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#463665 - 05/04/13 12:13 PM Today's Belize News: May 4, 2013
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The San Pedro Sun

DOE revokes dredging permit from ‘Royal Belizean Land Company SA’
The Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture via the Mining Unit has revoked a dredging permit and issued a stop order against a development carried out by property owner Darrin Sherry on behalf of Royal Belizean Land Co. S.A. The letter was served on April 25th to Sherry by Mining Unit’s Mining Inspector Michelle Alvarez. The San Pedro Sun first broke the story on April 18th about concerns brought up by a few sport fishermen. The fishermen expressed their issues about ongoing excavation as part of a development located north of the San Pedro Marina Channel (located south-west of Ambergris Caye) on a fragile area considered prime habitat off Ambergris Caye for bone and permit fish, two protected fish species in Belize. The revocation letter states, “You are hereby informed that Registered Quarry Permit No. 85 of 2013 issued to Darrin Sherry for Royal Belizean Land Co. S.A is hereby revoked for failure to comply with the terms and conditions stipulated under RQP No. 58 of 2013. Failure to act in accordance with said instruction will result in legal action taken against Darrin Sherry for Royal Belizean Land Co. S.A” During the investigation, it was discovered that Royal Belizean Land Co. S.A., who was granted permission to dredge, was excavating in an area not approved.

NEMO conducts training ahead of hurricane season
With the hurricane season exactly one month away,the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) countrywide is gearing up for the season. The NEMO San Pedro Branch is no exception and on Thursday April 25th, conducted training with some of its members of the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Management. The training took place at Fido’s Courtyard and had the participation the Deputy Mayor of San Pedro Town, Mayor Mito Paz. According to the NEMO Coordinator for the cayes (Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker) Jeromey Timrose Augustine, there were four objectives of the EOC Management training. “The purpose was for the members to determine the functions of an EOC; look at how an EOC should be sited, designed, set up and operated; see some of the resources required in an EOC and lastly review the importance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) in running an EOC,” said Augustine.

San Pedro Labour Department holds Labour Day Fair
The San Pedro Labour Department hosted a Labour Day Fair on Tuesday April 20th at Central Park. The purpose of the fair was to educate the public of the labour laws of Belize and sensitize the working people on issues involving labour and employment. Many people still do not completely understand their rights as a worker. The SP Labour Department utilized this fair to set up an information booth to display important laws concerning employees and their employers. Individual labour officers had the opportunity to explain the services they provide and address queries put forth by the public or businesses. Emphasized at the fair was the use of the “Public Employment Service” provided by the Labour Department. This service facilitates job placement for both employers and persons seeking a job, and the only way that this service can serve at its best capacity is if all persons are knowledgeable that the service is available. Pamphlets with valuable information on a variety of topics were given out.

Red Cross conducts training at Black Orchid Restaurant& Lounge
The courses offered by the Belize Red Cross will ensure that the work force in the tourism industry on the island have access to Basic First Aid training in times of emergencies. There are already plans to conduct similar training, at Seascape Villas which will be hosted by Las Terrazas on Thursday May 30, 2013. The cost will be fifty dollars ($50) per person. Any business or individual wanting to sign up for the upcoming training can do so by emailing Laurie Norton at tacogirlbelize@gmail.com or Shirlee at shirlee.spbrc@gmail.com.The San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross would like to thank Judyann and Tom Horton from the Black Orchid Restaurant for hosting this month’s training and providing lunch for the participants. Thanks you’s are also extended to Banana Beach Resort and Cowboy Doug’s Pool Bar and Grill for sponsoring a community health worker and post office staff.

Ambergris Today

Successful Training Day for the San Pedro Belize Red Cross
Volunteer facilitators Chris Berry & Jermaine Santos came all the way from Belmopan and Belize City, to give first aid and CPR training to local residents and staff. The San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross would like to thank Judyann and Tom from the Black Orchid restaurant for hosting this month’s training and putting on a great lunch! We would also like to congratulate to all the newly certified trainees and thank Black Orchid Restaurant, Victoria House Resort, The Phoenix Resort, Caribbean Villas, Cowboy Doug's Grill, South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch for joining the First Aid Program and sending staff for certified first aid training yesterday. Thanks also goes out to Banana Beach Resort and Cowboy's Pool Bar and Grill for sponsoring a community health worker and post office staff.

Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow Statement On The Death Of The Three Teul Children
As Special Envoy for Women and Children, I am extremely saddened by the loss of the lives of four year-old TrianaTeul, three year-old Thomas Teul and one year-old TrinayaTeul. I want to express sincere sympathies to the family of these children and ask the rest of the country to join me in keeping six year-old Trina Teul in our prayers as she recovers from the trauma of witnessing this tragic incident. This heartbreaking story is a reminder that we must take issues relating to mental health seriously. The mother, 22 year-old Felicia Chen suffers from clinical depression, a common mental health disorder that many do not recognize as a real health condition. The fact is however, that depression, like other mental health conditions, can consume a person’s life if left untreated.

Misc Belizean Sources

Human Dignity Trust on Caleb Orozco v Attorney General
On 7 May 2013, the Chief Justice of Belize, sitting in the Supreme Court, will hear a groundbreaking challenge brought by Caleb Orozco, Executive President of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNiBAM), which is challenging the constitutionality of s.53 of the Criminal Code of Belize. Section 53 criminalises homosexuality. It states that “every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years”. The Constitution of Belize protects the fundamental rights and freedoms for “every person in Belize.” The Constitution also recognises “the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed.” These rights and freedoms include the rights to dignity, equality and privacy. Caleb will seek to establish that section 53 by criminalising homosexuality violates his human rights and is therefore unconstitutional and must be either struck down or amended to protect private, consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex.

Thank you San Pedro Polyclinic
On a rainy Friday night, January 25th, 2013, I left work, went for a glass of wine, picked up dinner to take home with me, relax, eat and watch a movie. By the end of the movie (around 10pm) I was ill with a very severe case of food poisoning and by 12am Saturday, January 26th, I began vomiting blood. Around 3am with no relief, I recognized that I was going into shock and was in serious need of help. Somewhat skeptical after losing someone about 6 years ago (needlessly because the Polyclinic was neither staffed nor equipped), I called the emergency number and the phone was immediately answered by Dr. Noeli Nicholson who told me I must come right away, and she would open the clinic and meet me there in 20 minutes. Knowing I was in trouble and would most likely be on my way to Belize, I emailed Dr. Mark Musa in Belize City, packed a suitcase, and called Renee, the taxi driver I thought most likely to still be working the Friday/early Saturday nightclub transfers. He wasn’t, he was home sleeping, but he came right away and took me to the clinic, where true to her word, Dr. Noeli was there waiting for me.

