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#474410 - 10/08/13 06:59 AM Today's Belize News: October 8, 2013
Marty Offline


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

The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro to celebrate Belize’s rich culture on Pan-American Day
The event will include a wide variety of Belizean folk and cultural dances, representative of the various cultural groups in Belize. In addition, visitors and residents will have the one of a kind opportunity to savor the various authentic cultural dishes representative of Belize’s cuisine. “This event is in accordance with our municipality’s commitment to strengthen the cultural fabric of the island. Belize is so small, but we are able to appreciate it various ethnic groups. If there is one thing that can bring Belizeans together, it is our culture. This is a perfect opportunity to display what makes Belize different from other countries in this region. We are a mix pot of various cultures in one single country,” commented Guillermo “Mito” Paz, Deputy Mayor of San Pedro with responsibility of tourism and culture on the island.

2013 World Mental Health Day
The Ministry of Health joins the international community to once again celebrate World Mental Health Day this Thursday, October 10th, 2013. This year, the theme selected is, “Mental Health and Older Adults” which aims to promote healthy and active ageing through the participation of meaningful activities, maintenance of strong personal relationships and good physical health. The theme also advocates for broader interventions to address the growing concern of mental health of persons 60 years and older who many times contend with loss of ability to live independently because of limited physical mobility or mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, many older persons worldwide contend with the effects of dementia which generally is unique to this population.

Completion of Police Barracks delayed
Initially Gricel Graniel from Matachica Resort, Mukul Kanabar from Phoenix Resort, Brent Kirkman from Victoria’s House Resort and David Hess from Las Terrazas Resort pledged a total of $20,000 towards the construction of a unit that would comfortably house eight officers. Contractor Gabriel “Gaby” Nuñez estimated the project to be completed in about six weeks and would cost an approximately $60,000 more. With the help of further donations from Tropic Air, Seaside Real Estate, Seaside Real Estate, Mary Beissner, Holiday Hotel, Grand Belizean Estates,Pelican Reef Villas, Sol Spa, Searious Adventures, The Palms, Carts Belize, Xanadu Island Resort, and Scott Richmond, the foundation, framing and roofing of the structure was completed but no further work has been made to the building. The building is still lacking details, interior and exterior walls, not to mention necessary interior details. $70,000 is still required for the project’s completion which includes furnishing costs which was not included in the initial estimate. Anyone interested in making a donation can visit the San Pedro Police Station during normal working hours.

Ambergris Today

Marijuana Eradication Operation in Belize
The U.S. Embassy Military Liaison Office in Belmopan and Joint Task Force-Bravo partnered with Belizean military forces in a successful marijuana eradication operation in Belize from Sept. 25-28, 2013. The operation resulted in the Belizean forces destroying 22 marijuana fields and approximately 37,970 mature marijuana plants with an initial estimated value of $13 million. In addition, the team also found and destroyed four pounds of marijuana seeds. Joint Task Force-Bravo provided aviation support, on-call casualty evacuation and tactical assault on objective insertion and extraction training for 38 Belizean military and law enforcement personnel who participated in the operation. This training involved the use of a caving ladder, which is lowered from the helicopter in order to insert ground forces into an otherwise inaccessible area.

Belize Infrastructure Limited Opens Office
We are pleased to announce the opening of the office of the Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL) in Belmopan City on October 1, 2013. The office will be headed by Christy Mastry who is serving as the interim General Manager. Ms. Mastry is a licensed architect in Belize with over 15 years of project management experience. She is wrapping up as the Project Director of the Sustainable Tourism Project where she managed $30 million of direct infrastructure and construction projects throughout the country. Belize Infrastructure Limited is a private company formed by the Government of Belize to act as a public sector agency of the government to undertake the design, construction and management of capital projects in Belize with particular emphasis on sporting and other multipurpose facilities.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Activities in San Pedro
1. Breast Exams and Pap Smears Courtesy of the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic and Ministry of Health. (Monday to Fridays After 1pm and ALL DAY Campaign on October 19th, 2013) 2. Food Sale (Tamales 3 for $10)Behind the Primary School Next to Boaz Golf Cart Rentals and Island Adventures (October 19th, 2013 all day) 3. Now taking orders for T-shirts. $20 Each. Deadline is on October 15th, 2013. Design will be made available via Facebook or any of our members. 4. Hair Day (In Collaboration with councillor Carlos Barrientos). Behind the Primary School Next to Boaz Golf Cart Rentals and Island Adventures. On October 19th, 2013. We will be shaving or dying hair with a pink streak for a small fee.

Education in Belize: From Discipline to Engagement
This past week I saw electronic media postings by educators who complained that, and seemed to know why, students today are failures. As is usually the case, whenever anyone (parent or teacher) complains about students, whether today or a hundred years ago, the overwhelming reason always is: “they no longer (are allowed to) teach the way they used to”, in other words, “the best way to learn will always be the way that I learned”. How very egocentric. The postings also triggered many memories in me! That very old school line of thinking had originally inspired me to write my first article (Education in Belize) back in October 2011: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee.

Eldridge and Badillo Nuptials
Congratulations go out to Jason Eldridge and Angella Badillo who tied the knot in Lafayette, Louisiana on Saturday, September 21, 2013. The happy couple exchanged vows and then celebrated their union with their friends and family inside the Juliet Hotel. Congratulations to the beautiful couple!

