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#482585 - 01/11/14 10:43 AM Today's Belize News: January 11, 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

Tropical aquarium fish from Belize contribute to the US market since 1973
As to the method of collection Azueta explained that absolutely no chemicals are used. Collection is done with a specialized net imported from Japan that does not hurt the fish. “The fish (including invertebrates) are collected using special nets and they are collected in designated areas along the barrier reef and atolls. Collection species include all except endangered species, sports fishing species, black spiny sea orchid, parrot fish, sea cucumbers and tangs. There is a limit for each license holder of 90,000 specimens (Total Allowable Catch) per year. However, due to their small scale operations none reach the Total Allowable Catch.” It is estimated that as much as 30 million fish from more than 1,400 species of reef fish are traded worldwide to supply home aquariums annually. Approximately 16 million are imported each year into the United States alone. It is estimated that the marine aquarium industry on a whole is worth about US$200 to US$330 million annually. When examined by weight, aquarium fish are valued at $500 a kilogram, considerably much higher than fish used as food. As it relates to revenue generated in Belize from such trade, Azueta said that it was a little over $100,000 for last year. “The Governments collects only for the export license ($200/year). However, the license holders create employment by hiring collectors and persons doing the paper work etc… By extension of the law fish means scale fish and invertebrates. Around 98,000 specimens were exported last year of which only 20,000 were scale fish. No parrot fish or any other grazers were exported. The total value [generated] is around $55,000 US.” From a list of 188 countries, Belize ranks 49th in the world that is involved such trade with Singapore, Spain and Japan being some of the top suppliers.

Sagebrush and BWO holds Celebration Week in San Pedro
Sagebrush teamed up with Believer’s World Outreach (BWO) for the second consecutive year to provide their community outreach, “Celebration Week”. The week long event took place from Saturday, December 28th to Wednesday January 2nd and provided free wholesome, Christ-filled fun for the various families that attended.Over 39 volunteers travelled from the United States to team up with Sagebrush Community Church to serve the community. The outreach consisted of a morning and afternoon ministry. Morning ministries included a Hip Hop Camp at Lions Den, Sports Camp at Boca Del Rio Park, Arts & Crafts at Boca Del Rio Park, Cosmetology at the Paradise Theater and a work project renovating apartments for a local family.

Re-call petition of Elvin Penner short of 79 signatures; 337 rejected
Elvin Penner, the highly embattled Belizean parliamentarian and former Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security will not face a recall since the petition lacked 79 signatures as per the Recall of Elected Representative Act. The confirmation was made by the office of the Governor General after a letter was sent to the People’s United Party (PUP) last week. The letter indicated that after the Elections and Boundaries Department reviewed the submitted signatures, the threshold was not met because over 300 signatures were rejected. Penner, the duly elected Standard Bearer for Cayo North East has been at the center of a major nationality and passport scandal that broke out in September of 2013. After much public outcry, Prime Minister of Belize Honorable Dean Barrow fired him from Cabinet and “invited” Penner to resign as a sitting United Democratic Party member of Parliament. After Penner refused PM Barrow’s invitation to resign, the PUP stepped up the heat and launched a campaign to collect signatures to kick start a recall process. On November 28, 2013, the PUP submitted a total of 2002 signatures, 258 more than the required 1744 from the 5815 registered voters in the Cayo North East electoral division. In a letter dated December 30, 2013 sent to the PUP, it stated that the recall petition failed because it had“not been duly signed by the requisite number of electors.” According to the letter, after the signatures were scrutinized by the Government of Belize through the Elections and Boundaries, 337 signatures were rejected and only 1,665 signatures were deemed valid. The recall petition submitted was declared short of 79 valid signatures.

Caye Coffee – fueling Ambergris Caye one cup at a time
Whether you prefer some coffee with your milk and sugar, just cream, just sugar, or plain black, there is one company percolating ways to ensure your morning starts right. Yes, Caye Coffee is back and offering premium coffee blends fresh for your pot! After almost two years in hibernation, new owners have taken over at the coffee factory, ready to serve the java junkies of the island. Having worked in the manufacturing industry in Toronto, Canada, Paul DuVille and his wife, Marci Price wanted a simpler way of life, so they ventured into seeking a small business that they could manage themselves. Of course, Marci is a coffee lover and as soon as they saw Caye Coffee up for sale, they took the opportunity and moved to paradise. For them it was a deal, complete with a functioning business and the added perk of living in a place completely opposite to Toronto. “We had never been to Belize before, but just five minutes here and we already loved it,” said Marci.

Putting “Morning Matters” host Rhonda Crichton on the other side of the microphone
Rhonda CrichtonIt’s not every day that your gift for gab lands you a job opportunity of a lifetime, but for Belizean “Morning Matters” TV and radio show host Rhonda Crichton, her inquisitive manner and talent for engaging conversation has done just that. After years in the media, her popular “Morning Matters”talk and advice shownot only airs daily on Channel 7, but it is now syndicated in Barbados, Grenada and Trinidad, making her the first Belizean program to ever be syndicated. So just how did this bright-eyed, charismatic conversationalist get where she is today? For once, we change seats with Ms. Rhonda and put her on the other side of the microphone to find out. Who would you say you inherited your ‘gift of gab’ from? I’m not sure, my mother was a teacher and my father was a mechanic. I would say my father spoke to me most as a child and although he was not verbose he was more outgoing than my mother, but really I think it was something I developed myself. I always thought if I think something I should share it with that person and I was always a talker I guess…of course not everyone wants to hear what I think so I make sure I am engaged in a conversation so that I know you are interested in what I have to say.

Ambergris Today

Intel to Drop McAfee Name from Anti-Virus Program
Now back home in the US, John McAfee has tried giving Belize a bad name, but to no avail. Thankfully he could not tarnish the good name of Belize and San Pedro, Ambergris Caye as people still consider the country a very popular tourist destination. Still exhibiting erratic behavior back home, McAfee has garnered himself a bad reputation. For this reason, chip manufacturer Intel will no longer use the name any more for its McAfee antivirus division. The company hopes to break all association with the controversial founder of its subsidiary and to stop using the name McAfee.

Misc Belizean Sources

Training Opportunity for Women Interested in Political Leadership
WIN Belize will be offering a Women Leaders Training course for any women interested. The course will last 12 weeks, and is geared toward women that are interested in making a change in the political landscape of Belize. For more information, call 227-1069. "The project activities will include higher level training in practical implementation of campaign management, messaging, public presentations, policy development, and gender-budgeting. These potential female political candidates will receive trainings in topics such as: How the political system works, Advancing within the Parties, Strategic Positioning, Dealing with political rallies, Dealing with the Media, Literacy Classes, Assertive training."

Family busted, allegedly with crack cocaine in Unitedville
Three people, including a 14 year old minor have been arrested on a charge of possession of controlled drugs. The crime the trio is accused of committing by San Ignacio police is the possession of 0,3 grams of crack cocaine. Police say the crack cocaine was found during a search of the home of Unitedville resident, 47 year old Sherlene Myvette. Police say that during a search conducted around 8 am on Thursday a dog from the K-9 unit indicated that there was something hidden inside of a black fan. The police press officer says that a check of the fan turned up a black plastic bag stuffed inside of the fan stand. Police say that in the presence of Myvette, her 18 year old son Phillip Ogaldez and the 14 year old minor, the bag was opened, revealing six small parcels of foil paper. Inside the foil paper, police say they found a white substance suspected to be crack cocaine. Myvette, her son and the minor were all arrested and taken to the San Ignacio police station.

Corozal ART IN THE PARK
2013 was a very successful year for ART IN THE PARK. Let us continue supporting our talented artists. Saturday Jan 11 will be this year's first ART IN THE PARK. Here is the new calendar of events.

Sun Breaks Up The Cold Spell
The sun came out in full force on Friday morning, a welcome change in the weather after a week-long blanket of chilly temperatures and rain. The Belize Weather Bureau says that warmer and drier conditions have started to set in. The general forecast for Belize and her coastal waters is for cloudy skies with sunny periods today. Tonight will be partly cloudy. Winds are easterly to southeasterly at 5 to 15 knots, producing choppy sea conditions.

10 Photos of Bridge Repair
The San Pedro Town Council hereby advises that effective immediately the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge is open to golf carts and polaris ONLY. All other vehicles, such as taxis, pickup trucks, heavy equipment etc. will not be authorized to cross until further notice. This is necessary due to urgent repairs required on the Bridge structure.We apologize for any inconveniences caused.

BRCC and SHJC at Peace and Justice Park
Peace and Justice Park got an upgrade courtesy of the students from Sacred Heart Junior College's Hands for Life club and the visiting students from BRCC. They cleaned the park, and added a swingset and slide. They will also fix the old swingset and add a tire playground soon. Thanks, SHJC and BRCC! "Baton Rouge Community College and Sacred Heart Junior College's Hands for Life Club installed a slide and swing set at Sacred Heart Primary school. They also cleaned up Peace and Justice Park."

Traffic accident on the Arenal road
There are reports that several people were hurt in a road traffic accident in western Belize. Unconfirmed reports are that it involved workers for Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL). Some of the first images from the crash site show a mini-van that has been extensively damaged. More on this story as information becomes available.

Toledo East to choose UDP standard bearer on Sunday
Former Minister of Human Development Peter Eden Martinez is contesting the UDP standard bearer convention for the Toledo East Constituency. The convention is beind held on Sunday, January 12, 2014 in Punta Gorda town. Our Toledo Correspondent Juan Caal met Mr. Martinez on the campaign trail and asked him about this weekend’s convention.