Granting citizenship to some Guatemalans violates the Belize constitution
Article-29 (3) of the Belize constitution that deals with dual citizenship reads: No person shall be entitled under the provisions of this Part to be a citizen of Belize or be granted citizen of Belize if such person shows any allegiance to or is a citizen of a country that does not recognize the independence, sovereignty or territorial integrity of Belize; Provided that the (Minister) may in his discretion grant Belizean citizenship to persons falling under this Subsection who would otherwise be entitled to such citizenship under the provisions under Sections 23 and 25 of the Constitution. In this provision it says Minister but there are several ministers in the Belize government Cabinet. Does it mean the minister of immigration or all the ministers of government? This could be interpreted by the ministers of government that they all have the right to grant citizenships to Guatemalans without going through the Cabinet, Minister of Immigration, the Belize House of Representatives and the Senate. I think this ambiguity needs some clarification to say which minister of government is responsible to grant that exception to the rule. Otherwise, some ministers will be abusing their powers to grant Guatemalans citizenship and that poses a threat to our people and country. Have the ministers of Belize government, currently or in the past, granted waivers to Guatemalans to become Belizean citizens? We need an answer to this question now.

ID Seven Website Launched
Id Seven has launched their website. They have a great mission, and their shirts are high quality. "Our website is up! We worked hard for a year to finish it so we could do it ourselves! It may not be all that and a bag a chips but we thinks it's all that and a bag of "haad-time" :D Check it out! Send us ideas/feedback here on Facebook!"

Cayo Event Calendar for May
The Cayo Event Calendar for May is up. If you have any events that need to be added, just let us know. There's a lot going on for Agric this weekend. Belmopan, and Cayo, are celebrating.

September Celebrations Theme Competition
They've announced this year's September Celebrations Theme competition. Good luck! "September Celebrations may be months away, but now is the time to start thinking up a possible theme. Last year's was 'Many faces, Many dreams, one Goal – Celebrating Belize.' For those of you who think you have something just as unique or maybe even more original floating around in your head, submit your themes for this year's September Celebrations!!!!!!"

Mental Health Services in Belize
Here's a list of clinics countrywide that provide mental health services through the Ministry of Health along with contact numbers.

Briheda Haylock Solo Art Exhibit
The Soul Project will be having Briheda Haylock's art exhibit today, May 4th, at 6:00pm.

Belmopan High Quality Vector Map
This is a high quality vector map of the city of Belmopan. It can be customized to any preferred size or color. It is a limited edition and it can also be purchased along with frame. It makes an excellent gift for those wonderful mothers or friends. It can go on cups, t-shirts, brochures, guides, wallpaper, etc. Anybody that is seriously interested in purchasing this piece (either digitally or printed) can email us at ibelmopan@gmail.com.

Basic Bookkeeping Workshop
SBDCBELIZE WILL BE HOSTING THE BASIC BOOKKEEPING WORKSHOP ON MAY 8TH 2013 AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BELIZE, FACULTY OF MANAGEMENT AND SOCIAL SCIENCES IN WEST LANDIVAR. TIME: 9AM TO 12PM TO SIGN UP FOR THIS WORKSHOP KINDLY CONTACT 223-3195 OR EMAIL: HELEN@BELIZEINVEST.ORG.BZ FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Channel 7

Strange, Severe Storm Wrecks Roofs In Belize District
Last night we told you about the brief afternoon hailstorm in Corozal – but we didn’t know that would only be the start of the day’s severe weather. By 9:00 pm last night, a sever thunderstorm and a weird wind from the west was wreaking havoc in the Belize district. It ripped off a few roofs, and we found out more today, about the weather system and the wreckage it left in its wake. Jules Vasquez reporting This is the satellite loop from 5:45 yesterday to last night at midnight and that wisp of blue in the middle descending down the screen is the same systems that produced hail in Corozal and kept going south. Frank Tench - Weather Forecaster "The whole region was covered by thunderstorm activity during the night but the thunderstorms that really affected came from the North West. Some of these thunderstorms eventually came accross Northern Belize and eventually worked their way to central and even southern Belize during the night to produce the outburst of showers and thunderstorms and the strong winds we experienced last night. At the airport we recorded a maximum gust of wind of about 65 knotts but during the episode itselt sustained wind gust wind speeds in the range of 40-50 knotts between 7:00 and 8:00pm last night."

Storms Destroys OW Poultry, Topples 15 Homes, Costs Major $$$
But in Orange Walk, the damage is far greater – they didn’t lose a few roofs, they lost a huge volume of poultry worth hundreds of thousands of dollars! CTV-3 reports that the storm really wreaked havoc in the Central Orange Walk District –toppling 15 homes and killing as many as four thousand chickens in Camp 18 of Shipyard, a Mennonite community.

Another Baby Dead, This One In A Bucket
Tonight, there is more sad news to report about the loss of an infant’s life – as a one year old baby boy apparently drowned in a bucket. It happened in Belize city this afternoon at 2:30 pm. Police were called to a house at the Corner of Mahogany street where one year old Kyle Leslie was found dead in a bucket. According to reports, the child’s mother Tanya Leslie left the one year old and her other child, a two year old inside the house as she was talking to someone outside. When she came back in, she found one year old Kyle face down in the bucket. The mother was at the police station giving a statement this evening along with her landlady.

Man Convicted Of Indecent Assault, Fined, But Not Confined
38 year-old John Baptist Sr., a Belize City resident who was convicted of incident assault against a 6 year-old female minor, got a major break from the Supreme Court today: the judge says he doesn’t have to go to jail! Baptist Sr. was charged with 1 count of carnal knowledge and three counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature. The female, now 15 years-old, testified that sometime between 2003 and 2004, he raped her when she was 6. The minor testified that on three other occasions, Baptist took advantage of her mostly in the nights, when it was either dark, or there was a black out. According to her, he came to her room and touched her inappropriately. After Crown Counsel Leroy Banner closed his case, Baptist presented his defense to the court. In his dock statement, he told the court that at the time of the alleged encounters, he wasn’t anywhere near the house of the child spoke of.

