country for the first-degree murder of American Larry Miller, which occurred on March 22, 1990. Since the Belizean Courts started extradition proceedings against him in 1998, he has been in jail, out of jail, and back again while taking all legal avenues available to him from the Supreme Court, to the Appeal Court, all the way up to the Privy Council. In each hearing, his appeals were met with failures. That is up until today when he got a major break from the Court of Appeal. It's in relation to his application of judicial review of the decision by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, to refuse to deny the extradition request. In September of 2011, Elrington heard applications in a tribunal as final arbiter as to why it was unjust to allow the extradition to proceed. He denied those applications, and Fuller's attorney, Eamon Courtenay, filed an appeal which was heard in October of last year. It was an extensive hearing, in which Courtenay put forward several grounds including information from Wikileaks in which 3 US diplomatic cables documented communication between Elrington and US Embassy representatives, which show that Elrington may have introduced bias in decision. After combing through all the material in the case, the Court of Appeal handed down a judgment this morning that Fullers Appeal is allowed on 2 main grounds. Those were of bad faith from the US Government in relation to those cables, and that the Foreign Minister did not fully exercise his jurisdiction to consider whether or not the delayed extradition process was unjust and oppressive to Fuller, as he is fully entitled to under the law.

Coro Kidnapper To Court
Today in Orange Walk Magistrate's Court, Thomas Elmer Villanueva was charged for kidnapping. He was one of three persons caught near the seaside in Corozal town earlier this week with Ivy Yang, the two year old who had been kidnapped. But the other two persons, 24 year old Angelica Noh and 27 year old Freddy Gongora were not charged today. They are the ones who basically delivered the baby back to police after Thomas Villanueva had allegedly taken the child to "Firebun" village to conceal her at his aunt's house. The DPP advised police that they only have sufficient evidence at this time to charge Thomas Elmer Villanueva. Police believe that he was involved in the kidnapping, but think that he was working for a ringleader, who is still at large.

Independence Immigration Encounter Suspicious Man
Police in Independence have detained a man with bogus documents who has insignia linked to a dangerous California-based gang. He was found out by Immigration Personnel in Independence who detected that he was applying for a visitors' permit with a falsified Belize social security card, driver's license and birth certificate in the name of Roberto Payne Cordova - who is from nearby Bella Vista Village. Police were called in and they went to search his house where they found a Honduran passport in the name of Roberto Cordova of San Francisco de Cortes Honduras. He also had a Motorola radio and Base set in his house. Police observed that he wore tattoos depicting the number "18" on his chest, arm and foot. This is linked to the 18th street gang in the USA, which is also known as the M-18 gang or Mara 18 - which also has membership in Central America. He has been detained pending charges.

Guats Want Dotted Line Map With Belize on Their Passports
Three weeks ago, we told you about the map that Guatemala's Ministry of Education intends to use in its schools. It depicts Belize as part of Guatemalan territory, separated only by a dotted line. Well, now, according to the Prensa Libre newspaper, that offensive image will appear on the front of four million Guatemalan passports to be printed over the next ten years. The newspaper reports that Guatemala's Ministry of the interior is putting the contract for the passports out to tender. The technical requirements specify that the map depicted on the passport "must illustrate that there is a territorial dispute." That would be done by showing the boundary with Belize as a dotted line. Past Guatemalan passports have shown Belize as separate and distinct - like other countries in Central America.

Monica Meets the Good Friday Fish Finders
Tomorrow is Good Friday - and all who can afford to do so will eat fish. It's a major cultural practice that marries local cuisine to Christian tradition. But, there's also a commercial aspect to it; since fish prices always seem to spike at Easter time. That's the rule of the market place, applied to the fish-market - and Monica Bodden went to the fish market at Newtown Barracks to find out what's in supply and demand: Monica Bodden Reporting Whether your taste is for red snapper, black snapper, tuna, kubali, or tarpon, today, fish markets had them stacked up John Pollard - Looking for Snapper/Mackerel "Yes you cannot imagine Good Friday without fish." Joseph Contreras - Fisherman "It's the Snappers, mostly Snappers; they want Snappers." Rosendo Nunez - Fisherman "Right now it's Barrow and Snapper's they want right now, King fish, Jack but mostly Snapper right now though." John Pollard "Tradition-wise, on Good Friday everybody sit down around their table trying to eat good Snapper or good Mackerel."

