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#478601 - 11/28/13 11:12 AM Today's Belize News: November 28, 2013
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Specials and Events

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


The San Pedro Sun

Arlethe Lima Crowned Miss San Pedro Lions Queen 2013-2014
On Saturday night, November 23rd four young ladies vied for the title of Miss San Pedro Lions 2013-2014. The Angel Nuñez Auditorium at the San Pedro High School was packed with enthusiastic fans and the judges were tasked with a tough decision. After their votes were tallied the lovely Arethe Lima was crowned Miss San Pedro Lions 2013-2014. The evening of pageantry was hosted by the San Pedro Lions and the Master of Ceremony was the gregarious John Palacio from LoveFM. The teenaged contestants included Miss Erica Bodden – sponsored by Hummingbird Rattan Furnishings, Miss Julissa Trejo – sponsored by Cayo Espanto Resort, Miss Arlethe Lima -sponsored by Rojo Lounge and Catline Benguche -sponsored by Caribeña Enterprises. The young ladies, along with reigning San Pedro Lions Queen Alexis Del Valle opened the Miss San Pedro Lions show with a dance presentation and then made their personal introductions. Palacio then introduced the five esteemed judges, which included Ms. Natasha Stuart, Mrs. Yoli Rivero, Dr. Giovanni Solorzano, Mr. Johnny Grief, Ms. Brie Harding and Mrs. Pat Grief as the tabulator. The San Pedro Dance Academy then preformed a Middle-Eastern style dance while the contestants prepared for the Island Wear modeling segment of the program. Sporting playful and flirty beach attire the young ladies were in their element, rocking the stage. A colorful Mestizo dance performed by the ever-energetic San Pedro Dance Academy followed.

Cause of Tyson Rodriguez’s death in question; did police murder him?
Two simultaneous investigations are ongoing into the death of Tyson Rodriguez, which occurred on Friday November 22nd, in the southern Stann Creek District. Police initially sent out a release claiming that Rodriguez died from natural causes, but the Rodriguez family maintains that Tyson was brutalized by police, then possibly murdered. Police claim that Tyson was arrested after he allegedly invaded the property of Canadian couple 59 year old David Baier and his wife Sonia on the Placencia Peninsula and severely beat Sonia. The entire ordeal began on Thursday at about 9PM when the Baier’s were robbed, beaten on the beach, taken to their house, tied up, their residence burglarized and their GMC Envoy SUV stolen. According to a police report the vehicle was recovered all the way in the Corozal District off a feeder road near Xaibe Village. Police say that Custom Officials saw the vehicle, decided to set chase but lost it in the process. It was later found abandoned by a joint team of Customs and Police Office. Later that morning, Customs officials saw 27-year-old Tyson Rodriguez sitting under a bus stop and identified him as the individual seen earlier in the stolen vehicle. They detained him and others, turning them over to Corozal police, who then transported Rodriguez and his companions to Stann Creek.

Zulema Ayala wins San Pedro Lions Peace Poster competition
The San Pedro Lions Club has selected the winning Peace Poster that will represent the club at an international competition. Zulema Ayala of The Island Academy was selected from amongst 38 entries that were submitted from four different schools on Ambergris Caye. The top three entries were announced on Friday November 22nd at the San Pedro Lions Den, and the three artists stopped by to receive their prizes. According to the San Pedro Lions Co-Chair of the Peace Poster competition committee, JanBrown, the judges had a difficult task selecting the winner. Brown said that after carefully looking at the criteria, the incorporation of the theme and other details, Ayala’s poster was the pick. “The students’ art work was very well prepared. They had some deep thoughts on the theme if you really look at the posters closely. This year’s theme for the International Peace Poster Competition was ‘Our World, Our Future.’ Most of the students incorporated the country and the theme, but some went and thought outside of the box and include the world into their posters. Each student that participated had to be between 11 and 13 in age by a certain date. Zulema’s poster was selected and we are happy that we have a poster that we will be sending to the international competition scheduled for2014,” explained Brown. The international winner and top 24 entries worldwide will be notified in February 2014 and will be invited to an international ceremony on March 2014.

Arlethe Lima Crowned Miss San Pedro Lions Queen 2013-2014 (49 photos)
Congratulations to Arlethe Lima, Miss San Pedro Lions Queen 2013 - 2014, and to all of the contestants who participated in the pageant. You are ALL beautiful young ladies

Ambergris Today

Flashbacks: Looking Back at Township Day in San Pedro
In this Flashback picture on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, we look back 29 years ago on what was San Pedro's first Township celebrations. Pictured here is the Salazar residence on Front Street (Barrier Reef Drive), now the location of a more modern building that houses Friki Tiki Gift shop and Belize Bank International, just across Fido's. Behind the house is an empty lot where today stands Island Plaza (Sailaway Cafe & Top Notch) and a glimpse of the San Pedro Lions Den. The banner above the streets marks: "Jenny's Store welcomes and supports Township". It was yet a very small community, but one that had grown in size as the community started to adjust to the growing tourism industry. Were the island residents back then aware of what was to become of the small village that was just entering Township status? Today, San Pedro Town, is closer to becoming a bustling city that has grown in leaps and bounds with residents still adjusting to the, still ever-growing and changing tourism industry. We owe this all to our founding forefathers, individuals and families on the island that had the vision of taking their people forward.

Belizean Fashion Designer Joris Hendrik Produces First Fashion Show
Belizean fashion designer Joris Hendrik highlighted his Spring/Summer 2014 Collection at the Princess Hotel & Casino on this past Saturday, November 23, 2013, as he produced his first fashion show of his professional career. The production was a total success. Joris Hendrik is among the first local fashion designers in the country to be internationally recognized in Belize’s burgeoning world of couture. After being a part of successful shows throughout the Caribbean, such as Carifesta XI in Suriname and the Caribbean Fashion Week, he decided to put off his first Joris Hendrik fashion show.

San Pedro Commemorates 29th Township Anniversary
Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council sponsored two programs to celebrate the 29th anniversary of San Pedro’s Township. On Tuesday, November 26, 2013, at Ramon’s Village Resort, invited guests had the pleasure of listening to inspiring addresses from Keynote Speaker, Mr. Einer Gomez, and from the Guest Speaker, Mr. Wilfredo Alamilla Sr. After the Welcome Address by Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the Invocation by Mr. Clive Welch of the Lighthouse Christian Radio, Mayor Guerrero and Miss San Pedro 2013 Solani Graniel presented framed certificates of recognition and appreciation to various members of the community who have made significant contributions to the growth and well being of San Pedro. Music by Wil and Dale along with drinks provided by the staff at Ramon’s Village along with delicious food presented by Pineapple’s Restaurant also at Ramon’s all blended beautifully to provide a most pleasant evening of entertainment and camaraderie to all the invited to this special occasion. As emcee Angel Nuñez summarized it from the very beginning, it was a wonderful site and setting for a wonderful occasion.

Misc Belizean Sources

Flashback video of San Pedro
Here is a flashback video of San Pedro in its early days as a town featured in a very popular international TV Show, Sabado Gigante with Host Don Francisco. We can observe various local personalities and places like the late Mr. Chico Flores at the Holiday Hotel and even our very own, Mayor Daniel Guerrero, as a young tour guide. If we're not mistaken, this video was filmed in the year 1992. Can anyone confirm this? Check it out! HAPPY TOWNSHIP DAY! Video courtesy of Mr. Antonio Novelo - Thanks for sharing this video.

Help for Sarteneja
District Coordinator for DEMO in Corozal Mr. Willard Levy has informed the Corozal Daily that additional assistance has been provided to the people of Sarteneja by utilizing a Belize Coast Guard boat to ferry residents to Corozal Town. This service was started yesterday Tuesday, Nov 26 and will last until this Thursday Nov 28. The "Thunderbolt" will continue the same run Friday Nov 29 & Saturday Nov 30. If necessary DEMO may continue on Monday. The service provided on both the Coast Guard and Thunderbolt is free of cost to the people of Sarteneja. The road conditions in these areas still remain in an extremely bad state and the issue with the High School students need immediate and further attention.