Authorities Want Aaladin Harmouche
Tonight, a 21 year old Lebanese man named Aaladin Harmouche is wanted by police and immigration authorities after his case of illegal entry was dismissed in Benque Viejo court yesterday. According to reports, Harmouche was caught entering Belize illegally at the Western Border on March 26th. He was charged for illegal entry, pleaded guilty was fined a thousand dollars and then remanded to prison, because he had been in Belize illegally – on an expired visitor’s permit – and he was held pending a removal order. He was due back in court yesterday to pay the fine and then face the removal order – but due to a curious mix – up, he never made it to Benque Viejo Magistrate’s Court for the hearing. According to reports, the prosecutor from requested an adjournment, but the Magistrate dismissed the case. It turns out, instead of being in Benque Court, he was at the San Ignacio police station, and when he was finally taken to court at 11:00 am, the Magistrate told him he was free to go – even though he did not have a valid visitor permit and, according to reports, did not pay his fine.

For the First Time, Terminated BWS Employees Speak Out
Last night we told you about the five Belize Water Service Employees who were fired in January and are now taking their former employer to court for wrongful dismissal. Today, for the first time, we got to speak to three of them about their lawsuit. They asked to appear off camera, but told us they must vindicate their name after being terminated under questionable circumstances. Voice of Ex-Employee - BWS "We have filed a court action in the Supreme Court of Belize. The ex-employees feel that we were dealt with wrongly. We were handed a letter of redundancy just as a scape goat to fire us based on implications of involvement of a scandalous letter concerning management and staff of BWS. That is basically our position at this present time. Now you have BWS still hiring people under these same position that became redundant. Maybe they have different name but they do the same thing. That then to me convinces the intention that BWS is not going through a redundancy process - then what is it? Then my union should have stepped in. The fact that gets to me the most is that we have people paying dues to a union who should be there to put that 'metal shield' for them to defend us. As of today at this time we have not gotten any response or communication from the union. We have not heard anything from the Belize Water Services union - nothing at all. That is our mother union - the union that we have paid our dues to. In regards to Mr. Mceifer has been there for over twenty five years and he has not gotten not even an ounce of support or defense from the union any at all, to me that is unfair. In my point of view and in my position, the union has been compromised. How can you have your Vice President and General Secretary get fired and their post has become redundant in one day? And not even a fight, nor a release, nor a phone call to say they are going to get to the bottom of the situation."

PUC Explains Logic Of Miniscule Rate Reduction
Last night, we told you about the PUC’s decision to implement a miniscule rate reduction for BEL in its annual review proceeding. The proposed decrease to the average rate is less than one cent, and the slight benefit will accrue solely to those who need it most: customers who are paying the social rate. Their Minimum Charge will go down from $5.00 to $4.00 per month and their rate will slide from $0.29 cents per kilowatt-hour to $0.26 cents per kilowatt-hour. It represents very modest savings, but PUC’s Chairman, John Avery told the media today, the rate proposal is a welcome buffer for Belize’s energy needs which partially depends on fossil fuels. According to him, prices fluctuate with no warning, and the public has to absorb the spikes in the cost of power production Here’s an excerpt of that 1 hour long press conference:

Cancer, The Key Is Awareness
May is Cancer Month and the Belize Cancer Society has organized a number of awareness-raising activities. The theme is: “CANCER: “Did you know? Get the facts!” and the Society’s Public Relations Officer and says the strongest weapon against this deadly disease is knowledge. Daedra Haylock - Public relations, Cancer Society "That is exactly what we are trying to do - give the facts about Cancer and help people to understand the lifestyle issues surrounding Cancer and help people to be more aware of the issue and to help them make decisions, manage their care, to help family members and their friends. The entire month is dedicated to education and building awareness. We will be visiting media houses to talk about Cancer, to offer information and to try and help people to determine how to manage the situation and how to help others that may be suffering with cancer. Yes, indeed the publicity that we gained on the issue of cancer with the Prime Minister's wife situation and her being so open, bold and courageous to let us know and able to follow her care is indeed a plus. It has made people more aware, more comfortable talking about the situation. If it's made one more person comfortable that is a success. We are asking everybody to participate and to get ahead of the issue and to not be afraid to contact us and the groups in your areas and get the information that is necessary."

Patrick Menzies Says He Was Beaten, Cops Say He Beat One Of Them
Last week, 7News told you about 28 year-old Patrick Menzies and his latest run-in with police. Well tonight, he’s out on bail after he was taken to court for it. As we reported, on last week Thursday, Menzies got into an altercation at a Belize City bar with Police Constable David Griffith. They reportedly started to fight, and Menzies allegedly knocked out PC Griffith. That’s around the time when, according to reports, Menzies was arrested by responding police officers, who allegedly beat him. Well, the allegations of police brutality have to take a backseat because Menzies was charged with wounding, and today he was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. He pleaded not guilty and was granted bail of $500, which he was able to meet. He must return to court on June 26, 2013. Menzies is also out of bail on 2 counts of attempted murder against Police Constables Delwin Casimiro and Natasha James for trying to run them over in 2011.

UNIBAM: The Big Issues
The UNIBAM Case goes to court on Monday, and let’s put it this way: we’ve never had a Supreme Court case promoted in a television advertisement. But, that’s how high the stakes are for Monday’s big showdown. As many as eight local and foreign Senior and Queen’s Counsels will crowd into the Chief Justice’s courtroom for the hearing. And while the arguments will deal with human rights, church and state, section 53 of the criminal code and other weighty issues….at the core, it’s about the individual – and his right, or his wrong to have relations with men, and whether that somehow up-ends the social order, or if it just leaves people to do as they please in the privacy of their bedrooms. In July of 2011, Janelle Chanona explored the complex stew of issues that arise from this case – to keep things in context for Monday’s hearing, we re-visit her report. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, May 13th 2011 "I would limit myself to saying that the government as a government has taken the position that it needs to argue for the constitutionality of the law that is in place that's being challenged and so I would not go beyond that official position. I am not prepared to comment on my own physiological conviction or lack thereof. That is the official position of the government. This is one time when it might be wise for me to say nothing more."