Old School vs. New School in San Pedro
I think I can say, and with pride, that I am from the old school. This old school built me as I am and I am quite proud of it. Though I can accept the new school, I still do have my preferences as it happened or existed Years Ago in San Pedro. My curfew was the setting sun and the first shadows of the night. I did not have to wait for any siren to be blown to head home in a rush. I played outside on the streets or beach with my friends, not online. The only game that I played on line or rather with a line was the telephone with a line between two tin cans.

Pic of the Week: Yoga In The Park
Watch out these new yogis who are spreading the love for yoga in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Many youngsters gathered for "Yoga In The Park" to learn how to unwind, refresh, and connect, but most importanty have a great time. Kudos to the team at Zen Arcade Belize for organizing such a fun activity every month for everybody to enjoy.

Flashbacks: Manelley's Ice Cream
I bet you don’t know the origin of the name Manelly’s Ice Cream. I am sure I can pause for five minutes and you stop reading momentarily and you still cannot figure out how the name Manelly’s came about. Okay, bet won so here it is. The clue is that the owners of this very popular ice cream place are Manuel Delvalle and Shelly. Take ‘Man’ from Manuel and ‘elly’ from Shelly, put them together and you get Manelly. These two San Pedranos have dedicated almost their entire lives to bring Manelly’s to what it is today- the best ice cream on the Island. Actually they took it over from Shelly’s dad, the late Seferino Paz Sr. who used to sell paletas and ice cream. Pop corn and icy smoothies, sundaes, banana boats, cheese dip and chips and other delicious snacks are only some of the latest ideas of Manuel and Shelly Delvalle. Visitors to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye cannot leave the island without first having visited and enjoyed the goodies at Manelly’s Ice Cream Parlour.

Misc Belizean Sources

SBDCBelize Establishing A Business Workshop
Workshop Date: October 10th, 2013 9am to 12pm So, you have an idea? You want to start a business? GREAT! What next? Most people who are setting up there own business have grandiose ideas about their business, but not much thought is gone into the process of formalizing the business. The session will: Assist you in understanding how to formalize your business. Introduction of your Business Plan Provide you with information on registering/licensing of your business Will prepare you FULLY on making your dreams into REALITY COST: $FREE University of Belize, Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, West Landivar

Cancer Walk T-shirts
It's Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the San Ignacio Branch of the Belize Cancer Society is raising funds by selling t-shirts. The shirts are only $20, and they go to a great cause. You can get them at the BFLA office infront of Sacred Heart Church. They are having a Cancer Walk on October 26th that will start in Esperanza, and end in Cayo. Join the Paint Belize Pink campaign. "$20.00 per T- Shirt. Available for men in white, grey, blue and yellow. Available for women in purple, blue, pink and yellow. All of the colors have the same back and front logos. Order yours now, limited supply."

Boxing at the Cayo Welcome Center
The SISE Town Council is having a boxing tournament Saturday night, October 12th, and the Cayo Welcome Center. There will be boxers from all over Belize, and Guatemala too. As an added bonus, Airbender Ashanti Garcia will perform. Another fun weekend event at the Cayo Welcome Center.

World Culture Band Rocked Soul Project
The World Culture Band rocked the Soul Project Saturday night. Emmanuel Mangar and Eddie Allen rocked out with the WCB, and together. "For first time the World Culture Band did a gig without leader Sam Harris. Sam is on tour with The Garifuna Collective. show went great Sam would be proud, the gig was produced by Venessa Who also played drums."

Sacred Heart Fair and Business Expo
Sacred Heart College is having their annual fair and Business Expo at the end of the month. They'll have the talent show on Friday the 25th, starting at 6:00pm. Saturday the Business Expo and fair start at 10:00am, and they'll have a disco starting at 7:00pm. There will be games for all ages, along with trampolines, a dunk tank, a wide selection of food and drinks, and there will even be a 'Car Smash and Cut' fundraiser, where you can break the windows out, paint, drill holes, and cut up an Isuzu Trooper.

Orquidea Negra UNA Performance
Orquidea Negra performed at the Benque HoC for some lucky visiting Costa Rica students. "The students from Universidad UNA, Region Abrunca from Costa Rica visited the Benque House of Culture and Orquidea Negra Dance Company was honored to perform and showcase the Maya/ Mestizo Culture in the area."

Belize and Guatemala election officials meet in San Ignacio town
Electoral officials of Belize and Guatemala met on Sunday in San Ignacio town. President of the Election and Boundaries Commission Bernard Q. Pitts headed the Belize delegation while the Guatemala delegation was led by the president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal Maria Eugenia Villagran de Leon. A statement from the OAS, under whose auspices the meeting was held, says that the purpose of the meeting was to “exchange information, experiences and best practices in electoral management; identify areas for the inter-institutional collaboration; and further learn about the norms and processes in each country to conduct referendums.” The meeting was held on the same day on which Belize and Guatemala were due to hold simultaneous referendums so that the people of the respective countries could determine whether or not the centuries old claim by Guatemala to Belizean territory should be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final resolution.

