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#482459 - 01/10/14 05:23 AM Today's Belize News: January 10, 2014
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Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

Wow road totally flooded in front of Ramon's yesterday!
More rain photos here. Stormy skies over San Pedro.

Two kidnapping victims rescued in Cayo District
National Police Report: On Thursday, January 9th, 2014 at about 8:30AM, acting upon information received of a kidnapping, police visited the Chaa Creek Office situated on Burns Avenue, in San Ignacio Town, where they met 43 year old Theo Cocchi, Belizean businesswoman and owner of Parrot Nest Hotel situated in Bullet Tree Village, Cayo District. Cocchi reported that about 8:00AM, she left Parrot Nest Resort on board her white KIA Sportage SUV along with two guests: Kathen Kotay, 18, and Manisha Kotay, 22, both American Indian students of Saint Paul Virginia, USA. While exiting her drive way she was approached by two Hispanic male persons armed with what appeared to be handguns. The men boarded the vehicle and drove off, stopping near the cemetery area where they met with two other Hispanic descent male persons. They then drove off in the direction of Paslow Falls road in Bullet Tree Village.

PUP Marshalls assist in street repairs
On Monday January 5th, the Belize Rural South Marshalls of the People’s United Party (PUP) did their part in bringing relief to the streets of Ambergris Caye. Throughout the last few months the island’s roads have not been in the best condition, with flooded streets and large pot holes making transit difficult in particular parts of the island. To assist in relieving the community of this problem the members of the PUP Marshalls were able to place hardcore on a large portion of Black Pearl Drive in the DFC housing area. Funding for the hardcore came from various fundraising activities and generous donors. More hardcore will be distributed in other areas.

BEL Statement on PUC’s Final Decision Regarding Amendments to Electricity Rates
On December 10, 2013 Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) applied for a reduction in electricity rates as a result of an increase in hydroelectricity production in Belize and Mexico and subsequent reduction in the Cost of Power. On Thursday January 2, 2014, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued the Amendment to the 2013 Annual Review Proceeding (ARP) Final Decision for BEL which stipulates a decrease of 8.22% to the Mean Electricity Rate and previously approved tariffs to be applied during the period January 1 to June 30, 2014. This figure represents a 4 cents decrease in the MER from 48.65 cents to 44.65 cents. On Friday January 3, 2014 BEL informed the PUC that the Company has no objection to the PUC’s Final Decision, which is in line with the Company’s Mission “to provide reliable electricity at the lowest sustainable cost, stimulate national development and improve the quality of life in Belize.”

Ministry of Health Cautions the Public on Seasonal Influenza
he Ministry of Health informs the public that over the recent weeks there has been a cluster of patients with influenza. Currently there are a few patients being managed at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital with severe respiratory infections that we suspect could be H1N1. As soon as laboratory results are made available we should be able to confirm or rule out if indeed it is this type of influenza virus. The Ministry reminds the public that we are currently in the flu season. The flu virus is circulating and every person is at risk of catching the flu. While health facilities continue to manage persons suffering from the flu, it is important to note that the flu can be prevented through the following measures:

San Pedro Junior Sailing Club dominates at the Bird’s Isle Regatta
The San Pedro Junior Sailing Club (SPJSC) made their mark at the combined Bird’s Isle and National Championship Regatta (BIZ-13) in Belize City. San Pedro’s Jerdon Anderson took first place out of 32 sailors in the Bird’s Isle Regatta. The two day event was held on Saturday, January 4th and Sunday, January 5th, and was the final two races in a series of seven regattas scheduled for 2013 (the regatta was originally scheduled for December but was postponed due to weather conditions). The regattas were solely Optimist class. Only sailors who had top ranking in the prior five regattas of the season qualified for the BIZ-13, while all remaining sailors participated in the Bird’s Isle Regatta. The National Championship Regatta determines the selections to the Optimist North American Championship scheduled for July 2014 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Ambergris Today

Ministry of Health Cautions the Public on Seasonal Influenza
Belmopan. January 8, 2014. The Ministry of Health informs the public that over the recent weeks there has been a cluster of patients with influenza. Currently there are a few patients being managed at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital with severe respiratory infections that we suspect could be H1N1. As soon as laboratory results are made available we should be able to confirm or rule out if indeed it is this type of influenza virus. The Ministry reminds the public that we are currently in the flu season. The flu virus is circulating and every person is at risk of catching the flu. While health facilities continue to manage persons suffering from the flu, it is important to note that the flu can be prevented through the following measures:

A Young and Energetic Media in Belize
Just before the holidays I went on a Belize media trip organized by the Belize Tourism Board which brought together local media personnel from around the county. The purpose of the trip was for the local media to promote ‘Staycations’ – have Belizeans vacation in Belize. It was a wonderful experience, our second one this year courtesy of the BTB. Belize is a relatively small country but you can still do so much. From north to south, east to west traveling around Belize you realize how BIG the country is, still. It only takes you a few hours from being diving in the Caribbean Sea in the east to ascending the great Maya pyramids in amongst the Maya Mountains in the west.

Misc Belizean Sources

2014 Workshop- Establishing A Business
Are you thinking about starting a business, but don't know where to start? Attending our Establishing a Business Workshop session will introduce you to the first steps in establishing a small business- which looks at your suitability to run a business - to financing your business idea, and identifying initial and on-going sales opportunities. This workshop will provide you with an overview of all the key points you need to consider, along with hints and tips on where to find more detailed information and advice.

Expressing Art: Inga Woods, Jan 17-31 Bliss Centre
January 17th, 2014 is the OFFICAL DATE!!! Come to my "First Art Show" I will be showcasing ALL my work I've ever done! Please SHARE and SPREAD WORD! RSVP TO https://www.facebook.com/events/508263455954182/ .

By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez Stella Maris already has a physiotherapist There is also a need for an occupational therapist To teach children to fix wheel chairs, make corner seats and fittings. To make balance boards and all these disability aids We had them once in the ole days. Anyways! There is no speech therapist in the ministry And one is desperately needed in country With Creole being our first language Would a foreign speech therapist be at a disadvantage? Weh happen to the Creole Council What are they doing to make this possible? I guess what’s important is that they have the title of representing the people Specialists are expensive But the ministry must take the initiative They should be training some native If indeed they are thinking progressive National development requires this investment Grenada and Mexico have lots to show With their disability population on the grow They are the future of tomorrow


This week, concerned citizen Russell Roberts bravely spoke out against a pressing issue for ordinary Belizeans: the punitive, barbaric and archaic law that purports to target the real criminals but instead leaves innocent people in harm’s way and risking jail and their reputations on the flimsiest of evidence. No person should be subject to detention and imprisonment without the chance to defend him or herself against the charge. Unfortunately, two recent cases – those of Anwar Zetina, a young Belmopanese who flagrantly violated traffic laws only to be pardoned for his actions, and Reynaldo Verde, a misguided public officer whose last-ditch effort to avoid jail for a gun found on his property found a sympathetic ear in Precinct Two of the Belize City Police Department – show that this right can be abused by those who have more resources and connections. There should never be the appearance of preferential treatment to any Belizean regardless of their social condition or alleged collections. The news is littered with instances of entire families such as the Victoria Street Six and the Meighan family of Banak Street being remanded, and others being jailed for as little as a single round of ammunition on the merest suspicion of their involvement. There is no investigation for these persons as there was for Zetina and Verde. Why?

Police officer detained in Placencia
Why was a police officer detained today in Placencia village? Indications are that the policeman was detained but not charged because he refused to repair a punctured bicycle used in the line of duty.

Lost dogs
A Belmopan resident is asking for the public’s assistance in locating two of his dogs which escaped from his yard on Wednesday afternoon. The Pitbull and a Rottweiler got loose from the yard on Santa Maria Street and the owner believes they may still be around that area of the capital. Anyone with information that could lead the owner to the recovery is his dogs is asked to call telephone number 624-0421. The owner says the dogs are friendly to humans but aggressive to other dogs.

School teacher accused of sex crime
A Belize City school teacher is in the hot seat for allegedly sexually abusing his stepdaughter. Because of the nature of the alleged crime, no names can be revealed; but police say the alleged sexual abuse occurred over a period of time from the child was 7 years old. The now 12 year old girl went to the Belama Precinct 4 station on Wednesday night along with her mother and reported that from 2008 to 2012 (between the ages of 7 and 11), she was sexually assaulted on different occasions by her 51 year old stepfather. The girl says that the alleged abuse happened while she lived at different addresses in Belize City and in Lord’s Bank village. Police say that the 12 year old was checked by a doctor who certified that she was carnally known.

Fishing Report: Dec 29 - Jan 4 , 2014 Report
We had a lot of anglers use spin this week and they found all kinds of fish to target. Norma landed a shark! John landed a 40 lb barracuda! We had several boats prepare shore lunches this week. This takes some time out of the fishing day, but it’s a great experience. The guides cook up what you catch (and yes, they have back up) and the anglers enjoy a tasty fresh hot lunch with fresh tortillas. Yum. Nice going John and Norma.

Channel 7

Police Free Two Tourists Taken Hostage In The West
Tonight, authorities in San Ignacio continue to search for 4 Hispanic men, believed to be Guatemalans after 2 Americans were taken hostage this morning. Police managed to save 18 year-old Kathen Kotay and 22 year-old Manisha Kotay, both tourists originally from the US State of Virginia. It was a race against time, and with the help of the residents of the Cayo District, police managed to foil the plot. Daniel Ortiz was in Cayo today, and he went looking for details: Daniel Ortiz reporting Theo Cocchi embraced her 2 guests this afternoon in front of the police station like they were her family. It was understandable, after all, they did go through a traumatic experience together, and they survived it. The 2 American tourists had made reservations to get a tour of the ATM caves, but because it was closed to the public, they had to make different reservations.