Happy Thanksgiving Celebrations
To all our friends from home and abroad, here is wishing you a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving Celebrations Belize tomorrow Thursday Nov 28 - Photo: "Beerdrinkus Amercanus & Canadensis"

Help for Henry Benefit Concert
There will be a Help for Henry Benefit Concert on December 9th at the George Price Centre to raise funds for Henry Griffin, who is battling leukemia. It's only $5 per person, and all proceeds go to the Griffin family. David Smith, Bethany Fritzler, and many others will be performing. There is also a gofundme site set up at http://www.gofundme.com/5hc1ps. "This page is set up for a little boy by the name of Henry. He lives in Belize. A friend of my family is a missionary in Belize and have planted a church there. Please know that 100% any donation will go towards helping Henry and his family get the much needed medical care that he has no access to at this point. If you have any questions about this please feel free to message me or email me."

Kontiki Family Fun Day
The Kontiki Neighborhood Watch is having their Family Fun Day this Sunday, starting at 9:00am. They'll have tons of food, some games, a football competition, a raffle, music, and even a greatsy pole. The KNW will use the funds to do more community improvements like installing more street signs and lights. "The Kontiki Family Fun Day will be held on Sunday Dec 1st 9am - 6am. We're going to have lots of delicious food and snacks for sale, as well as cool games and activities for kids. Family Fun for a worthy cause.. see you there! Please share this with your friends."

Chef Sean Kuylen Deconstructs Dukunu
Flavors of Belize teams up with Chef Sean Kuylen to make dukunu in episode 2, and Chef Sean explains how to make dukunu the easy way. He also adds some shrimp to the mix. Who's hungry? "Tonight on the menu is a traditional Mayan meal that's popular not only in Belize, but throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. It's name varies depending on location, but here in Belize it's known as 'Dukunu.' Chef Sean deconstructs this normally difficult and time consuming dish, and re-constructs it in a way easy for anyone to attempt right at home. Still keeping with the original elements of the dish, he makes it his own by adding his twist to this well known cultural meal."

Cayo CET Open House
The Cayo Center for Employment Training is having their Open House on Thursday, starting at 9:00am. See their students display their trades, and get to know more about CET. For more information, email cayocet@gmail.com or call 824-2944. "CCET invites you to their annual Open House!"

VIDEO: San Ignacio Market Walkabout
One of the best attractions in western Belize is the San Ignacio Market Day held every Saturday. This open air market is one of the best in the country offering fresh fruits, vegetables and other farm produce. Food vendors are everywhere, people come to sell anything from clothing, shoes, hammocks, hardware, animals and pets. It is rather like a produce market, peddlers meet and flea market rolled into one.

Channel 7

Another Castro Controversy? PM Says "No Smoking Gun" On Corruption
Today, three weeks after spinal surgery and 27 days after his last media interview – the Prime Minister held a press conference in Belize City. And, it was loaded: the event lasted just a shade under two hours, where the Prime Minister addressed a whole gamut of issues, from the latest immigration scandal, to his new beard. We’ll have all of that for you tonight, but we start with more Edmund Castro controversy. Six weeks ago, an immigration agent turned whistle-blower said that as a Minister of state, Castro had facilitated 200 visas for her in just a few months – and that he did it for two thousand dollars each. Castro flatly denied signing so many, but conceded that he had signed a few, but, quote, “nowhere in the neighborhood of 20, 30 or 40 nor 200” end quote. Castro also vehemently denies taking any money for writing recommendation letters. But last night Channel 5 showed documents demonstrating that he had signed at least 21 visa recommendations in just 16 days in May, 2013. Today the Prime Minister again had to defend Castro, and this time he said that a recommendation is only that: Mike Rudon - Channel 5 News "Over a sustained period, week after week, after week, he has been recommending visas for Chinese nationals. I know that you don't watch the news, so you might not have seen that, but what would be your comment on that."

Gov't Launches 76 Million Dollar National Road Infrastructure Programme
And while the air of scandal and the heat of burning issues took the headlines tonight, today’s Prime Ministerial press conference was really about Government’s response to the one month of heavy rains that have left Belize’s road and street infrastructure in a vastly deteriorated state. The PM said it is no less than a catastrophe: Jules Vasquez Reporting Prime Minister Dean Barrow "It's as I said, speaking clearly, a catastrophe with respect to these rains, and it's not over yet." Government is coming in with 2.26 million dollars as emergency repairs for the most severely affected roadways: Prime Minister Dean Barrow "We’re talking about areas where access has been cut off and movement of people and goods severely impaired and the Ministry of Works has given to the Ministry of Finance the budget that is required to do the immediate remedial work that is necessary." But that is only in the short term, in the long term, there is a massive three year plan to overhaul much of the country’s road infrastructure - an effort that this government hopes will become its hallmark:

PM Says Farmers Right, BSI Wrong, Bagasse Does Have A Value
And while government’s road infrastructure overhaul was today’s “big reveal”, the hardest line came down on the subject of bagasse. As we told you earlier, the PM unveiled what he said is the government’s official position. He says Cabinet adopted a position with key input from Minister Godwin Hulse, who has been on the BSI Board for years. Somewhat surprisingly that position does not square with the BSI position, in fact it is directly opposite: Prime Minister Dean Barrow “We are convinced and as a lawyer, I am entirely satisfied that there is every basis for our conviction, we’re convinced that the farmers have a case. We looked at the provision in the memorandum of understanding that talks about the sharing of revenue arising from the sale of any by-product will be subject to future discussions, and the sharing of revenue will be based will be based on the result of those discussions. And in our view that clearly contemplates some form of compensation to farmers for the bagasse. The argument that the bagasse is waste, and is not a by-product in our minds cannot stand. You cannot say that the bagasse is not a by-product. To me, it doesn’t hold water for that argument to be made. So we are absolutely positive that the farmers have a case and that case needs to be addressed.” And while the government is with the cane farmers on that central issue, GOB is not with them on the plan to undermine the start of the crop season. He explained why he feels the farmers are going about it all wrong:

GOB Won't Fix Sugar Roads If Farmers Aren’t Serious About The Cane Season
And when they meet on Monday, the cane farmers are sure to bring up the issue of sugar roads. Those roads which are used for cane delivery took a beating with the month of rains. The Ministry of works would have to do major work on them before the crop season starts. But the PM says Government won’t fix the roads, if they won’t be used – he explained the position: Prime Minister Dean Barrow "I would need to be sure that there is going to be a crop. I am perfectly willing and happy to fix the sugar roads, but if there is not going to be a crop, then that isn't an immediate priority. I would have to look at other areas where people in fact can't get out of their villages and spend the money there."

Rains Caused Consequential Agricultural Losses
And while the state of the sugar industry overshadows everything in the Agricultural sector, the truth is, farmers all over the country have been plunged into crisis by the rains. The PM outlined the findings of a just completed report on rain damages: Prime Minister Dean Barrow "There is tremendous agriculture, tremendous crop damage, up until this morning, the Minister of Agriculture was on this. The Deputy just handed me the latest preliminary report. We're looking in terms of crop damage, at people suffering in Cayo, Belize, Orange Walk, Corozal a total of $2,634,600 by way of losses. We're talking about soy bean, 800 acres having been destroyed, 350 acres of corn, 50% of vegetable farmers affected, and if the weather persists, all the vegetable farmers will be affected. We can't pay them for the loss of earnings, but we can certainly help in terms of doing things like providing funding for seeds so that they can replant."

Cops Kill Alleged Armed Robber In Ladyville
Ladyville residents were shaken today by a barrage of gunfire in a neighbourhood only a block away from the police station. There was an exchange of gunfire between Ladyville police and an alleged armed robber which ended when the gunman was killed. According to area residents, it happened at around 3:30 this afternoon. Some say, they heard as many as 10 gunshots ring out. From what our team gathered on the scene, the armed robbery took place at Country Products Meat Shop which is located on the Highway in Ladyville. Police responded and managed to chase the man in an area near the basketball court, where the robber allegedly opened fire at police. Police fired shots in return –and caught the man in the chest area– killing him instantly. The man was later identified as Travis Mckay, a resident of the same neighbourhood. The officer commanding Ladyville explained: ASP Chris Noble, Rural Executive Officer, Police Department "What we have been able to gather is that there was an incident earlier and the police were following up on that incident. They came up on the gentleman that we have that is now deceased or that we have confirmed deceased. There was possible an exchange of gunfire and the person passed."

