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#470414 - 08/17/13 07:27 AM Today's Belize News: August 17, 2013
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The San Pedro Sun

PM Barrow welcomes revocation of Commerce Bight Lease
Prime Minister Barrow has welcomed the decision of the Minister of Works and Transport, Hon. Rene Montero, to revoke the lease of Commerce Bight Port. The Prime Minister says that the decadent state in which the Commerce Bight Port was found after being in private hands for over 11 years shows the ugly face of the misguided policy of unbridled privatisation pursued by the PUP Government when vital national assets were sold out for short-term gains. The port privatisation exercise relentlessly followed by the previous Government has proved to be a dismal failure, says the Prime Minister. The so-called ‘strategic investor’, Port of Belize Ltd. Owned by businessman Luke Espat, to whom Port Loyola was sold and Commerce Bight Port leased in 2002, is now in receivership. All the grandiose development plans for the two Ports which were given as the reason for privatization are now no more than a dream.

Government of Belize Revokes Lease Granted to Port of Belize Limited
On Thursday, August 15, 2013, The Honourable Rene Montero, Minister responsible for Ports, as authorized by Cabinet, and in accordance with Clause 16 of the Lease, signed an order revoking the Lease granted to Port of Belize Limited (PBL), to operate and manage the Commerce Bight Port, and arranged for possession and control of the Port by the Belize Port Authority with immediate effect. The revocation came as a result of the breach of the following terms and conditions: (a) Clause14.1. PBL has failed to submit a development plan or to carry out any development works at the Port as required by this Clause. This breach alone is sufficient under Clause 16 to revoke the Lease. (b) Clause 4.1. PBL has failed to operate and manage the Port or to carry out the necessary dredging of the approach channel and the dock basin, as required under this Clause. (c) Clause 10. PBL has failed to pay the lease rental to the Government of Belize in accordance with this Clause.

Belize Rotary Club helps address water challenges affecting San Mateo
Rotary Club Distributes Filter Buckets-1Water is one of the basic needs for all humans and it has been the center of world discussion in almost every international forum. The statistics worldwide gives a wider picture of the challenges faced by mankind to tackle water related problems. One community that contributes to the alarming global statistics is San Mateo, situated in the heart of Belize’s prime tourism destination, Ambergris Caye. For that reason the Rotary Club of Belize, working along with US expatriate Ann Kuffner, are leading a cause that will help minimize waterborne illnesses by providing water filter buckets. Water and the globe According to the United Nations (UN), 11% of the world’s population or 783 million people are still living without improved sources of drinking water. In fact, currently 2.5 billion people, including almost one billion children, live without even basic sanitation due to a shortage in water. The UN also reports that every 20 seconds a child dies as a result of poor sanitation; it is equivalent to 1.5 million preventable deaths each year. Worldwide, diarrhea continues to be the leading cause of illness and death, and 88% of diarrhea deaths are due to a lack of access to sanitation facilities along with inadequate availability of water for hygiene and unsafe drinking water. But with improved sanitation and safe drinking water, 90% of diarrhea related diseases could be reduced.

Ambergris Today

Giant Squid Carcass Found at Belize Blue Hole?
Remnants of Large Squid Found by Amigos Del Mar Dive Shop - The crew of Amigos Del Mar Dive Shop seems to always have the best of luck when it comes to new discoveries while they are out at sea during their daily tours. A while back they discovered a prehistoric-looking creature that looked like a cross between an eel and a large-mouthed fish, clearly a deep sea dwelling creature. Earlier this week, they found remnants of a very large squid! “It’s a giant squid!” remarked many residents when they saw this elongated body part. The crew of Amigos Del Mar made the discovery once again during one of their trips to the Great Blue Hole of Belize. They picked up this dead creature out of the water and were startled by its size.

Norwegian Cruise Line Plans To Develop $50Mil Eco-Friendly Destination In Belize
Norwegian Cruise Line (NASDAQ: NCLH) announced today that it has purchased approximately 75 acres in Southern Belize for the planned development of an eco-friendly cruise destination. The land, called Harvest Caye, is made up of two adjoining islands in the Stann Creek and Toledo districts that had previously been approved for a resort development with an air strip. Norwegian plans to invest $50 million in the project. “As our fleet continues to grow to 15 ships by 2017, we expect that we will double the number of guests sailing on our Western Caribbean itineraries and, once this new destination is complete, bring four times as many guests to Belize than we do today,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and CEO. “In our quest to continuously look for new and exciting destinations for our guests, we plan to develop a cruise destination focused on sustainable design and eco-friendly principles that will retain the natural beauty and local culture of this tropical paradise.”

Misc Belizean Sources

Junior DJ Spin-off
Courts is having their Junior DJ Spin-off tomorrow at their Belmopan store, from 9:00am until noon. The competition is for 13 to 19 year olds, and the winner will get a $500 school grant. DJ Richie will be the host, and Cloud 9, Eclipse Sounds, and Black Chiney will make special appearances. Remember DJ's: No talking over the music, people don't want to hear your voices, that's what MC's are for. Big difference.

Conference for Life at GPC
The George Price Centre is having a Conference for Life tomorrow, starting at 9:00am, and all females ages 10 and over are invited. The United Christian Women's Alliance Belize is organizing the event, and it includes food and snacks. For more information, email wallbelize@outlook.com.

Belize Bank Presents Scholarships
Getting ready for the upcoming school season, Belize Bank awarded 13 students scholarships. Congratulations to the students, and a big thanks to Belize Bank! "The Belize Bank gives thirteen scholarships to high school and sixth form students across the country. The scholarship recipients must maintain a minimum 2.75 average. But the bank is also lending its human resources to the program. In each district that has recipients, a bank employee will become a mentor for the student. The students are also obligated to be accountable for absences and their performance. During a brief ceremony this morning the bank also gave school supplies to the scholarship recipients. In 2012, 25 scholarships were given to students."

Courts Presents Scholarships
Courts presented 10 scholarships to students throughout Belize, and 5 of them were from Cayo. Congratulations, students, and a big thanks to Courts for investing in the future of Belize. "A hearty congratulations to our scholarship recipients....we are so proud of you... Keep up the good work!"

San Joaquin Festival and September Celebrations
The 47th San Joaquin Festival is Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 16 through 18 Aug 2013, in San Joaquin, Corozal District. Also, we have posted the schedule for Corozal Town's September Celebrations: To see the schedule for the San Joaquin Festival, click on each of the icons on the Calendar above. For the September Celebrations, go to the full calendar page and click on any of the icons there.

Channel 7

Stevedores Continue To Press Against “Pancho”
Last night, 7News told you about the meeting at the Bishop Sylvester Memorial Center in Belize City, in which the Waterfront Workers met with the other members of the Christian Workers Union to try to get their support to rally against Union President Antonio Gonzalez. As we’ve reported, they’re trying to get Gonzalez and General Secretary James McFoy to step down, and they had given him until midday yesterday. But all indications are that he ignored their demands, and that the earliest date which he intends to step down is in March of next year. So, we were imbedded in that meeting last night, we’ve prepared a short excerpt on the presentations made by the different speakers: Raymond Rivers - Waterfront Workers Representative "When was the last time Mr. Antonio Gonzalez and James McFoy ever submitted anything at all? Financial reports, being present at the jobsite - look at the conditions of the work, especially in Stevedores. That is why we have come to this point and say that it is time -- you used to do good for us but it's really time now." Dion Ras Pitta - Waterfront Workers Representative "Are you satisfied with Mr. Gonzalez and Mr. McFoy conducting business on your behalf? Anyone satisfied?" Audience "No"

Port Receiver Says No More Negotiations Until CWU Stabilizes
So, there is turmoil within the Christian Worker’s Union, as we have been showing you all this week, and the direct effect that this has on one of their functions is to negotiate on behalf of the stevedores with the Port of Belize on a Collective Bargaining Agreement. This agreement has, in fact, been long-delayed for years because each side held on to their strong positions with very little compromise. Well, because the stevedores are the ones leading this campaign against Antonio Gonzalez, the negotiations have stalled yet again. Additionally, both sides have agreed in principle that until this issue is cleared up, the CWU cannot continue to negotiate with the Port of Belize’s Administration. We confirmed this as the Port’s position today when we spoke with CEO and Receiver, Arturo “Tux” Vasquez, who explained that this movement was foretold. Here’s how he explained why: Arturo "Tux" Vasquez - CEO, Port of Belize "As far as the negotiation is concerned, it appeared that there was something happening because the union - four weeks in a row - had postponed our weekly meetings since we last met with the Labor commissioner to confirm and to agree in front of him that these negotiations would continue. Just before we met with the labor commissioner, the problem that the union had at the time was that their negotiating team had fallen apart and that's one of the reasons that they needed to regroup their negotiating team and then they would continue. All these delays have never been because of the Port of Belize so when we met with the labor commissioner 5 weeks ago, it is in that presence that they agreed that they would remain with their same negotiating team and they would resume their weekly meetings from then on.