Trading On Turneffe
The Turneffe Atoll was recently designated a Marine Protected Area – after years of work to get it done. But declaring it is one thing, properly protecting it is quite another. And that’s where two international conservation groups come in; they are the Blue Marine Foundation and Fauna & Flora International. They will help set up the protected area – and on Wednesday they launched that joint effort at a reception. Alamilla Explained the importance of it: Hon. Lisel Alamilla - Minister of Fisheries "Well we would have declared that area as a Marine Protected Area even without having identified the funding because it's important for Belize to protect that area because of its Bio-diversity and of it's importance to the livelihood of fisher folks. But having some money to move this forward is very helpful."

Channel 5

3 slain children laid to rest
A heart wrenching funeral was held today for the three Teul children who were killed last week. Their mother, twenty-two years old Felicia Chen has been charged with their murder and is under observation for her mental state. One child, the eldest, survived the horrific incident; she ran for help telling a neighbor and police [...]

Dead from immersion syndrome, what is it?
Now, the Teul siblings were drown by their mother at Belizean Beach. But on Tuesday, post mortem examinations conducted by Dr. Mario Estradabran on the bodies of the kids stated that they died as a result of immersion syndrome.  That would be the second time in less than a week that the medical term would [...]

Freak storm damages Shipyard
Most of the country experienced the effects of severe thunderstorms on Thursday night, starting in the north and heading south. There are reports of extremely strong winds, lightning, heavy rains and in the north, a hailstorm was experienced in the afternoon. The freak weather, coming on the heels of an intense heat wave has passed, [...]

John Baptist fined 11 grand for indecent assault
Thirty-eight year old John Baptist Senior of Belize City was tried last week for having sex with a six-year-old child back in 2003 and of sexually molesting her on three other occasions.  At the conclusion of the trial, a jury of nine found Baptist guilty of two counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature [...]

Murder Trial discontinued following disclosure by jury members
The murder trial of George Street resident, Kirk Smith, who was accused of the August twenty-fifth, 2010 murder of well-known Wesley College employee, Eyan Arnold aka “Trouble” came to a sudden halt today in the Supreme Court of Justice Adolph Lucas just hours after the trial had kicked off.  That’s because two jurors, one including [...]

Electricity bill goes down a little for social rate customers
The Public Utilities Commission, following a request from Belize Electricity Limited in early April, has approved a nominal reduction in the cost of energy per kilowatt hour for social rate consumers which is even less than was sought by B.E.L.  It’s a negligible markdown of one percent which represents a discount of three cents per [...]

UNIBAM trial gets underway on Tuesday
The most significant trial in our young nation’s history gets underway on Tuesday, May seventh, when the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Caleb Orozco versus the Attorney General of Belize. The long awaited day in court has been preceded by a very tangible increase in propaganda on the ground and in the media. Those [...]

Anglican Church sends message to governments on marriage
On the eve of the UNIBAM case, the Anglican Diocese has issued a strong statement on the definition of marriage. Protecting marriage as a union between man and woman was one of the central topics discussed in the past few days by the House of Bishops of the Caribbean and the Standing Committee of the [...]

Professor says Belize should go to ICJ to settle unfounded claim
The special agreement that would have formed the way to the International Court of Justice is still intact, but both Belize and Guatemala have cast aside plans to go to the ICJ for the time being. But the discussion on the best plans to end Guatemala’s unfounded claim continues. A professor with expertise in international [...]

Maritime law expert says that Belize could lose some of its sea
In Australia, Professor Gullett works along with the University of Wollongong’s research center in ocean law and policy. While Gullet believes that the ICJ would rule in Belize’s favor on land, his expertise in maritime law compels him to believe that the country may lose territorial waters because of the concave area shared with Guatemala [...]

Belize in money laundering scheme originating from Argentina
Belize is being named in an alleged money laundering scheme originating in Argentina and spanning many countries.  Press reports say that a leading Argentinean businessman, Lazaro Baez; his son, Martin Baez; and others were accused of money laundering in recent days.  The allegations surfaced through a television program of a well established journalist who linked [...]

Sadie Vernon teachers speak of mismanagement at school
There is trouble brewing again at the Sadie Vernon High School in Belize City…and as it has in the past, the contention is between the teachers and the principal. The irritant is the mismanagement at the institution, according to the teachers. On Thursday night, a concerned group came to News Five’s studios to express their [...]

Who owns land at foot of Dangriga Bridge?
News Five has still not been able to get official comment from the Ministry of Natural Resources or from Anthony Garincha Adderly on the land dispute in Dangriga. As things currently stand, Adderly is in control of the land right at the foot of the Main Bridge, and rents stalls to vendors who operate from [...]

Sculptor now forging Antonio Soberanis
You might think that business expert, politician, author, community activist and sculptor Stephen Okeke would have his hands full. You might also think that after all the trials, tribulations and controversy surrounding his bust of Phillip Goldson that he would have sworn off sculpting. But you would be wrong. In fact, Okeke is in the [...]

Positive Vibes from the musician
There is a new album that will hit the stands at music outlets around the country this weekend. “The Musical World of Positive Vibes” is being released on Saturday at the Agricultural Trade Show by the local Punta Rock Artist. A mixture of Dancehall, Punta Rock and Reggae, Positive Vibes says that the album is [...]


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#463666 - 05/04/13 12:13 PM Re: Today's Belize News: May 4, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here

LOVE FM

PUC Explains Decision On BEL's Submission on Tariffs
The Public Utilities Commission, PUC, today held a press conference to explain the details of its decision made on the Belize Electricity Limited’s submission on tariffs. Here’s the PUC Chairman, John Avery, with a summary of the minute difference between what was ini...

Belize's Annual Agriculture and Trade Show Happens At The Weekend
The National Agriculture and Trade Show 2013 will be officially opened tonight at the Show grounds in the City of Belmopan. Chief Agriculture Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Eugene Waight, says that this year, there is a wider emphasis on Agriculture. He told us mor...

Belizean Man On The Run In Virginia, USA
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are asking US citizens primarily in Farmville Town in Virginia State, USA, to be on the lookout for a Belizean who is on the run in that community. The Southside Messenger Newspaper of Virginia has published a picture of Joel Fuentes...

