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#466114 - 06/07/13 12:23 PM Today's Belize News: June 7, 2013
Marty Offline


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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

NEMO hosts jeopardy competition during NEMO week
As part of the events for the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) Week, students from Ambergris Caye participated in a Disaster Contest, Jeopardy style. The event took place on the evening of Thursday May 30th at the Lions Den. Three teams comprising of two students each were tested for their knowledge in Social Studies, specifically questions related to disaster preparedness and the role of NEMO in Belize. Kenri Rippon and Juliannie Rivero represented La Isla Bonita Elementary School, Janelly Aban and Oscar Aban represented New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) School and Kylie Alamilla and Kylah Castillo represented San Pedro Roman Catholic (RC) School.

World No Tobacco Day observed on Ambergris Caye
The community of San Pedro observed World No Tobacco Day on Friday May 3rd. As part of the day’s event, the National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) partnered with other organizations to highlight the health effects of smoking. Celebrated under the theme “Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship,” NDACC spearheaded a small fair at the San Pedro Town Central Park. Kristina Romero, NDACC’s District Coordinator for Belize Rural South explained that the San Pedro Police Department and San Pedro Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (SPADAI) played an integral role in the partnering for the event. “We partnered with other stakeholders to come up with a booth where we gave out information and flyers about the effects of smoking. We also had several games that attracted the kids. One of the highlights of the day was that we had someone dressed in a cigarette outfit. On the outfit individual notes where written about the adverse effects of smoking and then at the end of the day we burned it to send a loud message against smoking.”

San Pedro’s Hyperbaric Chamber opens its service to all dive guides
Since 1989 Sub-Aquatic Safety Service (SSS) Network has been operating the only recompression chamber for divers in Belize. The recompression chamber that is owned by Sub-aquatic Safety of Belize Limited is essential to the diving industry since it provides all the necessary resources to treat diving accidents. The purpose of the chamber is to allow divers to readjust to normal atmospheric pressure after resurfacing from a dive. When divers surface from great depths too quick their body does not have time to readjust to normal atmospheric pressure and this can cause various pressure-related complications, such as oxygen toxicity and decompression sickness.

Ambergris Today

New Police Barracks for San Pedro Police Department
It can be said that Superintendent Luis Castellanos came to the island of Ambergris Caye as a blessing and brought with him a positive mind and the willingness to work for a safer and better San Pedro. He took up office in January 14, 2013 and in an interview with Ambergris Today the first thing he mentioned was the improvement of the living conditions for his officers. “In the short amount of time being here I want to bring change to both the police station and to the island. I plan on working to improve the living conditions of my officers so that they can give their best to the community,” he commented. “First and foremost we need to improve the barracks which is in a deplorable state. By the time I leave San Pedro, I hope to have a new living quarters for our officers, either at the back of the station where it currently is or above our headquarters.”

Belize Football Team Cannot Participate in CONCACAF 2013-2014
Football Federation of Belize regrets to inform the general public and football supporters of the sad reality of our football. The Premier League of Belize Champion02 for this year, the Belmopan Bandits Football Club, will not be able to participate in the CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2013-2014. Since it has been determined by CONCACAF stadium inspectors, that while improvements have been made to some of the stadium’s infrastructure, the stadium still does not meet the minimum standard requirements for CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE. One of the areas of most importance is the lighting. The minimum requirement is 800 lux throughout the field of play. Since all of the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE matches are broadcasted in High Definition. At the moment the lighting fluctuates from 300-1100 lux in some areas of the pitch.

San Ignacio Resort Hotel honored as Hotel of the Year Belize
At the Belize Tourism Board's 12th Annual Tourism Awards ceremony, held on May 18, 2013, at Bannister Caye, the San Ignacio Resort Hotel was honored as the Hotel of the Year 2012. The accolade highlights a licensed hotel where service exceeds excellence and positive attitude and attentiveness of staff are the norm. The recognition is presented to a property that offers exceptional value for money, demonstrates a willingness to adapt to the demands of patrons while remaining true to its core values, is equipped with modern facilities and amenities and embraces green initiatives. And importantly, the Hotel of the Year's ambience gives visitors an authentic Belize "feel".

Belizean Beaches Make CNN’s World's 100 Best Beaches
Tourists come to Belize in search of the fun in the sea and sun. Our beaches and beautiful Caribbean Sea are just picture perfect and for that reason, amongst others, two of Belize’s beaches have made CNN’s World’s Best Beaches List. According to CNN, they scoured the planet, demanded answers from their most well traveled friends, colleagues and cohorts, absorbed passionate pleas from readers, researched, investigated and examined the evidence then finally tipped the sand from their shoes, washed the brine from their eyes and put together a pretty good guide to the best beaches on the planet.

Misc Belizean Sources

Yami's Yogurt
Yami's Greek Yogurt, not sugar, no preservatives, 100% natural, Soothing to your stomach, the right acidity for digestion, and slimming as well. you can place your orders at Kristy's Pastries or call at 6018977. (perfect for ulcers)

VIDEO: The cohune, the gibnut and us
The cohune, the gibnut and us is a short film produced by Ya'axché Conservation Trust in Belize, Central America. The film is explains the concept of biodiversity and what an ecosystem is, and why we humans need to take care not to break the links in the forest ecosystem. The film uses the example of the gibnut (paca), a ground dwelling rodent which disperses the nuts of the cohune palm, which is used for thatching. The paca is also hunted for meat by humans. Read more about Ya'axché at yaaxche.org or visit the Facebook page: facebook.com/yaaxche

2013 Belize International Film Festival
Here is the schedule for Belize International Film Festival. Hope to see you there!!

(Click schedule for a larger version)

Hard work, teamwork and 'horse' work
I was assigned to the 823rd RED HORSE as the First Sergeant approximately six months ago, and I was issued a RED HORSE hat to wear with my ABU’s. My first day in the squadron, I was allowed to wear this symbolic hat and I automatically got credit for the rich legacy previous RED HORSE members built through decades of hard work, perseverance, teamwork and an unparalleled dedication for task completion. I immediately got credit for that legacy; yet, I had done nothing to earn that credit. Furthermore, I had yet to even experience that legacy in action. I am now deployed with the 823rd Expeditionary RED HORSE (ERHS) assigned to Task Force Mahogany participating in an exercise known as New Horizons. I am witnessing firsthand how these Warriors have earned their legendary reputation and continue to expand their legacy. Working with such mighty members I realize teamwork feeds hard work and hard work breeds teamwork.

SHC Auditorium Inauguration
Sacred Heart College had their auditorium inauguration Tuesday night. They had a few short speeches from Dr. Eve Aird and Julio Llinas, the building blessing from Father Leo Palma, a ribbon cutting, and some amazing BBQ from Running W Meats. The high school will be having their graduation ceremony there this Saturday. Congratulations, SHC, for a building well done! "Sacred Heart College had the inauguration of their auditorium this week. There was a brief speech or 2, the cutting of the ribbon, and some light refreshments. A big thanks to Running W, who provided and cooked to perfection, the wonderful BBQ. Congratulations, SHC, on a job well done."

Team Belize Telethon
Belize's National Football Team is going to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and they are having a telethon on June 15th to raise funds for their journey. They have a promotional video out introducing some of the players. If you want to donate before then, you can call 0-800-JAGUARS. Best of luck!

Cheese in Belize Competition
You can win a cheesy adventure vacation package by entering IACB's picture competition. It's the standard most likes photo competition. It's great to see some delicious cheeses being produced in Belize. Good luck! "ENTER THE CONTEST TO WIN A CHEESE MAKING ADVENTURE PACKAGE FOR 2 at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. The package is complete with Accommodations, Meals & Adventures! It's easy as 1,2,3! 1. Take a photo of your favorite cheese. 2. Submit your photo and a sentence about why it is your favorite. 3. Gather the most votes & WIN!! Click the link for more details and the submission form http://bit.ly/17Y6aaf ; - Contest ends on July 31st, 2013"

Belmopan Comprehensive Graduation
Belmopan Comprehensive School had their graduation ceremony. Congratulations, graduates!

Channel 7

COLA Protests; The Little Ones Not Forgotten
On Tuesday, 7News showed you that power press conference that COLA held in which they announced that they will protest outside of the KHMH. Well, today, the organization managed to gather about 70 persons who marched in the sweltering heat. They were determined to show their discontent with how the hospital has handed the mass deaths of the premature babies in their Intensive Care Unit. Daniel Ortiz was out there, and he found out that, as with everything COLA, it was done in dramatic fashion. Here’s his report. Daniel Ortiz reporting At the head of their procession, the supporters of COLA had a coffin, which could neatly fit one of 12 dead neonates who passed away inside Intensive Care Unit at the KHMH. There weren’t any actually bodies inside it, unless you counted them speaking as one body about the loss of confidence which they continuously hefted along. All through the streets, in a circumference around the hospital grounds, they gave a loud lamentation of their dissatisfaction, closely monitored by wary police officers.

