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#465684 - 06/01/13 12:07 PM Today's Belize News: June 1, 2013
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Specials and Events

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


The San Pedro Sun

Street Treats: Late night Park food
San Pedro may be known for many wondrous assets such as the reef and white sand beaches, but for the younger generations that reside here it’s all about the late night activities. Clubbing, like many of my fellow counter parts is one of my favorite naughty habits. After a long night of dancing and sharing a couple cocktails with friends you may become a victim of the “late night munchies”. You may ask yourself “where can food be gotten in the wee hours of the morning?”

Lionfish Tournament highlights the problematic fish invasion
Wahoo’s Lounge held a Lionfish Tournament that coincided with Hol Chan’s Reef Week activities. The tournament saw 3 groups join in the fight to stop the rampant lionfish invasion. The lionfish were believed to have been introduced into the Atlantic Ocean in the 1980’s via the US aquarium trade. With a lifespan of over 15 years and growing up to approximately 20 inches, the lionfish is a voracious carnivore that consumes over 56 species of fish and many invertebrate species up to half its body size. The Lionfish possess venomous spines capable of deterring predators (and inflicting serious stings and reactions in humans). Capable of inhabiting all marine habitat types and depths, a single female lionfish can spawn over 2 million eggs a year, reproducing gelatinous masses of eggs that can disperse over a large body of water, every four days.

Government of Belize Pledges Fifty Thousand Dollars to Belize National Football Team
In the afternoon of Thursday May 30th, the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow met with members of the executive of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB). During their meeting, the Prime Minister pledged a donation of Fifty Thousand Belize Dollars (BZ$50,000), on behalf of the Government of Belize, to assist the Belize National Football Team as they make their historic journey to the Gold Cup Tournament in the United States in July. Present for the meeting were Senior Vice President, Mr. Sergio Chuc; Vice President, Mr. Rawell Pelayo and Executive Member, Mr. Marlon Kuylen.

13 gold presentations at the San Pedro Primary School Festival of Arts 2013
Primary school students from Ambergris Caye filled the Rafael Angel Nuñez Auditorium on the evening of Wednesday May 29th for the annual Primary School Festival of Arts 2013. The event is held under the auspices of the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. There were 24 presentations by five of the six primary schools on the island. This year, the event was held under the theme “Celebrate our Artist – Promote our Identity.” Speaking at the short ceremony, Jorge Aldana, the Vice Chairman of The San Pedro Town Council Cultural Committee, said that Festival of Arts is the right platform to foster young minds in developing their talent in the areas of music, dance and drama. “NICH and the Ministry of Education are committed to the promotion of contemporary performing arts and it is for this reason that we want to showcase the talents of the youth of this community at this Festival of Arts.

Ambergris Today

Almita Pinelo Graduates From US Coast Guard Academy
Alma Marcela Pinelo received a scholarship through the Belize Defence Force in June 2009 and had the opportunity to study at a prestigious military institution, The United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, Almita graduated from the US Coast Guard where she studied Marine Environmental Sciences. While at the US Coast Guard Academy, not only did Almita receive military training, she also studied Marine and Environmental Sciences for four years and will now become a part of the Belize Coast Guard for six years where she will be the Coast Guard Adjutant and work along with Command Master Chief Jones.

Government of Belize Pledges $50,000 to Belize National Football Team
On Thursday, May 30, 2013, the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow met with members of the executive of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB). During their meeting, the Prime Minister pledged a donation of Fifty Thousand Belize Dollars (BZ$50,000), on behalf of the Government of Belize, to assist the Belize National Football Team as they make their historic journey to the Gold Cup Tournament in the United States in July. Present for the meeting were Senior Vice President, Mr. Sergio Chuc; Vice President, Mr. Rawell Pelayo and Executive Member, Mr. Marlon Kuylen.

Sweet Smell of Success at Belize Chocolate Festival
Hundreds of visitors flocked to the Toledo District over the Commonwealth Day Holiday weekend for the District’s annual celebration of chocolate, cacao and culture. The opening Wine, Chocolate & Belikin evening was a sell-out success, with guests enjoying chocolate from Belize’s four chocolatiers, wine from Premium Wines, farm-fresh food from Belcampo Lodge, and specially-brewed Belikin Chocolate Stout, the event sponsors. Saturday’s Taste of Toledo street fair (sponsored by Belize Telemedia) showcased the best of Toledo culture, arts and crafts, and food. The District’s quality cacao has inspired a number of local cooks and restaurants to create unique dishes using cacao and chocolate, and the Festival cookery competition produced a number of extremely high quality entries, ranging from FruitFul’s “fru-shi” dried fruit creations to Cotton Tree’s home-produced bacon with chocolate, IxCacao’s chocolate ginger chicken, and Warasa Garifuna Drum School’s double-chocolate stout cake. The judges, who included Festival founder Darla Mallory, awarded first-prize to Driftwood Café for their vegan tamales with chocolate chili, and the dessert category first-prize went to Boneville Café for their double-chocolate cupcake with cacao-nib frosting.

Belize Tourism Industry Association Objects Southern Cruise Port Development
Indications are that Norwegian Cruise Line is underway in purchasing Crawl Caye, located in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve (a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site), for a large tourism project which includes two cruise ports of entry in the Stann Creek District. This week the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) joins Placencia residents against the giant cruise port development, citing several environmental impacts to the area and economic impacts to the country. Belizean Minister Godwin Hulse is said to be heading a sub-committee for the project, while there are a couple cabinet minister that are against it. The project involves a 30-year concession which would include exemptions on import duties, income tax, general sales tax among other incentives, the use of foreign labor, fast tracking of permits, including environmental, construction, dredging and filling permits and operation of passenger tenders.

Misc Belizean Sources

Dia del la Marina Xcalak MX
The Municipal Delegation and the Port of Xcalak, MX make an attentive and cordial invitation to all the people of Corozal to attend “El Dia de La Marina” to be held on 1 and 2 June where we will be celebrating the 113th anniversary of our beloved Xcalak and the commemoration of Dia de La Marina (Navy Day) and, hopefully with your support we can enhance this event. Bring the entire family. Please ensure that you call for accommodation ahead of time if you will be spending the night, otherwise yoou may be spending the night in Mahajual.

VIDEO: PM Speaks on Gender Policy
Gender Policy seeks to harmonize but highlights divisions about sex, prostitution and politics. "Government policy is going to be informed and should be informed by a respect for diversity of all types including diversity of sexual orientations.” says PM. Church was not consulted on the policy.

Benque HoC Heritage Tour Sign
The Benque House of Culture got their Heritage Tour sign installed. They are stop number 4 on Benque's new Heritage Tour. Did you know it used to be the police station? If you want to see the brochure for the tour, along with the map, it's here: "This structure served as the Police Station from the early 1950s until 2000. It was officially opened as the House of Culture on 6 September 2001 under the auspices of the Community of Artists for Cultural and Historical Endeavors(CACHE) and the National Institute for Culture and History(NICH). The permanent exhibit includes a historical timeline of Benque Viejo, archival materials such as documents and artifacts donated by Benqueños. Among the objects stored in the HOC is a marimba, the autochthonous musical instrument. The House of Culture organizes temporary exhibitions by local and foreign artists and promotes a range of activities and workshops in music, visual arts and crafts."

Inspiration Telethon Today
The Inspiration Telethon is today, from 8:00am through 6:00pm, and most every channel will be showing it. There will be scores of Belizean artists performing throughout the day, live from the Bliss Centre. In Cayo, you can donate in front of Atlantic Bank. There will be a place in Spanish Lookout too, and in Benque, and Belmopan. Help make the Inspiration Center a reality.

Bullet Tree Corn Fest Weekend
The Bullet Tree Corn Fest is this weekend. The Queen of the Corn beauty pageant is tonight, along with a dance afterwards with DJ Diamond. Tomorrow, it's an all day festival, that starts with a canoe race, and ends with a dance. "Once again the beautiful village of Bullet Tree Falls comes alive. This time better than ever. It's Corn Fest Day. Come and enjoy yourselves on Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st of June. On Friday come and witness the selection of Mrs. Bullet Tree Corn Fest. four beautiful, gorgeous ladies are vying for this prestigious title. It all starts at 6:00p.m. After the pageant you can dance with D.J Diamond. On Saturday 1st of May, the day starts at 9:00a.m with a canoe race from Benque Viejo Del Carmen to the Salvador Fernandez Bridge in Bullet Tree Falls followed by a whole day Football Quadrangular... You are all welcome with open arms to the scenic village of Bullet Tree Falls."