Stabbed His Wife’s Lover, Steeno Gets 12 Years In Jail
49 year-old Vincent “Steeno” Tillett, the man who stabbed his common-law wife’s lover to death, will spend a total of 12 years in prison for it. That was the sentence that Justice Adolph Lucas handed him today after his mitigation hearing. Justice Lucas heard character witnesses from Tillett’s daughter Naera Polanco; his friends, business man Alvin Hyde Jr. and Pastor Melvin Davis of the Church of Christ; and from his attorney, Arthur Saldivar. After careful consideration, Justice Lucas sentenced Tillett to 15 years in prison to be recorded as commencing from the day when he was remanded to prison to await trial. He will only serve 12, since he spent 3 years in jail, waiting to have his case heard. Tillett was tried without a jury before Justice Lucas who, after listening to the evidence presented to him, found him guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter, not murder, when he stabbed 22 year-old Darwin Phillip, puncturing is heart, killing him.

Marsha Reid Speaks From Dock, Contradicts Caution Statement
Another accused person who is waiting on the judge to determine her guilt is 39 year-old Marsha Reid. Her trial for murder, which was done without jury, concluded today before Justice Denis Hanomansingh in the Southern Session of the Supreme Court. As we told you, Senior Crown Counsel Cecil Ramirez was able to get her confession statement, in which she admitted to stabbing her lover, BDF Corporal Donovan Castillo, accepted as evidence against her. Reid told the court from the dock that she stabbed him in the neck in self-defence after they had a fight. That is contrary to her confession statement where she told police that she was the one who attacked first.

PM Says IMMARBE Black Eye Can Be Fixed, CFATF Not So Easily
And we go back now to the Prime Minister’s press conference, which, as we said, was loaded with news. He addressed the issue of the European Union blacklisting Belize. As we told you last night, it’s because of IMMARBE – which sells the Belizean flag to high seas vessels in international waters. The EU correctly says that IMMARBE does not police the fleet, and because of that Belize was blacklisted. Today the Prime Minister said he is confident that Government can make adjustment in the laws to satisfy the Europeans: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "We will very quickly pass or promulgate the regulations. What they are saying is, 'You've passed the Act and that's fine, but there must be regulations under the Act that will then create the monitoring infrastructure, and then you must operationalize the infrastructure.' I am telling you that we will do that, but I've said before, and I will say again ultimately, if we have to de-register the entire fishing fleet, we will do that. It is not a step that you likely take because it is earning revenue for the Government, but at the end of the day, we will do whatever we have to. The possible consequences of the EU action don't extend to anything other than the fisheries product of the fishing fleet, you know. It doesn't affect our shrimp, doesn't affect anything else. So, while it is serious, and we're taking it seriously - and we will deal with it - don't let us get us carried away."

GOB Will Put Major Money Into City Infrastructure
And while that subject seemed to give the PM a headache, in contrast, he was happy to talk about funding road works in the city. As all city residents know, the streets are in an atrocious state after the rains – even after the mayor paved 100 streets. The Prime Minister says Government will now provide at least one million dollars in funding to provide urgent assistance to the streets. That begins with the entrance to the city at the western highway, which will be restored for a third of a million dollars. The PM said relief is also on the way in other areas: Prime Minister Dean Barrow "For the residents of Belize City in particularly, you will be comforted to know that immediate help is on the way. We will fund the works needed at the flag monument on Princess Margaret Drive to the tune of 148,229.80. We will fund the works needed at the stop light intersection with Mahogany Street in the amount of 188,243.84 and we will of course fund the works needed near to the Marion Jones sports complex, on that area to Landivar Street, which I have to pass every morning taking my daughter to school, so believe me I know why people are howling bloody murder. We will fund the remedial works needed for that area to the tune of $377,400, all to a total amount of 990,190.16." The Prime Minister also explained that the government will have toi step in on two major roads where the Council has run into contractor difficulties:

Hon. Bradley Unsure About Councillor Chang’s Future
We also got the mayor to comment on City Councillor Eric Chang. He returned to the country yesterday after an extended absence. The mayor says that after those three weeks away, he has to make sure that Chang is on the same page as a fast-moving council: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council "My responsibility as Mayor is to ensure that every single person in the City Council is performing 100%, persons with portfolios, persons without portfolios. I need to hear from him that he's serious about delivering on his commitments that he was elected to do." Jules Vasquez "Will he be reinstated as a councillor with portfolio? Do-" Darrell Bradley "No, we have no plans on doing that. We are very heavily involved in some of our infrastructure projects. I am quite satisfied with the performance of Councillor Dean Samuels. He's moving forward with Southside Street Rehabilitations Project. He wants to anxiously do those. We want to get those moving as soon as possible, so we're continuing. We're satisfied with the current fit, and I think that there is still this gaping question here in relation to his absence, and in relation to his name called the immigration fiasco, which he has to answer for."

Re-Branding Protected Areas
Belize has 103 areas all around the country which enjoy environmental protection. 69 of them are protected areas, and the rest are archaeological reserves, bird sanctuaries, and spawning aggregation sites. But did you know about them before? If the answer is “no”, then the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development has launched a campaign to inform you about the importance of these areas, which make up a network called the National Protected Areas System, or NPAS, for short. Now, branding, or re-branding usually is commonly used in business when referring to the process of creating and recreating a unique name image of a product in the consumers’ mind. The Ministry has decided to adopted it to protected areas because they want the average citizen to reconsider the importance the NPAS and the reasons that they should do all they can to preserve and keep them in their pristine, untouched states. Today, the Ministry held a re-branding campaign today at the Radisson Hotel, and 7News attended. The Chair of the National Protected Areas Technical Committee explained how important this exercise is to the Belizean identity:

DPP Has Doubts About Police Account Of Tyson Rodriguez’s Death
The family of 27 year-old Tyson Rodriguez believe that police officer killed him while in their custody, and that they should be brought to justice for it. The police officers are denying that they did anything to cause his death, and they claim that he died of natural causes, which they didn’t even see. So, after having seen all the evidence so far, what does the Director of Public Prosecutions think? Well, 7News spoke to her today, after she met with the investigating officer. She told us that she has perused the statements sent to her by the police yesterday and is of the view that the version of events given by the officers who were escorting Rodriguez raises more questions than answers, particularly in light of the findings of the forensic examiner who performed the post-mortem examination. DPP Vidal says however that the matter requires further investigation and that no charges are imminent.

Still Worth More Than A Thousand Words
In the age of powerful cellular phones, and inexpensive camera equipment, the art of photography is being eroded by the production of the everyday amateur or hobbyist. 3 women who still treat photography as an art form are Barbara Noralez, Helen Laurie and Myrtle Palacio. They’ve put together an exhibit called “3X Focus”, in which they photographed different subjects in everyday life, and they would like to share them with you. They gave 7News a preview, and told us why the public will appreciate their work: Barbara Norales - Artist, 3X Focus Exhibit "If you grew up in Dangriga, your childhood memories in the Garifuna Culture are about the 2-foot cow, and Jan Canoe on Christmas time. So, you know that you used to wake up to the sound of drums, the chericanare getting ready on Boxing Day, and everything. So, that is what I try to capture in all my pictures. In fact, some of my pictures are actual dancing of the Jan Canoe dancing on Christmas Day last year. So, they are not pictures in which the subjects posed to take. They were actually happening at that time."