PM Barrow Says PAHO Is Investigating
As you saw in the protest, the supporters are calling for the resignation of the Minister of Health, Pablo Marin. 7News got a chance to catch up with Prime Minister Dean Barrow who was at a consultation with the Belize National Teachers Union. We asked about that sentiment, and he told us today that it is misguided. Here’s how he explained why: Reporter "The parents are calling for an independent investigation, they are saying basically that they are not pleased with the way things were handled from administration, actually from the Minister right down." Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "I don't know what the Minister has to do with it, Lord man - this is a statutory body that is ran by a board of directors. The Ministry isn't involved in the administration isn't involved in the Karl Heusner Memorial and as for an independent investigation - we thought that that was what PAHO was doing. You can't get more independent than PAHO. At the last press conference the PAHO expert gave his preliminary indication of how he saw things. That process is not yet finished, there will be a formal report delivered by PAHO. I can understand why people would not be satisfied merely with the inquiry on the part of the KHMH part of the Board of Directors. But surely PAHO of global renowned has to be seen as both independent and professional so I would ask people to please let us await the detailed report that PAHO will issue at the conclusion of PAHO's investigations."

Belize/Guat Confidence Building Measures On Thin Ice
The 43rd OAS General Assembly continued today in Antigua, Guatemala. We’ll have a recap of the day’s events later on, but first we turn to the local news coming out of that meeting. As we first reported two days ago, Belize is holding discussions in the background of the Assembly’s regular business to try and save the Confidence Building Measures and the OAS Adjacency Office. Those are funded by international friends of Belize who are fast losing patience because Guatemala has ducked out on the promised 2013 referendum. It’s critical, because the consensus opinion in both government and opposition is that without those measures, there’s no avenue to solve the territorial dispute, and without dialogue there is bound to be discord. As the General Assembly was winding up, we spoke to Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington about the problems they are facing:.. Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Belize Minister of Foreign Affairs "There are very formal in arriving at decisions to provide assistance and once they decide on a formula for assisting you that is based on specific undertaking. When that situation changes, they automatically freeze their funds. So for example in relation to the funding which they had provided for the education campaign and to assist us in the matter - they had given us two million Euros which came up to about 2.5 million dollars, that was provided to the OAS to help fund the education campaign in Belize and Guatemala. But as soon as it was announced that in fact the referendum was going to be postponed they gave instructions to freeze those funds.

PM Barrow: Imer Hernandez Got Paid For Work Done
Last night, we told you about the second contract that Imer Hernandez Development Company got in relation to the renovation of the Belmopan Market. That’s a 2 million dollar contract, in addition to the 6 million dollar contract for the renovation of the Belize City Municipal Airstrip. But, as we told you, the scandal surrounding that $200,000, which was paid out to Hernandez for works which were not done on the San Antonio Road, is still pending. So today, we asked Prime Minister Dean Barrow for an update on that inquiry, and he says that by all indications so far, the officials at the Ministry of Works are the ones who must answer for this. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "The Ministry of Finance agreed to a change of the contract, a change in the scope of works. Mr. Medina, the person in charge at the Ministry of Works says that he has the record to show that the contract for San Antonio road was cancelled. The monies were then shifted for infrastructure works in the Otro Benque area of Orange Walk town. Why Mr. Hernandez, thereafter, paid out on the basis on the new contract but by way of documentation that made it appear as though the old contract was still in existence was a matter only Mr. Medina can explain and he's been asked to do precisely that. The Financial secretary wrote the official letter, I can furnish you with a copy if you so please, I don't know that the Ministry of Works has yet responded."

More Consultations On Gender Policy
We caught PM Barrow as he was coming out of a consultation with Belize National Teachers Union on the issue of the much talked about Gender Policy. As we showed you last night, the Government of Belize is experiencing resistance from the Churches because they believe that Belize is slowly bending to the LGBT agenda. Barrow told us today that they are the only ones who have rejected the policy and that the BNTU seemed favorable toward it. He gave us an update: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "The thrust of the Gender Policy is as I described it, it is to empower women, to ensure absolute equality between the sexes meaning the masculine and the feminine sex. I have conceded that if there are particular sections, wordings that could conceivably give rise to misinterpretation, I'd be happy to contemplate on re-wording. But it is completely futile for anyone to ask me to withdraw the gender policy. We'll no doubt hear from the teachers after the counsel of management has reviewed the discussion that we did help but it is my sense walking out of that meeting that the teachers are entirely persuaded that there should be no recall of the gender policy. I've heard them say that now that we've done the review, they can agree that this is absolutely a progressive in the main. Some of them did make clear that they still have some reservations about wording and about meanings and about interpretations but it appeared to me that all agreed that the rationale of the policy and the overarching objective of the policy are both excellent things."

OAS General Assembly Bans Discrimination Against Sexual Orientation
And while there's so much haggling locally about a few words in Belize's revised gender policy, opponents of mainstreaming the gay lifestyle had better be ready for many more battles ahead - including, not least, one with the OAS which has approved a non-discrimination resolution at this week's General Assembly. It's one of the major initiatives coming out of the 43rd General Assembly - one that Caleb Orozco and 30 other Caribbean LBGT activists went to Guatemala to fight for. They fought hard on the Assembly floor to gain passage of the Convention Against Discrimination and All Other Forms of Intolerance. Yesterday evening at his press conference, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Fernando Carrerra said that the Foreign Ministers agree that the dignity of all persons of all sexual orientations should be taken into account. He stressed though, this is not a move to legalize gay marriage.

Belize Will Hold Off On LGBT Convention
But while it was approved by the assembly, there's an important footnote for Belize. Speaking to Jules Vasquez in Antigua Guatemala half an hour ago, Foreign Minister Elrington explained that Belize has not signed: Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Belize's Minister of Foreign Affairs "Yes but Belize has not signed on to it because we don't sign on to any of these things until we go back and report to the Cabinet and get their consent for us to sign on to it. So you don't have to sign on to it today, you can deal with it on a later date. I don't have the authority to act uni-laterally on matters that have not been brought to Cabinet. I'll go back and report to Cabinet then they will instruct us to sign or hold of." Reporter "While I was listening to the actual proceedings, there was a period when there was a pause and the chair came back and said 'ok it is approved'. What is Belize's participation in that....?" Hon. Wildred Elrington "In that process Belize abstained for the time being - we did not vote in favor, we abstained."

Belize Foreign Minister Finally Addresses OAS Assembly
And while those are the hot button items coming out of the General Assembly - the business of the meeting was in full swing today with two legnthy working sessions - or as they are known, plenary sessions. Jules Vasquez is in Antigua and he has this report. Jules Vasquez reporting The third plenary session of the OAS started this morning at ten in the cavernous Plaza Del Atrio Room of the Hotel Santo Domingo. Belize was the last to make its intervention at 1:45pm. Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Belize Minister of Foreign Affairs "Mr. Chairman sometimes I believe we tend to delude ourselves in this part of the world, if we believe that action taken by us will infact create a dent in this pernicious problem. By virtue of our very limited resources we cannot realistically do more than to devise strategies and means to adapt to the changes that drug trade is having on our societies and to take measures to mitigate against those damages. We have no power to deal with the root of the problem which is unquestionably the insatiable demand in the developed world. Frankly Mr. Chairman I do not believe that our failure to find a problem, our solution to this problem - derives from a deficiency in our collective mental and cerebral capacities. Rather, I think it is due in large measure to an absence of political will at this juncture in our history in the major capitals of our world."

Belize and Mexico Strengthen Trade Ties
A delegation of Mexican companies has been in Belize since yesterday. The reason for their visit is to establish contact with Belizean companies where both sides can see what goods and services each has to offer. It’s part of an ongoing trade relationship which Belize shares with Mexico, and today, we got to speak with representatives from ProMexico, the Mexican equivalent to Belize’s BELTRAIDE. Here’s how they explained the ongoing talks between both sides: Jose Manuel Rodriguez Chauvere - Representative, ProMexico "I am representing ProMexico which is a government institution that promotes trade and investment." Daniel Ortiz "So tell us about your visit here in Belize and it's purpose?" Jose Manuel Rodriguez Chauvere "Well we are here in order to increase the trade between the two countries and we are together with fourteen companies from different parts of Mexico. Willing to present their project, their products to societies in Belize and also to distribute products from Belize to Mexico."

