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#474606 - 10/10/13 11:53 AM Today's Belize News: October 10, 2013
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun

Tropic Air’s Red Bird Flight Simulator is first of its kind for the region
Tropic Air has been the leading operators of small aircraft aviation for 35 years in Belize. As Tropic Air continues to make the advances necessary to continue providing efficient service, they have progressed to advanced flight simulation training for their pilots. In continuing to make safety a top priority, Tropic Air has recruited Safety Manager Raul Alamilla. As Head of the Safety Management System, Alamilla covers all aspects of ensuring safety throughout the company. Following this initiative, Alamilla saw the benefits that could come about as a result of incorporating the use of flight simulators. The simulator not only allows pilots to enhance their aviation skills but through simulation they learn how to manage various instances and cases of emergencies such as engine fires or structural failures that would otherwise be impossible to practice on real aircrafts. “It is an investment that will not only keep our pilots current, but among all things it allows for safer operation,” stated John Greif III, President of Tropic Air.

Cultural Sunday Beach Bash
The San Pedro Garifuna Council Committee is gearing up for their National Garifuna Settlement Day celebrations on November 19th. In preparation for the big celebration, the Committee will be hosting a series of events, endorsed by the National Garifuna Council and supported at the local level by the Minister of Tourism and Culture Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. and the San Pedro Town Council. On Wednesday, October 9th there will be a Garifuna Council Committee meeting from 7PM to 10PM at the Heredia Park on San Juan Area. The Committee will also be having a Hudut Sale on Saturday, September 12th at Central Park. The Committee has also announced that for the first time ever they will be hosting a Cultural Sunday Beach Beach every Sunday at the Boca Del Rio Park. The first Culture Sunday Beach Bash is scheduled for Sunday, October 13th. There will be lots of food and drinks on sale, along with games for the entire family. Guest will be treated to live cultural presentations and music by Punta Boyz Band. Featured invited guest artist include DJ Logi, DG Lova, DJ Lotion and DJ KML. The Committee invites all families to come out and have a great time.

Meet your National AIDS Commission Island Committee members
The National AIDS Commission Island Committee was established to carry out the local aspect of the National Response to HIV following the guidelines of the National AIDS Commission. The entity is commissioned by the Government of Belize to carry out this function. The committee is made up of a multi-sectoral body. The San Pedro Sun takes this opportunity to present the members of the executive body to you – the community that they serve. My name is Kristina Romero, currently the secretary of the NAC Island Committee. I am from Corozal but lived on the island several years as a child and now I call it home. I am presently working at the National Drug Abuse Control Council, Ministry of Health as the District Coordinator for Belize Rural South. I am an educator at heart, I taught English language, Spanish and Literature at the High School level and in 2011 decided to transition into the field of Drug Prevention education.

Ambergris Today

Saga Humane Society Addresses Over Population of Dogs
The Saga Humane Society of San Pedro is working arduously on addressing the over population of dogs on the island. The number of complaints about stray dogs and the all the unsanitary conditions they leave behind is high once again but the Humane Society is looking at stronger methods of addressing the situation. Residents have been complaining to the San Pedro Town Council and to the Saga Humane Society about the problem of dogs defecating in public and in front of businesses. The majority of offenders are pets that have owners who allow them on the streets without a leash or supervision. Saga indicates that their personnel have rounded up some of these dogs in the past, but say that the pet owners pay their fine and pick up the animals, but days later they still keep their pets unsupervised and on the streets. This situation is very problematic and forcing the authorities to take major action which may possibly lead to the euthanizing of the animals immediately. In order to avoid such cruel acts, the Humane Society and the Town Council are working together to enforce laws and fine those who break the laws.

Belize Seeks To Reduce Premature Deaths Due To Non-Communicable Diseases
Minister of Health Hon. Pablo Marin was among health officials that agreed to a plan of action that seeks to reduce premature deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25% by the year 2025. The joint plan of action was approved by the 52nd Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) that convened last week in Washington D.C. It calls for policies to promote prevention and control of NCDs 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.

Teen Talk: Encouraging People to Help Out One Another
So in this week’s Teen Talk I would like to talk about helping others out. Now from when we were very young I believe that most likely our parents told us that we must help others out. However, did they tell us why we must help other people? You could say it is common sense and that would be the moral thing to do, but the truth is you do not have to help other people. It is your choice if you want to help people or turn your head and just mind your own business. No one can force you to help someone; if you want to help them that is fine. Personally, I would help anyone around me who is in need to the best of my ability, but this is my choice and no one tells me to do so or otherwise.

Face to Face with the Jaguar Masks at Lamanai Maya Temple, Belize
Belize has a lot to offer to tourists and locals who are in touch and in love with nature. A great place to visit if you are looking for adventure and site-seeing is the Maya archeological site of Lamanai in the Orange Walk District. If you are in search of an enjoyable, adventurous and educational trip a day’s adventure to one of the largest Maya archaeological sites in the country is a must. Lamanai is located deep within the jungles of the Orange Walk District along the banks of the New river and getting there is what makes it a unique experience compared to visits to other archaeological sites. It might take you a longer time getting to Lamanai than your on site tour time, but the adventure of getting there, the scenic route and the people you meet make for a very interesting tour and is half the fun.

Misc Belizean Sources

FISHING REPORT: Week of September 29th – October 5th , 2013
Permit fishing was off the charts with over 19 fish landed, Josh finished out his stay with that dream 90 pound tarpon… I love to see grown men giggle with excitement!

Eco-Lite: The Belize Zoo
The Belize Zoo got another great write up, and in this article you can see the new cafe and entrance that they've built, which look great. There are some extremely high resolution pictures there too. "The Belize Zoo is easily worth a couple of hours just to see all the gorgeous birds in very attractive aviaries and read the info-plaques on the exhibits. I love how the zoo educates both Belizeans and tourists about how the birds and animals are part of their cultural heritage and should be protected and treasured!"

Stonetree 10th Anniversary Exhibit
Blast from the past. See Andy Palacio, Paul Nabor, and many others in this classic footage that Daniel Velazquez just edited and released. Belize music is some of the best music in the hemisphere, as can be witnessed in the video. In related news, Cayo is in for another treat because Paul Nabor will be playing at the Soul Project on November 2nd. "Featuring Andy Palacio, Ivan Duran, Paul Nabor and the Garifuna collective and me. Here is some historical footage, makes me feel old, its 8 years old, a great night in Belize City at the Image factory 2005, RIP for those who have past on, you live on in your art. tribute!!!"

Pallottine Sisters Centennial Stamps
The Belize Postal Service has released a commemorative series of stamps to celebrate the centennial of the Pallottine Sisters coming to Belize. Cayo is depicted in one of them, as they are landing on the Macal River bank. "On March 17, 1913, four German Pallottine Sisters challenged the boat ride from Belize City to San Ignacio where they landed on the banks of the Macal River. Their journey continued to Benque Viejo by horse and buggy, the only means of transportation in 1913. In Benque Viejo, the Pallottines planted the first seeds of evangelization, education, nursing, gardening, and home skills."