PUP Says Elections And Boundaries Playing Politics, Recall Petition Will Be Taken To Court
Yesterday the Elections and Boundaries Department held a press conference to explain why over three hundred signatures on the Cayo Northeast Recall Petition were rejected. Well, today the PUP had it's reply. And if you thought the party might have been chastened by the various shortcomings that undermined the petition, it was not. Instead the party was angry, saying that the Eelciton office is the one that got it all wrong. The party says it will challenge in court the validate of at least 140 of those rejections:.. Senator Lisa Shoman "We believe that there are atleast and this is our first run through the evidence - 140 signatures of petitioners that ought not to have been rejected." Hon. Francis Fonseca, PUP Party Leader "We reject the finding and conclusion of the Chief Elections Officer. We reject the suggestion that there was no political interference in this matter. We reject the intimidation and threats that have been reported to us that were introduced into the so-called investigation process carried out by the Elections and Boundaries Department and we reject in the strongest possible terms the threat issued by the Chief Elections Officer on behalf of the United Democratic Party government to criminally persecute innocent voters of Cayo Northeast. We view this as a threat to the People's United Party and I strongly advised the Chief Elections Officer to desist from this course of action."

Teachers Get Ready To Rally, Hon. Faber Says, Stay In School
As we reported on Monday, the Belize National Teachers Union plans to start a series of awareness raising rallies to get its membership more actively engaged on a whole host of issues. The first one is set for tomorrow in Orange Walk, which usually means a holiday for school children there. And that's why the Ministry of Education stepped in today, to say "not so fast." The Ministry issued a release this morning saying that no communication about these rallies or the time off has been made to the Chief Education Officer or anyone in the Ministry of Education. The release says quote, "The Ministry expresses strong concern…on the inconvenience to families, unnecessary disruption of classes, and other negative effects on learning by our children and young people that (taking) additional non-school days will cause." End quote. It adds that such rallies and similar events should be planned on weekends when it would not affect school children. The release ends with the reminder that no permission has been sought and none granted.

Guat Foreign Minister Visits: Referendum On Pause, Renewed Effort At Confidence Building
Guatemalan Foreign Minister Fernando Carrerra and a delegation flew into Belize today for a lunch meeting with his Belizean counterpart and his own delegation which included an opposition representative. It's their first meeting of the New Year, which we thought would be the year for the bi national referendum, but it seems the focus is changing. Carrerra and Elrington explained:... Minister Fernando Carrerra, Foreign Minister - Guatemala "In order to start the dialogue 2014 on the right foot, in the right direction in a peaceful manner insist that dialogue is what we are looking for." Jules Vasquez "Will we have a referendum bi-national in 2014?" Minister Fernando Carrerra, Foreign Minister - Guatemala "We are not very sure so far, but definitely what we are going to have is a stronger and better measure of confidence. I think that is what is important today that we started to talk about measures of confidence from the beginning of the year and I think that is going to open the space for that."

Ex Wife Leaves Dentist Knocked Out On The Ground
Tonight, Rafael Gamez and his ex-wife, are facing criminal charges after the couple had a fight which got out of hand and caught the attention of police. San Ignacio Police found the 43 year-old dentist on the ground in an unconscious state in a pool of blood inside his business place, Gamez Dental Clinic. He reported to police that at around 4 o'clock this morning, he and his ex-wife Juana had a fight. While he was dragging her into the street, she managed to grab a knife and she sliced him on the arm. She was detained, and when she was examined by a doctor, it was found that she also had injuries to her body. Both of them are detained, pending charges.

Man Who Stole From Police Coordinator Gets Two Years
25 year-old Robert Young Jr. is spending first night of a 2 year sentence after he was convicted of burglary. The Chief Magistrate found him guilty of burglarizing the home of Douglas Hyde, the Police Department's National Youth Program Coordinator. Young was accused entering Hyde's Hattieville house on September 19, 2012, and he stole an assortment of personal items and government property which amounted to just over seven thousand dollars. Police responded after the burglary, and they were able to lift fingerprints which was sent to be processed and entered into their AFIS fingerprint database. The prints were positively identified as Young's and as a result, police charged him with burglary. He stood trial before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, and after the police witnesses gave testimony against him, he gave sworn evidence that he was somewhere else when the burglary occurred.

What Will Be Belize’s Energy Future?
The Public Utilities Commission has put out what's known as a request for power: it's inviting companies to submit bids explaining how they would provide 75 megawatts of affordable energy to the Belize Electrical Grid. 44 Applications were sent into the PUC and today at BEL, the PUC had a pre-bidding meeting for those applicants. The bids won't be submitted until May 15th and today's meeting was to give them the lay of the land - explain how the process works. PUC Chairman John Avery explained:.. John Avery, Chairman, PUC "This meeting is to clear up some of the questions and issues that potential bidders may have and after this meeting those concerns which need to be addressed, we will meet, we will address them and then we will have to issue new rules or new parameters for the RFP if necessary." Jules Vasquez "How many applications have been received?" John Avery, Chairman, PUC "We've had forty-four expressions of intent to bid. About twenty for solar, a couple for hydro and a mix of other sources including waste to energy, thermal....so we have quite a good mix of project proposals that we are expecting."

Former Belizean Foster Child Joel Hodgson Becoming An Icon of Perseverance In UK
You may remember the name Joel Hodgson. He's the boy from the Children's Home in Belize who was adopted by a Scottish couple when he was just four and went to live in England. 17 years later he moved to London - and ended up homeless, sleeping on the steps of a British police station. That's when he got a job selling magazines, and 3 years after, his positive attitude and willingness to work earned him a job at a top London law firm. His life was on the up-and-up, and soon after he was chosen to be a torchbearer in the Olympic Torch Relay leading up to the Olympics. Hodgson is now trying to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth games as a representative for Belize. The BBC recently featured his bold attempt and inspiring struggle. You can find a link to that here: But will Joel Hodgson represent Belize at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow Scotland? Well the Belize Athletics Association President Hugh Pinnas Staine has learned that Hodgson is eager to try and qualify in some way to represent Belize. His times in the 400 meter are said to be worthy of consideration.

Channel 5

2 American students are kidnapped; 3 abductors, believed to be Guatemalans, still at large
Two siblings were abducted in the west this morning as they left a resort, but their kidnapping fortunately ended without incident. While unscathed, eighteen year old Kathen Kotay and twenty-two [...]

P.U.P. dresses down the Chief Elections Officer for rejecting the recall petition
The People’s United Party held a press briefing today at Independence Hall to roundly condemn the actions of the Elections and Boundaries Office, which rejected three hundred and thirty-seven signatures [...]

…And introduces disenfranchised voters
As we told you, the P.U.P. came with substance to back up their fire and fury. The party claims that after just a cursory examination, they are prepared to object [...]

Belize and Guatemala Foreign Ministers meet; still no date for referendum
There was a time not so long ago when the Belize/Guatemala referendum on the age-old territorial dispute was a part of daily conversation. All that changed when Guatemala backed out [...]

… But discusses a roadmap for 2014
With all the best intentions and apparent goodwill between both Foreign Ministers, there are still some sticky issues which have led to hostile words and tense moments between countries. One [...]

Guatemalan Foreign Minister speaks on offensive documents and maps
Another sticky issue is the consistent appearance of Guatemalan documents which cast some doubt, at least on that nation’s part, of Belize’s territorial integrity. Just recently, a Belizean delegation to [...]

B.N.T.U. lashes out at Ministry of Education; saying it is trying to sabotage rallies
The Belize National Teachers Union that started the year with a militant tone reacted swiftly today to a release issued by the Ministry of Education. The ministry took issue with [...]

…And says it will proceed with industrial action
So that is where the B.N.T.U. stands tonight…starting at nine a.m. on Friday in Orange Walk Town and in the afternoon in Corozal Town, teachers from the two northern districts [...]

Minister of Education meets with the media on planned rallies by B.N.T.U.
By this afternoon, the Minister of Education Patrick Faber, in a meeting with the media, said that there is absolutely no reason why teachers should be demonstrating on a school [...]

Faber says ministry will not sit by and have union topple efforts of G.O.B.
Faber says that while the ministry is not threatening teachers, it will not sit by idly and watch the efforts of the government be toppled by the union.  FOR VIDEO [...]

Teacher wanted for alleged sexual abuse of stepdaughter
There is heinous crime to report tonight involving a fifty-one year old teacher, who is the stepfather of an alleged abused young girl. A twelve year old is claiming that [...]

Hattieville man convicted, fined and confined for Burglary
Today in the courtroom of the Chief Magistrate, a Freetown Sibun resident was convicted after his fingerprints were lifted from a perfume bottle he came in contact with during a [...]

PUC meets with potential bidders to change dynamics of energy dependency
Belize is looking for energy security and at a lower cost for the next ten years or so. As it currently stands, the national grid requires eighty megawatts of energy. [...]

PUC Chairman says Fortis rights of first refusal for waterways was signed in secrecy
Now, Belize Electric Company Limited operates the Chalillo, Mollejon and Vaca Hydroelectric located in western Belize. BECOL is owned by Fortis, the former Canadian owners of the utility company…prior to [...]

Healthy Living looks at the flu season and Influenza H1N1
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health issued a release cautioning Belizeans about the seasonal flu.  Included in the update was that there was one suspected cases of H-one N-one pending [...]