A Fish Tale, Part 2
And while fish sales were brisk today - prices were driven up somewhat by scarcity. That's due in part to the cold front the veteran seamen told us about, but it's also due to the fact that there are fewer fish in the sea. That's the theme of a feature by Special Correspondent Janelle Chanona. We presented part one of her "Fish Tale" last week - and this week, we have part two, where she looks at the benefits of conserving the non-renewable fisheries resource: Janelle Chanona Reporting The fish debate is actually a bread and butter issue. Statistics for 2011 show that almost thirteen thousand Belizeans are direct beneficiaries while another thousand people are employed in the processing, marketing and service industries. Minute changes in the norm have widespread ripple effects. A microcosm of this reality made headlines in April 2012 when local fishermen filled the quota for conch six weeks early. Hon. Lisel Alamilla - Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development "Fortunately, they were able to see the immediate benefits of it the following conch season and in fact, some of them have been so bold as to say, maybe we need to close it even earlier because this season has been very, very productive and so that was a bold decision to make."

Passengers Benefit In The Water Taxi War
And keeping things in the water, today droves of Belizeans headed for the islands on water taxi's. It used to a be a fairly straightforward affair, but with robust competition between San Pedro Belize Express and Caye Caulker Water taxi, this year, the water taxi business is on a whole other level! There's live entertainment in the terminals, complimentary drinks for passengers, cash giveaways, double up phone offers, free computer apps, even a kiddies corner! That's how far the taxi services will go to get your business! Today Monica Bodden stopped in at the Caye Caulker Water Taxi, where passengers were enjoying the perks of cut throat competition: Georgina Mendez - Passenger "I am a visitor." Monica Bodden "Where are you visiting from?" Georgina Mendez "From Guatemala, I am from Guatemala but I like Belize. I love Belize, I love the natural things and the kindness of the people, the warmth. I'm going to San Pedro, maybe Caye Caulker too." Monica Bodden "Are you going to be staying in the Cayes for the Easter weekend?"

Family Worries About Missing 14 Year Old
And while some will retreat to the islands, one family will be at home worrying about their missing daughter. 14 year-old Casi Norales has been missing for the last 24 hours. Her family came to us this evening to get the word out to the public in their efforts to find her. Here's what they told us. Shirley Trapp - Mother of Missing Girl "So if she's out there, Casi please come home, we miss you. Your family is here, please come your little brother needs to see you, please." Daniel Ortiz "But ma'am how long has it been since she's gone now?" Shirley Trapp "She's missing from like around 8 o'clock last night on Wednesday." Daniel Ortiz "Okay, you all made a report as yet?" Shirley Trapp "Yes, we done went to the station already, we made a full report and we come to this for another report so that people out there can see and hear." Daniel Ortiz "How old is she?" Shirley Trapp "She's 14." Daniel Ortiz "Has this ever happened before?"

What Variables Will Factor Into Holy Saturday Classic?
Tonight, the nation waits in anticipation as the 2013 Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic draws ever nearer. And in this, the 85th running of the biggest race on the cycling calendar, there are constants and there are variables. The arduous road is the greatest, eternal constant. And so, the determining factors then become the variables: the field of competitors; the condition of the riders; and the stock of foreign riders. Early this morning, 7News got a chance to size up those variables by catching up with some of the riders working out for the last time before the race. Daniel Ortiz has that report: Daniel Ortiz Reporting This morning at around 5 a.m., most of the Belize City riders made a light ride to Hattieville Village and back. It's part of the last preparations for the athletes, as they try to maintain peak condition for Saturday's Race. Team Santino's did a slow ride, just to keep the riders loose. Hon. Santino Castillo - Manager, Team Santinos "Well, it's just a 30 mile ride, taking our time hour and a half, hour 45 minutes loosening the guys' lega, nothing intense. Relax them; get them ready; at this point in time, if you don't have it you can't get it again. It's just to keep the muscle loose."