Channel 7

Hulse Says Saldivar Should Come Forward To Authorities
Tomorrow, the Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse, will host a press conference at the Biltmore to address the nation on the internal investigation into the passport scandal. But today, we caught up with him at a Senate Meeting in Belmopan to ask him about the new allegations being made against the Immigration Department. For the past 2 nights, we've featured PUP Politician and attorney Arthur Saldivar where he's released the names of individuals who he says got their Belizean nationality processed in a very shady manner. He claims that these documents were set aside to be destroyed by personnel within the Immigration Department, and he just happened to acquire them, to expose a clandestine operation running in the background of the department. He's released copies of the Nationality documents for Taiwanese Yiu Pang Chen; Jalal Ebrahimi from the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Chinese Bo-Jie Shan. When we asked Hulse this evening if these documents are missing from the Department, he said that they are in the process of verifying that, and Arthur Saldivar would help if he turned in these supposed originals of all these documents he claims to have acquired:

Saldivar Says He's Wanted, But "Hiding in Plain Sight"
And while Hulse remains on the defensive – the man who launched the attack which forced the closure of the Nationality section of the Immigration Department didn't come through today. Arthur Saldivar had promised to produce a green binder – an original document from the Immigration Department – which he says had been slated for destruction. Saldivar says that and many other documents in his possession point to a vast cover-up at the Immigration Department. But today, the story changed. Word went out early via the rumour mill that there was a warrant, first to search Saldivar's home, and then, another to arrest him. Now, the senior ranks of the police department say they have no knowledge of this – but we won't let that spoil Saldivar's ever-evolving narrative. Here's what he told the press this afternoon, about why he didn't have the green binder as promised: Marion Ali - Love News "Now, yesterday, you promised as well that you will be forthcoming the next time you speak which is now, to provide the green binders to the media, at least 1 of them. What happened?"

Hon. "Boots" Says Saldivar Story Shady
And so while the arrest and search warrant story is looking, hmm..., UDP senior member Anthony Boots Martinez says for him the entire Saldivar scenario is suspect. Today Martinez told the media that there are lots of missing pieces in the story as he sees it – but he did let on what we've heard privately from multiple UDP ministers – that the state believes Arthur Saldivar is handling government property. Here's that interview: Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation "I have my own skepticism about Mr. Saldivar. He talked about rescuing documents which were about to be burnt. Those documents look clean. Also too, I see some of the documents on television where, to me, doesn't have any signature, indeed like he pointed out. I saw a little portion of the interview, where the picture looks like a corpse. This is modern technology; this is cut and paste and all kinds of things. The authentication of those documents need be verified, and also too, apart of from that. If those are property of the Government of Belize, then Arthur Saldivar is handling stolen goods. I don't buy his story. The things don't look legit to me; I am being honest with you. It doesn't look legit to me, and it if is legit, why don't you come forward with your information? He is an attorney, man, but you have to understand Arthur Saldivar. He is a politician; he wants to try to see if he can get to the National Assembly for the first time because automatically, he is a failed politician."

Pratt's Killer To Court
Last week, we told you about the first murder in almost 3 months, where 28 year-old Gary Pratt was gunned down on Antelope Street Extension. Well tonight, 23 year-old Aaron Bailey is at prison after he was taken to court for that murder. As we told you, Pratt was standing in a yard socializing with others when he was ambushed by a man who shot him twice in the back. It is believed to have been a case of mistaken identity. Well, Police investigated and charged Bailey, and he was arraigned today in Magistrate's Court. He has been remanded to prison until November 29, his next court date.

Amendment To Criminal Code: Progressive Or Pro-Gay?
Yesterday in Belmopan the Constitution and Foreign Affairs Committee met to consider the Proposed Amendment Number Two to the Criminal Code. The bill was introduced to the house less than two weeks ago as a progressive piece of legislation to protect children from sexual abuse and increase the penalties for child molestors. But is it progressive, or pro-gay? That's what the Christian lobby is asking. They say that the bill is "tweaking the definition of rape" – and, in so doing, is paving the way for the de-criminalization of sex between men. Tonight we have two stories on the dispute, exploring the political and social dimensions. But before we start the stories we warn you that while the law is to protect children, the language is definitely not suitable for children – so you might want to ask them to sit out the next few minutes. We start first with our story from the National Assembly last night where the Committee meeting went into the late evening and had to be suspended at about 6:20.

Child Rights Advocates Ask For Media Support
And that's where the Ministry of Human Development and the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children come in. They are hoping to generate public support for a piece of legislation that was first shaped in 2006. Now, it's been overtaken by the culture war over gay rights – and today they invited the media to a breakfast to try and regain control of the narrative for their own piece of legislation. Here's how they explained it: Jules Vasquez Reporting Judith Alpuche - C.E.O., Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation & Poverty Alleviation "These amendments and the need for these amendments predate any UNIBAM, any constitutional challenge. We have been working on this - I have been in this business for 20 years. We have been working on this for at least 6 years now."

Major Crime Still Trending Down
Late September into early October went crazy in the west with a spate of killings in Roaring Creek, Camalote and Teakettle, but the latest crime statistics for 2013 up to the end of September show that major crime continues to trend down considerably. Up to the end of Septmber, the murder count was down from 106 at this time in 2013, to 81 in 2013. That's a decrease of about 25%. Robbery and burglary were also down sharply when compared to 2012, while theft and carnal knowledge were up. Today, Police Minister John Saldivar today presented his Monthly Awards to the southern zone as formation that performed the best in reducing major crimes during September. Senior Superintendent Mariano received a Cheque of $1,000 for the performance by his zone, and a Certificate of Recognition on behalf of Inspector Mark Flowers who heads the Placencia Sub-Formation.

US Provides Air Assistance For Marijuana Eradication
Those statistics also show that seizures of processed cannabis and destruction of plants and seeds is waaayyyy up, as much as 200%. And that's due in no small part to support from the US Army Southcom which has provided helicopter assistance for Belizean law enforcement agencies to launch raids in remote areas. One operation was conducted early in the year, and it was repeated from September 25 to 28, 2013. A release form the US Embassy says that 38 Belizean personnel from the Belize Defence Force Special Assignment Group, the Belize Coast Guard SEALs, and the Belize National Police Anti-Drug Unit worked with the US Military Liason Office and Joint Task Force - Bravo on this operation. It resulted in the destruction of 22 marijuana fields and approximately 37,970 mature marijuana plants, with an estimated value of 12 million Belize dollars. In addition, the team also found and destroyed four pounds of marijuana seeds. The release says, Belizean personnel served as the ground force for the operation while Joint Task Force - Bravo provided aviation support, on-call casualty evacuation, and training on tactical assault insertion and extraction. It adds that "USMLO provided the group with transportation and reconnaissance for the ground mission."

Belizean Man Shot In Chetumal Says He Was Selling Auto Parts
Mexican newspapers have posted the photograph of the man they say shot Belizean Delmar Guerra from San Joaquin. 29-year-old taxi driver Jorge Alfredo Azueta Andrade was detained by police near the scene. He is held for attempted murder of mechanic 41-year-old Guerra. Newspaper reports say Andrade first told police he did not know Delmar and that he had simply provided taxi service and transported him from the parking lot of a superstore to Calderitas. Later, he said he had provided taxi service for Delmar before. For his part, Delmar told the police that on Friday he had received a call from a man who wanted to buy auto-parts. They agreed to meet at the place where he ended up being shot.