GOB Cancels PBL’s Lease For Commerce Bight Port
But, Vasquez as the Receiver of the Port has his own urgent issues to deal with; that’s after the Government of Belize announced today that they are revoking the lease for the Commerce Bight Port in Dangriga. GOB is citing that the revocation is justified because the Administration of the Port of Belize Limited and the Belize Ports Limited has breached 3 clauses in the lease agreement with Government. They say that the administration has failed to submit a development plan or to carry out any development works at the Commerce Beight Port; they’ve failed to operate and manage the port or to carry out dredging of the approach channel and dock basin; and finally that they’ve failed to pay lease rental to Government. Viewers may remember that Government attempted to revoke the lease in March 2008, but the Administration, which was being run by businessman Luke Espat, filed an injunction against government. GOB’s Attorney, Denys Barrow, was finally able, to convince then Justice of the Supreme Court Hafiz-Bertram to discharge it in July of last year. Employees of the Belize Port Authority were activating to assume control of the Commerce Bight Port, when we spoke to Vasquez today. He explained that the administration is seeking legal advice to determine whether it is possible to reverse the take-over:

FCD And Guat’s BALAM Work To Protect Chiquibul
Today in Poptun Guatemala, Executive Director of the Friends for Conservation and Development, Rafael Manzanero signed a bi-naiton plan for the protection of Chiquibul Maya Mountain Range. If that sounds like two different places: "the Maya Mountains" and "Chiquibul" mashed up into one, it isn't - that's what they call the area in Guatemala. And the agreement is a Guatemalan one, an initiative of the Food and Agricultural Organization and BALAM - a Guatemalan Organization for the conservation of natural and cultural resources. But BALAM has teamed up with FCD because what happens in Southern Peten is directly related to what happens in the Chiquibul Forest. Byron Castellanos, the Executive Director of BALAM told Jules Vasquez and KREM Radio's Marisol Amaya - who are in Poptun, what the agreement signifies: Byron Castellanos, Executive Director, BALAM "And basically, the convention we signed today is a convention focused on developing a bi-national project that has actions in Belize and Guatemala to reduce illegal logging in both countries. FCD is our partner in Belize and we as Balam will implement the activities on the side of Guatemala. The importance of this project is that it is focused on reducing illegal logging in Montañas Mayas Chiquibul, taking into account that it is a very important protected area, a natural area from the perspective of Belize and Guatemala.

Salvadoran Caught With 85 Lbs Of Weed
Tonight, 44 year-old Saldvadoran National Jeremias Pichinte is at prison tonight spending a 3 year sentence after he was busted by the Gang Suppression Unit with 85 and a half pounds of marijuana early this morning. According the GSU, they conducted an operation at around 1 a.m., at the uppler flat of the St. Anthony Trading Center Building, located on Princess Margaret Drive. There they found Pichinte in the second flat, and when they tried to enter, they found him on the back verandah trying to throw away a crocus sack. They detained him, and took him down stairs, where they retrieved the sack. The opened it up, and found 52 pounds of marijuana in 12 small parcels. They also searched his room, and found another 35 and a half pounds in a black garbage bag. This second amount was packaged off in 62 small plastic bags.

NCL's Floating Pier Concept At Harvest Caye
For the past two nights we've been telling you all about the proposed cruise terminal that Norwegian Cruise Lines has planned for the south of Belize at Harvest Caye. It's a lot of minutes of coverage, but, to be fair, the details of the project have been shared publicly in unprecedented fashion. With past cruise terminals, or proposed terminals, we've never gotten a public ventilation of the Memorandum of Understanding. Tonight, we'll look at the concept of a floating pier, which would become Belize's first berthing facility, plus the issue of jobs - how many and when. Here's our final look at Wednesday’s press conference: Daniel Ortiz reporting The single pier will be designed, they say for minimal environmental impact, supported by 25 piles Hugh Darley - Bze Project Manager - NCL "We've got a floating pier system - why floating? Because that is a smaller impact, small foot print - we saw a lot of this in Alaska. When you talk about sensitive waters and where you are, the less concrete, the less structure and the less construction that it takes - floating piers allow us to build it on land and be floated out and put in place; it has minimal amount piles.

BTIA Placencia: Speak Up On NCL Project
And so while the idea there is not to inundate the south - it kind of also is. And that's because while Norwegian is developing a destination on Harvest caye where they hope their visitors will stay and spend all their money, their also zoning in on as many as 60 villages in the south that hardly get any tourism. But Placencia Chapter President Stewart Krohn says you can’t have it both ways. Here's more form our conversaiton with him yesterday:.. Stewart Krohn - President, Placencia BTIA "I am just speaking on behalf of the Placencia BTIA chapter, the national BTIA has a board - that board has to consider things, please make it clear I'm speaking from one little small organization. But don't make the mistake of thinking that it's just the BTIA that is against this thing, if you look at the Belize Hotel Association, Placencia Tour Guide Association, Toledo Branch of BTIA, Southern Environmental Association - and there are more environmental groups that have not put things to paper. So this is not just some BTIA thing, it's not just a Placencia thing, it's not just a Southern thing - this is a National thing. I realize for someone to go and stand up and fight the government, it is not easy - I have to say, I cannot blame anyone, no matter how against this thing they might be - I can't blame you if you don't come out and make a big fuss on the TV like I am. But there are other ways that you can support what we're doing - speak to your area rep and say that 'this thing can't work, this thing doesn't make sense' - listen to the arguments. No one has to stand up and wave your flag and make yourself an enemy because we know that people have to live, people want scholarships for their children, people want land and everything from government because they play such a large role in our lives."

New Special Constables For Belize City
Tonight, the Belize City Council has a 13 shiny new Special Constables who have been trained by the Belize Police Department. It’s been quite a while since we’ve heard from this effort at community policing, so today, we attended their graduation and passing out into active duty. Here’s how the Senior Special Constable explained his confidence in these new officers: Clifton Perez - Senior Special Constable "I am confident that they have learned these things and that the practical implications when they hit the streets tomorrow, Sunday or next week that they are prepared for any challenges they face." Andrew Morgan - Special Constable "As one of the 13 candidates who took and completed the special constable course which was held from the 5th - 16th of August, 2013. This course was timely as enforcement officers, we were taught the basic art of policing."

Belize Host’s CA Table Tennis Masters Tournament
The Belize Table Tennis Association is preparing to host the 15th Central American Table Tennis Masters Championships. It is a big opportunity for Belize because it is the first time Belize will be housing the tournament, and because the Central American Table Tennis Confederations are adding a new category. The President of the Association told us more: Arturo "Tux" Vasquez - Belize Table Tennis Association "The 15th Central American Masters Tennis Champions will take place in Belize from the 13th - 16th of September right in the middle of the September Celebrations. It's a first for Belize, it's the 15th of course and it's all the Central American countries, masters or veterans and it's a tournament that will be played between 5 categories, starting with 30-39, 40-49, 60-64, 65-70 and 70 and above. All individual matches will be played within their age category and for the first time in Belize and for the first time in this tournament, a team tournament is being introduced so Belize will be the first in having a team in this event. A team will be the same players playing within the same category as team members - two to a team."

“Ballers For Life” Was Successful
Last week, we showed you the Ballers For Life camp organized by the Basketball Federation of Belize. It was an effort by the Federation to train the young generation of ballers by giving them an outlet for the summer, and to brush up on their skills. It concluded today with a tournament where the ballers showed off their skills, and 7News dropped by to see how much they’ve improved. The President of the Belize Basketball Federation told us about its success: Paul Thompson - President, BBF "The Belize Basketball Federation is conducting a countrywide summer camp, it started August 7th and its finishing today with this big rally that we're having. This camp is our hall mark initiative that we have for our youths programme, so this year we had little over 700 participants in the countrywide camps. Today where it's culminated all the campers from the different districts come to Belize City and participate in a competition verses each other. At the end there will be a champion and there will be a prize. This is annual Ballers for Life summer camp that’s held and this is our third one and it has been successful so far, this accomplishes many things and it brings together the basketball community from across the country - so we're building a community, a family. Also what it does for us, it gives us an opportunity to see the talent that we have at the younger ages, we as a federation participate in the youth categories internationally, u14, U-16, U-17 and this is a grand opportunity for us to see what we have out there and it's also a good opportunity for each district to compete against each other. We love to compete, that's a part of our makeup, it accomplishes many things here by having this camp."

The Third Fiyaa Haawth Festival
If you are a lover of some good ole fiyaa haawth cooking, then on Saturday Willow’s Bank Village is where you might want to be. It’s the village 3rd annual Fiyaa Haawth festival – and yesterday one of the organizers’ stopped by our studios to tell us why this year’s event is considered bigger and better. Natalie Palacio - Vice Chairman, Willows Bank "Well this year we have the radla for the Fyah Hawth competition which is the featured event, as well as Coconut Husking, bicycle racers, slow bicycle race and also greasy pole, watermelon eating competition, beer drinking competition and I can't forget the two for $5.00 Kubuli beer special. The Willow's Bank kitchen is going to be a base kitchen and we also have villagers coming from near and far to have booths that they will also be selling food and desserts, so that's the place you want to be."

Ras Indio’s New Single
Last night, we showed you the Belizean launch of the Garifuna Colletive album called “AYO”, for which they toured heavily in cities in the North America to promote. Well, another well-traveled artist is Ras Indio, who’s performed all over the world trying to promote Belizean music. He’s been in Belize shooting a music video for his new single, and he dropped by to explain why he teamed up with several very talented artists. Here’s how he explained the song and the video: Ras Indio - Artist "Well it speaks for itself as we've been saying - the time is now. It's time now for Belizean artists to buss out and make themselves known to the world. We have some artists here who have represented themselves in different sectors in Belize and I have someone all the way from Nigeria on this track." Deadly on the Beats - Belizean Hitmaker Productions "Basically this track is called 'Time is now" with Belizean artists, Belizean producers, Belizean directors, we're all making a statement saying that it's our time to take it up another notch."

Channel 5

Another G.O.B. Takeover…this time Port of Belize’s Commerce Bight
Since entering into receivership in January 2012, Port of Belize Limited, under the administration of Arturo Vasquez, has undertaken significant expansion of its daily operations.  The company was appropriated from [...]

Government says appropriation was necessary, PM welcomes it
The revocation, according to the release, states that Port of Belize Limited failed to honor three essential requirements, including the submission of a development plan to carry out any development [...]

