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INCESSANT RAINS COST BELIZE $5.88 MILLION IN DAMAGES TO ROADS
Official information released to our newspaper tonight by Chief Engineer Lennox Bradley confirms that the damage to the country’s infrastructure, caused by the incessant rains over the past two months, has been substantial.
Figures provided to us put the tab at $5.88 million, including $2.2 million in damages to the country’s sugar roads. Damage to public roads in the districts was reported at nearly $4 million.
Of note is that the figure does not include prior disrepair to the national road network.
Bradley informs us that, “The Ministry has already identified various contractors from the private sector who are assisting the Ministry in completing the works as soon as practically possible. The continued rains have affected the pace of the execution of works; but nevertheless, slow progress is being achieved and we are confident that with the anticipated improvement in weather conditions in January, we will be able to step up the pace to complete the works in a timely manner.”
He added that due to the impact of the recent rains, the Ministry of Finance has provided the Ministry of Works with the necessary funds to complete the San Roman Bridge in the Orange Walk District and the Crique Sarco Bridge in the Toledo District.
He said that $353,300 has been earmarked for the Crique Sarco Bridge and $300,000 for the San Roman Bridge.
LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMY TO GROW 3% IN 2014: IDB
“Caribbean must improve infrastructure and logistical services in order to lower transaction costs and make their industries more competitive”
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is forecasting that economic growth in the Latin America and Caribbean region, which includes Belize, will amount to 3% during 2014, according to a report released earlier this week.
It said that during 2013, the region’s economy grew by 2.7%. Of note is that latest statistical information from Belize authorities indicate that for the first nine months of 2013, the country’s economy has lagged well behind this regional average, at less than half-a-percent.
The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) reported national GDP expansion of a mere 0.4% for the first 9 months, with certain key sectors – including petroleum and agriculture – reporting challenges in production.
The IDB report said that on the regional front, “The year now coming to a close was marked by an external context that did not encourage a strong economic performance in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
It added that, “The high degree of volatility that rattled international financial markets and the fall in prices for basic goods took a toll on the region’s GDP growth, which averaged 2.7 percent.”
SON SHOOTS FATHER IN THE HEAD ON NEW YEAR’S DAY
At about 10:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day, a Ranchito businessman, Hensley Jones, 53, was shot three times in his head by his son, while they were at home together.
Police said that their initial investigations revealed that Hensley Jones was in the kitchen area with one of his sons, who shot him twice on the left side of his head and once in the back of his head for no apparent reason then drove off in a brown Isuzu Rodeo SUV en route to Corozal Town, where police later nabbed him and took him into custody.
According to police, they responded to a report of a shooting at Jones’ residence in Ranchito Village, and on their arrival, Jones approached the police vehicle with blood running down his head.
He was immediately taken to the Corozal Community Hospital.
BODY FOUND IN GUATEMALA WAS BRIAN TOWNSEND
As we go to press tonight, the family of Brian Townsend—the 64-year-old Canadian whose disappearance from his home in Valley of Peace in the Cayo District was reported over a week ago on Christmas Day — has confirmed that the body found in Guatemala was that of the missing missionary.
His body was found near the Belize-Guatemala border last Friday, December 27 – and buried by Guatemalan authorities because it was already decomposing. However, it was only today that the identity was confirmed by Townsend’s family.
In a Facebook post released at around 5:00 local time, the family said that, “With grieving hearts, we inform you that the body found in Guatemala is Brian Townsend.”
Meanwhile, a memorial service was held today by Valley of Peace residents to honor Townsend’s memory.
Modesto Duenas, Valley of Peace chairman, told Amandala on Tuesday when we visited the village, that they were saddened by the news that Townsend’s body might have been taken to Guatemala and dumped by his abductors, and they hope that the assailants are caught and brought to justice as soon as possible.
Reports are that investigators from the Belize Police Department made their way to the border village of Arenal, Cayo, earlier this week after receiving tips that Townsend’s vehicle – which had also been stolen at the time of his disappearance – had been spotted one night crossing the Belize-Guatemala border through a remote road, not usually patrolled by security forces.
BELIZEANS DOMINATE 24TH KREM NEW YEAR’S CLASSIC
New Year’s Day 2014 began with more heavy rains and overcast skies, as the 24th running of the Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic got under way from the northern border for the Elite and U-23 riders, and from Orange Walk Town for the Female, Junior/Youth and Masters Cat 4/5 races, all heading for the finish line near the intersection of Central American Boulevard with Mahogany Street in Belize City. But by the time the cylists neared Ladyville, the sun was shining brightly and it remained clear skies and bright sunshine till the end of the race, and in fact for the rest of New Year’s Day.