Divine Mercy Church Gets Benque Style Christ Image
And while the Easter Weekend is about cross country, trips to the Cayes, Good Friday Fish and Hot Cross Buns, it's really about the most sacred Christian observance: the death and resurrection of Christ. And to honour that appropriately, the Catholics at the Church of divine Mercy on the Northern Highway have imported a fine art technique form Benque Viejo to mark the crucifixion of Christ. We found out more from Anita Zetina: Anita Zetina - Volunteer "Well basically we're preparing what we call carpets of sawdust. As you will notice, it is sawdust of different colors that they make the designs that represent the Eucharist, Christ carrying his cross and then we have a rosary on one end, and a cross on the other. A tradition that has been going on in Benque for a number of years, and now through the sponsorship of RJB Construction Limited, Mrs. Guerra who is heading the team here today, brought it from Benque to Divine Mercy Church. It's basically all sawdust and if you notice here on the cross, they used some seeds as well like beans, rice and corn. The base of it, however, is saw dust and they use different colors to make the designs that you now see." Monica Bodden "How long does it last?" Anita Zetina "Well if you keep wetting it so that it doesn't dry out, it can last very long."


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#461233 - 03/29/13 03:07 PM Re: Today's Belize News: March 29, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

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Channel 5

Will Rhett Fuller be extradited to the U.S.A.?
Rhett Fuller appeared in the Court of Appeal this morning to learn his fate in his long fight against extradition. It could have been his final appearance in a Belizean Court, since his legal options have all but run out after years of fighting extradition to the United States. The issue before the Appeal Court [...]

4 of Jose Shoman’s alleged murder conspirators freed of charge
There was other very significant news coming out of the Court of Appeal today, this time for four men charged jointly for conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit robbery. The case is from way back in December of 2008, which is when authorities say five men, one Honduran national and four Guatemalan nationals, [...]

One man charged for the kidnapping of a 2 year old
One man has been charged for the kidnapping of a two year old from Santa Rita Heights, Corozal for whom the kidnappers were demanding a ransom of close to a million dollars. Thirty-two year old Thomas Villanueva, from a South End Street address in Corozal Town, was formally charged today and taken to the Orange [...]

85th Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic is on
The eighty-fifth running of the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic is less than two days away and preparations for what is easily the biggest, single-day, sporting event are in progress.  The highly coveted garland, the second to be won by a Belizean athlete in a decade, was taken by Giovanni Choto in an impressive [...]

Belizean women, 16 recognized for contribution to society
The culmination of a month-long series of activities in commemoration of Women’s Month was held on Wednesday night with an honors ceremony in recognition of nineteen outstanding Belizean women.  The Bliss Center for the Performing Arts was the venue of the eight annual Women’s Award, where acknowledgment was bestowed upon a cohort of great women [...]

Senator Mark Lizarraga concerned about BIL, government’s private company
Belize Infrastructure Limited is government’s special purpose vehicle and everybody’s talking about it…except government, that is. While the details are few, we do know that BIL will be in charge of sixty million dollars which will be used for projects including the Belize City Center. We also know that the Chairman and Director of this [...]

Honduran 18th Street Gang member busted with false documents
A Honduran national is in immigration custody for attempting to pull a fast one using false documents. On Tuesday morning, he arrived at the Immigration Department in Independence Village to apply for a permit. He was applying under the name, Roberto Payne Cordova, but a check on his Social Security card, Belizean driver’s license and [...]

Psychiatric evaluation ordered for cab driver who escaped police
A Belize City taxi cab driver was slapped with five offenses ranging from Aggravated Assault upon a police officer to Escape from Lawful Custody. Thirty-nine year old Lincoln Miguel appeared before Hettie Mae Stewart and was read three of five counts due to his unusual behavior in court. Magistrate Stewart ordered a psychiatric evaluation but [...]

GSU cops pose as drug consumers to bust peddlers
It is not often we hear of police going undercover in order to catch suspected suppliers of drugs red handed, but on Tuesday, members of the GSU did just that. The officers posed as thugs trying to buy weed in the Mile Eight community of the George Price highway and were able to detain three [...]

Assistant Commissioner offers safety tips for Easter Holidays
Easter, Christmas and long holiday weekends have more than just a celebratory atmosphere in common. These occasions are for families and friends to go full throttle do destinations across the country. Unfortunately, holidays are also a time when enterprising thieves take advantage of unsecured homes and properties. Following Thursday’s press briefing, Assistant Commissioner of Police [...]

Electronic monitoring of major crime now a reality for precincts
The location, frequency and body count combined form important data for the police department’s major crime statistics. Those statistics are used to determine which areas would be deemed Crime Ridden Areas, gang related and in need of additional police support. The analysis has become more advanced and according to Assistant Commissioner of Police and Head [...]

Pulling out the carpets for a festive, religious occasion
Sawdust carpets are layers of colored sawdust or other materials laid on the ground mostly for religious activities. It is traditionally used for processions in Benque Viejo where many will participate this Friday to witness the creation of the sawdust tapestries. The tradition has been brought to the verandah of the Divine Mercy Church in [...]