Stevedores want Christian Workers Union Execs to resign
The executive of the Christian Workers Union, led by president Antonio Gonzalez, has been experiencing an upheaval within its membership, particularly from a gang of stevedores, who contend that they [...]

Negotiations between stevedores and Port at a standstill
Amidst the apparent implosion of the Christian Workers Union is the Port of Belize Limited (P.B.L.).  The stevedores, one of nine entities represented by the union, are contracted by P.B.L. [...]

N.T.U.C.B. indefinitely suspends Christian Workers Union
And with all those issues surrounding P.B.L. and the Christian Workers’ Union, the announcement that the C.W.U. had been suspended from inclusion in the National Trade Union Congress of Belize [...]

National Trade Union Congress Supports restructuring PAC
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is one of the most underrated yet important group that promotes and fights for good governance. The PAC makes judgments on government spending by examining [...]

No oil in commercial quantities, unions still negotiating
And since we were on the subjects of finances and benefit to the Belizean people, News Five asked Reneau for an update on the salary adjustment issue. It’s been months [...]

Belmopan resident chopped to the head
A forty-two year old Salvadoran national is currently in serious condition at the Western Regional Hospital. Amilcar Alvarado Cortez was chopped to the head and hand on Thursday evening while [...]

GSU busts north side resident with 85.5 pounds of weed
What does a person do with eighty five and a half pounds of marijuana? Get busted by the police of course. On Friday August sixteenth, 2013 the Gang Suppression Unit [...]

U-20 women football national team headed to UNCAF competition
The under-twenty female football team is leaving Belize on Tuesday to represent Belize in the UNCAF tournament in Comayagua, Honduras. The team has been preparing since July for the tournament [...]

Belize currently ranked at 10 in 8th Wonder of the World Competition
The Blue Hole is at the top ten slot to possibly become the eighth wonder of the world. That’s the news coming out of the Belize Tourism Board following its [...]

Ras Indio’s new video “The Time is Now”
Ras Indio, the offspring of Bredda David has grown into his own brand of music a long time ago. Indio is not just a reggae singer, but also a promoter [...]

Trained Special Constables dispersed to city streets
A cohort of thirteen special constables was sworn in this afternoon during a brief ceremony at City Hall.  The commencement exercise saw a group of men and women, mostly employees [...]

Corporate sponsors get serious about youths’ hoop dreams
The Ballers for Life Basketball Summer Camp closed this morning with a rally and inter-district competition at the Saint John’s College gymnasium in Belize City. It’s a program hosted by [...]


San Joaquin Prepares To Celebrate Its 47th Fiesta
The center stage for the 47th annual San Joaquin Fiesta is set for this weekend in the village of San Joaquin in the Corozal District. The entrance of the torch from Bacalar was brought in on the 8th of August which marked the initial commencement of the festival. The site is already being prepared for this year’s event which promises to be bigger and better. Yarely Pol – Committee member “Tomorrow being the 16th, the Feast day we have the last novena at five, then at six we have the mass and then the inauguration of the fair at the park grounds at seven thirty more or less, then after that we have the dance with Youth Connection from Orange Walk plus the games and food, that’s for tomorrow Friday.”

Teachers Trained To Be Counsellors
Teachers in the Orange Walk District are currently partaking in a number of workshops with the aim of improving their teaching skills. In the Orange Walk District, teachers are out in full force acquiring the necessary tools that will aid them in tackling two of the biggest challenges in the teaching profession; reading and problem solving. Noel Lopez, Teacher “It has exposed us to a whole lot of strategies that need to be used in language arts and mathematics.” Irvin Aragon – Reporter “What are some of those strategies?” Noel Lopez, Teacher “For example we were just now being exposed to using pictures, how you can rearrange pictures in different orders and you can be telling different stories from the same set of pictures. In Language Arts first of all we know that children well English not their first language so now with material that they can relate to children will feel more comfortable for example looking at a picture they will able to make up stories just by looking at it.”

Teachers Attack The Challenges Of The Profession
Primary School teachers are not the only ones receiving assistance for effective delivery of the two most important subject areas, Problem Solving and Language Arts. High School teachers are currently taking part in a workshop that is teaching them how to indentify if a child is going through issues that may impede his/her learning. Counseling is an important area especially at the high school level; however, due to lack of resources, a teacher’s terms of reference must be modified to include also being a councilor. In order for teachers to carry out the job well, they received the necessary training. Licia Castillo, School Councillor, OWTHS “This workshop was to equip teachers with basic counseling skills in the classroom.”

PM Says No To Restructuring Of PAC, NTUCB Says Yes
At the House of Representatives last week the Chairman of the Public Account Committee Julius Espat presented a motion to change the formation of the committee in charge of scrutinizing the spending of the government. While for taxpayers, the configuration of the committee might have sounded like a good idea, the motion was highly criticized and rejected by the Barrow Administration. Here are the Prime Ministers critiques about the motion. Honorable Dean Barrow- Prime Minister of Belize “Mr. Speaker I am very sorry, this motion is entirely and wholly misconceive, shot through with procedural and substantive errors from beginning to end and I after I finish speaking ask you for a ruling Mr Speaker because it is my submission that is it out of order and has to fall without merits of the motion being debated. First of all, we are told that it is a motion under 25 of the Standing Orders, even that is wrong, when you look at the substance of what the member has set forward it is really a motion that oath to have been brought pursuant to section 89 of the standing orders. Section 25 talks about how you move motions and amendments procedurally, tell you in 26 the period of notice which I see Mr Speaker in the case of a private member, but 89 is what talks particularly about a motion to amend the standing orders and that is what the member is proposing, a motion to amend the standing orders, so it oath to have been brought pursuant to section 89 and such a motion requires as I see it here in 89 (1) Mr Speaker, not less than eight clear days’ notice. I see that the speaker is at liberty to contract the noticed period so I imagine that it was put in the order papers in consequence of the Speaker having exercised that jurisdiction but even if we get by that particular procedural difficulty there is another procedural difficulty that it strikes me even you Mr Speaker do not have the authority to waive. Let me read 89 (1) Mr Speaker, unless the Speaker shall otherwise direct not less than eight days’ notice of a motion to amend the standing orders shall be given, presumably you directed and so it is less than eight days and the second part, and the notice shall be accompanied by a draft of the proposed amendment, where is the member draft of the proposed amendment.”

Finally San Estevan/Progresso Road To Be Paved
Works for the upgrading of the San Estevan/Progresso Road was set to commence on the 21st of November 2011 and completed by May 21st 2013, but so far the rehabilitation of the 16 miles stretch of road is nowhere in site. As mentioned last night, the deplorable conditions of the road have been affecting thousands of residents who live in Corozal Southeast and find the need to commute to Orange Walk daily. With their livelihoods affected, residents decided to take a stand and demanded answers from Government. Particularly, they wanted to know why the road had not been fixed; after all, the contract was signed close to two years ago. In order to get the attention of GOB, residents threatened to block the road and even the Pueblo Nuevo Ferry. If it was just a bluff, we will never know, what we do know though is that it surely caught Governments attention and tonight residents of Chunox, Copper Bank, Progresso and other surrounding villages, have received a commitment from the Ministry of Works that work on the road will commence in ten working days. This was reveled during a very heated meeting held between residents and representatives of the Ministry of Works yesterday in the Village of Progresso.

#470415 - 08/17/13 07:27 AM Re: Today's Belize News: August 17, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

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Fined and Confined for Weed
In court news, 44 year old Jeremiah Pichinte, a Salvadoran with permanent resident status in Belize, was fined and confined by Magistrate Clive Lino today when he pled guilty to two counts of drug trafficking, one for 33 and a half pounds of cannabis and the other for 52 pounds of cannabis. Pichinte was fined ten thousand dollars and was sentenced to three years for each count. He was given until November 16 to pay the first fine and until December 16 to pay the second fine. If he defaults on payment he will serve three years for each fine. The sentences are to run for the first count and concurrently for the second count. At about one o’clock this morning members of the GSU, went to Pichinte’s residence on Princess Margaret Drive. Upon their arrival they saw Pichinte throw a black plastic bag over a fence. When they retrieved the bag it and searched it they found that it contained 33 and a half pounds of cannabis. The police searched Pichinte’s room and found another black plastic bag which contained 52 pounds of cannabis.

Woman Police Back In Court for Extortion
In June this year the charge of extortion against her was struck out by Magistrate Adolph Lucas for want of prosecution and that was supposed to have been the end of the matter. But today 36 year old police officer Janine Tanner was brought back to court and was charged with the same offence. Since the offence can be tried summarily and on indictment, it was not statute barred. Magistrate Clive Lino, whom she appeared before, took a plea from her when she elected to have the case tried summarily. She pled not guilty and she was released on a bail of two thousand dollar. Her next court date is September 30. Disclosure for her was ordered for August 30. The incident occurred on December 11, 2012 at Caye Caulker. The complainant, Christopher Graham, reported the he was driving a loaded golf cart and Tanner stopped him and asked him for his driver’s license. He said when he could not produce any she told him to give her one hundred dollars and two margaritas. Graham said he gave her the money and took her to a restaurant nearby and gave her the Margaritas.