One Man Was hurt In Bus Accident
Last night, 7News told you about the accident on the Western Highway just outside of Belmopan, where a James Bus, which was heading toward Belize, slammed into the back of a fruit truck. We told you that there was no one injured, but indeed someone from inside the bus who did get hurt. 32 year-old Belize City Elton Quilter was in the last seat on the driver’s side, and he got up to take out his money to pay the conductor when the accident happened. Quilter told police that he heard the bones in his spine area snap twice, and he starting feeling intense pain. He had to be removed from the scene by an ambulance who took him to the Western Regional Hospital. Quilter had an x-Ray, and he has an appointment to see a neurologist and an orthopaedic surgeon to see how serious the damage is. He says he is in a bind because neither party wants to take responsibility for the accident and he has mounting medical bills. As we told you, the bus rear-ended the fruit truck which was turning off the highway, and heading into a feeder road.

PM Says Unions Will Get Raise, But they Must Be Patient
Three weeks ago on this newscast, you heard the Unions complaining that they wanted to re-open negotiations with government on a salary increase. And they repeated their demand that government commit to some minimum increase, what they call a floor. Today the Prime Minister said they will get an increase but he still won’t commit to a floor: Prime Minister Dean Barrow "The teachers and public officers can rest assured that salary increase there will be. It will take place next year, after we've had a chance to see what the entire revenue stream is for the fiscal year, so it would kick in, I think in July, but I think retroactive to April first, and I am positive that, as I've said, that there will be a substantial increase. But, Lord, man, I have to appeal to the unions. Please, that is what I had put to you; I thought that we have pretty much had an agreement. Now is not the time to say that we demand that you give the increase now in the middle of the financial year, and we demand that there be a floor. Look at what is happening to the entire country as a consequence of the calamity that has overtaken us. Look at all that the Government has to do for all the people of this country. And as a matter of solidarity, please be patient."

PM Back To Work, But "Back" Still Not Fully Working
And we have two final items tonight. The first is on the PM’s bad back, and the second is on his weird beard. First to the back. He got surgery three weeks ago, and went to Belmopan twice this week. He says he has been working reduced hours since last week but might have been pushing too hard because his doctor said that he should take a month off. He explained: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "I believe that the recuperation is coming along well and I am optimistic at the end of six weeks, the result will be as the doctor had promised. And he’s a doctor, not a politician so I believe that I can accept his promise. So that in 6 weeks, I should be experiencing measurable relief and be able to return to work, full tilt." The PM says he won’t go back to Belmopan for the rest of the week. And then he will make an effort again next week.

What’s Up With The Weird Beard?
And what about that beard? We heard it was part of No-Shave-November an observance by men to support awareness of male cancers such as prostate cancer. The PM said that’s not it; he’s trying to play Santa Claus: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister “And before you ask, I am clearly intending to play Santa Claus. And for those who say that it is an expression of solidarity with respect to the, this being the month to raise awareness in terms of cancers that affect men…that’s such a lovely, uplifting story that I’m not going to dispute it.”

Channel 5

Immigration Minster offers no information on investigation, but talks on new measures
Today Prime Minister Dean Barrow held a press conference to discuss what he termed a catastrophe visited by the incessant rains. We’ll have those comments later in our newscast, but [...]

Prime Minister addresses visa quota hustle at press conference
Tonight there is much more to bring you on the visa quota hustle. On Tuesday News Five had an exclusive look at documents which prove that Minister of State Edmund [...]

PM agrees that caneros are entitled to a share of profits from the use of bagasse
The impasse between cane farmers and B.S.I. is still holding strong…and latest developments up to Tuesday evening were that Prime Minister Dean Barrow had been asked by the Belize Sugar [...]

Eric Chang back in the country, but still no word to City Council
Councilor Eric Chang returned to Belize on Tuesday after an extended stay in Taiwan but his boss, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, is yet to have a meeting with Chang [...]

Ladyville resident is killed in late evening shooting
The Director of Public Prosecutions has not pronounced on the death of Tyson Rodriguez who was killed in police custody in Placencia late last week. But tonight, another man was [...]

Family alleges that police killed Travis Mckay
The family of Travis McKay came to our studios with a compelling report that they saw when the police chased and fired at McKay. According to the Aunt and brother, [...]

GOB to give $3 Million to assist infrastructural damages by flood
Today’s press conference was held for the purpose of discussing flooding and government’s response to infrastructure concerns. The bad news is that incessant rains have negatively impacted many families across [...]

PM Barrow speaks to EU ban on imports of fishery to Belize
The European Union is clustering Belize with Cambodia and Guinea as countries that have not done much to stamp our illegal fishing. On Tuesday, the EU announced a ban on [...]

Acting Fisheries administrator says the decision does have implications
A release from the Ministry of Finance which is now responsible for IMMARBE expresses surprise at the E.U. ban announced on Tuesday on fish imports. Today, we asked the Fisheries [...]

Barrow says no to the 13th senator
In its 2008 campaign manifesto, the United Democratic Party promised serious governance reform by introducing the idea of a thirteenth senator. That additional Senator would have come from the NGO [...]

Taiwanese government transfers agricultural projects to GOB
At Central Farm today, the Taiwanese Government handed over a two-year old project initially carried out by the Taiwanese Technical Mission. The Ministry of Natural resources and Agriculture will now [...]

“Steeno” sentenced to fifteen years behind bars
After twelve days on remand after being found guilty of manslaughter and not guilty of murder, Vincent “Steeno” Tillett learned his fate today when he appeared before Justice Adolph Lucas [...]

CTV3

Corozaleno Cries Foul His Leased Land Was Re-distributed To Pablo Marin's Sister
A resident of Alta Mira Area of Corozal is complaining that his leased land was unjustifiably cancelled due to breach and or non-observance of the lease conditions. And while he claims that the move is partially politically motivated, tonight we bring you two sides to the story in order for you to be the judge. Maria Novelo has that report. Lennox Garbutt, former lessee of a 20 acre lot at the Consejo Road South East of the Corozal District, is tonight crying foul over the cancellation of his leased land in that area. Garbutt says he was unaware that the land was re-distributed to another Corozal resident and in that time had been making his rent payments on time. Lennox Garbutt– Former Lessee of 20 Acre Lot “I acquired the land on November 30th 2011, and from then on up to 2013 I have been paying my tax and I made several trips to Belmopan to see the commissioner of lands Mr. Vallejos and I spoke to him about the situation that I heard that someone had a lease as mines to my land and he told that that is not true so I came back to Corozal and I found out that indeed the person has the lese so I make an appointment to see Mr. Vallejos again and I went back and he told me the same thing that wasn’t true and when I hand out the paper and showed him he said that maybe it could have been error.”

PM Takes Cane Farmers Side, He Agrees Their Should Be Revenue Sharing When It Comes To The Bagasse
The situation between BSI/ASR and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association remains tense and while the government, through the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, has merely been taking on a position mediator; today the Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that they have taken a side. In the press conference this morning the Prime Minister says that his Cabinet and he personally feel that the cane farmers have a case. Dean Barrow- Prime Minister of Belize “We are convinced that the farmers have a case, we looked at the provision in the memorandum of understanding that talks about the sharing of revenue arising on the sale of any by-product will be subject to future discussions and the sharing of revenue will be based on the result of those discussions and in our view that clearly contemplates some form of compensation to farmers for the bagasse, the argument that the bagasse is waste and it is not a by-product in our minds cannot stand apart from general common sense, apart from trying to admittedly the formulation is less than clear is subject to argument.” Barrow goes on to say that while each party maintains their right to their arguments, he believes that BSI/ASR’s argument that Bagasse is not a bi-product but is instead waste, is not.

Millions To Be Spent In Infrastructural Work Orange Walk Only Gets 2.69 Million
Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow made his first public appearance since his return from seeking medical attention abroad, and his return is accompanied by the announcement of long awaited improvements in the private and public sectors which he made in a press conference held this morning in Belize City. The larger part of his presentation focused on infrastructural improvements to road networks across the country which has only been worsened by continuous rains over the last several weeks. But first, the Prime Minister announced that while government, through the National Emergency Management Organization, NEMO, has been providing assistance to families affected by the recent floods in the Northern and Western part of the country, they will be giving additional assistance to about one hundred families in the Cayo District and twenty families in the Stann Creek District. These families will be receiving food packages of three thousand dollars each per family. Furthermore, the Prime Minister announced that government will be replacing household items that were damaged by flood waters. Now, we move on to the announcement of funds for proposed infrastructural improvements – road works. Prime Minister Dean Barrow says that they have allocated funds for the immediate repair of roads that are in extremely deplorable conditions.

