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#482334 - 01/09/14 05:14 AM Today's Belize News: January 9, 2014
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Wanted man, Edly Atherley could be in Belize
Eldy Atherley, a 29- year old US citizen with Belizean relatives, is wanted by San Bernardino, California USA police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the murder of his wife, Ashley, 28 years old. Reports from San Bernardino Police stated that Ashley’s body was found on Sunday, December 1st. Atherley who was charged on a warrant with the homicide of Ashley, had already fled by the time police discovered the scene. Atherley is suspected to have fled the area but could be in either California, Florida or Belize where he is known to have friends and relatives. Ashley was found with her throat slit, and she had been stabbed and badly beaten. According to reports from Ashley’s family, Atherley was a possessive and abusive husband who had a history of abusing his wife, including a charge for domestic violence in 2008. However, he was released after Ashley refused to press charges. The couple had been married for seven years and had two young daughters, who were not at home at the time of the murder. The couple was in the process of separation due to Atherley’s violent behavior. “He isolated her from most of her family. We begged Ashley to come home before something bad happened, but it was too late,” said Ashley’s mother, Lucia Roble.

Government of Belize to improve road saftey
The Government of Belize through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, in keeping with the long-term Vision for improvement in road safety, that through an integrated and comprehensive approach, together with demonstrated respect between all road users, the frequency and severity of traffic collisions (road trauma) is reduced, is pleased to announce the award of contracts to TEICHROEB & Sons Ltd for Lot 2 (Road Safety furniture and delineation) and M&R Construction Ltd for Lot 3 (Resealing). The Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project is a first step in developing a comprehensive and long-term road safety strategy. The project was officially launched on 14th March 2013 and is being implemented through a BZ$14,495,000 loan from the CDB, and GOB counterpart contribution of BZ$3,191,000.

Ambergris Today

Belize Sailing Association National Championships
11 year old Trent Hardwick is the New National Champ in Youth Sailing - Belize City. Jan. 6, 2014 - Trent Hardwick of the Belize Sea Scouts (BSS) emerges as Belize Sailing Association’s National Champion in the Optimist Class after 2 days of tough sailing over the weekend. With variable weather that saw mostly north westerly winds between 15 and 3 knots in front Birds’s Isle, sailors used mostly light wind techniques and risky strategies. The smaller sailors had an obvious advantage but experienced sailors still topped the races with better technique. Here are the other top finishers: Antonio Ricardez, Jr. of the Belize City Sailing Club (BCSC) took 2nd place, silver and Christopher Young of Corozal Bay Sailing Club (CBSC) took the 3rd place bronze. The other Top 10 finishers were: 4th, Nashira Ricardez of BCSC; 5th, Isaac Ritchie of Placencia Sailing Club (PSC); 6th,Tyler Garbutt of PSC; 7th, Carlos Villatoro of PSC; 8th, Wilson Rivera of PSC; 9th, Jazmin Campos of CBSC, and 10th, Carla Lopez of PSC.

San Pedro's Person of the Year 2013 Alfonso Castillo
Mr. Castillo hails from Pomona Valley Stann Creek and became a friendly face in Ambergris Caye when he arrived on the island in 1995 and became manager of the Belize Bank San Pedro Branch. It was at this time that he created both business and personal friendships and established himself as a prominent businessman and resident of the island. It was in the year 2000 that Mr. Castillo ventured as an entrepreneur and opened Castillo’s Hardware in San Pedro Town. His flourishing business saw the construction of the now large Do It Best Castillo’s Hardware building in 2002 and consequent larger storage facilities just south of town. His love for San Pedro grew throughout the years as he came to see the island develop into the tourism mecca that it is today. The community has seen his business prosper and has come to trust and depend on his services and products that help develop the island. In return Mr. Castillo has given back tremendously to his customers and even more so to the residents of Ambergris Caye. Mr. Castillo is a generous man and never rejects assisting in community events and endeavors; he donates to local non-profit groups like the San Pedro AIDS Commission, Cancer Society, Lions Club, supports schools and schooling events, sponsors major events like the International Costa Maya Festival and has been sponsoring Miss San Pedro candidates since 2001.