Vote for BNE in Getenergy Awards
Belize Natural Energy is one of 2 companies that made the short list for Getenergy's 'Learning at the Core' award, an award that recognizes a company's work towards educating their staff. You can easily vote for BNE by visiting the site, choosing them, and clicking submit. The contest is only open until June 4th at 3:00pm. Good luck, BNE! "We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the Getenergy 2013 Awards – celebrating excellence in education and training for the oil and gas industry... This award recognises the oil/gas company which has made the most significant contribution to their staff learning and development in the past 12 months."

Channel 7

DPM Vega Dodges the Media, Leader Of Opp. Blasts Him
Last week, we started following the story of the funds paid out for the San Antonio Road, and after running into serial stonewalling and dead-ends, yesterday we finally got the facts from Prime Minister Dean Barrow. As we reported, Imer Hernandez Development Company, owned by Deputy PM Gaspar Vega’s nephew, was paid just under $200,000 for upgrading works on that road which joins Orange Walk Central and Orange Walk East. The problem is that nothing was ever done on the road, even though receipts we have showed that payments were made. Well, Barrow told the media yesterday that from what he’s found out, the contracts signed for work on the San Antonio Road were canceled, but the money was used anyway to do work in the Otro Benque area, which is in Deputy Prime Minister Vega’s constituency. Barrow described it as a sort of diverting of funds which was - to use his word - “unsatisfactory” that the payment was issued saying that works were done on the San Antonio road when in fact no work took place. He said that these were only the preliminary facts, and that he wanted to complete his investigation into the matter. Today, DPM Vega made a public appearance at the 2013 Cane Farmers Day in Orange Walk, and after the ceremonies, the media tried unsuccessfully to speak with him. We wanted to ask whether the diverted funds were used to pave Clarke Street, where he and his brother live.

A Record Lobster Bust – Right Before Season Opens!
Lobster season opens on July 15th – and that’s when the co-op’s start receiving the premium priced crustacean. But, there are a few rogue fishermen who use the open season as a sort of amnesty period for lobster that was fished in the off-season. It’s breaking the rules, but doing it in a way that’s hard to detect – since the lobster doesn’t appear until the season opens. But, today the fisheries department came down hard on one such violator – by making a record bust of full-sized, off-season lobster. Here’s the story. Jules Vasquez reporting These 19 large garbage bags of out of season lobster are hauled up out of a large receptacle gushing water. There are about 145 tails in each bag that works out to over 2,500 lobster tails - that’s over a thousand pounds of regulation sized lobster, it's the largest bust of out of season lobster in memory valued at about twenty thousand dollars at the co-op. Hampton Gamboa - Fisheries Supervisor, Conservation Compliance Unit "We have here approximately a large quantity of lobster that was found in a freezer in a residential establishment as well as two freezers in an establishment, a residence." Jules Vasquez "Is this the largest bust that you can recall in recent memory?" Hampton Gamboa

“Ms. Pam” And Son Get Off Tampering Charge
Viewers may remember 42 year-old Pamela Garnett, the wife of Jermaine “Horse” Garnett, and her son, 24 year-old Mark Vernon, who were charged for witness tampering. Well tonight, they are free of all charges after the witness who they were allegedly tampering with didn’t show up to testify against them. As we reported, 23 year-old Cassian Bennett and his stepfather, 30 year-old Jermaine “Horse” Garnett 35 year-old Kenneth Barrow were all charged with the murder of 19 year-old Raheem Requena, which occurred on December 19, 2012. There was a witness who told police that these men were the shooters, and several days later, she told police that Garnett and her son Vernon tried to pay her $5,000 to withdraw her statement. When that didn’t work, she said that these 2 sent a message saying that they had placed a $20,000 price on her head, and that when the witness was killed, the men would walk free. As a result, police arrested and charged both of them attempting to suppress evidence. Vernon was additionally charged with using violence against a witness, and they were remanded to prison.

COLA, Leader Of Opp. Condemn KHMH Press Conference
The KHMH held its big press conference yesterday –where it was explained that a tragic mix of a virulent bacteria and, to a lesser extent, a breakdown in communication protocols were to blame for the deaths of seven newborns. Watchdog group COLA today issued a release saying it “is not satisfied with the answers provided by the head table.” COLA says “the hospital has…failed to establish who, if anyone is responsible for the presence of the bacteria and the subsequent deaths.” And so, COLA is having an emergency meeting this weekend, and will host a press conference early next week. The statement says, quote, “We remain committed to finding…a sense of justice for the families robbed of their loved ones in this tragedy.”

Leader Of the Opposition Gives A Grateful Nod To Audrey
Audrey Matura Shepherd – did she willingly resign, or was she forced to do so because of anti-gay comments she made in her Amandala column? She denies that she was pushed out, but concedes that OCEANA introduced a new policy that would effectively prohibit her from continuing to speak openly against a move to legalize sodomy in Belize. Today, the Leader of the Opposition, who has benefited substantially from OCEANA’s work, said he stands in solidarity with her:… Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition "Audrey enjoys my full and unqualified support. I have great respect for her as she has always been a strong advocate for many different issues but of recent she has been a strong advocate for our environment, in particular our oceans. I have enjoyed a very good working relationship with her in that regard. I have always been proud to associate with her in terms of her work as the Vice President of OCEANA in Belize. I regret greatly that this discussion that is taking place in Belize today has led to this and divided our society and has led to this situation. As Audrey said it was her decision to resign because she did not want to place her organization in a compromising position where they were the source of attacks that were really aimed at her personally; so I regret that this is the case."

New Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Get A Break On Utilities
Beltraide has been pushing hard for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises – and another leap forward was announced today. It is in the form of a partnership with utility companies, BTL, BEL and BWSL. The idea is to give start-up companies an ease in their utility connections – not in the costs, but in the first time connections. Here’s how it works:… Dr. Dionne Miranda - G.M. Customer Services, BTL "What we found out from all young entrepreneurs or small businesses starting is that the initial cost start up is the hardest so they tent to operate within the grey or the black market because they prefer to use a cell phone that has no listing because that is the best way but when someone wants to find them you can't find that little fudge company that Melanie brought up earlier. Basically you can't find them, they don't have a phone, they don't have a fixed location, water, light nor all of the things such as food handlers certificates and those things if you don't do it the proper way. At the end of the day their business is not successful because they didn't start it properly in the first place. What BELTRAIDE is doing is finding out every start up barrier that you have ever had in starting up your business and going to everybody and negotiating to see how they can get you to start your business the right way to guarantee success. Because when you do things half way you can't achieve full success - that is BELTRAIDE's purpose here today."

Tobacco Awareness In Belize
World No Tobacco Day was observed in Belize today under the theme, “Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship.” The National Drug Abuse Control Council held public education and awareness activities country-wide to focus on the ills of tobacco. We visited the Public Information Event at NDACC in Belize City. Susan Gilharry - District Coordinator, NDACC "Across the world right now they are celebrating World No Tobacco day which is held on May 31st whereby it just focuses on the consumption of tobacco whether you smoke it or chew it and the health effects that it causes. You know in Belize right now tobacco consumption is very high especially with the smoking so therefore we're just informing the public about the health effects that can happen while consumption of tobacco is occurring. For our council in each district they are having something an information day to inform the public but in Belize District we invited the BFLA, the police department, dental health just because those are all related to the Tobacco use. Today as observed as well as No Tobacco day but we can make everyday a World No Tobacco Day." NDACC is also conducting a smoking survey.

Masked Police Cover The Courthouse
Today, masked, heavily armed police guarded the Belize City courthourse as 22 Year-old Mexican Zurisaday Villasenor Mendez was brought for trial. He’s the one who was busted with a large weapons cache at the Las Vegas Hotel in the Corozal Free Zone. Police say that they found 7 guns, including AK-47’s; 12 magazines; 144 bullets; several small quantities of marijuana; cocaine; and communication equipment. Well, the matter has been before the Magistrate’s Court for several months now, but can’t move forward because Mendez’s attorney, Arthur Saldivar has made a constitutional challenge against the sitting magistrate saying that she has deprived him of a fair trial due to her security of tenure. According to Saldivar, she is a contract officer, which causes her to be incapable of being independent and impartial. Well, that constitutional challenge has brought the case to a grinding halt, but despite that, Mendez had to be brought back before the court today but not the court on Corozal, because it has been moved to Belize City. The masked police officers created an air of tension but they didn’t do much else, because Mendez had a brief hearing. The case can’t move forward until the constitutional challenge is heard.