Elections And Boundaries Reveals Why Signatures Were Rejected For Recall
A press briefing regarding the Recall Referendum Petition for Cayo Northeast was held today in Belize City. As we've reported the petition failed because the People’s United Party came 79 approved signatures short of meeting the threshold. Although being thoroughly condemned by the Opposition, the media and civil society, the dishonored former minister of state Elvin Penner, has not faced any criminal charges for allegedly facilitating a visa for an international fugitive. And today, the final recall petition results show that 5,815 are the total registered electors for that constituency and 2002 signatures were submitted. The threshold that would trigger a recall is 1,744; which make up 30 percent of the electorate. The final statistics reveal that 1,665 signatures were accepted; 52 signatures did not match the petitioners ID, 52 signatures are of those not registered in Cayo Northeast, 52 signatures were not registered, 11 had no signature, 79 petitioners names were submitted twice and 4 signed their names three times which brought the total to 2002. Total rejected signatures were 337 which represent 16.83% of the electorate in the division.

Corozal Police Investigate Burglary And Report Of Aggravated Assault
While Corozal Police continue to investigate the first case of carnal knowledge for that district they are also investigating a burglary and aggravated assault report. First to the burglary report. Fifty five year old Roberto Alvarez, Belizean laborer of Santa Rita Layout, Corozal Town, reported that on the 6th of January 2014 he left his house well secured and upon returning the following day, at around 7:40am he noticed that the padlock on the door was tampered with. Upon entering his home he noticed that it had been ransacked and stolen from the premises were a number of items valued at a total of $46.00. Investigation continues. As for the report of aggravated assault police have detained one person and are looking for another in connection with the incident. Here is what transpired. According to 35 year old Ronaldo Westby of Progresso Village Corozal, on Sunday January 5th, at about 8:00pm, he was walking along with Nestor Heredia, Alex Ken, Matthew Olivera, Nelson Pech and Nigel Cruz, when upon reaching the main street Jose Lopez aka CHEPE and Herzon Lopez rode pass them on separate bicycles.

Case Of Carnal Knowledge Leads To Pregnancy
If our records are right 2014 has recorded its first case of carnal knowledge to be reported to police. And the report comes from the Corozal District. But to make matters worse, the crime resulted in pregnancy. Yesterday, at around 10:35am, a 14 year old minor, accompanied by her mother, visited the station and reported to police that on the 10th of November 2013 she went to the house of a man whom she knows and had sexual intercourse with him. According to the minor, when she missed her menstrual cycle and began feeling sick, she informed her mother that she had sex with a man who has been her boyfriend for the past 8 months. Medical examinations certified that the child is 11 weeks pregnant. Police investigations continue.

Crime And Violence Statistics Released By Police For 2013
Today the police department released the annual statistics for crime and violence for the year 2013. And from what is being reported the overall number of reported crimes in the 12 month period from January to December dropped. There were 46 less homicides committed in 2013 compared to 2012 bringing the total body count to 99. Of note is that when it comes to murders 45 arrests were made, that’s 16 less when compared to 2012. The northern part of the country recorded a total of seven murders, five in the Corozal District and two in Orange Walk. In 2013, the Belize District proved to be the most violent with 58 murders, followed by Cayo with 25 murders. Orange Walk and Toledo were the least violent of all districts with 2 murders each. Burglaries also reduced countrywide with a sum of 890 break-ins reported. Of that number 61 were committed in Corozal and 75 in Orange Walk. The Belize District had the highest number of burglaries with 404, followed by the Cayo District with 155 burglaries.

New Director Of FIU Appointed
News coming out of the Belize Press Office indicates that Eric Eusey, former Commissioner of Income Tax, has been appointed as the new Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), effective January 1, 2014. Eusey takes over Marilyn Williams’. Williams, we understand, gave notice in September 2013 that she would not be applying for a renewal of her contract which expired on the 31st of December 2013, as she intended to go into private practice. 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.

Vendors Complain About Increase In Price On Fruits And Vegetables
Viewers surely heard the following phrase at least once from their mother or doctor, “eat your fruits and vegetables”. It goes without saying that these food groups are key to a well-balanced diet and consequently good health. In fact, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is said to reduce cancer and other chronic diseases as they provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and other substances vital to health. Reality now is different for many though, if not most of us, as we do not eat nearly as much vegetables and fruits as we need. Part of the reason is plain-many people don’t enjoy eating fruits or vegetables. Another reason is the cost. Prices are often high and fluctuate at certain times of the year as well. What causes this? This is the focus of a three part story we have been working on, trying to find out why the cost of one of the most important part of our diet, vegetables, is unstable. Tonight we take a first look into our investigation. Dalila Ical reports.

Price Of Shrimp Increases, Local Vendors Feel The Pinch
Global Shrimp prices are skyrocketing to all-time highs, amid a disease that's plaguing the three largest prawn producers: Thailand, China and Vietnam and in our region Mexico. The reason behind the global shortage is due to the early mortality syndrome (EMS) spread in aquaculture farms and has its implications to prices. That is the situation here in Belize. Reporter Maria Novelo explored that issue and filed this comprehensive report. Maria Novelo – Reporting Retailers are resisting what is evidently a significant price increase of shrimp and as a result, the local market here in Belize is seeing a reflective shortage of this Cadillac crustacean. While there are seven registered shrimp farms in the country, four of them have an export processing zone status solely for the export market. The other three growers sell on a local level but most of their production gets exported to overseas markets as well. And while the global shortage remains Belize plays a significant role in filling that global demand. According to Secretary of the Belize Shrimp Association, Alvin Henderson, the global shortage is to be blamed for the sky rocketing price and there is no reprieve in sight.

BSI/BSCFA Meet, Is There A Light At The End Of The Tunnel For The Sugar Industry?
Today after much back and forth and back biting representatives of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the Belize Sugar Industries Limited met to discuss a very important issue, the commencement of the 2013/2014 crop season which has been delayed for more than a month now. While both the miller and the producer have been playing hard ball millions are being lost and most importantly the future of the Sugar Industry is at stake with the current impasse on revenue sharing of bagasse. But there could be a light at the end of the tunnel. Today, as both stakeholders of the industry, along with their lawyers met at the BSI Staff club, the BSCFA presented an interim agreement to BSI/ASR which contains seven pointers. It is the hope of the producer that BSI agrees to the proposals and put an end to the current standoff. Alfredo Ortega- Vice Chairman, BSCFA, Committee of Management “Tuvimos un dialogo adonde le presentamos a BSI un interim agreement adonde queremos firmar así para que podamos entonces presentárselo al canero y de allí ya entonces ya retomar cualquier otro asunto porque ya sabes el inicio de zafra es uno de los puntos fuertes que está viniendo entonces le presentamos a ellos siete puntos adentro de ese interim agreement que se les propuso a ellos para que así entonces una vez firmadas ya podemos lograr otros proyectos.”


Guatemala Officials Want to Work on Confidence Building Measures
Last year, Belize and Guatemala were to hold simultaneously referendum in regards to Guatemala’s claims over Belize. However, that did not happen because Guatemala backed off because of several reasons. But today Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, met with Guatemala’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Luis Fernando Carrera and his delegation. The goal of the meeting was to design confidence building measures so that a national referendum could be held soon. LUIS FERNANDO CARRERA “We decided to come and pay a visit to our friend here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the whole commission of the follow ups of the relationship between Guatemala and Belize in order to start a dialogue for this year, 2014 on the right foot, in a peaceful manner and since dialogue is what we’re looking for.” LOCAL REPORTER “Will we have a referendum bi-national in 2014?” LUIS FERNANDO CARRERA “I am not very sure so far but definitely what we are going to have is a stronger and better measure of confidence. I think that is what is important today, that we have started to talk about measures of confidence from the beginning of the year and I think that is going to open space for that.”

Police News: Drugs, Missing Persons, Robbery and Theft
Police officers from Precinct Three carried out a series of searches through Majestic Alley in Belize City on Wednesday. As a result of this operation, 168.5 grams of suspected cannabis was found in an open lot with a further search in the area resulting in the discovery of 131.6 grams of suspected cannabis and a chrome, point 357 live ammunition. All items found were labelled as found property. Police is asking the public to be on the lookout for a missing 13-year-old, a Belizean student of Willows Bank Village in the Belize District. Delita Shanice Roca was reported missing by her mother on Wednesday. According to Delsie Roca, her teenage daughter Delita was last seen on Monday, December 30, 2013 at around 7am in Willows Bank Village. Delita Shanice Roca has dark complexion, is of a slim built, has a narrow face with black puffy hair and weighs about 110 pounds and is four feet five inches in height. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of the young girl is asked to contact the nearest police station.

Minister Faber Appeals To Union on Behalf of Students
In response to the rallies that the BNTU has organized for tomorrow, Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, expressed concern via a press release issued out this morning. Faber told the media that the Union did not inform the ministry about the rally which, Faber says could have been held, on a non-school day. HON. PATRICK FABER “My position is that it is rather unfortunate; as our release states we really believe that because of course of a number of issues but especially because of the rains we lost valuable time in the classroom and I’m sure that teachers will agree to this and so for something like this to be the reason why they would call off school to me is really disappointing and unfortunate, I don’t see any reason. This is a personal view that I have had for so long, why these meetings or these rallies or whatsoever, in case we make the clear distinction that this is not a meeting, this is a rally, why can’t it be done on a Friday or a non-school day if it is they want to make a point and to demonstrate, if they really are wanting to show that concern for the students and for education system. So, I appeal to them like you’ve said they have indicated that it will go on and I know that my appeal won’t necessarily change their mind but I have to make that appeal not only on the part of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports but also on the behalf of the parents and of the managements and of the wider education stake holders for them to be reasonable and for them to understand that this is not a time that we can afford to be missing classes.

Stepfather Accused of Sexual Assault
A minor is accusing her 51-year-old stepfather of sexually assaulting her. The minor, a student of the Buttonwood Bay area in Belize City was accompanied by her mother when they went to the Belama Precinct Four on Wednesday to make the report. According to the child, between the ages of seven and eleven while she was living at various addresses within Belize City including Lord’s Bank area in Ladyville Village in the Belize District, her stepfather, who is a teacher sexually assaulted her. Medical personnel made checks on the minor and found that she was carnally known and has classified her injuries as grievous harm. Police are looking for the stepfather for questioning.