Escaped Prisoner Shot and Recaptured
A prisoner who escaped from the Punta Gorda Magistrate’s Court this morning was reportedly shot upon his recapture. Police say that at around 9 this morning, remanded prisoner, John Bermudez, was at the court for a robbery charge when he escaped from out of the defenda...

European Union and University of Belize Boast Graduates of Primary Education Project
The European Union and University of Belize’s Banana Belt Primary Education Project was officially closed off during a ceremony this morning at the Independence High School Auditorium in the Stann Creek District. The project was funded by the European Union at one point two...

One Brother Acquitted; The Other Fined For Drug Trafficking
Twenty-two year old Leo Wilson, one of two brothers charged with drug trafficking for 89 grams of cannabis, was fined $10,000. today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser after he was found guilty of the charge. He was ordered to pay by August 31. If he defaults on payment he will ser...

Judge Says 10K For Crack Cocaine
Twenty-two year old Egbert Jones, a laborer of Picstock Hutment , was fined $10,000. today by Senior magistrate Sharon Fraser after he was found guilty of drug trafficking for4.2 grams of crack cocaine. Jones was given until August 31 to pay. If he defaults on payment he will serve...

Judge Fines Man For Aggravated Assault of An Indecent Nature
Thirty-eight year old John Baptist, who was convicted of 2 counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature, was fined $5,000. for the first count and $6,000. for the second count today by Justice Troadio John Gonzalez. He was ordered to pay $1,000. by the end of May a...

LOVE TV

PUC Explains Decision On BEL’s Submission on Tariffs
The Public Utilities Commission, PUC, today held a press conference to explain the details of its decision made on the Belize Electricity Limited’s submission on tariffs. Here’s the PUC Chairman, John Avery, with a summary of the minute difference between what was initially submitted and later approved and how they arrived at their figures. John Avery “In BEL’s submission they proposed a mean electricity rate for the upcoming annual tariff period of 47.93 cents as opposed to the 48.86 cents per kilowatt hour that the Commission had approved on January 11 of this year. You may recall we conducted an exercise in December in which we reviewed the Final Decision for the 2012 ARP and as a consequence we have seen significant increases in the cost of power supply from Mexico and significant reduction in the amount of electricity supply from BELCOGEN and from the hydro sources in Belize. We were forced to increase the rates effective January 1st in order to help to cover a shortfall of about $45 M in additional electricity costs that BEL incurred due to the factors I just told you being higher purchases from CFE and less production from Belcogen and BECOL. Now, in this ARP, we are again reviewing that very period that we did in the amendment decision and so the $44 million that we made in corrections that resulted in the increase in January, after we have actual figures up to December, that amount of corrections when coupled with other corrections for 2011 – 2012 annual tariff period, it increase the corrections from 44.8 million from that amendment in January to 45.2 million roughly, now in this ARP.”

European Union and University of Belize Boast Graduates of Primary Education Project
The European Union and University of Belize’s Banana Belt Primary Education Project was officially closed off during a ceremony this morning at the Independence High School Auditorium in the Stann Creek District. The project was funded by the European Union at one point two million dollars and was implemented by UB in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. Love News spoke with one of the teachers who graduated from the program, Joel Coleman who told us the program was a wonderful one. JOEL COLEMAN “I am happy that we have finally come to the end. I have seen that because of this program we will definitely have changes in our classrooms in the Stann Creek District. It never comes late; it comes in time because there was a need for us to improve the quality of teaching in this area. So I am happy that we are given the opportunity and I am happy that we went through all the struggles and hardships of completing this project and we will come to this end and I think it’s fruitful and on the other hand when we look at the training of teachers, quality teachers mean quality classrooms mean better quality students; so the students, am sure that after this training , teachers and school will work at a quality level where students will be performing at the level which is desired in this nation; quality students and good result.”

Escaped Prisoner Shot and Recaptured
A prisoner who escaped from the Punta Gorda Magistrate’s Court this morning was reportedly shot upon his recapture. Police say that at around 9 this morning, remanded prisoner, John Bermudez, was at the court for a robbery charge when he escaped from out of the defendant’s bench and ran out of the court room. Bermudez was later re-captured but was shot in the process and was admitted for observation and treatment at the PG community hospital.

Belizean Man On The Run In Virginia, USA
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are asking US citizens primarily in Farmville Town in Virginia State, USA, to be on the lookout for a Belizean who is on the run in that community. The Southside Messenger Newspaper of Virginia has published a picture of Joel Fuentes as a 36 year old as a man with a previous criminal conviction. The paper’s Thursday’s online edition states that Fuentes and David Vasquez-Sanchez of Mexico escaped from the detention center in Farmville this past Monday. The two scaled a fence in the centre’s recreation yard and then crawled under a gate on the west side of the facility to flee. Vasquez-Sanchez was captured, but US authorities have warned US citizens in the area to refrain from attempting to apprehend Fuentes but instead to alert them if they spot anyone matching his description. The Farmville Detention Facility houses detainees for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

Belize’s Annual Agriculture and Trade Show Happens At The Weekend
The National Agriculture and Trade Show 2013 will be officially opened tonight at the Show grounds in the City of Belmopan. Chief Agriculture Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Eugene Waight, says that this year, there is a wider emphasis on Agriculture. He told us more about what to expect of this weekend of NATS 2013. EUGENE WAIGHT “We will have the Mennonite community there from Spanish lookout which we know in a big community in terms of agriculture production, in terms of grains, poultry, the whole dairy industry has a big concentration there and beside that we are bringing other subsectors within the industry. We will have the citrus industry, banana industry even the cacao growers and the chocolate companies will be out there this year. Beside we have a whole group of probably in excess of 20 different cooperatives that will be there, showcasing the different product that they have invested and developed in terms of value adding. So I think in terms of agriculture, besides the ministry, has its own demonstration unit which will be an eye catcher this year; the Central Farm booth is always an eye catcher and if it was last year, this year it will be even better. Aside from that we have other department like the Fisheries department, we have the department of environment, Forestry, the ministry itself has its own extension staff and this is one of the areas that many people go on Sunday to buy vegetables and fruits because you normally get fruits you probably wouldn’t see in your regular supermarket or store in your district.