How to Produce Internet Bandwidth In House
And while Mexico and Belize foster better trade ties, the PUC wants to create an ICT environment where internet based companies can thrive in Belize. To help with that, they invited 2 specialists who came to Belize to introduce a new way of managing bandwidth, so that the Internet Service Providers can capitalize at home. Those specialists hosted a forum in conjunction with the PUC where they invited all the major stakeholders to participate. We got a chance to speak with the facilitators, and they explained how this new bandwidth management system should work if they embrace it: Bill Woodcock - Research Director, Packet Clearing House "We're a not for profit organization that has existed over the last 20 years to promote the development of the interent globally. Together with the Utilities commission here we're doing a one day workshop on the development of internet exchange points which are the places where interent bandwith comes from. Right now in Belize most internet bandwith comes from Miami or Washington D.C or New York and people in Belize are paying to move that traffic in both directions to and from Miami. What we would rather see is that there would be a place here in Belize where Internet Bandwith is produced so that you can have faster, cheaper bandiwth here in Belize."

Major Headway With Serial Robbers
Last night, 7News told you about that major development in Belmopan where 4 men were charged and arraigned on the robbery and murder which happened at La Choza Bar. Well, there were several points which were understated in our coverage, so with help from our colleagues at Plus TV, Daniel Ortiz revisits them tonight. Here’s that report. Daniel Ortiz reporting On Sunday morning just after 12 a.m., police found 43 year-old Salvadoran Isabel Antonio Ballona dying at La Choza Bar where he was having a drink with his boss, 50 year-old Saldvadoran Manuel Aquino. 4 armed, masked men wearing black clothing robbed the bar owner of his money and of the sales in the cash register. Police say that both men tried to assist the bar owner, and this caused the robbers to respond with deadly force. They shot Aquino in the legs, and fatally wounded Ballona in the chest and stomach, after which, they fled in the bar owner’s vehicle. Solid investigations led police to recover the vehicle the next day. They also caught one of the culprits trying to flee the area.

Belize And Guatemala Get Fight-Ready
Tomorrow night at 7 p.m. is set for the time when a delegation of Guatemalan Boxers will compete against their Belizean counterparts. And one female boxer will participate in the biggest match she’s had so far, so yesterday, 7News caught up with her to talk shop about it. Here’s how that conversation went: Reneau told us how she got to this point within the boxing ranks of Belize Pauline Reneau - Female Boxer "Discipline and making sure that I'm doing all my works - road works, skipping, shadow box, punch the bag, a little bit of glove work in the gym ever so often. Mr. Smart as usual helped me out with everything I need to know, he helps with me with my little mistakes and that's it." James Adderly - Promoter "Do you feel overwhelmed by the fact that you're going up against very high level opposition?" Pauline Reneau "No sir, I'm very excited. I like a little bit of a challenge."

PROFILE…
Tonight’s Profile is about Nurse Dinelle McKay…. This once mischievous and academically gifted student was inspired to become a nurse after being bitten in the face by a dog, as well as other important circumstances. She tells the profile tonight about what it is like being the youngest nurse in the country….

Channel 5

Maya, girl who survived hospital bacteria
All eyes are focused on the K.H.M.H. and a deadly bacteria outbreak in the neonatal intensive care unit. K.H.M.H. figures put the infant mortality in the first twenty days of [...]

COLA’s protest against K.H.M.H. in wake of 13 baby deaths
On Tuesday, the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action held a press conference to demand answers from the K.H.M.H. and the government on the thirteen newborn deaths in the neonatal [...]

Foreign Affairs Minister withholds O.A.S. vote on discrimination convention
The General Assembly of the Organization of American States concludes tonight in Antigua, Guatemala. Aside from the drug problem in the Americas that foreign ministers have been debating, another issue [...]

P.U.P. wants G.O.B. to withdraw gender policy
When the national gender policy was launched in mid-May, it immediately unleashed a firestorm of controversy from very vocal church groups and most recently, the Belize National Teachers Union. The [...]

Internet rates high in Belize than CARICOM
Internet rates have gone down recently and while some people are counting the extra change in their pockets, there really should be quite a few dollars more that internet subscribers [...]

Drug trafficking in the Americas discussed at O.A.S. General Assembly
As we told you earlier, the O.A.S. General Assembly closes tonight at the historic Antigua, Guatemala. For two days delegations have been discussing the need to urgently address the drug [...]

Referendum not discussed at O.A.S., but Chiquibul incident mentioned
As we reported on Wednesday, the issue of Guatemala’s territorial claim over Belize and the joint referenda to elevate the matter to the International Court of Justice was not discussed [...]

Taste of India burns in Hopkins
A popular restaurant in Hopkins Village in the south is no more following an early morning fire that gutted the establishment. Taste of India, a quaint restaurant along the coast [...]

Mexican delegation looks for markets in Belize
Representatives from fourteen Mexican companies are in Belize as part of a trade mission organized by the Trade and Investment Mexican Agency, ProMexico and the Mexican Embassy. The delegation is [...]

Leader of the Opposition believes a National Bank is dangerous
At a press conference in late April, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced the creation of the National Bank of Belize Limited. A Board of Directors, a Managing Director, location and [...]

20 year old man and 13 year old girl spells carnal knowledge
A Belize City man will have to answer to a sexual offense for allegedly having sex with a teenage school girl last year on April twentieth. Twenty year old Ellsworth [...]

Feinstein Stake Bank Project back online
Norwegian Cruise Line will have to find a different island for its cruise ship port. But there is another tourism related project in development that far surpasses Norwegian’s hundred million [...]

Multitalented kids perform at the National Festival of Arts
About one thousand students and other youths will be taking part in the 2013 National Festival of Arts which is underway at the Bliss Center for Performing Arts. The next [...]

Youth inspired by dancehall music
Music is a form of emotional expression. For young people, popular music is the medium through which they often express their mood, aspiration and development of their own cultural identity. [...]

LOVE FM

Annual Battle Camp Comes Up For Volunteer-Soldiers
Plans are in place for this year’s Belize Defence Force volunteers’ annual battle camp. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details. PAUL MAHUNG “Plans are in place for this year’s BDF Volunteers Annual Battle Camp. BDF Volunteer Battalion Second in Command, Ma...

Sagicor Visionaries Regional Competition Winners Receive Prizes
Bishop Martin High School in Orange Walk Town has been in the news for winning several competitions. Today the students who won the regional Sagicor Visionaries Competition received their prizes. Reporter Dalila Ical has the story. DALILA ICAL “Bishop Martin High School ...

Open Forum Looks At Making Internet Access Cheaper In Belize
The Public Utilities Commission, along with Packet Clearing House which is a leading Internet Exchange Points, IXP implementer, hosted an open forum for Belizean stakeholders entitled, “The Benefits of an Internet Exchange Point. The forum looks to afford participants with needed info...

Suspected Crack Cocaine Found on Fisherman In Southern Belize
A fisherman of Dangriga has been charged for drug trafficking. Police visited the residence of thirty eight year old Micheal Ramirez on Castillo Alley in Dangriga around 5:25 yesterday evening and conducted a search in the area. The search led to the discovery of forty seven pieces of...

Duo Charged With Drug Trafficking
A man and a woman were charged with drug trafficking for 374 grams of cannabis when they appeared in Court today. They are 48 year old John Fuller and 27 year old Candice Castillo. They pled not guilty to the charge. Fuller was offered a bail of $1,000.00. Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith stipul...

Companies Near the New River Contribute to Recent Fish Kill; Investigation Ongoing
At the beginning of April residents of Orange Walk who live near the New River reported a fish kill. Following the reports, the Department of the Environment sent a team to investigate the cause of the dead fishes and other species in the Eco-environment. The investigation is ongo...

Activists, Mourning Parents and COLA Demonstrated At Belize's Referral Hospital
Earlier this week Citizens Organized for Action through Action, COLA planned a demonstration to show their discontent with the authorities’ response following the death of at least thirteen babies. Reporter Marion Ali has the story. MARION ALI “The scorching sun did not ...

Workshop Seeks To Enhance Dialogue Between Market Vendors and Local Authorities
There have been numerous stories on the news about the differences between various councils and market vendors but today a workshop was held in Belmopan to break down that communication barrier. The workshop is on Market Management in Belize and is being conducted by the Department of Local Gover...

