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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun

Isla Bonita All Star Marching Band thanks supporters
On Saturday, April 6th, the sounds of drumming filled the air as members of the Isla Bonita All Star marching band paraded down middle and front streets. Dressed up in their fine uniforms and enthusiastically performing to the delight of those who lined the streets, the marching band showcased their pride in having performed at the biggest band competition in Belize.Their mini-parade was a show of thanks to the community that helped them get to Belmopan and represent San Pedro Town at Bandfest 2013. Isla Bonita All Stars Parade-3After the parade, the drummers and dancers were treated to a beach party by Wayo’s. They were even given awards for their hard work during the celebration. The band committee is moving forward with the band, formally announcing that John Thompson is no longer with the Isla Bonita All Star marching band. He no longer represents the school or the band. The new bandmaster will be announced at a later date. The band is also seeking a corporate sponsor to aid in their efforts.

BYC homeowners frustrated with management…
Some of the homeowners at the Belize Yacht Club (BYC) are not happy with new developments on the property and have gone public with their frustrations. Their issues include concerns over rental money from the rental pool, the turning off of lights from common areas and the inconvenience of not having a functional pool at the resort. But according to the Manager of BYC Sergio Torres while the homeowners have valid concerns, they need to understand what has led to some of these issues. Of the 44 units on the property 14 are owned by homeowners, while the others are owned by the management of the BYC. According to one homeowner, many bought their properties with plans of renting half of their property to cover expenses while they lived in the other half. “We are not wealthy people. Because Sergio Torres and his partner Michael Singh hold the hotel license issued by Belize Tourism Board, we must do all rentals through them. Accordingly, many of us have signed a Rental Pool Agreement allowing Sergio Torres (Island Club Resorts) exclusivity to rent out our units,” said a homeowner in an email to the media. In an interview with The San Pedro Sun, Torres explained that of the 14 homeowners, only seven are in the rental pool with two more expressing interest to joining. “Most of the buildings are owned by us (BYC management) but the issue is not with the homeowners in the rental pool. The real issue is with those not in the rental pool who are making it difficult for others,” said Torres.

Super Furia releases new song “Belize da fi we”
The Super Furia Band from the Orange Walk District has released a new song called “Belize da fi we.” Lead vocalist of the band Roxana Alcoser has been singing professionally for ten years and she visited The San Pedro Sun to tell us a little about the single. As the issue is at the forefront, the song is about Guatemala’s claim on Belizean land. Alcoser explained that the purpose of the song is to inspire Belizeans to unite and forget about political differences to come together and fight for what is rightfully for Belize. “Belize is ours, let’s unite as one. This is why we made this song for Belizeans to enjoy the positive message we are trying to relay.”

Misc Belizean Sources

Pallottine Sisters Celebration in Corozal
The Corozal House of Culture is pleased to be participating in the Pallottine Sisters Centennial Celebrations. We cordially invite you to the opening of the Pictorial Exhibition,Tuesday April 16, 2013 at 6pm. Historical photographs of the Sisters activities in Belize including images of Corozal will be showcased. The exhibit will be on display until the end of April.

Interview with Lionel Chocolate Heredia

Historian Nick Pollard weighs in on ICJ

SHJC Heads to ATLIB Football Finals
Best of luck to the Sacred Heart Junior College male football team as the head to Escuela Mexico in the Corozal District for the ATLIB football finals. Go, SHJC!

Dr. Megan Ryan: Tooth Saver
Dr. Megan Ryan is the best dentist in Cayo. Her office is located on Bullet Tree Falls Road close to the Puma station. She's great at her work, and she does it with a smile.

Agric Farmers of the Year
Agric is only 3 weeks away, and they've announced the Farmers of the Year. Congratulations to Mr. George Choj, who has a farm on the Cristo Rey road, for being named Senior Farmer. "The National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee is pleased to announce the winners of this year Farmers of the Year 2013: Senior Farmer – Mr. George Choj. Mr. Choj is 30 years old of Cristo Rey Road in the Cayo District. He currently owns 25 acres of land of which 12 acres are developed into crop and livestock. Mr. Choj’s farm is diversified and mostly based on the Integrated Farming System Concept. His activities involve both Crop (Periurban) and Livestock production through which he maximizes the by-products of each activity to generate income, reduce cost and improve product quality."