Channel 7

Amber Alert For GOB: Teachers Rally In Orange Walk
From December 2013, the unions put everyone on notice that in 2014 they intend to be visible, engaged and pro-active. The teachers union started out today with a pair of rallies in the north. And if they needed any motivation to get out there, they found it in yesterday's cautionary release from the Ministry of Education to stay in school, rather than joining their union. That provided ample fuel for the fire - and we travelled north for a heat check. Here's what we found:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting 250 to 300 teachers and their supporters took the streets of Orange Walk Town this morning, a show of support for their union, which has decided to step up its advocacy on different social issues. It's the first Friday of classes after the Christmas Holiday, but the teachers believed that this rally had to take place. It was important to them to be able to voice their concerns to the nation, since last year was filled with different political scandals, some of which have still not been resolved. Lourdes Saldivar - Retired Teacher "I am supporting them 100% because I have been a teacher for 20 plus years and I know what it is to be a teacher, but only that, I am a citizen of Orange Walk and a Belizean."

Corozal Was Calmer, But Still Committed
And while it was Orange Walk in the morning, in the afternoon, the action moved to Corozal. The crowd was smaller, and maybe less amped up, but the themes were the same: meaning a definite amber alter for the UDP Government. Here's that story:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting The BNTU rally in Corozal wasn't as large as the Orange Walk one; we estimated about 200 teachers showed up, but they're reporting from their attendance register, it was closer to 250. Whatever the final number, majority of the schools in the Corozal district got a holiday. Again the message was the same, advocacy. Zeni Perdomo - Member, BNTU Corozal Town Branch "We are all leaders and we have to teach our children the same way we teach them manners, we have to teach them civics. We have to teach them to stand up for what is right. We have to teach them to fight against injustice and against corruption and that is exactly what we are doing today. How could I go into my class and tell my students - you have to stand up for what is right and then they don't see me doing it. Students learn by example and we are teachers; we are their role models."

Government Takes International Cargo Vessel “Hostage”?
Tonight, in an unusual - possibly unprecedented move, Government has taken possession of an international cargo vessel, the CFS Palencia. The reason? Well, because the ship's owners owe - we are told unofficially - almost ten million dollars in fines for another ship that rammed into Belize's reef. That ship was the Paranga and in July of 2012, it ran aground 2 miles southeast of English Caye. Information at the time was that the Port Authority allowed the ship to leave based on certain assurances that it would return and settle any fines arising. But, apparently it didn't - and so Government worked out a strategy to get its pound of flesh. The Palencia - which is owned by the same company visits Belize very regularly. And so government today got a court order signed by the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin and went to the pier head at the Port of Belize this afternoon where the Palencia was unloading its cargo.

No Results Yet From Influenza Test
Earlier this week we told you about the strain of influenza that has caused one death in Belize, while three other persons are under observation for acute respiratory distress at the KHMH. On Tuesday a sample from the one victim was sent to CARPHA, the regional testing authority in Trinidad and it was expected back today. But when Monica Bodden caught up with the Director Of Health Services in Belize City this afternoon, he said no results were in just yet, but they do know - in a very broad sense - what they are looking at:.. Dr. Michael Pitts, Director Of Health Services "We haven't gotten back the confirmatory test from CARPHA as yet, we are still waiting. Perhaps I might get that tonight or tomorrow but we do have preliminary testing that we were able to do here and out of the group of people that we were concerned with - we have a mixed pattern and we are seeing some group A influenza, some group B flu viruses. We see a group that we called Rhinoviruses, we see a group that we called Adenoviruses. After all of that said, those are the type of things that are tend to caused upper respiratory tract illnesses and flu like illnesses in the general population. We haven't able to confirm any of the worrisome viruses as yet."

Corozal Council Was Fleeced
The Corozal Town Council continues to investigate misappropriation of public funds. The rumours circulating around the town are that $80,000 went missing from the tax revenue department, and that 3 former employees are being investigated for it. Today, three term Mayor Hilberto Campos spoke to 7News about it, and while he confirmed that indeed funds are missing, he said that the figure being circulated is ridiculously exaggerated. Mayor Hilberto Campos "We have been investigating the case. I think on Monday the local government will be here. In respect to the $80,000 that's a ridiculous amount, not even close to that figure. It's a couple thousand dollars and yes to a certain degree the revenue department is pretty much on hold, we have two employees that didn't return obviously, but we are doing the investigation. One was them was relief from his duties, the revenue manager. At this time it's not appropriate to accuse directly one individual. What I could assure you is upon finishing the investigation it will be brought up to light exactly what happened and exactly how much we are talking about."

Corozal Council Repairing Roads
While we had the opportunity, we asked Mayor Campos about street upgrading works his council has embarked on in the town. 7 streets which provide access to school in Corozal Town are being upgraded, which will give much needed relief to school children who are forced to travel in mud, muck and water whenever it rains. After consultations with the Parent Teacher Associations of these schools, it was decided that these streets needed urgent attention. The Town Council began working on them this week, and today, Campos told us about the project. Mayor Hilberto Campos "It is a project undertaken by the Corozal Town Council. In the month on November, we had compromise with the parents/teachers association of certain schools that streets that had access to their schools were going to be paved. We made a pledge to them, we did a consultation with them and this is one of the streets that were directly involved in that consultation and this is a project undertaken by the Corozal Town Council. This is not from central government; of course we have on board the area representative or the Minister of Health Pablo Marin who will be assisting in finding the finances to take care of these streets. There are a total of 7 streets that will be paved as long as the weather permits."

Activists Vex About Verde
One week ago, we first told you about Reynaldo Verde - the senior sales tax collector who escaped a firearm possession charge - when police determined that an unlicensed Glock 380 pistol which was found in his house had been planted there. But, the case isn't closed. This evening the DPP told us that she has requested additional information from precinct two which made the arrest and the decision to release him without charges. And while the DPP is waiting, the grassroots activist community is not. Today, Russell Roberts - who brought the issue to the fore on Monday - held a press conference at the Radisson to say the laws have to be evenly applied. This time, he was joined by other social actors:... Russell Robert "We would like to make mentioned of some of the incidents that take place that we need to address whereby innocents have been taken to jail for one bullet - a whole entire family ripped apart and we need to address these issues. One case in particular took my attention was the case with Mr. Verde. That's the one that brought me out because watching the news for all these years, I see him in and out of the news; two attempted murder charge and now an illegal firearm charge. He is able to use the system to his benefit. All Belizeans don't have this privilege. We don't have connections in higher places and we are left and dashed aside."

Forensic Examiner: Don Tillett Didn’t Die Of Injuries
The autopsy for 45 year-old Don Tillett has been completed, and Dr. Hugh Sanchez found that he died due to his bad heart. His report is loaded with complicated medical jargon, but tonight when he contacted him to verify, he told us that the bottom line is that he died because of an enlarged heart. So, even though he was abducted, robbed and left for dead on New Year's Day, police are not treating the case as a homicide because he died not of injuries he sustained in the attack, but from his heart condition. They do note, however, that they continue to investigate. As we told you, he picked up 3 strangers who begged him for a ride, and when he picked them up took them a short distance in his car, one of the men clubbed him in the back of the head. He woke up in the mud and water on the banks of the Belize River between mile 6 and 7 on the Northern Highway.

An Accident On Arenal Road
There was an accident on the Arenal road this evening and it has left eight men injured. Preliminary reports from the west are that am eighteen wheeler belonging to a construction company crashed into the side of a van belonging to BECOL. The driver of the van was most seriously injured but he survived. He and his coworkers are at the Loma Luz Hospital while the driver of the eighteen wheeler who was not seriously injured is at the Western Regional.

Sugar Compromise Still Being Worked Out
On Wednesday, 7News told you about the most positive development in the ongoing bagasse dispute between the cane farmers and the factory owners. They discussed a proposal from the cane farmers which, from what we've heard, gives compromises to both sides, and allows for realistic expectations from each other. BSI, after reporting to ASR, was supposed to get back to the cane farmers association with whatever language they wanted change, and at the BNTU rally, we asked the vice chair of the association's committee of management for an update. Here's what he told us: Alfredo Ortega - Vice Chair, BSCFA "I went this morning to the association and we haven't received anything as yet. We are waiting on that response. It would be an interim agreement that we will be presenting to the farmers on Sunday, we are awaiting on that, but if we don't received that we will still be holding our meeting on Sunday with the cane farmers." "As you know time is going by and the situation with our farmers, many of them owe the banks. Almost 99.5% of our farmers owe the banks and the financial situation with them that have their kids in schools and for trying to maintain food for their families. So those are things that we have to be looking forward and that is why we will be calling this meeting on Sunday regardless if we receive or not. But I do hope that BSI act in good faith as they said that they will be sending us that information, so that we can present to the farmers."

The Petition: Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong?
On Wednesday night you heard the Elections and Boundaries Office blaming the PUP for sending in a recall petition that was poorly vetted. And then last night, you heard the PUP saying that the Elections and Boundaries review and ultimate rejection of the recall had holes in it. Who's right and who's wrong? Well, to an extent, they both are. Jules Vasquez looked for answers today:.. Jules Vasquez reporting This is George Miguel Manzanero. He's a resident of Santa Familia and he has a voters' ID. But the Elections and Boundaries scrutinizers said he's not a registered voter at all - even though on its own master reject list, it assigns him a voter's ID number and here's his name on the most recent list of voters, voter #144761. Jules Vasquez "How did you feel when they said that you are not registered?" George Miguel Manzanero, Petition Rejected "I feel very bad about that because I am not an alien, I am a Belizean. I think these people are crazy when they did that. I have all the right that's why I came today to show these people that I am a Belizean."