Africanized Bees Attack Villagers In Northern Belize
A number of people were attacked by killer bees in the Corozal District. Correspondent Dalila Ical has the details on the incident. DALILA ICAL “On Tuesday around 2:30 in the afternoon a group of people who were campaigning for the People’s United Party in Libertad Villa...

Remanded For Murder; Guilty For Kept Firearm and Ammunition
Twenty-seven year old Cecil Castillo, also known as “sadiki”, who is remanded on a charge of murder, was found guilty of kept prohibited firearm and kept ammunition without a gun license today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. He was sentenced to 6 years for the firearm, a...

Prime Minister Sits Down With Teachers Union To Review Gender Policy
A meeting ended about an hour ago between Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the leadership of the Belize National Teachers’ Union over the recently-revised National Gender Policy. It comes on the heels of a meeting that the People’s United Party had with church leaders of Belmopan ...

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...

Mexican 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...


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#466115 - 06/07/13 12:23 PM Re: Today's Belize News: June 7, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

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CTV3

COLA And Parents Of 13 Dead Newborns Demand Answers From GOB
The death of 13 babies at the hands of the nation’s referral hospital, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, has outraged many Belizeans particularly the parents of the newborns. As the days go by and no one is held responsible for the untimely death of the infants, the clamor for justice intensifies. And today Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, accompanied by the parents of the victims and other organizations took their cries for justice to the streets of the Old Capital as they held a peaceful demonstration in front of the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital. Although the crowd was small the message carried out was huge. Irvin Aragon has the story. Irvin Aragon – Reporting “Justice” was the word resounding in the streets of the old capital today, particularly in front of the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital, as Belizeans gathered in unison fighting for what they believe in, that someone be held responsible for the untimely death of 13 babies.

Imer Hernandez Awarded Millions Of Dollars In Contracts
Imer Hernandez is back on the news tonight but it’s not because he gave an interview to the media and cleared his name from the San Antonio Road scandal. By now the nephew of the Deputy Prime Minster is no stranger to the Belizean public since he has been making headlines for the past two weeks. Hernandez’s story began when documents, showing that he was paid close to $200,000 for works conducted on San Antonio Road Orange Walk, were released by the media when in reality the work is yet to be executed. The Prime Minster came out in Hernandez’s defense claiming that the contract awarded to Imer Development Company Limited for the refurbishing of San Antonio Road was cancelled and the money was used to pay for works conducted in the Otro Benque Area. But despite the fact that the Prime Minister has not been able to confirm why Hernandez was paid out under the San Antonio Road contract, the DPM’s nephew has been awarded several other contracts by the Government. Reports are that apart from winning a six million dollars contract to upgrade the Belize City Municipal Airstrip, Hernandez was also awarded the contract to refurbish the Belmopan Market.

Keron Tzul Receives Award For Logo Competition
Today the faculty and staff of Bishop Martin High School had much to celebrate as Keron Tzul, the forth form student who won the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities logo competition, was presented with his winning prizes this morning. On hand for the special ceremonies was CEO for the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities Dr. Colin Young who was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega and Representative of Belize Telemedia Ltd, Erwin Aragon. For winning the logo competition Tzul was bestowed $500.00 cash and an Ipod while the Bishop Martin High School received a $1,000 and a video projector courtesy of Belize Telemedia Limited.

Jaime Cardenas Convicted Of Dangerous Harm
A jury of nine members convicted Jaime Cardenas for the offence of dangerous harm in the Orange Walk Supreme Court yesterday. Cardenas was tried before Honorable Justice Herbert Lord for the May 2009 stabbing of Rene Escarraga in his upper abdomen at a bus stop in Orange Walk Town. Escarraga would have lost his life without medical intervention. The Crown was represented by Counsels Shanice Lovell and Sabita Maharaj and the accused was represented by attorney Dickie Bradley. Sentencing has been adjourned to June twenty-seventh.

And The Awards For BMHS Keep Rolling In
In the Month of March Bishop Martin High School was the only High School from the Orange Walk District to enter the National Sagicor Visionaries Challenge. On March 20th, the high school’s Science Group earned a spot at the Regional Competition that took place in Barbados from the 12th to the 13th of April with their Coconut for life project. After facing off high school giants from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Barbados and other institutions, Bishop Martin High School was named the champions of the Regional Competition making Belize proud. Today representatives of Sagicor, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities visited the school where they announced the culmination of the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge that started almost a year ago with the presentation of prizes to the regional winners.

Religious Leaders And COLA Oppose Gender Policy
The revised National Gender Policy 2013 launched by the Women’s Commission, continues to make headlines tonight and it’s not in a positive way. While the policy address issues of gender inequality, some of its contents do not sit quite well with the larger community, specifically the religious sector. As previously mentioned, back in March, Cabinet approved the removal of one particular section of the policy which stated “Amend existing legislation to legalize and regulate the sex work industry.” In all fairness the Women’s Commission has stated that the statement was a complete oversight and should have been omitted, meaning that it should not have been introduced in the final draft of the policy. And while that particular section of the policy has been removed, there is one paragraph that continues to raise concern and cause controversy. After reviewing a section of the policy entitled “Respect for Diversity” which partly states “the customary religious and cultural practices must be subject to the right of equality”, religious leaders concluded that the statement pushes an agenda of inclusion for homosexuals. Based on the concerns raised, Cabinet agreed to amend the section by removing the final sentence of the paragraph which reads: “... and customary religious and cultural practices must be subject to the right of equality”. But even with the amendment, churches and other interested party’s continue to be in disapproval of the Gender Policy.

PUP Recommends Complete Withdrawal Of Gender Policy
Jumping ahead of the Prime Minister is P.U.P Party Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca and his Deputy Party Leader Julius Espat who met with church leaders of the Cayo District, particularly those representing Belmopan and surrounding communities, yesterday. Following presentations from Pastors Scott Stirm and Louis Wade, Fonseca addressed the gathering and in sight of the concerns raised by the church leaders, the PUP made several recommendations to the Government of Belize. For one, the PUP recommends a complete withdrawal of the Revised National Gender Policy in its current form in order to preserve support for any Gender Policy moving forward. To allow the Church Community and their representatives to undertake a full and comprehensive review of the Policy in its current form and make recommendations for refining and revising the Policy and only after this has taken place should the policy be re-tabled for Cabinet and National Assembly for approval. The Revised National Gender Policy 2013 has some very good objectives and aspirations which all Belizeans can and should support but our Church Community must be given every opportunity to offer their views on the Policy if it is to have any chance of forming the basis for meaningful and effective change in our society, according to the PUP.

P.M Meets With BNTU, No Agreement Reached On Gender Policy
While the Prime Minster finds nothing wrong with the policy, the Belize National Teachers Union does. In a release issued on June 4th the BNTU expressed great concern for the implications the policy can undertake, questioned if the document was being implemented in order to comply with conditions for foreign aid and most importantly called on Government to put an immediate halt to any further action on the gender policy. This morning the Prime Minister met with the hierarchy of the BNTU in Belize City where several issues in reference to the Gender Policy were laid on the table. This afternoon when we spoke to President of the BNTU Luke Palacio, he told us that the teachers union will not provide any interviews regarding the meeting until further consultations are held.

LOVE TV

Accused Murderer Sentenced To Six Years For Firearm Charges
Twenty-seven year old Cecil Castillo, also known as “sadiki”, who is remanded on a charge of murder, was found guilty of kept prohibited firearm and kept ammunition without a gun license today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. He was sentenced to 6 years for the firearm, a shotgun he made from a metal pipe. He was sentenced to 3 years for a 16 gauge cartridge which was in the shotgun. Senior magistrate Fraser stipulated that the sentences are to run concurrently, so Castillo will serve 6 years. Castillo was busted with the firearm shortly after 9 p.m. on May 4, 2010. He was standing on Antelope Street Extension when a police mobile patrol approached him. When he saw the police he threw an object over a fence into a yard. The police retrieved the object and it was a firearm that resembled a shotgun. The firearm had a 16 gauge cartridge in it. At the trial the firearms examiner, Orlando Vera, testified that the firearm could fire. Castillo testified and denied that he threw the firearm over the fence. Last year Castillo was convicted of keeping a prohibited firearm, a shotgun he made while he was in prison, which was found in his cell in the Tango 9 section. He was sentenced to 2 years for that offence.

