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#483674 - 01/22/14 05:06 AM Today's Belize News: January 22, 2014
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Caye Caulker Police Report
On Wednesday, January 15th, at about 4:20PM while Caye Caulker Police were conducting patrol on Avenida Mangle, Caye Caulker Village they stopped a male who was riding a bicycle on the street and informed him that a search would be conducted on him. At this point the person handed them a small bundle of green leafy substance suspected to be cannabis he had in his left hand and at the same time he threw an object which he had in his right hand which fell about 15 feet away from where they were standing. He was detained and escorted to the area the object fell. The object was retrieved and police suspected it to be a metal pipe used for smoking of Crack Cocaine. Further search on the person led to the discovery of five small pieces of white hard substance suspected to be crack cocaine inside the right front pocket of the pants. He was informed of the offence committed and taken to the Caye Caulker Police Station. He was later identified as Hubert Palacio, 30 years of age. The drugs were weighed which amounted to two grams of cannabis and 0.6 grams of crack cocaine. The metal pipe was measured which measured 3 ¾ inches in length. He was formally arrested and charged for two Counts of Possession of Controlled Drugs and Possession of Pipe.

Belize Awarded “2013 Sovereign Restructuring Deal of the Year” by LatinFinance
Following the successful conclusion of landmark negotiations between creditors and the Government of Belize to restructure the country’s US$547.5MM Superbond in March 2013, it was announced last week that the transaction has been awarded the 2013 Sovereign Restructuring Deal of the Year by LatinFinance, the premier financial publication covering the markets of Latin America and the Caribbean. Gathered alongside representatives of the region’s top corporations, sovereign ministries of finance, investment banks and law firms, the Government of Belize formally received the award at a ceremony held at Gotham Hall in New York City on January 16, 2014. Accepting the award on behalf of the people of Belize and the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, was the Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House, who himself played an instrumental role in facilitating the negotiations with creditors that began in mid-2012.

Edly Atherley turns himself over to police for the murder of his wife
Edly Atherley has turned himself in to police custody on Saturday, January 18th. On Thursday, January 9th The San Pedro Sun reported on a murder case from San Bernardino, California USA. According to the report, 29-year old Edly Atherley murdered his wife, Ashley sometime after Thanksgiving. Ashley’s body was found on December 1, 2013, but Atherley was nowhere to be found. Police reported that Atherley has strong ties to Belize and could have fled here to seek refuge with his Belizean relatives. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) searched for over a month in California, Florida and Belize for Atherley, even offering a $10,000US reward for his capture. Atherley was officially arrested by Tampa, Florida USA police on Saturday, January 18th on a federal warrant when he handed himself over to police.

Ambergris Today

Belize Ministry of Health Updates on Current H1N1 Situation
As of Monday, January 20, 2014, there are three confirmed cases of H1N1 Influenza A in Belize. Five other samples that have tested positive for Influenza A have been sent on to (Caribbean and Regional Public Health Agency) CARPHA in Trinidad and Tobago for further testing and confirmation. Neither H1N1 nor any other Influenza A strain have been linked or involved with any of the severe respiratory cases that are presently hospitalized. The Ministry of Health continues to monitor the situation of flu-like illnesses across the country.

Belize Tourism Industry in Good Health
Positive reports came forth at the 13th Annual Tourism Industry Presentation that was sponsored by the Belize Tourism Board and hosted for the first time in Corozal Town at Tony’s Inn & Beach Resort on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. It was reported that Belize’s tourism industry is in good health and showing positive growing trends with presenters celebrating achievements and past performance. The main focus of the presentation was on the tourism master plan which was formulated a few years ago and to present to stakeholders the Ministry’s plan for the year ahead. There are more tour guides and hotel rooms than in past years and the Ministry of Tourism announced that it has just secured an $11Mil Bze loan for infrastructural development through Taiwan’s International Cooperation for Development Fund. Tourism figures are up from 2013 when compared to 2012 and including a positive growth in the tourism private sector. Minister of Tourism and Culture, Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., indicated that Belize saw an increase of 21.2% in the number of tour operators in the country and an 8.4% growth in licensed accommodation establishments. The number stands at 1,400 licensed tour guides for the country.

Education in Belize: Who's the Enemy?
For the record, trading places between some educators and students has been done before in other schools, though probably not in Belize. However, the results of trading places for a day in schools throughout Belize would be rather interesting, I am sure. It should, though, be done for one main purpose only that has nothing whatsoever to do with politics: to encourage policymakers and educators to want to understand and fulfill the needs of students today. In this new age, feeling empathy for students is but the first step in a long and difficult journey that our Belizean educators and policymakers must stop putting off and putting off! That “lee sea breeze” of teachers’ industrial actions and discontent will not just gradually blow away. Actually, by continuously ignoring our young people’s needs, year after year, election after election, we have created our own enemy – one that has become far more dangerous and destructive to our people than any hurricane that has ever reached Belizean shores.

Community Bulletin: Light The Night For Kids
Join the worthy cause taking place on Friday, March 14, 2014 at 6pm; Memorial Park in Belize City. Express yourself and together let's light up the night for kids.

Community Bulletin: Holy Cross School Fundraiser
Sunday, January 26th, 12 pm noon, the Blues Dogs Blues Band from Colorado, will be having a fundraiser for Holy Cross Anglican School at Estel's By the Sea. Local musicians, Mike & Rob from Legend's Burger House, Dale Wallace, Jr, Trumon Davis and Amorice will be gracing us with their musical and singing skills! Fans of Blues Dogs Band will remember them from their visit a year ago. There will be food, drinks and great music! Fun will be had by all! Come and support Holy Cross School!

Annual "Light The Night" Cancer Walk
I hope this letter finds you and your place of business under the most fortunate of circumstances. It is a great honor and privilege to also wish you a Happy New Year on behalf of the San Pedro Cancer Society and that we may all be rejoicing in the prosperity that it has to offer. As you may know, the San Pedro cancer Society holds a “Light the Night” cancer awareness walk every 4th of February in commemoration of World Cancer Awareness Day. This year will be no different. It is in the anticipation of this event that we take this opportunity to invite you and your staff to this year’s event.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize Tourism Board Year In Review 2013
The Belize Tourism Board give a review of the year 2013 with all the tourism arrival statistics, marketing strategies, celebrating achievements in the industry and announcing strategies for 2014.

Cayo Ecolodge Owners Honored
Alfonso and Azucena Galvez from Clarissa Falls were presented with awards from the Royal Humane Society for their assistance in trying to save some British tourists that got stuck in the falls. Well deserved. "Ms Azucena Galvez and her brother Alfonso, who own and operate Clarissa Falls Resort, have been presented with awards from the United Kingdom’s Royal Humane Society. The British High Commissioner, HE Peter Hughes, presented the awards on behalf of the Royal Humane Society for the couple’s courageous assistance in attempting to save the lives of British tourists at the Falls in December 2008 when a number of them experienced difficulties while river tubing on the Mopan river."

My Body Is Precious Girl Empowerment Tour
Sacred Heart College's new auditorium was the setting yesterday for the My Body is Precious Girl Empowerment Tour, and it was a packed event as Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow and many others presented about female empowerment and motivation.

Western Ballaz Sign Contracts
The Western Ballaz signed their contracts last week, and have been practicing regularly. They just announced that they'll be selling t-shirts for fans to wear to the games while cheering them on. Don't forget that their first home game is on February 21st, at 9:00pm, at the SHC auditorium. "Western Ballaz fans shirt are on sale!!! Please send a message to make your order or post under this message. We have adults and kids sizes. Shirts are $15. each. Yuh cya cuh watch Western Ballaz plaay ah nat hav ah shirt!!"

Seth Montfort Concert at GPC
Seth Montfort, the award winning pianist, is back in Belize, and he's doing a concert at the George Price Centre tomorrow evening. The show was made for Belize, and will start at 6:00pm.

Teenage girl injured in domestic dispute
A domestic incident in Elridgeville village in the Toledo district has left a teenage girl injured. According to our Toledo Correspondent Juan Caal, the incident happened around 3:30 pm on Monday. The 16 year old and her common-law husband were involved in an argument during which the man allegedly slashed her palm. Preliminary information suggests that the couple got into a fight after the 16 year old found out that her 23 year old common-law husband was being unfaithful to her with another woman. Police are now looking for the 23 year old man, as the 16 year old is receiving treatment for her injury.

Kidnappers make out with $15,000.00 Bcy from villagers
Acting on information received at about 8:10 P.M. on Monday January 20th, 2014 of a kidnapping at Copper Bank Village, Corozal District, Corozal Police visited the village where 24 year old Sabino Nah, fisherman of Copper Bank Vilalge, Corozal District reported that at about 7:45 P.M. on Monday January 20th, 2014 he was along with his brother 32 year old Eduardo Nah and 25 year old Roxanie Cruz, Eduardo's common law wife. They arrived home in Eduardo's dark grey Toyota 4 Runner L/P: SCC 8230 where they were accosted by a 4 (four) Spanish speaking male persons. Sabino was allegedly hit on the head with the butt of a black rifle and was then instructed to lie on the ground and handcuffed. The other three went inside the house with Eduardo and Roxanie. Sabino took the opportunity and ran off to seek help and upon reaching back a few minutes later with several villagers, they were all gone. Extensive searches were conducted by both Corozal and Orange Walk Police but to no avail. At about 12:00 A.M. today Tuesday January 21st, 2014 while a team of Corozal police was at the scene, Eduardo Nah and Roxanie Cruz arrived in his vehicle. Eduardo then reported that on Monday Janaury 20th at approximately 7:45 P.M. they were kidnapped from their residence in his own SUV, taken to a cane field before reach San Estevan Village, Orange Walk District.