Channel 5

“Teachers ga yu bak”…B.N.T.U. leads teachers to the streets of Orange Walk
Today, teachers from Orange Walk and Corozal stood strong and united, as the Belize National Teachers Union held rallies in those northern districts. The burning issue is of course the [...]

Some 95% of teacher turnout at rally in Corozal
From there our team moved on to Corozal, where teachers marched in unity. The issues are the same, and so was the message. Mike Rudon has the story.   Mike [...]

Farmers to meet to discuss counterproposal to bagasse agreement
Cane-farmers will meet on Sunday to discuss the way forward, and tonight that road is uncertain. On Wednesday the BSCFA submitted an interim agreement to the B.S.I.  The first point [...]

Tens of thousands of dollars missing from the Corozal Town Council
Eighty thousand dollars has been jacked from the Corozal Town Council, and it was an inside job. That’s the allegation from the northern municipality, where word surfaced that three employees [...]

One-on-one with resort owner kidnapped in the West
A pair of siblings on vacation in the Cayo District was kidnapped but rescued on Thursday morning by the police with the cooperation of residents from Bullet Tree Falls. The [...]

Plans in place to increase patrols to prevent reoccurrence
According to San Ignacio Police, the Kotay siblings are still in the country recovering from their ordeal. Statements from Manisha and Kathen reveal that they were not robbed of any [...]

Minor and 2 adults charged for cocaine bust
Early on Thursday, San Ignacio police along with Mobile Intercept Team (K-nine) descended on the home of forty-seven year old Sherlene Myvette of Unitedville. The K-nine soon enough sniffed out [...]

Offensive maps at immigration sport check in Flores, Peten, Guatemala
The inclusion of Belize as part of Guatemala’s territory, depicted on a number of geographical maps, is considered provocative given the political history of both countries in trying to resolve [...]

The gun laws come under fire
Earlier this week, Russell Roberts, came to our studios to voice his concerns over existing gun laws saying there is an urgent need to revisit them. Russell is upset because [...]

Activists garner support and speak on series of injustices caused by the gun law
Also at the head table of today’s press conference was the former Acting Supplies Manager at K.H.M.H., Delroy Herrera. Herrera blew the whistle on the irregular purchasing of supplies and [...]

Activists ask for public to exercise rights and have law revised or struck out
The press conference concluded with a public plea to citizens to exercise their rights and show civic pride. The group is asking everyone affected to make complaints to their area [...]

The story of a Belizean hoping to represent Belize in the Commonwealth Games
In tonight’s newscast, we feature Belizean Joel Hodgson, who left Belize at the tender age of four when he was adopted by a Scottish couple living in Belize at the [...]

CTV3

BNTU Ready For Rallies, Ministry Of Education Says They Were Not Consulted
Tomorrow the Belize National Teachers Union will kick off a series of public rallies scheduled to take place country wide, here in Orange Walk. This forms part of the BNTU’s first phase in their plan of action to hold Government accountable for their salary increase and that of other public officers. The union has been making its rounds asking Belizeans, both young and old to join in the rallies. And one day before the rallies are scheduled to take place in Orange Walk and Corozal, the union finds itself in some contention with the Ministry of Education. By way of press release, the Ministry announced that the correspondences being circulated by the BNTU informing schools, principals and teachers of planned rallies was not directed to the Chief Education Officer, as per Rule 133 of the Education Rules (2000). The release says “the failure to seek permission, if deliberate, contradicts the spirit of partnership and contrary to the rules stated above.’ In the release the Ministry expresses strong concern on its own behalf and on the behalf of students, parents, managing authorities and other stakeholders on the convenience to families, unnecessary disruption of classes, and other negative effects on learning to children and young people that additional non-school days will cause.

Are Belize's Endangered Species Being Exported?
On Tuesday we told you about an upheaval in Ambergris Caye after allegations of the transportation and exportation of tropical fishes, mostly endangered species including Sea Cucumbers, surfaced. Well, tonight we bring you both sides of the coin on the matter to perhaps put a rest to rumors and speculations. Reporter Maria Novelo has that story. The sight of these boxed ‘Live Tropical Fish’ was enough to send alarm bells to many concerned residents, environmental advocates and conservationists on La Isla Bonita. And while the rumor mill churned around the island that possible endangered species are being sold and shipped off overseas to the US, many feel that bowing down to demands from the booming aquarium industry will affect the future of the country's aquatic diversity.

Uncertainty Surrounds The Sugar Industry, BSI Yet To Agree To Interim Agreement
Will the 2013/2014 crop season commence on January 16th? That’s a question that is currently in limbo because the Belize Sugar Industries Limited is yet to state whether or not they will accept the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association’s proposals stipulated in an interim agreement presented yesterday. While the lawyers of both parties met today to further delve on the agreement and it was expected that by this afternoon BSI would announce if they will sign on to the document up to news time there is no indication if the miller accepted the terms and conditions of the BSCFA in order to commence crop. Late this evening when we spoke to Chairman of the BSCFA, Committee of Management Alfredo Ortega, he told us that BSI compromised to have an answer either today or tomorrow. Today marks one month and 16 days that the 2013/2014 crop season has been stalled due to a lack of compromise between the miller and the producer when it comes to the revenue sharing of the bagasse, a byproduct of the sugar cane which is used by BELGOGEN to produce energy which is sold to the national grid. While both the BSCFA and BSI play hard ball, millions of dollars are being lost and it will certainly have a trickle effect sooner rather than later hence it is very important that a compromise is reached.

Guinea Grass Women Become Financially Sustainable
Students from Heritage University, an institution located in Toppenish, Washington, are presently in Guinea Grass Village in Orange Walk, to continue a project that they began one year ago. The students are a part of ENACTUS at the University. As stated in their website the students are and we quote, “a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world”, end quote. The students design and implement community projects with different groups in countries across the world. The students from Heritage University were in Guinea Grass Village exactly one year ago jumpstarting the entrepreneurial project with women. Their work with these women began with teaching them to crotchet hand bags and other trinkets recycling plastic bags. Today, these women have grown into a cooperative, namely the Creando Un Futuro Mejor Women’s Pre-Cooperative Society Limited and have a membership of twenty active individuals of different ages. The objective is to have the women learn different skills to become self-sustainable. Reporter Dalila Ical takes a look at what the students are doing in Guinea Grass Village.

14 Year Old Allegedly Touched By Her Stepfather, Police Looking For The Accused
Last night we told about the 14 year old child from the Corozal District who resulted pregnant after she had sexual intercourse with her boyfriend, a man much older than she is. While Corozal Police are currently looking for the individual, who is expected to be charged with carnal knowledge, there is also another disturbing case coming out of the Corozal District. This time the report involves a 16 year old minor and her stepfather. Yesterday, the minor, accompanied by her father visited the police station and reported that on the 6th of January 2014, between 1:00am and 2:00am, she was awaken by someone who was touching her private part. When she opened her eyes she noticed that her stepfather, a Belizean laborer of Corozal Town, was the one touching her, something which he often does when she is sleeping. The minor called her mother to see what her common-law-husband was doing and right after the report was made. Police have detained the stepfather pending charges of aggravated assault.

Criminals Walk Away With Truck Batteries Valued At $250 Each
Apart from aggravated assaults and carnal knowledge cases Corozal is also not being speared of reported cases of theft. At around 7:30am yesterday Eiden Romero, 37 year old Belizean Cane Farmer of Libertad Village, Corozal District, went to drop off his wife at Concepcion RC Primary School in the Village of Concepcion. He returned home at around 9:30am only to find out that floor jack valued at $450.00 was missing out of his garage. Police are currently looking for Renan Crawford of Concepcion Village, Corozal District, for the crime of theft. The second case of theft was recorded a few hours after. Between 1:00am and 9:00pm someone entered the yard of 27 year old Luis Marroqin, Belizean truck driver of 3rd Street South, Corozal Town, and stole three HTL batteries each valued at $250.00.

Onion Producers Receive Much Needed Assistance From Ministry of Agriculture
2013 will go down in the history book as the year of bad business for farmers especially onion producers who have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth in produce due to the inclement weather. Here in the north, 75 onion producers felt the wrath of Mother Nature as nearly all their crop has been wiped out due to the heavy rains. In order to assist these farmers and others countrywide whose crop was also affected by the incessant rains, the Ministry of Agriculture is making its rounds and providing farmers with animal feed, seeds and other agricultural products and yesterday onion producers from the north received much needed assistance to get back on their feet. Reporter Victor Castillo has the story.

Corozal Female Gets Ready For International Match
Today the Corozal Bay United Female F.C cranked up their preparations for what is classified as the first ever female international football match against Campeche’s football team from Mexico. According to Carlos Acosta, Coordinator for the Corozal Sports Council, this is an initiative between the Corozal Sport Council and its Mexican counterparts. “We have a Campeche sports committee group that will be coming to Corozal to participate in the first ever sports exchange female football, this has been through the Campeche Deportiva Comitiva inviting us to go to Campeche on the 1st and 2nd of February of this year but first they will be visiting Corozal this coming Saturday. This is one of many exchanges that the Corozal Sports Council will be having with our Mexican counter parts of Campeche being firstly football female and then we will be having other sports like football, softball and volleyball.” The main objective of these games is to open a window of opportunity for young and talented females.

