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#466024 - 06/06/13 12:27 PM Today's Belize News: June 6, 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

Little Angel’s Pre-school talent show
At the end of the school year, Little Angels Pre-school presented a talent show to showcase what students have learned. The show is a chance for parents, guardians and family friends to see their children interact and perform with each other while displaying valuable social skills needed for the development of a healthy child. This year’s talent night took place on Sunday, June 2nd at the Lions’ Den shortly after 6PM. Little Angels Pre-School students and teachers presented performances to their proud families. Applause was hearty, and all the students had big smiles as they recited poetry, sang songs, acted out nursery rhymes, and danced. Although some children may have been shy, the show was still a huge success and tons of fun for everyone. Keep up the good job everyone!

Business sector to provide San Pedro police with new barracks
Since early 2001, the San Pedro Police Force has been denouncing the lack of proper living conditions at their barracks. The lack of proper infrastructure, plumbing and wiring has led to officers having to live in less than ideal conditions. Although this is a widely discussed topic that has been brought to the attention of the Ministry by every Chief of Police since, no assistance has been given to improve the living conditions of the officers who serve our community. Now improvements are finally being made as Coastal Executive Officer in charge Luis Castellanos has taken action. On Friday, May 31st, demolition of the dilapidated barracks located behind the police station commenced. Castellanos could not bear to have his officers living in the conditions the barracks offered, and as such had temporarily relocated the officers. “Upon taking over command as the Coastal Executive Officer on the 14th January 2013, and upon checking the living quarters provided for the Police Officers stationed here in San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker Village, immediately my heart fell. However, I was motivated to alleviate, at all costs, the living conditions for these hard working officers,” stated Castellanos.

Five charged in separate drugs operations in San Pedro Town
San Pedro Police arrested and charged five people in two separate drug operations conducted on Wednesday May 29th. According to police,the arrests are as a result of information received and the police’s strategic plan to fight the drug problem on the island. In the first arrest around 3:30PM, police conducted an operation and searched the home of22 year old Lauriano Augustine of Boca del Rio area in San Pedro Town. Present at the time of the search was another male person identified as 21 year old Michael Cambranez of #70 Freetown Road in Belize City. During the search, police found a transparent plastic bag inside the bathroom with what appeared to be a green leafy substance believed to be cannabis. At the station, the suspected substance was confirmed to be cannabis, which weighed a totalled 3.5 grams. Augustine and Cambranez were both formally arrested and charged for the offence of possession of a controlled substance.

Ambergris Today

14 Year Old Blind Boy to Dive Belize's Blue Hole
Rowan Garel will be the first blind person to dive the world famous Great Blue Hole of Belize. After reaching the summit of the tallest mountain in Belize and walking 92 miles across the country, 14-year-old Rowan Garel will dive Belize's Great Blue Hole on July 14, 2013. With training and assistance from Sea Sports Belize and PADI certified instructor, John Searle, Rowan and his team will dive one of the world's most popular sites to raise funds for the Belize Council of the Visually Impaired (BCVI), an organization that provides year-round support to children who are blind. Although some adjustments have to be made in order for Rowan to reach certification, the challenge is well worth it to him. “What I’m interested in is raising funds and awareness for the only program in Belize that deals with blind or visually impaired people and they have a rehab program which is completely free of cost. Take that away and all the blind people, like myself, will just be behind with everything, there would be no one there to help them along and that is what motivates me.”

Inspiration Telethon Surpasses $500,000 Target
The Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow and CARE-Belize once again hosted a nationwide telethon to raise funds to complete and equip the Inspiration Center. The telethon was held on Saturday, June, 1st, 2013, at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts and locations countrywide. The second Inspiration Telethon was another success as the $500,000 fundraising target was met and surpassed. A $514,132.85 in pledges and donations was reported at the end of the event on Saturday. The community of San Pedro also played a very important part of the telethon and through the efforts of many volunteers and donors was able to raise $14,303.39 for the cause.

Dining in a Unique Island Setting at Black Orchid Restaurant
There are quite a few things that set Black Orchid Restaurant apart from other restaurants in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. For one it’s a great new addition to the southern area of the island where there are very few restaurants. It takes a few minutes on golf cart or taxi but the ride is worth the dining experience, as owners Judyann and Tom Horton have brought their own menu items from California and added a Belizean touch. While exploring the southern part of the island you will be delighted to come across this hidden gem. Black Orchid Restaurant sits in a cozy corner and with a high vaulted ceiling, the open-air area brings the outside into the dining room. It is very cool, spacious and the ambience invites you to step inside and take advantage of the island cuisine.

Belize Red Cross Vacancy
POSITION: Communications Officer CONTRACT PERIOD: 2 years Job Summary: * To ensure the implementation of the BRC Communications Strategy at Headquarters and Branch levels * To report progress of ongoing projects. * To produce a monthly BRC newsletter. * To spearhead and review all public awareness initiatives to ensure that they are in line with the BRC Communications Strategy as well as the specific Donor requirements for communication and visibility activities * To liaise with the media for their presence at key BRC events * To be a member of the Fundraising Committee

Misc Belizean Sources

Garifuna Collective is gonna play a free show at Rojo next wed (June 12th) evening
We're super excited to announce that The Garifuna Collective will be playing a free show next wednesday evening, June 12th at Rojo Beach Bar. Come on up for a rare opportunity to see these incredible musicians play outside, on the beach in a casual relaxed setting. Evening show, set time TBD.

Placencia water now managed by BWSL
The Ministry of Labour, Local Government, Rural Development, National Emergency Management and Immigration & Nationality, hereby informs the general public, that as a part of the Integrated Waste and Water program for the Placencia Peninsula, the Placencia and Siene Beight Water System is now being managed by the Belize Water Services Limited (BWSL).

Mexican physicians visit Belize
Mexican physicians visit Belize to collaborate with Belizean authorities to produce a diagnosis on neonatal health in light of recent events that have required immediate cooperation of the international community. The Government of Belize, through the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health, requested assistance from the Government of Mexico to collaborate through two Mexican specialists in sharing their experience on the development of national policies on health issues. This visit is part of the programs of technical cooperation between Mexico and Belize. Dr. Daniel Ibarra from the Children´s Hospital Federico Gómez, specialist in Neonatology and Dr. Alethse de la Torre from the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition, Salvador Zubirán, specialist in Infectology worked as part of a research medical team in Belize from June 2nd to 5th.

Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium
The BAAS this year, which will be held at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, will be from July 2nd through the 5th. The theme will be: 'Ancient Maya: Household and Social Identity in Belize.' "The 11th instalment of the Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium (BAAS) is scheduled for July 2nd - July 5th, 2013 in San Ignacio, Belize. Registration for the conference will begin on March 4th, 2013. Participants are encouraged to pre-register and make travel plans early so that they can be guaranteed a place as well as advantageous rates on travel. Presentations of the symposium proper will be held inside the San Ignacio Resort Hotel Bedran Hall starting on Tuesday July 2nd and continue through to Friday July 5th, 2013."

SHJC 2013 Graduation
Sacred Heart Junior College got some great pictures from their graduation ceremony. "SHJC held its Thirteenth Commencement Exercises on Saturday, June 1st. The Thanksgiving Mass was done by Father Leo Palma. A short intermission followed with Mr. Emmanuel Mangar performing Green Day's "Good Riddance" for our graduates. Our Master and Mistress of Ceremonies - Mr. Stephen Sangster and Ms. Jeanne Link then began the graduation ceremonies. The President, Dr. Eve Aird, spoke about the many exciting programs SHJC has engaged in this past year and the future plans for the JC. Our guest speaker, Ms. Maria Marin, gave an inspirational and motivational speech to our graduates on the theme: 'TODAY: A Time to Reflect, A Time to Change, A Time to Act.' Many students were recognized for their various achievements - both in academic excellence and attitude. The recipient of the Dean's award was Ms. Tracie Nicole Donis. Tracie's mom was also recognized for being an outstanding mother who came to school everyday with Tracie. The welcome address was delivered by Ms. Juani Gamez (Business graduate) and the Thank You speech was given by Mr. Miguel Ekim Bonilla. Congratulations to all graduates on achieving another milestone in life. We wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavours. You will always be a part of the SHJC family."

Gift of Life by Wilson Grinage
Gift of Life, sung and performed expertly by Wilson Grinage, was the official song of the Inspiration Telethon. The Special Envoy of Belize uploaded it for everyone to enjoy. That's a huge grand piano he's playing. Well done! "The 2013 telethon is over; the work on the Inspiration Center will now continue! Thanks to all who supported the telethon! For more information of how to help, you may contact the office of the Special Envoy Belize!" Kim Simplis-Barrow also released a letter of appreciation, letting everyone know how thankful she was for making the telethon surpass it's goal.

Maya Mountain Jungle Lodge
Maya Mountain Jungle Lodge has some beautiful grounds just outside of town, on the Cristo Rey road. Their 8 cabins are nicely done, and provide a natural and rustic feeling, and they have a dormatory for larger groups. They've recently been taken over by the same family that runs Cayo Adventure Tours, so you know the tours they offer will be guided well.

