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#484008 - 01/25/14 11:25 AM Today's Belize News: January 25, 2014
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


The San Pedro Sun

“Through Di Alley” by Jenko Veli
The perfect vision of a Belizean backyard party, replete with a panades stand, Belikin or rum punch on tap, sawdust on the ground, big speakers (all the better to blast those party sounds) and a motley crue of beautiful Belizean people – Jenko Veli’s “Through Di Alley” brings to life everything wonderful about Belize. Talent? Available in spades! Heck, the song includes panades, garnaches and salbutes and only leaves you hungry (get it?) for more! Beauty? Just check out all the lovely ladies and handsome gentlemen co-mingling and enjoying the hella talented Jenko (himself an easy-on-the-eyes individual). Friendliness? Time for a party for a few hundred in Miss Banks’ backyard!

1 year later; OIC Luis Castellanos Reminisces
Assistant Superintendent of Police Luis Castellanos has been the Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police Department since January 14, 2013. Castellanos was transferred to Ambergris Caye after the immediate transfer of OC Vienne Robinson was requested. Castellanos came San Pedro with 28 years of experience, his strong belief in community support and collaborations have improved the police force and the public’s relationship throughout the year. “The relationship with the community has been improved but is still not at the level that I was aiming for. Like I said when I first came here, ‘Without the community little can be done’. I think at the beginning of the year the police department was developing a strong bond with the community but it seemed to die down as the year ended,” said Castellanos.He stated that relationship building with the community and fostering good public relation skills for his officers continues to be his mission. In his short time as Officer in Charge, Castellanos also addressed the living conditions of the police officers. Castellanos spearheaded the start of the construction of a new wooden police barracks by seeking monetary donations from the business community.

What’s New? DC and Szana’s Country Cabaña
The San Pedro Sun is pleased to introduce DC and Szana Comegys, owners of DC and Szana’s Country Cabaña (formerly known as Tio Pil’s). DC and Szana are originally from Dallas, Texas USA and moved to Belize in November of 2013, after having visited the island earlier in August. In addition to being great hosts the Comegys are also Country Western singers, and aren’t shy about that fact as they incorporate live music and good ol’ Southern hospitality into every inch of DC and Szana’s Country Cabaña.

People’s United Party launches Social Justice Agenda
To commemorate national hero and Belize’s first Prime Minister, Right Honorable George Cadle Price, the People’s United Party (PUP) launched a Social Justice Agenda on Wednesday, January 15th at Independence Hall. The agenda was launched on what would have been Price’s 95th birthday. Price, who formed the PUP in 1950, devoted his life for social justice and aimed of the PUP to serve as a beacon for social justice in Belize. According to PUP Leader, Francis Fonseca, the launching of the social justice agenda is to celebrate the life of Price and enforce the principles on which PUP was created on. “It’s always important for us in the People’s United Party to pay tribute to the Right Honorable George Price on his birthday. It is a special duty, responsibility and obligation to keep Price’s legacy alive,” said Fonseca. The social justice agenda has ten points geared to improve issues in poverty, education, health, employment, land, legislation, human rights and the economy.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Resorts Make Top 25 Hotels in Central America
The Belize Tourism Board is pleased to announce that four properties in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, have made Trip Advisor’s “Top 25 Hotels in Central America” 2014 Travelers’ Choice list. Congratulations to the following properties: #2: Grand Caribe Belize Resort & Condominium, #11: Coco Beach Resort, #12: Victoria House, #24: Las Terrazas Resort. Director of Marketing and Industry Relations, Alyssa Carnegie, says that these accolades are testament to the hard work and dedication of Belize’s tourism industry partners, “Properties in Belize continue to top lists and garner huge recognition internationally, and I am proud to say that we can certainly expect to receive even more of these awards. The BTB lauds the efforts of our stakeholders as they continue to raise the bar through hard work and marketing of Belize.