LOVE FM

Opposition Party Will Challenge Rejection of Signatures in Court
The People’s United Party held a very fiery press conference this afternoon in which they described the results of the Election and Boundaries Department in the verifications of the petition submitted, as sabotage. The press conference was held at the PUP headquarters where the party objected to several of the reasons given by Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai, as to why three hundred and thirty seven of the two thousand and two signatures were rejected. HON. FRANCIS FONSECA “We have convened this briefing today for one purpose; to respond to the UDP government’s sabotage of the election referendum petition filed by the voters of Cayo Northeast, seeking the recall of their UDP representative, Elvin Penner.” MYRTLE PALACIO, PUP’s Secretary General “Firstly, of the 52 persons reported by the Elections and Boundaries Department as not registered at all; we have verified persons who are not only registered electors but are registered in Cayo Northeast. We won’t give you all our data because we may be mounting a legal challenge to this but Mr. George Manzanero; he is here, he is an elector; he is here; he signed that petition and he is registered in Cayo Northeast. There is even a police officer who signed it; a senior police officer registered in Cayo Northeast; he is also one of the 52. He is probably going to lose his job now for exercising his right and he is Alvan Gentle Junior of Esperanza; at least he is registered in Esperanza.

Dangriga Woman Knocked off Her Bicycle
A Dangriga resident is in a critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital following a traffic accident in Dangriga on Thursday night. Correspondent, Harry Arzu reports. HARRY ARZU “A resident of this municipality is at the KHMH suffering from injuries she sustained as the result of a traffic accident. Police investigations revealed that at about 12:15am on Friday, she was riding her bicycle on Aranda Crescent when she was hit from behind by a gold Saturn car. The vehicle was being driven at the time by BDF soldier, 24-year-old, Randale Petillo of a Rivas Estate address. Petillo is now in police custody.”

Teachers Rally in Northern Belize for Salary Increase
More than half of the members of the Belize National Teachers’ Union were out marching today in Orange Walk Town. They were joined by some cane farmers and sympathetic citizens as well. Arturo Cantún reports from Orange Walk Town. ARTURO CANTUN REPORTING “The first BNTU march and rally was held in Orange Walk this morning with some 350 teachers taking part. They were marching under the theme “teachaz gat yu bak”. National BNTU president was out supporting the teachers of the north.” LUKE PALACIO – National BNTU President “The purpose of the march is just a part of the rally; we march and then we are going to have the rally at the Central Park where we will be getting addresses from different individuals.” ARTURO CANTUN “The ministry is not okay with the teachers being out here today.” LUKE PALACIO “The union makes us strong; the ministry needs to understand that.” Teachers marched through some of the principal streets of down town Orange Walk. Local BNTU President Otilio Munoz was happy with the turn out.

Senior Officer vs Police Constable in Placencia
Two Police Officers attached to the Placencia Police Department are at odds over a bicycle that has been damaged. Police Constable, Tylor Mejia, attached to the Tourism Police Unit at Placencia told Love News that his commanding officer, Inspector Mark Flowers, assaulted, arrested and detained him unlawfully. TYLOR MEJIA “About a week ago, I was on bicycle patrol and the dust protectors for the wheel were dusty and I noticed that the fenders were shaky but I took the chance still to go out on my patrol duties. Whilst on patrol, the bike fenders broke off and it damaged the front wheel. So, I brought in the bike to the station; Mr. Flowers was right there when I brought the bike; I was about to make an entry about the bike but I didn’t get a chance to make the entry because they were handing over duties to the next team because it was time for me to go off duty and so I didn’t make the entry.

More Drugs Stashed in Abandoned Lot
The Conch Shell Bay area in Belize City was the latest target for Police officers of Precinct One as on Thursday, January 9 at around 3:45pm; they conducted a search of an abandoned lot where they came up with a black plastic bag containing two separate transparent plastic bags containing a green leafy substance suspected to be cannabis. Since no one was in the area at the time of the search, the 81.07 grams of suspected drug was taken into Precinct One and labelled as found property.

PlusTV

Over 300 Turnout for BTNU Rally in the North
The BNTU held their first rally in Orange Walk town of what is to be a series of rallies taking place scheduled to take place throughout the month of January. Teachers from all corners of Orange Walk, and their many supporters paraded the streets of Orange Walk singing an...

Damning Accusation Against the Officer in Charge of Placencia Police
In November of last year, the Second in Command at the Placencia Sub-Formation, Julio Shal, became subject of public scrutiny, when he was charged with the murder of Tyson Rodriguez, an assault suspect who was being held for questioning at the time of his death. Tonight, the Senior Officer...

Gun Activist Creates Partnership with Stakeholders
Russell Roberts has stirred up the pot nationally with his effort to rally Belizeans to change the law that threatens thousands of Belizeans caught illegally possessing firearms and ammunition without a license. He has received support from numerous social activists in his call for the authorities to properly investigate...

Guatemala and Belize Foreign Ministers Hold Special Meeting In Belize
The Belize and Guatemala Foreign Ministers met in Belize City yesterday to dialogue on confidence building measures as well as various matters of mutual interest. When they exited the meeting, both Ministers Wilfred Elrington and Fernando Carrerra briefed us on what was discussed and late yesterday evening, the two...

PUP Alleges Disenfranchised Voters and Charges Intimidation
At Thursday’s press conference in Belize City, the People’s United Party tried to make its case for why it should receive a second chance with the Elvin Penner recall petition. A key part of that case is that the Elections and Boundaries Department irrationally and unreasonably disenfranchised voters in...


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#482586 - 01/11/14 10:44 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 11, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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Amandala

FORMER KKK IMPERIAL WIZARD IN BELIZE
“The KKK is far from ‘dead’ and unfortunately is on the rise again in membership because of racial problems all over the USA,” ex-KKK member turned Christian tells Amandala. Many Belizeans were surprised to find out this week that a millionaire who has been operating a prominent beachfront hotel in San Pedro is actually a former Ku Klux Klan (KKK) leader from Denham Springs, Louisiana, USA. We don’t yet know if the businessman in question, millionaire William “Bill” Wilkinson (born Elbert Claude Wilkinson), has obtained Belizean citizenship, but indications to our newspaper are that he has been in Belize living peacefully since the 80s. Some Belizeans have expressed concern, though, that the San Pedro-based businessman has not publicly renounced the KKK, which we understand is very much alive today – and still recruiting. Wilkinson served as Imperial Wizard of the Invisible Empire of the Knights of the KKK from 1975 to 1984. He established a rival breakaway group of David Duke’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in the 70s and 80s, right before he migrated to Belize and established a multi-million-dollar seaside resort hotel on the island. In 2002, Wilkinson was featured in an article in the San Pedro Sun, which said “Like a true San Pedrano, Bill has lived those years unselfishly and continues to do so day after day, doing his part to provide security and shelter…” (The article did not mention his KKK connection.) An ex-KKK member whom Amandala contacted today told us that he knew Wilkinson personally back in the 70s, when Wilkinson was the Imperial Wizard of the Invisible Empire of the Knights of the KKK in Denham Springs.

SENSATIONAL CAYO RESCUE OF KIDNAPPED US CITIZENS!
Quick, admirable police work today led to the rescue of two American Indian students from Saint Paul, Virginia. Two men had abducted them and their host at gunpoint this morning from a driveway in Bullet Tree Village, Cayo District. Theo Cocchi, 43, a Belizean businesswoman and owner of Parrot Nest Hotel, situated in Bullet Tree, told police that at about 8:00 a.m. today, Thursday, she was leaving her business, Parrot Nest Resort, in her white KIA Sportage SUV, along with two guests, Kathen Kotay, 18, and Manish Kotay, 22, American Indian students from St. Paul, Virginia, (USA) who are sister and brother. Cocchi told police that while exiting her driveway, she was approached by two Hispanic men armed with what appeared to be handguns. The men boarded and took control of the vehicle, drove off and then stopped near the cemetery area, where they met with two other Hispanic men. The four men then drove off with their captives in the direction of the Paslow Falls Road in Bullet Tree. The abductors then stopped the vehicle and told Cocchi that she needed to get US$75,000 in two hours’ time, and that they would hold Manish and Kathen Kotay until she got the money. The men took away Cocchi’s Smart cell phone and ordered her to drive away and get the money, and when she returned to give them a call. They told her that she must not inform the police, or else they would kill her family.

PENNER RECALL PETITION “A DEAD DUCK”
Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai said at a press conference held at the Belize Biltmore Plaza this morning that the Elections and Boundaries Department is compiling a file to be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), who would advise on whether charges should be brought under Section 9 of the Recall of Elected Representatives Act, which makes it an offense to forge a signature on a petition or to willfully sign the petition more than once. Tamai was reporting on the findings by her Department, and was joined by a team of senior public officers from other Government departments, who had in December 2013 reviewed the 2,002 signatures on a petition submitted by the People’s United Party (PUP) to recall Cayo North East area representative Elvin Penner. Of note is that Penner, who was sacked last September from Cabinet after Prime Minister Dean Barrow said he had been involved in improprieties in the issuance of a Belizean passport to an Asian, has not faced any legal sanctions. Penner has resisted public calls from Barrow and the UDP to resign from the ruling party. Since that call was issued in October, Penner has said he will not resign, and there has been no visible pressure from his party to get him to do so.