CTV3

Mayan Leaders And Alcaldes Condemn Sale and Export of Rosewood
Mayan Leaders And Alcaldes Condemn Sale and Export of Rosewood Governments 19 days amnesty on the sale and export of Rosewood continues to make headlines tonight. Last night the People’s United Party weighed in on the issue and tonight the Maya Leaders Alliance, MLA and the Toledo Alcaldes Association, TAA is also being vocal about the move. A release issued by both organizations today states that they are deeply disturbed and utterly outraged by government’s decision to allow persons who illegally harvested rosewood in Toledo to now export the wood and share the illicit profit from these sales with the government. By sharing the proceeds of the sale of Rosewood 50/50 with illegal exporters, MLA and TAA believe that the government of Belize is saying to the entire country and to the international community as well, that it will allow so-called loggers to violate the laws and regulations, steal from legally recognized Maya lands and be rewarded and even embraced as business partners by elected officials. In the release MLA and TAA states and we quote “Government’s recent move is ranked among the worst of the many recent improprieties and injustices surrounding the rosewood and larger logging industry. We emphatically state that government’s conduct regarding rosewood and its extraction from Maya lands is intolerable.” End of quote.

Four Fishermen Charged For Drug Trafficking
Four fishermen from the Village of Sarteneja in the Corozal District were charged today with drug trafficking at the Orange Walk Magistrates Court. They are 20 year old Christian Flores, 24 year old Amaro Flores, 50 year old Salvador Flores and 26 year old Pedro Quirora. Details of the case were not revealed today during the hearing; however, we have been informed that the four men were socializing at a restaurant in Orange Walk Town on April 10th, when they were searched by police. Reports are that when police searched a bucket that one of the men was carrying, they found more than five pounds of marijuana. All four men pleaded not guilty to the charge and were remanded into police custody until Monday April 15th when they are scheduled to reappear in court. The men were not offered bail since their attorney Marcel Cardona was unable to appear in court today and the prosecution was objecting to bail.

Precious Discoveries Made At Cuello Site
Last night we told you about the amazing discovery that was made by archeologist at the Santa Rita Maya Ruin located in the Corozal District. On Tuesday, excavators came across a shallow grave in the heart of the upper flat of the ruin and inside archeologists found the remains of two humans and other precious artefacts. During our interview with Doctor Jaime Awe, we also asked if there was any truth to the rumor that artefacts were also discovered at Cuello Site located on the grounds of Cuello’s Distillery Limited on Yo Creek Road Orange Walk Town, by employees of the company which is presently constructing a new building. Tonight we have more details on that story that will put all rumors to rest. As mentioned by Awe last night, the Archeological Department received the report that the company was constructing a new building and visited the area last week Friday. Doctor John Morris and other representatives of the department visited the site. Today when we spoke to Morris via phone, he told us that they were at the construction site when employees of the company in charge of constructing the building, found several pieces of pottery. Further searches led to more broken pottery and by the time Morris and his crew left the area, more than one hundred pieces of broken pottery had been found. According to Morris, all the pieces were taken to the offices of the Archeological Department in Belmopan for furthering testing. As mentioned last night, the Archeological Department is presently in discussion with the Cuello brothers for the future development of the site with the aim of attracting tourism to Orange Walk.

Orange Walk Resident Pleads Guilty To Murder In Texas
On Tuesday October 30th 2012, Surie Baeza, a 15 year old Orange Walk resident who relocated to the states with her mother back in December 2000, was found dead in her room with stab wounds to her torso and chest. The young girl was viciously murdered two days after her 15th birthday. One day after Baeza’s murder, her stepfather, 41 year old Juan Enrique Torres also from Orange Walk confessed to the murder of the 15 year old. At the time the crime was committed, Surie’s mother, Irma Baeza was separated from Torres. Yesterday Torres pleaded guilty to the murder of the 15 year old who attending Rockwall-Heath High School at the time of her death. In a statement addressed to Torres and read to the court Thursday by Rockwall County District Attorney Kenda Culpepper, Irma Baeza described Oct. 30th as the most devastating and saddest day of her life. Baeza wrote and we quote ““My children and I had started living happily without you,” Baeza wrote. “You were nothing good to me since our relationship started. You hurt me mentally, physically and verbally during all these years we were together. I know you wanted me to suffer, but that didn’t give you the right to take her away.”

