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#462611 - 04/18/13 06:41 AM Today's Belize News: April 18, 2013
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The San Pedro Sun

Representatives of US Fund for UNICEF visit the San Mateo Area

UNICEF and SPTC host Birth registration campaign
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in conjunction with the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), held a Birth Registration campaign on Tuesday, April 16th at the Community Church in San Mateo. The church doors opened from 9AM to 5PM. Residents of the San Mateo area and other neighboring areas that have not yet registered their children were encouraged to visit the church and complete the registration process. The objective of the program is to properly document unregistered children. Proper documentation is essential for schooling, work and even medical care. Birth registration is normally done by parents in the days after the birth of their child, either at the San Pedro Police Station or in Belize City at the Vital StatisticsUnit. The campaign was started in February 2011 by Christine Norton, Belize’s country representative for UNICEF. The birth registration campaign has since visited several locations across the country promoting the importance of child birth registration and documentation of the unregistered.

SPHS wins third annual San Pedro Softball Cup
The San Pedro High School (SPHS) male softball team won the third annual San Pedro Softball Cup. The games, hosted by The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), were held at the Ambergris Stadium on Saturday April 13th and Sunday, April 14th. Participating in the tournament were San Pedro High School, St. John’s College and Belmopan Comprehensive High School. In the first game played on Saturday April 13th, SPHS faced Belmopan Comprehensive; SPHS took the lead with a 10-0 win. Unfortunately SPHS fell short in the second game of the day against St. John’s College in a 3-7 point game. In the third game of the day, St. John’s College faced against Belmopan Comprehensive. The game ended in a tight 9-8 win for St. John’s College. SPHS delivered a sweeping win in the last game of the day against Belmopan Comprehensive. Belmopan Comprehensive boys put on a struggle but it was effortless as the game ended in a 8-1 win for SPHS.

Ambergris Today

Is Coconut Oil a Healthy Alternative?
Reader: I want to know how healthy cooking with coconut oil is? Is it good to include on a fitness or healthy diet? Have seen many articles on the health benefits, but how much is too much. Katherine: This is a great question! I wondered how healthy coconut oil is myself; I even went out and bought a jar. When trying to lose weight, as I did when I competed, any form of oils was eliminated from my diet. I got fats from almonds, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter and fish oil pills. That’s definitely doable and it works but I know it may be too extreme for some. I currently use Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) when cooking, but every now and then when I want to add a little flavor to food so I use the coconut oil. I learned from a nutrition class not to believe what we read from fitness and nutritional businesses…they promote products to make money and will tell you things to make you buy their product. We were advised reading the facts about a product from credible sources that reference the research studies proving those facts. I read articles on the American Heart Association and from WebMD and found this article as the most educational on coconut oil and fats.

Belize Lions Zone 59 - Annual Convention
This year, the Lions of Belize are celebrating 40 years of Service in Belize. During these 40 years, Lion members throughout Belize have been involved not only in the traditional Lions Projects of eye conservation, but also in Projects impacting Youth, Education, Health, Social Issues, Environment, etc. And now Lions are planning to be more involved in Projects which will target the problems affecting Belize. As part of the Anniversary celebrations, the Lions of Belize will converge in the Village of San Estevan, in the Orange Walk District, for the Lions Annual Convention. There will also be a delegation from the Chetumal Lions Club. The Convention will be hosted by the San Estevan Lions Club from Friday 19th April, 2013 to Sunday 21st April, 2013, with the theme, “Lions-Serving and Embracing the Future Through the Winds of Change”.

Belize Offshore Oil Contracts are Null and Void
“This is a victory for the People of Belize, our democracy and the reef of Belize” on Tuesday, April 16, 2013, Justice Oswell Legall handed down the much awaited decision in the case challenging the validity of the offshore oil contracts issued by the Government of Belize in 2004 and 2007 and since then extended in 2009. The decision is a historic one as it chastises the government, especially Cabinet saying that “allowing oil exploration before any assessment of its effects on the environment is not only irresponsible, but reckless, especially in a situation where Belize may not be fully capable of handling effectively an oil spill.” In his judgment Justice Legall said that the Minister who signed the contracts “exceeded his jurisdiction when he entered into the agreements without first having or considering an environmental impact assessment of oil exploration on the environment”. He explained the entire intention of the Environmental Protection Act is to make environmental assessment so as to protect the environment. Having explained his reasoning for the decision he then handed down the four orders he issued, namely:

Misc Belizean Sources

Prepare Now to See the Whale Shark Migration to Belize
Travellers wishing to experience the spectacular annual whale shark migration to Belize had better begin preparing now if they want to make the most of this rare opportunity, according to the Belize Natural History Centre at Chaa Creek. The whale shark is the world’s largest fish and the third largest animal on the planet. Long known in Belize as “Sapodilla Tom” due to its penchant for staying at the Sapodilla Cayes and Gladden Spit during its annual feeding and breeding season, the whale shark has a recorded length of 12.65 metres (41.50 ft) and weighs in at more than 36 tonnes (79,000 lb). Although they are true sharks (Rhincodon typus) that have changed little over the last 60 million years, whale sharks are peaceful creatures, allowing divers to come close as they lazily strain plankton and other food during their annual stopover in Belize. Bryony Fleming, who coordinates tour packages and bespoke excursions from Chaa Creek, said that the increasing numbers of people coming to see the gentle giants is another indication that more and more people are discovering the attractions of this laid-back little Caribbean country. “Not very long ago you could go out and actually play with whale sharks and there would be no one else around,” she said, “But word has obviously gotten out, and while it’s still uncrowded, there are definitely more people coming each year to take advantage of opportunities to get close to these amazing creatures.” Ms Fleming said recent media attention such as National Geographic’s pictorial features have spurred interest in the whale shark’s stopovers in Belize, which is one of only a few destinations these giants choose for their annual mating and feeding gatherings, with Madagascar, South Africa, Australia, Mozambique, Indonesia and the Yucatan also acting as annual hosts.

Loving Belize Episode 5 - Belize Zoo, Police Brutality, Marine reserves, ...
Welcome to episode 5 of Loving Belize. In this episode I asked people what they would like to see on 'Loving Belize'. With interviews from: Driva don't stop at all, he wanted to show me the bridges of Belize city. Kevin Jay who wanted to talk about Belize city and police brutality. Stone Crab who wanted to talk about the youth of Belize. Nelson Young who wanted to talk about art and the art of living. Rudolph Boeing who wanted to talk about the Belize Zoo. Captain David who wanted to talk about the effect dredging has had on his lobster grounds. Adriel Casteneda wanted to talk about Marine reserves. Zoe Walker who explains the work Wildtracks is doing to help fishermen find other ways of sustaining themselves, in tourism, pig farming and other trades.

Offshore oil drilling stopped in Belize
On Tuesday, Belize's Supreme Court declared offshore drilling contracts issued by the government of Belize (in 2004 and 2007) null and void, providing a dramatic and potentially definitive setback to the government of Belize and the petroleum prospecting companies issued the contracts. The ruling, handed down by Justice Oswell Legall, was in response to a case brought by Oceana, COLA, and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage. It effectively ends the Belizean government's immediate effort to allow offshore oil drilling in the Meso American Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. The court overturned the contracts after determining that the government failed to assess the environmental impact on Belize's ocean, as required by law, prior to issuing the contracts. The court also found that contracts were made to companies that did not demonstrate a proven ability to contribute the necessary funds, assets, machinery, equipment, tools and technical expertise to drill safely. Oceana has campaigned against offshore drilling in Belize for more than two years. In 2011, after collecting the 20,000+ signatures required to trigger a national referendum that would allow the public to vote on whether or not to allow offshore oil drilling in Belize's reef, the government disqualified over 8,000 of these signatures effectively on the basis of poor penmanship, stopping the possibility of a vote.