Belize’s Queen of the Bay Pageant Quickly Approaches
Plans are in place for the pageant in which the Emblem of Freedom, the Queen of the Bay 2013 will be selected. Contestants from all over the country are prepared to bring their beauty and skills to the stage to compete for the honorable title. This year however, the talent section of the pageant has been separated from the final night showdown and Deputy Coordinator for the pageant, Anne Marie Williams says this is not the first time that the talent night is being separated from the main night. ANN MARIE WILLIAMS “In an effort to reform the Queen of the Bay it was decided to do something like this because it affords the candidates an opportunity to actually concentrate on doing a class act for their talent. Instead of you coming to the show and you sit out five hours, you could come to the show, sit out 2 ½ hours, three hours max and the night of the show, which is actually the 30th of August, the Queen of the Bay pageant, you will get to see the best talent; so, the person who wins tomorrow night and also the second person too, in terms of scores, although there will only be one best talent awarded but you will get to see those two talents as a regular part of the show and once the talent is out of the way, the candidates can truly focus on their introduction, the curtsy, the question and answer segment and evening gown competition.

Commerce Bight Port Now Under Control of Belize Port Authority
The Government of Belize this morning issued a press release to inform that the lease granted to Port of Belize Limited, PBL, to operate and manage the Commerce Bight Port has been revoked and the Minister, Rene Montero, has arranged for possession and control of the Port by the Belize Port Authority with immediate effect. Love News called the Chief Executive officer in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Errol Gentle who explained the particulars of the lease and under what grounds it was revoked. ERROL GENTLE “The minister responsible for ports, in this case, the Honorable Rene Montero, who is the Minister of Works and Transport, the ports fall under his jurisdiction or is part of his portfolio, got approval from Cabinet and in accordance with Clause 16 of the lease; in the clause 16, it says, the Minister may, if satisfied there has been a breach of the terms and conditions of this lease or any contraventions of any other provision of the laws of Belize or any regulations made there under or bylaws or there has been a failure by the leasee to implement to the satisfaction of the Minister, a development plan submitted under clause 14 hereof revoke or suspend such lease after given to the leasee at least one month’s notice of intention to do so. I know you will recall that in 2008 this was done, however PBL had applied to the Supreme Court for an injunction, restraining the Minister from taking possession of the port; that was granted, however on the 20th July of 2012, the Supreme Court discharged that injunction; so, the Minister was then able to, after having served notice to revoke the lease and that is exactly what’d happened.

Attempted Murder Under Investigation in Western Belize
A man has been detained pending investigations into an attempted murder in Belmopan. Police visited a scene on Guatemala Street in the Salvapan area of Belmopan after receiving information about a chopping incident, and found a Hispanic man, bleeding profusely with a large chop wound to the left side of his head and right arm. The man was transported to the Western Regional hospital where he was identified as 42 year old Amilcar Alvarado Cortez, a Salvadoran of Costa Rica Street in Salvapan. Police detained one person in connection to the incident as investigations continue.

Arraigned for Impregnating A Teenager
A Belize City man has been arrested and charged in connection with an incident of carnal knowledge. On Wednesday a fourteen year old girl in the company of her mother, reported to police that on the 10th of March she visited the home of a man known to her as “Edwin Peña” in Belize City, and they engaged in sexual intercourse. She also reported that they had intercourse in the months of April and May 2013 while she lived at his mother’s residence in Belize City. The girl stated that she was examined by a doctor who confirmed that she is pregnant and Peña is the only person she has had sex with. As a result Evin Adalid Membreño Ardon was formally arrested and charged for three counts of unlawful carnal knowledge and one count of carnal knowledge.

Fire Hearth Festival Scheduled In Belize District
Willows Bank is described as the little village with a big heart and this weekend the little village is inviting the public for its third annual Willows Bank Fire Hearth Festival. The festival takes place this Saturday starting at ten o’clock in the morning to six o’clock in the evening. According to the Vice Chair Person of Willows Bank, Natalie Palacio, the event is filled with activities for the entire family. NATALIE PALACIO “It will feature greasy pole, beer drinking contest, watermelon eating contest, bicycle race, slow bicycle race and many activities for each and every person in the family. This year the theme is a corn based competition; it’s going to be a ducunu dinner. Basically, the competitors will have to cook a ducunu dinner with a meat of their choice and a side dish either coleslaw, fresh veg or potato salad along with a dessert with corn being the main theme. This is done every year and this is the 3rd year that we are celebrating this festival. We’re going to have a lot of interesting activities, as I mentioned, as well as wonderful offers from some of our sponsors such as Smart. They will be having the double up and triple up as well Kubuli beer at 2 for 5$.” Palacio says that a bus is leaving Pound Yard Bridge at ten o’clock on Saturday morning en-route to the festival. Money raised from the festival will be used for various other activities throughout the year.


Rise and Shine discusses God, Family, and Abortion
Abortion is the termination of a human pregnancy and while there are natural abortions, there are induced ones. For decades the debate on induced abortion has occupied homes, schools, court rooms and parliament. In Belize, however, there has yet to be sufficient practical dialogue on the air waves. But...

United Christian Women’s Alliance Belize holds “Conference for Life”
The newly formed United Christian Women’s Alliance Belize will be hosting its first event, “Conference For Life” this coming Saturday. It’s a full day of presentations on the topic of abortion; from legal, spiritual, medical, social and modern perspectives. It will also be looking at the issue of sexual...

Missing man found dead in hotel room
Timothy Callanan has been found dead. On Wednesday, we reported that his family had reported Mr Callanan missing. Timothy Callanan was last seen Tuesday morning, sometime around 11am, leaving a law firm on Church Street in Belize City. He had a number of appointments that day and never made...

Elderly man bound and killed in his house in Crooked Tree
The merciless killing of an elderly man in the village of Crooked tree has left residents of that area in shock. According to Barry Blaney’s neighbours and friends, Mr Blaney was a poor, humble man and had no known enemies. The 76 year old lived in a dilapidated wooden...

NCL representatives describe the benefits of the Harvest Caye project
There has been much hullabaloo about the proposed project for an island eco-park at Harvest Caye in the South Stann Creek District. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Belize and Belize Island Holdings Limited, the official owner of Harvest Caye and bought over by Norwegian Cruise Lines...

Placencia BTIA still opposed to Harvest Caye project
Former journalist and resort developer Stewart Krohn has become one of the harshest critics of the proposed development at Harvest Caye in the Stann Creek District. He has attacked the proposed split of head tax payments in favour of Norwegian as “crack-head economics” and slammed the Government for agreeing...

Mark Seawell extradition hearing finally underway
There was one last delay before the habeas corpus hearing for wanted accused drug trafficker Mark Seawell got underway Thursday afternoon in the Supreme Court. Due to vehicle problems, Mr Seawell was not brought to court until midday, more than two hours after he was scheduled to be there....

Four car pileup on the Northern Highway
Four vehicles collided Thursday morning on the Northern Highway. It was not fatal accident. Just after nine Thursday morning, a white jeep Cherokee was driving on mile 2 ½ on the Northern highway heading in the direction of Belize city when it ran into the...

Disaffected workers say CWU President must go now
Earlier this week President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) Dylan Reneau told another media house that the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) has been suspended from the umbrella organization because of unpaid dues. The CWU has been involved in long-running negotiations with the Port of Belize...

Garifuna Collective launches new album “AYO”
The Garifuna Collective has launched their new album AYO. AYO in English means goodbye and originated from The Collectives’ promise to carry the torch of cultural innovation passed on by the lateAndy Palacio. Al Obando, tour manager for the group, explains that the album has already been launched in...

Plus TV explores history and culture in the South
We’ve been bringing coverage of BTB’s media familiarization tour, where members of the local press were treated with a first class exploration of the country. Tonight, we take you back into history and show you what was the driving force behind the country’s initiation into the industrial era. That...

Free clinic held in the South
Free clinical care for children will be offered at the Southern Regional Hospital Friday. With details here is our Dangriga correspondent Harry Arzu. Harry Arzu – Dangriga Correspondent: Children from Dangriga and surrounding communities of the Stann Creek District will be receiving free medical care at the Southern Regional...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Workshop for reading with and to children announced

Visual Aids workshop for teachers held
Today August 16th, Teachers from the CC Roman Catholic School and Little Stars Preschool took part in a Visual aids Workshop facilitated by Ms. Arianie Gongora from San Pedro. The purpose of the workshop was to show teachers different ways to make learning fun for kids as well as learning and play areas in the classroom using recycled materials etc. Thanks to our Vice Chair of the Caye Caulker Village Council, Mrs. Enelda Rosado for coordinating such a great workshop.


Norwegian reps say new destination island to highlight Garifuna culture. A US$50 million project planned for the southern island of Harvest Caye, which straddles the districts of Toledo and Stann Creek, continues to stir controversy in the tourism sector; but at a press conference held at the Matalon in Belize City today, officials of both the Government of Belize and Norwegian Cruise Line gave a comprehensive overview of their plans for a new cruise port in the south – in fact, under the terms of their agreement, no other cruise port would be able to penetrate the south for at least 25 years. Whereas Southern Belize has many offshore and onshore attractions, what the partners hope will bring cruise tourists are the cultures of the South, and particularly that of the Garinagu – especially the dügü dance. Norwegian said that it has retained IDEA Inc. of Orlando, Florida to design the destination and bring the project to fruition. Hugh Darley, the company’s president and executive producer, is responsible for developing a unique “story” about Belize at the destination island – similar to Walt Disney, with which he once worked. He explained why the Garifuna theme was chosen:

Senior citizen found tied up and dead in his bed. The residents of the quiet village of Crooked Tree, well-known for its yearly Cashew Fest, are trying to come to grips with a murder that has left their community shaken. Brian Blayney, 74, originally from New Zealand and a resident of the village for the past 9 years, was found dead in his house in the village yesterday, at about 12:00 noon. He was found with his feet and hands tied; his nose and mouth were duct-taped, and clothes covered his head on the bed on which he was found lying. Police took him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. The villagers in the area began to get worried when Blayney, who owned a small shop, did not open for business as usual yesterday morning, Wednesday. Fiona Building, a villager and a customer of Blayney’s store who lives in the area, told reporters that she went to Blayney’s house to check on him to see if he was okay, because she knew that he was having lung problems.