Perfect View of Paradise at Mayan Princess Hotel
After checking in at the Mayan Princess Hotel and dropping my bags on the floor of my room, I found myself standing in the middle of the verandah staring at the amazing beachfront view. Mind you it was night time, but I was on the third floor and a cool tropical breeze swept through the room and the view was still spectacular. You see, the Mayan Princess Hotel is located right on the beach and towering three stories high each beachfront suite offers a fantastic view of the Caribbean Sea, be it day or night. My view that evening included that of the lighted pier of Amigos del Mar Dive shop where their dive boats had been put to sleep down for the evening. The beach is very well lit and you can enjoy the island go by while you relax on your private verandah. Tourists walk by with Belikin beers in hand having a jolly good time, locals stroll with their families and enamored couples stroll leisurely enjoying the beach ambience that caters for intimacy and romance; the beach just comes alive with activity. Having purchased a bottle of wine from a store around the corner, I just sat back on a lounge chair, sipped away and enjoyed a peaceful evening watching the San Pedro nightlife go by.

Misc Belizean Sources

Photographing Belize from the Air
Over the last 20 years, Tony Rath and LightHawk have teamed up to photograph the jungles, coastline, and reefs of Belize from the air countless times. Tony shares what he’s learned over the years about making aerial images with LightHawk. My flight day begins with a motion sickness pill and a good breakfast. Even the hardiest stomach can churn when banked 45 degrees while peering through a viewfinder. A peek into my gear bag reveals two camera bodies, two wide angle and a couple telephoto lenses, extra batteries and CF cards. If we will be shooting over water, then a polarizer filter is a must. A flash (for in plane photos), batteries, lens cleaning equipment, and notebook and pen round out my kit. I slip on long pants, t-shirt and a long sleeve shirt, as it can get cold at altitude. A pair of hiking boots rounds out this photographer’s ensemble – a holdover from my military days.

THE ONLY CURE FOR LITTER IS YOU! (15 photos)
Private property on the Marina Road

SHJC and the Big Rock Falls Trail Improvement Project
Sacred Heart Junior College students are spending just over a week at Big Rock Falls, where they'll join forces with Blancaneaux and Belize Trails to help fix the trail leading to the site. The current trail is in bad shape, and really needs the upgrade. Thanks, SHJC NRM students! "Tomorrow is the big day when SHJC's NRM department, Belize Trails, Blancaneaux and other partners commence the Big Rock Trail Improvement Project. Trail leader Chad Burrow of the US National Park Service will lead the crew for 9 days teaching principals and applications of Sustainable Trail Design. Environmental Assessment professional and instructor Charles Britt of the Scarlet 6 will be on site. We're hoping to see Roni Martinez and Lenney Gentle out there as well. Feel free to join us!"

BNTU Rally and March in Cayo
The Belize National Teacher's Union had their Cayo rally and march today, and the turnout was spectacular. Support the teachers of Belize. With a voice a big as was witnessed today, they should definitely be heard. "The Belize National Teacher's Union had their rally and march today. Macal River park was the setting. It was an amazing turnout."

Western Ballaz Back to School Bashes
The Western Ballaz are teaming up with SHC and having a couple of back to school bashes next weekend. Friday, they'll have a dance at SHC, and Saturday there will be a dance at Meluchi's. Come out and support Cayo's new elite basketball team, and have a great time doing it. They'll have a meet and greet, so you'll get to talk with the future champions.

Teachers rally in San Ignacio town
Clost to 500 teachers from the Cayo district attended a rally in San Ignacio town today. Under the banner of “Teechaz Gat Yu Bak” teachers from the Belmopan, Benque Viejo del Carmen and San Ignacio/Santa Elena branches of the Belize National Teachers Union braved a constant drizzle at the Macal River Park to attend the event. Among the speakers at the rally were BNTU president Luke Palacio and BNTU negotiator and former Secretary General George Frazer. Also addressing the teachers were members of community groups from Cayo and other districts who had journeyed west to show their solidarity with the teachers.

Pueblo Nuevo Ferry to be Closed
The Ministry of Works has informed the general public that the Pueblo Nuevo Ferry in the Corozal District will be closed to traffic beginning on Monday, January 27 through Saturday, February 1, 2014, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily. The closure has become necessary to carry out urgent repairs to the deck structure. The Ministry apologizes for any inconvenience caused. Note that this is the ferry between Corozal Town and Copper Bank.