Hundreds Of Dead Fish Decorate The Banks Of The New River
Tonight, hundreds of dead fish are floating along the banks of the New River. It’s a peculiar situation that has been happening for years now. The dead fish can be sited from the area of the BSI factory all the way up to the Toll Bridge. Residents living along these areas say the stench is unbearable but mostly importantly they fear for their health. From what we able to perceive, industrial pollution seems to be killing fish and nauseating residents. Today our news team visited the area to find out how severe the fish kill is and we even found a dead crocodile. Hipolito Novelo - Reporting Tonight hundreds of dead fish decorate the banks of the New River that runs along Orange Walk Town. This has been the scenario for the past week and according to families residing along the river banks each year around this time there is a strong scent from the river. Voice of Concern Resident “We local fish like Crana’s, the Chack Pintas, we got Base Snooch’s, Mud fish, we see the Blue Cat Fish and we have turtles. We have tourists on a daily basis on the river back and forth and they are seeing the same thing and they smell the river all bad and they want to know why the fish is floating up.”

Ras Cobra Killed In San Pedro, Shooter Escapes
There was a murder in San Pedro Town last night at about 8:00. The victim has been identified as 39 year old Eugene Anthony Lockwood also known as “Ras Cobra”. According to police reports, San Pedro Police received information that the lifeless body of a male individual with dreadlocks was seen lying face down on Glitter Street in the Bay Side Area of San Pedro Town. Upon arriving at the scene police observed that Lockwood had been shot several times in the stomach and left lower back. Initial investigations have revealed that Lockwood, a Belizean woodcarver of San Pedrito Area, San Pedro Town, was socializing at the corner of Glitter and Swan Street with three other male persons when they were approached by a lone gunman who fired anywhere between 5 to 10 shots at their direction. Derrick Samuels, who was one of the persons socializing with the victim, was also hit on the left lower abdomen. The gunman made good his escape. Police Investigation continues.

Week 19 Of Crop Season Shows Impressive Figures
Tonight our weekly crop review shows that for week 19 of the 2012/2013 crop season, a total of forty five thousand two hundred and seventy two tons of cane was milled, producing five thousand two hundred and sixty seven tons of sugar. Figures released by the Belize Sugar Industries Limited for the 19th week of crop, shows that the 2012/2013 crop season continues to be a productive one. Here is our weekly crop review. Carmelita Perez - Reporting Week 19 of the 2012/2013 sugar cane crop season began on April 3rd and ended on April 9th 2013. So far the factory has milled a total of eight hundred and sixteen thousand three hundred and twenty three tons of cane. That’s eighty seven thousand one hundred and twenty one tons more compared to last year when seven hundred and twenty nine thousand two hundred and two tons of cane was milled during the 19 weeks of crop. For this week alone the factory milled forty five thousand two hundred and seventy two tons of cane. Taking a look at sugar production so far eighty six thousand four hundred and ninety eight tons of the sweetener has been produced. Compared to last year its ten thousand two hundred and sixty three tons more when seventy six thousand two hundred and thirty five tons of sugar was produced. This week’s sugar production stood at five thousand two hundred and sixty seven tons.

Galen Caters For Northern Perspectives
Galen University, established in Belize in May 2003, has gained recognition as one of the premier educational institutions in the country, offering programs at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level in business, arts and sciences, and education. If there is one drawback, it is that Galen is located in the Cayo District, which is inconvenient to prospective students from the north, but not anymore because in 2010, Galen spread its wings to Corozal Town. This year Galen University is once again offering prospective candidates from the north a Bachelors Degree Program in Business Administration. The program will be offered at Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College and classes are expected to commence in the month of June. Joel Cervantes-Coordinator Galen University “We’ve been fortunate to communicate with the Mr. Gonzales, and it is a partnership we are looking forward to and I think it is a midpoint between the values spoken of the north Corozal and Orange Walk and it is strategically place I believe and it is something we looked forward from a long time, we want to first start with a Bachelors in Business Administration and this is at the Corozal Community, Professionals, workers and Orange walk also, so that is our main goal with Mr. Gonzales.” Elmer Cornejo - Reporter “Is it the first time you are partnering with CEMJC and why?” Joel Cervantes-Coordinator Galen University “Yes, it is our first time but frankly speaking it is not that we, well we hadn’t had the opportunity really to communicate with us but we did the first cohort with Corozal Junior College and this is an excellent opportunity to come midpoint and we have a lot of interest from students around the area of Escuela Mexico and the Junior College looks promising too and I think it is also an opportunity to grow the entire area and because we have many students coming from Orange Walk too, Escuela Mexico and also from Corozal so I believe it is a great opportunity and particularly it is to expand we are really with the market in Corozal and we continue in Corozal and it is also a partnership with Corozal and Orange Walk.”