Twenty Two Year Old Stepfather Fondles Teenager
A man is accused of touching his step daughter inappropriately. The minor accompanied by her father told Police that she was awoken when her stepfather began fondling her. The girl told her mother of the incident after which the matter was reported to police. The 22-year-old has been detained pending a charge of aggravated assault of an indecent nature.

Teachers Rally Still On For Friday in Northern Belize
ARTURO CANTUN REPORTING “President of the Orange Walk Branch of the Belize National Teachers’ Union Otilio Munoz says the “teechaz gay u bak” march and rally is still on for tomorrow and plans are underway.“ OTILIO MUNOZ “So, we have the legal permission and ok from the police to go ahead and do that rally for tomorrow. Teachers and school principals have been informed about this movement and the management has been informed as well.” ARTURO CANTUN “How many teachers are you expecting for the rally?” OTILIO MUNOZ “We have a feedback of 95% of the teachers are coming out from their schools tomorrow.” ARTURO CANTUN “In numbers how much does this represent?” OTILIO MUNOZ “It’s more or less over 500.” ARTURO CANTUN “But this morning the Ministry of Education issued a press release in essence stating that teachers of Orange Walk and Corozal do not have permission for a none-classes day. Munoz said despite the letter the march and rally is still on.”

Police in Northern Belize Investigate Cases of Theft
A 37-year-old cane farmer of Libertad Village in the Corozal District has reported to the Police that he had been robbed of a floor jack that was in his garage. According to the farmer, Eiden Romero he had returned from taking his wife to work on Wednesday, in Concepcion Village and upon returning home to do some work on his vehicle he realized the floor jack, valued at 450 dollars was missing. Police is asking the public’s assistance in locating Renan Crawford of Concepcion Village for questioning. Meanwhile a truck driver residing in Corozal Town has reported to police that three HTL brand batteries were removed from his tow head truck that was parked in his yard. The 27-year-old, Luis Marroquin told the authorities that sometime between the hours of 1am and 9pm on Wednesday, January 8, the culprit or culprits entered his yard and removed the batteries valued at $750.00. Police is asking the public to refrain from purchasing stolen goods and should they come across these stolen batteries to report it to the nearest police station.

Estranged Wife Stabs Husband in Western Belize
A stabbing incident reportedly occurred in San Ignacio Town, Cayo District earlier this morning at around four o’clock. Reports indicate that Police in that municipality responded to a 911 call and visited the scene on the George Price Highway directly facing the La Loma Luz Hospital at a Dental Clinic building. At the scene, Police encountered 43-year-old, dentist lying motionless in a pool of blood. After regaining consciousness he informed the Police that he was stabbed by his ex-wife. He received a cut wound to the left upper arm and a small stab wound to the upper chest. Reports tell Love News that Rafael and his ex-wife were engaged in an argument and he was reportedly dragging her on the street. The ex-wife managed to grab a knife and inflicted the cut wounds. He was taken for medical attention to the San Ignacio Hospital where his injuries were classified as harm. Police have detained both persons pending charges.

Gas Station Attendant Robbed in Western Belize
We now join our Cayo correspondent, Elaine Berry for details on an armed robbery that occurred in Western Belize earlier today. ELAINE BERRY “A robbery occurred at the UNO Gas Station in Benque Viejo del Carmen. Love News spoke to the officer commanding the Benque Formation, Superintendent Dinsdale Thompson about the robbery.” DINSDALE THOMPSON “This morning around 10:30, the attendant of the UNO Gas Station here in Benque Viejo Town made a report to the police that he was held up by a single individual with what appeared to be a point 38 revolver while he was at the gas station here in Benque Viejo serving. He was held up at gun point and was relieved of some 1400 Belize dollars. At the time was alone he was dressed in a black shirt and a blue jeans pants of Creole descent. At this moment, we are still carrying out our investigation into this person who the attendant has reported carried out this robbery upon him. That’s what we have so far in relation to the robbery but we are doing our investigation. No arrests have yet been made but we are carrying out our investigation.”

Citizens in Western Belize Help Police Foil Kidnapping of Tourists
Quick response by special constables, villagers of Bullet Tree and the police foiled what from all indications would have been a kidnapping with a demand for ransom for the victims’ release. The perpetrators successfully carried out the first part of their plan when they stalked and eventually held up a white Kia Sportage with its three occupants near the village cemetery. Inside the vehicle were the owner of the Parrots Nest Resort, Theo Cocchi Stevens, and two tourists who were staying at her resort. Reports are that shortly after eight this morning, four Hispanic men, all wearing masks and wielding what appeared to be machine guns, proceeded to carry out their plan. Businesswoman, Mary Cariddi, who was one of the first to be alerted and to respond to the call for help, told Love News how it unfolded. MARY CARIDDI, Special Constable, Cayo District “They were coming out of the other side of the village with the owner and they were held up then and take. They had Theo drive the vehicle because they couldn’t drive because the vehicle kept stalling out. Then they continued on foot and they released Theo, they sent her back with a message saying they wanted seventy five thousand dollars in an hour.”

DPP Will Determine Next Step in Recall Offences
As you heard, seventy nine persons signed the petition twice and four persons did so three times. According to the Recall Representative Act, that is an offence and Tamai says that a file is being prepared of all those individuals who signed the petition more than once for the revision of the Director of Public Prosecution, Cheryl-Lyn Vidal. JOSEPHINE TAMAI “Also that it is an offence under Section 9A of the Recall of Elected Representative Act No. 20 of 2010, to forge a signature on a recall petition and to willfully sign a petition more than once. I must state that any offence under this act is punishable by a fine not exceeding 1000 dollars or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year or to both such fine and imprisonment. On the issue of prosecution, I must say that a file is being compiled for submission to the Director of Public Prosecutions who will advise on a matter of offences.” LOCAL REPORTER “The role of the Elections and Boundaries Office was to verify the signatures and those signatures were up there; the 79 and the 4 petitioners who signed 3 times, yes, they were there more than once, as your record shows but they were there, they did sign on that petition.”

#482461 - 01/10/14 05:23 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 10, 2014 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here


Opposition to Make Legal Challenge on Failed Petition
The People’s United Party is not giving up its effort to recall Cayo Northeast area representative Elvin Penner despite the determination of the Election and Boundaries Department that not enough signatures of registered voters in the division exist to support the petition given to the Governor General in November....

BNTU Rallies Meet Resistance from Ministry of Education
The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) continues to campaign for salary adjustment and as we had reported on Monday’s news cast, BNTU will host a series of rallies every Friday for the month of January starting on the North (Orange Walk and Corozal) this Friday, January 10th. Such rallies,...

Guatemalan Foreign Minister Visits Belize
Today in Belize City Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington hosted his Guatemalan counterpart Fernando Carrera. This time last year the two countries were preparing to launch a campaign leading up to a simultaneous referendum asking citizens whether to take the long-standing territorial dispute between the two to the...

Guatemala Renounces Bad Maps and Incursions
Part of restoring trust and confidence in the peoples of Belize and Guatemala is to remedy two annoying matters for Belize: the odious map that suggests that Belize is part of Guatemala and the constant incursions into the Belizean forests, particularly the Chiquibul. Foreign Minister Carrera issued a strong...

Police and Rescuers Frustrate a Kidnapping Plan In Western Belize
Quick community and policing efforts led to the recovery of two tourists -a brother and sister, who were kidnapped and held for ransom. It happened this morning in the Cayo District. According to Theo Cocchi, owner of Parrot Nest, a hotel situated in Bullet Tree Village, at about 8:00am, she..

The Guardian

Manufacturing in Belize
After many years of trying manufacturing is at last taking off in Belize. Unfortunately, the output of the manufacturing plants is not canned food, powdered milk, bicycles, shoes or any number of other items that have been discussed as possible products for our small population. The plants currently operating have a few well placed sponsors with agendas that are for personal or small group gain and often not in the best interests of Belize. They are concentrating their efforts on manufactured outrage and rumour and have had some success in creating a climate of discontent and resentment. The most well known face of manufactured outrage portrays herself as the lone defender of the rights of citizens against an overweening State, taking on to herself the job more properly done by the Ombudsman. Instead of carful research which weighs all sides she instead parades all cases, acting as prosecuting attorney, in the glare of the media. The public gets an opportunity to hear only one side of the argument and any official response is buried as an afterthought. It may be that the Ombudsman’s office moves too slowly but if people turn to the media and do not report cases of State overreach to his office he cannot be expected to investigate them. Many of the cases being tried in this way involve a bureaucracy that was in any case working to resolve the issue. But the public is left with the impression that the manufactured outrage was necessary to obtain any sort of justice. It is not surprising that the political opposition, which has a history of institutional corruption that siphoned hundreds of millions of public dollars into well-connected private hands, has oiled up its outrage manufacturing machine over the misdeeds of individuals with political connections who may have benefitted from selling an influence they did not actually have. Though corrupt actions must always be condemned there is a huge difference between wrongful acts of individuals and official conspiracies to defraud the public purse.

PUP’s Fraudulent List
The Election’s and Boundaries Department, headed by Josephine Tamai held a press conference in which it explained the serial problems which it encountered while vetting the list of persons who signed a petition to trigger a recall of the sitting area representative of the Cayo North East constituency. The breakdown of the list is as follows: 1665 signatures were accepted, 52 signatures did not match, 52 were not registered in Cayo North East, 52 are not registered at all, 11 had no signatures, 158 signed the petition twice, 12 signed the petition three times all to a total of 2002 which were submitted. The Chief Election’s Officer explained that they received the list on Thursday November 28th after which they had a month in which to verify it and certify those that were legitimate. Their work was to have been submitted by December 28th but because that day was a Saturday, there are provision in which the verified list can be submitted on the next workday which was on December 30th, and they did. Tamai stated that there were 8 senior public officers at the rank of heads of departments and assistant heads of department who headed the process. Included in those conducting the verification was Genoveva Marin from the Forensics Department, her expertise was required for verification of signatures. Tamai said that there were 61 instances in which thumb prints or an X appeared as signatures. In the instances where the thumb prints could not be made out, the assistance of the police was sought and it was determined that even the police could not make out the prints.