PlusTV

Former employees of Belize Central Prison take grievances to Court
Last month news broke of the stand-off between former employees of the Belize Central Prison and the prison’s managers, Kolbe Foundation. Those former employees had publicly charged the organization with firing too many employees without due process, among other charges made in a documentary released on Facebook. After prison...

BWS Former Employees Take Labour Dispute To Court
There is another labour dispute before the courts, involving five former employees of Belize Water Services (BWS) let go in February, supposedly because their posts had become redundant. But the employees, identified as Don Gillett, Colin Morrison, Charlette Barnett, Michael Novelo and Journett McKoy, have filed suit as of...

Forest department will enforce Rosewood restrictions
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development has found itself in the spot light of late since its sudden announcement of a rosewood amnesty. That amnesty period closed last week Friday and some four days later, hundreds of rosewood flitches were still spotted on compounds in the South....

Guilty Child Molester only gets fined
Last week Tuesday, April 23, 38-year-old John Baptist Sr., a Belize City resident who was accused of having sex with a 6-year-old child back in 2003, and also accused of sexually molesting her on three other occasions was found guilty of 2 of the four counts. Today during mitigation...

Storm causes structual damage in Ladyville and Lord’s Bank
Yesterday afternoon’s powerful storm spawned a hail shower in the Corozal area but also left significant damage in Belize City and the Ladyville/Lord’s Bank community. PLUS News spoke to a homeowner in Belize City who suffered as a result. Anthony Jones – Storm Victim: A rain was starting, and...

Weather Forecaster explains cause of severe storm
At the weather bureau, forecaster Frank Tench Jr. was tracking the storm which spawned sustained winds of 57 miles per hour, average for a tropical storm, with maximum winds approaching 75 miles per hour, the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane, both measured at the International Airport. He tells...

Dr. Malik Soudah explains medical school admission policies
Tonight, we bring you part two of our coverage on the American Global University School of Medicine (AGUSM) press conference. Yesterday, Dr. Malik Soudah, the school’s chief administrator and President of American Academic Services, addressed multiple topics on the history and practices of AGUSM. One of his sore spots...

Escaped prisoner gets shot and taken to hospital
A manhunt for an escaped prisoner ended with him getting shot. John Bermudez, was in court on a robbery charge at the Punta Gorda Magistrate Court, yesterday morning, when he fled from the defendant bench and dashed out of the courtroom. Authorities were later able to track him down,...

Two men detained for ammunition offence
Two Belize City men were detained after they were caught near Belmopan with unlicensed ammo. Last night, Police were on patrol in Roaring Creek, when they set chase on a vehicle with three men inside. When they reached the George Price Highway, the car stopped in front of a...

Organisations call for emphasis on social and mental health issues
The drowning death of the Teul infants allegedly committed by their mother, who has since been diagnosed with chronic clinical depression, has garnered much public awareness to mental health illnesses. Prompting organizations such as the Special Envoy for Women and Children as well as the PUP and the NCFC...

World Press Freedom Day recognized
World Press Freedom Day – which highlights the need for action to upholding the right of journalists to carry out their work, is being recognized today. The theme for this year is “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media.” Over the past decade, more than 600...

Silas Sabal releases new Christian Music CD
Silas Sabal, Gospel singer, song writer and producer has released his latest album titled “His Love Has Taken me Over.” PlusTV caught up with him down south where he was on a promotional tour. Silas Sabal – Christian Recording Artist: This is my new project and this is a...

Amandala

BLOOD SISTERS, BAD BLOOD!!
Michael Figueroa charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, and Figueroa’s common-law wife, Stephanie Welch, was charged with threatening words directed against her own sister on Tuesday. The days are super hot right now, and so are tempers in Hattieville: two blood sisters have differences of opinion and their children and husbands are being sucked into the dispute. Two days ago, Stephanie Welch, 32, was charged in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court with assaulting Kimberly Ramclam, 37, the principal of the Hattieville Adventist Primary School, and threatening to burn down the home of her (Stephanie’s) sister, Elorine Fuller, and have men shoot it up. Just moments after Welch was arraigned before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, her nephew, Glen Requeña, 22, Elorine’s son, was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm after Welch told police that Requeña pointed a gun at her after telling her that “…one ah unu wanh dead now.”

TRAVIS NAVARRO, 19, CHARGED WITH MURDER
Police say he fatally shot Dennis Rajiv Gonguez, 21, when he stepped out of Brown Sugar. Travis Tyler Navarro, 19, a resident of #12 Gaol Lane, was charged with a single count of murder for the death of Dennis Rajiv Gonguez, 21, when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith this afternoon. Gonguez was murdered on Monday evening as he stepped out of the San Pedro Water Taxi, located inside the Brown Sugar compound on North Front Street. Reports are that at 5:50 Monday evening, when Gonguez stepped out of the establishment, a dark-complexioned young man wearing a white T-shirt, ¾ jeans pants and a peaked cap, came from out of hiding in the yard of St. Mary’s Church, located across the street at the corner of Gabourel Lane and North Front Street.

AUTOPSY SAYS FELICIA CHEN’S THREE CHILDREN DIED OF “IMMERSION SYNDROME” AT BELIZEAN BEACH
Dr. Mario Estradabran, police coroner, performed the autopsy. An autopsy conducted on the three children, Trinaya Felicia Teul, 1, Thomas Teul, 3, and Triana Teul, 4, who were found dead in the sea in the Belizean Beach area after supposedly being drowned by their mother, Felicia Chen, reportedly determined the cause of death to be “Immersion Syndrome.” Survivalworld.com describes “Immersion Syndrome” as being caused by “prolonged exposure to wet conditions at temperatures from 50 degrees F to 32 degrees F (10 degrees C to 0” C).” The autopsy was conducted on the bodies of the three babies on Monday, April 29, by police coroner Dr. Mario Estradabran at the morgue of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The children died about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, when, according to police, their mother, Felicia Chen, 22, took them into the sea in the Belizean Beach area and drowned them. The babies were recovered from the sea and taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where they were pronounced dead on arrival about 1:30 p.m. that Saturday.