San Antonio School Going Organic
Feelgood news of the day. Blancaneaux Lodge is giving back to the local community, and is working with San Antonio Primary school to get an organic garden growing. Plant those seeds! "One of our Community Outreach Projects and how Blancaneaux Lodge helps our communities to be responsible with our environment."

UB Earth Day Today
The University of Belize is having their Earth Day celebration today, and it looks to be quite an event. They'll have games, food, drinks, information booths, a 'Trashion' competition, a bicycle race, and much more. The theme this year is 'Addressing Climate Change: If Not Now, When?' See you there!

Earth Day Bike Race Today
To kick off the Unversity of Belize's Earth Day celebrations, they are having a cross Belmpan beach cruiser race this morning. They are going from UB to Westar, and back to UB. First place is $200. Have fun!

Belize Book Week Coming
The Belize Book Industry Association is doing a call for artists of the spoken word. Belize Book Week is coming up fast, and it'll be happening here in Cayo on April 27th. The theme this year is "A Night of the Spoken Word," and the venue will be the Cayo Welcome Center. The schedule will be posted soon.

Digicell's website finally gets a makeover
So Digicell finally did a redesign on their official website and let me tell you this one has a soothing and impressive design — but I wonder if it was built with responsive web design capabilities. It doesn't matter because this new design totally kills the one they had before. The new design is fairly easy to understand and the most important links are boldly visible on the front page. One thing I didn't see on the makeover was a blog section. I believe this is something they can work on in the future. Overall, I believe this design clearly speaks great things about Digicell, especially since they are the top mobile service provider in Belize. I also like this map that displays all their cell sites found in Belize. Really cool! You can find the full map in this link.

Leonel "Chocolate" Heredia: A Lion Of The Conservation Movement Passes
Belize mourns the passing of a giant in Belize's conservation community. Leonel Heredia, known as "Chocolate" dies at his home in Caye Caulker. He had been troubled by an aneurysm for the past two weeks and that's what took his life this afternoon. "Don Choc" as we affectionately called him, was 83. In his young days, he was a fisherman and later on became a founding member of the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association with his boat, "The Soledad." But he was best known for his deep affinity for manatees and in 2002, he got the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary legally established. When it was established, the then 73 year old told said that he hoped to bequeath a legacy to coming generations yet unborn…

Channel 7

Min. Of Immigration Says No To New Guat Passports
Over the past three weeks, there’s been a lot of public uproar about those new Guatemalan passports. By now, you should know them well, the one’s showing Belize as a part of Guatemalan territory separated only by a dotted line. The passports have been put out to tender but they haven’t been printed yet. However, Belize’s Immigration Authorities already have a policy position. Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse outlined it today. Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Immigration "We cannot refuse people entry into the country because we can't stop business and all. So they are legitimate people coming. People in Guatemala are not necessarily fully responsible for the kind of passport the state issues to them. What we are saying? That when you reach the border that we are not going to accept that which is on a front of the Belizean Sovereignty. So we are going to develop a mechanism whereby you will be required to have an entry permit which you will pay for and that entry permit is what is going to be the legal document that brings you in the country and keep you in the country. That is our position as we stand. Hopefully, they don't proceed with it because we understand that there are several moves especially through the UN Department not for them to proceed but that is our position should they proceed." The Guatemalan government is tendering to print millions of the newly –re-designed passports.

One Killed, One Critical in Roaring Creek Robbery
There was a murder and attempted murder in Roaring Creek Village in the Cayo District last night. It started with the robbery of Hyde’s Meat and Grocery Shop – and ended with one man dead and another critical. Monica Bodden spoke to the surviving victim today Monica Bodden reporting Just 30 minutes before close time last night - Hyde’s Meat and Grocery Shop in Roaring Creek was held up by an armed robber. The attack played out in less than 5 minutes but when it was over, one man was injured and his brother - the owner of the store was dead. The incident happened around 7:30 last night . The gunman entered the store wearing a ski mask and carrying a firearm. He approached the cashier and demanded money. And shortly after, things turned deadly. Voice of Liani Mehiea - Common-law Wife Randolph Hyde "I was serving some children and they had just sold me their pint bottles so I was paying them. It happened so fast,I was in a shock. A person with a long sweater with a hood came in and he had on a black ski mask. He was in front of the counter and he said to me 'Give me all you have'. He had a silver gun in my face. He came behind the counter and stopped 1 yard in front of me and he put the gun in my face. He started surveying the area to check if any money was around. I only had some small monies - some $5 and $2 bills. He grabbed them while his gun was still in my face. When I saw he grabbed the money out of the box, Mr. Randolph Hyde said - 'What is going on at the front?' As I heard his voice, the gun was moved from my face. The man fired a shot to the back where meats are sold because that is where they were."

"Horse" Stabbed In Prison
There was a stabbing at the Kolbe Central Prison this morning – and while the injuries are described as superficial, the person involved is major. According to reports, Jermaine “Horse” Garnett was stabbed in the Supermax section of the prison by another inmate. Reports say that he was stabbed in the back of the neck as he returned from a visit. The man holding the “bora” was another inmate who was on recreation time. Notably, the reports say he was stabbed while being escorted by two prison officers. The prison described his wounds as superficial and the KHMH confirms that he has been discharged. He is back in the prison tonight. But his wife, Pamela Garnett, known as Ms Pam is far from satisfied with that. And that’s because the prison buildings are sectioned off to make sure that rival gangs do not encounter each other. But she says Horse Garnett was placed in Tango 10 because the prison regards him as a gang boss – which she says he is not. Voice of Pamela Garnett "They are saying that my husband is the leader of Crawl Road and Southside. On that she moved my husband from Tango 9 to Tango 10. So I asked her 'Why?' She said because he needs to go under protection and that is the best place for him right now. If Tango 10 was the best place for my husband; then 'Why did he get stabbed in Tango 10's building?' No one can answer me.

DOE: No Answers Yet In OW Fish Kill
One week ago, hundreds of dead fish started showing up dead along the banks of the New River in Orange Walk all the way from the BSI factory to the Tower Hill Toll Bridge. Tonight, the Department of the Environment says that they are investigating but so far, they have not determined the cause of the fish kill. Water samples were collected for analysis and the results are not yet known. And while the DOE has vowed to get to the bottom of it – we’d say that first they just have to check their files, because ours show that seasonal fish kills have been happening in the area literally for decades – and residents say the most likely culprit is industrial pollution. CTV-3 in Orange Walk reports that they also found a dead crocodile, and saw signs that birds, iguanas and Spider Monkeys are also affected. BSI has disavowed any responsibility and cited water tests to back up their position.