Men at Work!!! Violent Crimes Down 35% in 2013
There are several factors that contributed to the significant reduction in crime witnessed in 2013. Those trying to explain the phenomenon may look at the impact that organizations such as Restore Belize, Community Policing Unit, Youth for the Future, Magazine Road Skills Training Center and Crime Stoppers Belize are having in crime plagued communities. However, if you ask the men who were considered by some as “terrorists”, they will break it down for you in the simplest terms. “We are men at work,” a group working on the Lake Independence Boulevard said laughing. It is that simple. Hundreds of young men from Belize City have been busy earning an honest living in the many infrastructure projects being executed by the Belize City Council and the Government of Belize. Violent crimes were down by 35 percent nationally in 2013 due in large part to a 42 percent reduction in the Belize District. Violent crimes are murder, rape, robbery and shooting incidents. In 2012 there were 918 such incidents. In 2013 there were 594. Belize District accounted for 61 percent of violent crimes committed nationally with 562 in 2012. In 2013 there were 327 violent crimes committed in the Belize District, 55 percent of violent crimes recorded nationally. There were 145 murders, 28 rapes, 487 robberies and 258 shooting incidents in 2012. In 2013 there were 99 murders (-32%), 26 rapes (-8%), 296 robberies (-39%) and 173 shooting incidents (-33%). There were 90 murders in the Belize District in 2012 and 58 in 2013, a reduction of 36 percent.

Suspected “Swine Flu” Outbreak in Belize
The Ministry of Health is conducting tests on a number of patients receiving treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for severe respiratory infections that is suspected of being Influenza H1N1. According to a release from the Ministry, over recent weeks there has been a cluster of patients with influenza. Many of those infected were severe cases. There are unconfirmed reports that one of the individual suspected of being infected with the virus died over the Christmas holiday. The Ministry says “As soon as laboratory results are made available we should be able to confirm or rule out if indeed it is [Influenza H1N1].” Tests have been sent to CAREC in Trinidad and Tobago and should return soon. There is no need to panic as experts now know that H1N1 is no more deadly than seasonal influenza. However, the Ministry reminds the public that we are in the flu season. The flu virus is circulating and every person is at risk of catching the flu. One can reduce such risk by simply washing hands frequently with soap and clean water; coughing and sneezing into shirt sleeve and not hands; keeping hands away from your face; keeping common surface areas (such as door knobs, counters) clean and disinfected and limit contact with others as much as possible if infected. The Ministry stresses the importance of visiting nearby health facilities if symptoms are persisting or become more severe.

Newest Belizeans in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
The Guardian Newspaper wishes to congratulate Dr. Adrian Coye, Mr. Rafael Manzanero and Mr. Rodney Harold Neal on their appointment to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Dr. Coye and Manzanero have been appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to be Ordinary Officers of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire. Dr. Adrian Coye receives the appointment for his contribution to medicine. Coye is the Director of Medical Services at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. He is Belize’s first cardiothoracic surgeon and performed the first open heart surgery in Belize on Monday, July 16th, 2012. Rafael Manzanero has been appointed in recognition of his contribution to environmental protection. Manzanero is the Executive Director of the Friends for Conservation and Development and has dedicated himself to the protection of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. The Chiquibul is the gateway to Belize’s forest and is under sustained pressure due to illegal logging, poaching, illegal agriculture and pillaging of archaeological sites by settlers of some sixty communities on the Guatemalan side of the border. Under Manzanero’s leadership the Friends for Conservation and Development has raised awareness on the importance of and threats facing the Chiquibul Forest Reserve.

Myrtle’s mistakes
She deems herself to be in some level a great statistician and numbers guru and an expert on electoral matters but oh who woefully terribly Myrtle Palacio must feel after the Elections and Boundaries department vetted the list of voters the PUP sent in as petitioners to have Elvin Penner recalled from office. According to the department, the list was fraught with problems, problems which were not limited to persons signing the petition twice or three times. It has other more glaring problems where in instances where fingerprints were to have been put on as signatures, there was just a smudge. Then there were problems where persons did not even sign the petition, yet the names were sent in. Even worse there was one case where a fingerprint was placed on the petition and when the person on the voter's list was contacted, that person categorically stated that she had not place her thumb print. That seems like fraud to us- but that is a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions to proceed on.

Canadian man found murdered in Guatemala
The body 64 year-old Canadian Retiree Brian Townsend, who went missing on Christmas Day, was recovered last week from Guatemala, and his remains have been cremated. It is the conclusion of the worst possible outcome for his family both in Belize and in Canada. Townsend lived in Valley of Peace Village in the Cayo District for 9 years where he did missionary work for the residents. He was beloved by the village because he gave of himself freely to help them during his time there. One of the most significant achievements he made for Valley of Peace was when he led the construction of the Seventh Day Adventist College, which is among the many projects he saw completed in the village. On Christmas Eve, he called his cook and asked her to come in early to cook the Christmas dinner. When she reported to work, she couldn’t locate him, and neither could she reach him on his cell phone. She reported him missing to the police, who responded and found signs of a struggle outside of his house. Missing along with him was a pick up truck, and the officers found a trail of blood which suggested to them that he was either killed or knocked unconscious and dragged to where it was parked. Investigators believe that he was then placed in the vehicle, and his assailants then drove off with it.

Byron Pope captures 24th Annual Krem Radio New Year’s Day Cycling Classic
The 24th Annual New Year’s Day Krem Radio Cycling Classic was held on Wednesday January 1, 2014. The Elite Open/Masters category started at the Belize/Mexico Broader at Santa Elena, while the other categories started at the Town Hall in Orange Walk Town and all concluded at Mahogany Street junction with the Central American Boulvard. In the Elite category, Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes was the first rider to cross the finish line to captured first place when he completed the event in a time of 3:48:11. The second rider to cross the finish line was Carlos Lopez also of Benny’s Megabytes and he was followed by Giovanni Lovell of Telemedia in a time of 3:48:16, and he was followed by Juan Manual Yapur who is unattached and then he was followed by Herman Requena of Team Smart in a time of 3:52:42 to round off the top five finishers in this category. The other top finishers in this category included David Henderson of Benny’s Megabytes in a time of 3:53:47, and he was followed by Jose Eduardo Anguliano-Gonzalez also of Benny’s Megabytes, and he was followed by Manuel Ayala-Balam of Depredadores in a time of 3:53:09, and he was followed by Darnell Barrow of Team Smart in a time of 3:53:15 and he was followed by Gregory Lovell of Telemedia in a time of 3:53:15 to found of the top ten finishers in the 24th Annual Krem Radio New Year’s Day Cycling Classic.

Spoiling for an Argument
As I was about to enter the People’s Store here in Orange Walk Town Friday afternoon past, I heard someone shout out my full name with a sense of urgency. Now I don’t know about you, but when I am addressed by my full name in a high tone I immediately get fretful; the caller is either trying to beg for, or borrow money from me, a commodity that I am always in short supply of. But as I looked around at the gentleman I realized I did not know him, and offered him a warm hello in return, you know, season greetings and all. Without much pause, he continued in his baritone voice, putting a question to me “do you think the UDP will win again in 2017?” At this I decided to proceed very cautiously, since either he was spoiling for an open argument, or, maybe he was a UDP supporter who wanted some reassurance that his Party was in good standing. Since I was unsure which was which, I decided to do some quick wiggling out of this one, and I answered him with a question, “boy, I don’t know what to say, but what do you think?” He hesitated for only a fraction of a second before opining that the United Democratic Party has very good prospects for another victory since the PUP could not even muster sufficient signatures to trigger a recall, even with that threshold being only 30%. I had to agree with his logic on that one. I think that the failed recall is a poor reflection of the PUP’s organizational skills, since they should have submitted at least 2,500 signatures, to cover all possible slips.

Burglar caught red handed in Santa Elena Town in Cayo
A well known burglar who had been operating unimpeded in the Hillview and Santa Cruz Area of Santa Elena Town in the Cayo District since last year has finally been nabbed by San Ignacio Police. San Ignacio Police received a report at 1:25 am on Wednesday of this week of a burglary in progress at Falcon Nest in the Hill View Area of Santa Elena Town. A quick response by the Police led them to a second floor of a building where Nolbert Guzman was discovered hiding behind a bathroom wall in a dark jacket and red warm cap. When Nolbert Guzman recognized that it was the Police, he moved towards the police with a pointed object in his hand and in a stabbing motion. But the Police then responded by hitting Nolbert Guzman with a baton on his knee and arm after which he fell to the ground and was thereupon subdued with handcuffs. A check by the Police with the proprietor of the building revealed that Nolbert Guzman had not been given any permission to enter said building. At this time Nolbert Guzman continues to be detained by San Ignacio Police pending charges of burglary and aggravated assault. His screw driver and metal piece has also been retrieved and deposited as exhibit.

Car Washer Charged with Theft
Kenrick Longsworth, 21-year-old, hustles as a car washer behind the Belize City Magistrates Court but on Monday, January 6th, he was before the court to answer to a charge of theft. 19-year-old Mariani Westby reported to police that on Wednesday, January 1st, she was walking on Douglas Jones Street towards New Road when she was robbed of a tablet valued at $300 and $50 in cash. She immediately reported the matter to police and while she was the station police brought in Longsworth whom she identified as the man who robbed her. Longsworth was arrested and charged with one count of theft. He appeared in the Belize City Magistrate Court on Monday before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. In court, Longsworth was unrepresented and pled not guilty to the charge. Bail was offered in the sum of $1,000 plus one surety of the same amount, which he met. He is due back in court on March 3rd.