With a lucrative package of station prizes and finishing prizes, there were enough foreigners in the field of Elites – Americans, Mexicans and Guatemalans, for some local fans to be wary of all the “treasures” possibly leaving for foreign shores. But the era of team riding is now firmly entrenched in the cycling community, and the “spoils” are reportedly shared to some extent among team members. Nevertheless, race fans still instinctively root for our local boys, especially in the Krem Classic and the Cross Country, the two biggest races on the cycling calendar; it certainly adds to the spice of the race. And they were not disappointed yesterday.
COUSIN SHOOTS TASHIA 7 TIMES
A mother is outraged that a young man whose life she said she had once saved tried to shoot her daughter to death on New Year’s Eve night. More appalling, though, is the fact that the gunman and the victim are cousins, who grew up together but who apparently had issues because of the girl’s association with his rivals, said the mother.
Tashia Pauline Staine, 19, was entering her yard when her younger cousin, known as “Bigga,” 17, allegedly rode up and opened fire on her. When she fell to the ground, the gunman allegedly stood over her and fired more shots before riding away on his bicycle.
The incident occurred a little before 11 New Year’s Eve night, on Gladden Street, just off La Croix Boulevard in the Lake Independence area of Belize City.
Today, Staine—who had been shot 7 times—is recovering at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), while charges have yet to be levied against the young man whom she named—while on the ground gasping for air—as the shooter.
SUGAR CANE STANDOFF PERSISTS INTO 2014
The sugar industry crisis—which came to a head in late 2013 with deadlock between cane farmers and the Belize Sugar Industries—will no doubt spill over into 2014. The impasse has emerged due to an ongoing dispute surrounding the payment for bagasse, a byproduct of sugar cane.
Belize’s local sugar producer, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), utilizes bagasse to generate electricity, which it sells to Belize Electricity Limited; and this practice has led to a protracted feud between the stakeholders of the vital sugar industry because the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), and by extension, the local cane farmers want to be paid for the bagasse.
For over the last two months, the farmers and BSI – specifically its parent company American Sugar Refineries (ASR) – have been at loggerheads concerning a negotiated payment for the bagasse; while the 2014 sugar cane crop season has now been delayed for an entire month, in part due to this issue.
The most recent meeting between the opposing parties took place on Monday, December 23, 2013, at the BSI Staff Club in Orange Walk Town, where both parties met for the first time in three months. However, after around three hours of deliberations, no middle ground was reached; therefore, the stalemate continues and the fate of the next sugar crop season is still uncertain.
DECEMBER CHESS EXTRAVAGANZA 2013 REVIEW
The DCE (December Chess Extravaganza) 2013 Swiss Tournament is now history. Twenty participants took part in two categories, nine in the junior and eleven in the senior. The turnout was rather unexpected, because of the very high number of those who pre-registered. However, the twenty participants gave good account of themselves.
In the junior section, participants ranging in age from seven to eleven played their hearts out. From round one to five, their focus/attention was on their game. Upsets with their losses were mingled with happiness in their victories.
The upset game of round one was between young Akeem Roches and Alexander Musa, who came in first and second, respectively, in the tournament. It lasted six minutes. Young Akeem, in Creole parlance, was “in his thing.” He was cool, as he moved his pieces across the checkered board. Alexander was noticeably uncomfortable. Fifteen moves after the game started, it was over.
Of interest in round one was the game between two of the female players, Philany Palacio and Evian Berges. Both girls went after each other aggressively. After nineteen minutes, Philany emerged as the winner. At the end of the tournament, Evian received the Best Sportsmanship award and Philany the Best Female award.
BROWN BOMBERS ARE CHAMPIONS
champion, Brown Bombers, who edged rivals Hattieville United by the same 1-nil score that they had lost to Hattieville by in the 2012 finals.
The championship game, which was preceded by the 3rd place game between City Boys and Ladyville Rising Stars, took place at the MCC Grounds on Sunday, December 22, before the Premier League clash between FC Belize and BDF. Rising Stars defeated City Boys for the 3rd place spot.