Customs Continuing Crackdown on Liquor With Suspect Sticker
Right now, the Customs Department is continuing its countrywide search for uncustomed liquor – and this evening that has them at 88 shopping Center on Central American Boulevard. The store was closed this evening as the officers conducted searches inside. The shutter was opened just a few minutes ago and the search turned up a relatively small quantity of uncustomed liquor, and cigarettes. And while that was small, as you saw yesterday at Vin Hong, Customs confiscated a major amount of imported liquor, reportedly more than 800 cases!. Today 7news confirmed that in just a one-day operation on San Pedro and in Belize city yesterday, they confiscated over two thousand cases of un-customed liquor. As we told you last night, all liquor that is legitimately processed by customs carries the “Belize Market” sticker on each bottle. But, customs searches have turned up thousands of bottles of liquor with a bogus, look-alike sticker. However, when checked under special light for security features, the sticker fails the test.

Terror In Cayo, Dangerous Men On The Loose
Cayo police have issued a wanted poster for two men accused of pulling off a brutal armed home invasion yesterday in San Ignacio. Tonight police have filled in details to what we reported yesterday: the target was the proprietor Rumors Resort on the Benque Road. She was in the laundry room when she was approached by 2 “dark skinned” men dressed in dark clothes with rags over their faces. They grabbed her by the neck and began choking her. She put up a fight and managed to pull off the rag from one of their faces. That’s when the other man said that they have to kill her because she already saw one of their faces. And while they didn’t do that, they did choke her with a piece of cloth. They took her jewelry, tied her hands and left her in the laundry room. They then went inside her house and stole various electronic items and fled. Neighbors saw them escaping and called police who launched a manhunt. At 12:30 pm, it proved successful when they went to a farm in the Trapaiche area and saw Marvin Neal and Jarod Lamb Arthurs sitting under a tree sharing up the stolen items. They saw police and dashed off, leaving behind all the items they had stolen just hours earlier. Cayo Police are looking for both men pending the charge of Burglary and Robbery. They also issue a dire warning to Cayo resident, saying, quote: “Residents of San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town are asked to be on the alert as it is believed that, these people will strike again and are considered to be armed and dangerous.”

70 Year Old Accused Of Ugly Crime
70 year-old David Popper, a retiree residing in Burrell Boom Village, is at prison tonight after he was taken to court for allegedly raping a 23 year-old man. Yes, that’s right; Popper is accused of a heinous crime where he allegedly abused the young man’s trust and took advantage of him. The victim reported to police that on Saturday, April 13, 2013, at about 3:30 p.m., he visited Popper at his home in the Riverside area where Popper offered him a drink. The man didn’t suspect anything, so he drank it, and he suddenly lost consciousness. He said that he later woke up and saw Popper standing up next to him, but he lost consciousness again. It was not until 5 hours later that he woke up at his mother’s home, where police came to detain him because of an allegation of assault Popper made against him. Police took him into custody, and he slept for 8 hours and woke up in the cell, when he had to relieve himself. The 23 year-old discovered that he was passing blood, and alerted the officers who took him to seek medical attention. The doctor who examined him certified that he had been sodomized.

Christian Cruiser Caught With Cannabis
Another septuagenarian was in court today – for a far less objectionable crime. 74 year-old American Douglas McCleary, a Christian Minister residing in Washington, had to pay just under a $1,000 today after he was busted with weed while on vacation. According to police, McCleary arrived this morning on one of the Cruise Ships and took a tour to Altun Ha. But before he could board the tendering boat back to ship, one of the tourism police searched him and found a pipe and 0.23 ounces of weed in his pockets. The officer became suspicious because he smelled the strong aroma of marijuana on McCleary. As a result, he was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled drug and possession of a pipe. He was arraigned this afternoon before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart, where he pleaded guilty explaining that he uses the marijuana for his prostate cancer.

"Fawda" Protests Medical University In Ladyville
In the past three years, the American Global University School of Medicine has moved from Belmopan to San Pedro and now to Ladyville. The Ladyville move was made earlier this month – and professional one man protestor Phillip Fawda Henry was out on the Airport Road to welcome them today. Here’s what we found out. Jules Vasquez reporting Looking at the website of the AGUSM, it has every appearance of a legitimate operation and a going concern. And the website even boasts of a new campus. Clicking through we saw pictures of the facility located close to the airport. Phillip Fawda Henry - Protesting 'American Global' Medical University "What is going on behind this is all a 'hocus-pocus' - a scheme. This American Global has been taking money from people and stating that they have the right resource in here to have these people who are coming into the country to study to be doctors and these people are not getting what they paid for. If you could see right next to me here that from when I've been here this morning two of them left immediately and chained this gate up. So I am asking the Prmie Minister to investigate on American Global. What is going on up here? If they would have been doing the right thing the gate wouldnt have been chained.

Hon Hulse Makes GOB Position Clear On Crawl Caye
Last night during the news, Minister Godwin Hulse, who’s chairing a cabinet Subcommittee on investment called us to outline the position with Norwegian Cruise Line and the discussion of a cruise port on Crawl Caye near Placencia. He re-iterated that to us in person today. Hon. Godwin Hulse - Chair of Cabinet Subcommittee on Investment "All the departments responsible for of government fisheries, environment, tourism met to lay to the potential investor what our parameters are and see if those are acceptable to them and we go from there so at this stage there is nothing to be jumping up and down. The potential investor is going to go back to see if he can meet and come back to us with a proposal and we go from there. That proposal then will be subject of an EIA and all the rest of parameters that are required before the investment can be made and we move forward. All investments must first of all be economically and sociably acceptable and must be legally doable.

Disaster Managers Meet In Belize
We caught up with Minister Hulse at a meeting of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency this morning. The technical committee meeting is being held to come up with a five year strategy. Hulse told us more. Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of NEMO "The whole idea is to be able to work through the various issues which will be coming up at the council's meeting sometime towards the end of May, early June. Therefore generally this meeting is a meeting where you have all the national coordinators coming together from the various countries in the Caribbean to be able to sync our talks regarding how we are going to continue to manage, mitigate and manage any disasters pending." Ronald Jackson - Executive Director CDERA, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency "Well I think that one of the first challenges we face is changing the culture of our people to understand that disaster risk is a development issue. It is not simply a response issue. With that said we also need to look at the collective capacity of our region to deal with the requirements for responding to catastrophic events and I think what we are trying to do as an organization is to link development, the macro economic framework of countries to this disaster resilience issue. I think if we can show clearly the relationship between the development, economic prosperity, which all our countries are now striving to achieve then we can perhaps influence a little bit of the politics."

Citco Position On Vex Vendors
Last night, 7News told you about the dilemma facing the vendors and taxi drivers who operate around the Battlefield Park. The Belize City Council has issued them with a notice that they must vacate the area by Friday, which is a great inconvenience to them because their customers look to them for service due to proximity. We showed you one vendor who explained just how the obligation to move will affect her directly, and so today, we spoke to Kenny Morgan, City Halls PR Officer. He told us why it has become necessary. Kenny Morgan - PR Officer, Belize City Council "The vendors have been asked to vacate Battlefield Park but this is not something that just arose. They were informed, even the vendors who were originally at ground O and were relocated to Battlefield Park were informed at the time that it would only be a temporary measure because extensive renovation works were about to commence inside Battlefield Park. With the contracts now being signed for those works to commence we have had to asked the vendors to relocate until the works are finished. Currently we are looking to relocate them temporarily again to somewhere along Southern Foreshore. We are looking into it but I would like to remind you that it is not the councils' responsibility to find areas for the vendors. The vendors are to seek out these areas and then they come into the City Council to apply for the area and if the approval is given then they can conduct their businesses in those areas. We are going, I think, above and beyond the call of duty by trying to assist them in finding locations."