Channel 7

Crazy Kidnapping in Corozal; Copper Bank Couple Gets Free With 15G In Cash
Tonight, three Corozalenos are lucky to be alive after a crazy kidnapping in Copper Bank village. It appears to have been planned with professional precision, executed with ruthless efficiency, and it didn't end until the captors got paid! And so, right now, the Copper Bank family is in a sustained state of terror. And right that they should be: 3 of them were held up by 4 armed gunmen, who abducted 2 of them. 24 year-old Sabino Nah, his brother 32 year-old Eduardo Nah, and Eduardo's common-law wife, Roxanie Cruz had just gotten home last night just before 8 o'clock when 4 armed masked men barged into their compound, assaulted one of them, and ransacked the family's home and took Eduardo and Roxanie hostage.

Man Critical After Being Shot In Head In City
A man is in critical condition at the KHMH tonight after he was shot in the head this morning. Micah Williams has had a few notable run - in's with the law over the years, making the news for being caught in some fairly large weed busts, one time even getting shot by police. But this morning, it wasn't weed that got him shot - two men came to his yard looking for car rims. His mother today told Monica Bodden where the sale turned into attempted murder:... Leila Williams - Mother of Micah Williams "The diagnosis is like 50/50 chance of life right now. We are praying for him and hope that everything will be okay and we wish him all the best. We all pray and I put it in the church because I went back to my church - I joined church and so I left everything on my pastor's hands. We have a lot of prayers our right now, all on Facebook. I think the prayers will help. God said his prayers can move mountains and I know that's a big mountain and he's going to move that mountain for me through his faith and his power he will. I don't have hopes that he is going to die, but through the almighty he will make it. I don't care if he is a vegetable or what, but I will take care of him because that's my child."

Wicked And Wild In The West
Tonight, San Ignacio Police continue to closely guard 27 year old Kevin "Midget" Manzanero as he remains in the hospital after being chopped by the would-be victims of his latest crime. Manzanero is wanted for a spate of burglaries and robberies which were committed in the San Ignacio/Santa Elena area during the month of December last year. He is also one of 2 main suspects in the murder of 57 year-old Fredy Lopez Sr., elderly man who was killed in a robbery gone bad which unfolded in front of his wife and his 2 very young granddaughters. On Sunday, Hospital officials called police that a man was in the hospital suffering from multiple chop wounds and this individual matched the description of Manzanero who was wanted. Officers check in and confirmed that yes, it was indeed Manzanero. Reports to police are that he tried to commit another aggravated burglar on a family home on Collin's Boulevard, San Ignacio. The owners were alerted to his presence in their house, and one of them got into a struggle with him. Another family member grabbed a match and chopped him on both arms, the right side of his face, and the right side of his neck. These injuries needed medical attention, and that's how he ended up at the hospital.

The Pickwood’s VS. Bev Castillo In Court
In late December of last year, aspiring politician Beverly Castillo made the worst kind of news: she was accused of a land grab just before she resigned as CEO in the Ministry of Natural Resources to pursue politics. The story as it turns out, is more nuanced than that, but the broad strokes remain: a freshly forfeited parcel of leased land was awarded to Castillo's mother and son, Maude Williams and Mervin Castillo Jr. The Pickwood family who had held the lease for thirty years said they had been jilted of the prime piece of undeveloped real estate at the corner of Albert Hoy and Chetumal Streets without notice. The Lands Department said the Pickwood's had failed to live up to the basic terms of their lease. The Pickwood's got an injunction issued and today, they went to the Supreme Court before the Chief Justice to see if the injunction should be set aside. The hearing was held all afternoon in Chambers with Audrey Matura Shepherd appearing for the Pickwoods. At the end of the hearing, Matura Shepherd gave us a recap:..

Hon. Santi Swoops In, Settles Seashore Park Dispute
Last week we told you all about the dispute over Buttonwood Bay Park. The UDP mayor says seafront parcel 3820 should be a park, while a UDP connected private citizen wants half of the parcel as private property. Perhaps seizing on a political opportunity in the Caribbean Shores division that he aspires to represent, mayor Darrell Bradley vowed last week to staunchly defend the parcel for public use only. Well, it appears he won't have to knock himself out, because the current Caribbean Shores area representative Santino Castillo says he's "got this." Castillo told us today that he took 150 signatures of area representatives to Cabinet today and got the Prime Minister's assurance that he will ensure the entire parcel will remain as a park. And what about Geovanni Blease, who'd, been awarded half the parcel as private land? Well, Castillo says he will be compensated with another piece of land elsewhere.

BTL Park Re-Done, Re-Dedicated, Re-Loaded
And while that park will have a future - today the City Council re-dedicated another park that is the future, or some approximation of it. That's the BTL Park, 4 acres of the most heavily invested in public space in memory. With a budget of close to 2 million dollars, it looks spectacular. But today the mayor said it's more than just a pretty park, it's an investment in imagination. Sounds pretty high minded, but we went into the nuts and bolts of politics and economics to find out what will make or break the park as a sustainable public space:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The new BTL Park is 40% larger than it was before - and that's due in large part to land reclamation. The new park will have 27 rent paying stalls, compared to 9 previously. The section in the middle where you presently see soil will be filled in with grass, while the rough clay near the sea will be covered in beach sand, much like this play area, and in about 5 years, there will be sections shaded by Laurel trees which are still in their infancy. It is the most expensive, and probably the most beautiful public space in Belize. And it's lyrical beauty inspired the mayor, nearly to poetry today:

Senior Immigration Officers From Nationality Section Under Scrutiny
Two senior officers from the Nationality Section of the Immigration Department are now under scrutiny. 7News has confirmed that Gordon Wade who heads the records section and Ady Pacheco who is his second in charge are being asked to answer specific questions regarding missing files. Minister Godwin Hulse confirmed to us that Director Maria Marin has written to both senior officers asking certain questions about missing files. They have a specific time to answer and if their answers are not satisfactory, they could also be recommended for termination. Wade is considered to be a key figure in many activities at the department, and his second, Ady Pacheco is also very prominent. Apart from being a relative of a cabinet minister, she also formerly enjoyed a high level of trust with the minister as she was selected as the go-between to shuttle between the minister and the department before the whole scandal exploded.

Police Catch a 25 Pistol, They say Gang Related
Last night we showed you a 45 pistol that the GSU intercepted. Well Police caught another weapon over the weekend: it's a .25 pistol with 8 live rounds. On Saturday morning, they searched 18 year old Shaquille Perrera, who is described as a known affiliate of the Supaul Street Gang. He was on West Collet Canal and carried the gun on his side. He has been charged for an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

Belize’s Military Brass To Britain
Belize's top military commanders are wrapping up an official visit to the United Kingdom. BDF Commander General David Jones, and Coast Guard Commander Rear Admiral John Borland, met with Defence Minister Dr Andrew Murrison as well as senior British military officers. They were there to take part in an international maritime security capability conference and exhibition which ended ten days ago. After that finished, they attended what are described as high level meetings at the UK Ministry of Defence and at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They were also hosted on board HMS Argyll which will be deploying to the Caribbean later this year.

Major Caribbean Cruise Operator Coming To Belize
You may not know the name Butch Stewart, but he is one of the very biggest names in all of tourism in Jamaica as a pioneer and a power broker of unmatched influence and leverage. Wikipedia says he;s the the owner or Chairman of over two dozen companies throughout the Caribbean, North America and Great Britain. including Sandals Resorts,[2] Beaches Family Resorts,[3] Appliance Traders, Ltd.,[1] The Jamaica Observer,[1] and others. The news tonight is that he's coming to Belize, or at least one of his companies is. The Caribbean Journal reports that the regional tour company Island Routes is continuing its Caribbean expansion, with plans to open in Belize, St Kitts and Dominica this year. It quotes, General Manager David Shields who has overseen expansion into Grenada, Aruba, St Maarten and the Dominican Republic.

BIL Gets Ready For FIFA Standard Football Field In Twin Towns
Belize Infrastructure Limited, known as BIL has 60 million dollars to spend on sporting facilities across Belize. And today it signed its first contract in the districts, specifically in Cayo. Area representative and minister of works Rene Montero signed a preliminary contract for a FIFA standard football field in the municipality. We found out more form him and the newly installed General Manager:.. Hon. Rene Montero, Minister of Works "We just sign what you called a feasibility and design project for the upgrading of the Santa Elena sporting complex. It is a 2.5 million dollars project which will take us about 6 months for the design before we start putting out the tender for the construction of that football field." Reporter "How soon will we see works beginning?" Hon. Rene Montero, Minister of Works "I should think around June/July, that's our target date. Once we get the feasibility study and design then we will put it out for tender and then we will get it going."

The Water’s Not Safe! (To Swim In)
When Darrell Bradley was running for mayor, the plan for BTL Park was that his council would build a beach there. Well, they've built plenty at the park, even a beach area is planned, but no real beach, you know, the kind that leads into the sea. Nope! not happening, and the mayor told us why today:.. Darrell Bradley, Mayor - Belize City "One of the things why we moved away from the BTL beach concept is that we are not warranting anything in relation to the water quality out here. There issues that were raised preliminary and we want to first of all ensure that what we build is something that conforms to health and safety standards and that's one of the reasons why we went with the issue of the park and our marketing has been BTL Park. We are looking and I am reviewing proposals in rebuilding the cowl that was out here originally so that people could enjoy that. We are going to have water sports. One of the businesses is a zip lining business. We also have a guy by the name of Jenkins who is going to do jet skis and different kinds of water sports, kayaking and those kinds of things and no doubt people will swim out here but we have signs that will warn off that we don't provide any life guard and you swim at your own risks."