The SMART 13 & Under championship game was evenly matched, with the decisive goal coming in second half from a long free kick by Tyreek Muschamp, who played sweeper for Brown Bombers in first half, then moved up into the attack in second half. The kids played their hearts out on both sides, but the goal by Muschamp stood up to secure the 1-nil victory and the championship for the Bombers.
Immediately following the game, beautiful individual trophies were issued to all members of the 3rd place, 2nd place and championship teams. Big team trophies for 1st , 2nd and 3rd place teams were also received by their respective coaches and captains; individual award trophies were given for outstanding players in the different positions; and there was a special Fair Play trophy for the most deserving team.
TRAINING CYCLIST, GEON HANSON, 22, SUFFERS MAJOR INJURIES IN ROAD ACCIDENT
Following a traffic mishap blamed on the indiscriminate use of high-beam lights and on wet road conditions, a promising young cyclist suffered 8 broken ribs and had to have his spleen removed after he was knocked down by a bus near St. Matthew’s Village on the George Price Highway. The young cyclist, 22-year-old Geon Hanson, was training for the KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic.
The Belmopan resident was found on the side of the highway, between miles 36 and 37, at around 6:15 a.m. last Tuesday, December 24, 2013, after he was unfortunately knocked down by a J & J commuter bus, traveling in the same direction.
According to Saul Castellanos, the bus driver, he was eastbound when the lights of an oncoming vehicle temporarily blinded him. He said that when he regained his sight, he saw the cyclist in his path and tried to avoid hitting him but wet road conditions compounded the problem, causing him to hit Hanson.
Hanson, whose lungs had collapsed, was subsequently transported in an unconscious state to the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, where he underwent an emergency surgery to remove his spleen. He was later transported to the KHMH in Belize City for another emergency surgery.
THE NEW YEAR BEGINS
2013 is fast winding down, and the New Year 2014 is almost here, and it begins with the full blown spectacle of the 2nd biggest cycling event in the 2014 calendar – as over a hundred cyclists, male and female, from Youth to Masters, local and foreign, first timers, veteran warriors and past champions are all getting ready to gear down for what has become a Belizean tradition now about to enter its 24th year – the Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic.
Coincidentally, the first KREM Cycling Classic, won by Michael “Big Wire” Lewis, took place on New Year’s Day of 1991, the same year that the first semi-pro football season kicked off in Belize. The Premier League is right now in the heat of perhaps its toughest and most exciting race to their playoffs. Playoff bound teams will likely not be finally decided until next weekend, although some teams might clinch a playoff spot from this coming Sunday. But cycling is a different story.
In this Wednesday’s KREM New Year’s Classic, it will all be decided once and for all on New Year’s Day, when fans will welcome the winners as they cross the finish line at the junction of Mahogany Street and Central American Boulevard. The “playoffs,” if there are any, are being decided with registration deadlines and the technical meeting tonight at the UWI campus on Princess Margaret Drive. And all vetted cyclists will get a chance to compete for the prestigious KREM Classic championship which comes along with what is certainly the most enticing package of prizes ever for this race. Where previously the race station prizes only included one of a thousand dollars, there are now four such prizes along the way to the finish, where there is an even bigger bag of prizes for the champion. And there are many other smaller station prizes along the way.
PARTY POLITICS: Editorial
As we enter the New Year of 2014, the newspaper would like to review the last couple years of ruling UDP and Opposition PUP party politics. Our readers will have noted that we have been trying in these pages to cut through the shrill personality aspect of Belize’s politics in order to analyze core philosophical issues of socio-economics. It has not been an easy task. There has been, it appears to us, a considered effort to confuse the Belizean people with all kinds of noises and distractions. The campaign to confuse originates from the same places which gave us slavery, colonialism, and neocolonialism: you can fill in the blanks.
There was a kind of golden age in Belizean politics where socio-economics was concerned. Quite arbitrarily, we would say this golden age was roughly from 1958 to 1968. Under Hon. George Price, the PUP government was seeking to remove the ethnic injustices and class differences which had been characteristic of British colonialism here. This was the sociology. On the economic side, the PUP plunged into agricultural production in a determined effort to improve the living conditions of the people in the midst of declining forestry resources and revenues.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
You know, there are different ways of looking at life. What works for you, works for you. It’s quite popular for some people nowadays to say that you can be anything you want to be. In the old days, some people used to put it like this: reach for the stars and maybe you’ll reach the moon.
Personally, I look at things somewhat differently. I think it’s important for oppressed people, especially those with sensitive personalities, to know their place, so to speak. For sure this sounds defeatist, but it’s also realistic. What works for me, works for me.