Cousin shoots Cousin
Tajah Staine, 19 year-old, and resident of Gladden Street, is receiving treatment at the KHMH after she was shot by a gunman on New Year’s Eve, an assailant who she has told police is her first cousin. That relative has since been remanded for the attack. At around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Staine’s mother sent her on an errand, and while she was on her way out of the yard, a gunman ambushed her and gunned her down right inside her yard. When she fell to the ground, the assailant stood over her and shot her 6 more times to the chest, left shoulder, and left leg. The gunman escaped and left her to die, but fortunately, her mother looked outside the house in time and saw Staine on the ground. She managed to rush her daughter to the hospital, and with the intervention of the medical professionals at the KHMH, she survived the attack. Tajah Staine has told police investigators that it is her 16 year-old cousin who tried to kill her. That 16 year-old was arrested and charged with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and dangerous harm. He was taken to family court and due to the serious nature of the offences, he was remanded to the Wagner’s Youth Facility until his next court date, which is scheduled for February 4.

Jason Grant Charged for Death of 64-Year-old Patricia Johnson
Jason Grant, 31, appeared in the Belize City Magistrate Court on Monday, January 6th, to face charges of manslaughter by negligence; causing death by careless conduct; driving without due care and attention, driving an unlicensed motor vehicle without third party risk insurance and use of motor vehicle without the consent of the owner. At about 7 p.m. on the night of Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013, police responded to a traffic accident which occurred at the entrance of Bella Vista on the Phillip Goldson Highway. There they met Jason Grant who said he was riding his black Honda motorcycle towards Haulover Bridge when upon reaching Siesta Inn he ran into 64-year-old Patricia Johnson, resident of Bella Vista area. Grant was served with a Notice of Intended Prosecution. Johnson sustained head and body injuries and was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for treatment. However, she later succumbed to her injuries. In court before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, Grant was unrepresented when the charges were read. No plea was taken since the charges are indictable offenses and Grant was offered bail in the sum of $5,000 plus one surety of the same amount.

Haitian caught with a Fake Visa
Hatian National, 37-year-old, Sanon Vertus, was caught with a fake visa at the Phillip Goldson International Airport on Monday January 6th. According to police reports, Vertus arrived at the PGIA on January 6th and Immigration Officer Eldon August escorted him to the Immigration Office in Belize City along with his Haitian passport. At the office, Officer Gilroy Guzman interviewed Vertus and launched an investigation into his passport and visa (#V00076309). Guzman relayed the information to Belmopan and learnt that the visa was fake and not confirmed or printed in Belize. Vertus was charged for being in possession of a false document. He appeared before Magistrate Clyve Lino on Tuesday, January 7th, and pled guilty to the offense. He was fined $1,000.

Man shoots his father
Hensleigh Ryan Jones, 30 year-old, Corozal resident, has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison for allegedly shooting his dad in the head. Corozal Police responded to an incident in Ranchito Village on January 1, and they were informed that it happened at the home of 53 year-old Hensley “Nick” Jones. When they arrived at the house, they found Hensley Jones suffering from 3 gunshot wounds to the head. He told police that his son, Hengsleigh Jones, shot him for no apparent reason. Fortunately, he survived the incident, and he was rushed to the KHMH where the medical professionals were able to save his life. The officers found a .38 special revolver at the house with 5 live rounds inside it, and based on the report from the dad, Hensleigh Jones was charged with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and dangerous harm. He was arraigned on Friday, February 3, in front of Magistrate Merlene Moody, who remanded him to prison until his next court date, which is scheduled for March 5. In an interesting note, the 3 brothers, Ezekiel, Edwardo And Carlos Hall who were remanded for trying to smuggle contraband from the Corozal Free Zone on Thursday, December 19, are all employees of Hensley and Hensleigh Jones. It was their garbage truck that these brothers used to try to move the goods, pretending that it was just a part of the garbage load. Jones is the owner of the contract to conduct sanitation works in the communities around the Free Zone.

Man Jacked and beaten, dies days later
The family 45 year-old Don Tillett are trying to piece together what happened in the last 6 days which caused the well-known Belize City resident to suddenly die on Sunday night Up until Saturday, he had been hospitalized after Ladyville Police found him on the banks of the Belize River between miles 6 and 7 of the Northern Highway. He had been beaten and left for dead; unfortunate events which occurred after he picked up 3 total strangers trying to give them a lift. On New Year’s Day, he was checking on a house off Central American Boulevard, and while heading back home, 3 men asked him for a ride, which he obliged them to. While he was taking them to their supposed destination, one of the men clubbed him over the back of his head rendering him unconscious. When he woke up, he was in the mud and water, and he crawled to the roadside where he was discovered. He realized that his nephew’s car, his $1,800 cellular phone, and $2,000 in cash were all stolen from him. He was rushed to the KHMH, where he received medical treatment. Due to his collapsed lung, he had to be placed on life support and in an induced coma. He recovered somewhat, and when he regained consciousness; the professionals at the KHMH told him that he was well enough to go home. He was discharged and according to his family, he remained bed-ridden until Sunday night when he had a sudden change in health. His wife realized that his ailments spiked, and though the best efforts were made to save his life, he was pronounced dead at the KHMH. The medical professionals who discharged him have since come under pressure, the family has been requesting that they explain why they felt it necessary to discharge him that early, and why they believe that he was well enough to survive without their care. The KHMH has not given a response to those questions, but the family says that they will press for answers.

Cuban Woman and Son Busted at PGIA with Fake Panama Passports
Nairoby Aleyada Gonzalez Villareal, 53-year-old and her 15-year-old son arrived in Belize around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 7th, on a flight from San Salvador, El Salvador. Immigration officers at the Phillip Goldson International Airport noticed discrepancies between her name on a Panamanian passport she presented and the signature on her arrival form. According to authorities, the woman presented a Panamanian passport to the Immigration Officers as Nairoby Aleyada Gonzalez but signed the form using another name, D. Reyes. For her son, who is listed as Ricardo Daniel Hernandez, she signed as Nairoby Aleyada Gonzalez. What made authorities even more suspicious was in the section for permanent address they wrote Havana, Cuba, which was different from the country that was listed on the Panamanian passports. The officers searched their luggage and found Cuban passports with their photos, name and Cuban identification cards. According to Immigration officials, after they were taken in for questioning the woman said she paid US$3,000 to get the fake passports prepared for her and her son. She was arrested and charged with one count of using a passport not entitled to and one count of assisting a person in using a passport not entitled to. She appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano on Wednesday, January 8th, where she pled guilty to both charges. Magistrate Cayetano ordered Reyes to pay a fine of $2,000 forthwith or spend two years in jail. A removal order requested by Immigration Department was also granted. She was unable to pay the fine by Wednesday evening and was escorted to the Belize Central Prison.

First Two murders down south
Police officers from the Intermediate Southern Formation in Independence Village are investigating the first 2 murders of the year, 2 completely separate chopping incidents which claimed the life of 25 year-old Guatemalan farmer Rene Arturo Perez, and 41 year-old Maria Domitilia Perez, a business owner residing in Benque Viejo Town. The two have no relation to each other. Rene Perez, a banana farmer, was discovered on last week Friday January 3rd by his employer, near to his banana farm in Trio Village on the Southern Highway. The last time the farm owner saw him, he was leaving work for home on Thursday night. Police say that he was seen in the company of an individual they know only as “Donaldo”, and on the next day, Perez’s body was found with multiple chop wounds all over his body.

Significant Upgrade for George Price Highway
On Monday, January 6th, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development signed agreements with two contractors as part of the Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project. A contract was signed with TEICHROEB & Sons Ltd for Road Safety furniture and delineation. The contractor will be responsible to install safety barriers, Pedestrian crossings, chevron signs, warning signs and delineation - road marking along the 80 kilometer stretch of the George Price Highway from Belize City to Belmopan. A second contract was signed with M&R Construction Ltd. for Resealing of the road. The contractor will be responsible for the installation of road studs, and resealing of the section on the George Price Highway where the running surface is presently of limestone chippings. The Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project is in line with recommendations made in the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) Belize Report of 2012 and will improve the safety of road infrastructure along the 80 km corridor of the George Price Highway between Belize City and Belmopan. The project was officially launched on March 14th 2013 and is being implemented through a $14,495,000 loan from the CDB with GOB counterpart contribution of $3,191,000. The contracts are for a 12-month period and should be completed by June of 2015.

GOB Assistance to Cattle Farmers
The widespread impact and sustained flooding is described as the worst adversity to have affected farmers nationally and even more severely in the Belize District. Increased and continuous rain combined with the inability of channels to carry off floodwater discharge has resulted in the damage of key agricultural products and areas inundated. The unfavorable conditions have resulted in pasture loss, decreased livestock production as well as increased pest and disease in key local agricultural commodities. In response to the challenges caused by climatic conditions the Ministry of Natural Resource and Agriculture has committed itself to providing assistance in the form of animal feed and some agricultural inputs to severely impacted farmers in highly vulnerable agricultural zones.The planned action was drafted as a result of feedbacks from farm visits, farmer meetings and extensive consultation with national counterparts resulting in an identified and prioritized strategy to help alleviate the existing conditions. The proposed intervention will commence on Saturday 4th January with the provision of cattle feed to livestock producers in the Crooked Tree and Blackburn livestock productive zones. On Wednesday January 8th assistance will be provided to the communities of the Belize River Valley and on Friday January 10th the communities along the old northern highway (Maskall zone).