Tanya Carter’s new music video and Jamaican excursion
In the past, Belizean singer Tanya Carter has opened for Etana, Luciano, Lexxus and Morgan Heritage.  Carter released a music video for her latest song, Ex-Boyfriend, a week ago. Carter had been in Jamaica collaborating with Christopher Birch of Birchill Records and also performing her brand of music for the past two weeks. When she [...]

Musician sings songs for the soul with Christian music
Carter is not the only singer who is blessing the ears of the public. This past weekend, many local artists took the spotlight at the Belizean Music Awards which catered to several genres. The Belizean flavor has been known to spice up reggae, RnB and Punta and Soca. Christian artist and Roaring Creek youth, Dennis [...]

Healthy Living avoids a sunburn
The Easter holidays often mean sand and sun for many Belizeans who head to the beaches. If your weekend includes a trip to the beaches or if you will be engaged in other outdoor activities, tonight we offer expert advice to help you avoid or minimize damage associated with exposure to the sun.  Dermatologist Doctor [...]

PlusTV

Rhett Fuller staves off extradition again
Today the Court of Appeal ordered Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General Wilfred Elrington to reconsider his September 2011 decision to extradite businessman Rhett Allen Fuller to the United States to be tried for the murder of Larry Miller in 1990, which had been upheld by the Supreme...

Four accused conspirators in Jose Shoman murder acquitted
In March of 2011 five men from Honduras, Guatemala and Belize were convicted of a plot to invade the palatial home of businessman Jose Shoman and rob and kill him and his family. They were Miguel Mayorga, Jose Ismael Cordova, Cesar Junior Aldana, Carlos Juarez and Eswin Rosales. Shoman...

Belmopan Market to be relocated
The Tuesday and Friday market is to be relocated. The Belmopan City Council has faced an exhaustive two plus years of finding a location to place the Belmopan Farmers Market. In June of last year it was agreed on by all parties that the Market would remain at its...

Police charge one man in abduction case
For the past couple days, we have been following the abduction of a two year old baby that happened on Sunday evening in Corozal. As we reported, the kidnappers were requesting close a million dollars for her safe return, but Police were able to rescue the baby in the...

Senator Godwin Hulse says Government is growing the economy
According to preliminary estimates compiled by the Statistical Institute of Belize, Belize’s economy grew by 5.3% during 2012; and according to the PM this growth is attributable to brisk activity in agriculture, agro-manufacturing, tourism, construction and telecommunications. During the budget debate and yesterday’s senate sitting the opposition questioned that...

Confiscated cigarettes returned to businessman
Last week, we reported on a big contraband bust, where 1,300 cases of Modern Silver Elephant cigarettes were confiscated in the Jalacte area of Southern Belize. The cigarettes which valued some $143,000 US Dollars, were purchased legally in the Corozal Free Zone by Guatemala businessman Jose Antonio Ramirez and...

Suspected gang member faces immigration charges
A man suspected to be a member of the notorious 18 street gang was caught trying to pull a fast one on Immigration with false documentation. We cannot reveal the name of the man, because he has not been charged as yet. However what we can tell you is...

Mother lodges complaint against hospital for misdiagnosis
A mother is lodging a complaint against the Western Regional Hospital after her 6 year old son received an awfully risky misdiagnosis. Andrea Rodriguez says that on Friday, she noticed that her son’s skin began to break out in rash and his face was becoming swollen. She initially thought...

Christians prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth
Any regular church-going Christian should be able to tell you that the Easter festival celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the son of God chosen to redeem the entire sinful world through his own sacrifice. But some may not know that Jesus’s last days on earth...

Negligent driver to pay compensation to victim’s family
A man convicted on a negligence charge in the death of a pedestrian will have to pay the victim’s family fifteen thousands in compensation. On Tuesday, Orange Walk resident 63 year old Orlando Ramirez was found guilty of Causing Death by Negligence – a charge that stems from a...

Blogs

More Easter food options and one cute kid
Easter is a BIG holiday in Belize and everyone is making their Easter weekend plans. Many people from the mainland go coastal and come to Ambergris Caye for some beach time, traditionally on Easter weekend, beaches are people watching paradise, resorts are packed and golf cart rentals sold out. A few people told me yesterday they are stocking up and will be avoiding the crowds in town. I am still undecided for plans, will likely try and make it down to the beach at some point if I do not get sucked into relaxing at home which is a strong runner up Dick and I stopped by to see Glen and he told us about his plans with family doing barbecue and going around town to check out all the action. While there I snapped a few pictures of Junior he is super cute and very smart for a little guy and knows how to wrap everyone around to his way of thinking.