Providing Secure Public Spaces
Today the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation signed Contracts with two local contractors for infrastructure works under the Community Action for Public Safety Project. These contracts amount to three million, two hundred and ninety eight thousand, and three hundred and seven dollars. These works comprises the construction of a Youth Center at Gwen Lizarraga High School Compound in Belize City, and the construction of a Dormitory Facility, Resource/Visitor's Center and Rehabilitation of the Sporting Grounds at the Youth Hostel as well as the Rehabilitation of a Carpentry Building at the Youth Cadet at Mile 21 on the George Price Highway. The Project's objective is to contribute to the reduction of youth involvement in major violent crime in Belize City. We found out more today at the signing: The Community Action for Public Safety Project is a ten million dollar four year initiative, financed through a Loan Agreement between the Government of Belize and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Parolee Remanded For Five Pounds Weed
Tonight, 39 year-old Ellis Rudon is at prison after he and his girlfriend, Dorla Faber, were busted yesterday with 4.9 pounds of weed. According to police, they were travelling on the Western Highway on a D & E Bus when it was stopped at by police at a checkpoint. The officers searched the bus and found 2.22 kilos – or 4.9 pounds – of marijuana inside a school bag in Faber's possession. As a result, both of them were charged with drug trafficking. They were arraigned today in Magistrate's Court, where they both pleaded not guilty. Faber was granted bail of $5,000, but Rudon was remanded to Prison, where he must continue to serve out a 3 year sentence for drug trafficking. He was out on parole in relation to that sentence when he was allegedly busted with this weed.

Pallottine Sisters Celebrate Centennial With New Stamps
A new set of stamps was relased today. It commemorates the the 100th anniversary of the Pallottine Sisters in Belize. It was launched with a ceremony at the school today and sister Franco says it was very moving: History says that On March 17, 1913, four German Pallottine Sisters took the arduous boat ride from Belize City to San Ignacio where and form there to Benque Viejo where they planted the first seeds of evangelization, education, nursing, gardening and home skills. At its peak, 102 Belizean girls served in one or more of the 19 schools or hospitals staffed by the Pallottines.

Reason for Unusual Senate Meeting
At the top of the news, we showed you our interview with Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse. We got that opportunity after he was coming out of an unsual senate meeting. That meeting was convened for the sole purpose of fixing an error in the draft amendment to the criminal code where section 172A had a glaring error. The error reads, "A person who imports, exports or transfers ownership of any property or goods, whether such property or good is stolen or not commits an offence of illicit trafficking." The words "or not" should not be there because the section becomes nonsensical, so today, when he exited, 7News asked Hulse about what prompted the meeting. Here's what he told us today's business: Hon. Godwn Hulse - Senator "As you know, the last senate, which was held on Wednesday, I think it was, we had 20 bills, and one of them, the Criminal Code Amendment bill, we kept in the committee, and didn't take it through its third reading because there were some amendments being proposed by senators, and they were reasonable amendment. So, today's meeting was so that senators could reconvene the committee of the whole, work through the proposed amendments that they have, and then, we've read it a third time. That bill now goes back to the House. If the house accepts the amendments that the senate has made, then that goes to the Governor General for signature. And that was what today's meeting was all about."

Channel 5

Warrant issued to search the house of Attorney Arthur Saldivar
Tonight there are very interesting developments to report in the passport scandal which shows absolutely no signs of going away. First, this morning a report went viral that a warrant [...]

Police called in by Director of Immigration to investigate
A press conference will be held on Thursday by the Ministry of Immigration. But it seems that Arthur Saldivar has single-handedly done what sustained public outcry could not. This morning, [...]

Immigration Minister says passport system is watertight
There seems to be very little official scrutiny on former Minister of State Elvin Penner. He is the man who signed the nationality certificate and recommended a passport for South [...]

Will police include Penner in their investigation?
While the Minister Hulse has stated that his watertight system was defeated by the recommender, one of those recommenders is Elvin Penner. His signature is on record. But with all [...]

D.P.P. says it is her duty to assist police in investigating passport scandal
The Police have been called in by the C.E.O. and the Director of Immigration. Minister Hulse has stated that there will be no holds barred. But there is some ambiguity [...]

Arab Emirates national, Jalal Ebrahimi, wanted in the U.S.
Arthur Saldivar did not present any new documents today, but one he presented on Tuesday is of particular interest. That is a nationality certificate for Jalal Ebrahimi, who allegedly lives [...]

Saldivar says there are not only passports, but also visas illegally on sale
There are problems on top of problems revealing serious cracks and gaps in an Immigration dam which Minister Hulse claims is watertight. Attorney Arthur Saldivar says it’s much bigger than [...]

Minister Hulse threatens Saldivar on attempting to defame his character
While Saldivar has magnanimously offered to provide information to the Police, he definitely won’t be greeted with warm smiles and welcoming arms. In fact, Minister Godwin Hulse sent an open [...]

The churches question amendments to the criminal code
The Government of Belize has been coming under fire from all quarters, on matters as diverse as the Public Accounts Committee and the passport scandal. And now the churches have [...]

B.N.T.U. brings down the pressure in passport scandal
On Tuesday, the B.N.T.U. sent out a release adding its significant voice to the condemnation of the passport scandal. It’s a significant move because the B.N.T.U. is one of the [...]

NTUCB says it demands independent investigation into passport scandal
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize weighed in this evening on the passport scandal which continues to unravel. The NTUCB says new chapters were written in the “now seemingly, [...]

Human Rights Commission of Belize condemns the fraudulent issuance of the Belizean birthright
The Chamber of Commerce, the BNTU, and others have come out swinging against the passport scandal. The Human Rights Commission of Belize joined the chorus of condemnation of the fraudulent [...]

Orange Walk Resident, Matthew Williams on trial for unlawful possession of a passport
In Orange Walk today, a resident went on trial for the unlawful possession of a passport. After multiple adjournments, Matthew Williams, accused of multiple counts of Unlawful Possession of a [...]

A case of incest reported in Xiabe Village in Corozal
Molestation of minors has become increasingly prevalent, but it never ceases to invoke outrage and horror. Tonight there is a shocking claim of incest of a thirteen year old girl [...]

Presenters and Drafters defend amendment to criminal code
Earlier we told you about the churches concern on the amendment to the criminal code. But the presenters of the amendment defended the bill vigorously this morning. For the office [...]

Contracts for Community Action for Public Safety Project signed
A contract of more than three million dollars was signed today for the construction of facilities at Gwen Lizarraga High School, the Youth Hostel and the Hattieville prison. The project [...]

Nationality office is sealed off amid the new allegations of immigration corruption
At eleven-thirty this morning the nationality section in Belmopan closed its doors to the public. At a meeting, the staff was told only that because of an investigation they would [...]

Minister Hulse says the D.P.P. and police are not locked out from investigating
So what does this development mean for the ongoing investigation? Minister Hulse told us that the two matters – the leaked documents and the passport scandal – are two different [...]

Rhetorical question: will there be a criminal investigation into mess at immigration department?
The Minister accused us of asking rhetorical questions, but we were genuinely confused at that point. The question remains – can the D.P.P. and the Police institute a criminal investigation [...]