UK government urges Belize and Guatemala to set new referendum date
The government of Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom is urging Belize and Guatemala to work towards a new date for a simultaneous referendum on submitting the Guatemala’s claim to the International Court of Justice for final resolution. The joint referendum was to have been conducted on Sunday, October 6 in Belize and Guatemala. Earlier this year, however, Guatemala pulled out of the agreement to hold the referendum, claiming that Belize’s referendum law requiring 60% participation to be effective was too stringent. In a statement given to Guatemala’s Prensa Libre newspaper, the Charge d’Affaires at the British embassy in Guatemala City David McNaught is quoted as saying that the UK is “disappointed that the referendum in both countries was postponed and did not happen on October 6.”

Channel 7

Saldivar Says He Has 150 Suspect Penner Immigration Files
Tonight, UDP Cayo Northeast Representative Elvin Penner remains under intense scrutiny and public pressure. The effort to subject him to a recall vote is one thing - while the revelations about his conduct as minister of state keep coming. Tonight his accuser is PUP politician Arthur Saldivar. Saldivar claims to have 150 suspect nationality documents which Penner signed. Now, Saldivar, who is known to be a little dramatic says these documents were about to be disposed of a by a third party when he acquired them. Today he came to the media with only one, a nationality certificate for a 37 year old man, born in China, living in the Las Flores area of Belmopan. His name is Bo-Jie Shan his certificate was issued in May of 2013, but the receipt for his application wasn't issued by Immigration Officer Ady Pacheco until July of 2013. Saldivar pounced on that glaring discrepancy in an interview with the media today at the KREMANDALA Compound:..

No Resignation, Let’s Get Ready for a Recall
So while that new revelation is one leg of the story - the other is whether Elvin Penner will resign or face a recall election - the terms put to him in an ultimatum from the Opposition. As the Prime Minister and Party leader Dean Barrow alluded to on Friday, Penner won't resign. Today's 5:00 pm deadline came and went without any word from Penner or the UDP camp. We take that to mean that they're paying no attention to the Leader of the Opposition's ultimatum - which came and went without comment from either political. So, then recall it is - and this weekend in the 7 villages of Cayo northeast the PUP were out gathering signatures to make it to that 30% threshold - which would be about 1800 registered voters. 7news went to Cayo northeast for that story - and here's what Daniel Ortiz found:... Daniel Ortiz reporting The Posters up in The Cayo Northeast Constituency continues to announce Area Representative Elvin Penner as "Humble", "Dedicated", and "Honest". These are remnants of the 2012 General Election, but the PUP hopes that his constituents no longer look to him as the man who best represents to these ideals on their behalf.

FIU Director Says She Has Launched Penner Investigation
So far we've dealt with the political angle of the Penner story - and the other side of that is the investigation. The DPP has said that she feels there is enough to warrant a police investigation. The Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit - which would watch for suspicious movements of money feels the same way. In fact, Director Marilyn Williams told us today that she has already started her investigation:.. Marilyn Williams, Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit "The FIU based on the laws under which they are mandated will in fact actually have already started the process of an investigation. Unfortunately I am not in a position to give any details whatsoever. The type of investigation that we do must be done - I wouldn't say in private but certainly not open for public discussion." Marisol Amaya, KREM Radio "You can't say what say exactly the investigation was launched?" Marilyn Williams, Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit "It was launched a week ago."

First City Murder In Three Months Is a PG Man Working In City
Belize City had not seen a murder since July 9th. up until Friday night, October fourth. It happened on Antelope Street Extension where just after 10 on Friday night 28 year old Gary Pratt was killed inside a yard. Thing is, he wasn't even the target! Pratt had come to Belize recently to start working, plus he was working on a book of poetry. But on Friday night, trouble found him - with a bullet that had someone else's name on it. The Police investigator from Precinct two told us more:... Insp. Calbert Flowers, Investigator Precinct 2 "On Friday 4th October 2013, sometime around 10:15 pm police officers from Precinct 2 visited the KHMH where they observed the apparent lifeless body of a male person later identified to them as Gary Pratt, a 28 year old male Belizean of a Punta Gorda Town address." "He was suffering from 2 apparent gunshots to the back. Initial investigation reveals that Pratt was standing in a yard on Antelope Street Extension with some other people when he was approach from behind by a male person who fired several shots in his direction; two of which hit him in the back causing the fatal injury. He was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, however, he was pronounced dead on arrival."

Norales’ Alleged Killers Remanded
A little over a month ago, 7News told you about the progress of the preliminary inquiry for Tyrone Meighan, Orel Leslie, and Brandon Baptist, who are all jointly charged for the murder of 28 year-old James Norales. All indications from their attorneys, Ellis Arnold and Arthur Saldivar, were that the police did not have evidence to present against these men, and they made no case submissions to the sitting Magistrate. The prosecution was given more than one adjournment to present its full bundle of evidence, and they kept asking for others, telling the court that their file wasn't completed. Well today, the Chief Magistrate after perusing all that was presented to her, gave a ruling that the no case submissions were dismissed. Chief Magistrate Smith told the court that the men do have a case to answer to, and they must stand trial in the Supreme Court for murder.