I Love Belize Photo Contest
The Museum of Belize is having their 'I Love Belize' photo contest. Just send them an old photo featuring any kind of transportation used in Belize. Good luck! Send pictures to museumofbelize@gmail.com. The deadline to submit is June 28th. Good luck!

June Cayo Event Calendar
The Cayo Event Calendar for June is up. Graduation dances, reunions, veterinary clinics, the Festival of Arts, a box kart race, concerts, the Succotz festival, and much more is happening in June. If you know of any events that need to be added, just let us know.

NICH Informational Video
The National Institute for Culture and History has a creative promotional video out explaining what they are all about. NICH is comprised of the Institute for Social and Cultural Research, the various Houses of Culture, the Museums of Belize, the Institute of Archaeology, and the Institute of Creative Arts. You'll see fliers for all of the events happening this month for the Festival of Arts, which started on the 3rd, and runs through the 22nd. It also features Tanya Carter and Melonie Gillett singing 'Low,' so it's definitely worth a watch. In related news, the Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium is July 2nd through the 5th, and it'll be at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. The Belize Film Festival will be from July 11th through the 15th.

Belize to host internet exchange point forum
Internet in Belize is still the most expensive and among the slowest in the entire Caribbean region, according to a 2013 survey of Caribbean internet service providers (ISPs). However, internet strategist Bevil Wooding says Belize's Internet users should not rely on costly international data transit for online communications within the country. Instead, to facilitate growth of the local telecommunications sector, they should establish their own facility for local internet traffic exchange. “The absence of a local IXP compromises a country’s ability to truly harness the potential of the Internet as an engine for economic growth, job creation and social empowerment,” said Wooding, an international internet expert with the US-based research firm Packet Clearing House (PCH). Wooding, along with PCH research director, Bill Woodcock, will speaking on Thursday at a special forum for internet stakeholders in the private and public sector being hosted by the Public Utilities Commission. The discussion will centre on the establishment of a facility known as an internet exchange point or IXP in Belize. The IXP forum is part of a plan by the PUC to bring together international and local stakeholders to find ways of improving the quality and prices of internet services for Belizeans.

3rd Annual Father's Day Boxing Event
Come one, Come all to the 3rd Annual Father's Day Boxing Event hosted by Mayan Warrior Promotions in conjunction with the San Pedro Town Council. Come witness this international event!

Channel 7

GOB Says No To Crawl Caye
For weeks, 7News has been following the story where Cruise Tourism Giant, Norwegian Cruise Line wanted to access Southern Belize. Their plan was to build a port to call on Crawl Caye, in which the company would be able to access Placencia. But as we’ve reported, the local private cruise interests, members of the conservation community, and BTIA are staunchly against it. As we showed you 2 days ago, Forestry Department, the Fisheries Department, and the Department of Environment all made presentations at a secondary meeting as to the viability of the project based on the environmental concerns. There were talks coming out of that meeting that this was the weigh which steered Cabinet against it, and today finally, we got confirmation. So, Crawl Caye is a no-go, for this project; that’s what the Prime Minister and Minister Godwin Hulse, the chair of the subcommittee, told us today. And because of the nature of negotiations, there were many unanswered questions about the proposal which GOB didn’t want to address until after it was fully heard. They also tackled those tough questions.

GOB Says Belize Made It’s Case Time And Again
Yesterday, our news team told you from Antigua, Guatemala that CARICOM may be losing confidence in Belize as the bridge between Central America and the Caribbean. That’s after the OAS in concert with Guatemala’s Minister of Economy hosted a meeting between Caribbean and Central American Business Leaders - and Belize didn’t make any representation. His Excellency, Nestor Mendez, the Belize Permanent Representative to the OAS, put it in context that the Assistant Secretary General sent several reminders to him to relay the importance of the meeting, and unfortunately, Belize didn’t show up. Well, today, we got a chance to ask Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Mike Singh, the CEO in the Ministry of Trade, about that major hiccup. Here’s what how they responded: Reporter "The pre-OAS, the business meeting between CARICOM and CICA - why wasn't Belize represented at that affair?"

Amidst The Controversies, Imer Gets Another Contract
Last night, 7News told you about Imer Hernandez, who won the 6 million dollar contract to upgrade the Belize City Municipal Airstrip. Well, tonight, we can confirm that Hernandez is also the holder of the contract to renovate the Belmopan market. This is a public works project which is funded by the European Union and supervised by the Ministry of Works. His company placed a bid of 2 million dollars, and it was accepted by the Evaluation Committee. So, he’s now in the second of a 12 month project in addition to the works which he must provide for the Belize City Municipal Airstrip. But you may wonder why, and rightly so because that San Antonio Road scandal remains unresolved. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, as the Minister of Finance, has promised that he will continue to look into it, but Hernandez continues to win contracts. Apparently, Prime Minister Dean Barrow isn’t taken any issue with that; in fact, he says that he has confidence in the mechanisms by which he’s being awarded them. Jules Vasquez asked him last week Thursday about that issue in the context of the unresolved San Antonio Road works. Here’s how that conversation went.

Oil PSA Issues Trudge On
Last week, 7News told you about the substantial difference of opinion between Oceana Belize and the Government of Belize which has ended up before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. It’s in relation to a judgment from Justice Legal in which he declared 6 oil contracts null and void, and the injunction he granted against GOB. Oceana says that this injunction also restrains all oil companies who had any contracts Government. GOB counters that the Supreme Court has tied their hands to oversee these oil companies and to make sure that they are being environmentally friendly, so they’ve applied to CJ Benjamin to have the injunction lifted. It’s a continuation from last week’s brief hearing which saw both parties in court for almost the entire day. When they came out of court, 7News was there to ask for an update on the case. Here’s what both sides told us: Denys Barrow, SC- Attorney for GOB "OCEANA is a very contentious, very argumentative set of people and the short point is that they filed a major weighty experts report when there was no need for it, that is the essence of it. They were responding to two paragraphs in an affidavit which exhibited something which the oil companies said, we were not relying on what the oil companies said for the truth of what they said. But rather to simply put before the court that these are the things which were said so there were absolutely no need for OCEANA to go an employ an expert to deal with what the oil company said and this is the point which we made to the court and the court decided that it would be of no benefit to the court and therefore refused the application to allow the expert's evidence to be admitted."

Barrow: Gender Policy Not Going Anywhere
Last week, 7News told you about the Gender Policy which caused a firestorm of controversy because the Churches felt that GOB was being sly by quietly and gradually bending to the agenda of the LGBT population in Belize. Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that the Churches were confusing policy and law, while the Churches responded that policy is the last step before legislation. They’ve had an opportunity to voice their concerns to Government, and today we asked Prime Minister Dean Barrow for an update. Here’s what he had to say: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "I don't want to get into the internal affairs of the church but this is very important. At that meeting, that call for the gender policy to be withdrawn came from one person supported by two others. The majority of participants there did not make any such call - in fact one prominent church leader went on record as saying that he believes that the gender policy is a good policy.

Delegate Orozco Gives A Preview
So we’re at the OAS General Assembly, and who should we run into? Caleb Orozco. That’s right, Belize’s most well-known LBGT activist is in Antigua Guatemala, and he’s not there as a tourist – he was at the General Assembly as an accredited delegate REPRESENTING. Yesterday, he told us what LBGT groups are pushing for: Caleb Orozco - Representing as an LGBT activist at the OAS "My agenda is really not new for the Belizean public, it's one of rights and my bias remain LGBT citizens but this time what we're doing is working with our traditional partners within the hemisphere. Over thirty activists that looks at transgender issues, that looks at gay issues, lesbian issues and collectively what we've done is we've worked with some sensitization through a declaration. And the second one it looks at discrimination and all other forms of intolerance. The discussion is a little bit more complicated because adapting a convention does not necessarily mean that it's law and so I believe we have a process of domestication like any process you will have a difference of opinion. Extreme Christian right looking to define or in this case make a statement around the family and our correlation all came together to an understand that the narrow definition of family does not reflect the reality of single parent homes, it does not reflect the reality that there are gay and straight couples who take care of children and who are parents and as such there is a strong disagreement over that."

GOB Big Brothers The LPG Sector
A few months ago, 7News broke the story that the LPG companies, better known as the Butane companies, were shorting their customers in a major way. It’s been a long time since that issue made its way back into the news, but tonight it makes a comeback because we’ve been reliably informed that they want to raise their prices. But that’s a problem because we’ve also been informed that there are some of these companies are not bringing in the 60/40 butane/propane mix stipulated by law. So, we asked CEO in the Ministry of Trade, Mike Singh, if they are able to monitor the companies, and about how they go about approving an increase in prices. He gave us some surprising answers: Mike Singh - CEO, Ministry of Trade "So what we did in January is we changed the whole formula and we said we would only allow LPG that comes at a minimum quality of 60/40 mixture.

Caribbean Growth Forum, Belize Chapter
And all our opportunities to speak with these Senior Government officials came from a major gathering between them and members of the private sector and the public sector. That gathering was due to the launch of the Caribbean Growth Forum, the Belizean National Chapter. 7News attend and found out that this workshop was being supported by major organizations in the international community: Kay Menzies - President, BCCI "Welcome to the kick off section of the Growth Forum Belize Chapter. As we know all too well, Belize faces many challenges, such that in total they feel almost insurmountable. Our debt levels, even after the restructuring are higher than we can afford at the current rate of growth especially considering the need to invest in infrastructure development, in development of an enabling environment for business, and in improvement about people's quality of life."