Dubai national, who got nationality and passport, is of interest to the U.S.
There is fresh information tonight that the disgraced Elvin Penner signed off on loads of nationality certificates to Middle Eastern and Asian nationals. The documents are being made available by [...]

Is attorney Arthur Saldivar abusing and manipulating nationality documents?
Arthur Saldivar is not disclosing how the more than a hundred and fifty documents found their way into his hands just before they were destroyed. But he says he will [...]

Is the nationality department also involved in the illegal issuance of nationality certificates?
Do you believe that the nationality department is also involved in the illegal issuance of nationality certificates? Yes or No. Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to [...]

Where in the world is Eric Chang?
Belize City Councilor Eric Chang is still missing in action. But his name continues to come up in the passport scandal which saw the fall from grace of Elvin Penner. [...]

Mayor Darrell Bradley says that still no response from Chang on his return
So where is Eric Chang tonight? Well nobody knows for sure, though the best guess is that he is still in Taiwan. He was scheduled to return to Belize on [...]

Vision Inspired by the People wants Godwin Hulse removed
Multiple entities and organizations today came out swinging at the government of Belize. In regards to the Penner passport scandal, the B.N.T.U. took the first vicious swing via press release, [...]


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#474607 - 10/10/13 11:54 AM Re: Today's Belize News: October 10, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

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LOVE FM

Police News
Belize City police are also investigating an attempted murder. According to reports, on Monday October 7th at about 11:40am police visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where they saw 26 year old Kareem Lopez, a resident of West Lake address on the George Price Highway suffering from two apparent stab wounds. Lopez was seen suffering from a stab wound to the left eye and one to the upper back. Lopez was found by his brother in an abandoned house situated on Tigris Street in Belize City before he was taken to the hospital. Police Investigations continue. Belize City Police arrested and charged two persons with drug trafficking. According to police reports, at about 9:45am on yesterday police conducted a search on a bus at the George Price Vehicle Checkpoint where a search was conducted on 39-year-old Ellis Rudon and 51-year-old Dorla Faber. The search led police to discover a red Jan sport schoolbag in Faber’s possession which contained five black plastic bags containing 2,223 grams of cannabis and as a result both persons were charged.

Saldivar Says Ministry of Foreign Affairs Aided in the Immigration Saga
The green binder with additional documentation allegedly destined for destruction at the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality did not make it out for the media’s perusal today as was the plan. That’s because the man in possession of the documents, Attorney Arthur Saldivar, said that today he had become the target of a police pursuit. ARTHUR SALDIVAR “The government has initiated certain actions; well, personally they have sought to search my residence by assuming a search warrant but I don’t believe that they were successful for that because I haven’t been home. Apart from that, I understand that there is an arrest warrant out for me. I think they are trying to arrest me for assisting the country, which is a first; I would want to know what the offence is that I have committed. I don’t know of any report of burglary taking place at the immigration Department, any report of lost files or any stolen files from immigration. In fact the documents that are in my possession were not stolen, they were slated for destruction and in that regard I don’t see why the authorities will be characterizing them as stolen goods.”

Sudden Flood Called For Evacuation in Northern Belize
More than six families in the San Jose/San Pablo Village in the Orange Walk District have been forced to evacuate due to flooding. Love News understands that in a short time frame, the rains that poured down in that section of the country caused the flooding. According to a resident of the village, Sonia Cawich villagers were not prepared. SONIA CAWICH “It happened around 7:30 to 8:30, in only 30 minutes the waters rose and the flooding began. Here in San Pablo and San Jose the culvert and the garbage that people throw away is causing the water to stick and go into to some of the houses. My house is right over the hill and the pictures that they saw is like two houses away from my house. Every time that happens I only see the persons from Ministry of Works come to remove the garbage from the drain. The flood was sudden; it only took about thirty minutes. I think that they should come and see so that they can try and help out. Some persons were helping them to get out of the house however they were unable to get the things out of the house because the flood came so quickly.”

Human Rights Commission Wants Penner To Face Consequences for Any Wrong Doings
The Human Rights Commission of Belize has weighed in on the ongoing passport scandal. The Human Rights Commission of Belize publicly condemns the conduct of former Minister of State Elvin Penner in what the commission says is his efforts to circumvent immigration and criminal laws for his personal financial gain. The commission joins with others in civil society who have called on the appropriate authorities to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation of Penner and anyone else involved in the illegal issuance of Belizean nationality and passport to Korean Wong Hon Kim. In a democratic nation ruled by laws, Penner cannot be above the law. The commission points of that if criminal wrongdoing is uncovered, Penner must be made to face the consequences of his actions, like any other Belizean.

Suspect Charged for Antelope Street Murder
23-year-old Aaron Bailey has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of 28-year-old Gary Pratt last Friday night. No plea was taken and Bailey was remanded to Central Prison until November 28 when he is to reappear in court. Pratt, a resident of Punta Gorda was socializing inside a yard on Antelope Street when he was shot twice in the back. Pratt had recently relocated to Belize City and was looking for a permanent job in the city. In May of this year Bailey was acquitted of three firearm and ammunition offenses including kept prohibited firearm, kept firearm without a gun license and kept ammunition without a gun license in a trial that took place before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. He was charged jointly with five other persons.

Minor Found in Father’s Bed Under The Influence and Nude
A disturbing case of incest is coming out of the Corozal District. Love News understands that a 31 year old woman of Ranchito Village in the company of her 13 year old daughter reported that on Monday October 7th at about 5:30pm she went to her husband’s house in Xaibe village to pick up her daughter. There the woman reported to police that she noticed that her daughter was lying in her father’s bedroom without her clothes and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. She then took her daughter to the Corozal Community Hospital where the doctor certified that she is carnally known. The 13 year old told Police that her father had been sexually abusing her from the age of six. Police have detained the man pending further investigation.

Reduction in Major Crimes in Southern Belize Reported
Crime Statistics released by the Belize Police Department states that from the beginning of the year to the end of last month, major crimes has reduced when compared to last year for the same time period. And as he has every month, Minister of National Security John Saldivar presented his monthly awards for the different zones. For this month the Southern Zone and formation was recognized for performing the best in reducing major crimes during the month of September. Headed by Senior Superintendent of Police Robert Mariano, the Southern Zone, saw the greatest reduction in major crimes for the month of September, the Placencia Sub-formation performing the best in that region. Senior Superintendent Mariano this afternoon received a cheque of one thousand dollars from Saldivar for the performance by his zone, and a Certificate of Recognition on behalf of Inspector Mark Flowers who heads the Placencia Sub-Formation.

Unions Say PM Assured Them They Would Be Consulted on Pension Act
Almost one week after Prime Minister Dean Barrow met with members of the various Unions to discuss their concerns over a Draft Pension Act, the unions have issued a joint press release. Today, a joint press release from the Belize Energy Workers Union (BEWU), Belize Communication Workers Union (BCWU), Belize Water Services Workers Union (BWSWU) and Belize Workers Union (BWU) states that they feel it their duty to inform the public. The unions say that in early September they came across the draft Pension Act by coincidence and that upon preliminary review of them they realized that it could impact their well-guarded private pension funds. They said that from the onset they recognized that the draft legislation has necessary contributions that would regulate private pensions which are managed by corporations.