Cane Farmers Celebrate
As we told you early this week – it was a very good year for Belize’s Sugar Cane Industry. Deliveries were up, quality was higher than ever and sugar production was up, which should also mean greater earnings for farmers when the final payment comes due in November. It’s a remarkable turnaround for an industry that only five years ago was in a shambles. That rebound was celebrated today in Orange Walk at the Dia De Los Cañeros – where national leaders paid tribute to the Cañero. Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition "Our most important acknowledgment and recognition today is reserved for our farmers, our Cañeros and Cañeras. Those who work the land each and every day to make it possible for us to have a sugar industry. Today I am here to honor you and to pay my respects to each and every one of you for your contribution to Belize's development." Hon. Gaspar Vega - Minister of Agriculture "Only ten years ago the international donor communities were strongly advising you to exit sugar production. Sugar, citrus and bananas were termed the 'Sunset Industries'. The reality is that over the last ten year these three industries have earned Belize over $2 Billion in foreign exchange earnings."

Belizean American Rises From Recession With YouTube Cooking Show
Every Belizean family has recipes for its favorite foods from fried jacks to Johnny cakes to rice and beans. But now one Belizean American woman who resides in California has gone international with hers. Barbara Mcnab Grinage has self published her own cook book. Now, it’s surely not the first cookbook with Belizean recipes – far from it. But what makes this effort notable is the counterpart to the book – which is an online cooking show, where making dukunu with canned corn never looked so easy! We found out more about Barbara Grinage’s unusual rise to internet fame. Monica Bodden reporting From fry jack to conch soup to trifle to Creole bun to that old staple, rice and beans, Barbara Mcnab Grinage can cook it and the Belizean American has put it all on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/thebarepantryshow Barbara Mcnab Grinage - 'Beans, Rice and Jesus Christ' "So I decided to launch a YouTube show because it allows you to broadcast yourself for free and as a matter of fact once you get it going and they see that you're consistent - they will start paying you to keep the show on the air. That show is phenomenal, I have over 2200 subscribers in a short space of time - like a year or so. They are all types of people, Thailand, Phillipines, Australia, Japan and all the different parts of the world."

Profile Of A Survivor
This week’s “I Am Belize” profile is about Sharon Baird and it is a fitting end to cancer month. And that’s because Baird is a survivor, and thought every day is a struggle, she explains to the profile what makes her determined to carry on.

New Mexico Police Donate
The Belmopan Police Department is the recipient of a generous donation of equipment and training from the New Mexico Police Department in the United States. The partnership came about as part of a programme called The Word At Work – and today at the Police Training academy n Belmopan, the representative of the New Mexico Police Department told our colleagues at PLUS TV about the training:… Donor of Gears for Police "The training here started on Tuesday morning. What we're looking is to training the officers how to search, detain and handcuff a subject safely so no bones are broken and no one is hurt. Sometimes they go to the hospital, it happens but that isn't our intent. I heard there was a great need for some holsters and some gear in Belize so I got with some friends back home and with some other officers and I was able to get some good donations. Duty belts, Holsters, Handcuffs and Pouches - just stuff that we use on a normal day to day basis back home but they don't have the luxury down here to have them on full time basis." Police in Belmopan "My officers know when they are on duty and foot, motorcycle or mobile patrol that they will professional - their gun will be properly secured in their holsters, handcuff cases, duty belt, vests that you're going to see them around in Belmopan." Over 75 officers from the entire Cayo district received training between Tuesday and today….

Darnell Is Clean
And before we close tonight there is late word from reliable sources syaing that it has been announced that the winner of the 2013 Cross Country Darnell Barrow has been confirmed as champion after his test came back negative for any doping substances. Normally, this type of stuff wouldn’t even be news except that it had been aggressively rumored for weeks that he had tested positive. Well, that’s not the case. That rumor possibly stemmed from the report that one of the drug samples taken from one of the riders came back inconclusive and had to be sent back. But we have learned that one was not Darnell Barrow’s sample. So his historic victory has been confirmed and prizes will now be distributed.

Channel 5

Francis Fonseca calls for head of Minister of Health and independent investigation into neonatal deaths at K.H.M.H.
On Thursday, the K.H.M.H. Board of Governors, Management and the Prime Minister Dean Barrow sat at the head table of a press conference. It was to provide an update on [...]

Show me the money! Leader of Opposition says irregularities in monies paid to Vega’s nephew
And just as there were no answers as to who will be held accountable for the neonatal deaths, there are also none available to the question – why did Imer [...]

Fonseca says Vega has many questions to answer
The destruction of the northern Mayan Archaeological Site of Noh Mul is still very much front and center, even after three weeks without charges being levied. Again, Deputy Prime Minister [...]

FECTAB comes out blazing against $100 million tourism project on Crawl Caye
There is also an update on the one hundred million dollar tourism project for Crawl Caye which is within the World Heritage Site. The Prime Minister on Thursday said that [...]

Pamela Garnett and son, Mark Vernon acquitted of witness-tampering
Forty-two year old Pamela Garnett and her son, Mark Vernon, were acquitted of charges of Attempting to Suppress Evidence and Using Violence against a Witness when they appeared in magistrates’ [...]

Leader of Opposition weighs in on voided oil contracts
There is increased scrutiny on the onshore drilling case between OCEANA and Government in the wake of the resignation of Vice President of OCEANA Belize Audrey Matura-Shepherd. Government is appealing [...]

Cane Farmers Day
If you’re from Belize City, or anywhere else but the north of the country, odds are that you may not have known that today was El Dia de Los Caneros, [...]

Cane farmer celebrate successful crop year 2012
And if the mood today seemed jubilant, there was good reason. Last year’s crop season was considered an exception one, with unprecedented production and quality of cane. And this year’s [...]

Commercial poaching in Chiquibul
With assistance from PACT, the Friends for Conservation conducted research from October to March on the effects of poaching of game species within the Chiquibil. The finding of the report [...]

Barrow on Gender Policy 2013
May 2013 has probably generated more interest and controversy in the Government’s gender policy than in all the years combined since its first issue. Mired with controversy over definitions of [...]

REACHing out to youths through the creative arts
A new N.G.O. introduced itself publicly on Thursday; it is called Research, Education and Advocacy for Social Change.  As the name suggests, REACH will be actively promoting social change. In [...]

The launch of Micro-Enterprise Utility Start-up Package
A partnership between the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service and the various public utilities, to provide direct support to small business owners and new startups, has resulted in the [...]

The Hector Hoare Resource Center at Stella Maris
A lab at the Stella Maris Primary School in Belize City was transformed and today officially opened earlier today. It is the proud accomplishment of resourceful teachers and staff of [...]

Dorothy Menzies Child Care Center received donation from Hospital auxiliary
The Dorothy Menzies Child Care Center is home to some sixty underprivileged youths at its King’s Park location. Well today, the youths had reason to celebrate as much needed supplies [...]

LOVE FM

Illegal Lobster Tails Confiscated; Reports of Illegal Hunting of Hicatees Turtle Reported
This year lobster season was officially closed more than three months ago on February 15th and is expected to re-open on June 14th but some fishermen seem to be impatient as a freezer of lobster tails amounting to nine plastic bags at an approximated amount of two thousand and six hundred lobster...

CRFM Ministerial Council Meets In Barbados
The Seventh Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is underway today in Barbados. Policy makers are aiming to boost the standards of living of fishermen, particularly in small scale fisheries. Participating countries include the Bahamas, Barbados, ...

Pallotti Burglarized; Prom and Graduation Monies Gone
Schools seem to be the favourite targets for burglars and Pallotti High at the northern entrance to Belize City is no different. The fourth form graduates find themselves engaging along with the school to raise funds that were already collected but stolen in a recent break-in. A s...

Today Is World No Tobacco Day; Belize Imports Millions of Dollars Worth of Cigarettes
The National Drug Abuse Control Council, NDACC, and the Ministry of Health in conjunction with supporting national and international health partners is celebrating World No Tobacco Day today. To commemorate the day, the NDACC is conducting public education and awareness activities across the coun...

Leader of the Opposition Weighs In On Various Issues
Leader of the opposition Francis Fonseca was in Orange Walk today and he gave his views on a number of issues. He gave his reflections on the findings presented of the ongoing investigation regarding the 12 neo-natal deaths earlier this month at the KHMH. Fonseca spoke lengthy but gen...

COLA Issues Statement Regarding Press Conference on Neonatal Deaths
Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action, COLA, has issued a statement regarding yesterday’s press conference in which Prime Minister Dean Barrow addressed the issue of the twelve neonatal deaths at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. In their statement COLA explains their dissat...

Police Parts Scuffle Among Prisoners on Remand
Today a couple of prisoners were involved in a scuffle at Magistrate’s Court today. A group of prisoners were being escorted to the Queen Street Police Station from the Magistrate’s Court after their case was further adjourned. Reports are that as the men were being pushed...