The Show Must Go On!
Delivery of sugar cane in Corozal started early this morning. The Corozal Daily caught up with a few loaded cane trucks and cane farmers early this morning. It is a bitter sweet moment as cane farmers have already irrecoverably lot over 10,000 tonnes of sugar cane equivalent to over ten million Belize dollars as a result of the undue delays. The 2014 sugar cane harvest was due to begin November of last year but due to a stalemate in the negotiations of “bagasse” payment, between BSI/ASR and the Belize Sugar Cane Famers Association, the harvest had been delayed. To make matters worse the inclement weather and incessant rains deteriorated most cane roads and inundated cane fields. Many farmers this morning were calling the media to complain that their particular roads have not been repaired and they cannot access their cane fields to harvest them.

Channel 7

The Teachers’ Western Rally Rails Against Hon. Faber
The Belize National Teachers Union's month of rallies continued today in the Cayo District. The country's most powerful union has done the north and center of the country, and today they moved west where the union branches of Benque, San Ignacio and are Belmopan are known to be well organized. But then, it rained...as Jules Vasquez that didn't stop a spirited rally:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Umbrellas set the tone this morning in the Macal River Park where a steady drizzle forced a late start. An observer might have been led to conclude that there would be a poor turnout but the teachers kept streaming in in their neon green shirts and their carefully composed signs - designed for maximum insulting effect to the Minister of Education.

BAA Cheques Are a Mixed Bag, About 30% Tied To Castro
Last night we laid out 76 cheques from the Belize Airport Authority from a whistle-blower who alleges that all 76 were issued at the request of Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport Edmund Castro. But, two sides to every story, and we today spoke to a board member who preferred to remain anonymous. First to the cheques - 10 of them issued to Jafari Castro - Edmund Castro's son. They were issued in amounts of less than 300 dollars between February and April, 2013 and total $2,240 dollars. Well, 7News managed to speak with a BAA board member today who told us that Jafari Castro worked at the Airports Authority before he left for school and those were his pay cheques. And what about the cheque for Norman Middleton - Edmund Castro's driver? Well, the board member says he was paid 300 dollars to clean off the Belize City Municipal runway when it was flooded over.

Belize And Guatemala Undertake Major New Guatemalan Initiative In DC
Belize and Guatemala signed a major new diplomatic initiative today at OAS Headquarters in Washington DC. Foreign Ministers Wilfred Elrington and Fernando Carrera, and the OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, signed an agreement entitled "Road Map and Plan of Action." They discussed the agreement in Belize two weeks ago and the idea behind it is to embark on a new course of confidence building, moving towards consensus building in the populace of both countries, so that when a referendum is held - whenever that is - it has a better chance of success. All 3 officials spoke to the media after the signing, and here's what Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington had to say about it: Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs "This occasion evidences the commitment and the resolve of the Government of Guatemala and of Belize with the support of the American States to use our best efforts to develop that climate of trust and confidence that is absolutely essential for a successful resolution of the Guatemala claim to Belize."

Streets Stay Hot: Shooting On George St.
19 year-old Kevin Alvarez, a construction worker of Supal Street, is at the KHMH receiving treatment after he was shot last night while on George Street. According to police, Alvarez reported that he was standing on a bridge at the eastern end of George Street when a man riding a black beach cruiser bicycle approached him. That man pulled a handgun and fired several shots at him and sped off. One of the bullets struck him in the left leg, and he was rushed to the hospital, where he continues to receive treatment. Police retrieved 5 expended shells from the scene, and they've since detained one man for questioning.

Sugar Season Starts In Earnest
Today, after almost 3 months of delays the 2013-2014 sugar crop season finally began. Estimates are that over 10 million dollars in production has been lost, and some 16 million dollars more in sugar cane stands to be wasted at the end of this season. So, with that grim bottom line in mind, the cane farmers were more than willing to start the deliveries today, and 7News went north to see the season start. Daniel Ortiz reports: Daniel Ortiz reporting Today, the Tower Hill Sugar Factory opened up their gates to accept the first cane deliveries for the 2013-2014 milling seasons. Because of the rains, the bad condition of the sugar roads, and primarily bagasse impasse, this day, which should have happened back in the middle of November, finally arrived. We found the farmers eager to move their product in, time is against them and millions of dollars in crop is at risk of being wasted.