Once you come from a certain background, your margin of error is limited. That is why we have so many human shipwrecks in our community. One or two mistakes, and you’re wasted. And that is why our parents used to beat us seemingly without mercy. It was because they knew that our margin of error would be limited, and they therefore sought to ensure that we kept our tail between our legs, as the saying goes.
Sometimes I think I am one of the individuals that rich people call “bleeding hearts.” As I drive around my community, it hurts to see those of my people who would be referred to as “losers.” At this stage of my life, I am considered a modest success, but I can’t spend any time congratulating myself. I know that with a little change of luck here and there, things would have been disastrously different for me.
LANDS DEPT. TAKES ON AUDREY AND THE PICKWOODS
The Ministry of Natural Resources fired back today against allegations that its former Chief Executive Officer, Beverly Castillo, has been involved in a scheme to defraud a Belizean-American, Bernadette Pickwood, of land to give to her (Castillo’s) mother and son.
In a statement issued today, the Ministry of Natural Resources maintained that it followed the right procedure before forfeiting Pickwood’s lease (No. 253/1989 in Belama). However, Pickwood’s attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, and her brother, Bernard Pickwood, told the media today that the forfeiture was not legal, as the required notice had not been given to the leaseholder.
“This is the crux of it: Was Bernadette Pickwood given this notice and reasonable time to address it? And we are saying no!” Matura-Shepherd said.
In an unusual disclosure, the Lands Department today made public Pickwood’s rent statement, which claims that as of January 2013, she had $720 in arrears, accrued because she had not paid rent on the land she received.
2013 GONE, BUT 2014 YEAR OF RECKONING!
by Audrey Matura-Shepherd. This is my first writing to be published in 2014 and so I want to start by thanking all those people who have fervently read what I write and encouraged me to continue doing so. You may never know how many days I am pressed for time and I am totally exhausted, but the thought that I cannot disappoint you and that you are looking forward to hear from me on the issues of our loved country, makes me become re-energized to fulfill my implied and understood commitment to you.
Also special thanks to those thousands who keep praying for me. Many ask how I find time to write and what helps to embolden me to speak so openly and frankly about issues. Let me tell you, it is all possible because of the grace of God and all those prayers from the heart keep adding to my account and multiplying my grace. Thank you so much and whoever you are, I too pray back those same blessings on you, that our Almighty Father may hold you up in 2014 and give you all you need to manifest and achieve His purpose for you in life.
RAISE OF PAY FOR TEACHERS, PUBLIC SERVANTS COMING IN AUGUST 2014
Teachers and public servants have continued to plead with the Government to speedily implement a cost of living adjustment to offset what they say is a rise in the cost of living exceeding 30%; and as the New Calendar Year, 2014, has dawned, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow used that occasion to announce that those workers will be getting a salary adjustment – just not quite yet.
In his New Year’s Day speech, Barrow said that the headline grabber is the decision of the Government to pay the raise – but not until August 2014, retrospective to April, the start of the fiscal year. He offered no explanation why the raise would be delayed.
The Prime Minister also did not specify the quantum of the raise. He described it merely as “substantial” – pointing to an agreement, in principle, to pay teachers and public officers 50 cents out of every $1.00 government gets in extra revenue.
Barrow also announced that effective January 1, 2014, the National Bank of Belize, which Government had previously said would especially target teachers and public officers for lending, would be expanding its portfolio to include small business and vehicle loans – and the ceiling for business and mortgage loans would be $175,000. Since its launch in September 2013, the bank’s lending ceiling has been fixed at $100,000.
THURSDAY NIGHT FIRE LEAVES 2 HOMELESS IN LADYVILLE
Two Ladyville residents have been left homeless after a fire gutted their home in the Mitchell Estate area at about 6:30 this evening.
Unconfirmed reports are that the wooden/plycem bungalow structure, which was occupied by two females, may have caught fire because a candle was left unattended inside one of the rooms.
Vigilant neighbors reportedly saw the fire and alerted the occupants. Thereafter, one of the females rushed in to save her child, who she had allegedly left inside the house.
Luckily, no one was harmed; however, one of the witnesses who spoke with Amandala said that the fire officials – who the witness said seemed unprepared – took a long while to arrive on scene.
8% REDUCTION IN ELECTRICITY RATES TAKES EFFECT
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued final notice today of new electricity tariffs due to take effect this month, amounting to a decline in electricity rates ranging from 6% to 9% — depending on the classification of customers.