Misc Belizean Sources

A STORY OF SUGAR FROM A SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE. This is a compilation of the history of the sugar cane industry in Corozal. We have at best made every effort to be accurate on the information compiled. It is an important part of Corozal’s history. The closure of the Libertad Sugar Factory in 1985 created extreme hardships for the Northern region of Belize, particularly the Corozal District where the Libertad factory was located. The direct impact of this factory closure was a severe job loss. This resulted in thousands of Belizeans, mostly Corozaleńos, to migrate to the United States of America and Mexico. A lot of these farmers and their families began to lose their homes and lands as security to the local banks. Many Asian merchants began picking up these foreclosures at rock bottom prices. Sugar cane production has been in the jewel as early as the 1800’s. Perhaps only the norteńos knew its economic and social development in Corozal for the most part. Between the Spanish conquest and 1848, the Corozal region was virtually uninhabited. The British were interested only in its timber resources which depleted soon after, and in turn forced them to venture into sugar cane production. In 1857, a hundred barrels of sugar produced in British Honduras were sent from Belize to Liverpool. During these early years sugar cane was planted, much by small growers in rural Corozal. During the 1860's several British investors established sizeable estates in the Corozal region which, in contrast to the earlier mestizo haciendas, may be referred to as plantations. During the 1870's and 1880's these estates gave the haciendas serious competition.


Health Ministry Cautions Public on Influenza
Currently there are a few patients being managed at Karl Heusner with severe respiratory infections that we suspect could be H1N1.

More Hard Core at San Marcos!
(9 photos)

Gomez Highlights 'Unknown Belize'
Gomez must know by now that people the world over come to visit him at the Green Iguana Conservation Project. Fox News Travel just ran a great article about Belize, and Gomez is one of the stars. There's a lot about the Maya, and Cayo too. Since when is Belize 'unknown?' "Some of the ancient sites, like Cahal Pech and Altun Ha, are easy to get to, but others, like Caracol and Lubaantun, set amidst gorgeous, lush tropical jungle, are far enough off the beaten track that when you arrive, you have that awesome Indiana Jones-like feeling of discovery that makes the effort well worth it. For a real adventure, book a trip to Caracol on a Polaris utility vehicle through Mystic River, a superb, off-the-grid jungle resort located right on the Macal River outside San Ignacio."

Blues Workshop with Tabby Johnson
Tabby Johnson held a blues workshop at the Soul Project while she was touring Belize. She had a sold out show at the Soul Project in December, and it was fantastic. Safe journeys back to Canada, Tabby!

Men and Marriage – What’s the problem nowadays?
Are Belizean men running away from marriage? Read this opinion piece and then be sure to share your thoughts on the issue.

Esperanza community centre repair nears completion
Repair work on the Esperanza Community Centre is nearing completion. A check of the facility today found workmen completing plastering on the back section and preparing to commence the new ceiling. In addition to the complete roof replacement, the contractor says that a new indoor bathroom has been built. The contractor says there was a minor setback caused by the inclement weather and rains over the last few weeks; but he expects that the project will be completed by the middle of February. In the meantime, the community PreSchool which is housed in the Centre is being temporarily accommodated in a nearby building.

Penner Recall Petitition fails; signatures did not add up
The Election and Boundaries Department this morning hosted a press conference to explain the reasons why the attempt to recall the Honorable the member for Cayo Northeast Mr. Elvin Penner was not successful. According to statistics released by the Election and Boundaries Department today, there are 5,815 registered voters in Cayo Northeast. The People’s United Party (PUP) aspirant in the area Mr. Orlando Habet submitted 2,002 signatures on the petition to the Governor General to trigger the Recall Mechanism. In the breakdown offered by the Election and Boundaries Department 1,665 of the signatures were accepted during the verification period. 53 signatures did not match those on file at the Election and Boundaries Department. 52 signatures were rejected because the person is not registered in Cayo Northeast. 52 signatures were rejected because they are not registered voters.

The Barrier Reef from ProjectExplorer.org in Belize
VIDEO, ProjectExplorer.org’s Kat Lonsdorf explores Belize by boat to learn about the barrier reef.

Suspected H1N1Cases Being Monitored
The Ministry of Health says it is monitoring cases of severe respiratory infections that could be H1N1 which is also called swine flu. A press release issued today from the Ministry of Health says that in recent weeks there has been “a cluster of patients with influenza.” Laboratory tests are being conducted to determine whether the cases being managed at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital are the H1N1 strain of the influenza virus. The Ministry says that since Belize is in the flu season, the flu virus is in circulation and advises Belizeans to practice hygienic measures designed to prevent the spread of the flu virus.