Lake Independence area representative, Hon. Mark King, Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, in a press release issued today from his office, threatened KREM Radio with a lawsuit, claiming that the station’s newscast on Wednesday evening “slandered his reputation” by “suggesting that he had taken away land” from National Team football player Ian “Yellow” Gaynair. Amandala has been reliably informed that a lease approval for a house lot had been issued to football superstar Gaynair; it allegedly had been abruptly cancelled. The house lot was initially issued to Gaynair seven years ago in the Lake Independence area. We were informed that the cancellation occurred after he had invested thousands of dollars to fill and develop the lot. Ian “Yellow” Gaynair is originally from the Lake Independence constituency in Southside Belize City; and he is only one out of a handful of young men in his neighborhood near Berger Field on Sarstoon Street who have been able to successfully persevere, despite the recurring incidences of crime and violence that have constantly plagued the Southside areas.

Brandon Tillett and Jermaine Ottley say GSU beat them up for no apparent reason. Today, two cases emerged concerning alleged incidents of police brutality carried out by the “infamous” Gang Suppression Unit (GSU). Jermaine Ottley, 35, a resident of #79 Allenby Street, appeared in court today for a drug trafficking case to which he has to answer. Although Ottley is out on bail, he arrived at court this morning courtesy of the police van which brings persons facing new charges from the Queen Street Police Station. This, according to Ottley, was because while he was getting dressed to attend court this morning, five officers from the GSU arrived at his house and beat him and his friend, Brandon Tillett, 27, aka BET, with such brute force that Tillett had to be taken to the hospital. In speaking with the media today, Ottley told us that he had done nothing to warrant the savagery of the officers, and there is as yet no evidence to contradict what he said, since there were no charges read to him in court – only an adjournment date given to him. Ottley also had very visible bruises to support his allegations of brutality by the officers.

After the thieves left, passersby entered the open store and also began stealing. A Chinese store on Croton Lane in Lake I was burglarized at about 11:00 Thursday night, August 8, and thieves stole an undisclosed amount of money and goods. Reports are that five thieves cut the locks and damaged the back door, forcing it open, and went into the store, where they stole money and goods. They then ran out of the store, but because the door was damaged, it could not be closed. Several individuals in the area who were alerted by the thieves running out of the store, went to see what was happening, and saw the door was open and they went into the store and also stole groceries, liquor, and other items. A neighbor who saw what was happening called police, who responded quickly and spotted several of the thieving passersby, who ran away when they saw the police.

Eleven days after Benque resident Pedro Antonio Vasquez, 51, was brutally killed, police are yet to arrest his killer or killers. Vasquez, who is the first person to be killed in Benque within a year, was found with stab wounds, lying on the side of the road in a pool of blood at about 5:00 Sunday morning, August 4. Police said that when they went to the area of the old Esso Gas Station, on Churchill Street, they saw Vasquez motionless, lying face-down on the ground adjacent to the gas station. Vasquez was rushed to the San Ignacio Hospital, but was declared dead on arrival Police said that Vasquez had been beaten and stabbed. Several injuries to the left and right sides of his forehead seemed to indicate that he was beaten with a blunt object. There was also a large stab wound on his face near his nostril.

Official reports to Amandala are that a 14-year old minor who allegedly shot his 10-year old cousin around 11:00 on the night of July 25 has been formally charged with firearm offences in relation to the gun that was used. ASP Christopher Noble, O.C. Ladyville Police, officially confirmed to the media on Monday that while the investigation into the incident continues, the matter is presently before the court as a directive from the Office of the DPP. Media reports are that the 10-year-old was mistakenly shot in the abdomen allegedly by his 14-year old cousin while standing in front of their family yard, which is located on a street that runs behind the Ladyville Police Station. The young man was reportedly playing with the firearm when the incident occurred. The bullet exited the 10-year-old and penetrated an Astro Van that was parked nearby on the side of the street. The child was then rushed to the police station and transported for medical attention at the military camp in Ladyville by the police.

The search for a businessman of San Pedro who was reported missing on Tuesday ended about 5:30 yesterday evening when his body was found in a hotel room on Coney Drive in Belize City by a worker of the hotel. Timothy James Callanan, 43, a Belizean businessman of Flying Fish Drive, San Pedro Town, was found in his room in a sitting position, leaning forward, with his hands in front of his face on the bed in his room, and he was motionless. Police say that in the room at the time were many tablets and capsules, and suicide notes. He was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. Police say that Callanan arrived at the hotel at about 12:30 on Tuesday afternoon, August 13, for a one- night stay. About 4:00 p.m. the following day, Wednesday, the hotel receptionist noticed that the room was still occupied by Callanan, which was way past the sign-out time. She went to the room to see what was happening and when she opened the door, she saw Callanan motionless, in the position already described. In an interview on KREM Radio, his wife said that he had left San Pedro on Tuesday to come to the city to conduct business. She became alarmed when he did not return, and reported him missing that same Tuesday. She said that he was suffering with depression. Police have ruled the death a suicide.

Usher pleaded not guilty and told the court that the charge will be withdrawn at the next adjournment. Gilroy Usher, 56, the People’s United Party standard bearer for the Port Loyola Division and owner of Monica’s Pawn Shop, located on Central American Boulevard, today appeared in the Magistrate’s Court to answer to a charge of harm upon his wife, Magdalena Usher, 51. Although most of the details of the incident are unknown, what has been reported is that on Monday at the couple’s home at #7739 Madam Liz Avenue, Mrs. Usher was reportedly harmed with a pint bottle, and she made a report to police. Usher pleaded not guilty to the charge and was offered and met bail of $900 with one surety of the same amount. He was ordered to attend a Batterer’s Intervention Program at the Women’s Department. He was also ordered to not interfere with his wife, and he must reside at his daughter’s residence at #5612 Lizarraga Avenue.

The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) is proud to announce that Team Belize won its first U-15 game in the CONCACAF Cayman Islands 2013 Under-15 Championship. Alvin Sifontes scored the only goal at minute 21 in the second half. These games are being played 35 minutes per half. The Belize fans present were giving tremendous support to the Team and were overjoyed with the victory. Dominican Republic has withdrawn from the competition and was in our group. Team Belize will be resting on Thursday, and their next game will be on Friday vs Jamaica at 6:00 p.m. (Ed. Note: Belize’s 1-0 win over St. Lucia on Tuesday is historic, as this is the inaugural CONCACAF U-15 tournament, and for a change, we are starting “on the good foot.” Belize plays Jamaica on Friday, Guatemala on Sunday, and Grenada on Tuesday of next week. The winner of the group goes on to the semifinals on Friday, August 23. The finals are Sunday, August 25. Gwaan up, Baby Jaguars!!)

I am looking on the funeral service program for one Louis Antonio Garbutt, “Sunrise September 19, 1940 – Sunset June 28, 2013,” held on Friday, July 5, in Brooklyn, New York, and many thoughts run through my mind. With each passing decade, since the massive exodus of Belizeans in the 1960’s and 1970’s reached a zenith with amnesty in the mid-1980’s, some of us who stubbornly stayed behind have shared a nostalgic vision of a day when all our long lost friends, relatives and childhood heroes would join in one big home-coming excursion, to reconnect and reminisce with their generational counterparts back in the Jewel. That would be some celebration indeed. There remains a wounded part of the Belizean psyche that psychologists can maybe explain and analyze, to figure out how it impacts on our lives as we go forward with this silent longing and yearning for wholeness and unison with the faces and voices we grew up with and who formed an integral part of our reality and sense of identity. Alas, the lives of many Belizeans in the diaspora, including some of our legends, are slowly coming to an end, and the dream has become an unrealistic fantasy, as we come to terms with the fact that folks living abroad have put down new roots in different circumstances, while Belize has grown and developed along a different path than when they left it, and their world has grown around them to a point where we have to accept the fact that there will not ever be that grand home-coming reunion after all. Some folks do manage to make the trip around September time, but for most Belizeans abroad, that is it, the past, a distant time and place, gone though not forgotten.

The Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP) U-18 Basketball Tournament climaxed today with the final game between the two top teams, Jane Usher Ballerz and Complex Unruly Ballerz, at the Maud Williams High School basketball court in Belize City. The tournament tipped off on July 30 with a total of 8 teams that were divided into two groups, Group A and Group B. Four teams advanced to the knockout round that began on Wednesday, August 7, whereby the #1 ranked team from Group A played the #2 ranked team from Group B, and #1 from Group B played #2 from Group A. In the first game, Complex Unruly Ballerz defeated Rising Starz, 51-47, to advance to the finals; while in the second game, Jane Usher Ballerz beat Freedom Street Ballerz, 47-39, to qualify for the other spot in the finals. After an exciting and energetic game between the two finalists today, Jane Usher Ballerz defeated the Complex Unruly Ballerz, 63-55, to take the championship. Albert Longsworth from Jane Usher Ballerz led all scorers with 20 points (pts), 3 rebounds (rebs) and 3 steals (stls). He was named MVP of the tournament based on his performance in the games as well as his leadership skills and discipline on and off the court. Akeem Richardson, also of Jane Usher Ballerz, scored 12 pts, made 10 rebs and got 8 stls to help secure the win. Meanwhile, for Compex Unruly Ballerz, Francis Arana contributed 17 pts 4 stls 4 assists and Alejandro Baptist 18 pts 6 rebs.