Police in Western Belize Investigate Car Theft
In the Cayo District, Police are investigation a case of vehicle theft. Police say a businessman and the owner of Cayo Rentals located on Benque Viejo Road in San Ignacio reported that sometime between Monday October 7th and Tuesday October 8th someone stole a four door black 2004 Suzuki valued at twenty thousand Belizean dollars. The vehicle was reportedly stolen from the parking lot of Cayo Rental. The business man told police that the vehicle was properly secured with all doors and windows locked. Police investigations continue.

Stamps Unveiled Celebrating 100 Years of Pallotine Sisters
There was much to celebrate today in the halls of Pallotti High School as the Catholic educational institution is observing its 100th anniversary in Belize. The first four Pallottine nuns arrived in Belize in March of 1913 and etched their mark in western Belize in educating young girls. Today the school marked the occasion with an hour-long ceremony in its auditorium, punctuated by the announcement that the milestone achievement will be documented on collectors’ postage stamps. The focus of the nuns, who first hailed from Germany, has been education, but their presence has evolved over the past century, according to Principal of Pallotti High School, Sr. Mary Clara Teul. Sr. Mary Clara Teul “They were in the primary school, they started in Benque, they were primary school teachers but when the Germans realized that we needed to help the students that could not enter Saint Catherine’s that was where the sisters realized that they needed to help those who couldn’t enter and that’s how we started and they started in the attic of the convent and now we no longer have Germans, Belizeans have taken over. It is a Belizean order but we are still international where we have our Superior General in Rome.”

PlusTV

Concerned citizens assemble at the National Assembly
Bills are ratified by the House of Representatives and subsequently the Senate on a periodic basis, but it’s not too often that a meeting of the Standing Committee over that bill garners so much public scrutiny. Such was the case Tuesday afternoon as the committee met...

Arthur Saldivar exposes more incriminating immigration documents
They say that “when it rains, it pours” and it seems that the rain is not letting up anytime soon in the recent scandal involving formerMinister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, Elvin Penner. Since news broke of his involvement in the issuing of...

PUP leaders discusses immigration issue on Rise and Shine
The PUP leader Hon Francis Fonseca and Hon Julius Espat were guests on Tuesday morning’s Rise and Shine Show. The PUP leaders along with the hosts of the show discussed current pressing national issues. One such issue is the Immigration scandal. PUP leader explains what actions his party has...

PUP Leader explains party’s strategy
One of the issues that was brought up on Tuesday morning’s Rise and Shine show is the somewhat passive state of the PUP delegation. What most would expect to see is a reincarnation of the UDP’s dynamic propaganda in the year before they came into power. Francis Fonseca explains...

BNTU says immigration issue is an international scandal
On Tuesday, the Belize National Teachers’ Union released an official statement to “Register its utter disdain with the current state of affairs; reference the alleged sale of the Belize Passport to the Asian citizen in question.” Calling the issue a national and international scandal, the BNTU declares “Not only...

VIP calls for resignation of Minister of Immigration
While the call for Elvin Penner’s resignation has been heard from various sectors, on Tuesday, Vision Inspired by the People made a rather bold move – calling for the resignation of Minister of Immigration the Hon. Godwin Hulse. Hulse. Now Minister Hulse has not shied away from media interrogation...

Belize Chamber of Commerce expresses “grave concern” over immigration scandal
The Belize Chamber of Commerce also sent out a press in which they expressed their “grave concern” as it pertains to the immigration scandal, “It is disconcerting that a person can obtain Belizean nationality and a Belizean passport while sitting in a jail cell in Asia. This incident has...

Plus News examines Tropic Air’s Flight Stimulator
Have you ever wanted to learn how to fly? Human beings have come close with airplanes and similar types of transport, but those who do it for a living know that one problem can literally send everything crashing down. Tropic Air, one of Belize’s oldest local airlines, made a...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Marijuana Eradication Operation a Success
The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce that a team of Belizean military and law enforcement personnel, with support by the U.S. Military Liaison Office (USMLO) and Joint Task Force – Bravo conducted a successful marijuana eradication operation in Belize from September 25 to 28, 2013. A team of 38 Belizean personnel from the Belize Defence Force Special Assignment Group, the Belize Coast Guard SEALs, and the Belize National Police Anti-Drug Unit worked with USMLO and Joint Task Force – Bravo on this operation. It resulted in the destruction of 22 marijuana fields and approximately 37,970 mature marijuana plants, with an estimated value of BZD 12 million dollars. In addition, the team also found and destroyed four pounds of marijuana seeds.

The Autumn / Winter 2013 issue of The TOLEDO HOWLER is online HERE

We are pleased to release the new issue of The Toledo Howler. Lee Jones writes about his record breaking day birdwatching in Toledo and Arzu talks about remedies for low libido. We also feature some of BTIS' newer members including ProWorld and The Maroon Creole Drum School in Punta Gorda.

This Issue's Stories:

  • Coastal Water Taxi Planned:
    As Toledo Tourism continues to grow so does the number of registered tour guides in the District and the Toledo Tour Guide Association now has over 50 members. The Association undertakes training and registration of tour guides and conducts workshops to allow for continuous professional development and further specialist training. The Association also seeks and develops new opportunities for their guides and for the expansion of the Toledo Tourism product. One project currently in the pipeline is the introduction of a weekly boat service to Punta Negra and Monkey River village and a second weekly service to Barranco – three villages which are currently more difficult to access. Punta Negra is a small coastal community with beautiful beaches and cool Caribbean breezes, nestled between two protected areas ‐ the Port of Honduras Marine Reserve to the front and Payne's Creek National Park to the rear. It’s a perfect destination to enjoy a day on the beach, combined with a little handfishing and preparing one of the freshest lunches you could hope to taste.
  • Reef CI Celebrating 10 Years of Operation with Recognition:
    As we go to press, we have just learned that Reef CI has been shortlisted for the World Responsible Tourism Awards for the “Best Responsible Wildlife Experiences” category. The Awards were founded in 2004 to recognise the “best of the best in responsible tourism – tourism that creates better places to live in and visit” and they are designed to recognise those ventures around the world that make positive contributions to nature and heritage conservation and to the economies of local communities. The awards are unique in that organisations are initially nominated by their guests and then a rigorous judging process is undertaken by a panel formed by some of the leading experts on responsible tourism and from the tourism industry.
  • Maroon Creole Drum School:
    We welcome the Maroon Creole Drum School as a new member of the Toledo BTIA. Based in Punta Gorda, the school is owned and run by Emmeth Young. Emmeth comes from Gales Point Manatee, a narrow peninsula in the Southern Lagoon between Dangriga and Belize City. Emmeth says this is the only community of Maroon Creole in Belize, a group who trace their origins back to the Ebo tribe in Nigeria. The Maroon Creole started as an isolated group of runaway slaves, ‘marooned’ in various parts of the Caribbean. The Maroon Creole share some drumming rhythms with other Caribbean and African cultures but also have unique sounds and drums designs. The different types of drums have names like junjun, kinkinni, sangba, sambai and djembe. The sambai drum is unique to the Gales Point community. On the other hand, the djembe is one of the most popular styles of hand drum played around the world because of its versatility and powerful sound. Emmeth makes and sells all types of traditional drums, both to interested beginners and professional musicians. He uses a variety of tropical hardwoods for the bases.
  • TIDE Fish Festival - 11th to 13th October 2013:
    Belize is developing a reputation for its range of vibrant festivals and celebrations, and the TIDE Fish Festival was one of the first festivals to be established in Belize. While other districts may have their lobsterfest and fishing competitions, TIDE’s fish fest is a celebration of all things marine, and is the only festival to be staged by a conservation NGO. Events kick‐off on Friday 11th October with the Seafood Gala, offering a selection of seafood canapés and finger food, specially themed cocktails, and live music from some of Toledo’s finest talent. TIDE believes investment in education is key to fostering a sense of appreciation and understanding of our natural resources, and their Youth Conservation Competition on Saturday 12th October sees talented students competing for a number of tertiary level scholarships. The Sunday finale is held in the TIDE grounds where the winners of the early morning fishing competition will be announced, and a whole range of fun‐filled activities will be on offer, from traditional coconut husking and cast net throwing, to volleyball and kayak competitions and cultural entertainment.
  • Reef Conservation International:
    Reef Conservation International was founded by Polly Wood ten years ago when she left her corporate life in Britain to pursue her passion for diving and marine conservation. A diving trip to Roatan in 1999 first sparked Polly’s interest in marine conservation but she quickly found that there were few short‐term opportunities. Most conservation projects and placements were for gap‐year students or other longer‐term commitments. Realising that there were others who felt as she did and who could help contribute meaningful data to scientists, she started to explore the idea of a marine conservation organisation which could offer opportunities to a much wider group of people. Polly told us, “I wanted to create something unique, where anyone of any age could come and help contribute towards data collection, whether it was for one week or three months and for any level of diving experience, from beginners to experts.” She attended numerous seminars on citizen science and marine conservation, explored various locations, talked to scientists and developed her business plan.
  • ReefCI’s Lionfish programme:
    Lionfish are indigenous in the Indio pacific oceans and the Red sea. In their natural habitat they are not considered a threat, but in the Atlantic Caribbean belt they have no natural predators and can consume huge quantities of fish and crustaceans that are key to our marine environment. One lionfish was observed eating more than twenty fish in half an hour. Lionfish were first seen in southern Belize in 2009 and are potentially the most destructive threat to the Sapodillas. They are now seen on almost every dive at every depth. Lionfish reach sexual maturity at just one year old and females release up to 20,000 eggs every four days and they can live up to fifteen years. On top of that, they have developed strong survival techniques, able to go without food for three months and yet only lose 10% of body mass. ReefCI has observed their ability to camouflage themselves according to their environment. It is easy to see why some describe them as the cockroach of the ocean. Polly is the Belize record holder for spearing the largest lionfish, a whopping 44 cm – only 3 cm short of the largest recorded lionfish speared in Florida.
  • Toledo “Big Day Birding”: Lee Jones:
    Victor Bonilla, Emmanuel Chan, Wilfred Mutrie and I were perched atop an old fire lookout tower deep within the rainforest at BFREE (Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education). It was 4:30 a.m. What had brought us to this remote perch a hundred feet above the forest floor at such an ungodly hour was our quest for a record. And money. The record: to tally the largest number of birds recorded by one team of birders in one calendar day. This quest is known as a Big Day. The money: pledged donations to the Belize Raptor Research Institute, or BRRI. A Big Day that is also a fundraising event is called a Birdathon. Here’s how it works. People pledge money, say $1, in this case, to BRRI for each bird we are able to correctly identify by sight or sound during a 24‐ hour period. Our goal is 205 species, one more than the record set back in 1999 by the late Sam Tillett, Marcus England and myself. It is a fun way to raise money for a worthy cause.
  • Punta Gorda Christmas Bird Count - 4th January 2014:
    Everyone is welcome regardless of experience. The objective of the CBC is to count (by sight or sound) as many birds as possible in one calendar day within an area encompassed by a circle 15 miles in diameter. The results of this and more than 2,000 other CBCs are published annually by the National Audubon Society. The P.G. count circle includes all of Punta Gorda and extends north to Big Falls, east to the Rio Grande, west to Santa Anna and south to the Moho River. Each year anywhere from six to ten groups, depending on the turnout, are assigned specific areas to cover within this circle. Every team is led by at least one expert, so this is a great opportunity for those of you who are a little rusty, or perhaps just getting started in the world of birding, to learn from the experts. We meet every year at 7:00 p.m. the evening before the count at Nature’s Way Guest House to get acquainted, assign teams and figure out the transportation and other logistics.
  • BTIA Toledo and the Toledo Howler:
    What is BTIA? Vision As the leading national private sector tourism association, BTIA represents a unified voice which advocates for issues that benefit its members, influences tourism policy, legislation and marketing for the sustainable development of the industry and improved quality of the visitor experience. Mission To develop a robust and professional membership association which promotes, advocates and represents the interests of its members for the benefit and sustainable development of the tourism Industry. Together we’re stronger! Become a part of BTIA and make a practical contribution to the economic development of Toledo District and benefit from our promotional work. We meet monthly at the Tourism information Centre on Front Street.
  • Barranco – the Dügü Capital:
    There probably has not been as much public attention in Belize on the dügü ceremony as within the past two weeks, thanks to the statement said by a high level manager within the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) about the “dügü dance”. What was said at a joint press conference between the Government of Belize and NCL about the Memorandum of Understanding on the proposed investment at Harvest Caye opened the floodgates for opinions on the dügü ceremony and its potential insertion into large scale cruise tourism. This certainly was not the scenario in southern Belize when the Cayetano twins – Sebastian and Fabian – and their siblings decided to build a dabuyaba, which they called the Marcelo Cayetano Complex a short distance from the cliff in the village of Barranco in 1996. Most of the materials came from the surrounding bush.
  • The Battle of the Drums! 15th and 16th November:
    This drumming competition and show allows groups to compete and display their musical artistry in playing five different categories of Garifuna drumming. The first Battle of the Drums was held in Punta Gorda Town on November 17, 2006 and was well received by spectators from home and abroad. In 2007, there was an even larger audience and greater enthusiasm. In 2008 the event evolved into an international drumming competition and show involving drumming groups from various parts of Belize as well as from neighbouring Guatemala and Honduras. This competition and show has become a major local and international tourist attraction and a catalyst for significant economic activity in the Punta Gorda Area during the period when it is hosted. Food and Fete is the opening night of the Battle of the Drums weekend festivities, held on Friday, November 15, 2013 from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
  • BTIA Welcomes More New Members:
    The Ixchel Women’s Group in Indian Creek village is one of the longest established women’s groups in Toledo having been in operation for the past fifteen years. Its ten members from the community of Indian Creek make and sell crafts and show guests how they grind and make corn tortillas, extract raw sugar from the cane and other traditions of the Maya. We wrote about the Ixchel group in a previous issue of The Toledo Howler and now welcome them as one of the newest member of BTIA, working together to promote the rich cultural diversity we offer visitors to the south.
  • Maya Bags:
    BTIA welcomes back Maya Bags. They produce high quality products sold in New York department stores and Belize hotel gift shops.
  • Chocolate Festival of Belize Chocolate Cooking Competition:
    The following two recipes were entered into the chocolate cooking competition as part of the Taste of Toledo celebrations on Front Street in Punta Gorda on the Saturday of this year’s Chocolate Festival. We are pleased to reproduce them below for our readers with thanks to Katarina Polonio and Jill Burgess Young. Dark Temptation Cake by Katarina Polonio, Chocolate Chili by Jill Burgess Young
  • ProWorld Belize:
    of ProWorld started to ferment in Richard Webb’s mind, a born Peruvian. He met Nick Bryngelson while working at an NGO in the Sacred Valley, Peru. Both shared the same philosophy and ideas and started making plans to start ProPeru. ProPeru’s goals were to help Peru with capacity building, cocreate projects within the community and help the local economy, by having these interns stay and eat at local establishments. In 2000 ProPeru had their first group of students visit Cusco. In 2003, Nick visited Belize and fell in love with the country. ProPeru was now called ProWorld and Belize was the second country where ProWorld visitors could come and learn about the Belizean people and its different cultures and at the same help with workshops and projects within the community.
  • Word on the Street: The Visitor’s Perspective:
    Kim and her husband Bob are from Missouri and first came to Belize in 1999 when they wanted to visit a country that was “warm, but not too developed or touristy”. Kim recalls that they got hooked on Belize and they’ve made several return visits since then, bringing with them a number of family members and friends on their various trips. We tracked Kim down on her travels around the District to get a visitors’ perspective on Toledo. What attracted you to Toledo? My first visit south was in 2003 when I wanted to get "off the beaten path" and was interested in learning more about the various cultures. It seemed Toledo was the perfect place to do this and I love the cultural diversity that you find here. How does Toledo compare with other places in Belize? Geographically, it's similar to Cayo in terms of waterfalls, rivers and ruins but without the crowds and with the added bonus of the cayes. Toledo's various cultures are much more intact than elsewhere and you often get the feeling of witnessing something for the very first time.
  • Arzu Mountain Spirit: Natural Solutions for Low Libido:
    Many healing traditions interpret a low libido as a sign of declining health and not necessarily a sign of old age. The “loss of passion” condition is not exclusive to men, as it affects both men and women. It is called frigidity in women and impotence in men; both labels refer to the same low libido condition. Frigidity in women is a sexual unresponsiveness and inability to achieve orgasm during intercourse. Impotence in men is where you can perform sexually some of the time…, but not always, even when you have the best of intentions. Impotence is also recognized as a symptom of a medical condition called Erectile Dysfunction, or ED. We hear mostly about the male side because low sexual vitality and loss of libido is more noticeable in men. Men don’t have the benefit of being able to fake sexual performance; and when they can’t perform, they need help. Traditional medicine balances the libido in the same manner regardless of gender. Nature does not discriminate. There are a variety of treatments for impotence available today; both natured and denatured. There are different non‐invasive, drug free things people can do to enhance their libido. But few are exercising that option. Most people (mostly men) are using denatured pharmaceuticals such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra to enhance their libido regardless of the risks involved.
  • Southern Voices: Dr Joseph Palacio:
    Dr Joseph Palacio has a doctorate in anthropology and is a well‐known and respected figure throughout Belize. He was born in Barranco but moved within a year to live and grow up elsewhere. He was educated at the University of Toronto, The University of Manitoba at Winnipeg and the University of California at Berkeley. He was the first Belizean Archaeological Commissioner. He has recently moved home to his birthplace and was elected Chair of the Barranco Village Council in May. Have you always lived in Toledo? I was born here in Barranco but left before I was year old. I lived in San Antonio, Toledo where my brother was a teacher and other places around Belize. I think it was this movement, introducing me to the Maya and Creole cultures and growing up in them, that sparked my interest in anthropology. It was what I might call a “patchwork” growing up that is not at all unusual for the Garifuna. I did not return to Barranco until I came back to conduct my doctoral fieldwork and it was this that really marked my full ‐time entry into the community.
  • Toledo Online:
    There is an increasing number of sites with information about Toledo from web sites for hotels, guest houses and tour operators , non‐governmental organizations and blogs. This issue we feature three. Find out about cacao growing by visiting www.tcgabelize.com the home of the Toledo Cacao Growers’ Association that has done great work encouraging the development of cacao organic cacao farming in Toledo and representing the interests of the local cacao farmers who make up the membership of the association. www.yaaxche.org Ya'axché Conservation Trust is a Belizean organization which aims to maintain healthy forests, rivers and reefs for the benefit of all. Through protected area management, advocacy, and working hand in hand with communities Ya'axché strives to develop capacity for the wise use of land and natural resources in and around the Maya Golden Landscape in Toledo. http://blog.warasadrumschool.com/ Living Life to my Own Drumbeat is the personal blog of Ruth McDonald the Scottish wife of Ray McDonald a local Garifuna drummer. Her latest post begins “Some visitors to Belize may leave with the illusion that many of its residents are, shall we say, underworked.
  • Restaurant Guide
  • Calendar of Events
  • Toledo District map
  • BTIA member directory
  • Transportation schedules, including new village bus schedule
  • PG Town map