Channel 7

Finally: Sweetness and Light In Sugar Industry, Date For Season Opening In Sight
Tonight, there is palpable relief in the Sugar Industry after a positive meeting between the cane farmers and the factory owners which finished an hour ago. At the end of the meeting at the BSI Staff Club in Orange Walk, the Vice Chairman of the BSCFA’s Committee of Management and BSI Representative Belizario Carballo declared to the media waiting outside that the crop may start on January 16, if the farmers and ASR agrees to a new proposal which they discussed today. Belizario Carballo - CFO, BSI "Both sides expressed mutual interest to getting on with the crop, and I think that this is hopefully what will drive us. We know that the conditions aren't ideal. We know that we will be starting the crop under very difficult road conditions, but clearly, we have to make a start, and time is not in our favour. Certainly, we are hopeful that we can start the crop within a short period of time. We have tentatively been discussing the possibility of starting January 16, next week Thursday. Hopefully, we will be able to agree on that."

One Dead From Influenza, Four Others Being Treated
One person has died from a severe strain of influenza, and four more persons are being treated for acute respiratory distress at the KHMH. Technical personnel from the Health Sector held a major meeting this morning in Belize City to review the cases to see if a pattern of infection is apparent. They have concluded it is a flu virus, possibly an advanced strain of the influenza that hasn’t appeared in Belize so far. No one will know for certain what strain of influenza it is until test results come back from CARPHA in Trinidad on Friday. Those test samples were extracted from the first victim who died at the KHMH over the Christmas holidays from acute respiratory distress. That victim tested positive for influenza in an influenza rapid test, which is done in Belize. Today the Ministry of Health sent out a press release saying that quote, “over the recent weeks there has been a cluster of patients with influenza.” It adds, quote, “Currently there are a few patients being managed at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital with severe respiratory infections that we suspect could be H1N1.”

Elections And Boundaries Says PUP Submitted Sloppy Petition
As we reported last week, the PUP recall petition for Elvin Penner in Cayo Northeast was rejected. The party came 79 approved signatures short of reaching the 30% threshold needed to trigger a recall. Since then, the elections and boundaries office has come under heavy criticism from the PUP for playing politics. Today the Department held a press conference in Belize City to defend its work, and explain why they had to write off over 300 signatures. Jules Vasquez reports: Jules Vasquez Reporting These are the signatures that 50 staffers, including 8 very senior public officers pored over between November 28 and December 30th. They worked right through the holidays and found that 1665 signatures were acceptable, 523 signatures did not match, 52 were not registered in Cayo Northeast, 52 were not registered at all, 11 of the petitions had no signature at all, and 79 petitioners signed twice while four signed three times:

KKK In "The Hood"
Many Belizeans probably aren’t familiar with the Klu Klux Klan, or the KKK, but in America it is one of the most well known and widely despised racist organizations promoting white supremacy. It has a terrifying history of violence against African Americans and other ethnic groups. Now, you’re probably saying what does all that have to do with my evening news, right? Well, it turns out that a former KKK Imperial Wizard – which is the national head, or the equivalent of the President of the Klan is a resort owner in Belize. Bill Wilkinson who headed the Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan from 1975 to 1983 is the owner of the Seven Seas Resort on San Pedro. We called him today to ask him about his past and the Louisiana native told us it’s quote, “a bunch of baloney.” He said he’s been here for 27 years now and is 71 years old. When we pressed him, he said “all that stuff”, as he called it, happened 35 years ago. He said he’s just trying to live his life out peacefully, and he will stand on his record on San Pedro where he interacts with all kinds of people. He said, quote, “they all know me and we get along.” That seems to imply some sort of live and let live approach after being the head of a white supremacist organization 30 years ago. Wilkinson told us, quote, I’ve made a clean break from anything that I was” end quote.

Cuban Mom And Son Busted With Bogus Panama Passport
53 year Deysi Reyes Avila, a mathematics teacher from Cuba, is at the Belize Central Prison tonight after she flew into Belize along with her son using fake passports. Avila and her 15 year-old son arrived at the PGIA yesterday at 5 p.m. from San Salvador, El Salvador. They produced Panamanian passports to the Immigration officers at the arrival section of the airport. With just a cursory inspection, you wouldn’t not know that these passports are fake. The Cubans almost did pass through Belize Immigration, but they made a huge mess while trying to fill out the forms which every passenger has to fill out and hand in to Immigration. On the fake Panamanian passport, Reyes Avila had her name as Nairoby Aleyda Gonzalez, but when she signed the form she placed D. Reyes as her name. On the fake passport for her son, he was listed as being Ricardo Daniel Hernandez, but when she signed on the bottom, she slipped up once more, and signed her actual name on the document. One final but major slip up that they made was that in the permanent address section, they both placed on the document that they lived in Havana, Cuba. That’s a completely different country than what was listed on the Panamanian passports.