Big Men Tried To Kill 15 Year Old Christian
1 week ago, 7News told you about 15 year-old Christian Martinez who was mauled and then stabbed, but still managed to survive. Well police believe that 54 year-old Joseph Vaccaro, 34 year-old Rupert Garnett and 33 year old Kenrick Crawford were his attackers, and tonight, they are at the Belize Central Prison. As we told you Christian Martinez reported to police that at 2 o'clock on last week Thursday, he was riding his bike on Balan Street when he was ambushed by 3 men who jumped out of a vehicle. One of them threw a maul which struck him in the back stabbed him several times in his left shoulder with an icepick. The men then left him there; and it was his mother who took him to the KHMH.

Tattoo Artist Tells Court Cops Beat Him
Last night, 7News told you about 26 year-old Edilberto Madril, the young man who police say was caught with a firearm on him. Tonight, he's at the Belize Central Prison after he was taken to court for charges in relation to that weapon. As we told you, Ladyville police visited a small wooden house on Jackson Avenue and they discovered that 2 men were there at the time. When they spotted police, they ran off, but police caught one of them, who was identified as Madril. Police say that he was searched, and they found a "Thunder" brand 9mm pistol on him which was loaded with 17 live rounds of ammunition. As a result police arrested and charge him with keeping an unlicensed firearm, and keeping unlicensed ammunition. He was arraigned today before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. He complained that while in police custody he was brutalized.

Midget Manzanero Could Lose An eye, But Police Have Plenty Charges Waiting For Him
Kevin "Midget" Manzanero continues to receive medical treatment while under police guard at the KHMH for chop wounds he received home invasion he's accused of committing in San Ignacio. He is at risk of losing an eye. After 2 months on the run as a suspect in a spate of robberies and burglaries in the twin towns, San Ignacio Police are patiently waiting for him to recover so that they can start to question him in connection with those crime and in connection with the murder of 57 year-old Fredy Lopez Sr. Today, 7News spoke with the second in command at the San Ignacio Police Station, and he gave us an update on Manzanero, as well as their search for his accomplice: Insp. Reymundo Reyes - Deputy OC, San Ignacio Police "In regards to the home invasion that happened on Sunday 19th, we have Mr. Kevin Manzanero who is in police custody, being guarded in Belize City and the KHMH hospital as he underwent surgery for his left eye yesterday. Presently his condition is that of a stable condition. As soon as he is discharge from the hospital then he will be escorted to San Ignacio so that he could be interviewed in respect to murder of Fredy Lopez and aggravated assaulted and aggravated burglary that happen on the 19th at the residence of Mr. Castillo on Collins Boulevard."

On The Eve Of His Birthday, Nabor Back In Hospital
Paranda Legend Paul Nabor is back in the hospital. The 85 year old Punta Gorda Resident was re-admitted to the PG hospital yesterday. His friend and care give Darius Avila tells us that the doctors say that he is still weak and his condition has not improved but he remains stable. 10 days ago we reported that he was diagnosed with broncho-pneumonia. Duie to his advanced age, doctors have said it ids best not to move him at this time, and they'll have to wait a few days to see if he improves. Nabor will be 86 on Sunday January 26th. His legion fans will be celebrating his birthday on Sunday, with a 7:30 am mass at St. Peter Claver Church in Punta Gorda Town. Then, on Saturday, February 1, 2014 they will have a major Paranda concert in his honour at the PG Sports Complex.

Season Starts But Sugar Roads Still An Issue
Earlier we told you that the sugar cane season had opened. But, the final hurdle that stakeholders in the sugar industry are facing right now are the sugar roads. They are in bad condition because of last year's rains, and the Government of Belize starting working on them from last week Monday. They are far from being totally fixed, and today the Vice Chairman of the Cane Farmers Association's Committee of Management, the budget set aside to fix the road is clearly not enough. Here's how he explained the situation where one road was left unfinished after only 30% of it was fixed: Reporter "Has the relevant authorities communicated with you to tell you what their position or how are they currently conducting the works on the roads?" Alfredo Ortega - Vice-Chair, BSFCA's CoM "I call yesterday one of the engineers and I spoke to him about a particular road where there are an amount of farmers that have a lot of cane there that could be harvested and he told me that the funds available for that particular road has depleted and that happen to many roads according to him that were given under contract because of the situation of the road."