Blogs

Benefits of Flight Simulator Training at Tropic Air
The main objective of a pilot is to transport Pax [travel industry slang for passenger(s)] and cargo from point A to point B in safe and efficient manner. It is important that they are comfortable and skilled with airplane control necessary to ensure a safe completion of their goal. Tropic Air has committed to this objective through investing in the future safety of their passengers; cargo and pilots in purchasing a state of the art, full motion “Redbird” Cessna Flight Simulator. The innovative Cessna Grand Caravan AATD (208B) Advanced Aircraft Training Device is the first of its kind in the area and will provide pilots with ongoing training beyond compare. The AATD was a $500,000 investment with a high yield, not only will it be invaluable for training, it will be cost effective for Tropic Air and it is great for the environment. The full motion flight simulator was a joint effort between Tropic air pilots, IT department and and Redbird Fight Simulations in Austin Texas. It has full realistic motion with a 220 degrees visual display and is FAA approved .

Isla Mujeres, Mexico Means GOOD Eats: Barlito and Rooster Cafe
I’ll repeat it because it is so true. For such a small island (barely 5 miles in length), Isla Mujeres has some amazingly delicious eats. It CERTAINLY helps that almost everything tasty that can be grown is grown in Mexico. It’s a huge populous country with all sorts of altitudes and abundant sunshine. As I always shout out – VIVA LA MEXICO. It’s one of my favorite countries in the world. And certainly one of the most fun to visit. In my last post, I ate gelato and at the gorgeous Mango Cafe located mid island. Now let’s stay in El Centro, where you, if you are staying in a hotel, are most likely staying. My very first morning there I woke up with a strong coffee craving. The same craving I always wake with. I left my hotel and walked and walked and walked. 6:45am and it was just me and the stray cats. If you are a cat lover (or even liker), you are going to love the cats in Isla. San Pedro has its beach dogs (the ones that follow you home at night to make sure you are safe and ask you to share your BBQ when you eat in the park), Isla Mujeres has a handful (or three) of street cats that lounge around like they own the place. PARTICULARLY in the morning.