FIU Director Moves Unto Pvt Practice; 50 Case Files, Penner Included, Still Open
The Financial Intelligence Unit has been much in the news recently with its investigation into Elvin Penner after the Citizen Kim Scandal. But now that is one of more than 50 unfinished investigations that former Director Marilyn Williams left for her successor when she demitted office on December 31st. Williams, who led the office for five and a half years, has moved on to private practice where she has taken over the office of the ailing Lionel Welch – who, according to reports, is terminally ill. Williams has been in his office in Dean Street for about a week now, while former commissioner of income tax Eric Eusey was appointed as the new FIU Director on January first, 2014. According to an official release, Williams gave notice in September 2013 that she would not be applying for a renewal of her contract, which expired on 31st December 2013. Williams’ tenure is seen as having brought the FIU into its own, increasing from a staff of 3 to 16, and implementing various pieces of legislation to bring Belize’s financial regulations in line with post 9/11 requirements. She also famously secured Belize’s first money laundering conviction.

Another Southern Hwy Fatal Accident
On Monday, 7News told you about the accident which killed 61 year-old Juan Oh on the Southern Highway. Well, some 13 hours later, there was another fatal traffic accident on the very same highway. 49 year-old Dangriga resident Charles Noralez was driving his motorcycle. At around 6:30 p.m. when he arrived at an area between Miles 2 and 3, he did catch up in time that his lane was blocked, and he ended up slamming into the back of a Blue Bird bus which was parked on the highway. The force of the impact was enormous and he died instantly from extensive head and bodily injuries. According to police, the motorcycle ended up embedded in the left side of the rear bumper after the collision.

Support For Bze District Farmers
We’ve all seen the products of the rains on our streets and highways, but what has gone largely undocumented is the devastation that the excessive rains have had on the agricultural sector. It’s been sever in the Belize District and over the weekend staffers from the Ministry of Agriculture visited Crooked Tree Village to assist farmers affected by the floods. The provisions came in the form of animal feed and agricultural inputs. And even though it might seem like just a handout or a short term fix, for these farmers, it could not have come at a better time. Hon. Edmund Castro - Area Representative, Belize Rural North "This is an initiative from the Government of Belize and the Ministry of Agriculture in trying to assist the livestock farmers in the Crooked Tree area. We'll be dealing with the livestock area issuing over 300 bags of feed today in Crooked Tree on Wednesday, we'll be doing the same thing for the farmers in the Belize River Valley, and on Friday for the affected livestock farmers in Maskall and the old road area. It is important due to the fact that the water is acting the farmers in the area, and Ministry of Agriculture came in. They have done their assessment, and we are reaching out to those farmers who mainly affected by this flood."

A Different Dimension In Downtown
Today was a big day for the tourism industry, 5 ships with over twelve thousand guests made a port call in Belize City. All that load ensured that there would be a constant stream of tourists in the downtown area. It’s a downtown that’s coming around after major investments in the Tourism Development Project. Sure, it’s not anywhere near a tourist haven, but one business on North Front Street is trying to change that grimey image of Belize City. Photographer turned entrepreneur Jeremy Spooner is cashing in on the upgraded street and sidewalk, which came under the Fort Point Sustainable Tourism Project. Today, Daniel Ortiz visited with him, where he explained his own project: Daniel Ortiz Reporting From afar, it could look like a sidewalk café in some breezy European capital, but it’s Belize City, the sidewalk and surrounding environs prettified by the Tourism Development project. Photographer turned entrepreneur Jeremy Spooner had the idea to open a café as he saw the area being redeveloped:

Major Crime Down In 2013
The final figures for major crime in 2013 are in and they show that, as projected, major crime was down significantly compared to 2012. As we’ve reported, murder went down by 32% from 145 to 99. The greatest decrease was in the Belize district which recorded 58 murders compared to 90 in 2012. Cayo was the only district that recorded more murder with 25 in 2013, compared to 20 in 2012. Toledo and Orange Walk each had only two murders for the whole year. But looking at major crime nationally, reports of robbery and burglary went down significantly while theft and carnal knowledge went up. We note also that there was a huge increase in cannabis seizures, which went up almost 300%, cannabis seeds which went up almost a thousand percent, and cannabis plants which went up over 300%. All this is due to the assistance of the US military which provided helicopter support for the BDF as it went into remote areas of cannabis cultivation.

Channel 5

Cane Farmers and B.S.I. meet…will there be a crop season next week?
Tonight there is a development up north where the sugar industry has been at a standstill. And there is light at the end of the sugar-cane crop tunnel, as both [...]