Expect An Active Hurricane Season
une 1st marks the beginning of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season, that’s more than a month away and all indications are that we are about to experience another active season. Forecasters are predicting a total of 16 named storms, 9 of which are expected to become hurricanes, including 5 major hurricanes category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. These forecast numbers are above the long-term average from 1950 to 2012 when 12 named storms, 7 hurricanes, 3 major hurricanes were predicted and slightly above the averages for the current active era from 1995-2012 when the prediction was for 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. Three straight Atlantic hurricane seasons have had 19 storms and only seven Atlantic seasons have had more hurricanes than last season's 10 hurricanes. Of note is that the 2012 forecast of 10 named storms and four hurricanes, was far below what actually occurred last year when 19 storms formed, including 10 hurricanes. This included Hurricane Sandy, which slammed the Northeast coast in October, killing dozens and leading to billions of dollars in damage. The tropical Atlantic has anomalously warmed over the past several months and with that the chances of an El Nino event are unlikely. El Nino is associated with stronger vertical shear across the tropical Atlantic, creating conditions less conducive for storm formation. According to the Weather Channel, the lack of a predicted El Nino last year was one of the causes of the poor forecast in 2012.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker Youths Get Land
On April 12th, the Caye Caulker Village Council along with Hon. Manuel Heredia and the Lands Department held a gathering at the Community Center. It wasn’t any regular gathering but rather a long awaited special occasion. Those who were invited included youths and long standing residents of Caye Caulker, who were blessed with the opportunity to finally own a piece of land. Every one present was selected via a recommendation by the members of the Council and Lands Committee of Caye Caulker. There was about 200 residents present and every one walked away with their own piece of Caye Caulker.

The Reporter

BEL cuts rates one cent/kwh
Belizeans should see a small reduction in their light bill this month, if the Public Utilities Commission approves a submission from Belize Electricity Limited. On Tuesday, April 2, BEL requested that the mean electricity rates should be reduced by one cent per kilowatt hour. With rates currently at over 48 cents/ kwh, that cut won’t bring your light bill down to what it used to be when the residential rates were 41 cents/kwh, but it’s a small saving nonetheless. BEL applied to the PUC for the rate reduction, under the annual review proceeding for the period June 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. The adjust is to have rates more accurately reflect the actual cost of power since January, as compared to the cost BEL had projected when it submitted a cost-of-power estimate to the PUC last December. BEL’s targeted Rate of Return is also being adjusted downwards from 10 percent to 9 percent, because the company’s financing costs have made it possible.

Belizean entrepreneurs to access CEDA grants
Belizean entrepreneurs with small and medium sized businesses may soon access grant funding from the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) to finance up to 70 percent of any expansion which will help them reach export markets. Small businessmen often don’t have the start-up capital or the assets to use as collateral to access financing; however, they can approach the Development Finance Corporation. The DFC can provide 70 percent financing, once the project or investment has been approved for a CEDA grant. The key was for Belizean businessmen to understand what projects and investments can qualify for a grant under CEDA’s Direct Assistance Grant Scheme. Therefore, CEDA grant advisors, Celestine Moe and Kirk Brown, taught the small business owners how to prepare their grant proposal at a workshop hosted by Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) and CEDA at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina on Wednesday, April 10.

CDB $11.1M to help Belize’s poor
Belize’s poor people stand to benefit from some 22 projects to be funded with Bz$11.1 million from Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and Bz$1.7 in matching funding from the government of the Belize. The Social Investment Fund (SIF) will implement the Bze$12.8 million project. CDB’s Mrs Darran Newman Belgrave, portfolio manager of the Social Sector Division, headed the CDB delegation which joined Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development Hon. Santiago Castillo in officially launching the fund’s seventh cycle (BNTF7) in Belize at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel on Thursday, April 11. The latest Bze$11.1 million grant represents a 75 percent increase in CDB funding over what Belize received from the BNTF’s sixth cycle. It means more money to fund more projects, with the poorest areas receiving the most attention!