Taking the Bus To The Belize Zoo on ONE HOT DAY
Somehow I always find a way to make things more difficult…usually without even trying. Last Saturday, I attended the 2013 Bandfest and Trinidad & Tobago v. Belize soccer match on what I will now melodramatically refer to as “the hottest day of my life”. The next day, I later found out, was even hotter. Apparently the temperature in Belmopan last Sunday was over 100…a level I’ve never seen on Ambergris Caye (seen is the correct word…the air was visibly radiating with heat). So what do I decide to do? Take the Sunday local bus to the Belize Zoo. The local bus that stops in each village, that has no air conditioning, is jam packed and since it is Sunday, comes sporadically, leaving you waiting on the side of the road for up to an hour in the blazing heat. Here are just a few of the stops. Don’t worry…they’ll stop as much as they need to. “No standing on the bus” was announced and we all retreated. Hot and super crabby…I needed to find an alternative to get those 23 miles to the Zoo and budget travel was no longer on my mind. I headed outside, found a taxi driver and bargained him down from $60bzd to $40bzd. To the zoo! The ocelot letting me know that “ain’t nobody got time fo that”… And the gorgeous harpy eagles – the largest and most powerful raptor in the Americas. Its talons are longer than a grizzly bear’s claws. He’s been known to pick off monkeys and small pigs.

“Girls, Girls, Girls” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Received an update yesterday (after I had sent an email requesting one) from Roshel Godfrey of the Belize Tourism Board as to the status of my application to enter the QRP ( Qualified Retirement Program). She confirmed that they have everything that is required to process my application and now just require a report from Interpol to confirm that I am ‘clean’. Apparently this can take anywhere from between two to eight weeks. Better ‘hold fire’ on ordering the golf cart! Having missed my breakfast at Estel’s the previous morning because of the power outage I made up for it yesterday and managed to get a table on the deck. I know that many people much prefer a table on the beach but it is not my preferred option . Too much ‘people traffic’ and what you are eating or doing (in my case normally on the Internet) becomes another thing for them to stare at. A beach table is also not the best placement for the refill coffee runs! Home for some time on the Internet looking at faucets and showers – we now only have one week to make our selections to be certain that they are on-site to the required schedule – and it seemed like no time at all that Rose and I were ready to make the trip north to Tres Cocos to look at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize . On the way up there we saw another example of how the San Pedro Town Council makes very effective use of overhead banners to communicate relevant messages to residents and tourists alike.

Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic
At the peak of the mid-morning heat, be among thousands of onlookers lining the George Price Highway in anticipation, as over one hundred cyclists battle for the coveted 2013, Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic title! On Saturday, March 30, 2013, sheer athleticism will be on display as teams battle each other for the entire 140 mile route from Belize City to San Ignacio Town and back! With a steady growth in spectators, this annual Belizean tradition was first held on April 5th, 1928, and celebrates its 85th mark this year. Cyclists are categorized into four groups, 18 Year Old , Under 23, Elite and Masters. This is an event for family and friends to come out and enjoy the finish line festivities, while indulging in the tasty food and cool beverages on sale! Route: At the break of dawn (6:00 a.m.) riders start their journey from Belize City at the Leslie’s Imports (Mile 1 ½) mark on the George Price Highway. With screams of motivation by onlookers, the riders travel west to San Ignacio Town, Cayo District, where upon reaching the Queen Elizabeth Park, they race back to Belize City. The FINISH line, at the Memorial Park, in Belize City, will be teeming with fans as officials gather for the short award ceremonies.

International Sources

The Brains of the Animal Kingdom
New research shows that we have grossly underestimated both the scope and the scale of animal intelligence. Primatologist Frans de Waal on memory-champ chimps, tool-using elephants and rats capable of empathy. Who is smarter: a person or an ape? Well, it depends on the task. Consider Ayumu, a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University who, in a 2007 study, put human memory to shame. Trained on a touch screen, Ayumu could recall a random series of nine numbers, from 1 to 9, and tap them in the right order, even though the numbers had been displayed for just a fraction of a second and then replaced with white squares. I tried the task myself and could not keep track of more than five numbers—and I was given much more time than the brainy ape. In the study, Ayumu outperformed a group of university students by a wide margin. The next year, he took on the British memory champion Ben Pridmore and emerged the "chimpion." How do you give a chimp—or an elephant or an octopus or a horse—an IQ test? It may sound like the setup to a joke, but it is actually one of the thorniest questions facing science today. Over the past decade, researchers on animal cognition have come up with some ingenious solutions to the testing problem. Their findings have started to upend a view of humankind's unique place in the universe that dates back at least to ancient Greece.