No Word Yet On Oil Find
15 days ago, we reported on what was called “an encouraging oil show in the Orange Walk District. Government said they’d know in two weeks if it was in commercial quantities, but 15 says have passed and, “nada.” Today KREM news spoke to Petroleum Minister Joy Grant told us that the company had to bring in equipment that they didn’t have to continue seismic testing. The last piece of equipment came in yesterday and so they should know in the next four days – so she says to look out for something early next week.

Shedrock’s Sad Situation
One week ago, 7News showed you the fire which completely destroyed the home of 88 year-old Shedrock McKoy at corner of Casuarina and Mahogany Streets. He continues to be housed by his Grand-niece, and has asked the public for assistance to try to rebuild his home. But, since interviews with the media, he’s being criticized by a private citizen who claims that he has been untruthful. Natalie Pitterson has come forward to 7News claiming that McKoy has no title to the property, which he was living on, and that he’s only been living there for the past 8 years due to her kindness. She explained the situation to us in detail in which she says that she have a problem with anyone trying to help him. What she doesn’t want is anyone building a new home for him on that land, because he doesn’t own it Natalee Pitterson - Claims Ownership of Land "I bought the property between 2004 and 2005 from Mr. Shedrock and allowed him to stay on the property after purchasing it and in 2008 I received title for the land. He is like a friend of the family so I didnt want to throw him on the street after buying the land because that wouldn't look good. He is old; at the time he was 80 years old, so I allowed him to stay there. Not knowing that he would even come on the air and say the truth, you undestand me? 'Ok I was only staying here the owner of the property is XYZ'. He just came on the air and said all types of things - far from being the truth. I feel like it wasn’t fair for the whole situation to happen the way it happened because I am at a lost. I own the place and I don't think it is fair for him to go back and build anything there. I want him off the property completely. I do not know what to tell the public what to do, you understand me? Ok if they want to continue help funding him since he does not have any property but.."

Springfield: A Rare Look At A Place Lost In Time
The traditional Mennonite communities of Belize very rarely make the news because, being very conservative, they keep to themselves and rarely allow cameras into their settlements. But, one photojournalist has gotten a rare opportunity to do a photo-documentary on the community of Springfield, just outside of Belmopan. He’s sharing it in an exhibit at the Image Art Factory, today he discussed with the media what was his vision behind it: Norris Hall - Photojournalist "Springfield is a small Amish Mennonite settlement about 50 minutes drive from Belmopan. It was established about 17 years ago and it is one of seven Amish settlements in Belize. The idea for this exhibition came when my wife and I, along with other friends, went out to Springfield around the middle of 2011 to buy plants. I was looking for organic fruit trees. When I was out there I got the idea to do a documentary on the Amish Mennonites. I found myself in a dilemma where I wanted to respect their not wanting to be photographed but I also found myself, as a photo journalist, having the responsibility to document life in all its pursuits. I tried all different methods.

Cops In South Are Best
The performance based appraisals in the Police Department continue and for the month of March, the Southern Zone shone brightest. Today, Minister of National Security, John Saldivar presented a Certificate of Award and a Cheque of $1,000 to Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano who heads the Southern Zone. This is the second month in a row that the Southern Zone has had the lowest level of major crimes in the Country.

Hon. Alamilla, Honoured But Still Has Headaches
She’s been taking a public beating for Government’s controversial decision on Rosewood - but Minister Lisel Alamilla is still gaining kudos internationally. She has been honored by the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources as the winner of its, “2013 International Alumni Achievement Award”. A release says she was nominated due to her outstanding achievements including her selection as winner of the 2012 Whitley Award for Nature. Minister Alamilla has a Master's Degree in Conservation Social Science from the U- Idaho College of Natural Resources. And while she wins international praises, locally, the Rosewood pressures are unrelenting. 7news has received reports that the amnesty is being used by some as a license to cut all the rosewood they can between now and April 26th. Reports say that in villages such as Corazon, Sunday Conejo, Barranco and Midway, chainsaws are roaring and trees are falling late at nights. A release form the Forestry Department says the amnesty is only for rosewood that was previously cut. It adds that the Forest Department field staff can readily recognize the difference between freshly cut and old rosewood stock.

#462612 - 04/18/13 06:42 AM Re: Today's Belize News: April 18, 2013 [Re: Marty]
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Channel 5

Brothers shot, one killed during Roaring Creek robbery
A family in Roaring Creek is today mourning the loss of one son and praying for the life of another who lies critically injured at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan. Both men, Randolph ‘Peeney’ Hyde and Mark Hyde, were the victims of a lone gunman Tuesday night at a meat and grocery shop operated [...]

Brother of slain man on the road to recovery
Randolph was allegedly shot in the head and died shortly after arriving at the Western Regional Hospital. His brother, Mark was shot in the chest and back. One of those bullets punctured his lung and another broke a rib, but his prognosis for recovery is good. He is in extreme pain and is grieving the [...]

Accident or intent? Cop shoots foot of North Creek resident
A Belize City man is tonight recovering from a gunshot wound to the foot…not at a medical facility, but in fact at the Queen Street Police Station. Arnold Anderson was detained for weed following a search at his house, but the family is saying the cops are covering up the shooting by a female officer. [...]

Bus Owners Cooperative near blockage of terminal
The issue of road permits is sparking up again. The Belize Bus Owners Cooperative confirms that one of its routes to Belmopan has allegedly been canceled at the instruction of Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport, Edmund “Clear the Land” Castro. The BBOC had planned to block the entrance to the Belmopan bus [...]

Second attempt on Horse’s life, this time in prison
A second attempt on the life of thirty year-old Jermaine ‘Horse’ Garnett, on pretrial detention for the murder of Raheem Requena, was made behind prison walls this morning.  Garnett, who is being held inside the Tango Ten cellblock, was stabbed once in the left side of the neck with a shiv.  It is unclear whether [...]

Former prison employees meet with P.M. on Kolbe Management
The Belize Central Prison Employees Coalition is an ad hoc group established following several terminations and suspensions by Kolbe Foundation which manages the institution. The former employees charge that all is not well behind the prison walls. And after the Coalition took to the airwaves, Kolbe sought legal advice regarding the allegations. But the group [...]

Minister Rene Montero allows cutting down of Guanacaste trees
There is widespread outrage over the mass harvesting and exportation of rosewood, and that sentiment shows no signs of abating. In the Cayo District, there is also outrage involving the cutting of trees on a much smaller scale. Our newsroom received a call on Tuesday from a furious resident of Santa Elena who told us [...]

Norwegian Cruise Line and G.O.B. sign MOU for Crawl Caye development
On Monday, a delegation of executives, representing Norwegian Cruise Line, met with government officials at the Belize Tourism Board office in Belize City to discuss the prospect of a mega infrastructure development project on Crawl Caye, off the coast of southern Belize.  The impressive undertaking, once approved, should see the total transformation of the small [...]

Wanted: 2 fugitives that robbed Rumours
The Belize Police Department has issued an all-points bulletin for two men believed to be involved in a vicious home invasion on Tuesday morning. Twenty year old Marvin Neal, a resident of Santa Elena Town, and his accomplice, twenty-five year old Jarod ‘Steel Bob’ Lamb of Ontario Village, remain on the lam, following an incident [...]