Public Consultation For Cruise Project
Residents of the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts are preparing for a public meeting to discuss the Environmental Impact Assessment for Norwegian Cruise Line's proposed cruise port on Harvest caye - south of Placencia. The consultation on what is in a cruel twist of the English Language is called "Harvest Caye Nature Park" will be held at the Independence High School Compound. 7News confirmed today with Emilio Zabaneh the Secretary of the Independence Village Council that NCL representatives have been making rounds in about 20 villages from Placencia to Bella Vista trying to bring out people attend this important public meeting. Viewers may remember that the Government has green lighted a cruise port of call on Harvest Caye, which has been hotly debated and contested by private cruise interests on Placencia, who say that it will negatively impact tourism in the south.

Channel 5

Beverly Castillo and family in court over land taken from the Pickwoad family
Beverly Castillo – she’s the former deputy in the Ministry of Natural Resources turned political aspirant in Belize Rural Central. She’s been making headlines right from the get-go, but it’s [...]

The fleecing of the Belize Airports Authority….over $30,000 paid on behalf of Edmond Castro
Minister of State Edmond ‘Clear the Land’ Castro seems to be in the middle of one scandal or the other. Just a couple years ago, Castro was fired by Prime [...]

2 senior staff members of Nationality Section called in Immigration Report
On Monday, News Five brought you an exclusive look at the report on Won Hong Kim. It contains reports of interviews done with staff members at the nationality section who [...]

Michael Hutchinson says he is not stepping down from Rural Central
Even as Castillo is in court waging war for a piece of land, she is also in a battle for her political life in Belize Rural Central. Castillo wants to [...]

Do you believe immigration officers should be terminated, while Elvin Penner is untouched?
And our question for tonight is: Do you believe that immigration officers should be terminated while Elvin Penner is untouched for illegally issuing nationality and passport to an alleged criminal? [...]

Belize City man clings to life after being shot to the head
A Belize City family is hoping for the best but fearing the worst following the shooting of one of their own. Micah Williams was shot in the head this morning [...]

Copper Bank couple is kidnapped and freed after handing over $15,000
While Williams fights for his life, a family up north in Copper Bank, a remote village in the Corozal District is traumatized following an overnight kidnapping ordeal. The latest abduction [...]

Will the Occupational Safety and Health Bill be tabled at House Meeting
The House of Representatives will meet on Wednesday. At its last sitting, representatives of the N.T.U.C.B. protested and were escorted out of the gallery by Police. The unions’ issue is [...]

PSU says it is supporting the B.N.T.U. and N.T.U.C.B. in their fight
While the OSH Bill is high on the list of priorities, there are other matters for which the unions, with the B.N.T.U. on the forefront…are agitating. The PSU has taken [...]

2 Belize City youths committed to stand trial for 2012 murder of Dennys Williams
Two young Belize City men were in court this morning for a preliminary inquiry into a murder they are accused of. The homicide took place on November 2012, at Three [...]

More incursions in the Chiquibul and the Columbia Forest Reserve
This morning News Five caught up with Toledo activist, Will Maheia, who leads the Belize Territorial Volunteers. The group has made visits to border points from north to south to [...]

Maheia says incursions continue because borders not properly marked
Maheia reiterates that the incursions continue because our borders are not properly marked and properly patrolled.   Wil Maheia, Founding Member, Belize Territorial Volunteers “The evidence speaks for itself, you [...]

Belize’s Military Top Brass visit the United Kingdom
Late last week, the top brass of the Belize Defense Force and the Coast Guard concluded a visit to United Kingdom. Brigadier General David Jones and Rear Admiral John Borland [...]

B.T.L. Park officially opens to the public
The much anticipated opening of the B.T.L. Park took place this morning after a delay of about a month due to the persistent rains in December. The cost of transforming [...]


Where Are The Land Documents For The O/W East Sports Centre?
Land ownership in Belize has been the subject of many disputes and we have presented our share of stories along this line brought forward by concerned citizens or people who simply have become fed up with the porous system in the lands department. Tonight we have yet another of these stories but this time around, the contention surrounds what should be public property. It concerns the East Sports Centre located on Aurora Street in Orange Walk East. The matter was brought up to us by members of the East Sports Centre Committee and other sports enthusiasts. They say that for unknown reasons they have been unable to obtain the lease papers for the centre and consequently have had to halt infrastructural development and even sports events at the plot of land. We take a look at this story in two segments, since to get a better understanding of the situation; we need to look at the history of the East Sports Centre and eventually what has led to the group’s discontent. Dalila Ical reports. Dalila Ical– Reporting Today, the East Sports Centre on Aurora Street is not in the best conditions to say the least. Overgrown weeds and grass have taken over the sides of the court, the chain link fence, and electricity wires that hang over the area. Garbage has begun collecting in the corners of the sports facility.

Portions Of What Should Be he East Sports Centre Is Owned By Elodio Aragon's Son
Now, while the East Sports Committee is baffled at their inability to obtain the proper documentation for the parcel of land where the East Sports Centre sits, the story, it seems, does not end there. That is because the enclosed area is but half of what should be the East Sports Centre. The parcel of land, a large part of which is concrete, should also be public property. We say should because, well, Dalila Ical has more on that part of the story. Dalila Ical – Reporting CTV-3 News understands that the land adjacent the enclosed part of the East Sports Centre is also public property. According to Orlando Burns, the land was first donated to the Town Board over four decades ago. Orlando Burns – Sports Enthusiast “That portion of the complex was donated by a private citizen if I am not mistaken it was by the estate of Mr Angel Castillo or by himself, donated that portion to the Town Board, the then Town Board and that would probably be in the early 70’s I am not sure but I wish some of his family members were here and give us the history because one day one of them showed me the document where it was being donated to the Town Board so I then when I saw that I ask the Mayor to intervene to clear up that piece.”

Orlando Burns Say's Issue At O/W East Is Not About Party Politics
The East Sports Centre Committee’s land dispute is compelling and the document CTV-3 News unearthed has proved their suspicions true. However, it is hard to ignore that one of the very persons pushing for this issue to become public knowledge is and has been a big player in the United Democratic Party. Furthermore, the persons involved in acquiring what should be public property are also factions of the UDP. Therefore, we asked Orlando Burns, the former UDP Standard Bearer for Orange Walk East whether the move is part of a larger political agenda. Orlando Burns- Former UDP Standard Bearer O/W East “This interview is about my country put your country first before your political party, this is a public park where my children play basketball and a lot of children of the east play basketball and it is time that people stand up and stop looking about politics and about who is involved, it doesn’t matter who they are giving it to I think it is wrong and I stand up for that and this is not about party or politics who or what and I am bringing this up to the media because it is happening for so many months and I have heard nothing official so I just wanted the people to know that all or our work is basically down the drain if you pass thereby you could see place is growing back up it is going to look pretty soon like it was I mean abandoned.”

Taking A Look At The Rehabilitation Of Belize's Manatees At Wildtracks
Most of us have seen a dog or animal carcass along a busy highway. But terrestrial species are not the only ones threatened by collisions with speeding vehicles. In Belize, being killed by a boat is the most common way for endangered manatees to meet their demise. Though Belizean officials have no verified estimate for the total number of manatees currently roaming Belize’s waters, a large percent of recovered manatee bodies are the victims of watercraft collisions. Reporter Maria Novelo sat down with Zoologist and Director of WildTracks, Paul Walker for part two of our conservation efforts to sensitize the public on the rich wildlife Belize holds and ways in which we can help them harmoniously survive in our borders. Maria Novelo – Reporting Between 2012 and 2013, there were 26 known boat fatalities of Manatees across the country. And with Belize boasting the largest Antillean manatee populations in region, this unfortunate trend is only going up year by year. But with conservations efforts from Wildtracks, the only Manatee and Primate Rehab Center in Belize, zoologists have strengthened efforts to protect one of the most iconic and threatened animals in the crystalline waters of Belize.

ITVET Celebrates TVET Week
Today the sun shone and brought much desired warmth around town, but in the Otro Benque Park Area, there was additional contentment as students from the Orange Walk Institute of Technical and Vocational Education and Training dedicated their entire day at giving the park a much need facelift. The students renovated all corners of the park that they adopted three years ago. Acting Assistant Manager Joseth Espadas says it is an all-day initiative which they conduct once a year. Joseth Espadas – Acting Assistant Manager “It’s the entire student population, the faculty and staff, the Orange Walk ITVET family are out here today doing what we can for this park.” Maria Novelo – Reporter “So what is happening?” Dalila Ical – Reporter “Well, three year ago when we came to the park it was basically abandoned we decided to install some swings, we install the seesaw and to basically paint the park with our school colours which are orange, yellow and blue as you can see some of our trainees are painting our school logo on the basketball court and we actually fix again the back board and the rim for the basketball court and are just projects that our trainees trained are involved in, for example the back board and the rim, the welding trade trainees are the ones who are responsible for that, the little house that we are going to build by the slide, carpentry trainees are involve with that, painting, most of our trainees do painting as part of our ground maintenance so we are trying to give back to the community for what they guy learnt and what they know so far in their trade.”

O/W Police Remove Another Illegal Firearm Off The Streets
Orange Walk Police have removed one more unauthorized weapon from the streets. Reports are that on Tuesday, around 3:30pm CIB personnel of the Special Branch visited an unoccupied upstairs blue house located on Smithsonia Street where they found a Stevens double barrel shotgun hidden under rusty zinc on the verandah of the house. While no one was in the area at the time of the search, it was labeled as found property. Orange Walk authorities resolved that the firearm was one that was stolen during a burglary reported on May 29th 2013 at the residence of businessman Roman Garcia.