Guat Foreign Minister Talks Maps
The 43rd OAS General Assembly continued today in Antigua Guatemala. Later on Jules Vasquez who is in Antigua, will have a report on the opening plenary session, but first we have an interview with the Guatemalan Foreign Minister who is the lead figure at this event. He held a press conference an hour ago - and after, the Belize media in Guatemala asked him about the offensive map - which we stress has made no appearance at this General Assembly. Here’s what he had to say: Fernando Carrera- Guatemalan Foreign Minister "Well the map to make it very clear has never included Belize on our, or the same color as the rest..." Reporter "It’s been used in presentations in international forums." Fernando Carrera "Yes, but we have criticized those Guatemalans who have done that because that’s not authorized at all. Our official position is that between the territory of Guatemala and Belize there is no border recognized, but we have what we call the 'zona de adjacencia' - the Adjacency Zone. So within that we put something that is a dotted line, a dotted line indicates it is not a border, but it is something that we had both agreed is more or less what we call the adjacency zone that is it. And so the map expresses that in it."

OAS General Assembly Officially Inaugurated
And as you may know by now, The 43rd OAS General Assembly is a major international meeting being held in Antigua Guatemala. As we told you, there are dozens of meetings built around the assembly where representatives from 35 countries throughout the Americas gather. But the real business of the event started last night at an inaugural session followed by a plenary session today. Jules Vasquez is in Antigua Guatemala and he has this report. Jules Vasquez reporting The inaugural session of the 43rd General Assembly of the OAS was held last night at the Finca Philadelphia in Antigua Guatemala. We couldn’t help but notice that when Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina spoke, the Belizean flag and coat of arms seemed strategically placed. But what he spoke about was the centerpiece of the Assembly, the OAS report on drug trafficking: Otto Perez Molina, President of Guatemala "Which becomes a fundamental tool for the process of the debate in our nation." Today those themes were revisited and expanded upon during the plenary session.

Mosquito Population Increasing Exponentially
This week in the Belize District, there's been an explosion in the mosquito population - swarms of mosquitoes are everywhere: outdoors, indoors, even in cars! So what is really happening? Is it normal to see an increase in these blood-eating pests around this time of the year? That’s what we asked Senior Public Health Inspector – Mark Bernard today. Mark Bernard - Senior Public Health Inspector "Well, yes we've had a good dry season and the rainy season is here. I was a bit surprised because we keep getting calls from all over the place because of the high population of mosquitoes. It is not unusual, normally a mosquito eggs can last about two to three yeas in the soil even though it's dry. When that first rain comes, the earth absorbs most of that water but when the rain comes and you start to have water settling then that is when the mosquitoes hatch and you have an explosion.

From a Write-Off To Belize’s Biggest Success Story
In August of last year, Andrew Ortiz was one of two young men from Sadie Vernon High– who left Belize for basketball opportunities in the USA. Ortiz who was a star player on his Sadie Vernon High Basketball team was awarded with a scholarship to finish High School at St Peter Chanel High School in Cleveland Ohio- while given the opportunity to play basketball for St Monica’s Church in the Catholic Youth Organization Regional Finals. Well he has completed his High School education with honors in the Unites States and he’s now back at home to proudly march up with his graduating class of Sadie Vernon High. It is a proud moment for the star athlete who has recently been offered 6 different scholarships at some of the most top Universities in the US. On Monday he made the decision and signed on to South Suburban College in Chicago where he will be playing college basketball. It is a success story for this youngster who was once a product of the Southside. Today in an interview with 7news, he spoke about his challenges, his heartbreaks, but most of all, his accomplishments.

No Champions League For Belize
And while Andrew Ortiz being back to share his success story is good news for Basketball fans who want to see local talent play at an international level, things aren’t looking so good for the Premier League of Belize’s champions. That’s because the FFB announced today that they can’t participate in the CONCACAF Champions League 2013-2014. President of the FFB, Rupert Vicente, was in Belize City today, and so we asked him to explain why: Ruperto Vicente - President, FFB "We regret that we will not be able to participate in the CONCACAF Champion's of Champion's League of 2013-2014 for the mere fact that demands are too high. There are too much demands and we can't meet those demands at this point. CONCACAF is asking all the clubs or all the countries that to participate in the Champion's league, to ensure that the lighting system at the stadium is properly fixed and that it give up at least a minimum of 800 lux. As well that those lights will have to be at a certain height, at present our lighting system, our lights at the stadium is 19 ft high and they are saying that the lights have to be 130 or 140 ft higher so we will not be able to meet that at this point. Secondly they are also asking that clubs that participate in champions league must have the locker room at the stadium air conditioned and installed a minimum of 12 showers for hot and cold water - we do not have that. Thirdly they also asked that we have three five star hotels in the neighborhood of the stadium in order to participate - we do not have that in Belmopan, I'm not even sure if the hotels in Belize City which is one hour away from the stadium are five star hotels. So we cannot meet those conditions so for those reasons Belize will not be able to participate in the Champion's League until we meet those conditions.

Serial Robbers To Court
Last night, 7News told you about the weapons Belmopan police recovered in relation to the robbery at La Choza Bar which claimed the life of Saldvadoran Isabel Antonio Ballona. Well tonight, there are 4 men who are in prison on remand for it. 29 year old Edwin Paula, 19 year old Manuel Hernandez, 18y ear old Rudy Santos and Rasheed Crespo were arraigned in the Belmopan Court on 3 counts of Robbery and 1 count of Murder. 29 year old Edwin Paula was additionally charged with 2 counts of possession for an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. All four persons were additionally charged this morning with 9 counts of aggravated burglary for the UB invasion and armed robbery which took place on the night of Wednesday May 8th at UB's Belmopan Dormitory.

Channel 5

Cabinet did not approve of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Crawl Caye project
As we reported on Tuesday night, the Norwegian Cruise Line’s proposed one hundred million dollar tourism investment project in Belize is currently on hold. A technical team working with Cabinet’s [...]

Other sites open to Norwegian Cruise Line, but where?
But all is not lost for Norwegian Cruise Line as it is now shifting attention to other islands for development in the southern Belize. Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that [...]

PM tells church he won’t change gender policy
The revised Gender Policy is here to stay, even though it has caused a maelstrom of activity since the Women’s Commission had the policy document updated. Strangely, the upset has [...]

Gender Policy resolution highly debated at O.A.S. General Assembly
While the Gender Policy will remain as it stands according to the Prime Minister, in Guatemala, there is a resolution that is also being heavily debated and discussed by member [...]

No referendum discussion tabled for O.A.S. General Assembly
Turning to the referendum…when Guatemala announced it was not holding a referendum this year but in 2014, Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington said that he will be meeting his counterpart in [...]

Guatemalan shot by B.D.F. in Chiquibul Forest
A Guatemalan farmer who was encroaching inside the Chiquibul Forest has been shot by local soldiers. According to reports, on Monday June third, after two p.m., while on a routine [...]

Belmopan Comprehensive School students charged for murder
On June first one man was killed and another injured when they tried to intervene in an armed robbery at the La Choza bar in Belmopan. The robbers opened fire [...]

Carrera speaks on the referendum
The issue of official documents, including Guatemalan passports, being printed with Belize adjoined as part of its territory, has raised the ire of many Belizeans since a date for simultaneous [...]

Football champs won’t participate in CONCACAF Champions League 2013
There is bad news in the football community tonight as the Belmopan Bandits FC, winners of the recent Premier League of Belize Championship, has been declared ineligible to participate in [...]

OCEANA and government attorneys battle offshore contracts in court
This morning, attorneys for OCEANA and G.O.B. as well as COLA and the Belize Coalition to Preserve Our Natural Heritage squared off in front of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin who [...]

Exploratory activities at the root of injunctions in court
Following an adjournment this afternoon, Audrey Matura-Shepherd gave an update to the media.  She told News Five that the root of the injunction being challenged by government is the prohibition [...]

Why didn’t Belize attend SICA/CARICOM meeting in Guatemala?
The Organization of American States and Guatemala’s Minister of Economy hosted a meeting between Caribbean and Central American Business Leaders over the weekend. Belize which is seen as the bridge [...]

Prime Minister says it’s a pity Belize didn’t participate in forum in Guatemala
Prime Minister Dean Barrow also commented on Belize’s absence at the CARICOM/SICA meeting. Barrow said it was a pity that Belize wasn’t there, but he believes that the country is [...]

5 persons charged for illegal entry to Belize
Five persons have been arrested for illegal entry, including a seventy year old man from Honduras, his two daughters, a cousin and a friend.  Immigration officials believe that the group [...]

Orange Walk resident convicted of Dangerous Harm
In the Orange Walk Supreme Court, Jaime Cardenas was today convicted by a nine member jury for the offence of dangerous harm. He was tried before Honourable Justice Herbert Lord [...]

The launch of the Caribbean Growth Forum Belize Chapter
The Caribbean Growth Forum was launched this morning. It is a collaboration of private and public sectors. Three areas for dialogue including: Investment Climate; Logistics and Connectivity; and Skills and [...]