Another cruise tourist busted with marijuana
An American Religious Minister who was visiting Belize for the day found himself in big trouble with the law when he was busted with cannabis and a pipe used for smoking the illegal leafy substance. Seventy-four year old John Douglas McCleary, a resident of Washington D.C., came to Belize on board the Norwegian Cruise line [...]

70 year old drugged and abused victim, the accused him of assault
A seventy year old Burrell Boom resident is accused of a hideous sexual offense against a twenty three year old man, who he allegedly drugged.   This afternoon, David Popper was arraigned in the court of Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer for an Unnatural Crime and Wounding of the twenty-three year old victim.  He was also charged [...]

Patrick “Faada” Henry says Medical School is bogus
In the past seventeen years, at least twelve licenses have been granted to offshore medical schools. Most of them have gone under and tonight there is the American Global University, School of Medicine that is also under question. The AGUSM is located on the Airport Road in Ladyville; that’s the most recent location because the [...]

Dead fish float near Orange Walk Toll Bridge
The Department of the Environment is investigating reports of a fish kill in the New River near the toll bridge. There are reports of fish kills in the same area at least once every year, and every year it is blamed on some material being pumped into the river by the Belize Sugar Industry’s factory. [...]

Empowering Education for Children in Today’s Society
The University of Belize is also paving roads of sorts for the future of our youths. U.B. will be hosting a biannual community outreach symposium under the theme ‘Empowering Education for Children in Today’s Society.’ It’s a popular event which is usually well attended, especially by students who plan to attend the university, but also [...]

Norris Hall’s Photo Exhibit on Springfield
A black and white photographic exhibition opens this Friday evening at the Image Factory.  It took some convincing for veteran photojournalist Norris Hall to record candid moments in the life of a small Amish community in Springfield off the Hummingbird Highway. His camera lens captured their way of life which shows that while basic and [...]


Annual Symposium On Natural Resources Management Held
The seventh annual natural resources management symposium is taking place at the Jaguar Auditorium in Belmopan. Jamaal Andrewin Communications and Membership Officer MSDC. JAMAAL ANDREWIN "This year we partnered with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre or t...

Murder In Roaring Creek Village Grocery Shop Leaves Residents In Fear and Mourning
A trail of blood leads to the door of Hyde’s Meat and Groceries shop in Roaring Creek Village. On the door is a black bow to mark the passing of its proprietor, 42-year-old, Randalf Hyde, who was shot multiple times last night. Reports are that sometime around 8pm, a ...

Sea Collision In Northern Belize
There was a sea collision up north yesterday evening which left a boat sunken. Thunderbolt Water Taxi in Corozal Town has daily runs from Corozal to San Pedro, but yesterday evening at about 5:30 one of the company’s boats was travelling from San Pedro to Corozal when it was invo...

New Horizons Extends Its Services In The Pomona Valley
Yesterday we told you about the free medical services that New Horizon is offering to Belizeans. Public Affairs officer for New Horizon James Law says presently over 40 volunteers are rendering various medical services for residents of Pomona Village. JAMES LAW "At Pomona ...

Department of Environment Investigates Report of A Fish Kill
On April 12, 2013, the Department of the Environment (DOE) received a report of a fish kill in the New River near the Toll Bridge Area of the Orange Walk District. DOE personnel then responded to this report to investigate the matter. Various checks were made along the New River fr...

American National Fined For Drug Possession
Seventy-four year old American national John Mcleary, a tourist who came on the cruise ship, Norwegian, was fined a total of $900.00 today by Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart after he pled guilty to possession of six point six grams of cannabis and possession of a pipe used for smoking con...

Senior Citizen Charged With Unnatural Crime
Seventy year old David Popper, a retiree of Burrell Boom who allegedly sodomized a 23 year old man, was charged with an unnatural crime when he appeared in Court today. No plea was taken because the offence is indictable. Popper was also charged with wounding and a mischievous act. The...

Family Loses Home In Suspected Arson
There was a reported arson in Belize City early this morning on Berkley Street. According to police, shortly after midnight, the residence of 59-year-old, Judith Morrerra was set on fire. Fortunately only a portion of the house caught on fire. Morrerra was alerted by her neighbor...

Armed and Dangerous Duo Wanted For Robbery
Police are looking for Marvin Neal and Jarod Arthurs Lamb. This follows a robbery reported at a resort on the George Price Highway on Tuesday. A woman reported to police that sometime around ten thirty yesterday morning she was in the laundry room when she was approached by...

Historical Ruling In Court; Oil Contracts Are Null and Void Says Supreme Court
A decision was reached today in court in connection with Oceana’s challenge to six offshore Production sharing agreements. The decision which was in favor of OCEANA and co claimants, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action and the Coalition to Save our Natural heritag...

Inaugural Ceremonies Held For Opening of Boulevard in Belize City; Mayor Explains Other Projects
Even though work has not been completed on Chetumal Boulevard in the Freetown Division, this morning the Belize City Council officially held inaugural ceremonies. According to Mayor Bradley the contract which was awarded to RJB’s Construction came at a cost of $708,000.00. DA...

OAS Assistant SG Ends Visit To Belize
Assistant Secretary General for the Organization of American States, Albert Ramdin, ended his visit to Belize with a press conference this morning at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. Ramdin said during his visit he met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Minister of For...

Bench Warrant Issued For Accused Child Sexual Molester
A bench warrant has been issued for the arrest of 38 year old John Baptist, a Belize City Council employee who is charged with one count of carnal knowledge and 3 counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature. Baptist went on trial last Wednesday and the trial judge, Justice John ...

Belize Bond Rating Upgraded
Last month Government announced that it had met the required threshold needed to complete a debt exchange on the country’s external debt, allowing the restructuring of the country’s debt. On Monday Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Belize’s bond rating fr...

Belize City Resident Charged With Murder of Taxi Man
24-year-old Herman Grant of a Cleghorn Street address in Belize City was formally arrested and charged with the murder of 23-year-old Charles Ariola. Ariola, a taxi driver was shot to the chest while socializing with friends in a yard on George Price Drive in Dangriga on Su...

Belizean Buses Retain Parking Spaces In Chetumal
Three weeks ago Belizean buses were removed from the Mercado Lazaro Cardenas, also known as the Mercado Nuevo or New Market in Chetumal. Love News has been reliably informed that the buses have been allowed to return to the market. This means that things, at least for passengers ...


Man Chopped Several Times While Defending His Property
Blood flowed in the Village of San Felipe in Orange Walk on Sunday afternoon as one man was chopped several times on both hands as he allegedly defended the property he lives on. Israel Olivera has lived in the Village of San Felipe since the age of three. Four years ago, Olivera cleared a piece of land located on the outskirts of the village and built a house for his family. But on Sunday, two men from the village, allegedly supporters of the United Democratic Party, attacked Oliver with a machete while he was at home. The men, according to Olivera, wanted him to vacate the premises and when he refused the situation got out of control. Israel Olivera- Chopping victim “El Domingo llegaron dos muchachos a sacarme de mi casa por un terreno que yo tengo allí que quieren agarrar ellos y se metieron hasta mi cerco y me machetearon la mano.” Carmelita Perez – reporter “Que era la condición del terreno cuando usted fue a empezar a construir su casa?”