Belize's Grammy-nominated Garifuna drumming champs head to VIU for showcase
The Lebeha Drummers from Hopkins Village, Belize, traditional Garifuna drumming champions from Central America, are coming to Vancouver Island University's Cowichan campus on Wednesday, April 3. The group has been nominated for a Grammy award in the world music category and are going to be touring Vancouver Island, including this stop in Duncan. They'll be giving a varied cultural presentation to students from VIU's anthropology and First Nations child and youth care programs but organizers are sure they'll have space for members of the public to come and listen, too. It all starts at 10: 30 a.m. with a Cowichan First Nation welcome and runs until noon. A light, traditional meal from all the different cultures will be served. According to VIU's Manjeet Uppal, the drummers are bringing some Thai guests as well so it should be an exciting multicultural showcase.

Belize Territorial Volunteers demarcate border lines
Belize has had a land dispute with Guatemala over where the Belize border is. Guatemala has traditionally claimed Belize as part of Guatemala. Now it is proposed that the matter be settled at the International Court of Justice. Guatemala and Belize are holding referendums in both countries in October to decide whether or not the matter should go to the ICJ. Many different positions are being proffered. On a recent weekend, a group of people, the Belize Territorial Volunteers, proposed going and clearing a line along the Belize side of the border. Belize Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, who is also the attorney general, said that was a bad idea and would cause conflict with Guatemala. The president of Guatemala also objected to this action. “Those areas are covered in thick jungles. We can’t go cut that with machetes; that’s thick jungle,” said Elrington on Channel 7 News. “I do appreciate that some people believe – genuinely believe – that it is an act of nationalism. I could understand people being nationalistic, but I think it’s a dangerous way of showing their nationalism – dangerous for yourself, for the nation – and to that extent we advise against it.”

10 great places you can visit for $50 a day
Travel doesn't have to be a savings-draining proposition. Pick the right destination and you can stretch your dollar for weeks or even months, says Matt Kepnes, author of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day (Perigee Trade, $15). Best of all, you don't have to sacrifice comfort. "I don't like to spend a lot on travel, but I have no desire to sleep on floors," he says. "The main thing is to stay away from big-box hotels, find local restaurants and take public transportation." He shares with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY some favorite countries to visit on the cheap. While it's not the cheapest place in Central America, Belize has plenty to offer and it still can be experienced for $50 a day, Kepnes says. He suggests staying away from the popular Ambergris Caye resort area, and instead seek out Mayan ruins and less-developed beaches. "It has nice weather. It's small. It's easy to get around. It's still a good value destination."

Affordable-Living by the Beach in Placencia, Belize
The only thing Doran Yount and his wife Kim regret about their move to Belize is that they didn’t do it 30 years earlier. “We could never have afforded our beautiful home on the beach in the U.S. or on any island. But here, it’s truly affordable,” says Doran. As a native of Miami, Doran knew that he had salt in his veins. “Both my wife and I wanted to retire as close to the ocean as we could,” he says. “And sure, you’ll find ocean in Miami. But we disliked how congested the city was becoming. We wanted to take a deep breath. We were weary of the rat race. “In 2004 we’d looked at property in Belize and decided to let the euphoria settle down while we really thought it out. But then a day came when it took me two hours to go 60 miles on the Florida Turnpike and cost me $13 in tolls. That was the final straw. I had it. That was the turning point. I called Kim and told her to contact the real estate agent.” Three months later, Doran was on a plane from Miami to Belize with two chainsaws, a suitcase, and a plan. He was ready to clear the land where they would build their new tropical retreat. “I arrived first to build the cottage, which was eventually to become our guest house. Kim followed me in February 2006 with our five dogs and six cats, ready to begin our new adventure in life.” Having fallen in love with the warm climate, the friendly people, and the less expensive lifestyle in Belize, the two reflect on their old life back home: “The U.S. mentality was, ‘If you don’t have credit, you’re worthless. If you’re not in debt to everyone, you’re worthless.’ We worked harder every year and only got further behind.” “Here, you pay as you go. Millionaires and poor people live in wooden houses right next to each other,” says Doran.