How to determine the price you pay for gas
The cost of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) has been the subject of much speculation. The price varies according to where the gas is imported from. Mexico’s prices have been regularly [...]

LOVE FM

Football Showdown Planned In Southern Belize
Residents of Dangriga and surrounding areas are invited to witness a football showdown in town. Correspondent Harry Arzu has the details. HARRY ARZU "< >" ...

Caribbean Growth Forum Launches Belize Chapter
The Caribbean Growth Forum, CGF is an initiative engineered to identify policies and initiatives aimed at inducing growth and creating jobs in the Caribbean region through analytics work, knowledge exchange and inclusive dialogue. It’s a joint initiative by the Compete Caribbean Program, th...

Belize City Mayor Updates Residents on City Streets Upgrade
The chaotic traffic maze that has prevailed in the old capital since the start of the street upgrades has seemingly entered a new phase with traffic bottlenecks stretching for almost half a mile at some spots during peak hours within city limits. But Mayor Darrell Bradley says that City Hal...

can Physicians Visit Belize To Produce Diagnosis on Neonatal Health
In light of the recent events at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where at least twelve neonates lost their lives, a number of Mexican physicians are visiting Belize to collaborate with authorities to produce a diagnosis on neonatal health. According to a press release from the Embassy of...

Father of Two Fined For Drug Trafficking
Twenty-nine year old Gildon Edwards, a father of two charged with drug trafficking, was fined ten thousand dollars today by the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith, after he pled guilty to the charge. Edwards was ordered to pay three thousand dollars forthwith, in default, six months imprisonment....

Belize City Man Accused of Sexual Assault Get Bail
Thirty-one year old Kenroy Vanzie, a laborer who allegedly committed a sexual assault on a woman 18 years old, was charged with aggravated assault when he appeared in court today. Vanzie pled not guilty to the charge. He was offered a bail of one thousand five hundred dollars and his case was adj...

Woman Detained For Stabbing Spouse With Bottle
A man is recovering at the Northern Regional Hospital after he was reportedly stabbed by his common-law wife. Just after midday on Tuesday, an elderly man identified as Herman Olivera was stabbed by his common-law wife in Corozal Town. According to police Olivera was stabbed with a broken bottle....

Wednesday, June 5 ----- PM Says Gender Policy Stays; Crawl Caye Project Is a No and Belize Will Continue Negotiations With SICA
A meeting of business leaders from Central America and the Caribbean recently took place and Belize was not a part of the meeting. This has raised concerns as to whether Belize was being bypassed as the link between the two regions. Reporters put the question to Prime Minister Barrow ...

Charged with Three Counts of Rape; Will Serve 15 Years
34-year-old Alberto Ical who was charged with three counts of rape in 2009 was found guilty on May 21 on the first and third count. For the second count they had a hung jury on June 4. Judge Dennis Hanomansingh sentenced Alberto Ical to 10 years on the first count and 15 years on the ...

Jury of Nine Finds Man Guilty of Dangerous Harm
Jaime Cardenas was today convicted by a nine member jury in the Supreme Court sitting in Orange Walk Town for the offence of dangerous harm. He was tried before Justice Herbert Lord for the May 29, 2009 stabbing of Rene Escarraga. Escarraga was stabbed in his upper abdomen at a bu...

Some Belama Residents Fear Being Trapped If Bridge Is Not Repaired
Over the past weekend the skies opened up and the rains have been causing mobility problems in some areas. The Belama Phase IV area in Belize City is one of those areas and today the residents of that community called our News Centre to help them expose their problem. The people t...

Cola Holds Press Conference on Neonatal Deaths
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Former British High Commissioner of Belize Charge of Sexual Misconduct Found To Be Baseless
John Yapp- he is the former British Commissioner of Belize who was fired after he was accused of touching the bottom of a senior politician's wife. The incident allegedly occurred in 2008 and Yapp had entered into a legal battle with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, FCO. Last month, the H...

Police Seeks Public Assistance In Identifying Man's Body
Corozal police are asking for assistance in identifying the body of a man that was retrieved in that municipality on Sunday. The police press release states that the corpse, believed to be between 50 and 60 years old, was found on 2nd Street South in Corozal Town. Police sa...

Police News
A man is lucky to have escaped with minor injuries after a shooting in San Pedro Town on Saturday. Twenty eight year old Elton Polonio, a laborer of San Pedrito Area reported that he was socializing in the area when a man he knows went there and started to fire shots in the area and then fl...

NEMO Briefs Media On Its Information Plan During A Hurricane
Last week the National Emergency Management Organization, NEMO, held a press briefing at its headquarters in Belmopan to discuss some key point in hurricane preparedness. NEMO intends to partner with media house across Belize so that in the event of a threat, concise and clear information can be ...

Guatemalan National Shot During Encounter With BDF Soldiers
Love News has confirmed that a Guatemalan was shot during an encounter with members of the Belize Defense Force. The incident happened in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve late on Monday evening and sketchy information that we have is that the victim, said to be a 21 year old man identified only...


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#466025 - 06/06/13 12:27 PM Re: Today's Belize News: June 6, 2013 [Re: Marty]
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CTV3

Couple's fight Nearly Turns Deadly, One man Clings To Life

Bar Brawl Leaves One Man Without Teeth
Corozal police are also looking for one Tony Gutierrez of Calcutta Village who is wanted for grievous harm. This is after he allegedly attacked 28 year old Rafael Uk, Belizean mason of San Joaquin Village in Corozal, and caused all of his front teeth to fall out. Uk told police that at about 12:00midnight on May 4th 2013, he visited Elito’s Bar, bordering the entrance of San Joaquin Village and Calcutta Village, where he met Tony Gutierrez whom he has known for the past four years, socializing with 4 other male individuals in front of the bar. According to Uk, as he approached the group, Gutierrez threw a pint bottle at him hitting him on the mouth knocking out all is his front teeth. To avoid any further confrontation Uk left the area and headed to the Corozal Community Hospital where his injury was certified as grievous harm.

Chinese Establishment Robbed In Broad Daylight
There was a broad daylight armed robbery in Corozal Town this morning. Chang Li Bar and Game Room located on 4th Avenue was robbed by a lone gunman who entered the establishment with one thing on his mind, to get some quick cash. According to an eye witness, who spoke to us off camera, she and three other customers were inside the business when the robber, described as being of fair complexion, barged into the game room brandishing a 9mm pistol and demanding money from the proprietor. Fearing for her life and for the life of her customers, the owner of the establishment handed over approximately $200.00 in cash to the assailant. Satisfied with the proceeds, the robber made good his escape on one of the customer’s bicycle. CTV3 News understands that police are looking for one person for questioning.

Libertad Residents Attacked By Killer Bees
On April 16th, 2013 a four year old Mennonite boy from the community of Little Belize in the Corozal District lost his life after he was stung by Africanized bees. Enrique Thiessen and his five year old brother Pedro Thiessen were playing on an open lot located behind the family’s back yard when they were attacked by the bees. Both boys were stung multiple times on the face and head and while Pedro recuperated from the bee stings, Enrique did not survive the attack as he succumbed to the vicious stings moments after arriving at the Northern Medical Plaza. Tonight there is another bee attack to report, this time in the Village of Libertad in the Corozal District. Luckily, all of the seven victims stung by the killer bees, including a minor, managed to survive the attack and are presently recuperating at the Corozal Community Hospital. According to one of the victims, 37 year old Melisa Suazo, who spoke to us off camera, she was on her way to her cousin’s house at around 3:00pm yesterday when she was stung all over her body by the bees. Minutes later, Paul Morales Sr. and his son Paul Morales Jr. were attacked a couple feet away. In the process of assisting the victim’s, some residents of the village were also stung several times. We understand that two puppies were killed by the bee stings.

Sea Breeze Hotel Falls Victim To The Hands Of Robbers
The Sea Breeze Hotel located on 1st Avenue Corozal Town was burglarized on June 1st 2013. Owner of the hotel, 63 year old David Gyuan Lawrence reported to police that at about 11:00am on Saturday he returned to his hotel and upon entering the main door of the lobby he noticed a machete and a plastic jar where he use to keep his coins, thrown on the floor. As Lawrence checked the rest of the residence, he noticed that the burglar or burglars got into his room located on the second floor of the building and stole one Naval Binoculars valued at $300.00, one cell phone valued at $120.00, one cash box valued at $60.00 and containing $160.00 in cash, two jars containing a total of $75.00 in coins and one clock valued at $40.00. Total value of stolen items amounted to $755.00. Tonight police are looking for Austin Sutherland of San Andres Village in the Corozal District for questioning.

Jasmine Lowe Program In Need Of Financial Assistance
One year ago, a 13 year old student from the Cayo District went missing after she left her father’s house in Santa Elena town. A search led to the gruesome discovery of the decomposing body, 3 days after she was first reported missing, in the bushes near a farm on the Cristo Rey Road. Jasmine Lowe, a vibrant teenager, was very much involved in scouting activities and was preparing to participate in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations which were held in Belmopan at the time. Twenty-eight year old businessman, Bert Vasquez, who also goes by the name Bert Haylock, was charged with the single charge of murder following a series of allegations from other young girls in the area who claimed that they had been offered money by Vasquez for them to get inside his vehicle. This case drew the public’s attention and prompted many concerned citizens to take action by taking part in a number of peaceful demonstrations as Lowe’s alleged murderer was taken to court.