Blogs

RIP Chocolate – you will forever be in our hearts!!
Yesterday, after what started out to be one of the greatest days in Caye Caulker history, ended with the loss of our dear friend Lionel ‘Chocolate’ Heredia! He died peacefully in his house on the island with his wife Annie at 83 years old – his passing away leaving us all deeply saddened!! For as long as I have known Chocolate has been Raggamuffin’s neighbor and friend, a mentor and a true support right from the beginning! His continued efforts towards protecting everything that inhabits our Belizean ocean were deservedly recognized with awards by all with any form of investment in her. He will be most recognized for his work to protect the Belizean manatee and indeed Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary – his work creating a legacy for generations to come. For us at Raggamuffin we will miss our neighbor and friend as we look out of our office – no longer will we see him scuttle past the office to go and purchase his afternoon’s sweet bun – he was part of our family and our daily lives and we are now forced to adjust to life without him – RIP dear friend, you will forever be in our hearts!!

“Fantastic Day” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Up early yesterday morning and decided that I would go with the Kindle first. On Friday I reached a crucial stage in The Litigator by John Grisham and I just needed to know how the story would end. Thirty minutes later I knew – book finished. A book up to the normal standard of Grisham.Based on the legal profession with plenty of twists and turns. Book finished and I switched to my In Box where I was surprised but very pleased to find an email from Roshel Godfrey of the Belize Tourism Board advising me that I have been accepted in to the Belize Qualified Retired Persons Incentives Retirement Program(“QRP“). Acceptance six weeks after my application. Great news. I just now need to make a payment of US$ 1,950 and Rose and I (Rose as my dependent) will be issued with our ID cards and we officially enter the ‘Programme. We can then order our golf cart and arrange to get our goods shipped from the UK. Buoyed by this good news I made and ate breakfast and then watched Arsenal come back from a goal down to beat Norwich City to move to third place in the Premier League, above both Chelsea and Spurs. Entry in to the “QRP” and a win for Arsenal. What a fantastic day!

International Sources

Security minister sues local TV station
Belize’s National Security Minister John Saldivar has filed a lawsuit against a local television station and a talk show host over statements made regarding the distribution of public funds. He says he filed the suit against Plus TV and Patrick Jason Andrews because the statements attacked his character and reputation. Saldivar said the statements were made about him regarding the distribution of public funds in his constituency through the government’s Christmas Cheer programme. However, the National Security Minister says the Ministry of Human Development was responsible for that programme and that all bills were paid directly to the stakeholders involved.

The Adidas Originals Belize track top
An exclusive model that I hardly acquired, a hard to believe edition, a miracle : dazzling, pardon me for being so admirative but embroidered details, signs, references and remarkable winks, striking by its perfect marriage of colors, from sleeves to collar, through zip and the inevitable three stripes ? Blue, white and red : wonderful, I am really at a loss for words, seriously.

Belize Oil Industry Map
This shows the locations of the two producing oilfields in Belize (BNE Spanish Lookout and Never Delay) and following exploration wells - and status as listed below: Maranco South Canal #1: At TD, live oil shows, logged, prospective zones to be tested. [Amandala April 7th 2013] New World Oil Rio Bravo #1: Drilling at 7700' (1000' from TD), oil shows, to be logged at TD (then potential for any testing determined). [New World Oil and Gas PR April 10th 2013] Princess / Treaty San Juan #3: Drilling at 900' (2100' from TD), no oil shows, to be logged at TD (then potential for any testing determined). [San Juan #3 wellsite visit March 31st 2013. No update on Treaty website since then] [All facts not opinions or future predictions]

From Tarantulas In Belize To Tutoring In South Africa: Not Your Typical Spring Break
Connecticut College students, faculty and staff scattered across the globe to take full advantage of the College’s two-week spring break in March. Picture: Nate Wallace poses bravely with a red belly tarantula on Emerald Paradize in Yallbac, Belize. Wallace traveled with his Tropical Biology class to learn about the flora and fauna in the rich tropics. - Professors Manuel Lizarralde and Steve Loomis took their Tropical Biology class to Belize to take stock of the rainforest diversity. The class caught several incredible creatures, including a six-foot boa constrictor and four red belly tarantulas – one as large as a human hand.