Millions of dollars reported in losses in delayed crop
This is the first time in Belize’s history that the sugar cane crop season has been so delayed. Generally it kicks off in the middle of November. Mother Nature has [...]

Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai, explains rejected signatures in recall petition
The move to recall U.D.P. Cayo Northeast Area Representative Elvin Penner is dead in the water. In a letter to the Governor-General dated December thirtieth, 2013, Chief Elections Officer Josephine [...]

Tamai says 52 signatures were not registered to vote at all
If you’re a Boledo regular, you might want to buy fifty-two tonight. The Penner recall petition, as it became known during its famous but short life, was shot down because [...]

…And 79 duplicated signatures were struck out
While fifty-two might be the rake for Boledo, the number which is giving the Opposition heartburn tonight is seventy-nine – and with good reason. The Elections and Boundaries Department rejected [...]

P.U.P. to hold press conference on failed recall petition
The People’s United Party will be holding a press conference on Thursday to discuss the failed recall petition and, we assume, other pressing issues. But today, even as the Elections [...]

2 from influenza and there are suspected cases of H1N1
The flu season is taking its toll in Belize. And so far, we can confirm that there have been two deaths due to influenza and there are several patients admitted [...]

Ministry of Health launches investigations into leptospirosis
There is another health concern. As we reported on Tuesday night, former traffic officer, Michael Lewis died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital by what his family says was a [...]

Final Report by Auditor General still pending
The Immigration scandal has gone into an induced coma – lulled to a deep sleep by the deafening silence from officials in the Ministry of Immigration. Reports of multiple investigations [...]

Sports Council says MCC Grounds to stay open until ongoing games are completed
On Tuesday night, we reported that the MCC Grounds had closed for much needed repairs and that the football community was up in arms because the Premier League of Belize [...]

Meet the new head of the Financial Intelligence Unit, Eric Eusey
There is a change tonight at top of the Financial Intelligence Unit.  Via government press release it was confirmed today that Marilyn Williams, had stepped down and that she is [...]

Cuban national caught at P.G.I.A. with fake Panamanian passport
A Cuban national was today busted on arrival at the P.G.I.A. with documents that purported that she was a Panamanian national.   Nairoby Aleyda Gonzalez Villareal who also goes by the [...]

Guatemalan Foreign Minister visits Belize on Thursday
The Foreign Minister of Guatemala, Fernando Cabrera, arrives in Belize this Thursday on an official visit on the heels of changes in the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry which saw the removal [...]

#482335 - 01/09/14 05:15 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 9, 2014 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here


Elvin Penner Stays As Area Representative; Recall Mechanism Fails
On September 27, 2010, the Senate signed off on the Bill to recall elected representatives before their term expires; this is now referred to as the Recall Mechanism. This mechanism was recently put to the test by PUP’s Standard Bearer for Cayo Northeast, Orlando “Landy” Habet last year following the passport scandal involving former Minister of State in the Ministry of immigration and Area Representative for Cayo Northeast, Elvin Penner….but it failed as according to the Elections and Boundaries Department, the opposition party did not meet the required number of valid signatures from the electors in the Cayo Northeast constituency in order to trigger the Recall Mechanism. JOSEPHINE TAMAI, Chief Elections Officer “The total number of signatures reviewed amounted to 2002 which represented 34.4 percent of the total electors in the division; this therefore means that 2,598 or 4.4 percent were presented above the required 1,744. The total number of signatures accepted was 1,665 or 28.6 percent of the total registered electors in the electoral division.”

14-Year-Old Tests Pregnant; Police in Northern Belize Investigates
Authorities in Corozal are investigating a case of carnal knowledge. Police reports indicate that a fourteen year old girl went to the station in the company of her mother and told the police that on November 10, 2013 she had gone to a man’s house and they engaged in sexual intercourse. The minor further stated that she has missed her period and has been feeling sick recently. She added that for the past eight months she has been engaging in sexual intercourse with her boyfriend. As a result of the child’s report, a medical examination was conducted and a doctor has verified that the young girl is 11 weeks pregnant. Police have not indicated whether they have picked up the man in question or whether charges will be levied against the man.

Sugar Cane Farmers Loses Millions
Weather conditions have been playing havoc with the agricultural sector and it is expected that the impact will be felt ultimately by consumers. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture Jose Alpuche was a guest on Love FM’s morning show today. JOSE ALPUCHE “The ministry and government understand fully well the plight that they are going through at the moment. We started a first wave of assistance to the farmers and because it’s an ongoing and quite frankly, drawn out disaster we’ve got to continuously monitor what’s going on to see how best we can assist the farmers. Every sector is being affected; the last crop that was already in the ground for many crops will be affected. Unfortunately, for some plantings that should have occurred before the Christmas holidays could not be done because of the weather conditions. This means that we will have issues of supplies going well into the year. It will, unfortunately, not be a good year for farmers. As I said government is fully aware of this and we will do what we can to try to assist.