Will Teachers and Public Officers Receive Salary Increase?
During this morning’s press conference, another long awaited announcement was made by the Prime Minister. This surrounds the salary increase for teachers and public officers which have been tabled to the government and to which negotiations have been ongoing. And perhaps it was more of a reassurance as the Prime Minister stated that high wages for both is a given but after this fiscal year is concluded. Dean Barrow- Prime Minister “What we had said to the union’s negotiating team is for sure you will get your raise next year because there is no doubt that the formula which we have proposed that is that they get 50%, 50 cents on every dollars of increase recurrent revenue will yield them a significant salary increase. Nobody can predict with certainty the extent of the increases.” The new salary should be in effect sometime midyear in 2014. We will have more on the press conference in tomorrow’s newscast.


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LOVE FM

Belize Will Deregister Fishing Fleet if Necessary
As we reported on Tuesday, Belize was one of three countries to be banned from exporting fish products to the European Union, after the European Commission concluded that we were not cooperating in the fight against illegal fishing. According to the Commission, these countries have not addressed structural problems and have failed to show real commitment to tackle the problem. Love News got an interview today with the Acting Fisheries Administrator, George Myvette, who spoke on the technical aspects of the Government’s position that led to the ban. GEORGE MYVETTE “What has transpired in relation to the decision is that, from our stand point, it’s a governance issue and in that regard our advice as a technical arm of the government of Belize has been that there is a need to treat the foreign fleet regulatory issues holistically with the national issues and in that context we have developed a body of legislation that has been before the political directorate for the past 4 years and in that context we had unified the management of the foreign fleet along with the domestic fleet. The Government of Belize has made a decision in that regard in which we have decoupled the foreign fleet management from the domestic fleet management; that’s a policy decision, I am speaking to in relation to the technical recommendation that came out of the fisheries department. I would not be in a position to second guess but inform the policy decision but I would say that certainly the issues that would affect the domestic fisheries in terms of stock depletions, in terms of issues related to pollution, illegal fishing they run across the board and so in that context we found it wise to unify the management of the foreign fleet with the domestic fishery management programs.”

PM Addresses Reported Deficiencies in Belize Against Money Laundering and Terrorism
Last week the Caribbean Financial Task Force cited Belize for deficiencies in meeting the international standards of fighting money laundering and terrorism. Prime Minister Dean Barrow addressed the matter. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “That one is more serious than the EU situation and that one is also more problematic. We passed a raft of legislative measures in order to try to achieve the degree of compliance required but let’s be clear, the big countries are hypocrites; they don’t practice what they preach. They tell you what you have to do; they talk about harmful tax competition; they talk about this, they talk about that; they talk about knock off counterfeit goods, what is the name of the place in New York? Canal Street or China Town….the point is that in passing the legislation that we did, we had to try to steer a careful course; we recognize that these big countries and that their proxies, their agencies are all powerful and can collapse our system. So we can complain, we can denounce them but the fact is that ultimately we have to realize where the power lies. On the other hand, we have people in the financial services sector and offshore sector saying to us that if you go as far as these people are demanding, we are going to shut down the industry. So, it’s a huge balancing act that’s required. Ultimately, I have said to the local people, please, we will try as best we can to protect you as much as we are able but in the end, recognize that the jig will soon be up. It might be unfair but these people won’t stop until they kill off our offshore sector. Bottom line: we have, I believe, another six months. They have made the statement against us but they haven’t black listed us. The drafts person who operates as legal counsel to the Ministry of Finance has been given a job to go back over the list of demands from these people and has been given a mandate to produce the additional legislation that we need and to do the additional things that we need by February. We will go to the house, certainly by the end of January, with the new legislation drafted and ready to be passed and hopefully by February when, remember the Caribbean Action Task Force is a sort of subset of the Financial Action Task Force and the larger body is meeting in February, we want to make sure that we are in full or at least very substantial compliance by February and we will work towards that. So to repeat, I will complain, lament, and send up jeremiads; I will say that these people, ‘di chance we’ but we have no choice but to comply so comply we will.”

Guyana Has New Honorary Consul in Belize
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that the Government of Belize has agreed to the appointment of Hugh Asquith Saul as Guyana’s Honorary Consul in Belize. Saul will replace Lutchman Sooknandan who served in that capacity for a number of years but retired due to ill health. On Friday Saul was presented with his Letters of Commission by the Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Guyana. Saul’s appointment as Guyana’s Honorary Consul in Belize represents an important step in the further deepening of relations between the two CARICOM countries and to ensuring that nationals of Guyana residing in Belize are afforded the opportunity of consular services. Prior to migrating to Belize, Saul served as a member of the Board of Directors in the Guyana State Corporation, Guyana Fisheries Corporation, Guyana Agricultural Products Corporation, Guyana Agricultural Research and Development Institute and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism.

Attempted Robbery Leads to Culprit’s Death
A man was shot dead in Ladyville this evening. The incident happened in a yard in Ladyville Village shortly after four this evening. Allegations are that McKay robbed a meat shop on the Philip Goldson Highway and rode off on a bicycle towards his house in the village. But additional reports are that policemen, who had gotten an alert about the robbery, met McKay on a street leading to his house. There was an exchange of gunfire and in the process, McKay was fatally hit. Love News spoke with the Officer Commanding the Ladyville Police Station, Chris Noble, who said that the details are still unclear at this point. ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT CHRISTOPHER NOBLE “There was an incident earlier and the police were following up on that incident. They came upon the gentleman that we have that is now deceased and we have confirmed the deceased and there was possibly, an exchange of gun fire and the person passed. The incident we have is there was a robbery, a theft in the area. He is a resident of Ladyville.”

Former Traffic Officer and Accomplice Land In Court for Burglary Charge
Two men were charged in connection with a burglary at Skills Training Trading Center on Magazine Road in Belize City, when they appeared today in court. They are 37-year-old, security guard Glenford Patnett and 30-year-old, Giovanni Dougal, an office assistant at Skills Training Trading Center. Patnett was charged with burglary while Dougal was charged with abetment of a crime, to wit: burglary. Both men pled not guilty to the charges. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser offered each of them bail in the sum of $5,000.00 and adjourned their case until January 23, 2014. The burglary occurred between Friday, November 22 and Monday, November 25. According to the report, Patnett entered as a trespasser at the office of the receptionist and stole 640 dollars and a green cellular phone. The allegation goes further to say that Dougal facilitated Patnett in the commission of the crime. The door of the receptionist office was found damaged.

Castro’s Letters of Recommendation for Visas Are Absolutely in Order
Since October, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Edmund Castro has been the focus of allegations that he is involved in a visa hustling ring. Last night Channel 5 reported that they had obtained copies of documents which they say implicates the Minister of State and his administration. Prime Minister Barrow responded to the allegations at today’s press conference. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “I indicated that the Minister checked, spoke to the Director, the Director made it clear that at no stage did Minister Castro lean on her, call her in any way or intervened on her to try to procure a visa for a single solitary soul. The fact that he wrote letters of recommendations, on the face of it, is absolutely in order. Having had the minister’s report to me that the Director is crystal clear in saying there was no effort at twisting her arm or even gently persuading her on the part of Castro to give any visa. What you have produced is, in my view, not even remotely close to a smoking gun. On the face of it, ministers are entitled and perhaps obliged to write letters of recommendation. If you had shown that 200 or 100 or 75 and in combination with that there was any complaint, not complaint, any indication from the Immigration Director, who is the one who authorizes the visa, that Castro had intervened, then you would have had an argument.”