US FUGITIVE WANTED FOR MURDER MIGHT BE IN BELIZE
The San Bernardino police, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States (FBI), are on a hunt for an American accused of killing his wife in their home in San Bernardino, California, who may possibly be hiding in Belize. Their investigation led them to believe that Edly Atherley, 29, has friends and relatives in Belize. The announcement was made on Thursday, January 2, in California, when the San Bernardino County District Attorney, Michael Ramos, said that Atherley has been charged with murder, and if convicted, faces 26 years to life in state prison. According to the San Bernardino Police Department newspaper, the Sun Homicide, Atherley is suspected of killing his wife, Ashley Atherley, 28, who was found dead in their home on Sunday, December 1. Officers said the attack appears to be the result of domestic violence. When police went to the house, on December 1, they found Ashley with her throat slit, stabbed multiple times and badly beaten.

DEADLY SEASONAL INFLUENZA OUTBREAK KILLS 2, HOSPITALIZES 4
For those who might not be aware, the flu season is definitely upon us; however, this time around, the virus – which is not typically known to be deadly – has claimed at least two lives and reportedly has led to the hospitalization of at least five others. Amandala understands that four more persons are presently being treated for acute respiratory distress at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). Technical personnel from the Ministry of Health have concluded that the cases are being caused by an advanced strain of the influenza virus, which is unprecedented in Belize. The exact strain will not be known until this Friday when test results come back from CARPHA in Trinidad. The test samples were taken from the first victim who died at the KHMH on Christmas Day. That particular victim tested positive for influenza and died from acute respiratory distress.

NEW FIU DIRECTOR APPOINTED
Today, the Government of Belize announced that former Commissioner of Income Tax, Eric Eusey, has been appointed as the new Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). His appointment became effective on January 1, 2014. Apart from being a former Commissioner of Income Tax, Eusey is listed as a member of the Board of Directors of Belize Telemedia Ltd., as well as the Chairman of the St. John’s Credit Union Board. Eusey assumes the post from former FIU Director, 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 December 31, 2013, since she intended to go into private practice. At the time that Williams vacated her office, the FIU was in the process of investigating the “Penner Passport Scandal,” but no further information was ever provided from the FIU on the status of those investigations.

AUDITOR GENERAL’S REPORT ON “PENNER PASSPORT SCANDAL” MAY BE COMPLETED BY FEBRUARY
Auditor General Dorothy Bradley did not hold a press conference today, as we had reported in Monday’s issue of the Amandala, but she invited members of the media who had made previous requests for an update on the investigation of the “Penner Passport Scandal” to “sit in” with her to discuss – in general terms – how the Audit Department goes about carrying out such investigations, because, as we understand it, she cannot discuss the specifics of her current investigation at the Immigration Department at this point in time. Bradley also made it clear that she is not presently in a position to discuss the findings of her investigations or to hold a press conference until she has completed her report and handed it in to Minister of Immigration, Hon. Godwin Hulse, and the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow. Until the enquiry into the Immigration scandals, which began on October 28, 2013, is completed and the final report is submitted, no detailed information can be released, she noted.

BSI HOLDS “FRUITFUL” MEETING WITH BSCFA
There is now a sliver of hope for the once undecided 2014 sugar cane crop season after a promising meeting was held this afternoon between the feuding parties, sugar producer, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), and sugarcane farmers, who are represented by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA). Today, the executives of the BSCFA met with BSI representatives in Orange Walk Town to proceed with discussions in an effort to break the ongoing impasse between the two parties (over payments for bagasse), and to hopefully set a new start date for the new sugar crop season, which has now been delayed for some 6 weeks. During the meeting, BSCFA presented a proposal to BSI which will later be taken to BSI’s parent company, American Sugar Refineries (ASR). A subsequent response from ASR is expected at least by this Friday morning, January 10. After the meeting, BSI’s Financial Controller, Belizario Carballo, told the media that it was a rather fruitful session. He said, “I think that we had a very fruitful and positive meeting; I think that we have established positive bases on which we can move ahead. We have some tentative agreements in terms of how we can move forward with the start of [the] crop [season], and we are in the process of concluding negotiations for a new agreement, including negotiations for a payment for bagasse.

CCJ TO HEAR CASE OF JANAE MATUTE IN FEBRUARY 2014
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has indicated that it intends to hear the appeal of Georgia Matute and Janae Matute against Dr. Raju Meenavalli at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 10, 2014, at the seat of the court in Trinidad and Tobago. The Matutes had won the $2.13 million lawsuit in 2012, after an appeal of a 2008 decision by the Supreme Court of Belize. Meenavalli is accused of having miscalculated the stage of the mother’s pregnancy, and so Janae was delivered at 36 weeks via C-section. Janae, currently a student at Belmopan Comprehensive High School, was born in 2000 with lung problems and developed a lifelong disability known as cerebral palsy. She is now 13. Her mom, Georgia Matute, had told us in 2012 that although Janae goes to school, she has to personally do a lot for her: The teenager has to be fed, clothed and bathed.

HOW IMPORTANT IS FOOTBALL?
Latest word is that the Sports Council will delay “renovations” at the MCC so the scheduled high school football competition can proceed. Belize has yet to enjoy the pleasure of a Premier or Prime Minister who is a bona fide football fanatic, and can thus properly appreciate and acknowledge the full depth and impact of football, and sports in general, on the life of our people and nation. We have indulged in these sports pages on a number of occasions to focus on the personality and contributions to our sporting life by some of the giants of our times. On the home scene, we not too long ago marked the passing of Belizean football legend Louis “Bembe” “The Mugger” Garbutt. We have also noted the great love of sports, and appreciation of its tremendous value for peace and harmony among peoples, by no less than the late, great Madiba, Nelson Mandela of South Africa; may he rest in peace. Football was very dear to his noble heart.

FFB INTER-DISTRICT WEEK 6 RESULTS
The FFB (Open) Inter-District Football Tournament continued with Week 6 games over the past weekend in the four zones of the competition. Zone 1 On Sunday, January 5, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, Police FC clipped MnM Steelers, 2-1, with 2 goals from Cyril Martinez (52’ & 89’); while Edwardo Martinez (68’) got the only goal for the Steelers. Meanwhile, at the Toledo Union Field, it was GB United, 4-3, over Mavericks, with Pedro Tejada (22’ & 31’) and Dagaberto Garcia (88’ & 89’) sharing the scoring for GB United, while Andre Logan (46’, 50’ & 87) scored all 3 goals for Mavericks. Zone 2 Both Zone 2 games were also on Sunday. At the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, Roaring Creek United dropped Hope Creek Pumas, 2-1, with a goal apiece from Orin Reneau (50’) and Scott Casey (79’); Hope Creek’s goal was by Octavio Ramirez (70’). And at the Carl Ramos Stadium, San Martin FC won by default (3-0) over Green Gold FC.

PLB PLAYOFF SCRAMBLE CONTINUES
As best we can tell, there has never been a Belize football season, either in the amateur days or in the semi-pro era, as competitive as this one. Seven teams are in this Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Opening Season 2013-2014 which kicked off in the last week of September, 2013; and with the final regular season games scheduled for this Saturday night, January 11, six (6) teams still have a shot at making the 4-team playoffs. There were two back matches scheduled for last night, but only 1 was played, at the FFB Stadium, and it was a 0-0 draw between Belmopan Bandits FC and Belize Defence Force FC, who are both now tied at 16 points along with FC Belize, who have already completed their regular season. Both the Bandits and BDF have 1 game remaining this Saturday. The other back match, Verdes FC vs Police FC, takes place tonight at the Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo, and Police cannot afford a draw; they must win if they are to keep their playoff hopes alive. Verdes is already secure with a spot in the post-season.

SPORTS COUNCIL AND THE MCC
The National Sports Council responded to criticisms from this and other corners with a press release yesterday, January 8, explaining that the closure of the MCC is according to a plan previously discussed with the FFB General Secretary and the Premier League President. According to the release, “On September 18, 2013, the Ag. Director, Mr. Patrick Henry, sent an official correspondence to Mr. Maito Perdomo, President of the Premier League of Belize, outlining the discussion and agreement made at the July 26, 2013, meeting,” “to discuss upgrade and major works to the MCC Grounds.” In response to reports of their directive last week that the MCC would be closed this past Monday, the release conceded that “the MCC Grounds will remain open until both on-going competitions are completed;” and ended with, “The facility will be closed at the conclusion of all on-going competitions.” There are two important points to consider in light of the Sports Council release. First, football never really ends for any length of time in Belize City. When one competition ends, another soon begins. And second, no mention was made of any other suitable venue which would be made available during the time the MCC is closed; neither was any idea given of what the “upgrade and major works” at the MCC entailed.

SAILORS BRAVE
Trent Hardwick of the Belize Sea Scouts (BSS) emerges as Belize Sailing Association’s National Champion in the Optimist Class after 2 days of tough sailing over the weekend. With variable weather that saw mostly north-westerly winds between 15 and 30 knots in front of Bird’s Isle, sailors used mostly light-wind techniques and risky strategies. The smaller sailors had an obvious advantage, but experienced sailors still topped the races with better technique. Here are the other top finishers: Antonio Ricardez, Jr. of the Belize City Sailing Club (BCSC) took 2nd place – silver, and Christopher Young of Corozal Bay Sailing Club (CBSC) took the 3rd place – bronze. The other Top-10 finishers were: 4th, Nashira Ricardez of BCSC; 5th, Isaac Ritchie of Placencia Sailing Club (PSC); 6th,Tyler Garbutt of PSC; 7th, Carlos Villatoro of PSC; 8th, Wilson Rivera of PSC; 9th, Jazmin Campos of CBSC; and 10th, Carla Lopez of PSC. Bird’s Isle Regatta trophies were also presented by Henry Young, Jr. of Bird’s Isle Restaurant, which provided the seafront venue for the regatta. The top sailors of the regatta were Jerdon Anderson of San Pedro Junior Sailing Club (SPJSC), who received the prize for the 1st Male; and Blanca Velasquez received the trophy for being 1st Female.