Police Release Pictures Of Wanted Men
Tonight police are on a manhunt for two fugitives both hailing from the west of the country. The two men are 20 year old Marvin Neal of Eve Street in Santa Elena Town and 25 year old Jarod Lamb of Ontario Village, Cayo. Marvin Neal is wanted for questioning in respect to the murder of Steven Valencia that dates back to January 24th, 2013 at Trapiche Area in Santa Elena Town. Police say he is considered armed and extremely dangerous. Marvin Neal is suspected to be hiding somewhere in the Belmopan area, Mango Creek in the South, Mahogany Heights in the East and within the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town. And if you doubt Marvin Neal’s criminal record, well, you may want to think again. Marvin Neal and Jarod Lamb are wanted for burglary and robbery after they are believed to have burglarized Rumors Resort located on the Benque Viejo road just outside San Ignacio, yesterday. The duo wiped the premises before making good their escape.

DOE Investigates Case Of Fish Kill
Last Friday we broke the news about the hundreds of dead fish that were seen floating along the banks of the New River stretching approximately six to seven miles from the Belize Sugar Industries Limited up to Tower Hill. Residents of the area are sounding alarm over what appears to be an environmental hazard that has been affecting aquatic life. Those living in the immediate area told CTV3 News that the stench is unbearable and it’s not the first time that the banks of the New River is seen covered with dead fish. The massive fish kill has led to an investigation being launched by the Department of the Environment and the Public Health Department. CTV3 News understands that environmentalist visited the affected areas on Saturday and collected water samples to verify what exactly was causing the fish kill which was concentrated in the area of toll bridge. We understand that DOE personnel also noticed that small-sized fish were coming to the surface for air; these appearing to be in distress. The preliminary investigation; however, was unable to determine the exact cause of the fish kill. However, water samples from the river were collected for laboratory analyses. The results are pending. The Department of the Environment will be conducting follow-up investigations into this fish kill and will be monitoring the river to address the matter. The Department of the Environment is also asking the public to be vigilant and to immediately report to the DOE any other incident, in addition to fish kill, that may affect the quality of the river ecosystem. We will keep monitoring the situation and bring you the results of the analysis as it becomes available.

Belize Sees 30 Murders In Three Months
The Belize Police Department’s Joint Intelligence Coordinating Centre has issued their national statistics report comparing major crimes committed during the first three months of 2012 and 2013. A total of 30 murders have been committed in the three month span of January through March 2013 throughout the country, 26 of those occurring in Belize City alone. This indicates a high increase in murder cases in Belize City since 2012’s statistics shows 11, compared to the 26 currently reported. Orange Walk has zero reported murders this year. All other districts report one each. The total number of murders committed in the Northern Districts of Corozal and Orange Walk, has decreased, since by March of last year, a combination of 6 murders had already been reported, compared to this year’s 1 in Corozal. On a broad scale comparison, 2013 has seen a decrease in robberies, burglaries and theft, with an increase in shooting incidents and murders, nationally. There has neither been a decrease or increase in reported rape cases countrywide, that figure remaining at 7, while carnal knowledge reports have almost doubled from 14 to 25.

Illegal Harvesting Of Rosewood Continues
On Monday Minister of Forestry Lisell Alamilla spoke about the 19 days rosewood amnesty declared by her government during her absence, for the first time. Many questions were answered but the shocking news came when Alamilla announced that government’s twenty-five thousand board foot rosewood, will be sold to GIV Enterprises, a company owned by German Ignacio Vega, the brother of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources Honorable Gaspar Vega. Alamilla explained that the amnesty, which will last until April 26th, 2013, is intended to take stock of all the already cut rosewood that private individuals may have in their possession, and to approve this stock for international trade subject to the conditions of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). But trouble is brewing and that is because the Ministry has received several reports indicating that persons are engaging in the cutting of rosewood after the declared amnesty.

New Horizons Belize Holds Free Clinic For Pets
Over the past 20 plus years, US Southern Command has regularly partnered with the Belize Defense Force as well as the Ministries of Health and Education to conduct combined exercises that make both sides more prepared to respond to humanitarian relief scenarios. This year’s initiative is scheduled to last approximately 90 days with several construction projects to add new classrooms and buildings to existing schools as well as ongoing events providing free medical services to Belizeans. Yesterday we brought you coverage from the New Horizons Team that was in Guinea Grass Village conducting free medical, dental and optometric services. While the medical team was wrapping up their final day in Guinea Grass today, there was a separate New Horizons Team at the Union Town Park in Orange Walk Town. Shelly Gillett – Reporting The New Horizons Exercise is an annual event conducted to train military civil engineers and medical professionals to deploy and conduct joint operations designed to build partnerships with the exercise participants from the host-nation's government and military forces, in this case..Belize. As a part of their three month exercise and deployment, The New Horizons Group was on hand today at the Union Town Park in Orange Walk tending to some of our less recognized, yet very loyal companions...our pets.

Sailing Race Scheduled For Sunday In Honey Camp
The Belize Sailing Association is once again organizing the Honey Camp Lagoon Regatta scheduled to be held on Sunday April 21st, 2013 with a preview day of activities on Saturday April 20th. The Honey Camp Lagoon Regatta forms part of the association’s 7 part regatta circuit which aims at establishing a National Rating system for “one design classes” necessary for Belizean sailors to attend international sailing events. Allan Usher and John Oliver form part of the organizing committee and gave us an insight as to what visitors can expect on Sunday. Mr. Allan Usher-Regatta Organizer “A regatta is a series of boat races and Mr. John will say it is a celebration in the water so when he refers to a regatta you should have a smile in your face and you should have in your mind that it is going to have a lot fun and basically we are going to have a series of boat races on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday right here on the Honey Camp lagoon. There will be about thirty boats on the water and they will be sailing on a course that is about almost three statute miles long, it will be two nautical miles and they would be sailing an international race course. The optimist there will be about twenty or so each with one sailor and the optimist class the sailors are between the ages nine and fifteen boys and girls, hopefully we get people from San Pedro or from the Corozal Bay Sailing Club or from the Placencia Sailing Club and couple of little clubs in Belize City, people from St. Lukes Methodist, people from Buttonwood Bay, Nazarene, people from Belize Elementary and Liberty indeed from Ladyville and I think we have three sailors actually sailing in this regatta.”

Taking A Look At Dysgerminoma Cancer
Last night we brought you the story of 41 year old Bernaldino Barrientos who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Synovial Sarcoma more than two years ago. In order to save Barrrientos’ life doctors amputated his right leg. The 41 year old is presently fighting the disease and hopes to walk again in the near future in order to sustain his family. Tonight we bring you the story of a young female who at the age of 18 was diagnosed with Dysgerminoma, a rare form of ovarian cancer that most commonly occurs in young women of reproductive age. Here is her story. Carmelita Perez - Reporting The most commonly occurring germ cell tumors is the dysgerminoma, which accounts for approximately 2% of all ovarian cancers. Although rare, dysgerminomas are important irrespective of incidence because they most commonly affect women of reproductive age. In fact, dysgerminomas make up two thirds of all malignant ovarian neoplasms in women younger than 20 years. Moreover, once diagnosed, dysgerminomas respond well to therapy, potentially sparing patients from infertility and early mortality.