Wanna Be Robber Shot Dead By His Victim
Authorities on the island of Ambergris Caye are investigating a burglary and an attempted robbery that resulted in a man being shot and killed. The victim has been identified as 24 year old Michael Wallace, unemployed of a San Juan address in San Pedro Town. Preliminary police report indicates that Wallace was one of three persons that attempted to rob a fellow islander when he was shot and killed. The Sun Newspaper reported that according to the Officer in Charge of the Coastal Executive Unit and the San Pedro Police Formation Superintendent of Police Luis Castellanos, the incident happened sometime after 10:30pm on Sunday January 19th with a robbery attempt. 24-year old Kirian Azueta, an accountant of Marina Drive reported to police that while he was going into his residence three people approached him as he got out of his golf cart to open his gate. They held him up at gun point and in the process one of the robbers fired a shot at him. Azueta then took out his licensed gun and returned fire.

MHS Breaks Ground For New Auditorium
The dream of owning their own auditorium is something that the faculty and staff of Muffles High School have been striving for, for many years now. But due to financial constraints, that dream, it seemed would be too difficult to grasps. But as they say, where there is a will there is a way and today the official ground breaking ceremony for the Muffles High School Auditorium took place at the school’s campus. Principal, Maria Johnson says the dream is becoming a reality thanks to the community’s response and past graduates that have taken it up to assist in raising the funds needed to get the project off the ground. Maria Johnson- Principal, Muffles high School “Our students sometimes we would have to walk about two blocks from here to assemble in one place when we decide to chansit sometimes with tents and so on we have rain and sometimes the sun is really hot and sometimes some of our students get dick because of heavy sun burns so those are the three most important aspects that motivated us to say you know what we need the Auditorium and plus the population is getting larger, we have increased our population by 150 students and it has been increasing and there is not place in Oranges Walk really that can accommodate us and we do have the campus, we have space the only thing that we don’t have is the money but we are going to get it with the assistance of the Orange Walk community.

Corozal Celebrates Youth Cadet Program
Since its inception in 1994, the Police Youth Cadet Corp has provided at risk youths an avenue to stay out of trouble by engaging in positive activities. This weekend, as a token of appreciation for the youth’s dedication to the program, a party was held in their honor in Corozal. Police constable attached to the Corozal Community Policing Unit, Abner Marroquin says the program aims at instilling sound discipline, respect for authority, leadership and team building skills among young people. ABNER MARROQUIN – Police Constable, Corozal Community Policing Unit “We have them out here on their yearly party and if you notice we have food, we have gifts, we have snacks today and this day is their day for them to enjoy themselves, no.” Victor Castillo – Reporter “What is the purpose of this gathering that you have hosted for them?” ABNER MARROQUIN – Police Constable, Corozal Community Policing Unit “Well, basically it is for them for the community to be aware that they have the Police Youth Cadet Corps and to sensitize the community of this event and let them know that there is something especially for those children that are at risk. This cadet program deals with discipline, we do lectures, we do community service, we engage in different things, cancer walks, ride-a-tons and everything that has to do with the community we get our cadets involve along with the other different departments like the Youth Service and ENDAC and othe events that happen within the community we get them engage.”

Corozalenos Surf The Web, Free Of Cost At The Central Park
In a technologically driven era, staying connected with friends and family has become common place in society. And for many residents in Corozal who enjoy the outdoors, one of the favorite spots for meeting with friends and family is the Central Park. And if they enjoy technology, that is something they will also have now available as on Saturday, the Corozal Central Park saw the historic activation of Free Wifi access to residents. Corozalenos, especially students, were elated with the innovative idea which was undertaken by Gregorio Papas Garcia, PUP Standard Bearer Candidate for Corozal Bay, and his team. Gregorio ‘Papas’ Garcia – PUP Standard Bearer Candidate, Corozal Bay “What we have done we have partner up with an internet provider to get some free Wifi here in Central Park, definitely to benefit the youths and any other person that want to use the internet services and does not have access to it.”

Trial Farm Victoriuos In The National Primary School Football Championship
Twelve teams converged at the MCC grounds in Belize City to battle it off on the field in the 2014 National Primary School Football Championships. The event saw the participation of the best teams from each district and representing Orange Walk was a dynamic team from Trial Farm Government School. After the one day competition, these boys overcame all odds and brought home the title. This morning, the entire school celebrated with them. Here’s a look. Dalila ical – Reporting It was a sweet victory for the school’s football team and by extension all students at Trial Farm Government School. Coach Eber Patt said he could not be any happier and proud of his team. Eber Patt – Coach “We started playing against San Pedro and we won and then we continued playing against Toledo and we son as well, then we continued playing against Corozal and Cayo we won as well and then the last game that we had was against Cayo which we won in penalties, am really proud of the guys and they really played their heart and soul on the field and we did our best and all the hard work paid off.”

Are You Purchasing Expired Items?
In today's economy, where every cent counts, you expect to get what you pay for. But this is not always the case because there are times when we go shopping and not even realize that we have purchased items that have already expired until it’s too late. And apparently this has become a problem because the Public Health Department is warning consumers to be on the lookout for outdated perishable products when they go food shopping. Reporter Maria Novelo took to the streets today to investigate this story and filed the following report. Maria Novelo – Reporting There’s a new reason for you to check your groceries a bit closer the next time you shop. Four out of 7 major shopping centers in Orange Walk have expired or nearing expiration dates on food items placed on their shelves. It’s an alarming statistic since we, as consumers, pay the full price for these items. So, how hard is it to find expired foods being sold around Orange Walk Town?

Belizean Drivers May Soon Face New Regulations When Travelling To Chetumal
There is a possible change in the horizon in regards to vehicular documentation in Chetumal, Mexico. Given the possible implementation of what is being called the Mexico Vehicle Emissions Testing Center, Belizean Drivers who visit Chetumal may be faced with new regulations. In an article ran in the Mexican media, Honorary Consul of Belize in Chetumal, Jorge Valencia Gómez, discusses the possibility of revising the units that visit the city daily. According to the Honorary Consul Gomez, there is already a verification centre in Belize and hopes that the documentation given to Belizean vehicles continues to be valid across the border.

Doing The Right Thing Pays Off
The annual Du Di Rait Ting Award by the Police Department was handed today to an outstanding fourth form student from Bishop Martin High School. The award has handed to Luis Aguillar Junior for his contributions to his community. We caught up with him at his school today and this is what he told us about his experience. Luis Aguillar Junior – Awardee “I start to help out people to do work but I didn’t really expect this.” Dalila Ical – Reporter “Any community work” Luis Aguillar Junior – Awardee “Yes, help out to clean up and work with Help-age and things like that. I see a lot of people need help so I help them and I see that I need to help and things like that.”

#483675 - 01/22/14 05:07 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 22, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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Northern Belize Sees Reduction in Major Crimes
There was a reduction in major crime in the northern part of the country in 2013. Arturo Cantún spoke with the officers commanding the Regional Command of the Belize Police Department who explained the strategy that they will implement in order to keep the crime statistics down and build safer communities. ARTURO CANTUN REPORTING Over all the northern part of Belize saw close to 30% decrease in major crimes in 2013. Commander of the Northern Region for the Police Department is Superintendent Joseph Myvette. SUPERINTENDENT JOSEPH MYVETTE “2013 was a challenging year but certainly, we did make some serious in-roads in the reduction of major crimes; that could not have been done without the public’s participation and certainly, several crime initiatives had to have been put in place.”

Ambushed, Kidnapped and Robbed; Trio Lives to Tell Ordeal
A family of Copper Bank Village in the Corozal District is in turmoil following a kidnapping that happened last night at around eight o’clock. Reports received at Love News Centre is that 24-year-old, Sabino Nah and his 32-year-old, Eduardo Nah along with Eduardo’s common-law-wife, 25-year-old, Roxanie Cruz arrived at their house last night where they were ambushed by four Spanish-speaking men. Sabino told investigators that one of the men hit him in the head with the butt of a rifle and was then forced to lie on the ground and was handcuffed. The other three assailants then proceeded to take Eduardo and his spouse in the house which Sabino saw as an opportunity to escape and seek help. A few minutes later when Sabino returned to the house with the help of some of the villagers, the assailants, his brother and the woman were gone. Extensive searches were conducted by Police from the Corozal and the Orange Walk Districts but they turned out fruitless.

“My Body Is Precious” – Campaign Continues Countrywide
The “My Body is Precious – Girl Empowerment Campaign” was in Orange Walk Town this afternoon. The national campaign started last week in Belmopan. Heading the campaign is Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis Barrow who said the activity is an empowerment rally which aims at encouraging high schools girls to take pride in themselves and to delay sexual activity. KIM SIMPLIS-BARROW “It’s about carrying the message of sexual abuse and if they are being abused, they should report it. Definitely, we have seen an increase of our young girls being taken advantage of and young girls being pressured into having sex by their boyfriends or by their friends. So, I just wanted to make it clear that we can start a new trend by just waiting until you’re mature enough to experience something like this. I would more want to put it as delaying your sexual debut. As high school girls, they should be focusing on studying; they should be doing girl things, listening to music, going to movies, participating in sports, reading books. Engaging in sexual activity can affect their future; they can get pregnant, they can get a sexual transmitted disease, they will fall out of school; there are so many things that come with it. As for the young men, we will be doing something with our boys; we need to address what our boys are going through and it is very important that we don’t put them apart but for now, I really just wanted to focus on girls.”