FELICIA CHEN, 22, SUFFERING FROM “CHRONIC CLINICAL DEPRESSION”
Chen has to be housed at a mental facility for her own safety. Felicia Chen, 22, a mother of four, is accused of drowning her three youngest children at the Belizean Beach, then attempting to drown herself. Chen was arraigned yesterday, Monday, before Magistrate Dale Cayetano on three counts of murder, but before an adjournment could be set, it had to be determined whether it would be safe for her to be housed at the Hattieville Prison or at a mental facility, the name of which was not mentioned. An evaluation was then ordered to determine what her state of mind is, and if she would be a threat to herself if housed at the prison. It must be understood, though, that the court was not trying to determine what her state of mind was at the time of the triple drowning, but whether she needs to be in a place where she can receive treatment if needed.

PRIMARY SCHOOL NAIL-BITER THRILLERS ON THE ISLAND; HOLY REDEEMER GIRLS AND EPHESUS SDA BOYS ARE BELIZE CITY 2013 BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS
Attending students and a few accompanying parents were treated to two fantastic basketball thrillers this afternoon at Bird’s Isle, where the Sports Council supervised tournament featured the female and male Finals of the Belize City primary schools basketball tournament. Sixteen (16) male and seven (7) female teams participated in the tournament, which just tipped off a couple weeks ago on Monday, April 15. The male semifinals were held on Tuesday of this week, and we got to see a bunch of talented youngsters in tough competition, whetting our appetite for the Finals. Ephesus SDA prevailed, 31-26, over a game St. John Vianney squad in the first male semifinal, with Antaun Palacio and Delbert Sabal netting 13 points apiece for the winners, while James Pugh Ephesus SDA was Delbert Sabal, who led them to victory with 10 points, including some clutch free throws. Deon Edwards had 8 points for St. Martin’s. scored 8 pts for the losers. In the other semifinal, it was St. Martin De Porres dominating the smaller sized Wesley Upper boys, 28-14, with Glen Arzu leading St. Martin’s with 10 pts, while Jahmar Harris had 14 pts for Wesley.

PREMIER LEAGUE ANNOUNCES PLAYOFF CHANGE; POLICE TO HOST BDF AT FFB STADIUM
The Premier League of Belize is pleased to announce that a change has been made to its Tournament Fixtures for the Play-off Round. See the following below: Upcoming Playoff Round 1 schedule: Saturday, May 4 7:30 p.m. – #3 Police United FC vs Belize Defense Force FC – FFB Stadium Sunday, May 5 4:00 p.m. – #4 FC Belize vs #1 Belmopan Bandits FC – MCC Grounds The playoff Round is a two-game knockout (#1 Seed vs #4 Seed and #2 Seed vs #3 Seed). The lower seeded team will host the first game. Please note that Police United FC will be hosting the Belize Defense Force FC at the Football Federation of Belize Stadium in Belmopan.

THE NATIONAL BANK Editorial
At his press conference on Monday morning, Belize’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dean Barrow, announced the establishment of Belize’s first national bank. It is sensational news for us Belizean nationalists, because it is probably the only way forward where Belize’s domestic economic development is concerned. This is a bold step by our embattled Prime Minister. Before we proceed, let us say that the only thing we wanted to hear about at that press conference was rosewood, because we are very, very angry about what is happening with rosewood. This is a situation where Belize’s elected politicians are defying and violating the expressed wishes of the Belizean people. Belize’s elected PUDP politicians did this before, repeatedly, with the selling of Belizean passports. And now, they are doing it again. Shame on the Government of Belize. Lord Acton, may he rest in peace, was right. To the best of our knowledge, this national bank idea was first proposed by the late, brilliant Dr. Leroy Taegar. Since Taegar died a couple years ago, Bill Lindo had taken over the national bank baton. None of these two were given any credit for the idea, however, when Mr. Barrow made his announcement earlier this week. So that, if the national bank concept works, and it almost assuredly will, it is Mr. Barrow who will get the credit for the idea.

AGRI Editorial
Belize’s national agriculture show began more than forty years ago when the seat of government was moved from Belize City to Belmopan. At the time Belizeans were still quite idealistic in our nationalism, and the feeling was that agriculture and agro-industries would be the mainstay of the Belizean economy. Back then, it was not foreseen that things like oil, tourism, real estate, and offshore banking would have the impact that they now have on the Belizean economy. Our farmers and ranchers have lost their headline status at Agri to all the buy-and-sell businesses, such as telecommunications, which have taken advantage of the unique sales opportunities which Agri offers during its two spectacular weekend days. Exactly when agriculture became secondary to trade and business at Agri, we can’t say. But, we are not here to examine or denounce that change in Agri. What has been, has been. We come to celebrate Agri today, for the sociological phenomenon that it is. It is the one annual event where Belizeans of all classes and ethnicities and colors and opinions, come together and mingle for an entire weekend. These Belizeans come from every single part of Belize, and it is Agri that offers the best opportunity for a bird’s eye view of the diversity which is Belize.

FROM THE PUBLISHER
“If you or I wish to change something fundamental in Belize’s status quo, then we would have to seek political power. In order to achieve that political power, we would have to become as corrupt as the UDP and the PUP are. That is the dilemma of so-called activists in Belize.” - pg. 13, FROM THE PUBLISHER, Amandala No. 2700, Sunday, April 28, 2013 You will seldom hear any of the ideas proposed or discussed in this column and our newspaper’s editorials come up for analysis and discussion on any of Belize’s mainstream media. I am referring to the electronic media – radio and television. From time to time, The Reporter, our newspaper competitors in the field of print media, will publish material challenging our theses. This amounts to fair comment, which is acceptable and, in fact, welcome. Our various political opponents over our 44 years in public life, and sometimes these opponents have been UDP and sometimes they have been PUP, have mostly resorted to ad hominem attacks, which is to say, they attack me personally, which allows them to avoid a discussion of the ideas which Amandala presents. All the radio stations, except for KREM, are 20 years or younger. In television, and I stand to be corrected, Channel 7 is about 30 years old, but for many years they did not feature domestic news and editorials. Channel 5 is a little more than 20 years old, I think.