Consultant Recommends National Association for Market Vendors
There have been numerous stories on the news about the differences between various councils and market vendors but today a workshop was held in Belmopan to break down that communication barrier. The workshop is on Market Management in Belize and is being conducted by the Department of Local Government and Rural Development through the Belize Rural Development Project 2. For the past three months there was a consultant in the country and he is Michael Burchell, a technical support officer for the European Union. Burchell’s role was to review the market system in Belize and present his finding which was done today. According to the Minister of Labor, Local Government and Rural Development, Senator Godwin Hulse, the aim of the workshop is to increase the management and administrative capacities of the regulatory authorities overseeing markets in Belize. HON. GODWIN HULSE “Generally, the whole idea is to ensure that we improve the management of the market; so, when people bring their produce, particularly from the rural areas, there is a place for them to display them, there’s some security, there’s water, it’s hygienic and then you can create the dynamism of a market place where people come and buy and haggle and go and come but this is particularly to enhance the management, the physical management of the infrastructure, accountability for the resources and that sort of thing.”

PlusTV

COLA stages demonstration against KHMH
This morning a contingent of about 175 Belizeans rallied by Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) took off from in front of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), publicly displaying their dissatisfaction with its investigation of the deaths of 13 premature babies. Seven of those deaths are linked...

Ministry of Health inaugurates new training for Epidemiologists
Even while COLA supporters were calling for their heads across town, representatives of the Ministry of Health and partners Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CPHA) were meeting to inaugurate a new cohort of training for epidemiologists to catch bugs like the deadly Enterobacter...

OAS adopts Inter-American Conventions
Yesterday, the General Assembly of the OAS adopted the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance, as well as the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance. Both documents were formerly negotiated and subsequently drafted and are now open for the member states...

Audrey Matura Shepherd says the Constitution already defines descrimination
Meanwhile, the 2013 Revised National Gender Policy continues to be topic of major discussion. The current government is standing its grounds when it comes to the Gender Policy. Despite disagreement over key issues on gender identity and sexual orientation topics named with the manual; Prime Minister, the Hon. Dean...

Denys Barrow presents Government’s case on oil injunction
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin heard arguments as to why the Government should be granted a stay of an injunction handed down by Justice Oswell Legall in his April judgment declaring the production sharing agreements of certain oil companies unlawful, null and void and stopping the Minister from acting on...

Mike Singh clarifies Belize Representation at Regional Summit
Some have questioned why Belize had no representation at a regional summit between business leaders of CARICOM and Central America in Guatemala and wondered whether we have been left behind as the fabled link between the two. CEO in the Ministry of Trade Mike Singh and the Prime Minister...

Judge denies Michael Coye bail to leave prison pending appeal
At a re-trial conducted in July last year, 66 year old Michael Coye and his daughter Melonie were convicted of money laundering under the Money Laundering and Terrorism Act and jailed for 3 years, as well as fined 25 thousand dollars. They were accused of running a scheme under...

The Guardian

Guatemalan Man shot in Chiquibul
Last week, the Friends of Conservation and Development issued a release highligthing the pressures the that Chiquibul Forest Reserve is under as Guatemalan poachers continue to infringe on the natural resources in the area. Because of these infringements, there has been an increase in patrols in the area and by extension, an increase in contact between the patrols and Guatemalans who make their way into Belizean territory. Another such encounter has left a Guatemalan man injured and receiving treatment at the Western Regional Hospital. Authorities report that at around 2:00 p.m. on Monday, June 3rd, BDF officers were on patrol, in they Chiquibul Forest Reserve some two miles within Belizean territory. During the patrol they officers discovered a plantation and a thatch structure in the Caballo Camp area. While securing the area, a Hispanic man was seen approaching on a brown horse with a firearm. He was ordered to stop; however, the man ran into the nearby bushes. Two warning shots were fired and the man turned around and returned several shots at the patrol. As a result, the patrol returned fire injuring the man. First aid assistance was rendered to the man, who was identified as 27-year-old Edgar Alexander Sacasa, a Guatemalan of Picalito Village. He was escorted out of the area but due to the terrain and weather conditions, they were unable to transport him to a medical institution until Tuesday morning when he was taken to the Western Regional Hospital. He is listed in stable condition and is under Police guard.

Santi recovering
Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Santiago Castillo, is recovering after suffering a nasty spill during a routine ride from Belize City to Hattieville and back. On Tuesday morning, Hon. Castillo was returning into Belize City from Hattieville along with a group of about 20 riders in a sprint when his front wheel inadvertently touched the rear wheel of another cyclist causing him to fall off his bicycle. As a result of the fall he suffered a broken left clavicle, broken fingers on his left hand and rib which had him undergo surgery, which was successful. Castillo, who is the manager of Team Santino, was performing a routine cycling workout with about twenty riders.

Oceana Stopping Progress?
Oceana and the Government of Belize were back in court on Wednesday, June 5th, as GOB tries to have a stay of execution on an injunction which was granted to Oceana on May 16th. The injunction was given by Justice Oswell Legall along with a declaration that contracts signed in 2004 and 2007 were unlawful and void. He also ruled that before entering into agreements or contracts which authorize oil exploration and seismic surveys that environmental impact assessments are required. An injunction was then granted restraining the Minister of Natural Resources from executing the PSA’s. The only companies which will be affected by the ruling are Princess Petroleum Limited and Providence Energy Belize Limited, which have contracts that extend to October 2015. In speaking with Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, who is representing the Government, he explained that at the beginning of the case, Oceana had applied to have evidence of an expert on petroleum admitted into the court proceedings. The Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin ruled against that, however, since there was no need for any expert’s opinion at this juncture since the substantive case had already been heard and a ruling done on it. At the end of that first phase, Oceana was ordered to pay costs of the legal proceedings to the Government.

Mayor Bradley pitches $10 Million Proposal to UNICEF
Mayor Bradley and Christine Norton Visit residents of Port Loyola On Tuesday, June 4th, Mayor Darrel Bradley took Christine Norton, Country Representative for UNICEF, and Mary Vasquez, Executive Director of Restore Belize, on a tour of Southside Belize City. The Mayor intends to apply for funding from UNICEF for a project aimed at improving the infrastructure and quality of life for residents of Southside Belize City, specifically, the Port Loyola Area.

Bail denied to 66-year-old Michael Coye
In late July of 2012, two members of the Coye Family and with two of their employees were convicted of money laundering under the Money Laundering and Terrorism Act and while the employees escaped jail time, Melanie Coye and her father, 66-year-old Michael Coye were convicted and sentenced to jail for 3 years. They were additionally fined $23,000. They have since appealed the case but remain in jail. Since then, Michael Coye has been seeking bail. On Tuesday June 4th, Justice Samuel Awich ruled on his application and denied him bail. The ruling was handed down at a special sitting of the Court of Appeals

Drunk Man shot in San Ignacio
A male was seen with gunshot wounds at about 9:17 pm on Sunday in San Ignacio Town. The male was observed to be suffering from gun shots to both his right and left knee and right upper arm. Investigations revealed that the recipient of the gun shots was Rupert Roland, 24, who had visited Roses Chinese Store and Restaurant in San Ignacio Town on the George Price Highway. The security guard at that establishment had reacted with his licensed 9 mm pistol at the aggressive moves of an inebriated Roland. The security guard had received a complaint that Roland was causing annoyance to customers at the Restaurant. Police visited the scene of the shooting and recovered four expended shells and a 9 mm pistol from the security officer. Roland, who is a tire repairman by trade, was kept at the San Ignacio Hospital for observation. He was discharged from the Hospital on Tuesday.

Father acquitted of Carnal Knowledge of his 12 year-old Daughter
On June 3rd, a 40-year-old man of Punta Gorda walked out of the Supreme Court of Belize a free man after his daughter refused to testify against him in a case of carnal knowledge. The teenaged girl, 14, took the stand, pointed out to the man in the dock as the accused and her father who had been having sexual intercourse with her on several occasions from in February 2010 until April 2011. She, however, refused to give evidence to assist the prosecution's case to prove the charge. While on the stand, prosecutor Sheneiza Smith asked her about the two dates she can remember her father having sex with her. The child said she just did not remember those dates.

Acquitted of Theft
On Tuesday, June 4th, 38-year-old Carmita Middleton, who was employed as a receptionist at International Privacy Cooperation, was found not guilty of 5 counts of theft. The charges stemmed back from 2008 when she was working with Robert Bandfield, the sole owner of IPC. This acquittal came before Justice Adolph Lucas in the Supreme Court.

Pharmacist held up at Gun Point in Cayo
At about 7:00 pm last Friday, a pharmacist was held up at gun point in Santa Elena Town, Cayo. Thankfully the pharmacist was able to survive this incident. Codd’s Pharmacy is located on George Price Highway in Santa Elena Town. A male of Hispanic descent, dressed in dark blue jeans pants and a black sleeveless undershirt entered the drug store through its main door and was clever enough to order Amoxicillin (an antibiotic). It was when the 30-year-old female pharmacist turned around to deliver the medication, that the invader pointed a .38 black in color weapon at her and demanded money. Fearing for her life, the pharmacist handed over $887 in cash. The armed criminal then made good his escape. At this time, police are investigating this incident.