Father of Nine Faces 15 Year Sentence
49-year-old, Vincent Tillett, a.k.a. “Steeno’, a father of nine who was charged with murder but was convicted of manslaughter, was sentenced to 15 years today by Justice Adolph Lucas. Justice Lucas stipulated that Tillett’s remanded time of three years is to be subtracted from his sentence, so he will serve 12 years. Tillett’s conviction was for the fatal stabbing of 22-year-old, Darwin Phillips, a.k.a. “Darmu”, which occurred on February 13, 2011, at the house of Tillett. Before he decided on the sentence Justice Lucas heard pleas for mitigation from Tillett’s daughter, Naera Polanco,28 and two of his friends, businessman Alvin Hyde Jr. and Pastor Melvin Davis of the Church of Christ. All three of them spoke well of Tillett. They said that he is a quiet person, that he is hard working and that he is not a person quick to anger. Tillett’s attorney, Arthur Saldivar, also spoke on his behalf. Crown Kayshia Grant represented the prosecution.

Eric Chang Is Back But Remains Without Portfolio
Former Belize City Deputy Mayor, Eric Chang is back in the country. Chang flew back under the radar yesterday afternoon. Chang’s name had been mentioned into the passport scandal after which, Chang left the country en-route to Taiwan where he stayed for more than three months. We caught up with Mayor Darrell Bradley and he told us that a meeting between Chang and himself will have to happen before the week is over. MAYOR DARREL BRADLEY “Persons in the media were somehow suggesting that well he came back yesterday and I should have called him yesterday and I should have known he was coming back yesterday. There is no Eric Watch; I don’t have people at the airport looking out for when this man comes. My responsibility is to be the Mayor of Belize City; my responsibility is to ensure that all 10 councilors and staff are fulfilling their mandate and their commitment as councilors and as part of the Belize City Council, that’s what I was elected for. I want to sit with him and I want to get his assurance and hear from him that he is committed to continuing as a councillor and to be an effective councilor. Whatever has to happen in relation to any kind of investigations again, we are still not in possession of any report or document or anything in relation to that. It is my responsibility as Mayor to ensure that our council is operating in a way that is effective and we are delivering on core commitments and that’s why I want to meet with him to get his assurance that he is going to continue in that same stead. We took, as a consequence of his actions, decisions which I thought were very appropriate. Those decisions will be kept in place; we have a new Deputy Mayor, we have a new Works Councillor but in respect to him being a councillor of the Belize City Council, he was elected by the people and I want to ensure that as a councillor that he continues to perform his public duties. He has no portfolio at this time and there is no decision on my part to assign any portfolio to him.”

Prime Minister Says Cane Farmers Have A Case for Bagasse
At this morning’s press conference the Prime Minister presented the Government’s position on the ongoing dispute within the sugar industry. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “We are convinced and as a lawyer, I am entirely satisfied that there is every basis for our conviction. We are convinced that the farmers have a case. We look at the provision in the memorandum of understanding that talks about the sharing of revenue arising from the sale of any byproduct will be subject to future discussions and sharing of the revenue will be based on the result of those discussions and in our view that clearly contemplates some form of compensation to farmers for the bagasse. The argument that the bagasse is waste and is not a byproduct in our minds cannot stand. Apart from general common sense, apart from trying to do an exegesis, admittedly the formulation is less than complete, less than clear, is subject to argument but doing the best that I can, in terms of my experience as a lawyer and my knowledge on how you read language and texts, I am convinced, as is the rest of my Cabinet, that this contemplates that when, as has now happened, the sugar industry is able to make use of what formally was treated solely as waste to generate fuel and bagasse can be used for other things, I’ve seen, and when that happens you cannot say that the bagasse is not a byproduct. To me, it doesn’t hold water for that argument to be made. So, we are absolutely positive that the farmers have a case and that that case needs to be addressed. Now we part ways with the farmers, in terms of the manner in which it seems they are determined to make their point and to press their case. We cannot consider it helpful for the industry, for the economy in the north and for the country for there to be this talk about strike and non-commencement of the crop; that will hurt all of us but it will hurt most the very farmers that are being encouraged not to deliver.”

LOVE TV

No Evidence of Impropriety with Minister Castro
Since October, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Edmund Castro has been the focus of allegations that he is involved in a visa hustling ring. Last night Channel 5 reported that they had obtained copies of documents which they say implicates the Minister of State and his administration. Prime Minister Barrow responded to the allegations at today’s press conference. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “I indicated that the Minister checked, spoke to the Director, the Director made it clear that at no stage did Minister Castro lean on her, call her in any way or intervened on her to try to procure a visa for a single solitary soul. The fact that he wrote letters of recommendations, on the face of it, is absolutely in order. Having had the minister’s report to me that the Director is crystal clear in saying there was no effort at twisting her arm or even gently persuading her on the part of Castro to give any visa. What you have produced is, in my view, not even remotely close to a smoking gun. On the face of it, ministers are entitled and perhaps obliged to write letters of recommendation. If you had shown that 200 or 100 or 75 and in combination with that there was any complaint, not complaint, any indication from the Immigration Director, who is the one who authorizes the visa, that Castro had intervened, then you would have had an argument.”

Belize’s Foreign Affairs Announces New Honorary Consul for Guyana
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that the Government of Belize has agreed to the appointment of Hugh Asquith Saul as Guyana’s Honorary Consul in Belize. Saul will replace Lutchman Sooknandan who served in that capacity for a number of years but retired due to ill health. On Friday Saul was presented with his Letters of Commission by the Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Guyana. Saul’s appointment as Guyana’s Honorary Consul in Belize represents an important step in the further deepening of relations between the two CARICOM countries and to ensuring that nationals of Guyana residing in Belize are afforded the opportunity of consular services. Prior to migrating to Belize, Saul served as a member of the Board of Directors in the Guyana State Corporation, Guyana Fisheries Corporation, Guyana Agricultural Products Corporation, Guyana Agricultural Research and Development Institute and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism.

Farmers Need New Approach for Bagasse, PM Says
At this morning’s press conference the Prime Minister presented the Government’s position on the ongoing dispute within the sugar industry. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “We are convinced and as a lawyer, I am entirely satisfied that there is every basis for our conviction. We are convinced that the farmers have a case. We look at the provision in the memorandum of understanding that talks about the sharing of revenue arising from the sale of any byproduct will be subject to future discussions and sharing of the revenue will be based on the result of those discussions and in our view that clearly contemplates some form of compensation to farmers for the bagasse. The argument that the bagasse is waste and is not a byproduct in our minds cannot stand. Apart from general common sense, apart from trying to do an exegesis, admittedly the formulation is less than complete, less than clear, is subject to argument but doing the best that I can, in terms of my experience as a lawyer and my knowledge on how you read language and texts, I am convinced, as is the rest of my Cabinet, that this contemplates that when, as has now happened, the sugar industry is able to make use of what formally was treated solely as waste to generate fuel and bagasse can be used for other things, I’ve seen, and when that happens you cannot say that the bagasse is not a byproduct. To me, it doesn’t hold water for that argument to be made. So, we are absolutely positive that the farmers have a case and that that case needs to be addressed. Now we part ways with the farmers, in terms of the manner in which it seems they are determined to make their point and to press their case. We cannot consider it helpful for the industry, for the economy in the north and for the country for there to be this talk about strike and non-commencement of the crop; that will hurt all of us but it will hurt most the very farmers that are being encouraged not to deliver.” The Prime Minister says he hopes to meet with cane farmers shortly.

Duo Steals From Skills Training Centre
Two men were charged in connection with a burglary at Skills Training Trading Center on Magazine Road in Belize City, when they appeared today in court. They are 37-year-old, security guard Glenford Patnett and 30-year-old, Giovanni Dougal, an office assistant at Skills Training Trading Center. Patnett was charged with burglary while Dougal was charged with abetment of a crime, to wit: burglary. Both men pled not guilty to the charges. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser offered each of them bail in the sum of $5,000.00 and adjourned their case until January 23, 2014. The burglary occurred between Friday, November 22 and Monday, November 25. According to the report, Patnett entered as a trespasser at the office of the receptionist and stole 640 dollars and a green cellular phone. The allegation goes further to say that Dougal facilitated Patnett in the commission of the crime. The door of the receptionist office was found damaged.