PROGRESS, PROBLEMS, AND PHILOSOPHY Editorial
In a modern and functional urban home today, a Belizean family needs a car, a refrigerator, a stove, a washer, a dryer, a home computer. You would also like to have a microwave oven, a couple television sets, a couple radios, cell phones, laptop computers, and the sophisticated third millennium gadgetry which combines telephones with computers. We do not manufacture any of these equipments and appliances in Belize. We have to buy them from rich countries; in Belize’s case, we purchase most of our equipments and appliances from the United States. But many of these products are actually manufactured or assembled in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, or Mexico. This is because American companies, which own the manufacturing patents, have been “outsourcing” the actual factory production to these other countries and then shipping the finished products back to the United States for worldwide distribution. The labor costs are so low in other countries compared to America’s unionized labor costs that American companies can outsource production, pay for the shipping, and still make more money than they would manufacturing same in the continental U.S.A. There are Belizean products the Americans and the Europeans buy from us. These include sugar, citrus, bananas, fish, lobster, shrimp, cacao, and papaya. On the world market, the unit price of our primary products is much less than the unit price of the manufactured products we import into Belize in order to “keep up with the Joneses.” It’s a tricky concept to explain. Let’s just say, as an example, Belize has to produce hundreds of pounds of sugar when we want to buy a single washing machine.

PUP TO TAKE EBD TO COURT
Last week, the petition that was launched by the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) for the recall of the current UDP Cayo North East area representative, Hon. Elvin Penner, was flatly struck down before the process could have gone any further, which led to heavy criticism from the PUP, who accused those involved of “playing politics.” Well, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) came out swinging today, and even claimed sabotage with regard to the 337 petition signatures that have been recently disqualified by the Elections and Boundaries Department – the government body which was responsible for the vetting of the over 2,000 signatures. Yesterday, in Belize City, the Elections and Boundaries Department held a press conference, in which a group of senior public officers – including Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai – did their best to explain why they had to disqualify the over 300 signatures and justify the ineligibility of those signatures.

“GOOD SAMARITAN” PAYS THE ULTIMATE PRICE: DEATH
A well-known vehicle body repairer, Don Tillett, 45, of Supaul Street, was declared dead at about 8:30 Monday evening at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after he was rushed there by his family after he fell off his bed at his home, and was not responding to their efforts to revive him. Tillett was at home recovering from a serious beating he had endured at the hands of three individuals to whom he had given a ride on New Year’s Day, Wednesday, January 1. According to the police’s official report, Tillett told them that on New Year’s Day, sometime after dark (he does not remember the exact time), he went to check on a house off Central American Boulevard in Belize City in a silver Dodge Neon car, which belongs to Tillett’s nephew, Roque Riverol. On the way, Tillett reportedly stopped on an unnamed street to give a ride to three men, one of East Indian descent and the other two of Creole descent. Upon reaching the junction of the street and Central American Boulevard, however, Tillett was hit on the back of the head by the man seated behind him, rendering him unconscious.

TWO KILLED IN ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS IN SOUTHERN BELIZE
Two men lost their lives as a result of two separate road traffic collisions on Monday on the Southern Highway. The men are Juan Oh, 68, of Santa Rosa, and Charles Paul Noralez, 49, of the Wagaierale area, Dangriga. At about 6:00 Monday morning, Juan Oh was knocked down and run over by a motorcycle while riding his bicycle on the Southern Highway at about Mile 23 between Santa Rosa and Mayan King Banana Farm. The driver of the motorcycle was Freddy Acosta, 18, a bus conductor. Oh was rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga, after which he was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, but he died shortly after while doctors were trying to help him. Police reports are that Acosta, of San Roman, Stann Creek District, was driving his blue Meilun motorcycle on the Southern Highway, from the direction of Santa Rosa Village towards Mayan King, and upon reaching Mile 23 in the vicinity of Santa Rosa Village, he hit Oh, who was riding a bicycle in the same direction when Oh attempted to cross the road from right to left.

CANE FARMERS TO MEET WITH BSI ON WEDNESDAY
It’s January 2014, and the cane season still hasn’t started; what’s worse is, no one can say for sure when, or if, it will start. A part of the reason is the heavy rains that have been pummeling the country since last August, but the largest part of it is the still-simmering dispute between the cane farmers and BSI/ASR over payments for bagasse. The latest timetable projected that the season must start on January 15, 2014; however, the stalemate between the cane farmers and the factory owners continues, so the season will more than likely not begin on that date. The latest point of contention between both sides is that BSI wants to negotiate with the farmers on a payment for bagasse, but the farmers want them to put it in writing that a payment will be made before any meaningful negotiations can begin. That fairly fundamental difference prompted a meeting last Friday, January 3, among the branch chairmen of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), who convened to discuss the latest letter to the association from BSI on New Year’s Eve. They also discussed an MOU that is in the works to be presented to the Prime Minister; which the BSFCA said will be beneficial to all parties.

CUBAN NATIONAL DEYSI REYES AVILA, 53, CHARGED WITH USING A PASSPORT THAT WASN’T HERS
Avila and her son, 15, tried to enter the country using Panamanian passports with correct pictures, but different names Deysi Reyes Avila, 53, a Cuban mathematics teacher, was charged with using a passport that wasn’t hers and allowing her son to use a passport that wasn’t his, when she appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano this evening. Immigration prosecutor Albert Munnings told the court that at 5:00 yesterday evening, Avila and her son arrived on the Avianca flight 414 at the Philip Goldson International Airport from San Salvador, El Salvador. While Avila was in the line at the immigration desk, an immigration officer noticed that she was acting suspiciously, and when she arrived at the desk, another officer observed inaccuracies in the port of entry forms that she filled out. Avila and her son were thus asked to join the officers inside their office at the airport, where she was interviewed. As she was being interviewed, she introduced herself as Nairoby Aleyda Gonzalez, and her son as Ricardo Gonzalez and showed the officers their Panamanian passports, which had the appearance of authentically and lawfully issued documents.

HAITIAN NATIONAL, SANON VERTUS, FINED $1,000 FOR FAKE BELIZEAN VISA
Haitian national Sanon Vertus, 37, was charged with attempting to use a visa which had not been issued by a lawful authority. According to the Immigration Office’s prosecutor, Vertus arrived at the Philip Goldson International Airport yesterday and Immigration officer Eldon August, who was stationed at the airport, escorted him to the Belize City office after he realized that Vertus’ visa, numbered V00076309, inside his Haitian passport, was a fake. While Immigration officer Gilroy Guzman interviewed Vertus, checks were being made with the office in Belmopan that confirmed that the visa had not been printed or issued by Belize authorities.

THANKS TO DELTA SIGMA THETA SORORITY INC. COMPTON ALUMNAE CHAPTER Letters
— by Sharon Mejia Dear Editor, Greetings in Jesus’ holy name, the one whose birth we celebrate at Christmas time. Please allow me to use your widely spread newspaper as a medium to thank friends of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Compton Alumnae Chapter. They have blessed over eighty students of Hattieville Government School with school supplies, and a few parents and elderly people were happy to receive gifts as well. As the vice principal of the school, I wish to convey our heartfelt gratitude for the act of kindness shown to our students who have received the much needed supplies, and we look forward to a visit from some members of the Sorority Chapter in May of 2014. May the Lord abundantly bless you all. Respectfully, Sharon Mejia

FROM THE PUBLISHER
In our mid-week editorial, I wrote of the “collapse of the Creoles.” This must seem a strange and contradictory statement to the Maya and Garinagu in the north and south of Belize, because they would look at Belize’s political landscape and see that there are seven “Creole-looking” area representatives from Belize City and they are all powerful Cabinet Ministers in the Government of Belize. In fact, the Prime Minister of Belize is a Creole. Now, perhaps the most important aspect of Belize’s political system, the two-party parliamentary system, is that it forces Belizeans to unite across ethnic and religious lines if they want to achieve political power. The ethnic and religious composition of British Honduras was quite diverse before the nationalist movement began in the colony in 1950. Ethnic and religious differences amongst the population of the colonized natives always make the job of the colonial master that much easier, because he exploits the fundamental differences amongst the natives in order to facilitate his rule over a territory he has essentially occupied. It is in the nature of most human beings that they resent having to live under the rule of occupied forces, and so they are always resisting occupation in various forms. Minority elements of the said occupied peoples, for various reasons which feature self-gain, are, for their part, always collaborating with the occupiers or colonizers. When a nationalist uprising against colonialism begins in a territory, as it began in Belize in 1950, then the population is divided by political lines. There are those who are resisting, and those were the People’s United Party (PUP), and then there are those who are collaborating, and these were the National Party (NP) in 1951. In 1950, the dramatic division in the native population of Belize was not primarily ethnic or religious: it was political. But in 1956, there was a power struggle in the nationalist PUP, and the visual leadership of the PUP changed from Creole faces to become a Mestizo one. In 1958, one of the two Creole leaders who had been overthrown in the PUP, Philip Goldson, made an alliance with the colonialist NP, resulting in the formation of the National Independence Party (NIP). An ethnic consciousness began to affect Belize’s party politics with the coming to power in the PUP of the Mestizo George Price in 1956.