Case of Witness Intimidation Falls Apart In Courtroom
The case of two people who were charged with threatening a witness fell apart. The charges against Pamela Garnett and Mark Vernon were dismissed today. Garnett and Vernon were charged with Attempting to Suppress Evidence and Vernon additionally charged with Using Violence against a Witness....

Another Failed Murder Case; Belize's DPP Says Witness Tampering and Intimidation Has Led To A Perceived Failed Justice System
Another murder case has fallen through the cracks and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, has laid the blame squarely at a loophole in the system. Today the DPP sent the details of the arrests and subsequent cases that were overturned by the court. To it she attach...

Beltraide Launches Package for Start Up Businesses
This morning the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) introduced the “Micro Enterprise Utility Start-up Package Initiative this morning. The initiative is being carried out in partnership with Belize Telemedia Limited, Belize Water Services Limited, and Belize Electri...

PM of Belize Says Government Is Doing Due Diligence on Crawl Caye Project; PM Explains Payment Voucher For Road Works In Northern Belize
Since tourism investors and environmentalists have raised concerns over a proposal put forth by Norwegian Cruise Line to construct a cruise tourism port on Crawl Caye, the discussion on the issue has remained current. On Thursday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that while there may be an e...

Belize Ranks As One Of Ten Happiest Countries In The World
Belize has been featured in Travel Channel’s World’s Top Ten Happiest Countries in the World. The online article suggests that according to the Happy Planet Index which is the leading global happiness measurement, the happiest countries are mostly Latin American. Belize is...

LOVE TV

A Duo Accused of Threatening Witness In Murder Trial Walks Free
The case of two people who were charged with threatening a witness fell apart. The charges against Pamela Garnett and Mark Vernon were dismissed today. Garnett and Vernon were charged with Attempting to Suppress Evidence and Vernon additionally charged with Using Violence against a Witness. This follows the December 19th, 2012 murder of Raheem Requena who was shot on Kut Avenue in Belize City. Cassian Bennett and Jermaine Garnett Alvarez were charged for the murder. The aunt of the victim reported to Police that Garnett, who is Bennett’s mother and Garnett’s wife, had called her and offered her five thousand dollars to retract her statement. When she refused, she alleged that Mark Vernon, another Pamela Garnett’s sons threatened her. Following that, she said that she received another message that a hit was placed on her. The two were charged. Pamela Garnett was offered bail and shortly thereafter, the witness, absconded to the US in fear of losing her life. The case was adjourned for today and the Prosecution was compelled to proceed because another adjournment was not allowed. However, the DPP points out that the police, when they recorded the witnesses’ statement, did not do so in the presence of a Justice of the Peace or a Magistrate, which is a prerequisite for the admission of a statement in the absence of a witness or where a witness is too afraid the testify, under the Evidence Act. The statement hence, could not be tendered as evidence and the case was dismissed against both defendants.

Newly Established Entrepreneurs May Benefit From Waivers From Utility Companies
This morning the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) introduced the “Micro Enterprise Utility Start-up Package Initiative this morning. The initiative is being carried out in partnership with Belize Telemedia Limited, Belize Water Services Limited, and Belize Electricity Limited with added support from the Government of Belize through its Public-Private Dialogue. The initiative is geared to promote, strengthen and support entrepreneurship development in Belize with an ease on cost of establishment. That ease will come from the utilities companies, BTL, BWSL, and BEL through an affordable utility package. According to Lejia Melani Gideon, the Deputy Executive of BELTRAIDE, the mission is to create economic prosperity through entrepreneurial development and approval for the Micro Enterprises status will be given to qualified businesses. LEJIA MELANIE GIDEON “Over the last few months the public and private sector dialogue office has been working with the three utility companies to devise packages where a micro enterprise can be able to establish their business with minimal cost. The package is designed to waive the connection fee and the deposit fee for micro enterprises so monies can be used for other business activities than for the actual start up.

Government Explores Possibility for Crawl Caye Project; PM Explains Payment Voucher in Question
Since tourism investors and environmentalists have raised concerns over a proposal put forth by Norwegian Cruise Line to construct a cruise tourism port on Crawl Caye, the discussion on the issue has remained current. On Thursday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that while there may be an existing Memorandum of Understanding with Norwegian, that doesn’t mean that it will translate into overnight development. Rt. Hon. DEAN BARROW “I’ve had a letter from the Placencia Tour Guides Association and I think, they appended to that letter, a petition with a number of signatures. The thrust of that letter is that they fully support the Crawl Caye project and that the village in a large majority supports the Crawl Caye Project. In formal conversations with one of the officials from that organization, there’s a feeling that the big hoteliers have their all-inclusive resorts; they do their own touring, they do their own dive work and they are set and it’s wonderful and we all certainly rejoice over the fact that overnight tourism is surging but they think that there is a lot they can get out of cruise tourism. Norwegian is talking about an investment of possible a hundred million dollars, at least, in my view, given the need for employment in that area, given the need for opportunities, government must have the conversation that it is having with Norwegian.

Travel Channel Says Belize Is A Happy Place To Be
Belize has been featured in Travel Channel’s World’s Top Ten Happiest Countries in the World. The online article suggests that according to the Happy Planet Index which is the leading global happiness measurement, the happiest countries are mostly Latin American. Belize is ranked as number seven and the subtitles under a picture of blue Caribbean waters and two tourists on a Kayak reads, quote, “With the second biggest barrier reef in the world, a laidback Caribbean lifestyle and a favorable climate, there’s a lot to be happy about in Belize. But its cultural diversity is what is truly believed to make this country so content and welcoming: European, Creole, Hispanic and Mayan are some of the prevalent groups that form one harmonious culture here” end quote. The Happiest Countries appear in the following order: Guatemala, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Panama, Jamaica, El Salvador, Belize, Columbia, Vietnam and Costa Rica. To check it out you can visit www.travelchannel.com.


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Unanswered questions at KHMH Press Conference
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) promised answers with regard to its investigation into the deaths of seven premature infant babies who died as a result of contracting the bacterium Enterobacter cloacae. A total of 13 babies died in 15 days at the hospital but the remaining six are...

Prime Minister Barrow admits Churches were not consulted on Gender Policy
The backlash concerning the National Women’s Commission’s Revised Gender Policy 2013 continues to grow and on Thursday the press asked Prime Minister Dean Barrow how the Government views the document. First, PLUS News asked whether the churches were consulted in its writing. The Prime Minister says no. Prime Minister...

DPP complains of intimidation of witnesses
Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal reported this afternoon that a case brought against 42 year old Pamela Bennett Garnett and her son, 24 year old Mark Vernon for attempting to suppress evidence, and against Vernon separately for using violence against a witness was dismissed after the Magistrate’s Court...

Residents near KHMH incinerator express concern for their health
PLUS News has been following the progress of a petition forwarded to the KHMH Board of Governors and Public Health Bureau concerning usage of the - hospital’s incinerator to burn medical waste. Residents of the surrounding Caribbean Shores and Freetown residential area complain that the smoke from the incinerator...

KHMH needs an X-Ray Machine
Another important piece of equipment the KHMH needs is an X-Ray machine. It currently has one working portable machine and Chair of the Authority Chandra Nisbet Cansino told us they are working hard to get another. Chandra Nisbet Cansino – Chair of the Authority: I believe there are two...

Fisheries Department confiscate illegal lobster
The Fisheries Department today made a sizable bust of illegal lobster as part of a series of operations conducted during the currently closed lobster season from February 15 – June 14. Here is supervisor Hampton Gamboa with details. Hampton Gamboa – Supervisor: We have in our estimation roughly over...

PM says ther’s a conspiracy against the Deputy PM
Orange Walk North area representative and Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Gaspar Vega has been implicated in two alleged scandals – the destruction of the ancient Noh Mul Maya mound for road-fill to be used in his constituency, and a nephew’s being granted a contract to pave the important San...

Police Officers attend Weapons Training Workshop
Officers attached to the Belmopan, Benque Viejo and San Ignacio and Santa Elena sub formations of the Belize Police Department have been partaking in a weapons training workshop since Tuesday of this week. The training is being carried out by Kevin Weekley, who has been in law enforcement for...

PM comments on Crawl Caye development
Belize’s Cabinet, to use a classic phrase, is caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea on the issue of a proposed development at Crawl Caye involving Norwegian Cruise Lines. Division has been sharp with environmentalists and environmentalist-minded tourism advocates already coming out against a proposed project. But...