Immigration Officer Romero Nabs Suspicious Immigrants
Fifty-three year old Deysi Avila, a Cuban national who came to Belize yesterday with her 16 year old son, both of them having Panamanian passports, pled guilty to charges of using a passport she was not entitled to use and assisting a person to use a passport he was not entitled to use when she appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. She was fined $1,000 for each offence and she was ordered to pay forthwith. If she defaults on payment she will serve 6 months for each offence with the stipulation that the sentences are to run concurrently. The Immigration Department has made an application for a removal order for her and her son to be deported to Cuba either after she has paid the fine or served the time. Avila, who said she is a math teacher, arrived with her son at Phillip Goldson International Airport around 5 p.m. via an Avianca flight from San Salvador. Immigration officer Romero noticed that she was acting suspicious and requested her and her son to accompany her to the office at the airport. While there it was discovered that the passports had their photographs but not the names that were on their identification cards. As a result, it was detected that the passports were not theirs and Avila was charged.

Police Finds Marijuana in Vacant Lot
On Tuesday morning, Belize City Police of Precinct Two conducted a search in an abandoned lot at the corner of Central American Boulevard and Doris Brooks Street that resulted in the discovery of 138.8 grams of suspected cannabis in a black plastic bag. The suspected drug was taken to the Raccoon Street Police Station where it was labeled as found property since no one was found in the immediate area.

Eusey Takes Over Financial Intelligence Unit
Former Commissioner of Income Tax Eric Eusey has been appointed as the new Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit. Eusey takes over from Marilyn Williams whose contract expired on December 31 last year. Williams reportedly had indicated that she would not seek to renew her contract. Under the Financial Intelligence Unit Act, the FIU is responsible for investigating and prosecuting financial crimes with particular reference to crimes relating to money laundering and terrorist financing. The primary duty of the Director is to ensure the prompt implementation of the recommendations of the G7 Financial Action Task Force and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering and other financial crimes.

Cayo Police Intercepts Burglary in Progress
San Ignacio Police was called out to Santa Elena Town around 1:25 this morning due to what neighbors reported as a burglary in progress. Police officers visited Falcon Nest in the Hillview area where one of the neighbors told them that he saw a man whom he recognized as Nolbert Guzman entered the establishment wearing a dark jacket and a red warm cap. Upon a search of the premises, Police found Guzman hiding in the bathroom holding what was described as a shiny object in his hand and later found to be a red screw driver. Police directed him to release the object but he refused and instead raised his hand in a stabbing motion. Guzman was subsequently subdued and escorted to the San Ignacio Police Station. The 34-year-old laborer is expected to be charged with burglary and aggravated assault. Meanwhile the screw driver that Guzman had in his possession has been placed as exhibit.


Elections and Boundaries Responds to Concerns Over PUP Recall Petition
With the postponement of a press briefing scheduled for today at Independence Hall, the Elections and Boundaries Department had the floor to explain to Belizeans why the threshold of 30% for the recall of Cayo Northeast area representative Elvin Penner was not met by the petition presented last November. 1,665

Auditor General Updates on Immigration Investigation
This afternoon, Auditor General Dorothy Bradley met with the press at her office on North Front Street. The purpose was to give a general overview of how audits are carried out by the Audit Department and a brief synopsis of the current investigation at the Immigration and Nationality Department

Financial Intelligence Unit Appoints a New Director
The Financial Intelligent Unit has appointed a new Director. Mrs. Marilyn Williams gave notice in September of last year that she would not be applying for a renewal of her contract, which was due to expire on the 31st December 2013. Williams says she will pursue private practice. Eric

Statistics Show Belize Experienced 13.6% Crime Decrease in 2013
Belize seems to have experienced a slight decrease on the level of crime for the year 2013. Although it is the small decrease is no cause for celebration, it does provide some sense of relief to know that the Belize experienced an average of 13.6% reduction in major crimes.