Most residential customers will experience an 8% decrease in rates while industrial customers will benefit from a 9% reduction in tariffs. (See table accompanying this article.)
“This represents a decrease in the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) from 48.65¢ to 44.65¢,” the PUC said.
BEL, however, had applied for a decrease in the mean electricity rate to 45.65¢ per kilowatt hour.
In a statement on the PUC review, BEL had said that the decision would result in more revenue loss than the company had anticipated.
The company said in a press release that, “The projected revenue from PUC’s proposed tariff basket is $23.5 million below the revenue expected from the current MER.”
COAST GUARD CALLS OFF SEARCH FOR 4 MISSING FISHERMEN
The Belize Coast Guard has called off the search for four of five fishermen missing for more than three weeks now.
On Monday, December 9—the same day that their relatives reported them missing—the body of one of the five men, Thomas Levi Young, 58, of Lucky Strike, Belize District, was found floating in the sea about 1 mile off the shores of Colson Cay in the Stann Creek District, in the area where they reportedly went to fish.
Young, who had evidently suffered a brutal murder, was in an advanced state of decomposition. He had several chop wounds and a post-mortem revealed that he had been shot to death.
Young had gone to sea with Derwind Gentle, 26; Elgin “ Ricey” Graham, 24; Sergio Flores, 34; and Kenrick Devin Chi, 26.
The men departed the city aboard a 25-foot skiff, Natasha, at about 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 4, to fish in the Colson Cay area. They were to have returned on Saturday, December 7 – but never did. Their families reported them missing the following Monday, December 9.
GIRL’S RULE IN 2014!
The first three babies born at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for the year 2014 are all girls!
Jasmine Martinez, 20, of Scotland Half Moon Village, Belize District, delivered the first girl at 6:20 a.m. She weighed in at 6lbs 7oz.
She was followed shortly after by Christina Montejo, 16, of Belize City, who brought her 6lb pink bundle into the world at 10:00 a.m.
Finally, Judith Middleton, 22, of Belize City, gave birth at 9:39 p.m. to her 7lb 10oz daughter.
“The births of these babies reflect the positivity of life… and hope for the New Year,” said KHMH CEO Dr. Francis Longsworth, at a short ceremony honoring the new mothers this morning.
All told, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital saw a total of 1,789 births for the past year 2013. From January to November, 813 of those were via C-Section and 798 as normal deliveries.
The number of births for December alone was 178.
BUDNA FACES GUAT COURT AGAIN IN MARCH 2014
Belizean national, Joseph Budna, remains behind bars in Guatemala, with more charges to which he will have to answer in March 2014.
Amandala has been informed that in December 2013, Budna was to appear in court on charges of kidnapping against Kevin Pacheco and kidnapping and abduction against Herson Abimael Palma; but those cases have been deferred.
Our sources say that the trial on the Pacheco case was postponed to March 2014, after Budna demanded to have an English-to-Spanish translator, because he is not a native Spanish-speaker. He also protested that three of the judges hearing his case be removed.
The case against Budna for a shootout with Guatemalan security officers has reportedly been dismissed; but he still remains on a 25-year conviction, handed down in August 2012 for the kidnapping of a US teenager, Luis Byron Reyes Onofre. (That case, we understand, is on appeal.)
Mayor says street works will continue in 2014
Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley announced that the infrastructural work in Belize will continue into the next year with the entire length of Vernon Street and Youth for the Future Drive.
The works are to be completed by mid-February 2014, Bradley explained.
He said that by December, the Belize City Council had reached their goal of concreting 100 streets for the year 2013 and that they are currently finishing streets such as Baghdad Street, Park Avenue, Madam Liz Avenue, and Alexander Street.
Bradley also stated that through funding from the Ministry of Finance the Belize City Council would be able to do the area of Princess Margaret Drive in front of St. John’s College, and the area in front of the Marion Jones Stadium.
Bradley also addressed the concerns of residents who say that a portion of Baymen Avenue has noticeably been left undone for an extended period of time now. He explained that the reason there has been delay in this area is because the Flood Mitigation Project is going to build a canal under that street.
He said that the Flood Mitigation Project, which is being done through the Ministry of Works, is responsible for the delay in finishing Baymen Avenue and Cinderella Plaza because they are awaiting a design from a German company.