Eric Eusey Appointed as New Director of Financial Intelligence Unit
Mr. Eric Eusey, former Commissioner of Income Tax, has been appointed as the new Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), effective on January 1, 2014. He takes over from Mrs. Marilyn Williams who had given notice in September 2013 that she would not be applying for a renewal of her contract ,which was due to expire on the 31st December 2013, as she intended to go into private practice. 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.

Liquor License Board holds meeting in San Ignacio Town
A 2014 to 2015 liquor license board meeting was held on Monday of this week at the Center for Employment Training in San Ignacio Town. At this special meeting, bar owners and liquor sellers had an opportunity to share their concerns regarding other bar owners or on why their operations should remain in business. Administrator of the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Board Mrs. Karen Fernandez informed the bar owners on the requirement to pay the Town Council garbage, trade license and Liquor license fees as well as property tax. Fernandez reported that property tax arrears to the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council now stand at one million dollars. The operations of bar owners and liquor consumption has in the past been the subject of frequent discussions within the People’s Coalition of Cayo PCC, which is a police and citizen group working towards the reduction of crime. Also, the recent brawl at a bar at the Cayo Welcome Center that has gone viral on You Tube as well as the recent death of a minor at the hands of another minor in San Ignacio Town has brought the operation of liquor license holders under focus.

New Leader of Oceana Belize
Janelle Chanona, former News 5 anchor and one of the most respected journalists in Belize, has replaced Audrey Matura-Shepherd as the new Vice President of Oceana-Belize. Chanona assumed the post on Monday January 6th, and promises to build on the “incredible foundation” that Matura-Shepherd has left. Chanona says her first order of business is to meet with allies and supporters in order to “make plans for the next steps needed to win more campaigns for Belize and our reef." She is a graduate of St. Johns College in Belize, of Loyola College in Baltimore, U.S.A. and she received a Masters degree with distinction from Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom. Chanona has produced documentaries for several environmental groups in Belize and looks forward to continue championing Oceana’s three ongoing campaigns in Belize: the ban of offshore drilling, protecting juvenile fish stocks and the ban on gill net fishing. Oceana CEO Andrew F. Sharpless says Chanona “has the right combination of skills and passion to be an excellent leader and to help Oceana win policy victories that protect Belize's amazing barrier reef and its marine resources." Sharpless may also be comforted by the fact Chanona is unlikely to continue the confrontational style of the former firebrand executive. Chanona says, “I really plan on bringing my own brand to the organization.” Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world's oceans.

Rains have major impact on farmers across Belize
The incessant rains since September of last year has placed at risk many agricultural crops across Belize. Too much rain has destroyed onion seedlings on the saturated ground and has also destroyed some potatoes. Likewise the production of RK beans in Belize will be very poor this year because of the sporadic rainfall. Farmers can take some measures to protect small crops from the rain such as building green houses with covered structures. But that measure is out of the question for such crops like corn and beans, which are normally produced in large quantities for economic sustainability. Additionally, while the preceding months have brought much rain there could also be an unpredictable long periods of dry as well. While crops have been lost, the Belize River Valley Area, where beef production is concentrated, is also being affected by the rains. The flooding of the Belize River soaks up the pastures of the livestock in the Belize River Valley and with the receding of the waters exposes grass and other plant matter to recurring dry periods, placing the food source of cattle to scarcity.

Belize now holds seat on UNESCO
In November 2013, UNESCO’s General Conference was held in Paris, France at the UNESCO Head quarters. Yours truly, the Secretary General of Belize attended the conference. This conference is held every two years in Paris. There were a number of official elections and many resolutions that were passed including the UNESCO’s budget for the next year. One of the most important elections was to be a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO. The Executive Board is the Governing body of UNESCO. Since Belize became a member of UNESCO in 1982, she has never served on the Executive Board. I therefore submitted Belize’s name for election and lobbied the member states for their vote. Of the 146 Countries that voted in the election, Belize received 132 votes. Only Trinidad and Tobago received more votes than Belize in the CARICOM Group of Countries (Group 111). This is historic for Belize and is a very high privilege to be serving as a member of the Executive Board. We want to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ambassador’s Office in Paris, the Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports, the Central American Countries (GRULAC), and the CARICOM Countries and Secretariat for all their help in supporting this move by Belize to be a part of the election and also winning a seat on the Executive Board. Thank you. Submitted by Rev. Dr. Rudolph Anthony Secretary General UNESCO, Belize

Year in Review 2013 Part II
July Although the Government has had a formidable challenge in fighting crime, its persistence in implementing programs to keep the incidents of crime down paid off by the middle of 2013. In July, the Ministry of National Security released the crime statistics for the period of January to June 2013 and the numbers are reflective of a significant decrease in crime across the country. The statistics showed figures for murder, rape, robbery, burglary, theft and carnal knowledge. With the exception of theft and carnal knowledge, there has been a reduction in every other one of the crimes. As compared to the first half of 2012, there has been a reduction in the numbers of murders from 75 to 59 up to the end of June this year. Similarly rapes have gone down from 18 to 12; robbery from 242 to 135, and burglaries from 547 to 468. Showing slight increases are thefts which went up from 469 to 473, and carnal knowledge cases from 22 to 41. Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar believes the figures are encouraging and prove that new policing strategies implemented in Belize City, which include the precinct system which has increased community-based initiatives is contributing to the decrease in crime statistics. He added that this coupled by increased employment generated by the Belize City Infrastructure programs and the Southside Poverty Alleviation Program has also assisted in the crime reduction. Congratulations are in order for the Police Department, the Ministry and the Minister as they are proving that with a new outlook and guided vision, crime can be reduced in Belize.

National Primary schools football championship this Friday
The 2013-2014 National Primary Schools Football Championships will be played this coming Friday January 10, 2014, at the MCC Grounds. The Official Opening Ceremony is scheduled to commence at 8:30 am immediately followed by the first game in both the boys and girls competition. The National Primary Schools Football Championship will feature the champions in both the boys and girls category from all 6 districts in the country. The following are the representatives of the six districts:

Police United blanks FC Belize to stay in playoff hunt
The Premier League of Belize Opening Season for the Belikin Cup is fast coming to an end with the regular season ending this weekend. However, the competition continued over the last weekend with three games on the schedule. On Sunday January 5, at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the visiting Verdes FC and the host team the San Ignacio United FC played to a 2-2 draw. The home team San Ignacio United was the first to get onto the scoreboard when Joel Guzman scored the 1st goal of the game in the 30th minute of play to give his team an early 1-0 lead. The lead was further increased when Carl Vasquez scored his team 2nd goal of the game in the 35th minute of play for a 2 -0 lead. The first half of the game ended in favour of the San Ignacio United. It was not until the second half of the game that the visiting Verdes FC made it onto the scoreboard when Marlon Meza scored his team’s 1st goal of the game in the 73rd minute of play via a penalty that was able to cut the deficit in half. The Verdes FC offence continued on its onslaught of the San Ignacio United defence and was able to penetrate its defence once more when Richard Jimenez scored the equalising goal in the 83rd minute of play to tie the score at 2-2.


Beach Therapy
The wind was not so bad today but once again the rain has returned and has been coming down in buckets off and on. By the end of the day the weather had finally shifted and the sun even came out for a short while. Tacoboy did mention this morning that the cold front was supposed to be on it’s way out. I sure hope he is right, I realized I am long overdue for some beach therapy as I was choosing pictures for this post. While Belize is not generally known for long wide stretches of beach like the ones in Mexico, there are still some really nice beach areas as you will see in my pictures below. On Ambergris Caye we have soft while sand, our beaches are public and for the most part docks are too but some do have private locked gates. Generally people do not thrown down their towels ‘lay on the beach’ but you will find people enjoying hammocks and lounge chairs at most resorts. People tend to come to Belize come more so for the Caribbean Sea and the reef.

Paint or Be Painted: 2014 Carnaval in San Pedro – Fun Photos & Selfies
ANOTHER fantastic time to visit Belize, if JUST for the photos: CARNVAL. Carnaval, San Pedro’s celebration before Catholic Lent begins, is a very unique and totally fun town tradition. The holiday is known mostly for “Comparsas” or parading groups that cross-dress & dance and PAINTING. Why let towns like Rio and New Orleans have all the fun with Mardi Gras time? Lots and lots of painting. Kids and adults running through the streets painting and be painted. My favorite picture that I took in 2011 – needed no enhancement. Just last year, the event seem to get a bit better organized and promoted by the Town Council. They have an official facebook page with lots of pictures and some write-ups that do a good job of describing this tradition that, I think, only takes place on Ambergris Caye.

Global Ocean Conservation’s New face in Belize
Oceana, the world’s largest environmental organization focused solely on protecting oceans, has appointed a new head of operations in Belize, and according to the Lodge at Chaa Creek’s Natural History Centre manager, the global organisation has made an excellent choice. Janelle Chanona, a former Belizean news reporter and anchor is now the new face of Oceana Belize, and, joining a large group of celebrity supporters, will make an effective advocate for protecting Belize’s Great Barrier Reef, its hundreds of small islands and Caribbean coastline, according to Chaa Creek’s Brion Young. “When we recently heard the news we immediately thought that Janelle was an excellent choice,” Mr Young said, “She is known to many Belizeans and has an international education that makes her a perfect choice for thinking globally while acting locally,” he added.

Barbara's Spicy Chili
I've test tried so many recipes for Chili in the past and they always came out awful. Finally my children and I decided to wing and make up our own recipe and the end result is this awesome delectable dish. This is a crowd pleasing spicy, full bodied dish that is sure to satisfy on a cold winter's day.