Students turn Robbery into Murder in Belmopan
Belmopan have arrested four male students, two aged 19 and 18 year old and a 15 year old after a robbery and murder in Belmopan. The two eldesrwere arraigned in Belmopan Magistrate court where they were read charges of murder.Police report that they visited La Chosa Bar located in Belmopan City at 12:05 on Sunday morning where they found 43- year-old Isabel Antonio Balona suffering from a gunshot to the left side of his head and 50-year-old Manuel Aguino with a gunshot to the right leg. Investigations revealed that as the proprietor of the bar, Joshua Lopez, was closing down the establishment, four persons armed with firearms and dressed in long sleeved black shirts, black pants, gloves and masks entered the business place demanding money. The owner handed over his wallet ,which contained 600 dollars in cash. The men then proceeded to loot the cash register and took 3,000 dollars in cash. Upon seeing the crime in progress both Ballona and Aguino intervened during which the robbers fired several shots at them killing Ballona and injuring Aguino. The robbers then made their escape in Lopez's white Chevy Prizm car bearing license plates BMP-3475.

Inspiration Telethon raises over $514K
Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children and Global Ambassador to Special Olympics, hosted a telethon to raise funds for a state of the art Inspiration Center that will cater specifically for children with disabilities and special needs on Saturday, June 1st. She set a target of $500,000 and once again Belizean generosity proved to be inspiring.

The Great Blue Hole Nominated for “8th Wonder of The World” Competition - Voting Now Open Through September 30
The Belize Tourism Board announces that it has entered “The Great Blue Hole” into VirtualTourist.com’s quest to crown the ‘8th Wonder of the World.’ “Visible from outer space & more than 1000 ft in diameter & 412 ft deep, the Great Blue Hole is a breathtakingly grandiose sinkhole located 43 miles off the coast of Belize, known as a diver’s mecca.” Public voting is now open at VirtualTourist.com, a leading travel research website and community that is part of the TripAdvisor Media Group. Alyssa Carnegie, BTB’s Marketing Director, commented, “We decided to nominate the Great Blue Hole for the “8th Wonder of the World” competition simply because it is an amazing natural site, unlike any other in the world. We want to share Belize’s phenomenon with the rest of the world. As Belizeans, I know that we are all extremely proud of this natural site and so we want to encourage everyone to vote daily for the Great Blue Hole. We know that it is a “Wonder of the World,” and now we want it to officially hold that title.” With numerous Tourism Boards, Chambers of Commerce and Visitor Bureaus sending in a nomination, the public is asked to vote for Belize out of the more than 200 submissions. Voters can visit www.virtualtourist.com to vote for the Great Blue Hole and have until September 30 to do so. The wonder with the most votes will be crowned the winner. The winner will be featured in a national broadcast TV segment on a popular syndicated program, as well as receive a massive media relations campaign push from VirtualTourist.

What’s COLA’s Agenda
Geovanni Brackett’s brain must have been an egg batter as he held his umpteenth press conference on Tuesday, June 4th. He was not burning any OAS flags or was he claiming on anti-Guatemala rhetoric; he did not threaten to light himself on fire or did he pretend to be a legal expert. This time around, he chose to be the clarion against the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in the deaths of 7 Neonates as a result of a bacterial infection.

No Cruise Tourism at Crawl Caye - NCL exploring Other Options
Prime Minister Barrow announced on Wednesday, June 5th, that Cabinet had informed Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) that “In the form in which it was being proposed, Crawl Caye as a site for cruise tourism development will not work”.

Government upholding Respect for Diversity of All Types
On Tuesday, May 28th, Cabinet announced that it would make amendments to the Revised National Gender Policy 2013 in response to concerns raised by church leaders. One of the guiding principles of the document reads:

A New NICU for KHMH following Baby Deaths
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) held a press conference on Thursday, May 30th, to give an update on its investigation into an outbreak in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the medical professionals’ response to that outbreak that caused numerous neonatal fatalities. At this point in the investigation, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the KHMH, Chandra Nisbet-Cansino, believes that no individual could be blamed for the unfortunate incident. She said, “I'm not saying nobody's head will roll but nobody's head is rolling at this time.” Cansino elaborated, “We have had detailed discussions with the head of the Pediatric Unit and their response was really timely, they did what they were suppose to do and, when they were supposed to do it.” Director of Medical Services at the KHMH, Dr. Adrian Coye, explained his team’s response. He said, “Around the tenth of May it was recognized that a baby became unwell and this baby was screened and cultures did not show any positivity for any organism and the baby died as a result of sepsis.” This was alarming because there was no positivity for any organism. No new patients were admitted into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit after that day because, according to Dr. Coye, “It was recognized by the clinical team that babies were becoming septic and becoming unwell very quickly.” After speaking with the head of Infection Control at the hospital, they decided to make changes to the antibiotics being used and close the unit to new patients. Dr. Coye said it would not have made sense to close the unit and move the patients since they were already in a controlled environment. They then restricted visitations and emphasized the wearing of gloves, proper hand washing and other sanitation measures. Despite the continued antibiotic changes, seven babies died as a result of the outbreak.

Montejo out in the Cold
Collet Montejo, who is the PUP’s candidate in Cayo Central, remains shell-shocked as the Area Representative, Hon. Rene Montero keeps on delivering the villages in his constituency. The last village he had to be a witness to as it became UDP for the first time was Selena. Montejo looked on as the counting was taking place and he murmured “I can’t believe this is happening to me”. Well, it did happen. Somehow, Montejo thought that he would simply show up in the village and the people would vote for his PUP slate.

Amidst the Flack
Considering how comparatively small our country is, it is amazing how many burning political topics can surface in a just few weeks! I mean, if one had afforded the time to keep pace with the headlines on all news outlets since the beginning of May, one would have noted that there was ample material for journalists to sample, digest and move on to another appetizing topic without breaking stride. Of course, the delight at Channel Fox could not be masked, and even in instances where there was no drama, they went to great lengths to fashion sensationalism with innuendos; in high pitch too, to boot!

Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball Competition heats up at the Bird’s Isle
The 2012-2013 Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball Competition continues at the Bird’s Isle with a number of games in both the girls and boys competitions daily. The competition continued on Tuesday, June 4th, with four games on the schedule. In the girls’ game, it was Holy Redeemer School winning over Trinity Methodist School by the score of 25-5 and 25-15. In the first of three boys’ games played, Holy Redeemer School defeated Trinity Methodist School by the score of 25-9 and 25-15. In game two, it was Wesley Upper School winning over Queen Square Anglican School by the score of 25-18 and 25-18. In the final game of the day, All Saints’ Anglican School defeated St. John’s Primary School by the score of 25-21 and 25-16. On Monday, June 3rd, in girls’ competition, St. John’s Primary School defeated St. Martin’s De Porres School by the score of 25-11 and 25-19. In the first of two games in the boys’ competition, Trinity Methodist School defeated St. John’s Primary School by the score of 25-22 and 25-13. And in the final game of the day, St. Martin’s De Porres School defeated All Saints’ Anglican School by the score of 26-24 and 25-20.

Tuff “E” Nuff Top Seed in Interoffice Basketball Playoff
The regular season of the Interoffice Basketball League competition came to an end on Saturday, June 1st, 2013, at the Bird’s Isle with two games on the schedule. In the first game played, Tuff “E” Nuff defeated Police by the score of 100-85. The top scorers for Tuff “E” Nuff were Ashton Edwards with 39 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals; Farron Louriano with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal; and Tyrone Edwards with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals. Meanwhile, the top scorers for the Police were Linton Broaster with 30 points, 4 rebounds and 5 steals; Orlando Bowen with 18 points, and 6 rebounds; and Shane Rosales with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. In game two, it was “No Limit” edged CYDP by the score of 73-72. The top scorers for “No Limit” were Jacob Leslie with 27 points, 1 rebound and 2 assists; and Greg Rudon with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists. For CYDP, the top scorers were Bernard Felix with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal; and Lincey Lopez with 13 points, and 3 rebounds.