Friends for Conservation and Development study poaching in the Chiquibul Forest
From the month of October to March 2013 Friends for Conservation and Development research team was actively involved in studying the effects of poaching on game species in the Chiquibul Forest. During the study it was discovered that the abundance of game species from the western border to the...

Autopsy reveals Christopher Cus died from drowning
On Tuesday, we told you that an autopsy was scheduled on the body of 35 year old Christopher Cus, who was found with his head submerged inside a bucket in the male restroom at the Punta Gorda Hospital. Well the result of that autopsy has been made public and...

Youth express their talents at ImagineNation
A new initiative seeks social change through the arts. REACH, short for Research, Education and Advocacy for Social Change, is backed by a group of concerned Belizeans with expertise in social research and development and has as its mission to foster community self-evaluation, social change and more informed policy...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker Lobster Fest Gala 2013

Amandala

AUDREY RESIGNS!
“Do not ever forget that there are 30,000 LGBT persons living in this country … We have the power to swing a vote where we want.” — LGBT supporter Oceana Vice President in Belize, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, confirmed at a press conference this afternoon that she has resigned from her post and will return to private practice after the organization introduced a new policy that would, in effect, bar her from continuing to speak openly against a move to legalize sodomy in Belize. Matura-Shepherd said that she resigned last Thursday after mulling over the matter for three days. Oceana accepted her resignation the following day. She said that she and the head of the organization had opted not to say anything public until today, when they issued a joint press release. “I have submitted my resignation as Vice President of Oceana for Belize effective as of August 22, 2013. It is time for me to move on to new opportunities and to fully pursue my legal career, which remains my passion while balancing it with my family obligations,” said Matura-Shepherd. Andrew Sharpless, Chief Executive Officer of Oceana, based in Washington, DC, USA, said: “Last week, I accepted Audrey Matura-Shepherd’s resignation… We look forward to working with Audrey to effect a smooth transition to new local leadership.”

GUAT ILLEGALS DECIMATING CHIQUIBUL WILDLIFE
From logging to poaching, Chiquibul under pressure. Illegal foresting in the Chiquibul Forest has led to increased poaching of game species. That is what has been confirmed by research conducted through the efforts of the Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD). The FCD issued in a press release today, Wednesday, the findings of a PACT-financed research conducted to address the effects of poaching on game species in the Chiquibul Forest area. According to the research, which was done over a six-month period from October 2012 to March 2013, a recorded total of 1,022 creatures of 24 different species (14 species of mammals and 10 species of birds) were poached during the duration of the research. The studies also show that the poaching is being done from the western border to the interior of the country. The hunters have been targeting larger game animals, but those species have been depleting in numbers; and smaller animals, including non-traditional game species such as the keel-billed toucan and parrots, are now being targeted. The white-lipped peccary is known to be a favorite of the hunters for food but the research did not record any sightings of this popular game species, indicating that it has possibly become extinct in the Chiquibul Forest area.

STABBED 20 TIMES AND THROWN INTO THE RIVER
Sandhill resident’s decomposed body found floating in Belize River. The battered corpse of Ellis Dawson, 37, of Sandhill, was retrieved from the Belize River in the Henderson Bank area of Burrell Boom Village at about 9: 00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28. Dawson had been stabbed as many as 20 times, and his body thrown into the river. When police pulled the body out of the water, it was missing an arm and a leg. The badly decomposed body was taken to a deserted area on the Hattieville-Boom Road, where Doctor Mario Estradabran conducted an onsite autopsy. At its conclusion, Estradabran certified that Dawson’s death was caused by exsanguinations due to multiple stab wounds to the body from a sharp instrument. Dawson was buried immediately after the post-mortem at the site of the autopsy. A man told police that about 7:40 on Tuesday morning, he was travelling in his boat on the Belize River in Burrell Boom when he saw the body floating. Police retrieved the body from an area two miles north of Burrell Boom Village, tied it to a boat, and brought it to the riverbank. From there, the body was carried to an area where the autopsy was carried out.

LGBT INFLUENCE DOMINATES CABINET?
Cabinet insists on keeping “sexual orientations” in Gender Policy 2013. Belize’s revised Gender Policy 2013 continued to be the subject of debate this week, with the National Women’s Commission (NWC), the government agency responsible for publishing the document earlier this month, making a formal retraction for mistakenly including in the document a clause supporting the legalization of prostitution. Cabinet also issued a statement this week, in response to concerns that the document refers to “respect for diversity” for a range of people, despite “sexual orientations”—which some factions have seen as an indication that the Barrow administration is now opening the door for mainstreaming the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) agenda. Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Anthony “Boots” Martinez, under whose portfolio the Commission falls, told Amandala, though, that “nothing in the [policy] document favors them [the LGBT group], more than saying, ‘You are human and we respect you.’” However, Belize Action and other faith-based groups, as well as ordinary citizens, have vocalized concerns that the inclusion of “sexual orientations”—a clause absent from the earlier policy of 2002—means far more. Pastor Scott Stirm, spokesperson of Belize Action, told Amandala that as soon as Government included the phrase “sexual orientations,” the government began including homosexual definitions of gender, automatically giving the green light to same-sex acts, despite the fact that Belize’s Criminal Code outlaws sodomy.

LINDON HINDS, 20, CHARGED FOR ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARM AND AMMUNITION
Lindon Hinds, 20, of Belize City, was charged today, Tuesday, for the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Hinds pleaded not guilty to a charge of kept firearm without a gun license and kept ammunition without a license. He was denied bail and is on remand until July 16, 2013, when he is to reappear in Magistrate’s Court. On May 25, 2013 police reported that they saw two males in the Lord Ridge Cemetery. One of the men was seen throwing an object as the police were approaching them. That person was identified as Hinds. The other person accompanying Hinds was a 17-year-old minor. The officers later discovered that Hinds had in his possession a black and silver .38 revolver with an unknown serial number and six .38 live rounds of ammunition.

PAUL MARTINEZ, 20, HAS MURDER CASE SENT TO THE SUPREME COURT
Martinez is accused of fatally stabbing Raheem Smith, 18. Paul Martinez, 20, had his murder case committed to the Supreme Court today after he appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. Martinez is accused of fatally stabbing Raheem Smith, 18, last year after the two allegedly got into an altercation over a bicycle. According to police, just before 2:00 p.m. on July 19, 2012, Smith and Martinez were in a yard with other teens when the two got into an argument over a borrowed bicycle. The argument intensified, and led to Smith punching Martinez in his face. Martinez then left the area, only to return with a long-bladed knife with which he allegedly inflicted the stab wound to Smith. Since being arrested on July 23, 2012, Martinez has been on remand at the Belize Central Prison.

FOOTBALL FEDERATION OF BELIZE NEWS UPDATE
— The National Female U-17 Selection will play their World Cup qualifier return match against Guatemala on Sunday, June 2, at the FFB Stadium, starting at 4:00 p.m. Entrance fee is only $5.00, and everyone is invited to come out and support our youths. — Our National ‘A’ Team will be playing in Melchor today at 3:00 p.m. against Guatemalan 1st division Club Heredia. — Our National ‘A’ Team will also be playing a friendly against Guatemala’s National ‘A’ Team on Tuesday, June 11, in Antigua, Guatemala. — The Federation will be conducting open tryouts for U-15 males, born in the year 1998 onwards, on Saturday, June 8, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the FFB Stadium. Belize will be participating in CONCACAF U-15 Boys Championship Tournament which will be staged in the Cayman Islands from August 10 – 25. This is for the countries in the CONCACAF region. — The President, Mr. Ruperto Vicente; General Secretary, Mr. Michael Blease; and Executive Member, Mr. Cruz Gamez went to the 63rd FIFA Congress, which will be held on May 30 and 31 in Maritius.

POLICE UNITED FC CROWNED CHAMPIONS OF PREMIER LEAGUE
In their third consecutive trip to the Premier League of Belize (PLB) finals, the Police United FC team has finally broken the “bridesmaid jinx” that has dogged them for the past two seasons. In their first championship final about a year ago, Police lost to Placencia Assassins in the 2011-2012 Closing Season. Then in the 2012-2013 Opening Season, which ended earlier this year, it was Belmopan Bandits taking the crown, and leaving the other finalist Police United FC to again settle for 2nd place. In the previous two competitions, Police united had finished the regular season at the top of their group, but in this latest Closing Season, things looked very questionable for the Police team as they suffered a 4-game losing streak mid-way in the competition, and were in doubt about making the playoffs. But the lawmen rebounded with a 3-game winning streak, coupled with a successful protest that overturned their 3-0 loss to Placencia Assasins, and thus the Police entered this season’s semifinal playoffs as the 3rd seed. The fortunes for the Police Team took a positive turn in the playoff semifinals, as they twice defeated the 2nd seed BDF team who had beaten them twice in regular season. Their opponent in the finals would be 4th seed FC Belize who had shocked defending champion #1 seed Belmopan Bandits, beating them 1-nil at the MCC, and holding them scoreless at the Isidoro Beaton for the 1-nil aggregate victory and a spot in the championship finals.