Shot to The Head While Washing Vehicle
A 28-year-old man of Belize City is at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital receiving treatment for a gunshot wound to the head. Police reports say that Williams was approached by two persons last night at around 8:45 on Raccoon Street in Belize City, who were offering to sell him vehicle tire rims. It is uncertain as to what was said but the encounter ended with Williams being shot to the head. Williams’ mother, Lelia Williams, told Love News that she has no idea who would want to hurt her son. LEILA WILLIAMS “They said that two gunmen rode up to him and asked him if he can purchase the two car rims that he is selling and he told them someone already came to see them and they are sold and then one of the gunmen just shot him in the head and the other just dispersed. He is on life support machine and he is critical.

BPO Association Formed in Belize
People involved in the call-in services, along with representatives from the internet service providers, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the business support organizations and the University of Belize met this morning at the I-TVET building in Belize City to form the Belize BPO Association. The move to bring the group together was spearheaded by the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, BELTRAIDE, following what has been described as a very lucrative business process outsourcing industry, or what is more popularly known as the call-in centres. With over two thousand Belizeans employed in the sector at 18 calls centres, Executive Director of BELTRAIDE, Nick Ruiz, says that in 2013 alone, Belize earned over 50 million dollars in export revenues through the call-in centres. But while it has been lucrative, Ruiz adds that there is a need to offer a wider range of services through the service. NICHOLAS RUIZ It’s been a really phenomenal growth since 2008 and now we feel that we need to get all those voices together so that the Association can speak as one when it comes to development issues for the sector.

Debt Restructuring Earns Award for Belize
Belize has been awarded the “2013 Sovereign Restructuring Deal of the Year” by Latin Finance. According to a Government release, following the successful conclusion of landmark negotiations between creditors and the Government of Belize to restructure the country’s five hundred and forty seven point five million US dollar superbond in March 2013, it was announced last week that the transaction has been awarded the 2013 Sovereign Restructuring Deal of the Year by Latin Finance, the premier financial publication covering the markets of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Government of Belize formally received the award at a ceremony held at Gotham Hall in New York City last Thursday. Accepting the award on behalf of the people of Belize and Prime Minister Dean Barrow was Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House, who himself played an instrumental role in facilitating the negotiations with creditors that began in mid-2012. Peyrefitte was responsible for arranging a series of top-level meetings between the Prime Minister and the Co-Chairs of the Coordinating Committee that led to the key break-through in the discussions, and continues to serve as a liaison between Belize and the international financial community.

GSU Intercepts Vehicle on Highway; Prohibited Weapon Found
The Gang Suppression Unit has arrested and charged, who they describe as a reputed drug distributor along with five others known to be associated with the Peace in the Village (PIV) gang. The arrests came as a result of the discovery one PARA brand .45 pistol loaded with an extended magazine containing seven .45 live rounds of ammunition. According to the GSU, a team was out in the city on Friday, January 17 at around 10:45pm when they intercepted a red Ford F150 pickup truck without license plates on Peter Seco Street in Belize City. Driving the vehicle at the time was 34-year-old, security guard of Green Street in Belize City, Richard Smith while the passengers were 19-year-old, Jihadul Gill Sr.; 29-year-old, Everal Gray; 18-year-old, Delbert Alvarez; 18-year-old, Alrick Lamb and 18-year-old, Arthur Hill Jr. all of Belize City addresses. Lamb pled guilty to the charges when he appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. He was sentenced to five years for each offence with the stipulation that the sentences are to run concurrently. But despite Lamb’s guilty plea the charges were not withdrawn from the others; they were remanded into custody until March 17. All six persons were represented by attorney Bryan Neal.

Wanted Man Gets Chopped During Burglary Incident
Fugitive, twenty two year old Kevin “Midget” Manzanero was arrested by Cayo Police over the weekend. Love News understands that Manzanero was arrested by San Ignacio Police yesterday afternoon after he sought medical attention for chops wounds. Manazero along with twenty five year old Alex “Cat” Reid are wanted for the December murder of 56 year old Freddy Lopez in San Ignacio, Cayo. Both Manzanero and Reid are also wanted in Corozal Town for a number of robberies and burglaries. We understand that Manzanero was caught by San Ignacio Police in the act of an aggravated burglary.

Sunday Night Murder in the City
An unemployed man of Belize City is the latest murder victim. On Sunday night sometime around ten o’clock gunshots rang out in Banak Street. When it was over 36-year-old Eaton Emory Carr laid dead. Police say when they arrived on the scene they found Carr of a Holy Emmanuel Street address lying on his side in a drain with apparent gunshot wounds to the neck, upper chest, right arm and back. Today, Carr’s family is preparing to lay him to rest and his older brother, Denmark Carr, says that the family has no idea who would want to kill their love one. DENMARK CARR “I understand that he was riding through Banak Street last night and they just came up to him and shot him up and left him there in a drain. I don’t know if he had enemies but the man used to be in the streets in the past but he was trying to change his life and when you try to change your life that is when people try to chance you.

Uncle Faces Attempted Murder Charge After Being Accused of Chopping Nephew
Fifty-four year old Frank Garcia, who allegedly chopped his nephew, was charged with attempted murder when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Garcia was also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm, He was remanded into custody until March 20. The complainant, 23 year old Sherwin Garcia Jr., reported to the police that on January 12, he was riding his bicycle in front of his home on Oleander Street when his uncle called out to him and when he turned around his uncle chopped to the left side of his face with a machete. Sherwin was admitted to ward at KHMH where his condition was reported to be critical but stable. Frank, whose head was bandaged, said that he was beaten by the police.

Teenagers Charged with Attempted Murder
19 year old Joseph Lopez and a 17 year old boy, were charged with attempted murder when they appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. They were also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. They were remanded into custody until April 22. The charges arose from an incident that occurred around 9:50 p.m. on January 15 in which 29 year old James Elijio was shot to the back of his neck. Elijio reported to the police that he was standing in front of his house on Flamboyant Street when two persons riding on bicycles approached him and fired several shots at him and one of the bullets struck him in his neck. Elijio was admitted to ward at KHMH where his condition is reported to be critical but stable.

Belize’s Top Brass Hosted in UK
Belize’s top ranking military officers- Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard, Rear Rear Admiral John Borland and Commander of the Belize Defense Force Brigadier General David Jones has just concluded an official visit to the United Kingdom. On their visit, Commandant Borland and Commander Jones met the Ministry of Defence Minister Doctor Andrew Murrison as well as senior British military officers. The officers were invited by the British Government to participate in an international maritime security capability conference and exhibition in early January. Borland and Jones attended a number of high level meetings at the UK Ministry of Defence and at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They were also hosted on board the HMS Argyll vessel which was at anchor in the Thames next to Tower Bridge.


Will Occupational Safety and Health Bill be Introduced at Tomorrow’s House Meeting?
After years of rallying for the implementation of a legislation to protect workers on the job site, the Unions say they have been informed that the bill-dubbed the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, will be tabled at tomorrow’s sitting of the House of Representatives. For clarity on what the...

Couple Kidnapped for Ransom in the North
Tonight, authorities are investigating the kidnapping of a couple that occurred last night in the Corozal District. Police were called out to - Copper Bank Village where they met with Sabino Nah, a 24 year old fisherman of the village. Nah told them that the incident unfolded at around ...

Bloodshed Continues in the Old Capital
A Belize City resident is at the KHMH tonight fighting for his life after he was shot to the head. Shortly before 9 this morning, 28 year old Micah Williams was on Racoon Street Extension when he was approached by two men, inquiring about purchasing vehicle rims. One of...

Known Gang Affiliate Charged with Weapon Offenses
Also in crime news, Police have confiscated an unlicensed firearm off the streets of Belize City. The holder of the weapon they say, is known affiliate of the Supaul Street Gang. On Saturday morning, Shaquille Perrera was busted in the vicinity of West Collet Canal with a .25 pistol and...

Suspected Murderer Found Dead
Meanwhile, in the west, the body of a man wanted in connection to the murder of Canadian National Brian Townsend was discovered on Sunday afternoon. Mr. Marlon Balona was found by a local, under cohune leaves in a secluded area in the village of La Gracia. It is believed

BNTU Hits San Ignacio for the Third Leg of Scheduled Rallies
As you may know, this Friday, BNTU is hitting San Ignacio, Cayo, for the third leg of the scheduled rallies. However, this time, the rally takes on a much broader perspective as they are joined by community activist, Mary Cariddi, who is calling for a District wide shutdown of...

Rise and Shine Hosting for Free Legal Advice on Land Issues
For far too long we have been reporting land issue after land issue, but this week Plus TV’s very own Rise and Shine is taking it a step further; turning thought into action. For the first time since its initiation, Rise and Shine, with the assistance of a group...

Old Road Residents Given Reprieve
PLUS News learned today that residents of the Old Northern Highway in the village of Ladyville have been told that M&M Engineering, which they accuse of disturbing their peace with heavy activity at their construction compound and damaging several sections of road in the area, must limit that activity

BTL Park Opened
This morning the BTL Park was launched with opening ceremonies by the Belize City Council. It took several months to be completed but the results were pleasing to all in attendance, particularly corporate sponsors Belize Telemedia Limited and Bowen and Bowen Group, as well as to international partners such...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker’s little sailors compete in San Pedro
Caye Caulker’s little sailors spent a day in San Pedro honing their sailing skills alongside the San Pedro Sailing Club. We can honestly say we have not seen anything as cute in a long time. Angel, Malik and Alanis were excellent ambassadors. We are so proud of you, sailors! Aye.

Caye Caulker’s own Nordstrom model is back on the island
Jake, son of Mark Mossiah and Mariette Ravet, is back on his beloved Caye Caulker. Jake was signed with Elite Models a few years ago when the modeling company fell in love with his runway strut. Beloved Jake, among other things, has appeared in print ads for Nordstrom.