Inaugural Ceremonies Held For Opening of Boulevard in Belize City; Mayor Explains Other Projects
Even though work has not been completed on Chetumal Boulevard in the Freetown Division, this morning the Belize City Council officially held inaugural ceremonies. According to Mayor Bradley the contract which was awarded to RJB’s Construction came at a cost of $708,000.00. DARREL BRADLEY “I think that this particularly thoroughfare is of great importance and significant benefit to residents including the business community in this area. It provides a major access way from the northern Highway to the Belama community. It was done in a little over three months at a cost of $708 thousand Belize dollars and it was done by RJB’s Construction. The design was provided to us by Roque Matus and it is an impressive design. One of the things that we are pleased to have been able to do on this boulevard was to ensure that the drains were properly constructed and on this project the drains cost more than the streets. We have ensured that we have state of the art drains and they fit into the other development plans for this area including the Flood Mitigation Project.” Also present at the inauguration ceremony was Leader of the Opposition and Freetown Area Representative Francis Fonseca. FRANCIS FONSECA “I want to express my gratitude to the Mayor, the Belize City Council, the contractors, the laborers who toiled to do the work every day and so behalf of the residents, we express our gratitude to you and the Council for understanding and appreciating the importance of this project.”

Senior Citizen Charged With Unnatural Crime
Seventy year old David Popper, a retiree of Burrell Boom who allegedly sodomized a 23 year old man, was charged with an unnatural crime when he appeared in Court today. No plea was taken because the offence is indictable. Popper was also charged with wounding and a mischievous act. The charge of wounding was a wound he allegedly caused to the anus of the complainant and the charge of mischievous act was for allegedly giving the police false information. The prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that Popper’s safety was in jeopardy. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser upheld the objection and remanded Popper into custody until May 17. The incident for which Popper is charged occurred on April 13.

Annual Symposium On Natural Resources Management Held
The seventh annual natural resources management symposium is taking place at the Jaguar Auditorium in Belmopan. Jamaal Andrewin Communications and Membership Officer MSDC. JAMAAL ANDREWIN “This year we partnered with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre or the 5C which also based in Belmopan. The symposium is basically, a platform for professionals in the natural resource and conservation fields to showcase their findings over the past year and you know its an opportunity for the UB students especially to see what is going on in the field because they may not always know what kind of areas of interest are out there that they could get into once they left UB. Each year we normally pick a theme that is relevant to the status of natural resources in Belize and this year the theme is, ‘Meeting National Challenges of Water Security, Climate Change and Social Development. With climate change being the central focus of this symposium, just because it is so relevant to the country. We are fortunate to have a keynote address on climate change from the Executive Director of the 5C of the CCCCC and also a guest lecture from the University of the West Indies Cavehill campus Dr. Adrian Cashman, so they both did keynote addresses related to climate change. As the day progresses the themes shift a bit; we started off with climate change then we shift into basic terrestrial assessments of natural resources; we go into marine management and fisheries; we also do humans/wildlife interactions as one of the main theme. That’s kind of the layout for the day shift.

Murder In Roaring Creek Village Grocery Shop Leaves Residents In Fear and Mourning
A trail of blood leads to the door of Hyde’s Meat and Groceries shop in Roaring Creek Village. On the door is a black bow to mark the passing of its proprietor, 42-year-old, Randalf Hyde, who was shot multiple times last night. Reports are that sometime around 8pm, a man with his face covered, entered the store and pointed a gun at the cashier demanding money. The cashier, who is Hyde’s common law wife was at the time holding their one year old toddler in her hands, Love News tried speaking with her but we only managed one sentence. Randalf Hyde’s common law wife says the scream of the children in the store at the time is what alerted her husband that something was happening at the front. But by that time the assailant had already taken the money from the register. Randalf was shot to the right eye and the left side of his chest. The alleged gun man is said to have disappeared into the bushes across the street from the house. Still alive, Randalf was put into the back of his car and transported to the Western Regional Hospital where he died while undergoing treatment. Mark Hyde, his brother was hospitalized in a critical condition but today he spoke with Love News from his hospital bed, where he is now stable.

Armed and Dangerous Duo Wanted For Robbery
Police are looking for Marvin Neal and Jarod Arthurs Lamb. This follows a robbery reported at a resort on the George Price Highway on Tuesday. A woman reported to police that sometime around ten thirty yesterday morning she was in the laundry room when she was approached by two male persons dressed in dark clothing with a rag tied over their faces. She said the men began to choke her and she struggled with them and in the process she managed to remove the rag from one of the persons. The men then told her they would have to kill her because she had seen their faces. The woman said the men then tied her up and relieved of her jewellery. They then made their way into her house where they stole a number of items including a black Samsung laptop, a cell phone, three watches, an assortment of jewellery and 20 dollars in cash and assorted coins. The men then escaped. With the assistance of the community Police were able to locate the men on a farm in the Trapiche area of Santa Elena. The men were reportedly sharing the loot taken in the robbery when they saw the police. Both men then escaped. Police recovered the stolen items. Police are looking for Marvin Neal and Jarod Arthurs Lamb pending charges of burglary and robbery. Police say residents of San Ignacio and Santa Elena should be on the alert as they believe the duo will strike again and are considered armed and dangerous.

Family Loses Home In Suspected Arson
There was a reported arson in Belize City early this morning on Berkley Street. According to police, shortly after midnight, the residence of 59-year-old, Judith Morrerra was set on fire. Fortunately only a portion of the house caught on fire. Morrerra was alerted by her neighbors who quickly doused the flames. If it hadn’t been for her neighbors, Morrerra who was asleep at the time says that her entire house would have been engulfed in the flames with her family inside. JUDITH MORRERRA “Well what happened is that I heard a banging on my wall and when I got up, it was my neighbor who told me that my house is on fire. So, I jumped up out of my bed along with my husband; I woke up my children, took my phone and I started to call for police and I called for the fire department.

OAS Assistant SG Ends Visit To Belize
Assistant Secretary General for the Organization of American States, Albert Ramdin, ended his visit to Belize with a press conference this morning at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. Ramdin said during his visit he met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Minister of Foreign Affairs WilfredElrington to discuss and listen to concerns on how the relationship between Belize and the OAS can be strengthened. During the press conference, Ramdin addressed burning issues, specifically controversies stemming from the Belize-Guatemala differendum. One of the first issues he discussed was the comment made by Minister Elrington that Belize was not completely prepared to attend the meeting and has requested that no offensive map, meaning a map of Guatemala annexing Belize by a dotted line, be presented at this meeting. ALBERT RAMDIN “Our position is that during and OAS meeting and the general assembly is and OAS meeting nothing should take place, nothing should happen which can be offensive to any other member state of the Organization of American States; so we will be clear to all participants in that regard not to go that route or not to use that opportunity to be offensive or provocative in any way or means.