ILL-CONCEIVED TRAFFIC DISRUPTION Editorial
We have watched the Mayor initiate a lot of street repair and other projects which appeared haphazard in conception. One of the reasons we have cut him slack is because he is new and enthusiastic. The Mayor’s decision, however, and, in real terms, he waited for the rains to begin before doing this, to dig up the northern approach to the Belcan Bridge without any warning on Tuesday afternoon, demands critical comment. Belcan is a terrible traffic bottleneck during rush hours and whenever there is the slightest accident or other disruption, because a new bridge should have been built over the Haulover Creek from Southside to Northside fifteen years ago. But, the people on the Northside don’t want the bridge, and their area representatives have fought against it. So, Belcan is just a traffic jam waiting to happen for fifteen years and more. The new Mayor, in effect, touched something that was waiting to explode. The Belcan approach repair was not any kind of emergency. It was cosmetic. First, he waited for the rains. Then, he has not treated this situation with the absolute priority it deserves. This is one job, if you insisted on doing it now, which cried out for 24 hour a day work urgency.

HOME AND AWAY Editorial
An American writer named Tom Wolfe is supposed to have said, “You can never go home again.” On the other hand, over the years on more than one occasion, we have quoted the American poet Robert Frost’s definition of home. “Home is where, when you have to go there they have to let you in.” In the days when Belize City was still Belize, that is in the mid-1960s, a very well known senior public officer sold his home on Euphrates Avenue to a Chinese businessman and left for Brooklyn with his wife and all his children. The family did quite well in New York City, so much so the story goes, on a trip back home the former head of department tried to buy back his Belize City home from the Asian businessman. The Chinese supposedly said something like this: “Chiniman buy house; Chiniman no sell house.” If this newspaper’s thesis is correct, that a decision was made at high British and American levels to change the composition of Belize’s population, then Belizeans who try to return home from the United States will understand why is it so difficult to do so, at every step of the process, and why it is so difficult to remain in Belize once you have actually returned. It appears to us, for instance, that there is usually a problem for Belizeans with collecting their American Social Security checks on a regular and uninterrupted basis in Belize, and more often than not they have to return to the United States to get things bureaucratic sorted out.

FROM THE PUBLISHER
The Raiders basketball organization was keenly interested in supporting the Princess Royal Youth Hostel Under–17 basketball tournament. One reason was that the core of our team, which entered semi-pro at its inauguration in 1992, had cut their basketball teeth in that said Under-17 tournament in the late 1980s. Another reason we supported the tournament was because it was an opportunity for high school teenagers and street teenagers to interact and compete with each other in an atmosphere of strict discipline. It must have been in 1994, 1995, that an Under-17 team came out of the Yarborough area under the management of a guy known as Winks. This was a very good team, dominant in fact, and I think they won at least one of the tournaments. Winks was a tall, quiet, black man. He was humble, and he was poor. The relationship between him and his players was unique. It was incredible that he would “own” a championship team, but I never bothered to figure that out, because I had my own problems with Raiders at the time. The late Wilton Cumberbatch, who was the head referee and disciplinarian for U-17, lived in Yarborough, and so he and Winks were quite familiar with each other. I don’t know the details of what happened to Under-17. I know that the Raiders, under heavy pressure, disbanded in 1995, came back and then disbanded again in 1996, then semi-pro died in 1998. I believe the death of the Raiders contributed to the death of Under-17. But, there was also the relocation of the Hostel to Mile 21 on the Western Highway.

GREENWOOD WRITES TOURISM MINISTER HEREDIA Letters
— by TOM GREENWOOD Hon. Manuel Heredia Minister of Tourism Belmopan Sir, FECTAB adds its strongest objections to those many already stating their objections to the proposal by Norwegian Cruise Lines to purchase an island in the south of Belize for use as a cruise tourism destination, and in general, use of the South of Belize by cruise lines. This would be a total ecological and tourism disaster for the pristine South of the country, as well as a disaster for the several thousands allready involved and deeply financially tied to the cruise operations in the Belize District. The records show that exclusivity granted to cruise lines in purchasing islands in other areas of the Caribbean, ended up cutting out the local populations of those countries, as the cruise lines enjoyed total income levels on all activities. The now well underway Tourism Zone Project in Belize City will be the first to suffer loss, along with the Belize City Council revenues gained from cruise activity. Again, loss of income to operators and suppliers at every level would be catastrophic.

HELLO, GREAT PEOPLE OF BELIZE Letters
— by Steve Johnson Franklin, Minnesota Editor Amandala Sir, My wife and I have traveled to Belize the last 3 years, and are coming back for 13 days in Feb and Mar of 2014. Our two previous vacations were in Mexico and I was not impressed with the extreme commercialism. When we came to Placencia and did sight seeing, snorkeling, and fishing, we fell in love with Belize, its people and its terrific scenery, beauty and cleanliness. We have enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere when we have stayed in Placencia. We also experienced the laid-back atmosphere when traveling to other towns in Belize. I feel that the allowance of cruise ships to Belize will hurt the country as a whole. It is definitely going to affect your eco system. I hope you are not considering dredging Crawl Caye and destroying the coral. It is going to cause problems with cleanliness in your towns, and you will probably find that you will have more legal problems. I am a concerned visitor of Belize as are some of my friends and we encourage you to disapprove the proposal from NCL. Steve Johnson Franklin, Minnesota

FROM FIDEL CASTRO TO RAFAEL CORREA Letters
— by Fidel Castro Ruz Dear Rafael: I congratulate you on your courageous speech today and the great moral and political authority with which you are once again assuming the Presidency of Ecuador. I noted the firmness in your voice when, irrefutably, you condemned the economic blockade of Cuba. However long the hazardous history of our species lasts, nobody will ever be able to demonstrate that crude material interests are capable of creating more virtuous and honest citizens. The young girl who presented the presidential insignia demonstrates the contrary. “A just idea, from the depths of a cave, can do more than an army,” stated José Martí, our independence hero. I also congratulate you on your just and heartfelt tribute to Hugo Chávez, who so much loved Ecuador. A strong embrace Fidel Castro Ruz May 24, 2013 8:32 p.m.

DR. MELANIE MCFIELD WRITES PM BARROW Letters
— by Melanie McField, PhD May 28, 2013 Dear Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Barrow, I write to formally express our strong concern over the proposed NCL cruise terminal on Crawl Caye and our hope that Cabinet will conclude the entertaining of this idea with a firm rejection. Our fundamental question to the government is: How could this development possibly be worth it? We acknowledge that cruise passengers would have an improved experience and NCL would make massive additional profits by exercising complete control over their island base, but at what cost to Belize and Belizeans? The costs are substantial, unavoidable, and irreversible; and include: 1) Environmental costs: Crawl Caye is a fragile mangrove island surrounded by fringing coral reefs. These inshore coral reefs have recently been shown to harbor more robust and resilient corals than the outer barrier reef, and could help our reef system adapt to the changing global climate if they remain free from localized stress and injury. Construction of the cruise terminal would involve massive mangrove clearing and marine dredging, which would severely damage or destroy the fringing reef, seagrass beds, and mangrove forest – all critical marine ecosystems supporting fisheries, tourism and biodiversity. In addition to the unavoidable direct impacts of construction are the chronic impacts from having thousands of people daily visiting this and nearby fragile areas. Finally, there is the additional risk of having a ship grounding, possibly including an oil spill, as these massive ships would be traversing the entire southern lagoon and out by Sapodilla Cayes. Given our lack of a functional oil spill response plan, it would be irresponsible to allow this additional risk into the heart of our marine ecosystem.

ON YOUTH CONSCIOUSNESS: COMMENTS ON BELIZE’S DEMOCRACY Letters
— by Rolando Cocom Dear Editor, In a recent article from the publisher, Evan X Hyde renders a motivational epilogue to young people which I enjoyed reading (see May 24, 2013). Indeed, the editor also recently made similar remarks on the role of the youth for a more democratic Belize (see May 17, 2013). I center these comments on the phrase “Consciousness of being versus being conscious.” – A phrase which still puzzles me ever since I first heard it during a session with a brilliant historian at UB. It speaks of a difference between two levels of thought life. It is between lower levels versus higher levels of thinking. One refers to a level of thought which accepts circumstances at face value. This is being conscious, being alive. On the other hand, consciousness of being refers to a level of thought which examines why we are faced with such circumstances in the first place. The higher level seeks to deconstruct and problematize the assumptions we take for granted. Regrettably, it is this higher level which our current education lacks. Karl Marx asserted that when the working class realize that they are exploited they would become their own liberators, and thus the liberators of humanity. The extent to which this is possible is very arguable, and indeed futile. Am I advocating for a communist Belize? Undoubtedly, the idea of communism excites me, but cannot satisfy me.