Cyclists are now entitled to Cross Country prizes
The National Anti-Doping Organisation of Belize has informed the Interim Cycling Committee and the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association that it has now received the results of the five (5) Anti-Doping Samples collected at the conclusion of the 85th Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic. The samples were analysed by the scientists at the UCLA Olympic Lab in Los Angeles, California, USA, a WADA certified lab. The samples were analysed for Erythropoietic Proteins and Proteins by Electrophoresis (EPO), Anabolic agents by mass spectrometry, anti-estrogenic agents and related substances by mass spectrometry, diuretics and masking agents by mass spectrometry, Beta-2 agonists by mass spectrometry, glucocorticosteriods by mass spectrometry, stimulants by mass spectrometry and immunoassay, narcotics by mass spectrometry and immunoassay, hormones and related substances (hCG) by mass spectrometry and immunoassay and drugs abuse by mass spectrometry and immunoassay. The certifying scientists have certified and confirmed that all samples are negative and have reported the results to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) via ADAMS. With the results now in hands the National Anti-Doping Organisation of Belize has given the go-ahead to the Interim Cycling Committee to proceeds with the presentation of awards for the 85th Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic.

UB Jaguar maintain Lead in Rural Softball Competition
The Belize Rural Softball Competition continued on Sunday, June 2nd, 2013, out in Ladyville with four games on the schedule. In the first game played, Lord’s Bank Sunrise defeated Ladyville Rising Star by the score of 12-1. The winning pitcher was Alma Gabourel and the losing pitcher was Sherett Williams. In game two, it was UB Jaguars, who with the 20-3 win over Arrows Reloaded, maintained its undefeated record in 2013 Belize Rural Softball Competition. The winning pitcher for the UB Jaguars was Herlette Clarke and the loss was charged to Christine Bracket. In the third game of the afternoon, Mel’s United won handily over St. Paul’s Bank by the score of 12-5. Annette Morey picked up the win for Mel’s United and Jacqueline Cassasola was charged with the loss. In the final game of the afternoon, it was Easy Does It winning over Village Gyal by the score of 11-1. The veteran, Margaret Hendy was the winning pitcher and the losing pitcher was Angie Tucker. The competition will continue this coming Sunday, June 9th with four more games on the schedule. All games will be played out in Rancho Dolores with the first game scheduled to commence at 9:00 am. In game one, it will be Village Gyal, the home team going up against Mel’s United. In game two, it will be Lord’s Bank Sunrise against UB Jaguars, followed by Arrows Reloaded against Easy Does It of Flowers Bank. In the final game of the day it will be St. Paul’s against Buttercup.

Chilean Olympic Committee makes bid for 18th Pan Am Games
Mr. Neven Llic President of Chilean Olympic Committee and members of the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association at the bid presentation The President of the Chilean Olympic Committee Neven Llic along with his team that consisted of Jaime Agliati, Rodrigo Moreno and. Edwardo Valenvuela arrived in Belize on Friday, May 31st, 2013 and left the country on Saturday, June 1st. The sole purpose of their trip was to present their bid to host the 18th Pan American Games scheduled for 2019 to the members of the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association. The city that is vying for the bid to host the 2019 Pan American Games is the capital, Santiago. The bid and showcase as displayed by the Chilean Olympic Committee was very impressive. Other countries that are also bidding to host the 18th Pan American Games include the Venezuela, Argentina and Peru. The President of the Chilean Olympic Committee also met with Minister of State with direct responsibilities for youth and sports the Hon. Herman Longsworth.

Ride Across Belize 2013 Reaches another Milestone
Riders arriving in Santa Elena, Cayo last Thursday Participants in the Ride Across Belize 2013 arrived shortly after 11:00 am at the Social Security Branch Office in Santa Elena Town, Cayo last Thursday where they were given a welcoming reception. The staff of Social Security were very helpful in ensuring that the riders were fed and given enough fluid after their strenuous ride from Belize City

Barbara McNab-Grinage
“Beans & Rice & Jesus Christ” by Barbara McNab- Grinage is the cook book that should be on the reading list of all Belizeans with appreciation for local traditions. Barbara McNab- Grinage left Belize for the United States many years ago when she was 15-years-old. However, she never forgot her Belizean heritage and she certainly did not leave her appetite for Belizean food. In her effort to share the food she loves with people from all over the world, this first time author hit the ball out of the park by seasoning her recipes with stories of her childhood in Belize.

New Board and Advisory Council for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Belize
A new board and advisory council for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award were formed last Saturday in San Ignacio Town. The event brought participants from as far away as Belize City and Dangriga, who met at dusk at the Library in San Ignacio Town and to form new partnerships in the benefit of young people.

Social Security celebrates 32 Years of Operations
Olivia Dakers, Branch Manager for the Social Security Office in Santa Elena Town, Cayo Social Security celebrated its 32 years of existence last Friday. As part of this year’s observance, the branch Office of Social Security in Santa Elena Town in Cayo held a customer’s appreciation day, where a variety of information was displayed on the benefits under the Social Security Scheme.

The Reporter

Oil discovered in Orange Walk
Maranco Energy Belize Limited has struck oil at its South Canal Bank #1 exploration well in the Orange Walk District. The company made the discovery during routine exploratory drilling in their concession zone on Sunday, March 30. A Ministry of Energy press release describes the find as “encouraging”, but underscored the need for further testing to determine if the oil is in commercial quantities. Chief Executive Officer of the ministry, Dr. Colin Young, explained that Geology and Petroleum Department personnel are on site and are closely monitoring the situation. Young added that there have been previous oil discoveries in the north, but the amounts were below commercial quantities. The Ministry is expected to give a public update on the testing in two weeks. Maranco Energy Belize Limited is owned by Maranco LLC of Carlestown, Nevis, West Indies and has its headquarters at Iguana Creek in Spanish Lookout. It is an affiliate of PR Marriott Drilling Limited, a company established in 1947 by the Marriott family of the UK.

Four men charged for special constable’s murder
Four men accused of shooting and killing 36-year-old Police Special Constable Bertchel Ramirez on Tuesday night, are scheduled to be arraigned in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, Friday, Belmopan police confirmed. Police revealed today that they have apprehended four suspects, who were taken to San Ignacio for an identification parade. Ramirez, a six-year police veteran attached to Belmopan area and described by on of his superiors as a dedicated officer, was ambushed and killed near the home of his girlfriend’s father’s in an area of Roaring Creek Village known as Another World. Ramirez received gunshot wounds to his head, body and legs. Neighbours told reporters that they heard between 12 and 15 shots.

National Stadium partially accessible
Belizean athletes may soon be allowed limited access to certain parts of the Marion Jones Sporting Complex, to be renamed the National Stadium, even though the facility won’t be complete and ready until the end of the year. Minister of State with responsibility for sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth made the announcement at a consultation for a national sports policy at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel on Wednesday, April 3. The entire project will cost $30 million, whenever it is finally completed, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has chipped in handsomely, contributing $2 million towards its completion. For now, Longsworth said the public may be allowed some access to those parts of the facility which have been completed. These include the football pitch, which was completely redone at a cost of $200,000.

BTV gets OAS support for weekend border trek
The Organization of American States representative will accompany the Belize Territorial Volunteers as they clear the borderline between Dolores village and Gracias Adios this weekend, BTV leader Will Maheia said Thursday. The OAS responded to the BTV on Thursday via email, saying that they have requested Mr. Sergio Benitez, director of the Office of the General Secretary of the OAS in the Adjacency Zone, to be present at the locations where the border clearings will take place. Maheia explained that the BTV has been getting tremendous support from Belizeans in country and abroad, and the OAS’s recognition of their efforts has certainly bolstered the morale of all the volunteers. Maheia added that prior to the OAS giving their support, 100 volunteers had pledged to be a part of the border clearing efforts on Saturday. He said that the number has increased since the announcement.

Blogs

San Pedro Lobster Festival lovers are coming back for 5th year
The Jansen & Racut family are returning on the 13tb of June to San Pedro, Belize. They have been coming every June to attend Lobster Fest since 2009. This year will be the 5th year they have returned to the Island. Wishing the Belize fishermen a great lobster season. Ready for a good time at the Lobster Fest events all week and to finish the week with a bang at the Lobster Fest Block Party 2013! Jennifer Jansen I am not surprised the Jansen & Racut families are returning for their 5th year of San Pedro lobsterfest fun. As I was downloading the lobsterfest pictures of the annual block party that Jennifer sent, I was taken back in time. It made me all the more excited for Lobsterfest 2013, so many choices of delicious food and drinks, the cute dresses, great live music, the time we had the biggest downpour and hanging out with friends. What could be a better recipe for a great party. Make sure you toss a couple of ziplocks in your purse or pocket if you have any electronic gear, it always rains to some degree at the big block party. Thankfully decoration meltdown was the worst weather related mishap to date. Here is the official San Pedro Lobster Festival 2013 event schedule.