The FFB’s Atlantic Bank Female Football Tournament continued over the weekend with the second leg of its home-and-away semifinal series. On Saturday night at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, Belmopan’s Triple B bombed home-standing DFC Gentle Touch of Cayo, 4-1, with goals from Miriam Villamil (9’), Kaina Martinez (31’) and Kaya Cattouse (65’ & 78’). The only reply from Gentle Touch was a late consolation goal by Cindy Fuentes (85’). Triple B also won the previous encounter, 3-1, so they have qualified to the Finals. (By the way, we just confirmed that that is indeed Kaina Martinez, Central American sprinting champion and record holder, playing football with Triple B.) The other semifinal series was decided on Sunday afternoon at the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga, where visiting Ladyville Jaguars gained a 2-1 victory over home squad Griga Pumas. Kara Kisling struck twice (20’ & 26’) in the first half for Ladyville, and Griga only managed to cut the lead in half, a few minutes before the long whistle, on a goal by Jacklaine Arzu (86’). With the 2-1 win, Ladyville Jaguars are aggregate 3-2 winners over Griga Pumas, since the first leg of their semifinal series had ended in a 2-2 stalemate.

This tourism business is never where we who publish this newspaper wanted to go, and it really wasn’t where Mr. Price and Mr. Goldson wanted Belize to go. When this newspaper began in August of 1969, informed Belizeans had already seen where raw tourism had taken Cuba, and how violently the Cubans had felt forced to resist tourism’s decadence and debauchery. The United States had made Cuba into its tourism whorehouse, and this was what Castro’s revolution, victorious on New Year’s Day of 1959, had been about. By 1969, American investment capital was definitely looking for another playground for its citizens who wanted somewhere outside of the United States, but not too far away, to “let loose” and enjoy their wealth. Belize, just 600 miles away from Florida, appeared to fit that bill. So it was that a proposal came for Belize to grant casino licenses. This was the summer of 1969, mind you. Mr. Price’s PUP government, led by Madame Gwendolyn Lizarraga, a Cabinet Minister and the most powerful woman in the ruling party, firmly rejected that casino proposal, whose leading Cabinet advocates were the two right wing PUP Ministers – Ambergris Caye’s Louis Sylvestre and Crooked Tree’s Fred Hunter. In the campaign to reject the gambling casino initiative, Roman Catholic Bishop, Robert L. Hodapp, played a leading role. Where the excesses of tourism are concerned, gambling casinos are the “thin edge of the wedge,” as can be seen from the well-publicized story of Las Vegas, Nevada. If you have enough money, you can get anything you want at a gambling casino: that’s the bottom line wherever casinos are introduced.

Finally, there are a great many people inside and outside Congo who profit immensely from a large, barely governed territory full of minerals and opportunities for extortion, trafficking, and smuggling. They have a profound interest in ensuring that Congo doesn’t become anything more than the pseudo-country it is today. - pg. 79, FP FOREIGN POLICY, July/August 2013, Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills “Well, I may have taken the opportunity to discuss where things are with the various court cases and the various bits of legislation,” said the Prime Minister with what sounded almost like a British accent.” - Pg. 7, THE BELIZE TIMES, July 7, 2013 The brother Wawat Napata accused me on Monday afternoon, in the presence of Clinton Uh Luna, of doing the Belizean people a disservice by allowing them to believe that Belize is an independent nation. I suppose Uh Luna agreed with him. I think I understood what Wawat was saying, but I did not pursue the thought until the following afternoon, when I came into possession of the July/August 2013 issue of a magazine which is called FP or Foreign Policy. The editors describe this particular issue as their 9th Annual Failed States Issue. I read an article in the magazine, by Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills, in which they say that it is time to admit that the Democratic Republic of Congo does not exist. Herbst and Mills argue, “And in today’s Congo, let’s be clear: There is no sovereign power at all outside the urban areas, leaving two-thirds of the country’s estimated 75 million people beyond the purview of a central government.”

Norwegian project promoted as “win-win” for the South. Licky licky: slang, adjective — suck up/greedy (http://www.real-jamaica-vacations.com) Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that it has purchased approximately 75 acres in Southern Belize for the planned development of a US$50 million eco-friendly cruise destination. Today, Colin Murphy – Norwegian’s Vice President, Destination & Strategic Development, speaking at a press conference held at The Matalon in Belize City, declined to disclose the price tag, citing confidentiality in the purchase agreement. Minister of Labour, Local Government, Rural Development and National Emergency Management and Immigration and Nationality Godwin Hulse, said, “We are committed to ensuring that every investment that comes to the table is well analyzed, well documented and well researched, so that we dispense once and for all with those innuendos and sayings that there are things under the table and people have deals –we don’t want any negative to surround any potential investment that comes to this country – but to ensure that it is upfront and transparent, and we can look you in the eye, and say ‘Yes – this is a good thing!’”

In a brief shining moment of understanding that a nation thrives best when its people participate as fully as possible in democratic government, a government of the People’s United Party gave the Belizean people that power in the form of the Referendum Act. As far as I am aware, there is no such law in the two foremost, formerly Christian democracies – Great Britain and the United States of America. Is it possible that in the philosophy of rule of, for, and by the people, we are more advanced than they are? The Referendum Act was passed in 2000, eight years before the people rejected the PUP in the general election of 2008, giving the UDP an overwhelming mandate of 26 seats to 5; also, as long as eight years ago. Since then, there has been only one application, that by Oceana seeking to prevent the drilling for oil inside the Belize Barrier Reef, which is a World Heritage Site. In a few days, Oceana was able to obtain the required number of signatures to a petition for a referendum to ban offshore drilling in our Belizean sea. The signators were certified members of the Belizean electorate, as required. It is a matter of record that the Elections and Boundaries Commission, which is charged in the Act to validate the signatures to the petition, declared that the number of validated signatures did not meet the requirement.

A third party with Westminister…no way… “…Let the light of Your divine wisdom direct their plans and endeavors so that with Your help, we may attain our just objectives…” The failure of the political parties to fulfill their promises to the people, the replacement of their campaign manifesto with excesses and incompetencies, bordering on stupidities upon assumption of power, has resulted in a loss of faith and trust by the people, as can be inferred by their decreasing participation in the recent elections, both local and national. Cynical and disenchanted with the present political “leaders of all the spectrum, the silent majority believes that a third party is the solution. This is a vain hope and a futile wish with the Westminister system. Let us examine a little. What happened in Belize happens throughout the Third World member countries of the British Commonwealth (synonym for the British Empire). Having been subjected to the methodical erasure of our mind and intellect by the Master for so long, we have accepted gratefully and docilely the Constitution he wrote for us. He knows that the cadre of elites he has programmed in his mind set cannot but continue to exhibit the same exploitation of, and contempt for, the masses as he did.

A family is lucky to be alive, but shaken up after an out-of-control front end loader rolled into, and wrecked, their house at about 10:00 Saturday morning, in Camalote Village, Cayo. The family was in their living room watching television when the loader rolled into the house through the side of the bedroom. Luckily, no one was in bed at the time, but the house was extensively damaged. The Ministry of Works supervisor, under whose instructions the loader was operating, told the house owner, Hubert Mark of Camalote, that the brakes of the tractor was malfunctioning, and it was parked where they were working. Then an unauthorized worker went to the tractor and released the brakes, causing the tractor to roll, and he could not stop it. The worker then jumped out of the machine, leaving it unmanned. The tractor then crashed into the house. Mark told reporters that the Ministry of Works has committed to repairing the house.

This week Belize is hosting the Tenth Undersecretary and Vice Ministers of Agriculture Meeting from August 12 to 14, 2013. The meeting is an annual gathering in which Guatemala, the United States, Mexico and Belize work at reviewing and approving the operational and financial work plans of the Regional Mediterranean Fruit Fly Program. During this meeting, Belize and the Unites States Department of Agriculture signed a bilateral cooperative agreement to strengthen our Medfly program with the objective of maintaining our medfly- free status and preventing the northward movement of this pest into Mexico and the United States. Medfly Coordinator in the Ministry of Agriculture, Hernan Zetina, told Amandala that this is the first time that the event is being hosted in Belize and they took the opportunity to sign a bilateral agreement between the United States Department of Agriculture and Belize in order to formalize the assistance that the USDA provides to monitor and control the medfly population, which has been detected over the last two decades mainly in southern Belize. Zetina said that Belize has always had support from the USDA, but a cooperative agreement has never been signed. Initially, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 1976, but now the Ministry has signed a formal agreement in an effort to keep Belize free from the Regional Mediterranean Fruit Fly.

The Amandala, which has been aptly dubbed “The newspaper with the widest circulation in Belize”, celebrated its 44th anniversary this past Tuesday, August 13, 2013. The newspaper was first published in Belize in 1969 as an organ of the United Black Association for Development (UBAD) movement. It started out as a simple stenciled spreadsheet that was usually distributed by members and supporters of UBAD in Belize City streets. The newspaper’s first issues were mainly dedicated to promoting the affairs of UBAD, such as protests, celebrations and meetings in addition to featuring articles on issues of national interest combined with criticism of the then ruling political party and its leader. The Amandala has battled fierce competition and withstood adversity almost since its inception. For example, the newspaper’s first primary competitor was established by leaders of the then Chamber of Commerce who had the latest printing technology available at their disposal at the time, while the Amandala relied on rudimentary facilities and was funded mainly by grassroots contributions. Still, the journey of growth, as slow and rough as it might have been, was, in a sense, inevitable. The newspaper steadily established a reputation as a voice for the people at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder by speaking truth to power; thus gaining the support of Belizeans far and wide.