PLUS TV Apologizes to Hon. Saldivar
In April, it made major news when Belmopan Area Representative John Saldivar initiated a lawsuit against PLUS TV - his hometown TV station. The suit was based on remarks made on PLUS TV's morning show, "Rise and Shine" - where co-host Patrick Jason Andrews suggested that Sadivar had misused public funds. Saldivar initiated a law suit - and there were hard words thrown all around in what became a highly politicized issue - especially when it became known that Andrews wanted to challenge Saldivar in the Belmopan Constituency as a PUP Candidate. But, today the tone and pitch of the dispute calmed down somewhat when the matter went before the Supreme Court. Lawyer for Saldivar Priscilla Banner and Lawyer for PLUS TV tried to agree on a settlement - and after about an hour for discussion in and out for the judge's chambers - PLUS agreed to apologize with no monetary damages paid. We spoke to both sides as they left the courtroom:... Hon. John Saldivar "We came to an agreement in court where the two defendants; Plus TV and Mr. Andrews have agreed to do an apology for the words that were uttered by Mr. Andrews on the Rise and Shine Show and we have agreed to accept that apology."

Tourism Numbers Keep Going Up
The Belize Tourism Board released the tourism figures for the January to August, and they show that overnight visitor arrivals for this year have improved over last year. For January, February and March, the increase was 17.2%, 14.3%, and 13.0% respectively, and 8% for both July and August. For the entire 8 months, 17, 228 more tourists arrived this year as compared to last year, and the BTB is confident that country will reach the three hundred thousand visitor overnight mark. In cruise tourism, as we told you, the numbers lagged behind last year's for May, June, and July, but according to the BTB, August saw a substantial increase of 30.2%, putting the total 8 months for 2013 at an increase of 5.3% when compared to last year.

SICA In Belize to Talk Money Laundering, Drug Trafficking
Money laundering and drug trafficking go hand in hand - and today in Belize, SICA, the Central American Integration System convened a meeting of judges and judicial officers from Belize, Nicaragua, Guatemala, el Salvador, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. They were being educated on the nefarious ways of money laundering and drug trafficking - which are prominent in Central America. Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin presided:... Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin "In the last few decades trafficking in illicit drugs has become a plaque in our societies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Belize has certainly not escaped this pestilence. Although each of our respective countries has deployed individual strategies to combat this state of affairs, there has been (if we wish to be frank) limited success." "Indeed following at heels of drug trafficking have been the crimes often associated with money laundering. The judiciary of Belize has recognize the need for training in these areas of concern."

PACT Gives Out Three-Quarter Mil In Grants
Today PACT, the Protected Area Conservation Trust gave out nearly three quarter million dollars in new project grants! Research Grants as well as Small, Medium-Sized and Large Grants were awarded for projects under the themes of Protected Areas Management and Conservation, Protected Areas Promotion and Development, and Environmental Education and Awareness. We spoke to a few of the recipients:... Vincent Gillett, Chair, PACT Advisory Council "As it celebrates the culmination of many hours of hard diligent work done by applicants for PACT's grant and those dedicated persons who process, review and finally approve proposals for support." Recipient - Roaring Creek Nature Reserve "I work in Roaring Creek Nature Reserve which is very close to the Belize Zoo along the Coastal Road. The title of my project is "The ecology and conservation of tapirs in central Belize." This is the centerpiece of a master's program from Mexico." Jose Perez, APAMO "Through this particular project of approximately three hundred and eighty-four thousand dollars, the strengthening of the organization as an institution continues by focusing on our community base organizations; by strengthening their capacities and in so doing we are also strengthening and building the capacities of the organization."

Survey Says….
In May of this year, 7News told you about that survey of the Caribbean which said that Belize's internet is among the slowest and most expensive in the region. Well, there is a new survey out, which was released last week. This new survey says that Belize's Broadband access, which puts a 2 meg connection as the standard, is still the most expensive. Belize is among the 134 countries which has a national policy to increase availability of internet to its citizens. But Belize is called out as the country at the bottom of the list when trying to make broadband access more affordable. The organization, Broadband Commission for Digital Development, sets the standard of affordability as 5% of the average person's monthly income. The Cayman Islands passed with flying colors costing the average person of around 2% of that income. Of the countries who are still outside that affordability standard, Saint Vincent's is just above Belize with just over 12% of the average person's income. Belize is last once again, doubling St. Vincent with a total of over 30% of the average person's monthly income. Again, the standard set is a connection line of 2 megabits per second.

Channel 5

New allegations surface of illegal passports authorized by Elvin Penner
The passport scandal that started to unravel on September nineteenth is not going to go away anytime soon. Tonight, former Minister of State Elvin Penner is out of the hospital [...]

Evidence shows that passports were issued to Middle Eastern and Asian nationals
According to Saldivar that is only one inconsistency on the documents, all signed by former Minister of State Elvin Penner. Those nationality applications were signed primarily for Middle Eastern and [...]

The Financial Intelligence Unit says it’s investigating passport scandal
There is huge public outcry on the issue of a criminal investigation in the passport scandal to determine what extent of wrongdoing took place when South Korean national, Kim Wonhong [...]

Director of Public Prosecutions says there is enough to warrant a criminal investigation
If there would be a criminal investigation, the Police would then enter the picture, and so would the Director of Public Prosecutions. Both those entities will only act if summoned [...]

Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse, gives update on internal investigation
The Financial Intelligence Unit will be looking into the financial aspect of the passport scandal. That’s important, but not as important as the criminal aspect. The public outcry has been [...]

Cayo North East prepares to trigger a recall
Former Minister of State and the disgraced Elvin Penner had until five p.m. today to bid his office adieu. That’s the ultimatum sent his way by P.U.P. leader Francis Fonseca. [...]

John Saldivar and Plus TV reach a settlement
Tonight, there is an out of court settlement agreed to between Minister John Saldivar and Plus TV’s owner Louis Wade and co-host of the Rise and Shine Morning Show, Jason [...]