PRIME MINISTER CALLS JUSTICE LEGALL RULING ON PETROLEUM CONTRACTS “EGREGIOUSLY WRONG”
Legall ruling against 6th Constitutional Amendment “of no practical effect,” he also said. “…the minister can say to the landowner—whether you like it or not—I am making an order that the concession-holder go onto your land” The Government of Belize does plan on appealing the April 16, 2013 decision of Justice Oswell Legall in which he declared six offshore petroleum concessions to be “unlawful, null and void,” as well as the April 19 decision of the judge in which he ruled certain portions of the Sixth Constitutional Amendment to be “unconstitutional, null and void.” “I don’t think there is much practical consequence to any of those two judgments,” Prime Minister Dean Barrow commented at his press conference on Monday. Barrow confirmed that Government’s legal counsels have already prepared documents for the appeal. “I’ve seen our grounds of appeal and I believe that the lawyers described that as an aberrant ruling on the part of the judge, and I completely and unreservedly endorse that,” Barrow told the media.

$60 MILLION FOR BIL
Chamber and NTUCB to get seats on BIL. Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced Monday that he will increase the number of directors on the board of Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL) from 7 to 9, to accommodate the inclusion of representatives from the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Barrow made the announcement in light of allegations made by the Opposition People’s United Party that BIL is a “hustle vehicle” for the ruling United Democratic Party. In his response to Barrow’s budget speech, Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca had said in March that, “We should all take note of BIL. I want to sound the alarm bells now. I expect this to be a UDP-hustle vehicle that will seek to avoid the rules and regulations of Government. Why is this private company necessary to carry out the work of Government? Will this company be competing with the private sector? Who will it be purchasing materials and supplies from? Who will manage this company?”

CCJ HEARS BELIZE BANK APPEAL FOR BZ$43 MIL LCIA ARBITRATION AWARD AGAINST GOB
“This is an unusual case where a Prime Minister, by his signature, has purported to create a special tax regime:” Michael Young, SC, tells the CCJ. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), seated in Trinidad and Tobago, today heard the appeal lodged by BCB Holdings Ltd. and The Belize Bank Ltd. against the Attorney General of Belize, in relation to the BZ$43 million arbitration award granted by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) back in 2009. The judgement will be delivered at a later date. Michael Young, SC, appeared today for the Government of Belize, while Eamon Courtenay, SC, and Ashanti Arthurs-Martin, appeared for the appellants. Both sides had foreign attorneys as a part of their legal team. The dispute dates back to October 2008 and it originates out of a settlement deed which set out tax concessions that the then administration of Said Musa made with the parties, in getting them to abandon litigation by the Michael Ashcroft group against the Government over shares in Belize Telemedia Limited (formerly Belize Telecommunications Limited).

PUC’S INITIAL DECISION CALLS FOR LOWER LIGHT BILLS, BUT FOR SOCIAL RATE CUSTOMERS ONLY
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) today issued its initial decision in response to the rate application submitted by the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) last month as a part of the 2013 Annual Review Proceeding (ARP). The PUC said that whereas BEL had recommended a Mean Electricity Rate (MER) of $0.4793 per kilowatt-hour, along with specific adjustments to specific regulated values, and specific tariffs for various consumption bands for various customer classes, the PUC, after its review, has approved a rate of $0.4865 per kilowatt-hour. The current MER was fixed at $0.4886 per kilowatt-hour in January, when electricity rates went up by 17%. Today’s PUC decision would mean a negligible 0.4% rate reduction, but for one category of consumers. “Due to the small reduction in the MER, the only current tariffs adjusted were those for the Social customer class. The minimum charge was reduced from $5.00 to $4.00 per month and the electricity rate/tariff was reduced from $0.29 per kilowatt-hour to $0.26 per kilowatt-hour,” said the PUC.

Blogs

Beachfront Condo and Lagoon side apartment for rent
For those of you who are considering taking the plunge and moving to Belize or already live here and in the market for new diggs, this post is for you. Both beachfront condo and lagoon side apartment are available now with a minimum 6month lease. To view either apartment please call Angela at 626-9527 La Hacienda Apartments are located about a mile and a half south of town. Hacienda is a 1bed/2bth super spacious 2nd floor corner unit. dock, pool quiet and safe. It is 800sq ft , fully furnished, air conditioning, ceiling fans, wireless connection, cable. Potential for second bedroom as well as for sale lease option to buy. $600 usd, electric runs about $200 bzd if air conditioning is used a lot and water $50 bzd.

International Sources

Virtual Tour of Belize by Travel Informed
Please click the link below (or cut and paste to it to your browser) to access one of the most outstanding virtual tours of Belize produced by Travel Informed. Included are 10 destinations: Cayo, Stann Creek, Punta Gorda, Placencia and some atolls. Kindly read the browsing tips first when you open the link. Click arrow on the left hand side to drop the destination bar and do enjoy!

Former diplomat wins right to 'substantial' compensation after Foreign Office withdrew him from service over 'scurrilous' sex accusation from politician's wife
A former top diplomat has won the right to substantial compensation from the government after a judge ruled the Foreign Office let him down when he was wrongly accused of touching the rear of a senior politician's wife. John Yapp - our man in Belize until his sudden suspension in June 2008 - said he was left 'shell-shocked' when his superiors confronted him with the bizarre allegation levelled by an opposition politician from the central American state. He was suspended from his post as High Commissioner with immediate effect, London's High Court heard, and never re-engaged at ambassadorial level. The 61-year-old was summoned before an FCO mandarin while on leave from Belize in June 2008, said Mr Justice Cranston, and hit with accusations that he had a 'bullying' management style and had 'displayed inappropriate behaviour towards women at social functions'. That allegation was described as 'unfounded and scurrilous' by Mr Yapp's QC, Jane McNeill, and it was ultimately rejected after a full investigation by the FCO's own disciplinary panel.

Teaching crosses cultural boundaries
When first-grade teacher Jean Kirshner stepped into a classroom in Belize in 2007, she knew her life would never be the same. She could not foresee then how many other lives also would change because of that visit. Kirshner said she simply saw a need from which she could not turn away. “I was stunned because there were no books or school supplies,” said the Mammoth Heights Elementary School teacher. “It was heartbreaking. I knew I couldn’t get back on that plane and leave it.” That visit was the impetus for the Belize Education Program, now a twice-yearly international visit by school staff from Belize and the Douglas County School District. Each fall, DCSD teachers and principals spend their fall break sharing educational practices in Belize, and every spring, staff from Belize visit Douglas County schools.


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