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The San Pedro Sun

Coral Beach Realty joins the Century 21 family
On Thursday, December 19th, Coral Beach Realty, located on Barrier Reef Drive of San Pedro Town officially became a franchise of the Century 21 real estate company. Century 21 was founded in 1971, with its main headquarters located in Madison, New Jersey and its regional office located in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Company has over 7,100 independent franchised broker owned companies in 74 countries worldwide. With the addition of Coral Beach Realty, Belize now has two. Owner and broker of Coral Beach Realty Bob Hamilton sat with the regional director of Century 21, Edgar F. Santamaria as the partnership was officially launched. Congratulations Bob and team! We wish you continued success!

Caye Caulker residents upset over sand and road conditions
Residents of Caye Caulker are up in arms after a private sand company was observed to be barging off sand to Ambergris Caye. The residents are claiming that the streets in Caye Caulker are in the worst state it has ever been and that the sand is being barged off the island should instead be used to fix their streets. Frustrated residents claim that since June, villagers have been unable to see or hear from their Area Residents Honorable Manuel Heredia to have the street issues on the island addressed. The San Pedro Sun understands that the private sand company on Caye Caulker belongs to Damien Chamberlain, and Belize Marine and Sand does the dredging. The dredging/mining permit is in the name of the Caye Caulker Village Council (CCVC) which was confirmed by Village Chairman Wayne Miller. The Chairman said that while the complaints by the residents are legitimate, the fact is that the sand belongs to a private company. “Under the mining permit, the agreement is that we are paid for the use of our permit, since it belongs to CCVC and we also get 10% of the material dredged. I must say that we are paid for the use of the permit and we are getting far beyond the 10% of the material dredged,” said Miller.

Learn traditional massage techniques with Master Lee
Have you always wanted to work using your hands to help heal and bring relief to those in pain? If you have ever been interested in traditional medicine that applies the intricate knowledge of the body, using said knowledge to heal, then perhaps you should take up the offer by generous island healer Master Lee. He is offering a free – yes, FREE – course in traditional massage techniques. Lee stated that he wants to pass down his knowledge to others who can in turn use the lessons as an opportunity to work and make a living. It’s certainly a generous offer, and one that should not be taken lightly. But what exactly is Master Lee’s technique, and how did he come about with such knowledge? For reference, we reprint an excerpt from Our Belize Community in The San Pedro Sun, Volume 17 Issue #45. “Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practices include theories, diagnosis and treatments such as herbal medicine, acupuncture and massage. TCM theory asserts that processes of the human body are interrelated and in constant interaction with the environment. It is a tradition passed down from generations, kept alive, and was brought down to Belize at a time when people were unaware of its curative powers. One such person who keeps the tradition going is island resident Master Lee.

Misc Belizean Sources

Christmas liquor law in Corozal district
I am writing this letter so that u can hear our voices. On the 25th of December 2013, we were told by the liquor board and police department that we can open after 6 p.m. When 6 p.m comes we opened our stores, suddenly the police comes to closed us down. They told us new LAW !!!!! On Christmas business should closed all day, apparently it only HAPPEN IN COROZAL town because we called our families and friends in Orang Walk and Belize city, they said everything is normal stores are opened. So why the system here are different from other district? This not finished yet, the company KUbili can sell their beers and do dance on Christmas while the whole town got to be closed down, so tell me what so special about them. Apparently they were the only business operating. We think someone receive money to make sure all business are closed on Christmas.the people of Corozal suffered for this Christmas and another thing we over heard people complaining that buying beers were like buying crack.

Christmas at Octavia Waight
Feelgood news of Christmas. Atlantic Bank visited the residents of the Octavia Waight Centre to bring them presents and bring them some Christmas cheer. As you can see, the residents at OWC always appreciate visits. Thanks, Atlantic Bank! "This year we chose a nursing home in San Ignacio Cayo called Octavia Waight Centre to bring back a little Christmas joy to the elderly. This is our christmas story about our visit to the nursing home. On Wednesday, December 18, 2013 we visited 28 residents of the Octavia Waight Centre. The staff and the residents were very welcoming. We met with each and every one of the residents of the Centre one at a time. While visiting with them, many of the residents spoke about their likes, dislikes, the careers that they once had. They shared with us their hobbies, their life stories and even told us their amazing christmas story."