Punta Gorda man killed in Belize City
After months without a murder in the Old Capital that spell was broken on Friday night. A twenty-eight year old Punta Gorda resident who had just relocated to the City, [...]

Foreign Minister Elrington gave an update on Guatemala’s 9-point letter of protest
Last week, the government of Guatemala wrote to the Secretary General of the O.A.S., to protest the language used by Foreign Minister Ellington at the United Nations in the context [...]

3 Belize City youth to stand trial for 2012 murder of ex-B.D.F. soldier
Three Belize City men who were accused of the 2012 murder of ex-BDF Soldier, James Noralez appeared in court this morning for a preliminary investigation. Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith [...]

6 N.G.O.s split over $700,000 courtesy of PACT
A number of environmental agencies received grants today from the Protected Areas Conservation Trust, PACT. Over seven hundred and thirty six-thousand dollars were disbursed for new projects to small, medium [...]

Football, cycling and basketball featured in Sports Monday
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   Week 2 of the PLB Belikin Cup found San Ignacio United invading the Isidoro Beaton Stadium Saturday night for [...]

#474411 - 10/08/13 06:59 AM Re: Today's Belize News: October 8, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here


Belize and Guatemala Meet: Electoral Authorities Seek to Strengthen Relations
Yesterday the electoral authorities of Belize and Guatemala met to strengthen bilateral cooperation. The meeting was held in San Ignacio under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS) to exchange information, experiences and best practices in electoral management. Also discussed in the meeting were areas involving inter-institutional collaboration and further learn about the norms and processes in each country to conduct referendums. The meeting took place within the framework of the new confidence-building measures that both countries adopted last May with a view to improving the conditions necessary to establish a new date to hold the simultaneous referenda, which will determine if the territorial dispute between both countries is submitted to the International Court of Justice for final settlement. The meeting was chaired by the Representative of the Secretary General of the OAS for Belize-Guatemala Affairs, Ambassador Raul Lago, who was accompanied by the Chief of the OAS Peace Fund, Magdalena Talamas and the Director of the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone, Sergio Benítez. Guatemala´s delegation was headed by the President of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, María Eugenia Villagrán de León, and Mr. Bernard Pitts, President of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, led the Belizean delegation.

Central America Adopts Security Strategy From SICA
Heads of state of the Central American Integration System have adopted its security strategy. The aim is to have a regional instrument, to create a safer environment for the people and goods, promote sustainable human development through investments and activities related to its components, crime reduction, violence prevention and institutional strengthening. Belize is hosting Judiciaries of Central America for a regional training activity. A brief opening ceremony was held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel this morning and Chief Justice of Belize, Kenneth Benjamin, says that that the training activity is both relevant and timely.

Investigation Process Started at the Financial Intelligence Unit
While the Belize Police Department has been patient in launching a criminal investigation in the passport scandal, the Financial Intelligent Unit of Belize, FIU, is already one week into its own investigations. Marilyn Williams is the Director of the FIU. MARILYN WILLIAMS “The FIU based on the laws on which they are mandated already started the process of an investigation. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to give any details; the type of investigation we do must be done, I won’t say in private but it is not open for discussion. The investigation was launched a week ago.”

Taxi Driver Assaulted and Robbed
A taxi driver was held up and robbed on Saturday night in Corozal Town. According to 62 year-old Felix Mai, just before ten on Saturday night, two men hired him to take them to C&B Bar in the Baeza Layout area of Corozal Town. Mai told the police that he drove up the San Andres Village Road and upon reaching the lane that leads to the establishment, one of the men told him that they were going to continue driving on the road, which he complied with. While heading on the dirt road, the man in the back seat reportedly placed his hand around Mai’s neck and began to choke him. Mai said that he quickly shut off the car engine and the man then took out something resembling a knife and with which he tried to stab him. The two struggled, during which Mai suffered scratches to his abdomen and jaw, after which he managed to get out of his vehicle and run for help. The two men reportedly escaped in nearby bushes.

Immigration Minister Says, “I Don’t Take Lightly At All This Aspect that My Credibility Is on the Line.”
This past weekend the People’s United Party began collecting signatures to trigger the recall mechanism. While at the center of the controversy is former Minister of State Elvin Penner, questions still abound about how something of this nature could have occurred given the stringent measures that were put in place under Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse. Today Hulse called Love FM’s morning show to say this situation is not a reflection on him. GODWIN HULSE “When this was discovered that there was some issue concerning a passport and Minister Penner, the first thing that was done, the Prime Minister removed him completely from the executive responsibility and we introduced at the administrative level, which is our responsibility and duty and right, an intensive investigation which led to notice of suspension of some officers “notice of suspension”; you have to be clear, it is the commission that will do the suspension, that is because certain processes in the system, we have found to have broken down.

Plans Discussed to Reduce Premature Deaths Due to Non-Communicable Diseases
Minister of Health Pablo Marin represented Belize at the 52nd directing council of the Pan American health Organization in Washington DC last week. Health officials agreed to a plan of action that seeks to reduce premature deaths due to non-communicable diseases by a quarter by the year 2025. The joint plan of action calls for policies to promote prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and reduce their risk factors. Under the joint plan of action, health officials agreed to specifically promote prevention of NCDs beyond health, expand and provide universal access to health services for NCDs, reduce tobacco intake by 30%, promoting healthy diets to reduce the impact on children, and improve the surveillance of risk factors among others for NCDs. Member countries pledged to give priority to non-communicable diseases in their health development agendas to implement and achieve the plan’s goals. PAHO will provide technical cooperation to countries to help strengthen and monitor the progress to achieve the plan’s goals. Cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory disease are the leading NCDs and have been found to be related to a common set of risk factors.