TO: DECISION MAKERS OF BELIZE Letters
— by Thomas Handfield I am aware that a proposal exists for NCL to establish a port in Southern Belize. I would like to let you now that I have travelled to Belize for 3 winters in a row now and I dive and hike and stay in Southern Belize. The reason I love Belize is because of the nature and wildlife, the magnificent coral reef where I go diving and the fantastic, friendly people many who are now my close friends. I have also introduced many friends to Belize who are planning return trips to your remarkable country. It is my opnion that the proposal by NCL would be severely detrimental to the people of Belize and the ecosystems which they nurture and are enjoyed by people like myself from around the world. I have been on a cruise and I will never go again. The tourists are isolated from the local populations and are misled by the cruise lines about the truths of what their company does to the ecoystems and countries where they operate. Please reject the NCL proposal and let the world know Belize is for nature lovers, and for people who appreciate each other and the places they visit. Thank You, Thomas Handfield Fort McMurray, AB Canada

DANIELA FROM AUSTRIA DEFENDS SOUTHERN BELIZE Letters
— by Daniela Mühlleitner Dear Sir/Madam, My name is Daniela Mühlleitner from Austria and I have got notice about the Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) has asked the Government of Belize for approval of a cruise port at Crawl Caye, an island six miles east of the Placencia Peninsula and located in the Southwater Marine Reserve, part of the Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage Site – and surrounded by live corals. I will be there again July and August this year, wanting to spend all my money in your beautiful country, specially in the South of Belize, that I deeply love, because of NOT having mass cruise tourism. SO PLEASE DO EVERYTHING THAT THE GOVERNMENT WON’T GIVE THIS APPROVAL!!!! Belize is on the best way to become more famous than it is till now all over the world with its eco-tourism and should create the positive difference in the Tropic World!!!! Yours sincerely, Daniela Mühlleitner

GEAR UP FOR ACTIVE HURRICANE SEASON AS DRY SEASONS ENDS: CHIEF METEOROLOGIST GONGUEZ
“All indications are that this year’s hurricane season will be above average.” 14 – 20 named storms predicted. Chief Meteorologist Dennis Gonguez told Amandala today that with light showers scattered across the country today, there are signs that the dry season is coming to an end and that the rainy season—which also coincides with the Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season—is nearing. In fact, the Atlantic Hurricane Season opens this weekend, Saturday, June 1, and Gonguez said that tropical waves are already coming across the Caribbean, as an influx of moisture has been observed coming into the region. Normally, an El Niño phenomenon in the Pacific means suppression of cyclone activity in the Atlantic; but this year, said Gonguez, there is no El Niño to inhibit cyclones, and the forecasts indicate an above normal hurricane season for 2013. The season, which spans June to November, can see anywhere from 14 to 20 named storms, according to varied forecasts, and Gonguez said that these estimates are well above the annual average of 12 named storms. “All indications are that this year’s hurricane season will be above average,” said Gonguez. This dry season was also drier than usual, with some parts of Belize experiencing “moderate drought conditions,” he told us. However, the weather was not as harsh as some years, since only a few days with temperatures above 100 degrees were experienced this time around, Gonguez indicated. The Chief Met Officer said that whereas rains may commence in the south before extending to the rest of the country, last year saw rains commencing over the entire country simultaneously.

“DRACONIAN” FIU TRAMPLING CITIZENS’ RIGHTS?
Seine Bight villagers say FIU seizing their property, and no one can help. Several Seine Bight villagers are complaining that police have taken away their personal property which they worked hard to acquire, and more than two months after the seizures, their property has still not been returned to them. One of the most vocal is village councilor Lavern Arzu, who won one of seven seats in the village council elections held in Seine Bight on Sunday, May 19, 2013. Arzu said that she ran for the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP), and they should have “had [her] back”, like she has had theirs. “They are depriving me… They want me to die,” said Arzu, whose red 1997 Ford pickup, which she said is valued at $7,000, was confiscated on March 1, 2013, with a full tank of gas. Arzu also said that she had $500 cash in her vehicle to pay for her registration and licensing. She told us that she has complained to Police Internal Affairs, which has been renamed the Professional Standards Branch. However, head of the branch, Noel Leal, told Amandala he has not been apprised of the case, although he did see Arzu’s story aired on television. Arzu, who said that she complained personally to the Minister of National Security John Saldivar but has still not gotten her truck back, hired Philip “Fawda” Henry, who has the Do The Right Thing Pedestrian Crossing program, to document the Seine Bight story with video recordings and channel them to the media—still in the hope that she will get her truck back.

CHIEF JUSTICE SETS NEW HEARING DATE FOR INJUNCTION AGAINST GOB PETROLEUM CONTRACTS
“Misconception or outright mischief,” says Oceana’s Audrey Matura-Shepherd. “If the Government continues to be bound by the injunction, the Government can’t tell them [Princess/Treaty] what to do; so they will be left to run their exploration without any supervision by the Government. That is the whole point of our application:” Denys Barrow, SC The Government of Belize has applied to the Supreme Court for a stay of execution, to put on pause an injunction granted by Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall in April, restraining the Government, as well as its servants and agents, from carrying out the provisions of the petroleum contracts it had granted to six companies: Island Oil, Miles Tropical Energy Ltd., Petro Belize Company Ltd., Princess Petroleum Ltd., Providence Energy Belize Ltd., and SOL Oil Belize Ltd., on 25 May 2004 and 17 October 2007. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin was due to hear that application for the stay on the injunction this morning; however, he said in court that apart from the bundle presented to the court by Government counsel, Denys Barrow, SC, all other documents arrived on his desk at 9:00 this morning – the time that had been set for trial.

“NO ONE” RESPONSIBLE!!
13 infant deaths at KHMH, but investigation only blames “several factors.” The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) management held its second press conference today, Thursday, to update the public on the investigation into the multiple neonatal deaths caused by an organism outbreak in the neonatal intensive care unit during the first 22 days of this month. The key messages of the meeting were that no one is to be blamed for being the source of the bacteria outbreak and that the investigation is ongoing. Within the first 22 days of May, 13 babies died at the KHMH. The initially reported number of deaths was 12, but one more baby died on May 22, increasing the toll to 13. We were told that that baby was admitted into the hospital already ill and was tested negative for the organism. The first organism outbreak-related death occurred on May 10. The NICU was not allowed to admit any more babies into the unit after that date. Dr. Adrian Coye, Director of Medical Services at KHMH, said they are still trying to put together a list of factors related to the outbreak. But some of those factors are obvious and include overcrowding of the unit and the lack of specially trained nurses to work in the unit.

HON. HULSE DENIES ALLEGATIONS THAT IMMIGRATION IS HARASSING GUATEMALANS FROM PETÉN
A report appearing in the Guatemalan news outlet, Siglo21, claims that Belizean immigration authorities have been harassing Guatemalans traveling into Belize, especially those from Petén, who come with passports which have on their cover a map with Belize and Guatemala separated by a dotted line. Interestingly, that news report claims that 600,000 of the “dotted line” passports for which their citizens are allegedly being harassed began arriving in their country this April, contrary to official reports from Foreign Affairs staff in Belize that those passports had, based on reports from their Guatemalan counterparts, been in use for years. Belize Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse told Amandala today that he has not received reports of any such harassment of Guatemalan nationals, and the Guatemalan Ambassador resident in Belize has made no such complaints to him. According to Minister Hulse, his ministry has implemented no changes in relation to Guatemalan passports; neither have any instructions been issued to impose more stringent measures on them.

The Reporter

Editorial
Parents have a right to protect their children and to shield them from harmful influences. This is an over-riding right which is greater than the right of an individual with a deviant lifestyle who simply wants to be accepted by the community and by the law. We are all aware [...]

Thirteen babies dead, KHMH says ‘we did the best we could’
Thirteen newborn babies died in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit during the month May. However, the hospital authority says that it did the best it could in the situation. The KHMH Authority held a press conference on Thursday to update the public on the status of [...]

GOB helps Team Belize to CONCACAF Gold Cup
The Football Federation of Belize has announced it needs to raise $500,000 to finance Belize’s national ‘A’ Team’s participation in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States of America next month, and the government of Belize has tossed a contribution of $50,000 into the kitty.