COLA Says Pablo Marin and His CEO Must Go
The Nation’s referral hospital is under fire tonight as no one has taken responsibility for the deaths of 13 newborns at hospital in the first 20 days of May. Seven of the babies died from the outbreak of a bacterium named “enterobacter cloacae” at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit while the other six died of prematurity and other related conditions. The topic has drawn much attention as little to no disclosure has been offered to parents of the 13 infants. Amidst the investigations that have been carried out, many organizations have weighed in on the issue, but there is one particular group that has been very vocal. Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action “COLA” issued a release on Wednesday May 10th 2013 where it called for the removable of the Minister of Health Pablo Marin and his CEO Peter Allen. And it seems that COLA is not backing down. In a press conference held yesterday, COLA agreed to hold a peaceful demonstration tomorrow in front of the KHMH in Belize City. Joining COLA tomorrow will be a number of other organizations including BelizeCan.

And The First Storm For The Season Is Named Andrea
The first tropical storm of what is predicted to be a busy 2013 Atlantic hurricane season formed over the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday. Tropical Storm Andrea formed in the eastern portion of the Gulf of Mexico and forecasters expect the storm to bring heavy rains to Florida before moving up the East Coast. The National Hurricane Center announced the development this afternoon, as it issued a tropical storm warning for Florida's western coast from Boca Grande to the Ochlockonee River. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the next two days for a broad area between Flagler Beach, Fla., and Surf City, N.C. The last issued report from the the Miami-based National Hurricane Center indicated that Tropical Storm Andrea was swirling over the east-central gulf, about 310 miles (500 km) southwest of Tampa, Florida and packing maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (64 km), the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

Couple's fight Nearly Turns Deadly, One man Clings To Life
Fifty two year old Herman Oliva is tonight clinging to life at the Northern Regional Hospital after he was allegedly stabbed by his common-law-wife. Details into the incident are still sketchy but CTV3 News understands that yesterday at around 2:00pm, Oliva and his common-law-wife, Carmen Zetina, were drinking on 5th Avenue near the Income Tax Department in Corozal when they started arguing. Reports are that Zetina broke a pint bottle and stabbed Oliva on the lower side of the abdomen. The Belizean unemployed of Altamira Corozal, was rushed to the Corozal Community Hospital and later transferred to the NRH where he is presently admitted and being treated for internal bleeding. As for Carmen Zetina, she has been detained by Corozal Police pending investigations.

LOVE TV

Several Residents Lean On Media To Urge Authorities on Bridge Repairs
Over the past weekend the skies opened up and the rains have been causing mobility problems in some areas. The Belama Phase IV area in Belize City is one of those areas and today the residents of that community called our News Centre to help them expose their problem. The people there say that the only two means of entering and exiting their area pose risks. The bridge that they built over crocodile infested water started to fall apart on Tuesday and crossing it has now become dangerous. Meanwhile, the street that runs parallel to the bridge is inundated and impassable to small vehicles. The residents are appealing to the relevant authorities to assist them. They say their situation is urgent because their children need to cross the bridge every day to go to school and they feel that bringing their plight to the media will help them see fast results. OLIVE MAE BENNETT Belama Resident “Yesterday the bridge broke down, I nearly fell down and I hurt myself. All the people in Belama are walking in the muddy water and every day I have to walk in water. I don’t know when they will fix the bridge.”

Man Found Guilty After Stabbing Another At A Bus Stop
Jaime Cardenas was today convicted by a nine member jury in the Supreme Court sitting in Orange Walk Town for the offence of dangerous harm. He was tried before Justice Herbert Lord for the May 29, 2009 stabbing of Rene Escarraga. Escarraga was stabbed in his upper abdomen at a bus stop in Orange Walk Town. Sentencing has been adjourned to June 27th. The Crown was represented by Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell and Sabita Maharaj and the accused was represented by attorney Richard Dickie Bradley.

Guatemalan Injured In Chiquibul Forest Reserve
Love News has confirmed that a Guatemalan was shot during an encounter with members of the Belize Defense Force. The incident happened in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve late on Monday evening and sketchy information that we have is that the victim, said to be a 21 year old man identified only as Sacasa at this time, is currently undergoing surgery at the Western Regional Hospital after he was taken there this afternoon. Details of where exactly in the Chiquibul reserve, the particulars of the victim and how the incident transpired are now under investigation.

Belize’s Former BHC Compensated
John Yapp- he is the former British Commissioner of Belize who was fired after he was accused of touching the bottom of a senior politician’s wife. The incident allegedly occurred in 2008 and Yapp had entered into a legal battle with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, FCO. Last month, the High Court ruled that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was wrong to suspend him from his post as High Commissioner with immediate effect and today the judge approved an agreed order whereby Yapp will receive three hundred and twenty thousand pounds in damages. The FCO will also pay Yapp’s legal cost bills which totals to one hundred and fifty thousand pounds which have yet to be finally assessed and could be much greater than that. The court found that the sexual misconduct allegations to be baseless; however, for Yap, the accusation had destroyed his career.

PlusTV

CURRENT: Sexual Orientation Resolution raised at OAS Assembly in Guatemala
OAS meeting in Guatemala right now. Serious developments with a binding treaty being negotiated right now at the Organization of American States GA in Guatemala. some of the worse parts below. We need to get as many countries as possible to oppose this or to delete the many harmful provisions and references...

SEXUAL ORIENTATION trumping RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: A worldwide Chronicle
EUROPEAN UNION *Europe’s top human rights court ruled that equality laws and safety concerns trumped religious freedom in three cases where British Christians were sacked or sanctioned for expressing their beliefs at work. (January 2013). *European Parliament published the brochure, which recommended not to use the words ‘Missus’ and...

PUP favours withdrawal of Gender Policy in current form after Opposition Leader meets with Church Leaders
Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Francis Fonseca and Deputy Party Leader of the PUP Hon. Julius Espat met this morning in the City of Belmopan with leaders of the wider Christian Community from within the Cayo District. The subject at hand; the controversial National Gender Policy of 2013. ...

Norwegian cruise line proposal denied
It’s a “No” to development on the island of Crawl Caye for cruise ship visitation. The Cabinet after meeting on Tuesday and listening to the report of its subcommittee on investment agreed to refuse Norwegian Cruise Lines permission to go ahead with their grand proposal for development on the...

Four charged for Murder and Attempted Robbery
Four persons were charged in Belmopan Magistrates Court this evening for Murder and Attempted Robbery of 43yr old Isabel Ballona. On Sunday June 2nd shortly after 12am, Belmopan Police visited La Choza Bar in West Belmopan where they found two male persons suffering from gunshot wounds. 43yr old ISABEL...

Family of floating dead cop suspect foul play
Last night, we told you about the discovery of a former cop who was found floating in the Belize River on Tuesday morning. 24 year old Maurice Duce, a resident of Belize City, was retrieved from near the Haulover Bridge later that afternoon, after which a post mortem examination...

Guatemalan national shot by Belizean patrol officer in the Chiquibul Forest
Guatemalan national 27 year old Edgar Alexander Sacasa was shot on Monday afternoon by a Belizean patrol officer in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. A team of patrol officers stumbled upon a plantation and a thatch structure in the Caballo camp area and while they were securing the area, Sacasa...

Doctors from Mexico assist KHMH investigation
Belize is getting some help from the international community after the unfortunate deaths of a dozen babies at the KHMH’s NICU. A Mexican physicians group is currently in the country collaborating with local authorities to produce a diagnosis on neonatal health. The Government of Belize, through the ministries of...

Mexico promotes increased trade with Belize
There is another initiative being carried out with Mexican counterparts, as a delegation of Mexican business persons are on a visit to Belize to promote trade and identify potential buyers and suppliers of various products and services. And today, the Mexican Delegation met with local government officials and representatives...

Football stadium not up to standard for CONCACAF games
Tonight, word coming out of the FFB is that the premier league of Belize Champion02, the Belmopan Bandits, will not be participating in the CONCACAF Champion league 2013-2014. This comes after CONCACAF’s stadium inspectors determined that the local stadium still does not meet the minimum standard requirements for the...

The Guardian

Why even Straight Men should welcome the Gender Policy
There are many men who feel threatened by the words “gender policy”. To them it conjures up a world where women will displace them as the top dogs. Instead of competing with only half of humanity, they have to compete with all of humanity. There are also many who feel threatened by any mention of gender equity, seeing it as part of a larger “homosexual agenda”. This irrational fear is partly explained by the well-documented association of homophobia with homosexual arousal in straight men (see article “Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal” by Henry E. Adams, Ph.D., Lester Wright, Jr., Ph.D. and Bethany A. Lohr, University of Georgia, in Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 105, No. 3, pp 440-445.) In summary, studies indicate that all men are aroused to some degree by sexually explicit material of any kind. However, self- reported homophobic straight men show more arousal to homosexual material than self reported non-homophobic straight men. The implication is that the homophobia, described as the fear, anxiety, discomfort and aversion, that some straight men feel towards homosexuals is the result of repressed homosexual urges that the person is either unaware of or denies. In simple terms this means extreme homophobic attacks often stem from a man’s insecurity about his own sexual identity. Other less insecure men might feel a need to oppose homosexuality in order to clarify their own heterosexual identity. Yet, other men and women see homophobia as a means of publicising their attachment to religious and cultural traditions.