Sales Clerks Steal Slippers From Employer
A business in the Corozal Free Zone was robbed on Friday afternoon. Fifty-three year old Ki Hyung Cheong, a Korean businessman of Cuidad Chetumal Quintana Roo, Mexico went to the Corozal Police Station and reported that earlier that day he was at his business establishment, namely Sonadora 2 Company Limited in the Commercial Free Zone when a security guard alerted him that two of his workers were loading merchandise on a Mexican motorcycle. Cheong said that he made checks and found two Mexican individuals with containers loaded with slippers that they had hidden behind a building. He said that when he questioned them, they told him that two of his workers sold them the slippers for 600 dollars, the real value of which was around three thousand dollars. Corozal police have since recovered 360 pairs of the slippers, which are valued around 900 dollars. Police have also arrested and charged 30 year old Rene Giovanni Tuz and a 17 year old, both Sales Clerks of San Jose Village with Theft

Opposition Party Bags Immigration Documents Before Their Destruction; How Many More Nationality Papers Did Penner Sign?
The scandal revolving around former Minister of State, Elvin Penner is showing no signs of fading away. In facts it seems that the scandal is growing and late this evening, attorney Arthur Saldivar, threw more wood into the fire. Saldivar called the media to say he has gotten evidence of one hundred and fifty nationality applications that has been signed by Penner. Arthur says that the inconsistency in these documents is that the Penner allegedly signed the documents months before the person applied for it. Here is how Saldivar explained it. ARTHUR SALDIVAR “What we have is the unearthing of a deliberate attempt to destroy nationality certificates and files from the Ministry of Immigration. As recently as yesterday, associates of mine and myself have been able to acquire over 150 nationality documents produced within 2013 and all signed by Elvin Penner, in his tenure as Minister of State. We know that Elvin Penner is no longer an authority figure at the Ministry of Immigration; so, it cannot be that he is the one orchestrating the destruction of these files but those who are supposedly in control of the investigation would have to be asked how it is that these files have been subject to destruction and why is it that persons who are not associated with the immigration department responsible for their destruction. All this basically screams cover up; it screams the concealment of wrong doing, the concealment of obvious criminality and it begs for the closure of the Nationality and Passport sections in order for the Belizean people to be satisfied that a forensic investigation can be done to restore the prestige and honor that one would expect from the Belizean passport document.

Southern Resident Murdered in Belize City
After several weeks of calm in streets of Belize City, 28 year old Gary Pratt became the latest victim of gun violence on Friday night. It happened not far from where he was staying when visiting with friends. Pratt, who lived in Punta Gorda Town, was in a yard at 187 Antelope Street Extension in the Collet Constituency sometime around ten that night when the dog started to bark and two men entered. His friend, Kenroy Willoughby, was there and he told us how it unfolded. KENROY WILLOUGHBY “All of us were together talking and drinking and then two gunmen approached us and we yelled, ‘gunman’ and he didn’t run because he was talking on his phone and he didn’t pay us any mind and they shot him and he is dead now.” Pratt was struck twice in the back as he spoke to someone on a cellphone. He collapsed in the grass and died before he reached the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital minutes later. Second in Charge of Police Precinct 2, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Calbert Flowers, says that police have not yet established a motive for Belize City’s latest homicide.

Human Remains Uncovered in Shallow Grave
Police have discovered a set of suspected human remains. Police say that shortly after two on Saturday afternoon, they received information and went to an area about 100 yards away from the entrance of the Garbage Dump on the Hummingbird Highway in the Cayo District. There they discovered what appeared to be human bones inside a shallow grave. Beside the find was an old piece of white cloth with red and blue stripes. Police investigations continue.


PM meets with BWS and BTL employees concerning pensions
On Friday Prime Minister Dean Barrow was in Belize City meeting behind closed doors with employees of Belize Water Services Limited at their offices on Central American Boulevard. It was occasioned by reports that amendments to three acts governing pensions in Belize – the Trusts Act, The Pension Act...

Elvin Penner could be facing recall by voters in his division
Embattled Cayo Northeast area representative Elvin Penner could be facing recall by voters in his division as of next week, as according to latest reports he will refuse the offer by Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca to voluntarily resign his post by Monday. The matter is up for...

PM supports Minister Elrington’s statement to the UN
Western neighbors Guatemala have sent a strongly worded reply to the Organization of the American States (OAS) condemning the tone and content of Belize Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington’s address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 30. Listing numerous breaches of Belize’s territory by Guatemala and their refusal...

Marciano Cuz of Camalote reported missing
We’ve had numerous criminal reports coming out of Camalote village lately but he drama seems to have subsided for now. On Thursday however, Edwardo Cuz of Young Bank Area, Camalote Village, Cayo District, reported to police that around 2:20 pm, on Monday September 30, 33 year old Marciano Cuz...

VIP calls on Government to sign UN Convention Against Corruption
The nation has been rocked by back to back scandals in the past few months and while Government may be trying to right the wrongs of those who pollute the system, many are saying that more can and must be done to protect the integrity of our governance. The...