Manslaughter Conviction Leads to 15 Years Behind Bars
49-year-old, Vincent Tillett, a.k.a. “Steeno’, a father of nine who was charged with murder but was convicted of manslaughter, was sentenced to 15 years today by Justice Adolph Lucas. Justice Lucas stipulated that Tillett’s remanded time of three years is to be subtracted from his sentence, so he will serve 12 years. Tillett’s conviction was for the fatal stabbing of 22-year-old, Darwin Phillips, a.k.a. “Darmu”, which occurred on February 13, 2011, at the house of Tillett. Before he decided on the sentence Justice Lucas heard pleas for mitigation from Tillett’s daughter, Naera Polanco,28 and two of his friends, businessman Alvin Hyde Jr. and Pastor Melvin Davis of the Church of Christ. All three of them spoke well of Tillett. They said that he is a quiet person, that he is hard working and that he is not a person quick to anger. Tillett’s attorney, Arthur Saldivar, also spoke on his behalf. Crown Kayshia Grant represented the prosecution.

PlusTV

BSI says Bagasse Dispute Should be Settled in Court
Today, the Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) and its partner in the Tower Hill factory American Sugar Refining (ASR) met the press in Belize City to give their side of the ongoing dispute over a payment for bagasse. The sugar producer has and continues to insist that the farmers...

Why Prime Minister Rejects Senate Inquiry Into Passport Scandal?
The motion tabled by the Opposition at the last meeting of the Senate for a Senate-led inquiry into reports of corruption at the Ministry of Immigration was struck down by the Government’s side of the floor. Six Senators voted in favor of the investigation, while the remaining six –...

Is CPBL on the Bench of the Defendant?
Breaking news this evening! Plus News has learned that CPBL; Citrus Growers of Belize Limited has been sued in the United States Supreme Court; specifically Puerto Rico. The suit is brought against the Citrus Company by SOCIEDAD AGRICOLA HERMANOS PEREZ, INC., of Puerto Rico, a Distributor of CPBL’s CitroPulpa;...

Is Former Deputy Mayor Eric Chang going to Meet with Mayor?
Belize City Councilor Eric Chang is confirmed to be back in Belize and high on his list of priorities is a meeting with his boss, Mayor Darrell Bradley. Stripped of his title as Deputy Mayor and his portfolio, Chang must explain why his name has been called as the...

Prime Minister Weighs in on the Bagasse Controversy
For the last two days, the cases of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) on the issue of payment for bagasse has been publicly presented. Each is adamant and there are suggestions of a court battle. But the farmers won an important...

Another Land Problem Visits the Corozal District
Double ownership of lands seems to happen more often than it should. Whatever procedures have lead to more than one person showing documents for land, has apparently still not been adequtely addressed at the Lands Department. We have another complaint today from a certain Lenox Garbutt who told us...

Violence Against Women Subject to 16 Days of Activism
The Sixteen Days of Activism is a major event for women’s rights advocates as they tie in three special observances toward the end of November and December – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which was observed yesterday, November 25; World Aids Day on December...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker’s Football Finest
TEAM ROSTER Manager – Mr. Julian ‘Neno’ Rosado Coach – Mr. Noe Sandoval

Dance X BZ 2013 – FREE Saturday Performace at the Bliss Centre for Performing Arts
November 26th, 2013. Dance Extravaganza which has become an annual event in November hosted by the Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts announces “Dance X BZ 2013”! This year the festival will be held on Thurs. Nov 28, 29, 30, and includes both national and international dancers and groups such as: Belizean Jamie Thompson will be performing from The Dallas Black Dance Theatre, a dance company in the US. Jamie is an alumnus of Wesley College, who later joined the Belize National Dance Co; worked at the Institute of Creative Arts, studied in the US and is now a professional dancer with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre!!! Other dancers and groups taking the stage over the weekend include: Belize National Dance Company Ballet Folklorico, San Benito, Peten (Guatemala) Ugundani Dance Group The Ballet Art School Nu Generation Dance Company Orqueda Negra Dance Group Papa Zulu & Metro Sierra ( Mexico) Lirahunu Satue Dance Club The Airbender Ebenezer Youth Group New Elite ( Toledo) Latino Mix Dance Company (Corozal)

Blogs

Taste of Playa celebrates 5th anniversary
This year Taste of Playa celebrated its 5th anniversary with a spectacular special even night, a wine and food pairing event hosted by La Casa del Agua. The menu included a salad of Melon and Goat Cheese, Seabass in Romescu Sauce, a slow roasted Portabello Confit, sauteed Squid filled with Pancetta Mousse, Beer Marinated Short Ribs and finally a Triple Chocolate Cake. All six courses were timed perfectly, the food was served at the right temperature and the wines were poured on time…. no easy feat with a group of 50 discerning, well-traveled and in this case rowdy foodies. The Kumar’s also attended the same dinner and said it was a great way to kick off the Taste of Playa 2013 and get to know the event committee and others people who had bought VIP passes. You can read the full review and see pictures on Life’s a Beach blog.

My Favorite Dining in Punta Gorda – Gomier’s Restaurant, Asha’s Culture Kitchen and Da Lazy Fish
This is maybe my third or fourth post about my new favorite town in Belize: Punta Gorda. I’ve called it magical…everything you want Belize to be in one place…and a Belize that almost feels stuck in time. It’s all those things. Also interesting to me is that the “restaurant scene” is no scene at all. From what I can tell, Punta Gorda proper doesn’t have one “fancy” restaurant. One with table cloths and candle light, one that serves tapas or farm to table produce… Some of the restaurants that I found didn’t appear to be open at first glance, had run out of some of their menu items and required a bit of wait time to get your food. But all had yummy food and DELICIOUS fresh seafood. Many show off the heavy East Indian influence in the area with mild curry. I’ve never had more tender conch or tastier tofu in Belize. Here are a few of my favorites in Punta Gorda. ALL very worth the visit. My very favorite and one I visited twice…Gomier’s Restaurant and Soy Center. Yes. You read that right. Soy Center. Don’t be scared off. It’s #1 on TripAdvisor for Punta Gorda restaurants.

Happy Thanksgivukkah To All!
Wow, it has been 125 years since Thanksgiving fell on the first day of Hanukkah, a rare occasion!! And everywhere you look around the web and on social networks people are excited; so excited are they that a new word has been born, "Thanksgivukkah"! The secular calendar and the Jewish calendar collided this year and we now have a once-in-a-life time convergence; something that will not happen again for another 70,000 years. This Hanukkah and Thanksgiving I am thankful for family, health, prosperity, food, technology, friends and music. As we all gather around our tables with our loved ones, I would like to wish each of you a Happy Hanukkah and a joyous Thanksgiving!

Outsource2LAC Shapes up as the foremost outsourcing and offshoring event in Latin America and the Caribbean
Representatives of hundreds of global services companies meet in Buenos Aires with industry experts to examine current trends The third annual Latin American and Caribbean Outsourcing and Offshoring Forum, Outsource2LAC, brought together representatives of leading global services industries in the region with potential clients from Asia, Europe, and North America. More than 500 businesspeople from the global services sector, trade promotion professionals and government officials participated in the meeting, which was held in Buenos Aires Nov. 20-21. During the event participants held more than 1000 one-on-one business meetings in fields that included digital animation, virtual education, pharmaceutical research and development, architectural design, and engineering design, among others. “Our region is increasingly recognized internationally for the great variety and quality of the global services it offers, and Outsource2LAC has become a key resource for this market,” said Fabrizio Opertti, chief of the Trade and Investment Unit of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). “Our geographic location, time zone, and our growing numberof creative and innovative companies give us a competitive advantage,” he added.