Canadian missionary reported missing from Valley of Peace village
The family of Canadian national Brian Townsend is in a frantic search for the missionary who has been reported missing from his home in Valley of Peace village, Cayo district. According to an internet post by the family, Townsend was discovered missing from his house on Christmas morning. The online post which goes under the heading of “Brian Townsend Missing Belize” says that “what we do know is there were signs of an aggressive struggle in his room that carried out the door and across the lawn to where his truck was parked. Brian’s phone and computer are missing as well. It goes without saying that we have been unable to contact Brian by any means at all.”

Blogs

New Business in San Pedro: Comfort Food, Country Music Bar, Restaurant & Hotel?
Last night was the soft opening of DC & Szana’s Country Cabana – a country music dedicated, comfort food servin’ spot in town. The only air conditioned restaurant on the beach. They also host guests at the 7 room hotel above them. The former Tio Pil’s and before that the old Lily’s Hotel in down town San Pedro. I am going to be honest from the very get-go: I am from New Jersey, I do not enjoy country music. One bit. But that doesn’t mean LOTS of people don’t love it. And lots of Belizeans love it too. A certain age group…I’d guess 35 and up…love country. In fact, one of the few radio stations “bak inna day” was classic country. I heard songs like “Strawberry Wine” and “Harper Valley PTA” for the first time at Belize Karaoke.

“Imagine” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Hopefully you all had a great Christmas. Rose and I did. The first in our new home. I know that it was Christmas but there was nothing much different for the start of the day for me. Usual routine. Veranda, chair, mug of black coffee and the iPad. Wait. There was a difference. I had a new iPad. An iPad Air. I can’t say that it came as a surprise. Why? Well, I bought it for myself. The ‘old’ (given that I have not had it for quite two years I shouldn’t really call it old) one has served me well but a lot of the original functionality has gone. Rose blames me for this saying that I just don’t look after things. Me? I think it’s the weather conditions. It’s funny though that her one works as well as the day she got it. Long before I got my one too! In the previous edition I showed you a couple of the presents that Rose gave to me. It didn’t end there though. Oh no. She bought me a pair of Belizean style house slippers.

GOB Bringing home the Bacon
The Government of Belize did another pair of nationalizations – and this time, it’s Immarbe and the IBC Registry – both foreign owned entities that control and operate the entire offshore business sector in Belize. Let’s start with Immarbe – that’s the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize, which sells the Belizean Flag as a flag of convenience to international vessels. That’s the one that we’ve been reporting on as causing much distress for Belize with the European Union. It’s gotten to the point where Belize was blacklisted by the European Union and our fisheries product could face trade sanctions because of the activities of the international vessels that carry Belize’s flag. And then there’s the IBC Registry, or International Business Companies Registry. That’s the entity that registers so-called offshore companies which are given tax-free status and assured secrecy in their corporate affairs. Both entities are at least partially owned by a company called Belize international Services Limited – which is believed to be part of the Ashcroft Alliance.

Must Read Story of the Year
Below is a letter I call the must read story of the year. The author, Franklin, is a young man in the PathLight Sponsorship+ Program. I’ve had the honor of knowing Franklin for several years now, and his letter is one of the most powerful you will read this year. I’m going to start pointing to this letter when people ask me why I do what I do. My name is Franklin. I was born in July 24th, 1993. A few months after I started life in this world, my biological father walked away on my mother and me. A few years later my mother was engaged in a common-law relationship, which was hard for me. My stepfather had four children of his own and of course, treated me differently. I would sometimes cry and wonder why my father had abandoned me like an unwanted puppy. In 2006, I was in 7th grade. My dream was to become someone important in life and I knew that it would only be possible if I could continue my education. After graduating primary school, I did not expect what happened next; my mom and stepdad abandoned me.