$67.9 Million for Cane Farmers - Sweet Sugar Season!
It has indeed been a sweet sugar season for cane farmers as Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) is reporting that sugar production this year was at an all-time high. Cane farmers now stand to receive almost 70 million dollars from the sale of sugar in the international market. Original estimates had it that the price of sugar would have fetched $45 per ton and cane farmers received their first payment based on that estimate. That figure has now been updated and BSI is projecting that sugar will be sold at $63 dollars and potentially more. This translates to a massive windfall for cane farmers, who were expecting second payments, based on the original projection of $45. The payment structure for farmers is done in three payments with the first being 85% of the projected sugar price and is paid at the time of sugar cane delivery. The second payment which is 10% of what is owed to the farmers will come on the 25th of June. The third and final payment is made one month before the start of the crop.

Guatemalan Poachers pressure Wildlife in Chiquibul
The Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) has released its findings from research focusing on the effects of poaching on game species in the Chiquibul Forest. According to FCD, “Guatemalan xateros and poachers have been penetrating deeper and deeper into Belizean wilderness areas and they pose the highest threat to the population of species.” From the month of October 2012 to March 2013, a four-man team from FCD conducted its research along 12 transects, covering a total of 384 km, including the Caracol Archaeological Reserve. The aim of the study was to determine the diversity of terrestrial game species; calculate the relative abundance of each game species recorded and; evaluate the impact of illegal hunting on the relative abundance of targeted species. During the research, a total of 1,022 individuals of 24 different species were recorded where the most abundant species were squirrels, quash, collared peccary, crested guans, and keel-billed toucans. The study revealed that abundance of game species from the western border to the interior of the study area was even, meaning that more than likely, game species are targeted throughout the entire Chiquibul forest, and are impacted by poaching, independent of how far these are from the border. The research also concludes that hunters have been targeting large-bodied species, leading to a severe reduction on abundance of targeted species and have begun to target smaller individuals as well as non-traditional game species such as the keel-billed toucan.

Telethon to complete Inspiration Center - Work Well Underway
Belize’s Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis-Barrow, guided a tour of the Inspiration Center construction site on Tuesday, May 28th. The Inspiration Center is a rehabilitation facility that will provide therapy for children with disabilities from 0-16 years of age. Mrs. Barrow was accompanied on the tour by Evan Cowo, Director of CARE-Belize. CARE-Belize will manage the center upon completion. Services that will be offered at the center include physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy and psychological care. According to Mrs. Barrow, there will also be recreation, sports, arts and culture, and disability awareness programmes at the center. She said that many of the services that will be offered at the center are not currently available in Belize so, the opening of the center will greatly benefit Belizeans living with special needs. Belize has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the goal is to reach full inclusion of people with disabilities in our public institutions and activities. Cowo says that the Inspiration Center will be a place of reverse inclusion. Though it is primarily for children with special needs, “normal” children will be welcomed as well. The center will also serve as a community center with after-school programmes for children from surrounding communities. Cowo says that soon people may look at this practice as an effective model of inclusion. The center is located at 1 ½ Mile on the George Price Highway.

Paul Steven Martinez to stand Trial for Murder
On Friday, May 24th, 20-year-old Paul Martinez appeared in Magistrate's Court before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, who committed him to stand trial for the murder of 18- ear-old Raheem Smith who was killed on Thursday, July 19th, 2012. Martinez, who was unrepresented, chose not to challenge any of the police witnesses’ evidence they had against him. Instead, he told the court he wants the matter to be sent up to the Supreme Court for trial. With that, the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith told him that he will have to answer to the charge of murder in the next session of the Supreme Court scheduled for September 16th. Paul Martinez was accused of stabbing Raheem Smith, 18, on Thursday, July 19th, 2012, after they allegedly had an argument about a bicycle. A fight ensued in which Smith ended up punching Martinez to his face. According to witnesses, they saw Martinez leave the area and return with a long knife which he used to stab and kill Smith.

Second Attempt on the Life of Cayo Cop
Some quick moves and a similar proportion of good luck saved the life of a man in the Cayo District. 29-year-old Oswald Young was at his house in Unitedville Village in the Cayo District on Thursday of last week when seven shots were fired in his direction. Three bullets then pierced the mahogany door in front of him, in rapid succession. At the time, Young was in the living room sleeping in a sofa chair, facing the mahogany door on the east side of his house. Young was injured on the chin; he threw himself on the ground to avoid from being shot again. He then heard footsteps running down the stairs. As a result, Young was taken to the hospital where a slug was removed from his chin. Young’s house is a board structure and twelve feet off the ground. Young’s nephew was sleeping on the veranda of the house at the time and was able to recognize two people in the yard and the one person who was shooting at the building.

$500 Fine for breaking Surveillance Camera
On Tuesday, May 28th, Honduran national, Paula Franco was ordered to pay a fine of $500 for damaging a surveillance camera. Franco appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano where she wasted no time and pleaded guilty to the offense of damage to property for a $350.00 surveillance camera which was property of businessman, Carlos Mendoza. Franco was ordered to pay a $500 fine and $5 cost of court by November 31st, 2013. She was additionally ordered to pay compensation of $350 to Mendoza. In default, a distress order will be issued.

Gun bust at Lord Ridge Cemetery
On Tuesday, May 28th, 20-year-old Lindon Hinds, and a 17-year-old minor appeared before Magistrate's Court before Senior Magistrate Sharon to be charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Before the charges were read however, the charges were dropped against the 17-year-old and Hinds alone was left to face the charge. In court, Hinds pleaded not guilty to both charges but due to the nature of the offences bail was not offered and he was remanded to prison until July 16th. According to police officers, they were on mobile patrol in the Lord Ridge Cemetery area when they saw two men inside the cemetery. When the officers were spotted, one of them men ran off and was seen throwing an object in the area. Police set chase after the fleeing suspect, who was caught and taken back to the area where he was seen throwing the object. A search of the area resulted in police officers finding a .38 Smith and Wesson firearm with no serial number, which was loaded with 6 live rounds.

Jamil Richardson succumbs to Gunshot Injuries
30-year-old Jamil Richardson died on Monday, May 27th, after a two-month long battle for his life. Richardson was one of two men shot by an unknown gunman on March 29th. According to a police report, Richardson was at #99 Vernon Street when a gunman approached them from Partridge Street Extension and opened fire. He was shot in both ankles and the left side of his upper back. He became paralyzed due to the gunshot injuries he received and was frequently visiting the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for treatment. His last visit was on Sunday, May 26th, when he went in complaining of pain. He succumbed to his injuries at 6:42 a.m. on Monday. Police have not made any arrest in the shooting. 25-year-old Dennis Molins was also shot at the time of the incident. He received a gunshot wound to his left leg. Police investigation into the murder of Richardson continues.

Man charged for Year Old Murder
On Friday, May 24th, police arrested and charged, 24-year-old John Lorencio Martinez, with the crime of murder. Martinez, who was unrepresented, appeared before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith where he was read a single charge of murder in the February 22nd, 2013 killing of Ernest Daniel Savery. No plea was taken and he was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until June 24th. On February 22nd, 2013, Ernest Savery was gunned down at around 10:00 in the night just a stone's throw away from his home. He was shot once to the stomach and was rushed to the KHMH where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

64-year pleads guilty to drug Trafficking
64-year-old Egbert August Usher, a resident of George Street, Belize City appeared in Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, May 28th where he was charged with drug trafficking. He was taken before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, where he was arraigned for having in his possession 121 grams of cannabis. He pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking but guilty to possession; however, he was told that the charge before the court was drug trafficking and not possession so his plea was rejected. He then pleaded guilty to drug trafficking.

Huge Turnout for Cancer Walk
Despite a bleak weather forecast, Belizeans turned out in record numbers to support the 2013 Cancer Walk. This year’s event was the biggest since its inception in 1996. The month of May is celebrated as Cancer Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Cancer: Did You Know? Get The Facts.”

Ministry of Health advises Public on a Voluntary Recall of Supplement
The Ministry of Health announces the voluntary recall of the nutritional supplement Benefiber Powders. The recall is for specific batches and is related to a relatively high number of complaints by consumers. These include a lack of odour, lack of flavour, bad dissolution and the presence of particles among others. The US-based manufacturing facility of this product has extended the recall to Belize simply as a cautionary action. It is important to note that the company has emphasized to the Ministry of Health that there has been no evidence of any adverse effects or complaints relating to the use of this product.