Caye Caulker BTIA to hold Annual General Meeting
Annual General Meeting for the Caye Caulker BTIA. Dear Members and Business Owners, You are cordially invited to our Caye Caulker Annual General Meeting. The meeting will be held on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm at the Community Centre. This meeting is called to update members of the status of BTIA Caye Caulker, as well as to hold elections for a new Board. We encourage you to participate actively and fully in the process. We look forward to see you at the AGM. Thanks.


In response to increased sightings of Guatemalan xatéros inside the Columbia River Forest Reserve, the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) plans to undertake an expedition in the area to document the reported incursions which have been marginalizing Maya hunters and farmers in the area, BTV founder Wil Maheia told Amandala. Last week, Fermin Castellano of San Antonio reported that he had seen a Guatemalan xatéro armed with both a machete and firearm, and harvesting the xaté palm as far as 12 miles inside Belizean territory, near the La Union area of the Columbia River Forest Reserve. Castellano said that when he saw the armed xatéro, he became nervous and hid in the bushes. Although it happened three years ago, the armed assault by xatéros on Emelino Cho, the alcalde of San Jose Village, Toledo, and villager Alfredo Sho, near Doyle’s Delight, Cayo—who xatéros had shot after the men gave them food—has embedded lingering fear in many Toledo villagers, forcing them to cut back on farming and hunting activities.

One of police’s most wanted fugitives, Kevin “Midget” Manzanero, 27, of Santa Elena, Cayo District, wanted for crimes such as robbery and murder that have brought terror to the residents of Bullet Tree and surrounding areas in the Cayo District, has finally been captured. Manzanero reportedly went to the San Ignacio Hospital today to seek medical attention for machete chop wounds to the head, shoulder, face and hands. Reports are that one of the chop wounds has caused him to lose one of his eyes. Hospital authorities called police immediately, as mandated. When police arrived, they were surprised to find that the victim of the machete attack was none other than one of their most wanted fugitives, Kevin “Midget” Manzanero. Manzanero was immediately arrested and put under police guard while receiving medical treatment at the hospital, where he has been admitted.

The family of a thief must find a coffin to bury him in when he died after being shot during a robbery attempt in San Pedro Ambergris Caye. At about 10:15 last night, Sunday, a San Pedro accountant of Marina Street returned home on his golf cart and stopped to open his gate. The man told police that as he was getting off the cart to open his gate, two men came out of the shadows of the bushes and one of them pointed a gun at him. According to the accountant, both men wore sweater hoods on their heads, and one of them, of fair complexion, was dressed in a black hooded sweater with the words “TEXAS TECH” emblazoned on the front. He also had a black warm hat over his face and a rag over his mouth. That thief was armed with a black .9 mm pistol. The other thief was dressed in a white hooded sweater with a rag over his mouth, and he was unarmed. The gunman pointed the gun at him and told him not to move, and not to reach for his gun, the accountant told police. The accountant reported that as the gunman said this, he, the gunman, fired a shot at him, the accountant, but missed.

The seemingly never-ending gun violence has claimed the life of a man who was walking on the dangerous Banak Street, in the city’s Southside. Last night at about 9:50, Eaton Emory Carr, 27, originally of Dangriga but who lived in the Aloe Vera Street area of Belize City, was shot multiple times by unknown gunmen. Police reports are that Carr was walking on Banak Street towards the Central American Boulevard when unknown gunmen fired many shots at him. Neighbors quickly called police, who found Carr lying in a drain by the street side. He had been shot in the neck, the upper chest, the right arm and the upper back. Carr was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival at about 11:00 p.m. Police have not yet found the murderer. Carr’s family told Amandala that they were at home last night about 10:00 when police went to their house and asked for Eaton, but did not tell them that he had been killed. They left when they were told that Eaton was not at home.

Back in 2012, when Belize was in the heat of negotiations with bondholders to restructure the billion-dollar debt acquired under the last administration, some analysts were very critical of the move, claiming that Belize’s restructuring offer was “worse than investors expected” and that it would set a dangerous precedent. Today, though, it was announced that LatinFinance, the premier financial publication covering the markets of Latin America and the Caribbean, had awarded Belize the “2013 Sovereign Restructuring Deal of the Year,” for the US$547.5MM super-bond debt restructuring concluded in March 2013. “Negotiated in a period of less than one year, the consensual nature of the collaboration demonstrated between the Government of Belize and the coordinating committee of Belize bondholders to achieve a comprehensive restructuring transaction has been lauded by a number of international agencies and financial institutions, and is being pointed to as a precedent for future sovereign restructurings,” said a statement from the Government of Belize. The team was led by Ambassador Mark Espat and the members were Minister of Labor, Local Government, Rural Development and National Emergency Management Hon. Godwin Hulse; Financial Secretary Joseph Waight; Governor of Central Bank of Belize Glenford Ysaguirre; Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Belize, Christine Vellos; Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Allan Slusher; Deputy Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Yvette Alvarez; and CEO for the Ministry of Economic Development, Yvonne Hyde.

The European cargo vessel which goes by the name The CFS Palencia has been docked off the coast of Belize City for over a week, primarily because the Government of Belize (GOB) secured a court order to seize the international cargo ship on Friday, January 10. The vessel is a sister ship to The Paranga, which, in July 2012, caused over 9 million dollars in damages to Belize’s Barrier Reef when it ran aground two miles southeast of English Caye. The persons responsible made a false promise that they would return to settle any fines arising, and the Government hold-up of the Palencia is in the hopes that the ship’s owners will arrange payment of the $9.6 million environmental fee that was levied on The Paranga. Well, that has not happened, and in the meantime, cargo – including citrus concentrate, shrimp and corn – for export to Jamaica is sitting on board, stuck in transit. Today, CEO and receiver of the Port of Belize, Arturo “Tux” Vasquez, told Amandala how the situation has affected operations in terms of shipments at the port.

As part of their honoring of the January 15 birthday of Rt. Hon. George Price, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) last week unveiled a l0-point program which was intended to move the grand old party back to its social justice roots. This newspaper welcomes the PUP social justice program, if only in its symbolism, because we have been accusing the PUP of having gone so far to the right over the last two decades, that they have become more neoliberal than the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) itself, the political party which introduced neoliberal capitalism in Belize when the UDP was founded in 1973. Some history is relevant here. We consider ourselves on Partridge Street as having campaigned for a political party of our choosing in three different general elections. These were for the PUP in 1979, for the UDP in 1984, and for the PUP in 1998. In all the aforementioned national elections, the party we campaigned for won a landslide victory. On these three occasions, this newspaper had felt, whether rightly or wrongly, that a victory for the “other” side would have threatened our very existence. 45 years ago, three young university graduates made a splash in Belizean public affairs when they went to the streets. These were Assad Shoman, Said Musa, and Evan X Hyde. Assad Shoman admired and loved Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution so much, he eventually abandoned Belize and went to live in Havana. Shoman became a top flight academic. After Shoman resigned electoral politics here in 1984, his closest friend, Said Musa, apparently began a move to the right, so much so that his two consecutive terms as Prime Minister of Belize were marked by doctrinaire neoliberal capitalism. Evan X Hyde, for most of his public life, has been representing what we will refer to as an independent minority on Belize’s socio-political spectrum. When this independent minority takes sides with any of the two major political parties, as it did in 1979, 1984, and 1998, it tips the scales in that party’s favor.

We speak of the concept of democracy as if it represents a Holy Grail, as if it is something which should solve our problems as a people. As Belize’s socio-economic problems have persisted, and indeed grown worse, through our 32 years of political independence, serious citizens of high intellectual capacity have focused on the precise nature of our “parliamentary democracy” in the quest for a better kind of government (“governance”, as they say), or in the search for changes which would reform the present system, make it a better system for all concerned. The Government of Belize which was elected to office in August of 1998 was expected to be a government of logic and progressive thinking. PUP Leader Said Musa had put together a group of qualified minds to surround and advise him, and many of these qualified minds became Cabinet Ministers in his first administration. Because of the aura of intellectual freedom surrounding the first Musa administration, a so-called “reform movement” was organized in “civil society” to discuss how we were governed. The movement featured people like Godwin Hulse, Francis Gegg, Patrick Rogers, and several more.

Since the start of the New Year 2014 – which has been dubbed by union leaders as the “Year of the Worker” – the workers unions have intensified their efforts to get the Government to heed their calls not only for a long awaited salary adjustment, but also for accountability and transparency with regards to pressing social and national issues such as corruption, which remain unaddressed in the eyes of many Belizeans. One of those unions who have been at the forefront of the agitation, and one with the most widespread membership base is the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), whose members are clamoring for a salary adjustment, which they say has not been effected since 2005. The BNTU has organized a series of peaceful, weekly rallies to be held nationwide in order to mobilize not only teachers, but public officers from across the country to stand together and raise awareness about those issues on the front burner – including their salary adjustment. The stance has been met with a level of disdain by the Ministry of Education, which insists that there is no need for any industrial action on the part of the teachers.

The Organization of American States (OAS) has announced that Belize is among six Caribbean countries picked for site visits this April by the OAS’s Anticorruption Mechanism within the context of its fourth round of review, to conclude in March 2015. The other countries on the itinerary are Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname. “The process of on-site visits to the six Caribbean countries, which are carried out with their consent, began last December, when the governments of these nations sent their replies to the questionnaire sent by MESICIC (Mechanism for Follow-Up on the Implementation of Inter-American Convention against Corruption) delegates as a prior step to the visit of the delegations,” the OAS said. It added that each subgroup is composed of representatives of two member countries, with the support of officials from the OAS Department of Legal Cooperation. Visits to these six countries will bring the total countries visited for on-site reviews up to 25 countries.