I want to clarify some issues related to the article “Was Queen’s Park Rangers The Greatest?” that was published in the Amandala August 9th, 2013 by my friend, Michael Finnegan. Before the team was taken over by Mr. Frank Sharp the name of the team was “Rovers,” which was founded, coached and trained by Dundee Lino D-Line because he was disliked after Queen’s Park Rangers lost the Interdistrict Competition to the Orange Walk selection in the late 1960’s. He was accused of selling out the game with the goalkeeper Ramball Rodriguez. All Belize won the Interdistrict Competition for some years until 1975 when I started playing for All Orange Walk with Enrique Carballo, Gregzie Jones, Nolie Leiva, Cheesie Flowers, Stud Hendricks, Mark Anthony Chavarria, Matthew Williams, Romaldo Lambey, Matute, Daniel Cacho, Renan Briceño, Bunz Bennett, Harrier Laing. We were the first team to defeat All Belize convincingly at MCC Grounds. After the game we had to get police escort out of the park inside our bus. The Belize City people were stoning the bus with bottles and cursing us out because they were angry that they lost. Delhart Courtenay was the referee for that game. Dean Lindo took our team to Pickwick Club beside MCC Grounds for a treat that evening.

A woman who fell off a bus almost lost her leg after the bus wheel rolled over the leg, which was damaged from above the knee all the way to the ankle. Rachel Burke, 25, of Bainville, Hattieville, has been admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where she is being treated for the injuries. The incident occurred about 10:30 yesterday morning at a pedestrian crossing between Miles 15 and 16 on the George Price Highway in Hattieville. The driver of the bus, Elias Salazar, 41, has been issued with a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP). Police reports are that when they went to the site of the accident, they saw a white, blue and red D&E bus on the right side of the highway facing the direction of Belize City. Their initial investigation revealed that Salazar was driving the bus to Belize City and upon reaching the pedestrian ramp, Rachel Burke, one of the bus’ passengers, went to the front of the bus. At that point, the driver stopped over the ramp and the door was opened.


The Belize Times

It was the most disgraceful and outrageous behavior by a politician, in both words and deeds, ever to occur in the House of Representatives. At last Wednesday’s 7th August meeting of the House, the dishonorable Michael Finnegan succeeded in outdoing his disgraceful self. He told the Speaker that if Honorable Dolores Balderamos Garcia had seen “Yellowman” urinating in public she should prove it by saying what was the size of his penis, Finnegan demonstrated the size of Yellowman’s private part by holding up his two fingers in a gesture. The UDP members of the House burst out in sustained laughter. Television cameras showed them grinning and laughing, including the Prime Minister and his Deputy in the front row. The camera did not show if the Speaker was giggling at the indecent remarks, but he certainly did nothing about the worst and lowest behavior ever to occur in the House. His failure to immediately sanction Finnegan manifested his complicity.

BREAD “GONE UP”: Why food in Belize becomes much more expensive?
While Dean Barrow was trying to show himself in the House and using all those big words and Finnegan was using all those dirty words, another word was the reality. The word is “expensive”. Dean Barrow said: “We’ve taken imported flour off the restricted list and so ...

While Michael Finnegan was taking the public for stock on Krem’s WUB Morning Vibes on Tuesday, “apologizing”, Joe Bradley was hard at work trying to out-do the nasty UDP attack on ...

National Football Hero: Victim of “Mr. Quitar”
No Belizean will ever forget what they were doing and where they were the moment Belize’s very own Ian “Yellow” Gaynair, scored that spectacular header against the mighty American team. He will no ...

TANYA CARTER IS ON FIRE She is brown sugar. She is fresh Cayo honey. She is a work of art still in progress. And she has done it again. Fresh from a tour of Jah-Mek-Ya, where the inspiration is always at bubbling point in Kingston town, Tanya Carter has let off again. While ...

Dabbling in Dirt
By G. Michael Reid Belizeans last Wednesday were once again subjected to an agonizing display of indecorum and disrespect. This now, coming from a supposedly Honorable House comprised of supposedly Honorable Members. Did anyone at some point change the meaning of honorable? This supposedly Honorable House is governed by a strict and ...

What Finnegan did was not an apology. To us at the BELIZE TIMES Finnegan is not a leader and he sure as hell is not an example for anyone in Belize. We will go further to say that he does not represent Belizean men, or Belize. We also insist that from ...

Belize Bank & Atlantic Bank win 3 back to back in Firms basketball
Belize Bank Bulldogs, Atlantic Bank and Ports Belize Ltd remain undefeated in the Belize District firms’ basketball competition which continued at Bird’s Isle in Belize City over the weekend, the Bulldogs and Atlantic each have 3 ...

Ladyville Jaguars win thru to Atlantic Bank women’s football finals
The Ladyville Jaguars made the Atlantic Bank women’s football championship finals by a 2-1 win against the Dangriga Pumas in Game 2 of the semifinals at the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga on Sunday. The jaguars had settled ...

Oceana Strikers & Bombers win in Belize City men’s softball
The Bombers and Oceana Strikers posted wins when in the Belize City softball competition kicked off at the home of softball at the Rogers Stadium in Belize City on Friday night. In Game ...

BELIZE TIMES has received reliable information that a major business deal has been made by a pack of UDP cronies. Our information is that Belize Aggregates Ltd has been sold. This is huge because Belize Aggregates is ...

AMAZING GRACE – Kissing Pavement
Driving. It is the initiation process so important to most teens living in the city. It is the ticket to freedom and the visible representation of trust and maturity. Although, admittedly, this does not apply to all youths, many look forward to the day when they hold their own drivers ...

Barrow’s GSU vs. Barrow-Sponsored GSG (Round 4)
Brandon Tillett (a.k.a. BET) is a well-known street figure and according to the GSU, he is a reputed member of the George Street Gang. The George Street Gang is one of the ...

Yearly, July and August are the only two months allowed by law to transfer your vote from one electoral division to another. The process is simple to follow: visit the Elections and Boundaries Office closest to you, present a valid ID and fill out ...

“I am your father” – Dean Barrow, House of Representatives 7th August, 2013 What is happening to Dean Barrow? It is easy to say he is arrogant and full of himself, but that is so recognized that many of his faithful ...

Lady Diana – The Queen of Pain
Last Friday Love FM reported that the President of NICH Lady Diana Haylock had received a check from the Taiwan Ambassador for $40,000 to assist with the September Celebrations. While this occurred some nine leaders of Belize City’s popular Carnival Mass bands were being bitten by mosquitos outside the famed ...

PUP Women Lead Charge Against Chauvinist Finnegan
On Monday the 12th of August, 2013, four vibrant, outstanding and Honorable PUP women stood firm and resolute in their challenge to the despicable behavior of Michael Finnegan at last Wednesday’s House Meeting. Former Speaker of the House and two time PUP area representative from Dangriga, the Hon. Sylvia Flores; two ...

A New Low for Belize?
By Senator Lisa Shoman “One of the pillars of the work of UN Women is women’s political participation, a fundamental prerequisite for gender equality and genuine democracy.” UN Women website. Belize has the dubious distinction of having the lowest percentage of women’s political participation of any country in the Americas. To ...

Women’s Issues Network or WIN BELIZE sent out a wishy washy release dated August 13, 2012. It is a screaming disappointment. For background WIN Belize was established in 1993 when several Belizean organizations came together as a steering committee with the goal of speaking with ...

Greedy Barrows at it again
This is becoming Executive committee made up of two people. Just two. Guess who are the two? Net Vasquez, UDP crony and father of Channel 7’s Jules Vasquez and [drum roll] Anwar Barrow, gluttonous political businessman who is the son of Dean Oliver Barrow. More nepotism? The resolution ...

The biggest and most scandalous issue in healthcare in Belize’s history have all been under Pablo Marin. The House of Representatives ...

By Dolores Balderamos Garcia I am still pretty disgusted at the whole sorry episode, but I thought that it is best to write about it now that the events are fresh, since they occurred only five days ago. Of course I am talking about the new low in the House of Representatives ...

JAILING BELIZE: How Belize imprisons its population
Belize is ranked at 15th on the list of countries that with the highest incarcerated prisoners. The research which was finalized in February, 2013, ranks countries by calculating the number of prisoners per 100,000 of ...

Reflections on the public square – PUP WOMEN
By Francis W. Fonseca The women of the People’s United Party have always been central to the Party’s electoral success. Women form the majority on PUP Constituency executives across the country and easily account for some 60% of the Party’s Campaign Team in any given election. The women of the PUP are smart, ...

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) global food prices fell for a third month in July to their lowest level in a year. The food price index of the FAO, a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a ...

Kudos to Hon. D. Balderamos
Dear Editor, This letter is concerning the recent showdown in the House of Representatives between Mr. Finnegan and Dolores Balderamos that has undermined the egos of Belizean Women everywhere! I speak not by political affiliation on this matter, but on behalf of my fellow women guided by like sentiments. It is truly ...

Dear Editor, We, the women of Belize Rural Central reject Finnegan’s reluctant , half-baked apology on the grounds that we believe it is not genuine. What Finnegan has been getting as backlash for his stupid action is “woman fum fum”. This is the only reason he is now trying to hide behind ...

Barrow excess ego zero substance
“He that keep his mouth keep his life; but he that open his lips shall have destruction.” Proverbs 13:3 Dear Editor, I watched with utter dismay last week’s sitting of the House of Representatives when Prime Minister Dean Barrow attempted to exalt himself with the title of “Father ...


The Maya Ruins of Cahal Pech: Practically IN Downtown San Ignacio, Belize
The Maya get a point for bluntness. Or perhaps the people that lived in and named the hilltop residence Cahal Pech – translated “Place of Ticks” and pronounced “pesh” not “peck” - were not looking for visitors. But this beautiful site is so easy to get to and quite impressive, you will want to see it. The Maya built these structures looking out over the Macal and Mopan Rivers and a beautiful lush valley. Any visitor to San Ignacio, the largest town in the Cayo district, must go up the hill and enjoy Cahal Pech. Don’t worry, the ticks have moved out. I’m not sure why I’ve skipped Cahal Pech in the past. Perhaps I figured that it was too close to town to be good? I don’t remember…but this time was THE time. The site is a quick 8 minute $8bzd ride from the town center up a steep seriously hill.