Hendrix Students to Study Marine Biology in Belize
The students will be accompanied by Hendrix biology professors Dr. Jenn Dearolf and Dr. Joe Lombardi. The group visit the Belize Marine Tropical Research and Education Center on the island of Ambergris Caye; Actun Tunichil Muknal (Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre) a Mayan archaeological site that includes skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware; and explore the Mayan Ruins at Tikal, one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization in northern Guatemala. Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the fifth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country's "Up and Coming" liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report.

New World Raises Funds for Denmark, Belize Drilling
New World Oil and Gas has raised the money it needs to drill two wells during the next 12 months on its Danica Jutland project in Denmark if it decides not to proceed with west testing on its Rio Bravo No.1 well in Belize, the firm reported Thursday. New World said that it has successfully placed 315 million shares in order to raise $9.5 million, the net proceeds of which it intends to use to test and appraise the Rio Bravo No.1 well subject to a successful well-logging program. To date all operations to do with the well are on schedule and under budget, the firm added, with a total depth of 8,800 feet – targeting the Upper Jurassic Margaret Creek Formation – expected to be reached by late April. However, New World also said that if the Rio Bravo No.1 well is not tested and appraised the funds will be used for the drilling of two wells targeting the Harboe and Jelling prospects at the company's Danica Jutland project in Denmark, as well as for the seismic interpretation and competent person's report costs of the project.

Three Stacks Thursdays - Things You Can Do In Belize With No Budget
Yo made it through the majority of the week and with the weekend almost here, we have some great things for you to do that will make you feel like it is here. In today's installment of Dollars & Sense, we are taking you to the island of Belize for some fun with wildlife.If you are a lover of animals, or maybe you just like monkeys, the Community Babboon Sanctuary in Belize may be a good time for you. The sanctuary is home to 1,000 black howler monkeys (known here as baboons), a large tree-dwelling species that is endangered in Belize. This is a volunteer conservation program established in 1985 to protect the monkeys, which are among one of the few viable populations of their kind in Central America. There are guided tours, a museum, and even a lodge.

Region's fisheries sector to gain cost savings from information and knowledge sharing
Under a Euro 30 million project funded by the European Union (EU) for projects to improve sustainable and equitable management of fisheries and aquaculture in Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, fisheries officials from CARIFORUM states are receiving training in the use of modern, cutting-edge, information and communication technology tools in their daily activities. “The enhanced use of these modern communication and information sharing tools, such as video-conferencing, social networking, tools for online collaborative document preparation and editing, can result in significant cost savings, increased productivity and outputs, as well as boost the earnings and income of fishers, and improve competitiveness and profitability within the fisheries and aquaculture sector,” said Milton Haughton, executive director, of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat, at the launch of a three-day regional training on information and knowledge sharing on sustainable fisheries management in the Caribbean. Haughton described the regional training workshop, which opened on Monday and runs through to Wednesday, as “another significant milestone in our journey to transform the fisheries and aquaculture sector, and enhance its contribution to national economic development.” He said that organizers are providing practical training which they hope will improve capacities and lead to greater integration of information and communication technology tools in all areas of the work of fisheries departments and other fisheries organisations in the region.

Belize's largest island crowned best in world by tourists
The western Caribbean nation, which boasts the second largest coral reef in the world after Australia's Great Barrier Reef, beat another Caribbean destination, St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, to top the TripAdvisor survey. Third place went to Bora Bora in French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean which is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef and popular for its overwater bungalows. "Ambergris Caye boasts spectacular caves, winding waterfalls, tropical rainforest and hundreds of limestone caves," TripAdvisor spokeswoman Emma Shaw said in a statement. She said the TripAdvisor's inaugural list of the world's best islands was based on millions of reviews and ratings by international tourists on the travel website over the past year.

Belize: Life in the Underworld
“Have you ever really wondered what it looks like down under? No, not Aussie land, I mean way down under… underneath the ocean?” You can see the tiniest little creatures that you cannot even imagine exist! And the colors, oh, the colors are amazing! I love the shimmering blues and greens underneath the ocean. I am a scuba diver, and I tell you, some of the funnest times I have ever had in my life of travels is when I am under the sea or on a boat.


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