Brown Bombers win SMART Mundialito championship
The Brown Bombers triumphed 1-0 over the defending champions, Hattieville United Youth Sporting Club, in the championship finals of 2013 SMART Mundialito Football Tournament at the MCC grounds in Belize City on Sunday, December 22. Sherwin Requeña and Jovan Ramos had led the Brown Bombers offensive supported […]
Guardian Bombers lead men’s softball finals 2-0
The Guardian Bombers are one win away from clinching the 2013 championship . They are leading 2-0 in the finals of the Belize City Men’s Softball Competition which continued at Roger’s Stadium on Wednesday and Friday nights, December 4-6. The Bombers won 19-12 over the Oceana Strikers […]
Verdes lead Belikin Cup football
Verdes FC of Benque Viejo del Carmen now leads the Belikin Cup Football Tournament with 17 pts from five victories and two draws, after they blasted FC Belize 4-1 in the 11th week of competition organized by the Premier League of Belize at the Marshalleck Stadium in […]
Belize can do more to fight human trafficking – UN Special Rapporteur
Belize’s repressive immigration policy compounds the phenomenon of human trafficking, and undermines efforts at combating and preventing trafficking in persons and helping the victims, United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on human trafficking, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo told reporters at a press conference at the Radisson Fort George […]
NO Sea cucumber fishing license – protecting a possible cancer cure
Sea cucumbers are not exactly daily fare on most Belizean’s diet, but they are prized as a delicacy and for reputed medicinal properties in many parts of Asia and China, fetching a premium price of up to US$150 per pound for the dried product on international […]
Healthy New Year’s resolutions
New Year’s resolutions are a bit like babies: They’re fun to make but extremely difficult to maintain. Each January, roughly one in three persons resolve to better themselves in some way. A much smaller percentage of people actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to […]
Eating nuts during pregnancy may curb allergies
Children are less likely to have a nut allergy if their mother ate nuts while pregnant, a study has concluded. The work, published in JAMA Pediatrics, looked at the health and diets of more than 8,000 children and their mothers. The US researchers believe that early exposure in the womb […]
Mayor says street works will continue in 2014
Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley announced that the infrastructural work in Belize will continue into the next year with the entire length of Vernon Street and Youth for the Future Drive. The works are to be completed by mid-February 2014, Bradley explained. He said […]
PM promises to reconstitute PAC
In his New Year’s address, the Prime Minister stated that as part of the government’s Reform Agenda, they would be reconstituting the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). As it is now, the PAC is comprised of four government members and two Opposition members, of which, […]
Delta Airlines’s new service: a direct flight from LA to Belize
The reception committee from the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and other concern parties were in place when Delta Flight #N3F8NW landed at the PGIA on Saturday, December 21, around 7:30 a.m. with its 150 passengers, on its inaugural, no-stop red-eye flight from Los Angeles. […]
Xmas accident kills four
Four young people died tragically in a traffic accident near mile eight on the Philip Goldson highway around four o’clock in the afternoon on Christmas Day. Hector Daniel Gongora, a 22-year-old student; Shakir Shamir Monima, 23; Henry Gabourel Reyes, 20; and Dulce Yanira Cobb,17, all […]
Tablets in the classroom: Promise and pitfalls
By Bevil M. Wooding “Imagine a future where our children are more motivated because they are immersed in the same technology that is increasingly surrounding them in life.” The education sector globally has traditionally been slow to adopt new technology. A wave of affordable, mobile computing devices, particularly tablets, is […]
CARICOM on schedule with five-year strategic plan
CARICOM is on schedule for the completion of its 2014-2018 strategic plan in early January, said CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque this week. LaRocque, in his end of year message, described the plan as one of the key milestones of CARICOM’s work, saying that the […]
Belize has seen significant blessings since the end of the year 2013. There has been a noticeable pick-up in economic activity, and apart from the recent troubles brought about by untimely demands by cane farmers, the sugar industry has made substantial progress under the leadership of American Sugar Refiners, the […]
Gang hit claims life of Belize City man
The violent gang warfare that appears to have receded suddenly flared up on Sunday, when a 28-year-old working man was gunned down in gangland style in the city, as he rode his bicycle. Belize City Police reported that they visited the KHMH around 7:30 on […]
BSI-BSCFA negotiations drag on
There seems to be no end insight for the negotiations between cane farmers and Belize Sugar Industries Limited, as farmers continue to agree to start the 2013-2014 crop without BSI put their agreement to negotiate a price for bagasse in writing. The company’s Chief Executive Officer Joey Montalvo wrote the […]
Townsend’s body recovered!