Belize Teacher’s Union on Rise and Shine Today
Audrey Matura-Shepherd, dubbed (… for the people) has had, to the say the least, an unforgettable year in 2013. After coming out with a strong personal conviction on homosexuality, the then Vice-President for OCEANA in Belize, received a great deal backlash from the LGBT community. Agitators went as far

Man dies after blow to head
Police have classified the death of 45 year old businessman Don Tillett of Belize City as sudden death, rather than murder, as their investigations continue. Tillett reported to police before his death around 8:00 p.m. Monday, January 6, that on New Year’s evening, exact time unknown, he picked up

Prime Minister says 2014 will be a year of historic milestones
The Prime Minister’s New Year’s message outlined a number of proposed Government guided initiatives, projected to get underway in 2014. Noteworthy, is a reform agenda, intended to improve the mandate of the current administration and to provide for better transparency. Just as important, are plans to outfit national security.

Concerned Citizen Addresses Unequality in Gun Law
Two recent cases, those of a Belmopan resident with alleged political connections who was spared traffic charges after a hair-raising night on the town, and a Belize City man whose story of conspiracy sounded fit to the ears of police who wanted to charge him for possession of an

Waste Control’s Woes with City Council Continue
The Belize City Council is not yet out of the woods with regard to its contretemps with Belize Waste Control. The sanitation company is demanding that City Hall address its issues with enforcement of their contract. For context we take you back to December 19, when Mayor Darrell Bradley

Works continue on land despite injunction?
On December 30th of last year, an emergency injunction was ordered by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to halt works on Parcel 2127 located in Belama Phase 1, at the corner of Albert Hoy Avenue and Chetumal Boulevard. The injunction was granted in favor of Bernadette Pickwood, and against Maude

Shooting Reported in City Neighborhood
Police have made no formal reports, but we spoke today to area residents of Supal Street who say there was shooting in their area sometime last night. This morning, one resident actually found a bullet in her house which had impacted her window. She spoke to us about it....


Island art and craft sale
A small group of island women get together weekly to paint and enjoy each other company. Once a year usually in December or January, the art group puts on an Island art and craft sale to raise money that gets used to help women in need. This year the Island art and craft sale is Saturday Jan 11th and Sunday 12th at Xanadu resort. So stop by and shop, not only will you get super cool art work, you will also be helping a great cause.

BCSP Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 2
Development of National Policies for ICT and E-Government

“One Fine Day” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
In yesterday’s second edition of the day I mentioned that the temperature had dropped and it was chilly. What I should have ‘said’ was that it was cold. Very cold (OK by the standards of where many of you are reading this it would be considered warm but here? Itwas COLD). So cold in fact that when I got up at around 05.15 hours and had made my mug of black coffee and ventured out to the veranda with my iPad I realised – and very quickly – that it was NOT the place to take my early morning ‘me time’, so I headed back indoors, quickly. The drop in temperature didn’t stop work on our fence though. Rubio arrived -early as usual – at around 06.40 hours – and within minutes was setting up the tools for the day and he hadn’t quite finished doing this when Mike, Moses and Pablo followed each other in quick succession and after a brief chat (I assume discussing the ‘action plan’ for the day) got ‘to it’ on the fence. But not before they had taken advantage of the ‘breakfast cart’.

International Sources

Travel Channel's January Sweepstakes Destination is Beautiful Belize
This month, Travel Channel is giving you the chance to win a trip to another fun destination. Get the chance to visit beautiful Belize from Travel Channel's January 2014 Belize Sweepstakes, plus daily instant prizes. The grand-prize winner will receive a $10,000 vacation in Belize including cave tubing and zip lining, a tour of the city, a visit to a butterfly farm, and more. Plus, the daily instant winners will each receive a Travel Channel tumbler. Entry into Travel Channel's January 2014 Belize Sweepstakes is open to US residents above the age of 21. Enter daily through January 31, 2014. Get more details and enter...

Travels in Belize: Eco-Tourism, Mayan Temples, Snakes That Chase You, Pasta with Coppola
Simon Worrall first traveled to Belize more than 20 years ago to do a travel guide for Fodor’s. “It was just as Belize was getting on people’s radar,” he says. “I knew it was one of those remote corners of the British Empire, and I was intrigued.” Now Worrall, who has written about Patagonia, a fatal desert exodus, and other subjects for National Geographic, has collected three stories from various trips to the country over the years in an e-book called Coppola in Belize (and Other Adventures). National Geographic spoke with Worrall about the project. You write with great affection about the country. Why are you so fond of it? It’s only the size of Connecticut, but it’s got the second biggest barrier reef in the world, it’s got these wonderful jungle highlands, it’s got Mayan temples, and it’s got an amazing collection of people. I think it’s still one of the few places in the world where the color of your skin really doesn’t matter — and that includes being white. Belize is the only country that has racial harmony built into the national flag, which shows two woodcutters cutting down a mahogany tree, one of the country’s big exports. One woodcutter is black and one is white, and there they are chopping down the tree together.