Paco Smith staunchly advocates the emergence of civil society to serve as a proactive force toward positive change within the policy development arena. Among his many involvements, he is a co-founder of the group Belizean Patriots against the ICJ. For approximately five years, I have monitored and expressed my view in terms of: Recently, an editorial appeared in the Jamaican periodical “The Gleaner”, which spoke of the current status involving Guatemala’s intransigence on the matter of Belize’s territorial integrity. I must express sincere thanks, for the voice of support that has finally begun to emanate from the region! (1) the signing of the Compromis… its folly, and trappings; (2) the need for caution on taking Guatemala on their word, due to their insistence on moving the proverbial goalpost; (3) the double-standard and lack of impartiality demonstrated by the OAS on this matter; (4) the gullibility of Belizean officials to believe that Guatemala would actually adhere to any agreement and subsequent developments that holds the potential for them not to prevail, especially given that the organiser (the OAS) has repeatedly allowed Guatemala virtually unchecked leeway by which to manipulate the agreement; (5) the Belizean government’s well-documented incompetence and ineptitude in dealing with this issue of national security; and

VIDEO: Maya Creation Myth
Based at researched conducted in Belize, this short film details the Maya creation myth according to the Popol Vuh and the importance of the Ceiba tree as the bridge between the heavens, earth and the underworld. This is such a fascinating story with lovely illustrations. Beautifully captured, you will see insects, fishes, birds, crocodiles, jaguars, howlers, and spider monkeys – they all play a part in the story. To learn more about the Maya, check out interesting facts about the Maya, the rise and fall of the Maya, and a short briefing on Maya architecture.

Swim with Whale Sharks at Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn in Belize
Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn, located in Belize’s village of Placencia on the Caribbean Sea, is excited to offer a Seven-Night Whale Shark Package for adventuresome guests looking for a thrill in one of the world’s greatest scuba destinations. Adventure seekers can explore the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and the second longest in the world during Whale Shark season, March through June. During the full moon these months, Whale Sharks share the ocean with divers and snorkelers allowing them to swim right beside these gigantic fish as they glide through the water. Belize is one of the few dive spots in the world that guarantees the return of the Whale Sharks each year. The package includes three 2-tank dives for experienced divers along the barrier reef from the South Water Caye Marine Reserve in the north to the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve in the south. All dive trips are led by a licensed Tour Guide who is also a PADI Divemaster or a certified PADI Instructor. Excursions will take place from Turtle Inn’s beautiful 46-foot dive boat, Miss Ellie, equipped with two 4-stroke, V8- 350 HP engines, VHF marine communication, fish finder, rinse tank for camera equipment, first aid kits, life support oxygen, life vests, diver down flag, and of course, a captain who knows the sea like the back of his hand! Starting at $2,796 USD per diver, the seven-night package includes includes accommodations in a luxurious Garden View Cottage based on double/twin occupancy, daily breakfast, five picnic lunches, five dinners, three 2-tank dives, two whale shark dives and round trip transfers from Placencia Airstrip to Turtle Inn. Available from March 27-July 3, 2013, the package does not include round-trip air or marine reserve park fees. Additional whale shark dives can be added for an added cost.

International Sources

2nd cut reef crest wave action
Waves crashing over the reef crest at 2nd Cut, Belize Barrier Reef. This wasn't even that rough of a day on the water! Lots of fire coral on the crest - need to really time your hops or you'll get blown back over it!

RIP “Chocolate”; a tale of passion
There are times in life when you’re lucky enough to meet someone who doesn’t just have a passion, but who has lived their passion and created a legacy from it. Chocolate’s legacy is the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary off the coast of Caye Caulker, Belize. There you will find the creatures that he has been ferrying tourists out to see since 1968. Not one to benefit through the exploitation of these manatees, he has worked tirelessly to protect them and their habitat. He’s a truly successful eco-tourism story. His effort paid off with creating of Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary in 2002. As the legend goes, he teared up when he received his copy of the statutory instrument that created this sanctuary. In 2003 he was awarded The James Waight Conservation Award and The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Belize Tourism Board.

Oil prospecting halted in Belize by Supreme Court
Belize's Supreme Court yesterday declared offshore oil drilling contracts issued by the government null and void. The move provides a dramatic and potentially definitive setback to The Government of Belize and the petroleum prospecting companies issued the contracts in 2004 and 2007. The ruling, handed down by Justice Oswell Legall, was in response to a case brought by international ocean protection advocacy group Oceana, COLA, and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage. The court overturned the contracts after determining that the government failed to assess the environmental impact on Belize's ocean, as required by law, prior to issuing the contracts, effectively ending the Belizean government's efforts to allow offshore oil drilling in the Meso American Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. "This is a great day for the people and country of Belize and its democratic process and it shows that we, as ordinary citizens, need not sit back and only complain about all the wrong decisions our government makes, but that we can use the Judiciary system to settle them," said Audrey Matura-Shepherd vice president of Oceana in Belize. Oceana, which has campaigned against offshore drilling in Belize for more than two years, has voiced its concern about the potentially devastating impact of an oil spill on Belize's reef and its economy, which depends heavily on tourism and the barrier reef. The companies were granted the oil concessions essentially in secret. Princess Petroleum, whose contract was just overturned, began as a hotel and casino company before it was granted concession to explore for oil.

Chaa Creek's Green Family Friendly Adventures Hailed
Families with a sense of environmental responsibility and a desire to bond over shared adventures are fuelling the growing trend towards “Green family vacations” which, according to one popular parenting magazine, no longer need be Spartan, uncomfortable experiences. And an educator at Belize’s The Lodge at Chaa Creek, which was featured in a recent article in Natural Child World magazine for providing environmental and family friendly vacations, agrees that a growing number of families worldwide now place a high value on environmental sustainability. The Natural Child World article, “Time To Embrace a Green Family Vacation” begins by stating that “We learned that vacationing responsibly does not mean you have to sleep on the ground or cook your meals over an open fire. By doing your research and selecting travel suppliers that support the future of the environment, preserve cultural history and promote local economies we can all take greener family vacations.”

Guatemala Adding Fuel to Belize Dispute
As a Belizean American citizen, I hereby congratulate The Gleaner for its editorial on what Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations should do to Guatemala for failing to comply with the binding agreement it signed with Belize to take their dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final resolution. Guatemala is not going to go to the ICJ because it is convinced that most Belizeans will vote no to go to the ICJ with this dispute, and the Guatemalan government does not want this matter to be resolved once and for all through the courts. Successive Guatemalan governments have been using this issue for decades to divert their people’s attention from more serious internal problems their country is experiencing and to obtain power during the elections.

Mangrove Engineering
putting elements of Biology (Ecology, Photosynthesis, Adapatations, Diversity) into various aspects of Engineering and Architecture for this major coastal protection and restoration project.

Going Paperless: My Virtual Bookcases in Evernote
Some time back, I wrote a Going Paperless post called “Creating a Digital Version of Your House” in which I described how I use tools like Skitch and Penultimate to capture floor plans and measurements around the house that might be useful to have when I am away–say at the hardware store. While I was away on my Internet vacation, it occurred to me, as I was measuring my bookshelves, that it might be equally useful to have a digital version of my bookshelves in Evernote. With something like 1,100 books, I can’t always remember if I happen to have a particular book or not, and it might be useful to have a quick reference. Let me back up a moment and admit that yes, I still have paper books. The books on my bookshelves are part of a collection of books I’ve been growing since high school. They consist of science fiction books, books on science, and history books, as well as some miscellaneous books thrown in for good measure. Many of the books are pretty rare in their respective areas, and many more are signed by authors I admire, or who have since become friends of mine. I know there are database systems out there for keeping track of books, and I’ve tried many of them but they are too time consuming for me. It occurred to me that, thanks to Evernote’s ability to identify text in images and allow you to search that text, an “image library” of my books might be just the trick.


Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!

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Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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