Groups present Business Plans to Financial Institutions in Cayo
A well-thought out effort to get Belizeans to promote their business plan began Tuesday at the Rumors Resort Hotel at Mile 1 1/2 on the Benque Viejo Road. Brought together by the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) in cooperation with the Center for the Promotion of Micro and Small Enterprises in Central America and the Dominica Republic (CENPROMYPE) several business groups were able to make their business plans know to seek approval for implementation. Several financial institutions such as Atlantic Bank, Scotiabank and The Belize Bank were invited to Rumors to review the business plans set out by several aspiring groups. One such group was the Cayo West Women In Business whose range of jewelry originates from coconut shells and Guanacaste seeds. The Cayo West group is composed of some fifteen members and have come up with unique designs on seeds, marketing particularly to tourists at the entrance of the Western Border. Another group making their business plans known was the San Antonio Women’s Group. This organization produces some two hundred chickens every six weeks but cannot fulfill the demands for chicken from a large consuming market. The San Antonio Women’s Group seeks sustainability in their business model and to do so they would like to acquire poultry processing equipment.

Swearing-in of Members of the Elections and Boundaries Commission
A Swearing-in Ceremony was held this morning at Belize House, Belmopan, for members of the Elections and Boundaries Commission.

Public Complaints change Gender Policy
’s Commission launched the Revised National Gender Policy on Thursday, May 16th. The policy addresses the major challenges that are faced by women, men and children in Belize today. The five areas of focus are health, education and skills training, wealth and employment generation, violence reduction and power and decision making. Since the launch of the document, religious leaders of the country have raised issue with certain declarations in the policy. One of those controversial declarations was made in the section where the policy focuses on wealth and employment generation. Bullet 5 on Page 31 of the document says that Government is committed to “Amend existing legislation to legalize and regulate the sex work industry. Develop and implement alternative economic skills training programmes and other support services for men and women who wish to retire from sex work activities.”

Oceana gives Oil Companies Carte Blanche
On Tuesday, April 16th, Justice Oswell Legall issued an injunction against the Government of Belize that prevents it from carrying out the provisions of the Production Sharing Agreements with Island Oil, Miles Tropical Energy, Petrol Belize Company Limited, Princess Petroleum Belize Limited, Providence Energy Belize Limited and Sol Oil Belize Limited. Government had already terminated contracts with four of those companies; so, the injunction only affects Princess Petroleum Limited and Providence Energy Belize Limited, which have contracts that extend to October 2015. On Tuesday, May 28th, the Government of Belize applied for a stay of execution on the injunction at the Belize Supreme Court.

PUP losing more than ever
The dogs were out this weekend trying to maintain their stongholds in PUP territories but as much as they barked and bit, they were simply unsuccessful at retaining two of those village councils that they had held from time immemorial. The PUPs have been consistently been able to secure village council victories in Hattieville in Belize Rural Central for over 50 years and in San Felipe in Orange Walk South for decades.

First Leg of Ride across Belize complete
The Ride Across Belize had a successful first leg completed on Wednesday, May 29th. The ride took off from Corozal and made its way to Belize City arriving at around 12:15p.m. Over 100 riders participated in the first leg and the goal is to raise 60 thousand dollars for the Red Cross' soup kitchen and the Belize Hospice Care Foundation. On Thursday, the riders will make their way to Cayo, on Friday it goes to Dangriga and the last leg takes place on Saturday heading to Punta Gorda.

Conch Season closed
Minister of Fisheries Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Honorable Lisel Alamilla, declared the Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) season closed on Thursday May 23rd. The season was closed after the four registered and active fishermen cooperatives have filled their quotas for conch meat. The closure comes in accordance with Statutory Instrument 54 of 2012 which allows for the minister to close the conch season after quotas are met by the various cooperatives. While the season closure prohibits anyone from harvesting or capturing any conch, Restaurant operators and the general public are given an 8 day grace period ending on Friday May 31 during which conch in their possession should be consumed or disposed of. Any person found in possession of the Queen Conch after Friday May 31st will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Developments At Help Age Belize
During the last twelve months, Help Age Belize has been involved in a number of activities to improve the services rendered to the aged at its nine branches countrywide. Even with all the improvements, Help Age continues to be in need of assistance from the general community.

Above Normal Atlantic Hurricane Season predicted
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting an above normal Atlantic hurricane season for 2013 with the likelihood that the season could be very active. According to the organization, there is a 70 percent probability that there will be up to 20 named storms. Of those, between 7 to 11 are expected to become hurricanes with 3 to 6 of those being major storms.

Saint Martin’s Credit Union holds Annual General Meeting in Cayo
The Saint Martin’s Credit Union Limited SMCU held its sixty fourth Annual General Meeting on May 24th, 2013 at the Octavia Waight Center Auditorium in San Ignacio Town. Hundreds of SMCU members turned out to hear about the most recent developments at their cooperative and long-standing financial institution.

Louisiana Government School Girls and Faith Nazarene Boys are National Primary Schools Basketball Champions
The 2012-2013 National Primary Schools Basketball championships came to an end on Friday, May 24th, 2013, at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City. In the girls’ championship game, Louisiana Government School from Orange Walk Town representing the Orange Walk District defeated Holy Redeemer School representing the Belize District by the score of 22-13. The top scorer for Louisiana Government School was Yasel Sutherland with 8 points while the top scorer for Holy Redeemer School was Zaria Jenkins with 7 points. At the end of the championship, Yasel Sutherland of Louisiana Government School was named the championship’s Most Valuable Player.

UB Jaguars lead in Belize Rural Softball Competition
The 2013 Belize Rural Softball Competition continued on Sunday, May 26th, out in Butter Cup Village with four games on the schedule. In the first game played, Easy Does It defeated the host village Butter Cup Uprising by the score of 14-3. The winning pitcher was Margaret Hendy and the losing pitcher was Trecia Flores. In game two, Mel’s United edged Lord’s Bank Sunrise by the score of 13-10. The winning pitcher was Annett Morey and the losing pitcher was Alma Gabourel. In the third game of the day, Ladyville Rising Star defeated Arrows Reloaded by the score of 21-4. The winning pitcher was Sherett Williams and Christine Bracket was tagged with the loss. In the final game of the day, UB Jaguars won over Village Gyal by the score of 18-1. Herlette Clarke and the losing pitcher was Angie Smith. The competition will continue on Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 at 9:00 am in Ladyville. In the first game Lord’s Bank Sunrise will go against Ladyville Rising Star. In game two, UB Jaguars goes up against Arrows Reloaded. In game three, Mel’s United will see action against St. Paul’s and in the final game of the day, Easy Does It will go up against Village Gyal.

Camalote United maintains Lead in Miley Garcia Softball Competition
The Miley Garcia Softball Competition continued on Sunday, May 26th at the Las Flores Softball pitch in Belmopan. In the first game played, Camalote United blanked Esperanza Wolverines by the score 7-0. The winning pitcher was Francine Salazar and the losing pitcher was Shareeni Soberanis. In the second and final game, Belmopan Capital City Emeralds won its first game of the 2013 campaign when it defeated Las Flores Shooting Stars by the score of 18-13. Dana Mae King was the winning pitcher and the losing pitcher was Guadalupe Chicas. The Cayo Softball Association will be hosting its All Stars games on Sunday, June 2nd, 2013, out at the Denbeigh Fuller Softball Stadium in Camalote Village. The All Star Games will feature East against West.

Sports Consultants holding Public Discussions
The Caribbean Sport and Development Agency, the Trinidad and Tobago-based organisation that was hired by the National Sports Council to write the National Sports Policy, among other things, will be holding public discussions with sports fans and the public on what the Belizean populace would like for the National Sports Policy to be. The public discussions will continue on Wednesday, May 29th at the Belmopan Convention Hotel at 6:30 pm in the City of Belmopan; on Thursday, May 30th, at 6:30 pm at the Punta Gorda Sports Complex in Punta Gorda Town and then on Friday, May 31st, at 6:30 pm at the UWI Open Campus Auditorium on Princess Margaret Drive in Belize City. The National Sports Council is extending an invitation to the public to participate in the discussion process.

“The Jewel in the Heart of the Caribbean Basin” The Challenge: Let’ s Start Thinking Outside of the Box
Belizeans, if we really want to make our country, as the late Sefe (God bless) used to say on Radio Belize, “The Jewel in the Heart of the Caribbean Basin”, we need to start making some changes to what we do. Sefe used to say that every day and yet we remain a rhinestone in the Caribbean Basin. We urgently need to move from rhetoric to action or we will not become the Jewel we wish to be. There is no doubt that Belize has the natural resources to become a major economic player in the region. We have seen American, English, Canadian, and Caribbean strategic investors advantageously pursue Belize’s potential in all sectors. Until the recent nationalizations, we Belizeans have sat on the bleachers and allowed them to do so, at times assisted them to do so. We have seen the results; either the resources have been exhausted and what remains is of little value or the strategic investor has had his bellyful and moved on. Almost all the time the profits from our resources are siphoned outside of Belize and all we got was a job and the loss or degradation of the natural resource.

Son-in-law Behind Bars After Pulling a Gun at His Mother-in-law
On Monday May 29th, Herbert Charles, 30, appeared in Magistrate's court to answer to charges after he was accused of pulling a gun on his mother-in-law. 42-year-old Durrita Perteau, a resident of the Pickstock Hutment of Belize City, reported to police that on Saturday, May 26, she was assaulted by Charles, who she claimed pulled a gun on her. Charles, was arraigned on a single charge of aggravated assault with a firearm upon Perteau. He pleaded not guilty to the offense and was denied bail and remanded into custody at the Belize Central Prison until July 13.