AADIL IS ECO FRIENDLY
My name is Aadil Nu ‘Man I am 8 years old. I am a standard II student at Grace Primary School. Let me tell you how I am ECO FRIENDLY. Everyday I try to recycle, reuse, and reduce. Early in the morning I wake up, eat my breakfast. Any left over food scraps like orange peels, vegetables, tea bags egg shells and rice I put it in a container. In the evening I take it out in the corner of my back yard and use it to fertilize my plants. When I get new clothes and toys I put one of my toys or clothes that I am not using in a bag. All our family members do this so when we have a lot we have a yard sale. If any is left then we give to the less fortunate neighbors and friends. When we come out of our rooms for a little while I turn of my lights instead of wasting electricity and letting the electricity bill come high.

Belize Looking to Neighbors and PPCR to Build Climate Resilience
Like other countries in the Eastern Caribbean region, Belize is highly vulnerable to natural hazards such as coastal and inland flooding, high winds, fire, and drought, all of which are being exacerbated by climate change. And like its neighbors, Belize is doing something about it. Following the lead of other Caribbean countries involved in the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), Belize is initiating a comprehensive climate resilience investment plan that spans across sectors to mainstream climate change in its national development planning and action. Drive on any of Belize’s four main highways and you will quickly understand how tough it is to maintain this main network connecting Belmopan and Belize City, the two key economic zones. Frequent floods impede commuting and the transportation of goods and can cut off the population for several days. It’s only going to get worse, as recent studies indicate that Belize will undergo a warming and drying trend and is expected to endure even more frequent and intense rainfalls. Seventy percent of its people live in low-lying areas prone to recurrent flooding, so reducing vulnerability to natural disasters is at the core of Belize’s development challenge.

“Didn’t Work Out, Did It?” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Following the tome that yesterday’s edition turned out to be I decided that today’s edition would be much, much tighter. After all, you – the people that take the time and have the interest to read my ramblings- are likely to have far less time than me. So for those of you for whom time is a precious commodity today’s edition is written with being concise in mind. I spent a little time yesterday reading The Covenant by James A Michener. The reading this time though was from a paperback and not via my Kindle. A really nice change. There’s something about having a book in your hands and turning real pages and not pressing a button. Or is it an age thing? I picked up the book at BC’s Beach Bar, where they have a corner set aside for people to deposit books that they have finished with. I will return the compliment in a few weeks when Rose and I move to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and clear the bookshelves of the condo we are renting.

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Greek Mater and Feta Dip
1/4 cup olif' earl 3-4 small maters, chopped (Roma er uther firm maters) 4 gree onyuns, sliced 8 oz. crumbled Feta cheez 2 teespoons Greek seesonin', t' taste* 1 baguette, sliced n' servin size pieces Drizzle olif' earl on a large plattr. Scattr t'chopped maters ovr t'olif' earl.

Why I Had A Great Time At #TBEX
As you may or may not know, I’m pretty strict about not publishing content that isn’t Belize related on this blog, however, I’ve decided to share a bit of the experience I had at Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) 2013. TBEX took over Toronto this weekend and that meant that there were a whole lot of travel bloggers in town, over 1300 individuals to be more specific. Some came to network and many others were lured in by the incentive of learning how they can get a piece of the travel blogger industry pie.

CABINET’S DECISION ON NCL’S PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT ON CRAWL CAYE
Belizeans and true friends of Belize, It appears as though the Cabinet has made a pronouncement concerning the proposed Norwegian Cruise Lines development on Crawl Caye. As with all things, especially in dealing with matters deriving from this administration, a word to the wise is that despite what you glean from the press release…”the devil is in the details”. On the surface it looks as though the Cabinet made a wise, sound and appropriate decision, based on the statutes involving environmental protection. Yet, it causes the “enquiring mind” to query why, on one hand they opt to disregard issues pertaining to environmental protection and concern, when it involves seismic testing and oil exploration in our forest reserves, then subsequently show signs of an environmental “conscience” regarding the matter at hand. The bottom line is, that “all that glitters isn’t gold”. Again, given this administration’s propensity for manipulating the “law”, you are asked to pay keen attention to the wording of the release. In particular, kindly note where it reads… “However, in an effort to stimulate employment and open up other economic benefits for Belizeans in the South, Cabinet did support Norwegian Cruise Line’s request to search for an alternate site in Southern Waters…” Translation, people of the South and truly concerned Belizeans everywhere, gear up for round 2, because a development as lucrative as this one will certainly NOT be shelved.

The resurrection of the 7th amendment and Belize survivability in the 21st
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. “

The New Bill Gates Vaccine is Not as Safe as They Say
Yesterday Reuters put out an article that praises MenAfrivac which is a vaccine that fights meningitis in places such as Africa where the disease is more common due to various reasons such as lack of medical treatment. They really went out of their way to point out the good this vaccine has done. Reuters The thing is, they forgot to mention this: This is a French written article in a journal called “La Voix” out of Chad where this incident took place. I will provide a partial translation of what happened, the translation comes from VaxTruth.com and it has been verified by several people including myself. On December 20, 2012, a vaccination tragedy hit the small village of Gouro, located in northern Chad, Africa. According to the newspaper La Voix, out of five hundred children who received the new meningitis vaccine MenAfriVac, at least 40 of them between the ages of 7 and 18 have become paralyzed. Those children also suffered hallucinations and convulsions.

International Sources

The Grid Earth Project, 1% Club and Waka Waka Light Change Life in Cayo District
In May of 2013 the Grid Earth Project distributed more than 300 Waka Waka solar lamps in the Cayo District of Belize, in a project funded through the 1% Club. This permanently changed the lives of thousands of residents of the area. An amazing thing happened in May of 2013. The Villages of Armenia, St. Mathews and Los Tombos all took a 150 year leap into the future. Until now they have been living with kerosene lamps and candles for household light. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 1000 people die daily from burns caused by kerosene lamps. Another 2.5 million die from respiratory illness caused by breathing toxic fumes. Grid Earth Project distributed over 300 Waka Waka solar lamps to all of the households in these villages. Now the burns and illness associated with living without access to safe light is a thing of the past in these villages and thousands of people will live better lives as a result. The project was made possible by generous contributions made through the 1% Club. The Grid Earth Project distributes solar light in underdeveloped areas that do not have access to electricity.

Family petitions government, hoping for answers in son’s death
A Calgary family is desperate for answers following the death of their son in Belize, and are now petitioning the House of Commons in hopes of getting closure. 35-year-old Jeffrey Furgala was taken into custody in January after being arrested for public intoxication. About nine hours after he was locked up, officials found him unconscious. Furgala died a few days later in hospital. Police in Belize said Furgala fell in his cell, and causing head injuries—but his family says they’re getting contradictory information. His mother requested documents from the coroner, but certain information was left out. “It says in there that he was tested for toxicity,” explains Fern Tiberio. “If you’re gonna go portray my son as being intoxicated, prove it to me. The autopsy report is absent of any report of toxicity.”

Caldwell College Students Help Build Church in Central American Village
A mission trip to the Central American country of Belize in May turned out to be a life-changing event for 11 Caldwell College students. Led by college president Dr. Nancy Blattner, her husband Tim and staff member Meghan Moran, the group spent eight days in Punta Gorda, Belize, serving families and children. When members of the group arrived at their destination May 13, they were greeted by Father Lou McCabe, an American Jesuit, who assigned them to assist local carpenters in building a church in the village of Corazon Creek. The foundation had already been poured and eight pillars had been set. The students' job was to help pour the remaining pillars, frame the structure, and construct the roof. That last task included putting up 11 handmade triangular support beams and applying zinc sheeting — all of which was set on a tight deadline.

Fortis foes allege eco-misdeeds
In pressing the case that the proposed $1.5 billion acquisition of Central Hudson by Canadian holding company Fortis would be bad for ratepayers, Citizens for Local Power (CLP), an Ulster-based grassroots group which has risen to oppose the merger, is pointing to what they say is Fortis’ poor record in dealing with projects in Belize and British Columbia and warning the same could happen here. “We’re seeing a trend in Belize and British Columbia of misinformation and a lack of trust, and we’re seeing this the more research we do,” said CLP attorney Daniel Duthie at a press conference May 23 at the County Office Building in Kingston. At the conference, several — including some from the Central American nation and the western Canadian province brought in via an occasionally balky Skype connection — spoke in opposition to the deal, which could, activists say, be approved as soon as the Public Service Commission’s next public meeting on June 13.


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