Man dies after falling into stone crusher
The family of Peter Reimer is mourning the ill-timed death of the 14 year old. While working at Camp 9 in Shipyard, Mr Reimer fell into a stone crusher that quickly mangled his body. Peter Reimer has been employed at the site for about a year and due to...

Belize City Center replacement project ongoing
Demolition of the old Belize City Center proceeds on pace but Belizeans have not seen a plan for the $30-million replacement promised by Prime Minister Dean Barrow in his Independence Day address. On Friday at the site we met with member of the board of directors...

Athletes from Belmopan Mystics Volleyball Club recognized for achievements
The Belmopan Mystics Volleyball Club (BMVC) has gained support since it was established almost two years ago. The club is very young, catering to 16 members from the female junior division, that is between the ages of 13-17. Out of these 16 young girls, eight are...

Primary School Students hold Fruit Fair in Belize City
We are often told that fruits and vegetables are good for you – but how many pay attention to the many ways they can be served and eaten? At the end of its annual Wellness Week students of Holy Redeemer Primary’s Standard 6 classes in Belize...

Evangelist Dr. Andrew Willis spreads the Word in Belize
International evangelist Dr. Andrew Willis, founder and Senior Pastor of The River of Life Church Houston, was the guest speaker at an open-air crusade that took place this Wednesday. The Welcome Centre was the venue. Kent Pandy was on hand for the service and spoke with the organizer, head...


Getting to Caye Chapel Golf island by Caye Caulker water taxi
Many of you knew Caye Chapel Golf Island was a fast developing love of mine, this time around I really fell head over heels and sealed the deal. We decided to try a new experience and take the Caye Caulker Water taxi, which is the only one that goes there – $50 BZD round trip. You have to ask them to drop you off as it is not a regularly scheduled stop, since the island is so close to Caye Caulker, they can easily stop. My reason for planning the private island party was to meet my Cousin and Rudy who were in docking in Belize city on a cruise for the day and wanted something to do. Not long after the planning started, Invest 97 came on the radar and right up to the last second we were all saying our prayers for good weather and preparing to get wet. Paul Mary Roland and I said we would go no matter what and Erin and Rudy said same. We ended up with a party of 9 in the end Lara, Cindy and Tinker also joined us. Judyann and Tom owners of Black Orchid Restaurant opted out at the last minute due to potential weather. Thankfully Chaac Maya the rain god decided to rain down upon us in the nicest possible way and we barely got wet at all. Our waterway road trip was very calm and comfortable and we had a fantastic view sheet rain on the Caribbean Sea. Not long after Caye Caulker, the rain grew heavier and magically lightened up when we approached Caye Chapel marina.

Remember when we all hitchhiked everywhere in Belize?
Hitchhiking was by far the most efficient way to get around Belize just a few decades ago, both monetarily and time-wise. Bus breakdowns were much more predictable than the schedules, and hitching was nice. Usually crammed in a pan full of fellow passengers, you’d make all sorts of interesting acquaintances and catch up on the news. If it was a long run, like from Belmopan to Dangriga or Placencia, there’d be stops along the way for more beer or rum or even gibnut burgers if you were lucky. Upon arriving at destination you’d pay the going rate, if you knew it, or politely ask the driver “What I got for you for gas?” The driver usually would look perplexed, as if he was just giving you a lift , anyway, before asking for the usual standard $10 or so. It was all very much, ”Thank you for the ride,” and that you were just helping out with the petrol. Although the transaction was in a way as formal as any pubic trans system, it felt different and nice.

Belize in Florida
THE CONSULATE OF BELIZE IN FLORIDA INAUGURATES NEW OFFICE AND PASSPORT SERVICES. On Tuesday, October 1st, 2013, the Consulate of Belize in Florida inaugurated its new office located in Coral Gables, Florida. The Mayor of Coral Gables, Mr. Jim Cason enthusiastically welcomed the Consulate of Belize to his city. The Honorary Consul General, Mrs. Janine Sylvestre Vega, welcomed the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General, Hon. Wilfred Elrington, as well as Mrs. Candelaria Saldivar-Morter, CEO in the Ministry of Labour, Local Government, Rural Development and National Emergency Management and Immigration and Nationality, along with other Belizeans and leaders of the community who attended.

“Mirror in the Bathroom” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
I mentioned in yesterday’s edition that Rose and I stayed at Ian’s bungalow in Price Barracks on Thursday night. Influenced by the wine of the previous evening I had a uninterrupted night’s sleep and didn’t get up until around 07.00 hours. Late by my normal standards but understandable. After showering and getting dressed Rose and I had breakfast and headed off to The Dental Center for my appointment with Doctor Hernadez. I don’t remember a great deal about my time there. I remember going in to the surgery at around 11.15 hours and saying hello to Doctor Hernandez and the anaesthetist. I remember the anaesthetist injecting me and then I don’t remember much at all apart from coming around and feeling groggy and going back to sleep again. And then waking up again and then going to sleep again. Eventually I felt with it enough to travel back to Price Barracks and when we got to Ian’s place I tried to eat but after around seven or eight spoonfuls gave it up as a bad job. I was suffering from acute indigestion and swallowing the food proved to be extremely ponderous. I was also feeling somewhat drowsy again so I went to bed and had a sleep for a few hours.