“2nd Young Belizean Entrepreneur Wins Growing Up CEO Award”
For two consecutive years, Youth Business Trust Belize received a message stating, "Congratulations! One of your entrepreneurs has been selected for the 2009 Growing Up CEO Program!" Ricardo Gongora, a second year student at St. John’s College Junior College, was this year’s lucky recipient. As a winner, Ricardo was invited to a three-day Inner City 100 Summit May 19- 21, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. During the Summit, he was exposed to some of the fastest growing companies in America, and had the opportunity to develop relationships with Inner City 100 winners, gain access to world class business education and advice as well as getting to meet national business and civic leaders.

$600,000 donation from Project C.U.R.E. to KHMH
First Lady of Belize Kim Simplis-Barrow handed over 600 thousand dollars worth of medical equipment to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s management on Tuesday May 26, 2009. Simplis-Barrow says that the donation came after she approached Project C.U.R.E. with a list of needs from the KHMH. Being a member of the International First Ladies’ Club, last year she attended a luncheon during which she approached Project C.U.R.E. which is the world’s largest donor of medical equipment. The total donation adds up to a handsome two million dollar figure with the first donation of a 40 foot container coming to the KHMH. CEO at the KHMH Dr. Gary Longsworth explains that the bulk of the donation which includes a laparoscopic equipment and supplies which includes camera/video for all scopes. Also included in the donation are central percutaneous lines, casting supplies, stockinettes, web rolls, plaster, fiberglass, cast shoes, neurosurgery packs and supplies, and surgical power drills just to name a few.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Belize Postcards in Print, Digital or Wallpaper
There have been lots of pictures taken throughout the years of our country and the different scenery but can rarely find a good quality photo to use as a wallpaper or for print. Now you can purchase them here www.belizepostcards.com. Demian Solano is a professional photographer and is the owner of Idea Lab Studios in Belize. Check out the website and keep a part of our beautiful country wherever you go.

“Meet the Candidates” forum set for June 12!
Wed. June 12, Caye Caulker Community Center

Blogs

Hurricane season is here!!
Yes we are indeed right smack bang at the beginning of this 2013 Hurricane Season!! This title to this period of the year fills most tourists with terror to travel to our parts and therefore every other customers questions relate to weather!! Obviously for those persons who have saved their hard earned cash for the past year on a holiday in the Caribbean, sunshine is a must and we understand that. But this ‘hurricane season’ period often deters customers from traveling to Belize at this time of the year and this, due to many years of experience, I feel is harsh!! When you do your research as to the seasonality of Belize we are actually ‘sub tropical’ climate, tempered by trade winds. Our dry season has been calculated to be from February to May would be for those who require 100% guarantee of sunshine, to be the perfect time to be in Belize – however, dry weather is indicative of high winds which makes snorkeling and scuba diving tricky, never mind that picture perfect hairdo!!! For those of us who live on this tropical island year round, we would have to agree that at anytime of the year we can receive a ‘rainy patch’. These periods are merely a few days – they are generally a respite from the the sunshine, an opportunity to cool off and perhaps even enjoy your ‘skin blanket’ at night!! Rain, even if forecast otherwise, never lasts for more than three days in a row (and these instances are really narrowed down to perhaps two or three times a year - There is probably no scientific fact to prove this, but in our experience it is always the case). Days remain largely sunny, rainfall more often occurs during the night time period than the day and occasionally the morning or evening. PERFECT FOR TOURISM THROUGHOUT THE YEAR!!

CARIBBEAN GROWTH FORUM – Belize National Chapter, Launch Workshop

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Voted Bes Breed Glute a'loose
Accordin t'mah critics thishere is thar favert breed. It wuz a unanimyus vote. Mah oldest granddaughtr commented on hoe good it smelled and I offerd hern a slice t'aste and she sed, “Nanna, thishere is rilly good ! and I’m yer bes critic becawz I DO ett glute!” I’m nairy shure whut t'difference is n' thishere loaf, maybe it is t'cokunut earl as well as ingredient amounts tweeked jes rite. I have bee reedin about cokunut earl and t'wide range uf benefits it offers so I have bee a'trine t'incerporate it more into mah bakin'.

Amish Pickled Beets
Serves: 6 Chillin' Time: 8 hr Cookin Time: 1 hr 10 min Whut Y'all’ll Need: 10 fresh red beets 2 teespoons salt, divided 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup apple cidr vinegar 1 cup watr Whut T' Do: Cut t' leefy tops off t'beet stems, leevin 2 inches uf stem. N' a large saucepun, place beets n' enough watr t'covr. Add 1 teespoon salt and brang t'a bawl ovr medium-high heat. Reduce heat t'medium, covr, and cook 1 hour, er until fork-tendr.

International Sources

5 Things to Do in Belize Besides Diving
It’s no secret that Belize’s primary claim to tourist fame is its barrier reef, the second largest in the world after Australia’s, where abundant marine life attracts top divers and anglers from around the world. But over the past few years, it has become clear that the “Jewel” of Central America offers a whole lot more, particularly for those seeking inland adventure, history and culture. Non-divers shouldn’t dismiss Belize by any means.

1963: Nora Parham, the only woman hanged in Belize
Belize, B. Honduras, June 5. — Nora Parham, aged 36, the East Indian mother of eight sons, was hanged today for the murder of the man with whom she had been living. So ran a minute, page-10 wire story in the London Times* from the British Central American possession soon to become self-governing as the country of Belize. The unfortunate subject of the story was the first, and remains to date the only, woman put to death in Belize. But she’s very much more than a bit of trivia. A domestic violence victim hanged for murdering her batterer — who just happened to be a cop — Parham remains a lively source of controversy down to the present day. Nora’s position as the victim in an abusive marriage, combined with serious doubt about whether she truly killed her husband at all, have given her enduring appeal. There’s a going campaign to issue her a posthumous pardon. In fact, there was a going campaign before she died to issue her a humous pardon, opposed by a governing party paper on the grounds that “sympathy” ought not “change court rulings.”

Seaweed Farming Takes Off in Belize
An environmentally damaging fishing operation has been replaced with seaweed aquaculture in Belize. The move will ensure the health of the environment on which the country relies for its eco-tourism. “Belize is such a small country that everything is interdependent, and we all depend on the health of our pristine environment. So to see this fishing trawler converted from an environmentally destructive to an environmentally sustainable business is great news," Chaa Creek owner Lucy Fleming told Caribbean News Now. “It also seems to be a symbol of the direction Belize is moving in,” she added. Ms Fleming was referring to the recent hand-over of the “Northern II,” a former deep sea bottom trawler, by the international environmental organisation Oceana to the Placencia Producers Cooperative Society, to be used in a new seaweed farming venture.

To Belize and back again
Twenty-five-year-old Jonathan “Jay” Schulz has not set foot on U.S. soil in more than two years. He has given up his car, reliable Internet and air conditioning, and has missed several birthdays and weddings to live in Belize, where he works with special education children in several Methodist schools. Schulz is a member of the Peace Corps and has lived in a small village in Central America since March 2011. It is in the Toledo district of the country, which Schulz said is the southernmost and “poorest.” Between 800 and 1000 people live there. Schulz graduated from Milton High School in 2006 and from Carthage College in 2010, with a degree in special education/elementary education. Life for people in Belize is a mixed bag. Schulz said the population of around 330,000 is a cultural blend of Creole, Maya, East Indian, Mestizo, Garifuna, Mennonites and Asian. Some live in thatched houses without electricity or running water living from paycheck to paycheck. He said others live in “nice” houses with a roof, utilities and a television.

Family of 7 Takes on Poverty in Belize During Year-Long Mission Trip
Inspired by a news story she saw when she was 14, Julie Kuhnert and her family realized her lifelong dream to help those less fortunate than themselves by leaving the comfort of home and serving as missionaries in Belize. Julie Kuhnert shares her story helping children and alleviating poverty in Central America. Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve taken on? A: In 2011-2012, we decided to take our five kids to the Central American country of Belize to spend a year of missionary service. While there, we worked to improve education, provide opportunities for children in the arts and we worked with grassroots programs to help alleviate poverty. With very little money to our name and no specific organization sponsoring us, we spread the word, asked for support from our community, and walked away from the "securities" of home. We trusted that by following our heart and listening to the call, our family would be taken care of.

Mexico to review migratory flow
Mexican officials are preparing a program to sort the migratory flow along its southern border, which will involve working with the Guatemalan and Belizean governments, Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong said. “We do not know how many migrants from Central, South America and other continents enter our country,” he said. “We don’t know their destinations and don’t know what happens to them, so we cannot ensure their human rights. The government will focus on the border between Belize and the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, where crimes against migrants have become well-documented. Osorio Chong said the initiative, which will use the Navy to patrol the southern border, is “part of national security.” He also stressed it is imperative Mexico and neighboring nations work together. The National Human Rights Commission has documented nearly 20,000 migrant kidnappings in a year and a number of attacks ranging from robbery and extortion to rape and murder at the hands of criminal gangs.


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