Clifford Brian Townsend, 64, who went missing on Christmas Day, was found dead and positively identified onThursday, two days later. Townsend’s son, Cory, who travelled to Belize soon after his father’s disappearance was reported, crossed into neighbouring Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala, to identify his father’s remains. While a post mortem […]
Son shoots father in the head
Hensley Jones, 53, a businessman of Ranchito Village, Corozal, hangs onto life in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was shot three times in the head, allegedly by his son. The incident happened at around 10:30 on New Year’s night at his home, where it is reported that his […]
GOB to pay CXC fees
The Government of Belize will pay the fees for high school students to sit the Caribbean Secondary Education exam, commonly called CXC exams, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced in his New Year’s message. Barrow stated that government would pay the examination fees for up to a maximum of six CXC […]
CEO’s land procedures under microscope
The Lands Department has issued a statement regarding a lease cancellation and the subsequent granting of the lease to relatives of the former CEO of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Beverly Castillo. In the January 2 press release from the Commissioner of Lands, the […]
GG rejects PUP’s petition of Penner’s recall – not enough valid signatures
The People’s United Party is in the process of discussing their next move, after the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, Sr., rejected several of the signatures on their petition for the recall of incumbent, area representative,Elvin Penner in Cayo North East. Late last year, the PUP’s Cayo Northeast standard bearer, […]
San Ignacio Resort Hotel Renovations
The San Ignacio Resort Hotel, as you might have noticed, has been making some big renovations. New Year's Renovations, if you will. They're in the process of posting the pictures. The look on the inside is great, and the new look on the outside will be definitely be different. It looks like the final result will be beautiful.
In related news, the Green Iguana Conservation Project has a like page:
"Yes we are under construction! However our service and accommodations are still the BEST in the west. All of these images were taken 1/2/2014"
Kim Simplis Barrow Named Woman of the Year
Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, the Special Envoy for Women and Children, was named 'Woman of the Year' by Complexd Magazine. Congratulations, Mrs. Simplis Barrow, for a well deserved award! The picture is from the 2014 Inspiration Calendar and Agenda launch.
"Starting the New Year with some great news! Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow is named Complexd Magazine's Woman of the Year 2013!"
Ten Ways Air Travel Will Change in 2014
A few years of airline mega-mergers and consolidation (including the recent American and US Airways merger) have vastly changed the industry landscape. There’s some good news in all this for fliers, as airlines turn their attention to modernizing their fleets and adding more inflight amenities. But fewer airlines could put more consumers at the mercy of just a couple of behemoth airlines. So what’s in store for airline travelers in 2014? Here are ten ways flying will change in 2014: Security improves as TSA’s PreCheck takes off, Air travel taxes head higher, Inflight Wi-Fi becomes ubiquitous, The seat squeeze gets worse, Airlines battle for bicoastal business fliers, Transatlantic budget airlines make a comeback, We finally get do-it-yourself bag tags, We pay more fees, Inflight phone calls are coming, whether we like it or not, Private jets get more affordable.
Cuba's classic cars set to disappear with rule change on new vehicle imports
President Raúl Castro's council of ministers abolishes tight controls that forced most people to refit cars made before 1959. One of Cuba's most distinctive anachronisms – roads full of classic cars from the 1950s – looks set to fade into history following the most sweeping relaxation of vehicle imports since the revolution.
For most of the past half century, Havana's traffic has been jammed with Pontiacs, Studebakers, Oldsmobiles, Chevrolets and Soviet imports as a result of tight domestic controls and US sanctions that made it difficult to buy parts and fuel.
Only officials, doctors and others with government connections or proof of foreign exchange income were allowed to purchase new imported cars. Everyone else had to make do with buying, selling and refitting cars made before Fidel Castro took power in 1959.
But in the latest of a series of economic reforms, the council of ministers headed by his brother – the current president, Raúl Castro – on Friday abolished the need for permission and opened up the car market to all citizens.
The Communist party's official newspaper, Granma, said the new regulations "eliminate existing mechanisms of approval for the purchase of motor vehicles from the state".
The measure was partly designed to overcome public frustration at the old regulations, which gave an unfair economic advantage to those who could buy cars and sell them on the black market, often at four or five times the original price.
Granma said the previous system created "resentment, dissatisfaction and, in not a few cases, led to speculation and enrichment".