Sweet Dinner Rolls
I love all types of bread, but most Belizean breads are made with coconut milk. This recipe uses whole milk and pineapple juice. I saw this recipe at another cooking show and decided to take a whack at it. These dinner rolls are scrumptious, soft and just downright delicious.

“So much more than just a month in the Sun”
If you’re a diver, you know that there are plenty of places you can go dive on vacation. There are plenty of places you can go for dive training. And there are definitely a few places where you can do and do dive conservation work. But in all my travels and all the internet searching I’ve done for dive locations, I have NEVER found a place like ReefCI. The island is beautiful and remote. The food is amazing (and there’s a lot of it). And the country of Belize is a friendly and vibrant place. I’ve logged more than 70 dives with ReefCI off Tom Owen’s Cay and the surrounding reef, and I can’t wait to log more with them.

International Sources

There is a promise to keep in Belize
Henry David Thoreau asked, "Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?" That priceless perspective, a view of "the other's world," happened to me last spring when I led a group of Caldwell College students to Belize on a service project. Our mission was to assist three local carpenters in the building of a church in the village of Corazon Creek, a site 32 miles from our lodgings in Punta Gorda, a town of 6,000 in an area nicknamed "the Forgotten District" of Belize. The first morning, we saw that the concrete foundation of the church had been poured and some of the pillars set. Our task was to pour the remaining pillars, frame the structure and construct the roof -- 11 handmade triangular support beams -- before fastening the zinc sheeting to the trusses. Pentecost would be celebrated in this church at the end of the week, and we didn't want to disappoint the eight Catholic families of the village or those who would come from much farther away, by walking or by bus. We were successful, finishing by midafternoon on Friday. What I will always cherish is what profoundly touched each of us on this trip -- not the building but the relationships we built with the villagers and the glimpses they allowed us into their souls. On our first workday, we were invited to have lunch with Christina and Roberto, who lived adjacent to the building site. Their family hut had an earthen floor and a fire pit at one end, over which the village women were boiling rice and chicken and making tortillas. No discernible furniture was in sight. Villagers squatted on the floor to eat while the Caldwell group found sacks of rice and dried ears of corn on which to sit. The meal consisted of stacks of tortillas and a meager portion of rice with a small quantity of chicken that contained either bones, fat or both.

America’s Debt Crisis Isn’t the First: 10 Nations that Have Defaulted on Debt
Belize suffered a more recent default when in 2006 it announced a distressed exchange of its external bonds for new bonds due in 2029. The country defaulted on $242 million worth of debt, but rebounded after a financial restructuring.

From thrill seekers to foodies: Honeymoons for every couple
But if it’s a beach vacation you’re after, consider the island of Ambergris Caye in Belize, which is often passed over by Caribbean-bound tourists for its more popular neighbors. Consequently, the tropical island boasts lower price points.

“ [Mexican] State executives may argue over abortion laws, the pros and cons of DF (Mexico City) statehood, and the legalization of marijuana in their bailiwicks. However, they agree completely on the importance of a generous immigration reform by U.S. decision-makers. At a meeting of Mexico's National Commission of Governors (CONAGO), Eruviel Ávila Villegas, Mexico State's chief executive and the group's foreign affairs spokesman, emphasized the importance of the pending legislation. He stressed that ‘we must directly strengthen our international cooperation with governments and social organizations´ in concert with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE). At the same time, the state leaders agree with Chihuahua's free-spending Governor César Duarte Jáquez that the construction of a new wall between Mexico and the United States would be an ´aberration’, even as his own country gropes for an effective deterrent to Central Americans and other foreigners crossing Mexico through Guatemala and Belize.”

FATCA seminar hears of stiff penalties
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has at least seven ways to catch those trying to avoid its Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act, and a Department of Justice database on 33,000 taxpayers to help. Local officials estimate that as many as 6,000 people in Cayman – more than 10 percent of the population – will have obligations under FATCA, whether paying taxes, filing forms, reporting on bank accounts or just seeking legal advice. “FATCA is coming. The U.S. has delayed implementation by six months, but it’s coming,” said George Town representative Roy McTaggart. Opening Friday’s half-day FATCA seminar in a packed ballroom at the Westin, Mr. McTaggart said the Cayman Islands government hoped to offer “a kind of road map, giving you the best resources available,” helping U.S.-affiliated people navigate the complexities of the law, intended to collect arrears from delinquent taxpayers.

Cuba: People-to-people tours provide legal gateway for American travelers
“¿Qué hora es?” This simple, frequently asked question surprisingly serves as a window into the heart and soul of Cuba’s culture, as seen by Americans who find themselves within its borders. The question, which means ‘what time is it?’ is a common segue used by Cubans when they are interested in learning more about someone who is different from them. Cubans are curious, they are polite and they are genuine – it’s also true that many of them just don’t have watches or cell phones. But asking the question opens the conversation, which is the more interesting prospect to Cubans than simply learning the time. They will hear the accent in your response, then the questions begin. They want to know about you. They want to know where you are from. They just want to chat. In Cuba, this is how they learn about the outside world — especially America. The cushy traveler accustomed to all-inclusive resorts or five-star anything would be quick to dismiss Cuba as the land of uneven footing and stray dogs. But for those who seek culture over comfort, the forbidden-until-recently island is a fascinating destination that promises a thought-provoking experience.


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