International Sources

Dodging a Holiday in a Remote Mexican Town
The night before Thanksgiving, while most of my acquaintances were setting tables or stuffing turkeys, I was in a lonesome town in Mexico, watching a salamander eat mosquitoes on a greasy kitchen wall. It was a hungry thing and went about devouring its prey with whip-quick lashes of an energetic tongue. Though I had chosen to avoid the feast day in the north, I didn’t mind the little lizard’s gluttony. Its meal, after all, was untroubled by the usual distractions: by football on TV or, moreover, the familiar family dramas. Despite — or perhaps because of — its enforced veneer of bliss, the month between the Macy’s parade and the Times Square ball drop can often inspire an unseasonable longing to escape. The place that I’d escaped to — Xcalak, a seaside town at the bottom of the Yucatán Peninsula — is one of those remote locations, like Key West or Gibraltar, whose inaccessibility is the essence of its charm. I had come for the holiday to evade the conventions of overeating and bickering with kin — to experience an admittedly transparent feeling of without-ness. Xcalak (pronounced ESH-cah-lahk) is a fishing village defined by what it lacks. Its few hundred residents largely live without electric power or modern indoor plumbing. There are solar panels and rain-catchment basins, but there aren’t any banks or A.T.M.s. You can’t use your credit card, and forget about your cellphone. The nearest place to refuel your car is an isolated Pemex station 30 miles away.

Edmonton man to search for missing father in Belize
An Edmonton man says he is flying to Belize early Saturday morning to search for his father, a missionary he believes was abducted on Christmas Day. Kory Townsend told CTV Edmonton that a cook arrived at the apartment of his father, Brian Townsend, on Dec. 25 and found evidence of a struggle inside and outside the apartment in Valley of Peace. Townsend told CTV both his father and his father’s truck were missing. A Facebook page entitled “Brian Townsend missing,” describes signs of “an aggressive struggle” in Brian Townsend’s sleeping area and the missing truck, and concludes, “Abduction.” Posts on the page say that Brian Townsend’s phone and computer were also missing. “I am not sure exactly what we will find or even how much help we will be in Belize, I realize that …,” Kory Townsend wrote on Facebook. “This is not a fun trip I’m about to go on, I am not excited. This is a rescue. If not for my father then for our sanity. I go as a courageous, confident ambassador for all of us that know Brian Townsend and wish to see him safe.”

2013: A year of lost opportunities for Caribbean countries
2013 was not a good year for any of the 14 independent member states of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), not even for three of the four commodity-exporting nations — Belize, Guyana and Suriname, despite their economic growth. The fourth commodity-exporting country, Trinidad and Tobago, had no growth to speak of. All the countries were beset by high unemployment; there was high debt in 10 of them; decline in inclusive economic growth in 11 of them; unsustainable fiscal deficits and widening trade deficits in goods and services in all of them; and foreign exchange losses in many of them. Additionally, bank lending and private spending tightened in 11 of them, causing a contraction in the private sector to which all countries had been looking to lead economic recovery in the wake of cash-strapped governments being compelled to retreat as both investor and employer.

SPICE SHOPPING AT THE PUNTA GORDA MARKET
The Punta Gorda Market lies not far from the lapping waters of the ocean, on a street lined with shops and casual cafes. From overturned milk crates, out of the backs of trucks and underneath rainbow-colored umbrellas, Belizeans sell everything from fresh produce to kitchen utensils to socks. However, it’s the Maya women selling spice mixtures who are the stars of the market. These glass jars with red, plastic lids are sought after by chefs and cooks all across Belize. The day I visited, my guide bought several jars for his brother, who cooks up the coast in Placencia. Now, at home in New York City, I still recall that smell when I’m cooking something that needs a little kick.