Oceana Vice President resigns says gay community tried to get her fired
“I do feel that some quarters of the LGBT movement sought to do everything to silence me. I think their tactics were low, and I would not allow them to hold Oceana to ransom, so I resigned,” Vice President of Oceana Audrey Matura-Shepard announced Thursday. Matura-Shepard made the remarks in [...]

BTIA and BELPO say NO to cruise port on Crawl Caye
The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and the Belize Institute of Environmental Law & Policy (BELPO) have both called on Minister of Tourism Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. and the other ministers of Cabinet to utterly reject the US$50 million proposal from Norwegian Cruise Line to establish a major cruise port [...]

Gender policy – a needed change
Belizean women face a litany of problems on a daily basis as a result of gender discrimination, a situation the National Women’s Commission seeks to address with its Revised Gender Policy 2013, which it launched at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel on Thursday, May 16. The new Policy especially targets husbands [...]

Cancer Walk 2013 bigger than ever
Cancer is a killer! But the good news is that public support for cancer awareness is spreading rapidly! A record number, more than 5,000 Belizeans, joined the annual cancer walk organized by the Belize Cancer Society, from Ladyville to Belize City on Saturday morning, May 25. This was more than [...]

Austerity is killing us now the world must invest to recover
By Sharan Burrow, Special to CNN (CNN) — Unemployment, fear and despair are unravelling people’s lives and would normally drive leaders to urgent action. As the riots in Sweden underscore, even wealthy nations suffer rips in their social fabric wrought by the greed of profit and inequality.

Placencia Producers Cooperative Seaweed Project gets trawler from Oceana for $1.00
The Placencia Producers Cooperative Society Limited sealed a $1.00 sales agreement with Oceana Belize for a fishing trawler, the Northern 11, at its headquarters on Saturday, May 25. The Co-op is planning to use the trawler, originally designed for deep sea fishing, to boost its burgeoning sea weed project, its [...]

Victim shot in March dies in May at KHMH
After showing positive signs of recovery, Jamil “Cash” Richardson, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds on Holy Thursday and was left paralyzed, passed away at the KHMH on Sunday. Belize City Police have not made any arrest for the shooting. Richardson’s death means that police have another unsolved murder investigation to [...]

13-year-old girl missing, mother asks for public’s help
Jenevieve Zelaya, the mother of Aloveen Mariano, 13, is livid with the Department of Human Services because her daughter, who was kept at a safe house under that unit’s care and authority, has gone missing for the second time in three weeks.

“Brutal” talks on the US-Caribbean relationship
Sir Ronald Sanders BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday May 30, 2013 – Much media coverage was given to the signing on May 28 in Trinidad of a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) by US Vice President, Joseph Biden, and current Chairman of the 15-nation Caribbean Community, Haiti’s President Michael Martelly. [...]

Build a Better Smoothie
You don’t need to hire a personal chef, or resign yourself to starvation to get bikini-ready. All you need is a blender. “Blending is one of the quickest, easiest ways to prep healthy foods, especially fresh fruits and veggies,” says FITNESS advisory board member Harley Pasternak, trainer, nutrition expert, and [...]

People under stress stick to habits, good or bad
It seems old habits really do die hard – whether they are good or bad. The study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, contradicts the idea that being under pressure leads to bad habits like over-eating or shopping sprees. Instead, people are just as likely to maintain gym [...]

Louisiana Gov’t School girls win national basketball championship
The girls of Louisiana Government School in Orange Walk Town have won the National Primary Schools Basketball Championships organized by the National Sports Council at Bird’s Isle in Belize City on Friday, May 24.

Faith Nazarene boys win national basketball championship
The boys of Faith Nazarene School of San Ignacio Town won the National Primary Schools Basketball Championships organized by the National Sports Council at the YWCA Court in Belize City on Friday, May 24. Faith Nazarene boys cruised past the Belize district champions, the boys of St. Martin de Porres [...]

Blogs

A day at Seascape Villas, progress on the bridge and detour a done deal
Cheryl offered to give Winnie Surendra and I a ride back to the bridge after class. Surendra would drop Winnie at the airport and I could catch a cab south from there. As we walked across, I snapped a few pictures of the bridge progress. It’s going to look really nice when it is done. Hopefully it will be easier to maintain now and not need to be closed down. By the time we got to Maya Air the gear was already waiting there, Coastal Express water taxi had beat us back to town

Should the Belizean Diaspora participate in elections and elected office?
The Belizean Diaspora contributes an estimated 200 million USD to families and organizations in Belize. Amendment 7 is a legislation which clarifies the rights of Belizeans who hold dual citizenship. This is a very important legislation for the future of Belize’s survival. Nuri Akbar delves deeper into this legislation and its implications for Belize. Please read, share and discuss. On June 19th 2009, the Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon. Dean Barrow, while addressing the proposed 7th amendment to the Belize constitution in the National Assembly uttered the following words: “Because our laws recognize dual citizenship how then will you turn around, recognizing dual citizenship, providing for dual citizenship but impose a limitation on a dual citizen. It makes no sense at all and if a little bit of history and background are necessary, we didn’t always recognize dual citizenship. The recognition of dual citizenship came about as a consequence of the advance in legislation that was promoted by national hero Phillip Goldson. But we turn around and we leave intact in the constitution for all these years this impairment on the rights of the Belizean who have acquired a second nationality. I say therefore, Mr. Speaker, that it is utterly and completely contradictory. I also say it is inconsistent, and let me tell you why it is inconsistent, if you are a Belizean who has acquired second nationality you are disqualified from sitting in the National Assembly, but the Governor General, whose office is from a protocol point of view the highest office in the land, there is no such disqualification. The Governor General can be a Belizean who has acquired a second nationality. He is not barred from being Governor General and that is the highest office in the land. “

Norwegian Cruise Lines, the GOB and Belize’s Barrier Reef
Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL)…you won’t destroy our Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, our Great Blue Hole and its surrounding eco-systems, to build a casino and more! Not on our watch and not in our backyard! Belizeans, and True Friends of Belize, please help us raise awareness by sharing and making this go viral. As early as next week, the Belize government is taking this issue to Cabinet for a vote: whether or not to grant NCL permission to proceed with their proposed development within this fragile UNESCO World Heritage Site. Less than two weeks ago, the world was appalled to hear about the destruction of Nohmul pyramid, an ancient Mayan site that existed for 2,300 years until it was destroyed in one fell swoop by a local contractor armed with a bulldozer. Now, Nohmul is no more! Please raise awareness by sharing this with your friends while time is still on our side.

Wake Up Call 2013
A few clips put together to help you open your eyes. We still have time people, it’s not too late but if you don’t act now your time will run out and you will become a statistic.

Payments for No Work
We got these pictures showing large sums of money being paid by GOB (Government of Belize) for services not rendered by Imer Hernandez nephew of the Deputy PM of Belize Gaspar Vega. This is really normal practice with what is called the “Friends and Family Circle” with Belizean politics. There are numerous scandals rocking the nation lately ranging from Illegal Rosewood logging and dealings by the Deputy PMs brother, Land Grabs, the Noh Mul demolishing which still has not been dealt with.

International Sources

Merida and Belize “Sister Cities”
Merida and Belize City formalized their intention to become “Sister Cities” during a visit by a delegation from the Caribbean country to the Merida Mayor, Renan Barrera Concha. “This is more than a visit to Merida, it means a great opportunity to formalize something that naturally the two cities have had for many years. A permanent and frequent communication with Belize City” said the Mayor Renan Barrera. During the meeting in the Hall of Councils of City Hall, Barrera Concha said that Merida and Belize have many ties including friendship and cultural. The letter signed aims to consolidate economic trade, business and investment. The Mayor of Belize City, Darrell Bradley, thanked the hospitality of the meridian authorities and reaffirmed the interest in mutual collaboration. In his English message, the Belizian official recalled that since his childhood he has on numerous occasions been in Merida accompanied by his parents, in which he has very fond memories of this city, and also a special interest in strengthening relations in these areas.

New strategic direction on agenda of Caribbean fisheries ministers
The seventh meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) opens this Friday in Christ Church, Barbados. Participation will be drawn from The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, which are all member states of the CRFM. At the upcoming Ministerial Council meeting, fisheries ministers from CRFM member states and their advisors will receive an update on the progress of work activities being undertaken by the CRFM Secretariat, member states and network partners, and provide them with policy guidance on programmes and plans for the development and management of fisheries and aquaculture. They will also approve a number of regional policy and strategic documents aimed at strengthening governance arrangements, conservation and sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the region.


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