Canadian missionary reportedly chopped up by machete-wielding thugs in Belize
Brian Townsend’s body was found in Guatemala, just over the border from his adopted homeland of Belize. The missionary from Edmonton had spent nearly a decade working in the Valley of Peace. A Canadian missionary's body was discovered in Guatemala, reportedly covered in chop wounds from a machete.
Brian Townsend's son identified his father after seeing photographs of the remains. The son had traveled to Central America from Canada on Dec. 28 hoping to find his dad alive.
"This has been such an insane trip for me. You go searching for results and sometimes you dig farther than you want to dig," Kory Townsend told CTV.
Brian Townsend had been working as a Christian missionary in Belize for the past nine years, building schools and friendships with people in the Valley of Peace.
He was first reported missing on Christmas Day. The 64-year-old had hired a chef to cook a Christmas dinner and when she arrived, Brian's truck was missing and his house had been ransacked. The chef spotted a trail of blood outside the home and alerted the authorities.
Back in Edmonton, his family members started to worry. The Townsends created a Facebook page "Brian Townsend Missing Belize" and tried to raise money so that son Kory Townsend could travel to Belize to search for his dad.
10 Best Caribbean shore excursions in the water
As you daydream about a Caribbean cruise vacation, there is likely clear-blue sea in the picture. Perhaps you see yourself sitting on a white-sand beach, frozen drink in hand watching the waves. But there are other ways to experience water on fun — and sometimes thrilling — shore excursions.
Check out these water-based Caribbean excursions.
Put on a headlight for a cave tubing experience, as you follow your guide on a fascinating float through an underground limestone cave system, sacred to the Mayans. Views include stalactites and stalagmites that spectacularly emerge in the darkness.
What The Ancient Maya Can Teach Us About Living Well
In the modern world -- when technological advances and information overload have left many of us with a desire to get back to basics -- the need for ancient wisdom may be more important than ever before.
Ancient health and healing secrets are making something of a resurgence, and for good reason. The ancient Greeks asked the big questions about what it means to live a good life, and some of their theories on ethics and happiness have been backed by modern science. Thousands of years ago, Indian sages developed a system for stilling the thoughts that's now practiced across America. The early Maya civilizations, too, developed healing systems that have influenced holistic healthcare to this day.
The Maya civilization thrived for six centuries through areas that are now Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas are in Mexico, as well as parts of Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala before collapsing mysteriously around 900 AD. The Mesoamerican civilization -- advanced in its art, architecture and mathematics -- may not have survived, but many of their secrets to good health, healing and living well are still alive to this day.
UN General Assembly: Tourism can foster sustainable development in Central America
Sustainable tourism is an ally of poverty eradication in Central America and the three dimensions of sustainable development - social, economic and environmental - as reflected in the UN resolution on "Sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central America". The 193-member UN General Assembly adopted the resolution unanimously during its 68th session. This represents an important step towards mainstreaming sustainable tourism in the international development agenda and the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (New York, USA, 22 December 2013).
Emphasizing that sustainable tourism in Central America is a cross-cutting activity with close linkages to other sectors and thus generating trade opportunities, the UN General Assembly recognizes tourism as a fundamental pillar of regional integration and an engine of social and economic development, income, investment and hard currency in the region. The resolution further “encourages giving appropriate consideration to the issue of sustainable tourism in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda", which will follow the deadline of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Visit the unspoiled frontier of Belize
On the shores of the Caribbean Sea and nestled between Mexico and Guatemala, English speaking Belize marries spectacular waters, dramatic rain forests and a culturally rich heritage with a collection of barefoot beach retreats, luxurious yachts and hip jungle hideaways, making it one of the most unique, exciting and beautiful places to visit on the planet.
Absolute Belize has crafted a gourmet tailor made voyage that takes you through the pristine azul Caribbean waters on a luxury yacht, into the lush rainforests of the Toledo district, your destination being an 'agro-eco-chic' retreat perched high in the verdant jungle canopy.
The journey begins on your own private luxury 50ft catamaran, with just your skipper to raise the sails and your private chef to cook the catch.
Sail to the most exclusive and untouched private islands that dot the barrier reef. Swim, snorkel, kayak, fish, spot dolphins or simply relax – you pick the tempo. The culinary highlights include collecting your conch from the ocean, making your own ceviche and spearfishing lobster with your guide, followed by a lobster cooking master class with your private chef.