Chaa Creek Signals New Growth Signs for Belize
Growth in a range of sectors throughout Belize provide a fitting end to 2013 and a harbinger of progress for 2014, according to the owner of a popular Belizean eco resort. Lucy Fleming, who with her husband Mick owns The Lodge at Chaa Creek, pointed to the expansion of transportation options as one indicator that Belize is preparing to accommodate even more visitors to its shores next year. “We just heard that National and Alamo car rentals brands will soon be available in Belize, which is another sign that major corporations have confidence in the Belizean market,” Ms Fleming said. “Combined with increased domestic and international air service announced this year, and the arrival of new tours and activities being made available, I think it’s safe to say that confidence in the Belize market is at an all-time high for 2014,’ she said.

A “Happy Birthday” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Another rainy start to the day (well the start of my day anyway) when I got up yesterday just before 05.00 hours. The rain wasn’t strong enough to stop me from taking my mug of black coffee and iPad out on to the veranda. Well not initially at least. Time enough to scan read The Times on-line and make a start (a later than I wanted to) on yesterday’s edition of the blog. But then it changed and the rain really came down and the wind drove it in to the covered veranda. Time for a quick retreat in to the condo. Being ever flexible in my approach to how I am going to spend any day I decided that I would shower, shave, etc and head to Estel’s for breakfast and finish off the blog there. I know that a short while ago I said I would try to publish by 06.30 hours but its not set in stone! It was rainy when I set off from the condo we are renting during our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize so the raincoat came out (again) and when I got to Estel’s the tables that provide cover from the rain were all taken so I was ‘forced’ to sit inside. Not the biggest hardship in the world but not as good a view as you get from the ‘deck’ outside. There was a bonus though. With the view not being as good I did focus on the blog and managed to complete the edition, albeit a few hours later than my target time.

Make This at Home: Cochinita (Pork) Pibil Tacos
Traditionally, cochinita pibil was buried in a pit with a fire at the bottom to roast it. Cochinita means “young pig” and the Maya word pibil means “buried.” Luckily, these days we can replicate the same effect (sans the smoky flavor, of course) by using a slow-cooker. The secret is in the marinade – a mixture of spices, achiote for color and sour Seville oranges for that unique flavor. The pork is slow cooked, pulled apart and left to soak in its own savory juices until it tastes like perfection. Today we’re going to show you how to create this incredible Belizean dish at home. Get ready for mouth-watering goodness!

International Sources

5 Mayan Temple Sites to Visit in Belize
Archaeologists affirm that Belize was once the center of the Mayan civilization because of the country's varied flora and fauna and abundance of marine life, which was favorable to the growth of the population. Between 250 AD to 900 AD, over one million Mayan people lived in present day Belize, and today a treasure trove of sacred caves, beautiful palaces and ball courts can be found in ancient Mayan cities throughout Belize. Here are the top must-see Mayan temples in Belize:

New Lead Deepens Mystery of $14.3M Unclaimed Lottery
Iowa has given a Canadian man immunity in exchange for information about a never-collected $14.3 million lottery jackpot that was initially claimed and then inexplicably abandoned, according to state prosecutors. Shaw said he was claiming the prize on behalf of an anonymous trust. He said the trust's proceeds would go to a corporation in Belize, a country that has a reputation as a tax haven. Lottery officials refused to pay the jackpot until Shaw divulged names of everyone who had possessed the ticket, saying they wanted to know that it had been legally possessed. Shaw later withdrew his claim and the $14.3 was forfeited, leaving lottery officials baffled.

CARICOM Nationals Should have Easier Access by June 2014
Jamaicans and other CARICOM nationals should, by June 2014, have easier access to member states, and be able to fully exercise their rights to travel, work and seek out other opportunities as provided for under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) arrangement. This is being facilitated through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP), under which a critical electronic database is being established. It will, among other things, provide member countries with aggregated information on the various skill sets available, through a web-based portal being developed by project consultant, A-Z Information Jamaica Limited.

Central America: Strategies against school failure
Central America is seeking new strategies to protect schools from the violence committed by gangs, which has contributed to the academic failure of about 3.6 million children each year. At the primary school level, 32.7% of Central American students drop out or repeat a grade. In high school, the figure rises to 69.2%, according to the report “Finishing School in Central America: The Pending Challenges” by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Of the eight countries analyzed in the report, Belize retains the highest percentage of students in primary school, with 86%, followed by the Dominican Republic (83.7%), Costa Rica (81.9%), Panama (81.2%), El Salvador (64.7%), Guatemala (52.5%) and Nicaragua and Honduras (44.3%).

BTL proposes higher dividend payment
The directors of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) proposed a dividend payment of USD 0.12 per share, slightly higher than last year, although profits declined. It is the highest dividend pay-out since 2009 from the state-controlled operator. During the fiscal year, revenues fell by USD 2.5 million to USD 10.5 million. For the next fiscal year, BTL is considering the launch of an IPTV service and is preparing the liberalisation of VoIP services, reports local portal Amandala.

Make Mayan a cruise: Sailing around Central America in the lap of luxury
The Oceania Riviera is that kind of ship. I've heard about luxury but, come on... For most Brits, Oceania is a word-of-mouth American cruise line. As the Caribbean groans with numerous bulging 2,000-up liners, Oceania has pitched for the grey-haired, white-collar, usually retired market. Decorous and dignified travellers who pay well for quality cruises, food and ambience. On board the Riviera, out of Miami, Oceania's new mid-size vessel for 700 to 1,250 guests on a Mayan Mystique voyage around Central America, the passengers received the benefit of those considerations. Third stop was Belize for a trip down the New river to the Lamanai Mayan site. The high point for me was sailing past the New River Cove Pyramid Of Health, a fashionable and expensive rehabilitation clinic and sanatorium for alcoholics sited next door to a huge Old Masters rum distillery. We drifted past jungle foliage sprouting air plants as big as Christmas trees, and we drank in the silence of the calm waters. In the distance we saw carts and horses belonging to an old orthodox Mennonite community which found sanctuary in Belize. The Mayan ruins? Grandiose ancient pyramids and the faint outlines of those granite-faced Indians just visible on some rocks. We stopped on the site of what had once been a huge Mayan complex, but came no nearer an answer to why these mysterious people suddenly departed, overwhelmed no doubt by some dreadful human or environmental tragedy, whether war, drought or disease.

Close Encounters of the Octopus Kind
I love octopuses – or is it octopi? They’re so smart, I can’t bring myself to eat them. I was snorkeling off the coast of San Pedro in Belize in very shallow water, when I spotted some movement – my first octopus sighting! Quick as a whistle, it darted into a reef and changed color, turning white to blend in with the coral. Then, much to my amazement, it latched on to a conch shell and started pulling it over itself, until only two beady eyes remained.

Eco-Lite: The Belize Zoo
The Belize Zoo got another great write up, and in this article you can see the new cafe and entrance that they've built, which look great. There are some extremely high resolution pictures there too. "The Belize Zoo is easily worth a couple of hours just to see all the gorgeous birds in very attractive aviaries and read the info-plaques on the exhibits. I love how the zoo educates both Belizeans and tourists about how the birds and animals are part of their cultural heritage and should be protected and treasured!"


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Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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