Chaa Creek Featured on USA Today’s Bucket List
The owner of the Lodge at Chaa Creek said that the eco resort’s inclusion in a recent USA Today travel guide “bucket list” is good news for the nascent Belizean tourism industry, and further proves that environmentally sustainable, Green tourism can provide a high quality travel experience. Lucy Fleming, who with her husband Mick started Chaa Creek by accepting guests at their small family farm in a remote part of Belize in 1981, said that recognition such as USA Today’s provides an important boost to the Belizean tourism industry, which since it’s relatively recent inception has struggled to achieve name recognition in the highly competitive Caribbean travel industry. “While we are of course happy to have Chaa Creek represented in such a prestigious list of exotic, high quality places, I think the big story is that Belize is finally becoming recognised as the high quality destination that it is,” Ms Fleming said, “and further proves that a commitment to sustainable tourism and responsible travel can still provide a high quality travel experience,” she added. The Lodge at Chaa Creek was one of eleven desirable destinations listed in an August 14 2013 USA Today Oyster.com feature titled, “11 unique lodgings for your travel bucket list”. “Travel is about new experiences—and travel at its best can mean eye-opening, once-in-a-lifetime and even life-changing journeys. Many of us have a personal bucket list of trips to try before we die, and those who don’t might just need a little inspiration,” the article states before describing what the authors consider to be eleven of the best in the world.

The Postcard Conspiracy
My lungs were screaming, I found myself counting down the seconds until I knew I would have to head above the surface my head body craving for air, another sharp intake of breath, respite from the 'hurting'. I'd been sent out to Belize with a small team of engineers and scientists as a cameraman and general field producer to cover the placement of a live broadcast webcam that would stream and be operated from the National Geographic website. But this was no ordinary webcam! As part of their responsibility the remote imaging department at National Geographic Television and Film also maintained and oversaw the interactive broadcast features such as the Pete's Pond webcam in Botswana. This undertaking was to be the latest addition to the broadcast array and was to be located some 12m underwater on the fringing coral shelf of a small island in the southern reaches of the World's second largest barrier reef system in Belize. The island, locally called Cayes, lies about an hour offshore from the coastal town of Dangriga. We'd departed from there as that is where our local contact was based. At first appearing as a speck on the horizon I could hardly keep my smiles to myself as we neared our destination. I've got a serious case of 'Islanditis' having lived in the Pacific for some 8yrs prior to working at Nat Geo. The fringing golden sands, a max elevation of about 1m and crystal clear, warm waters induced a state of almost disbelief. "OK, so I'm getting paid to be here for a month, to dive almost every day and place a webcam on the reef"? Result!

#470416 - 08/17/13 07:28 AM Re: Today's Belize News: August 17, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here

“(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me” of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
When started out on this blogging lark I did so (as I have mentioned previously) as an easy means of accomplishing a few objectives. I wanted to record our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. It would be a relatively easy way (or so I thought at the time) of letting family and friends know how we were ‘doing’. And it would give me something to do. A routine in my life. And a routine that required a degree of discipline by me. Well, nearly ten months on from when I started the blog I am pleased to say that as far as I am concerned it has met the objectives I set for it and myself. Rose and I definitely have a (comprehensive) photographic and written record of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. With the blog there’s always something there to remind me of the experience. It has also proven to be an extremely good medium for keeping our family and friends up-to-date with how we are faring. And (trust me on this) it has given me something to do! It’s given me so much more though. A true sense of achievement. Keeping the brain (yes I do have a brain – just that some of you (ex colleagues this is specifically ‘aimed’ at some of you) may not have witnessed it being engaged too often) active. Readers (using social networking jargon I will be so presumptuous as to say ‘followers) that live close and and many thousands of miles away that I have had and continue to have the pleasure of engaging with and feel that I have really got to know.

International Sources

New Zealander killed in Belize
A New Zealand man has reportedly been murdered during a robbery at his home in the Central American country of Belize. Barry Blayney, 76, was found at his home in Crooked Tree by local residents, local news channel 7 News Belize reported. He was found with his hands and feet bound. There was a cloth over his head and his mouth was taped up. A local resident Rudolph Crawford told 7 News Belize that Blayney used to run a shop in the area. "He had a little pretty shop, nothing much - just to keep him going and I have the belief that they thought he had money, that's all I could think," he said. Police said there were no signs of physical violence and believe he may have suffocated because of the tape on his mouth as a result of long-term breathing problems.

Norwegian to Develop Tourism Destination in Belize
Norwegian Cruise Line purchased approximately 75 acres in Southern Belize for the planned development of an eco-friendly cruise destination. The land, called Harvest Caye, is made up of two adjoining islands in the Stann Creek and Toledo districts that had previously been approved for a resort development with an air strip. Norwegian plans to invest $50 million in the project. “As our fleet continues to grow to 15 ships by 2017, we expect that we will double the number of guests sailing on our Western Caribbean itineraries and, once this new destination is complete, bring four times as many guests to Belize than we do today,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and CEO. “In our quest to continuously look for new and exciting destinations for our guests, we plan to develop a cruise destination focused on sustainable design and eco-friendly principles that will retain the natural beauty and local culture of this tropical paradise.” Norwegian has retained IDEA Inc. of Orlando, Fla., to design the destination. IDEA is a designer of branded ports of call and branded destinations for the hospitality, entertainment and tourism industries. IDEA worked with private developers, government ministries, and independent agencies to create branded destinations in Alaska; Florida; St. Lucia; St. Maarten; Mexico; St. Kitts; Honduras; Bahamas; and Jamaica.

Championship: Doncaster chairman John Ryan is "wholly satisfied" with takeover
Doncaster chairman John Ryan is "wholly satisfied" that Sequentia Capital S.A have the funds to complete their proposed takeover of the club. An unnamed investor from Central American tax haven Belize is behind Sequentia's bid to buy Rovers, who have another investment offer on the table from a London hedge fund. Ryan, a life-long Doncaster supporter who bought the club in 1999, favours the Sequentia proposal and has revealed he has seen proof of the consortium's financial clout. "Funds were proven by Sequentia Capital S.A's bank to me and therefore I am wholly satisfied sufficient funds are available to Sequentia Capital S.A to complete the transaction and fund Doncaster Rovers Football Club going forward," said Ryan in a statement. "The shareholders of Doncaster Rovers Football Club are currently considering the offer." Sequentia aim to "acquire 100 per cent of the company which owns the club".

Homophobia In The Caribbean: Anti-Sodomy Laws And Persecution, Being Gay Is No Fun In The Islands
When Maurice Tomlinson heard his son had made it to the spelling bee championships, he wanted to witness the 12-year-old take the prize. But his sexuality got in the way. The 43-year-old Jamaican-born father wanted to visit his son in Belize but knew he'd be breaking the law if he tried. In a statute dating to the 19th century, during the country’s colonial past, homosexuals are lumped in with prostitutes, the “mentally deficient” and the “deaf and dumb,” all of whom are prohibited from entering the country. Tomlinson could have tried for an exemption but decided against it. “Do I go and break the law and compromise everything I stand for?” he said, describing his frustration. Belize is among 11 Caribbean countries that have anti-sodomy laws where men can face up to 25 years or even life imprisonment for having anal sex with other men. Almost half of the countries have laws that prosecute women for having same-sex relations, and at least two have immigration laws that ban gay people from entering the country.

Belize targets international fish markets to protect coral reefs from an uninvited visitor
Along Belize's world heritage site-listed barrier reef, coastal communities are making waves in fight against a rapacious predator. At 11am on Tuesday, 2 July, the first box of filleted invasive lionfish left Belize international airport bound for Minneapolis, Minnesota. Its contents: 5.2 kg of the invasive lionfish, Pterois volitans, a species that poses one of the greatest threats to the sustainability of coral reefs and fisheries throughout the Caribbean region. First released accidentally into the Caribbean near Florida by aquarists in the 1980s, the predatory fish from the Indo-Pacific has no natural predators in the Atlantic, and an exploding population is steadily eating its way across the entire Caribbean Sea. From the Bahamas to Barbados, coral reefs – and the traditional fisheries they support – are now under siege from this unforeseen threat. While complete eradication of this destructive fish is now impossible, consistent, high-volume removal efforts may halt population growth, diminishing the devastating threat the species poses to native fish populations. On Belize’s World Heritage listed Barrier Reef Reserve System, efforts are now underway to do just that. Conservationists and communities are working together to confront the lion in its den, by cultivating a new international export market for this surprisingly delicious fish; a prospect that Blue Ventures has been exploring within the domestic and international spheres since 2012.

About Caribbean Coral Reefs
From glass-bottom boat tours to scuba diving, coral reefs are front and center among attractions of the Caribbean. The environmental conditions found in the Caribbean Sea have given rise to coral reefs that rank among the world's finest, and these reefs are home to a variety of sea life. Despite their stony appearance, coral reefs are fragile, living things. The best way to ensure their future is to show them the same respect you would give any kind of wildlife that you traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to see.

Inspirational Photographers
A curated guide to the best photographers on the Internet

Quintana Roo Underwater Cave Project
For the Quintana Roo Underwater Cave Project, Meacham and his team are exploring and mapping what is believed to be the longest underwater cave system in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Yucatan biodiversity assessed by photography expedition
Photos released at the opening of the 9th World Wilderness Congress (WILD9) in Merida, Mexico, this weekend highlight the diversity and threats to conservation in the Yucatán Peninsula.


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