We Need A New Constitution
You can’t have a house on a sinking foundation and you would never build a new house on one right? So then why are we ignoring the fact that our Constitution is a sinking foundation that needs to go? Example # 1: On November 26, 2013 the Government of Belize held a House Meeting. After this meeting the media reported that Hon. John Saldivar secured an approval from the Prime Minister for $150,000 to assist the Belmopan City Council with much needed repairs to the streets of Belmopan. If you study the Belize Constitution carefully you will find that Proviso to Section 16 (Non-Discrimination based upon race, religion, political persuasion, sex, etc.) expressly states that the Non-Discrimination Provision under Section 16 shall NOT apply to budgetary allocations under the National Budget. Therefore, allowing the ruling Government, more so the Prime Minister, unbridled power to discriminate against, for example, Area Representatives from the opposition party, thus leaving them hamstrung by not allocating financial resources to their constituency under the National Budget.

International Sources

Is Belize Becoming the Top Retirement Destination for Americans?
Belize, in Central America, is fast becoming one of the top retirement locations for Americans because of its climate, low-cost of living, close proximity to the US, and its culture. Over the last few years, more and more US retirees have relocated, retired, and continue to live in the country of Belize, located in Central America. According to BZE Tours, a company that specializes in Belize relocation and retirement tours, many Americans have opted to move and retire to Belize because the highly touted tropical paradise provides a long list of benefits that has captivated them. Some of these benefits are: Low Taxes – Belize is one of the few countries that can boast of low taxation on property, which is currently pegged at 1.5% on average. They have no capital gains tax, making the country ripe for property investing, most especially since Belize’s real estate market is considered highly affordable when compared to the real estate market in the US. Retire Persons Program – Aside from low taxes, the Belizean government has instituted a program that provides numerous incentives to retired individuals above the age of 45 years. One major incentive that most American retirees love is the duty-free tax break when bringing in vehicles and other goods from the US. Belizeans Speaks English – English is the official language in the country. It is used for everyday business and in every home, making Belize a retirement and relocation destination that will make Americans feel right at home. Currency Advantage – Currently, the Belizean dollar has an exchange rate of 2 is to 1 US$. There is no complicated exchange rate to deal with.

S&P affirms Belize at 'B-/B', outlook is stable
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Wednesday affirmed the B-minus/single-B foreign and local currency long- and short-term ratings on Belize. The rating outlook is stable. S&P said the ratings reflect the country's lingering high government debt and interest burden, and the vulnerability of its external debt service to external or fiscal shocks.

European Union Proposes Ban on Fish Imports From Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea
Fish imports from Cambodia, Belize and Guinea may be banned from the European Union for allowing illegal fishing operations. According to Reuters, Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki announced in a statement Tuesday that she recommended the ban due to the countries failure to tackle illegal fishing. "We import 65% of the fish our citizens eat and we would like to be sure that all this fish we eat is fished in a legal way," Damanaki said. "EU ships are not going to fish in their waters and there will be no cooperation with fishing vessels flagged from these countries." Three more countries, including South Korea and Ghana have been warned that they are in danger of facing a similar ban, in the first major proposal against countries failing to discontinue illegal fishing for people who do not have the correct permit.

Paddling Strokes - Belize Kayaking
I recently had two kayaking experiences in the country of Belize. Belize is an interesting country in Central America. I had gone to Belize many years ago on a mission trip to the interior cities of Corozal Town and San Ignacio. But this trip was to the barrier island of San Pedro with its outer barrier reef. After getting to the coastal city of Belize City, Tropic Airline delivers tourist to the outer resort areas. Rose Mary and I flew the Tropic "puddle jumper" to the city of San Pedro on the island of the same name. This island is narrow, only a few hundred yards wide and at just above sea level. After meeting our resort host we walked an alley two blocks to the boat pier as our luggage was taxied around to the boat. Then a seven minute boat ride took us up the island to our resort, El Pescador (The Fisherman). English is the language of Belize as it was previously British Honduras.

Newcastle United Transfer Special: Could Deon McCaulay Be The Next Mirandinha?
WHO is Deon McCaulay I hear you ask? He’s only the joint top scorer of the World Cup 2014 Qualification campaign with 11 goals equal to Robin Van Persie and Luis Suarez. MORE than the 10 of Lionel Messi, Edin Dzeko, Gonzolalo Huguain and Radamel Falcao, all 60M Euros worth. Goals win football matches and goal scorers are the most precious commodity in the football world. And 26 year-old Deon McCaulay, Belize international striker who currently bangs them in for the superbly-named Belmopan Bandits is a natural born goalscorer. He is fast, skilful, both-footed and could be the fox-in-the-box that Newcastle need to kill games off against tired opposition in the second half of games.

Concerns raised over SEWAGE FLOW in C’bbean Sea
As much as 90 per cent of the sewage discharged into the Caribbean Sea is either untreated or partially treated, a situation which the United Nations says is a major threat to the region's bread and butter — tourism. Previously, the figures bandied about were between 80 and 85 per cent. But, at yesterday's opening of a media workshop on wastewater hosted by the Global Environment Facility-Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (GEF CReW), officials said the lower figures were representative of the wider Latin American and Caribbean region. Either way, the incidence has earned the region a failing grade as it stands to turn tourists away from our shores. "The Caribbean is failing in its handling of wastewater. It's receiving a failing grade from tourism. It's receiving a failing grade from fishing. It's receiving a failing grade from public health. It's receiving a failing grade in terms of climate adaptation," a five-minute video on the subject said. The failure stems from aged — and, therefore, inefficient — treatment plants in some instances, ineffective policies, poor policing of policies where they do exist, as well as the absence of facilities and policies in other cases.

American Airlines Launches Internet Check-In
Just in time for the busy travel season, American Airlines customers traveling with a passport from Latin America, the Caribbean, or Bermuda, can now conveniently check in for their flights via the internet. “With this new service, passengers are able to check in online through aa.com two to 24 hours before traveling, if they are traveling to the United States or to their citizen country,” the company said. This new feature allows customers to conveniently check in, select or change seats and request upgrades when available, all from the comfort of your computer or personal device. It also reduces the time spent waiting at the airport, allowing customers to print their boarding passes at home or via the self-service machines at the airport. “We know that our customers value the convenience and flexibility of being able to check in for their flights from anywhere,” said Art Torno, American’s Vice-President- Mexico, Caribbean and Latin America.

Thrillseeker, 61, who has traveled the world to dive into its dingiest caves jumps into Mexican pit so deep CLOUDS form inside
A thrillseeker who has traveled the world to dive into its dingiest caves has shared stunning photographs of his favorite one yet - a 1,200-foot-deep hole in Mexico that is so deep, clouds form inside. Dave Bunnell, a 61-year-old adrenaline junky from Delaware, has traveled to 18 different countries to take on dozens of the world's dingiest pits - and his favorite is Mexico's astonishing El Sotano de las Golondrinas, also known as 'the Basement of Swallows', in San Luis Potosi. These stunning images of the cave - one of the world's most dramatic free fall pits and a natural wonder than attracts thousands of cavers each year - show the moment he and his fellow divers plunge into the cave, passing through the clouds inside. Dave, an avid photographer, said the spectacular clouds, which form when humidity comes into contact with colder air, provide a perfect opportunity for him to take stunning pictures. He set up equipment on the cave floor below to capture the remarkable images. 'I started caving when I was 21, as part of a university outdoors club - I'd already been backpacking and rock climbing with them,' he explained. 'A couple of girls I was interested in were going caving, so I signed up and never looked back. I've since traveled all over the world, enjoying some of the most beautiful natural sights on the planet. 'It's such a different world it sometimes seems like being on another planet. So the other-worldliness of it, and that you never know what may lay around the next corner, when exploring a new cave, even a small one can give you these feelings like no other.'

How to Swim with Sharks in Belize
Aboard a Belize adventure tour, you’re sitting in a boat on the backside of Ambergris Caye outside Belize’s barrier reef. Your mission: find a patch of water known as ‘Shark Ray Alley’, jump in and swim with a school of fully-grown sharks. At this point, you think to yourself, “What happened to the stress free vacation I promised myself?” The good news is these aren’t great whites – instead, today you’ll be swimming with nurse sharks. Don’t let the name “shark” fool you; these gentle giants are harmless…at least most of the time. To help you relax and enjoy this special experience, here are helpful facts to keep in mind while swimming with nurse sharks.


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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!
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