Unknown Belize
Rico, the Belizean bush doctor I had come to see, was out making a delivery. But his sister, Yolanda, had an offer for me. She was running a homemade raffle, offering two-dollar chances to win a case of beer, a case of stout, a bottle of wine and two cases of soft drinks. But when would I be back in the Roaring Creek neighborhood of Belmopan to find out if I won? As I waffled, Gilbert, my guide, who lives clear across the country, was handing over rumpled bills and signing his name in Yolanda’s spiral notebook. “You don’t even know this woman,” I said, fresh off the plane from Chicago and not yet in a no-worries, we’re-in-Belize frame of mind. “What if she just takes all the money?” “Belize is a small country,” he said. “She can’t cheat us because we’d be sure to run into her again sometime.” I forked over two Belizean dollars (worth $1 in the U.S.), and as I signed my name in the notebook, I realized Gilbert was right. With a population of just over 300,000, Belizeans have a strong incentive to treat each other right. But as I found out during a weeklong visit in December, little Belize punches above its weight -- travelers can spend a lifetime exploring this small country and never exhaust all the places it has to offer.

Belize launches climate change resilience consultancy tender
The Belize Social Investment Fund (BSIF) has published a tender for technical assistance for the country's spatial data infrastructure policy.

Hopkins Trained Doctor Fights Hopkins Expansion Plans in Baltimore - Marisela Gomez on RAI
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to Reality Asserts Itself. That was a segment from The Wire. That's what most people think of (that have seen that show) Baltimore looks like. Well, Baltimore's way more than vacant homes. And a lot of people weren't all that happy that The Wire presented Baltimore almost as only that. But it is a big piece of Baltimore--30,000 abandoned homes and lots, and thousands of people displaced from their communities. And that's part of the crisis of today's Baltimore. Now joining us to talk about these issues is Marisela Gomez. She's a community activist, an author, a public health professional, and a physician scientist. After leaving the Air Force, she earned her masters of science at the University of New Mexico, her PhD, MD, and masters of public health from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She spent over 20 years as an activist and an organizer in east Baltimore during and after her training at Hopkins. She also served as the executive director of Save Middle East Action Committee, a community organization in Baltimore that strove to represent community interest and needs in the redevelopment of what's called Middle East, Baltimore. She's also the author of Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore: Rebuilding Abandoned Communities in America.

Supermodel Beauty Secrets: Iyina Shayk
Irina Shayk, one of today's sexiest supermodels, has posed for covershoots all over the world. As the ambassador for Beach Bunny Swimwear, the Russian stunner knows a thing or two about being camera-ready. Being a sought-after beach babe, Irina spilled a lot of her beauty secrets to fans in her latest YouTube video. We know it's still winter, but for those gals gearing up for vacation, grab a paper and pen! The 27-year-old talked about all the items that she carries in her beach bag while modeling one of her Irina Shayk for Beach Bunny swimsuits in Belize. Of course, Irina has the usual suspects on hand when she shoots in the sand all day long. "When I go to the beach, I definitely bring a [hat for my head because] you have to cover your face," dished Ms. Shayk in the clip. "You have to remember that every time you're going to the beach you have to bring tons of sunblock. You have to spray yourself [with the product] every time you go to the water."

FPC-Midland Belize Mission: We've Arrived
From January 4 through January 11, 2014, a team from 1st Presbyterian Church-Midland will be traveling to the Central American country of Belize, and working with The Word at Work ministry. This will be an opportunity to reach out and share the gospel with the people of Belize while working side-by-side with the local community and The Word at Work staff on a much-needed construction project. Apologies for the delay in posting this ... Saturday was a loooooong day, but a successful one. We have arrived in Belize, on time and in good shape. In a previous post I expressed my confidence in the preparations for that trip ... And that confidence was borne out by timely connections and smooth transfers through the many stops along the way ... check-in, security, customs, baggage-claim, you name it. Smooth ... but as I said, long. The airport is near Belize City, in the eastern part of this country. There would still be a couple. Of hours on the road as we made our way to Belmopan, the national capital, closer to the center of the country. There was a also a special stop along the way ... MORE ON THAT IN A LATER POST. By the time we had checked-in to our lodgings, unpacked, and enjoyed dinner, then a team meeting with our partner/hosts from The Word At Work, I was ready for bed ... With plans to get back on my blogging schedule the next day ... which I am. Bottom line ... We're in Belize, and ready to get to work!


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