The Reporter

Byron Pope wins KREM New Year’s Classic
Byron Pope of the Benny’s Megabytes team won the Elite race of the 24th annual KREM New Year’s Day cycling classic from the Corozal Free Zone along the Philip Goldson Highway to the finish line at Mahogany Street in Belize City on Wednesday, January 1. Pope broke […]

Shalini Zabaneh wins KREM New Year’s Female Classic
Defending champion Shalini Zabaneh of the Sagitun team shaved 37 minutes off her previous time, clocking 2:35:17 as she won the female race of the 24th annual KREM New Year’s Day cycling classic from the Orange Walk Town Hall to the finish line at Mahogany Street in […]

Big freeze shatters North America temperature records
Weather records have tumbled across North America, with freezing temperatures even in the southern US. The most extreme arctic blasts, blamed on a weather pattern known as the polar vortex, were said to have affected nearly 190 million people. In Kentucky, an escaped prisoner turned himself in to get out […]

Salvadoran ex-leader questioned in Taiwan payment inquiry
Former Salvadoran President Francisco Flores has told a congressional panel that he received cheques worth $10m (£6m) from Taiwan during the last two years of his presidency. Mr Flores, who governed from 1999 to 2004, denied the funds were for his personal use. He said Taiwan donated the money to […]

EDITORIAL
Failure to expel UDP Cayo South Area Representative, Alvin Penner from the House of Representatives has been a devastating blow to PUP strategy planners who counted on starting the election season 2016/17 with a bang. Penner was wounded and vulnerable after his party abandoned him for his role in the […]

B.N.T.U. rallies for 5% pay increase
The Belize National Teachers Union is calling on Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow to set a five percent pay increase, over the next three years, as the baseline for any pay hike in ongoing wage negotiations as part of a collective bargaining agreement between the […]

Belize district farmers get flood relief
Farmers in the Belize District, who were severely affected by the flooding from the last two month’s unprecedented torrential rains, have received assistance from the Ministry of Natural Resource and Agriculture. Livestock producers in the Crooked Tree and Blackburn areas received animal feed from the […]

Caribbean Tech Ambassador Bevil Wooding Receives LACNIC Lifetime Achievement Award
The Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC) has announced that Caribbean-based technology expert Bevil Wooding is the 2013 recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award. Established in 2009, the prestigious LACNIC Award honours people who have contributed significantly to the development of the Internet and the Information Society in […]

FIU gets new director
Former Commissioner of Income Tax Eric Eusey is the new director of the Financial Intelligence Unit. According to a government release, Eusey assumed office on January 1, taking over from former Director Marilyn Williams whose five-year tenure ended in December 2013. Eusey assumes office in […]

NTUCB calls on Godwin Hulse to review minimum wage
“We are asking Minister of Labor, Godwin Hulse, to look at the living wage proposal and use this to replace minimum wages,” said National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) President Dylan Reneau. According to Reneau, the formula for living wage calculates for the […]

Ministry of health launches investigation
A series of influenza cases, leaving one dead and several hospitalized, has prompted the Ministry of Health to launch an investigation. Director of Health Services Dr. Michael Pitts explained Thursday that the patient who died over the Christmas holidays tested positive for Type-A Influenza. Samples […]

New genetic clues for rheumatoid arthritis cure
An international team of researchers has found more than 40 new areas in DNA that increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. The work is the largest genetic study ever carried out, involving nearly 30,000 patients. The investigators believe new drugs could be developed to target these areas that could one […]

Cornerstone of Belize’s Development
Last year definitely witnessed a palpable increase in the number of government-sponsored infrastructure projects, ranging from Belize City Council’s cementing of streets to the Poverty Alleviation Project. In the short-run, we must admit that these projects have had a positive effect, which was clearly evident in the phenomenon of works […]

BTB, FECTAB see eye to eye on ‘price war’
The Belize Tourism Board agrees with the Federation of Cruise Tourism Association of Belize (FECTAB)’s position that Carnival Cruise Lines recent price changes are dangerous for the industry, BTB Director of Tourism Laura Esquivel-Frampton said Tuesday. “We agree with FECTAB on this, because it is not good for the local […]

BEL ok’s PUC’s 4cts/kwh rate cut
Belize Electricity Limited has approved the Public Utilities Commission’s decision to cut electricity rates by 4 cents per kilowatt hour, effective January 1. The company informed the P.U.C. last Friday, January 3, that it had no objections to the final decisions, which was compatible with the […]

Less than 100 murders in 2013
The Police Department released its annual crime statistics and the most notable statistic is the dramatic reduction in murders from the year 2012 to the year 2013. In 2012, there were 145-recorded murders while in 2013 there were only 99-recorded murders; that’s a 31 […]

Hit and Run Driver suffers heart attack and dies
The suspected driver behind the wheel of a New Year’s Day hit and run accident on Central American Boulevard died on his way to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) Monday night following heart complications. Don Tillett, who had been in an induced coma […]

Haitian with fake visa pleads with Magistrate to not to send him home
A Haitian man who entered Belize on a fake visa pleaded with Magistrate Clive Lino not to send him back to his country, telling the Magistrate that Belize is a smaller, but better place. Sanon Vectus, 37, an auto mechanic, pleaded guilty to a […]

Electrician charged with manslaughter by negligence
An electrician and resident of Los Lagos, Ladyville, was released on a $5,000 bail, after he was arraigned on manslaughter by negligence and other related charges before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, on Monday. Cayetano told Jason Grant, 31, that he would not take a plea […]

Immigration investigation: End is in sight!
An investigation into the Immigration Department, whether it was remiss in carryng out its duties in the issuing of passports, visas and permanent residenc may be completed by the end of February, Auditor General Dorothy Bradley told reporters on Wednesday. However,there is still much work […]

Sugar battle sweetens up!
The 2014 sugar cane harvest may begin by January 16, if American Sugar Refinery, majority shareholders of Belize Sugar Industries Limited, agrees to the terms of a compromise agreement for payment for bagasse. The BSI management had worked out the agreement with representatives of the […]

Recall dead! – GOB blames “poor vetting”
Better vetting of the 2,002 signatures presented to Governor-General Sir Colville Young on November 28, 2013 by officials of the People’s United Party (PUP) could have saved the petition to recall Cayo Northeast area representative Elvin Penner. This is the view ofChief Elections Officer Josephine […]

The Belize Times

Kidnapping in Cayo
Two businesspersons were victims of a kidnapping in the Cayo District. The Police are reporting that on Thursday January 09th, they received a report of a kidnapping at a resort in Bullet Tree Village. They went to the Chaa Creek Office located on Burns Avenue, San Ignacio ...

FACEY HUSTLER!!!!
In the year-ending issue of the BELIZE TIMES, we promised to deliver yet another bombshell of a hustle involving none other than the already-embattled Edmund “Clear the Checks” Castro. Well, it is ...

PUP Rejects Recall Petition Sabotage
Opposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca has rejected the Elections and Boundaries Department’s decision to invalidate the Recall Petition against Elvin Penner and has warned that the People’s United Party will challenge the move in Court. In addressing ...

SABOTAGE – … UDP GOVERNMENT protects Penner AGAIN
Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai had a very hard time defending and explaining the Elections and Boundaries Department’s unpopular decision to disqualify the Recall process triggered by the people of Cayo North East against disgraced UDP politician Elvin Penner. Considering the political consequence of a successful recall petition against Elvin Penner and how it would have threatened Dean Barrow’s power and control of the House of Representatives, many are not surprised by the Elections and Boundaries Department decision. Yet, it is unacceptable. Tamai claimed that despite the 2,002 petition signatures garnered in support of Penner’s recall, which met and surpassed the amount required to trigger a Recall under the Recall of Elected Representatives Act (2010), the Elections and Boundaries Department disqualified the process because after they eliminated 337 petitions for various reasons, the remaining amount found to be valid did not meet the required amount.

THINK ABOUT IT
ELECTIONS OFFICE IS WRONG The decision of the Elections office, and by extension the Government, to reject the recall petition is wrong. Very wrong. Legally as well. The Government sent CIB (Criminal Investigation Branch) to check on whether or not some persons who could not sign their names and placed ...

New Year, Same Rules
By G. Michael Reid The year 2013 will have to be considered one of the worse years of corruption ever in Belize. Belizeans hardly had the time to digest one scandal before another one was sitting on the plate. It is comforting to hear the unions declare 2014 as a year ...

THE YEAR OF HOPE
2013 was a depressing year for most Belizeans. It was a year of hardship, disappointment, tribulation, and downright sufferation. To add insult to injury, Belizeans also had to bear witness to the unending saga of corruption and incompetence from a government led by a ruthless dictator hell-bent on holding onto power ...

Police United blasts FC Belize 2-0
Defending champions, Police United FC, are still in the hunt for a spot in the 2013-2014 Belikin Cup football playoffs as they dumped FC Belize 2-0 for their 2nd win ...

Byron Pope wins KREM New Year’s Elite Cycling Race
Team Benny’s Megabytes dominated the KREM New Year’s Day cycling classic elite race, with Byron Pope winning the race and Mexican import Carlos Lopez taking 2nd. Pope clocked 3:48:11 to ...

Brown Bombers are SMART Mundialito Champs
The Brown Bombers won the 2013 SMART Mundialito football championship held at the MCC Garden in Belize City on Sunday, December 22. The Bombers bombed the defending champs, Hattieville United Youth Sporting ...