“Come On In” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
It was another chilly morning when I got up shortly after 05.00 hours yesterday. In fact I would go so far as to say it was cold. Well it was cold to me. I ventured out on to the veranda (the eastern one on the first floor for a change) but scuttled back in to the house – too chilly (cold) for me- and had my first mug of black coffee for the day there. Oh, and I browsed The Times online and picked up on my In Box before turning my attention to start to ‘knock out’ yesterday’s edition of the blog. Rubio arrived shortly before 06.45 hours (told you he is ‘keen’) and he had got all of the tools out of the store room/garage before Moses, Pablo and Mike had arrived (all of them arriving before 07.00 hours). I then showered, shaved, brushed my teeth and got dressed (with an even thicker sweat top than the previous day) and made the drive to ‘Town for breakfast at -yes, you guessed it – Estel’s where I had virtually the pick of the tables (the drop in temperature obviously deterred people from eating outside). I finished my breakfast and had just started selecting photos for the edition I was working on when I heard “Excuse me but are you John Henry that does the blog?”. I turned to the side and responded that I was and I wasn’t. Confused (you I mean, not me)? I explained that although I use the name Johnhenry my real name is (just) John. The addition of Henry being in memory of Dad whose name was John Henry.

The FDA ruled that ractopamine was safe and approved it for pigs in 1999, for cattle in 2003 and turkeys in 2008. As with many drugs, the approval process relied on safety studies conducted by the drug-maker — studies that lie at the heart of the current trade dispute. The drug, ractopamine hydrochloride, is fed to pigs and other animals right up until slaughter and minute traces have been found in meat. ref Pharmacologically, it is a beta-adrenergic agonist. It is the active ingredient in products known as Paylean for swine and Optaflexx for cattle, developed by Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company, for use in food animals for growth promotion. Ractopamine aka Paylean and Optaflexx has been banned in the European Union, mainland China and Russia, citing concerns about its effect on human health, limiting U.S. meat exports to key markets. Some U.S. food companies also avoid meat produced with the feed additive, including Chipotle restaurants, meat producer Niman Ranch and Whole Foods Markets. The FDA ruled that ractopamine was safe and approved it for pigs in 1999, for cattle in 2003 and turkeys in 2008. As with many drugs, the approval process relied on safety studies conducted by the drug-maker — studies that lie at the heart of the current trade dispute.

Vicitmized by the Vega Family
I am re-sharing this from a friend of mine. This is a classic case of bullying because you can and your family is in Government so you think you are untouchable. Let it be known by me, Elisa Awe Guerra, that my husband (Carlos Aurelio Guerra) was TODAY Jan 8th, 2014 on his BIRTHDAY, TAKEN OUT of his house valued at more than $400,000.00 with his family of 8 persons varying from ages 23 to 3 months. My husband owed Eduardo Vega and Alma Guerra Vega ( his sister) the total amount of approximately $55,000.00 . So sad to say that the Vegas did not want to accept the payment or other properties for the money owed to them. They just wanted the HOUSE and for us to get out. We strongly assure that they have been advised by his faithful Dog SHREK and the Bruja LAMBISCONA. This has been a POLITICAL VICTIMIZATION since I contested the last Town Council elections in Benque as a PUP candidate and topped the votes in my group and want to bring me down politically.

International Sources

Retiring in Sanctuary Belize: Tarnished Dreams
Writer Bashes "Sanctuary Belize" Project. As many of you know, I've been executing on a long-term dream of first creating a vacation home, then retiring in Belize. I've been putting some rigor into the effort to make sure the perception of the dream doesn't outpace reality. I've often been brought in on projects (like Zune) that should have been shut down early, largely because executive staff had lost track of reality. I don't want to make the same mistake with this important project. My wife and I just spent 10 days in different parts of Belize, and we asked a lot of questions. We did see some improvement, but there seems to be a recurring theme there of developments that fail, and the place we chose appears to be on a similar path. So, we're putting a temporary hold on our efforts there until and unless things improve. I'll fill you in on that and close with my first product of the week for 2014. Choosing a Place to Retire One thing you need to consider is that you'll become less mobile as you age, and you'll need more medical attention. In addition, you'll be on a fixed income and you'll want to stretch your savings as far as possible. From an economic standpoint, Belize is still ideal with low or no taxes on income or property. Violent crime remains low -- which is important because you become increasingly vulnerable -- and labor is low, so you can hire the help you'll increasingly need. All of these appear to be in place in Belize and haven't changed. However, there are other areas that also need focus.

Surprise winner in frontier debt last year
Which was the best performer in emerging bond markets last year? The sector had a pretty torrid year overall, with sovereign dollar bonds finishing 2013 almost 7 percent in the red. But there were exceptions. The best returns were to be had – hold your breath — in little-watched Belize, a member of JPMorgan’s NEXGEM frontier debt index. Someone who bought Belize debt at the start of last year would have been in the money, with gains of 50 percent, though the returns were in fact down to the restructuring of Belize debt early last year. Second on the list was Argentina, despite court wranglings over hold-out funds from the country’s 2002 default. Just as frontier stocks outstripped emerging stocks in 2013 (Bulgaria was top dog in that index), the NEXGEM index as a whole outperformed emerging debt, enjoying returns of 5 percent last year. Interestingly, the top 10 also included Ecuador, Jamaica and Cote d’Ivoire, three other countries that have been in default in the recent past.

Fortis Inc. Announces Closing of $1.8 Billion Offering of Convertible Debentures Represented by Instalment Receipts
Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS) ("Fortis" or the "Corporation") announced today that its direct wholly owned subsidiary, FortisUS Holdings Nova Scotia Limited (the "Selling Debentureholder"), has completed the sale (the "Offering") of $1,800,000,000 aggregate principal amount of 4.00% convertible unsecured subordinated debentures of the Corporation represented by instalment receipts (the "Convertible Debentures"). The Offering includes a bought deal offering (the "Public Offering") of $1,594,000,000 aggregate principal amount of Convertible Debentures underwritten by a syndicate of underwriters co-led by Scotiabank, RBC Capital Markets, TD Securities Inc. and CIBC, and including BMO Capital Markets, National Bank Financial Inc. and Desjardins Securities Inc. The Offering also includes the sale of $206,000,000 aggregate principal amount of Convertible Debentures to certain institutional investors on a private placement basis. In connection with the Public Offering, the underwriters have been granted an over-allotment option to purchase up to an additional $239,100,000 aggregate principal amount of Convertible Debentures, at the offering price, within 30 days from the date of closing solely to cover over-allotments, if any.

Get Romantic At Belize’s Hamanasi Resort
If you’re searching for a romantic getaway for your honeymoon or, perhaps, a unique place to hold your wedding, Belize’s Hamanasi resort may be the place for you. Located near the village of Hopkins on 21 acres of coastal forest, Hamanasi gives you the best of both worlds, featuring beach activities, reef exploration, and cultural adventure for those who want to venture inland for frolicking and fun. In addition to five-star amenities, Hamanasi has an a la carte menu of romantic perks, including couples massages, video to record your nuptials, and a private beach setting on a night you specifically choose. Cuisine Hamanasi resort has a smorgasbord of scrumptious Caribbean-inspired fare for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Whether you prefer seafood, chicken, or beef, Hamanasi has a variety of dishes to satisfy. Looking for a light snack? There’s always ceviche, chips, and salsa to curb your appetite until you’re ready for the main entrée.

Belize Arrest Shows Once-Mighty Guatemala Narco Clan Still Alive
The heir to what was once one of Guatemala's premier drug trafficking organizations has been arrested in Belize, illustrating both the diehard nature of the region's "transportista" groups and the role of this often overlooked corner of Central America in the drug trade. Adolfo Eribel Rodriguez Barrientos was arrested in Belize by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), reported Emisoras Unidas. Following the arrest, police and prosecutors launched a series of raids on properties in Guatemala linked to Rodriguez, who now faces a US extradition order. According to Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla, Rodriguez had taken over drug trafficking operations once run by Jorge Mario Paredes Cordoba, alias "El Gordo," who was arrested in Honduras in 2008 and then extradited to the United States.

Un”belize”able Belize: A Day at Rendezvous Caye
Our first destination of call during our Royal Caribbean cruise this past Christmas was to Belize. After exploring Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras, Belize has been on my wish list for quite some time and unfortunately I’d only get a taste of this un”belize”able place (as the tour operators rightly called Belize). But a taste was enough to whet my appetite and understand why so many tourists are flocking to the amazing English-speaking cayes (small islands) off the coast of Belize. By far the largest attraction in Belize is her beautiful, vibrant barrier reef. Belize boasts 190 miles (300 kilometers) of the 560-mile long (900 kilometers) of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is the second largest barrier reef in the world spanning from Cancun on the northeast tip through the Riviera Maya and up to Honduras. Most people come to Belize to enjoy the diverse scuba-diving and snorkeling activities afforded by the reef, however, there are many other fabulous things to do and see in Belize. Belize hosts her own share of noteworthy Mayan ruins, adventure sports and amazing wildlife.

The beaches here in Placencia have crystal clear water and warm Caribbean water. While these beaches may be a bit less “manicured looking” vs. beaches in Mexico, the sea life and total lack of crowds give it a cool vibe all of it’s own. Here is an amazing before-and-after look at what it takes to maintain the beaches among the think jungle that grows right up onto the beaches in Belize. This blog is also a great travel resource written by an American-owned Belize adventure travel company. It’s easy to see lots of sea life in the water right from the beach… picture walking down the beaches with hands full of starfish! There is something special about these beaches, as people return here again and again; year after year or even a few times a year! The weather is best from December – June, or their dry season, but really year-round the weather is quite good. Bonus for going in summer months, or the rainy season, is that it’s also lobster season! You MUST have a look under the water while you’re in Belize, whether you dive, snorkel or just stare into the water from the pier. And don’t take my word for it. Jacques Cousteau named Belize “one of the four must-dive locations on this blue planet.”


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