Today was scheduled to be the start date for the much delayed 2013/2014 sugar crop season; however, Amandala understands that deliveries of cane have been deferred for another four days. That is based on a decision that was made by Government and the relevant stakeholders of the sugar industry at a meeting that was held last Friday, January 17, regarding the impassable conditions of the sugar roads. Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Works agreed that deliveries would not be able to start until this Friday, January 24, 2014 because work on the very critical sugar roads has just begun, and more time would be needed to complete at least 50-75% of the road works. Contracts for road works have been signed; however, the works on the sugar roads – which are in a very bad condition – have reportedly been very slow, and therefore all parties came to the conclusion that those roads would not have been passable by 10:00 a.m. this morning when it was agreed that the season would have gotten underway.

The first sitting of the House of Representatives for 2014 is scheduled to be held at 10:00 a.m. this Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at the National Assembly in Belmopan. Amandala understands that one of the main items on the agenda for that Special Sitting of the House is the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament last month. The bill is in line with Belize’s commitments to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), which, according to CFATF, has called on Belize “to consider implementing counter measures to protect [its] financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Belize.” At the December sitting of Parliament, members of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) staged a vocal protest calling on the Government to immediately introduce the Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) Bill. Indications are that the drafting of that bill may not be complete in time for Wednesday’s meeting.

New butane prices which came into effect today, Friday, January 17, 2014, surpass the Government-controlled prices consumers paid during 2013, and indications from records here at Amandala are that they may be the highest prices since around mid-2012. Back in July 2012, a 100-pound of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sourced from Central America was only $97 in Belize City. Today, it will cost a Belize City consumer $121 – almost 25% more. Meanwhile, those Belize City consumers who buy LPG sourced from Mexico are paying 20% more than they did in July 2012: $125 versus $104. Of note is that consumers in the districts pay more, with prices varying across the municipalities. According to a notice issued by the Belize Bureau of Standards, persons who purchase LPG with a higher percentage of propane and a smaller percentage of butane (the 90-10 mix sourced from Central America) will pay $121 for a 100-pound cylinder, while the mix of 40% butane and 60% propane (sourced from Mexico), said to burn more efficiently, will now cost $125 for a 100-pound cylinder.

Six days after Evon Michaels and her family, consisting of 10 people, were left homeless after a fire completely destroyed their house and belongings on Giles Street, the family is making an effort to rebuild their one-flat concrete house, on a self-help basis, and with assistance from family, friends and neighbors. The reconstruction of the house began today. Evon said that she has no choice, because they need a house to live in. She has meager resources which she is using to begin the construction, and is asking for help from the public – whether in the form of construction assistance, or material contributions. Those wishing to contribute can reach family members at phone numbers 632 – 7180, 602-8880, 663-8056 or 629-9764. Josephine Michaels, 24, Evon’s daughter, who is the mother of Ryon Martinez, 8, said that she and her mother, along with the children, were at home on Friday, when they lit two candles, one in the hall and the other in the front room where the children were.

Funeral services were held this afternoon at All Saints Church in Belize City for Brenda Louise Gomez, the daughter of our dear Violet “Miss Vio” Gomez. Brenda was born on August 23, 1961, and passed on January 14, 2014. The Officiating Priest was Rev. Ilona Smiling and her Lay Assistant was Mrs. Nina Reneau. Mr. Joey Belisle was Organist. The Eulogy/Remembrance was given by Mrs. Pearl Lizama. Pall Bearers were Stanley Lizama, Carl Lamb, Keith Bermudez, Nicholas Smith, Michael Gomez and Ronald Stuart. This newspaper extends deepest condolences to Miss Vio, and the family and friends of the late Brenda Louise.

Exactly three years ago, on January 20, 2011, Kadisha “Alicia” Saragossa, 16, a second form student, at the time attending Maud Williams High School, went missing and has not been seen or heard from since. Her mother, Andrea Saragossa, 44, is still saddened by the fact that she has not been able to bring closure to that tragic chapter in her family’s life. Andrea said that her daughter was last seen at her grandmother’s house, from where she left to go to her boyfriend’s house. “Her boyfriend at the time was living at one of the apartments known as Lakers, and rented by James Young. The apartment is located on Panting Street, in the Lake Independence area,” Andrea told Amandala.

A 55-year-old native of the country of Tanzania in East Africa is the latest person in a string of foreign nationals who have been caught in possession of faulty immigration and nationality documents by alert Immigration personnel. Tanzanian national Teena Isaac attempted to get a legitimate Belizean passport by using a fake Belizean birth certificate and Social Security card. She was promptly remanded to the Belize Central Prison today after she appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano and pleaded guilty to charges of falsifying a document, failure to comply with the conditions of a visitor’s permit, using a document she is not entitled to use, and using a certificate she is not entitled to use. After Isaac pleaded guilty to the charges, she was fined $1,000 for each offence, amounting to a total of $4,000. She was ordered to pay the fines forthwith. In default of payment, her sentence is one year for each count with the stipulation that the sentences are to run concurrently. She was unable to pay and was consequently incarcerated.

A British woman living in Consejo, Corozal District, narrowly escaped being robbed, or possibly harmed, by two men who were chasing her on bicycles at about 3:30 yesterday afternoon on the Consejo Road about 2 miles outside Consejo. Deborah Jayne Thomson was riding her bicycle on the road to Consejo when a man of Hispanic descent rode up behind her on a bicycle and tried to knock her off her bike into the bushes by attempting to poke a stick into the bike’s wheel. Thompson, however, hit the assailant with her bag, which he then tried to grab. She hit him again, causing him to fall back, and she quickly sped away and called her husband on her cellphone. While she was doing this, however, her assailant was joined by another man, also of Hispanic descent, and they both chased her.

Week 1 of the Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Opening Season 2013-2014 home and away semifinal series took place over the weekend on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Bandits 3:0 BDF In the first semifinal on Saturday night, January 18, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, home standing #3 seed Belmopan Bandits registered a commanding 3-0 win over #2 seed Belize Defence Force (BDF). It was the most goals that the normally very tough BDF has given up all season long, albeit 2 of the Bandits’ goals came from the penalty spot. The Bandits, meanwhile, had been scoreless in their last two regular season outings, but they found their scoring touch, especially striker Deon McCaulay, when it mattered most, at playoff time. The first goal was a penalty conversion by David Trapp at the 23rd minute, after striker David Madrid was taken down by BDF defender Rickey Rickets. The second, an easy tap in by Deon McCaulay, came at the 69th minute when BDF goalie Derol Roches couldn’t hold on to a hard cross goal pass from the right side. And the 3rd was another penalty conversion, this one by McCaulay at the 77th minute, after he had made a threatening run down the middle toward the BDF goal.

Round 2 of the quarterfinals in the FFB’s Open Inter-District Football Competition 2013-2014 was held over the past weekend, setting the stage for the semifinals, which are also a home-and-away affair. Two quarterfinals were played on Saturday, January 18, and two on Sunday, January 19. On Saturday, down south at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence Village, the home squad, MnM Steelers dropped Hope Creek Pumas, 4-2, with goals from Edwardo Oliver (2’ & 50’), Deon Burgess (38’) and Jesus Urbina (76’); while Torrence Murillo (82’ & 89’) got both goals for Hope Creek. (The Steelers also won game 1, by a 3-0 margin.) Meanwhile, here at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, San Estevan FC also made it two victories in a row, as they blanked home standing Ebony Lake FC, 3-0, with goals from Diego Mancia (61’) and Edwani Munoz (68’ & 78’). (Game 1 was also won by San Estevan, 5-2.) On Sunday, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, there was no repeat winner, as home standing Roaring Creek United bounced back from a game 1 loss to hand Toledo’s Mavericks a stunning 3-0 shutout, courtesy of a goal apiece from Kenny Williams (18’), Amir Torres (68’) and Clifbarn Neal (71’). Mavericks had taken game 1 by a 3-2 score, so Roaring Creek emerged victorious in the series by a 5-3 aggregate score. Also on Sunday, up north at the Louisiana Field in Orange Walk, Progresso FC made it back-to-back victories with their 3-1 win over Penarol FC of San Ignacio. (Progresso FC were 4-0 winners in game 1.) Shaking the net for Progresso were Johnny Cardenas (24’), Gabriel Perez (75’) and Alexander Diaz (87’); while Noel Eiley (22’) scored for Penarol.

Here are the results of the Weekend Warriors (WW) Sunday Race held yesterday, with the “A&B” riding from Leslie’s Imports to Boom Village junction via the Boom road and back, for 40 miles; while the “C” rode from Leslie’s to Hattieville and back to Leslie’s. Category “Open A/B” – 1st place Warren Coye (Santino’s, 1:50:12); 2nd Santino Castillo (Santino’s, st, 1st “B”); 3rd Daniel Cano (Digicell-4G, st); 4th Kent Gabourel, Jr. (Megabytes, st); 5th Ernest Thurton (Santino’s, st); 6th Wilbert Jones (Megabytes); 7th Colin Maheia (FT Williams); 8th Stephen Bissett (BNE); 9th Ernest Meighan (Santino’s); 10th Merk Gentle (FT Williams); 11th Dean Belisle (Smart); 12th Kirk Sutherland (Digicell-4G); 13th Derrick Smith (BWS); 14th Kevin Hope (Digicell-4G, 2nd “B”); 15th Anwar Barrow (Digicell-4G); 16th Isaiah Willacey (Digicell-4G, 3rd “B”); 17th Kenneth Butler (BWS); 18th Andrew Vasquez (BWS, 4th “B”); 19th Marlon Swift (FT Williams); 20th Mike Lewis (invitee); 21st John Burns (Digicell-4G); 22nd Antonio Escarpeta (FT Williams); 23rd Mike Phillips (Santino’s); 24th Rigoberto Rivas (Santino’s); 25th Jack Sutherland (Digicell-4G); 26th Eustace Ireland (Santino’s); 27th Albert Conorquie (Santino’s); 28th Gilroy Robinson (Santinos’); 29th Ian Abraham (Smart); 30th Vallan Symms (Megabytes); 31st Matthew Smiling (Megabytes); 32nd Kaya Cattouse (Smart); 33rd Calvert Staine (Digicell-4G); 34th George Lovell (Santino’s); and 35th Alicia Thompson (invitee).

The Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) high school football competition continued at the MCC last week with games, female (F) and male (M), on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. On Monday, January 13, (F) Wesley shut out Belize High, 2-0, with Shanice Neal scoring both goals for Wesley. And (M) Wesley trounced ACC, 5-1, with a goal apiece from Marques Stamp, Tyrell Rowley, Sheldon Linares, Emerson Kelly and Keeron Young. The lone ACC goal was by Sergio Luna. Tuesday, January 14, saw (F) SCA and Excelsior High playing to a 0-0 draw. And (M) SJC clipped Gwen Liz High, 2-1. Sydney Bradley and Dmitri Fabro shook the net for SJC, while July Barrientes scored for Gwen Liz. After a break on Wednesday, the competition resumed with one game only on Thursday, January 6. (M) Gwen Liz High bombed Belize High School, 6-0, with July Barrientes netting 2, and Leeford Meighan, Albert Davis, Jovian Usher and Zion Brandon scoring a goal each.

Joseph Lopez, 19, and a 17-year-old minor were remanded to the Belize Central Prison after they were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on charges of attempted murder and use of deadly means of harm against James Elijio, 29. No plea was taken from the two accused, because their case will be heard on indictment in the Supreme Court. On the night of January 15, 2014, James Elijio, a mentally challenged man, went outside his Flamboyant Street home to urinate. Elijio was just about to return inside when two men approached him from the direction of Casuarina Street. Two shots were fired at Elijio. One of the bullets caught Elijio behind his neck and he was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was admitted in a critical condition.

While businessman Rhett fuller was fortunate enough to beat extradition charges just yesterday after 15 years in and out of court, 28-year-old Deon Bruce – who is also wanted for murder by US authorities – did not share the same fate. Today, Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith “threw the book” at Bruce and ruled that he should be extradited to the United States to face charges of not only murder, but also attempted murder, aggravated battery, and firearm possession. A visibly shaken Deon Bruce was escorted out of the courtroom after the decision was handed down. He will be extradited unless the Supreme Court overrules today’s judgment. He has a mere 15 days to apply to the Supreme Court for an appeal of the decision before it becomes final Bruce is wanted by Cook County Circuit Court, based in Chicago, Illinois, for the shooting death of Aaron Carter after an argument escalated and a pint bottle was thrown at Bruce’s vehicle. It is reported that Bruce allegedly stopped, pulled a firearm from the trunk of his vehicle and fired at Carter and a companion, Bryan Rodgers, fatally injuring Carter. The incident reportedly happened on July 28, 2010.

Jason Jonathan Espinosa, 20, a Belizean jockey of South End, Corozal, has been fined $200 by the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court after he was arrested and charged for communicating with a prisoner without authority, and committing a mischievous act. He pleaded guilty to both charges and was fined $100 for each offense. Espinosa had gone to the Corozal Police Station, where he began to talk to a prisoner without obtaining permission to do so. When he was asked his name, he replied that it was Marvin Ramclam. Espinosa was subsequently arrested and charged for the offense of communicating with a prisoner without permission. He was then granted a phone call to his mother, during which he identified himself as Jason Jonathan Espinosa – thus revealing that he had given the police an incorrect name. He was then additionally charged for the offense of committing a mischievous act.

Five out of six men whom police charged with possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition, and a prohibited extended clip, pleaded not guilty when they were arraigned before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. Magistrate Cayetano sentenced Alrick Lamb, 18, a laborer of 18 Fabers Road, to 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the three firearm charges. Lamb was charged along with Jihadul Gill, 18, who is unemployed; Everald Gray, 29, a laborer; Richard Smith Jr., 34, a security guard; Arthur Hill, 18, a fisherman; and Delbert Alvarez, 18, a laborer. Lamb was sentenced to five years imprisonment for being in possession of a prohibited .45 pistol; five years for the seven .45 rounds and five years for the prohibited magazine.

Three men were robbed in Punta Gorda, Esperanza and Belize City in three separate incidents. Godfrey Tillett, 69, of the Trapeche area, Santa Elena, Cayo, was robbed about 2:30 Monday evening in Esperanza. Two thieves held him up at gunpoint and robbed him of $400 and a bag that contained an undetermined amount of coins. The thieves then hit him on the head, causing him to lose consciousness. They then escaped. Police took Tillett to the San Ignacio Town Hospital, where doctors classified the injury to his head as wounding. Police have launched a search, but the thieves have not yet been captured On the day before, at about 4:10 Sunday evening, Philip Leslie, 21, a paletas vendor for Blades Ice Cream located on Tigris Street, Belize City, was robbed by two men on Dungeon Street while pushing the paletas cart towards Blue Marlin Boulevard.


A Walk On the Beach: Pelicans and Jerry Jeff Walker Pickin’ Party + This Week’s Schedule
After what seemed like a week of grey and chilly weather (for Belize = 60s and 70s), the sun popped out yesterday afternoon and it was a perfect time to take a walk to town. AND a perfect time for hungry pelicans, one of the least graceful birds around, really the turkey of the sea…but I’ll get back to these guys in a few. And then…BC’s! Closed and being dismantled. Hopefully being moved somewhere else…we just don’t know where yet. Jeff Jeff Walker, a popular country music singer and songwriter, is in town for two weeks of concerts that he has been doing for years called “Camp Belize”. Jerry Jeff is most famous (and probably most rich…he owns a large beachfront house south of San Pedro town) from writing the song “Mr. Bojangles”. Some really amazing artists have covered that song…from Robbie Williams to Harry Belfonte and Neil Diamond!!!! and Nina Simone!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Every Little Thing” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
After the exertions of Saturday night (its hard work lifting a Belikin bottle – well at least until you’ve drunk some of the content!) I didn’t get up yesterday until just after 06.00 hours (for those of you that like things to be precise I actually got up at 06.10 hours). The temperature was still a little chilly (it had improved on recent days though) so I put on a sweat top (really pleased that I brought them with me now) before venturing out on to the veranda (first floor on the western side) with my mug of coffee (black, no sugar) and my iPad (the old one – not going to inflict the cold weather on my new one, well not yet anyway) I spent around 50 minutes reading the Sunday Times online ((the Sports section first (just had to read about Arsenal’s victory over Fulham the previous day even though I had watched it on TV -you can’t have too much of a good thing!)), followed by the Business section (its nice to know what I’m not missing) and finished off by the News section.

International Sources

WTO: International Tourism Exceeds Expectations With Arrivals Up by 52 Million in 2013
International tourist arrivals grew by 5% in 2013, reaching a record 1,087 million arrivals, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Despite global economic challenges, international tourism results were well above expectations, with an additional 52 million international tourists travelling the world in 2013. For 2014, UNWTO forecasts 4% to 4.5% growth - again, above the long term projections. Demand for international tourism was strongest for destinations in Asia and the Pacific (+6%), Africa (+6%) and Europe (+5%). The leading sub-regions were South-East Asia (+10%), Central and Eastern Europe (+7%), Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+6%) and North Africa (+6%). “2013 was an excellent year for international tourism” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “The tourism sector has shown a remarkable capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions, fuelling growth and job creation around the world, despite the lingering economic and geopolitical challenges. Indeed, tourism has been among the few sectors generating positive news for many economies”, he added.

Belize and United Kingdom Strengthen Military Ties
A delegation from the Belize Defence Force and the Belize Coast Guard recently concluded an official visit to the United Kingdom. The delegation included Brigadier General David Jones, the commander of the Belize Defence Force, and Rear Admiral John Borland, Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard. The pair met with Ministry of Defence Minister Dr Andrew Murrison and other senior British military officers. The Belizean officers were invited by the British government to an international maritime security capability conference. They also held meetings at the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, before visiting the HMS Argyll, which will be deployed to the Caribbean later in 2014. “I welcome this visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the strong relationship between the British Armed Forces and the Belizean Military,” said British High Commissioner to Belize Peter Hughes. “The UK recognizes the challenges faced by the region in tackling violence and organized crime. We are committed to working with international partners to provide further assistance in the form of training and expertise.”

Expats Open Successful Hotel Business in Caribbean Belize
On a balmy morning in Belize, John Lee is sitting on the pier, planning out his day over coffee. Breakfast service is over, and he's expecting around 40 people for dinner tonight. Once his wife, Ellen Larson Lee, has finished helping some guests with travel arrangements, she'll join him. It's a far cry from their previous existence in Denver, Colorado. But John and Ellen consider themselves to be the luckiest people in the world running their small hotel and restaurant in the Belizean beach paradise of Placencia. Back in the U.S., John, who's from Australia, and Ellen, who's American, believed that because they had invested 20+ years in their careers, they had to stick to them. John is an electrical engineer by trade. He was an owner of a consulting firm that did business all over the world. Ellen was in advertising. She worked her way through the creative end of the business as a copywriter to become owner of her own advertising agency. Then came the "light-bulb" moment when they realized that, actually, they didn't have to keep doing the same thing for the rest of their lives... and they didn't want to wait until a traditional retirement age to make a dramatic change.


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