AMAZING GRACE – Book Covers… which is yours?
“Man is not what he thinks he is; he is what he hides.” French novelist, André Malraux captures the essence of man’s ability to deceive in this one profound quote. How often have we all heard the age-old proverb, “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Sometimes, what you ...

The rains & why industrialization is so important
By Richard Harrison Belize generates income from petroleum, tourism, primary agriculture (banana, papaya, shrimps, corn, beans, beef) and secondary agriculture (sugar and by-products, citrus concentrate, juices and drinks), and off-shore financial services. Notice I did not say profits or wealth...these only result when income exceeds expenses. Petroleum became the new kid on the ...

Ending Childhood Hunger
By Dr. Angela Banner Joseph "When people were hungry, Jesus didn't say, ‘Now, is that political or social?’ He said, ‘I feed you.’ Because the good news to a hungry person is bread." - Desmond Tutu As we enter a new year, we must remember to address the impact of childhood hunger ...

LeRoy Banner called to the Bar – Belize River Valley’s First Attorney
By Roy Davis On December 13th, in a brief and quiet ceremony at the Court of the Chief Justice, Hon. Kenneth Benjamin, Crown Counsel Leroy Banner, 31, became a member of the bar association. To support his application, banner received affidavits from ...

The PM’s Disconnected New Year’s Message
In his short and empty New Year’s message filled with platitudes, the Prime Minister, put on a display of his hypocrisy and disconnectedness. After being adamantly opposed, when in Opposition, to the ...

WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – On the Community Vote & Christmas Program
By Dolores Balderamos Garcia I would like first of all to wish all Belizeans a Peaceful and Constructive New Year 2014. May we all find the patience, resilience and fighting spirit that are so needed in facing the challenges of life today! I also wish all residents of Belize Rural Central ...

Elvin Penner’s Sins, UDP Crimes
A Recall in Cayo North East would make Dean Barrow look bad as he is the chief architect of the making of disgraced UDP area representative Elvin Penner. Penner was caught on national ...

It’s time for a National UPRISING
By Norris Hall The time is ripe to mobilize all Belizeans across the political spectrum, religious persuasions, the Trade Unions, businesses, farmers, students and all Belizeans at home and abroad who have a stake in this nation, in a national protest against the abuse of power, incompetence and in-your-face corruption by ...

BNTU National Presidential Address
By Mr. Luke Palacio, President, Belize National Teachers’ Union The Belize National Teachers’ Union greets the nation of Belize in this festive season and at a time when our nation is at ...

Blogs

The Cold Front Moves out and Leaves a GORGEOUS Day in San Pedro
Yesterday was a chilly rainy dark mess of a day for just about everyone. But it was the tail end of the cold front…at last…and this morning, the sun rose over a pretty cloudless sky. Here are a few picture along the beach in the Boca Del Rio area just north of San Pedro Town. Yesterday’s puddles will clear up soon…at least the ones on the basketball court in Boca Del Rio Park. Still one of my favorite buildings, Caye Casa Boutique Hotel. Adrian just lounging in the sun…not something you see Belizeans doing all that often. Vitamin D levels are critically low!

Maiden of the Rock: Xunantunich Maya Ruins
Just fifteen minutes from Ka’ana, on a journey over the river and through the woods, lies another world. A world of ceremonial temples, ancient artisans and stunning rainforest views. Perfectly situated on top of a natural limestone ridge, the views from the ruins at Xunantunich are unparalleled. From the top of the largest pyramid, El Castillo, you can take in a stunning 360-degree panorama of jungle-covered countryside and small villages, stretching all the way in to Guatemala. Last inhabited over 1,000 years ago, Xunantunich (pronounced “Shoe-nan-too-nitch”) is one of the most impressive Mayan sites in Belize. The name means “Maiden of the Rock” or “Stone Woman”, after the ghostly Mayan woman who is rumored to have appeared to some local villagers over a hundred years ago. Keep an eye out for her!

A History of Muslims in Belize
How Islam came to this small Caribbean nation, as seen through the quest of Hakeemah Cummings’s father to find guidance during a time of flux. My parents’ home country is one of the world’s best-kept secrets. Nestled in the strip of land between North and South America, Belize is a tiny nation rich with a vibrant cultural mix of both Latin America and the Caribbean. Its sandy beaches on the coast of the Caribbean Sea make it a coveted destination for honeymooners and its diverse wildlife makes it a sanctuary for conservationists. Central America and the Caribbean have historically served as a crossroads for the exchange of culture, goods and ideas. This is precisely how Islam was introduced to Belize. My father was first introduced to Islam in 1983. Before his conversion, he described himself as one of the rebellious youth of the time. “I rebelled against every form of organised authority, be it religion or government,” he told me. My grandmother was a church-going Christian, but from a young age my father had already chosen a different course. He and his friends banded together in a concerted effort to interrupt church services, heckling ministers in the midst of sermons and boldly suggesting that community leaders address the everyday issues faced by the people: community cleanliness, civic empowerment and education instead of preaching religion. In the late 1970s, he joined a political movement founded during the power struggle between neighbouring Guatemala and Britain over the territorial ownership of Belize, which became fully independent in 1981. The Belize Action Movement aimed to strategically and systematically boycott key governmental agencies and corporations within the country to force the government into resolving the power struggle and restore the quality of life to the Belizean people.

Cost of Belikin Beer and how to shop at the distributor
There are two separate distributor buildings and there has been some back and forth between the two over the years leaving some people wondering exactly how pick up and returns work. While you can still drop empties off at the old Belikin Beer distributor across from Island academy from 9:00am – 11:30am or 1:00pm – 3:00pm, most transactions are happening out of the Crystal Water & Ice Distributor located south of town. To get there travel south on the main road out of town until you have to make a right, to continue on. Keep going straight past the gas station intersection and on your right hand side you will find Crystal water and Ice. Their hours of operation and contact number are 226 – 4441 Monday – Friday 8:00pm – 5:00pm and Saturday 8:00pm – 12:00pm Beer pricing in BZD: Regular Belikin $49.95 a case of 24 beers plus $11 deposit for a total cost of $60.95 lighthouse and stout the same price. Guinness $72.10 with a case deposit of $8.60. Premium is out of stock right now. Water 5 gal jug: $25 deposit for 5 gal plastic $3.60. They also used to sell plastic water dispensers but the guy I spoke to on the phone said they did not have any right now. Soda: Fanta Coke and Sprite are also available by the case and cost $17.88 with $11:00 deposit.

Hooray For Our Fine Feathered Friends in Belize
Former US President Jimmy Carter is universally respected for his work with Habitat for Humanity, and justly so, as the organisation goes around the world building houses for people. Not so well known is Michael Keys who, with his son, Larkin, hikes deep into the savannas of Belize to build houses for birds. Trudging in with ladders and chain saws, they climb up trees to carve holes into which they insert a wooden box. Voila – a new home for yellow-headed parrots, who will hopefully nest and produce offspring to boost the population of this endangered species. Mr Keys is a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, stationed at Florida’s St. Marks Wildlife Refuge. He and his son are coming to Belize later this month, where they’ll spend some 18 days clambering some 30 feet up trees and installing the birdhouses. “This is a species that could go extinct and I have this one specialised skill that can help,” Keys said. “I’m not a heart surgeon or anything. So this is my contribution to helping the habitat.”

International Sources

Guatemala and Belize Working to Resolve Dispute
The Governments of Guatemala and Belize have agreed to increase bilateral measures to strengthen relations between both countries, despite the pending resolution of a territorial dispute dating back to 1859, they said today in this capital city. Wilfred Erlington, Foreign Minister of Belize, and his Guatemalan counterpart, Fernando Carrera, agreed yesterday to create a Joint Commission to increase measures to boost confidence and propose others to strengthen bilateral relationships and avoid any kind of conflict, said the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry. The old dispute deals with Guatemala´s demand for 12,700 square kilometers from among the hundreds of islands and cays belonging to Belize; almost half of the total territory of that former British colony. Foreign ministers of both countries held "a successful and productive meeting on January 9, 2014, in Belize City, where they talked about various issues of common interest", said the official communique.

Jack Chivers Realty changes hands; Lakes County cheerleader says he'll keep selling
Over the years, Chivers said he has sold at least 176 resorts and hotels, as well as small-town newspapers, printing companies and radio stations. He also acquired land for the Menard’s stores in Moorhead, Bemidji and Detroit Lakes. Chivers said the commercial sales worked hand-in-hand with selling lakeshore properties. He owns a home on Big Detroit Lake, and he convinced many businesspeople that he met that they, too, could own a little piece of lakeside heaven. “Essentially, all my adult life I’ve looked out a window and looked at a lake,” Chivers said. Chivers at one time also owned Travel Travel in Detroit Lakes, another travel firm called Magnum America’s Hunting and Fishing Tours, and Captain Morgan’s Retreat, a resort in the Central American country of Belize. However, he no longer has a hand in any of those ventures.

Christmas storm underlines Caribbean’s vulnerability
Guyanese President Donald Ramotar says the death and destruction caused by intense rainfall in three Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries over the Christmas holidays is a sign that the region has no time to lose in fortifying its resiliance to climate change. A slow-moving, low-level trough on Dec. 24 dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Dominica, killing at least 13 people. Following the deadly floods and landslides, the Guyanese government approved financial support of 100,000 dollars each for St. Lucia and St. Vincent and 75,000 to Dominica. “The scientific evidence is showing that for our region, which is one of the most vulnerable, these weather events will become more frequent as the impacts of global climate change intensify,” Ramotar told IPS. Guyana’s coastal plains are approximately six feet below sea level.


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