Brothers Charged For Sex With Teen
Tonight, a 16 year-old old minor and his 21 year-old brother are facing sexual abuse offences after a 16 year-old girl reported them to police. The minor who is form Orange Walk reported to police that on last week Tuesday, she was invited to the 16 year-old's house in San Pedro where they had intercourse. She reported that she went with the young man 2 weeks earlier where they had intercourse again. She says that the 21 year-old brother met her at the house and he forced himself on her and raped her. She was examined by a doctor who certified that she was carnally known and grievously harmed, and because of her report, the 16 year-old has been charged with carnal knowledge, while the 21 year-old has been charged rape and grievous harm.

The Irrelevance Of The “Road Map” In View Of Guatemalans Stealing Logs Off Caracol Raod
Earlier on in the news we told you about the new initiative signed by the ministers of foreign affairs of Belize and Guatemala. It's called the Road Map and Plan Of Action" and lays the groundwork for a new series of more meaningful confidence building measures. Sounds all nice and stuff, but on the ground in Chiquibul you can throw out the road map - because Guatemalans are illegally logging right on the road side! Two weeks ago the Friends for Conservation AND Development which co manages the park saw tress felled right a few feet from the Caracol road in the heart of the Caracol Archaeological Park., It's outrageous, outlaw behavior and we discussed it with FCD's Rafael Manzanero today:.. Rafael Manzanero "The Guatemalans cutting down the Mahogany and Cedar right along the road which is use as access to the Caracol Archaeological Reserve. The most aspect of the concern is because it is very close. In fact the trees that were cut less than 2 weeks ago they actually were dropped right over the highway; over the road. We are actually talking about no more than 1.5 miles from the Caracol center."

Bench And Bar, Where They Meet
The Bench and Bar meet annually and this year's meeting was held today in a seminar where prominent Caribbean Jurists advised them on different areas in the practice of law. The Secretary of the Bar Association explained the agenda and its importance to us: Aldo Reyes "Today we have a law conference. It's a very long overdue initiative and the bar association has organized it and brought in some renown legal practitioners from Jamaica, Bahamas and the BVI. We have a committee that was brought together to select the topics and we try to select topics that are varied but also very pertinent to today's practice." "The first topic is law, media and the technology. The second one is trials without juries. The third is the implication for free movement in CARICOM. The fourth is multijurisdictional litigation and the last one is extraditions." "I believe is was not in this recent opening of the court, I think it was in the one before that the attorney general specifically mentioned that the judiciary ought to have continuing further legal education seminars and it was with this in mind that this conference was put together because we do concede that the law is dynamic, it continues to develop, it continues to grow and we need to be kept abreast of these developments."

Luke Says PM Called From A Private Number
For the past three weeks we've shown you the teachers' rallies. It seems that the entire movement was given impetus when the Prime Minister made a mistake in his new year's message and said that the raise of pay would be effective in August and not July. It was a mistake, but one the union's took to heart as a demonstration of bad faith in ongoing negotiations. The PM said it could all have been avoided if Union President Luke Palacio had taken his call on the morning before he had a press conference. The PM said he even left a voice mail. Today Palacio gave his side of the story. Luke Palacio, BNTU President "The salary adjustment issue became an issue because the Prime Minister in his new year's message indicated that the salary adjustment would be effective August and we the teachers are saying that is what we have been negotiating. And the Prime Minister I guess in the House or to the media had indicated that he tried calling me - that is true. But I was Open Your Eyes, he want to call me 5 - 6 -7am in the morning with a restricted number. He also then left a voice message. But what had happen that same Monday we were having our press briefing, so again my phone was off. On Tuesday I clarified on Channel 5, to be exact with Isani Cayetano, who said that the Prime Minister had mentioned that he had informed that it was a mistake. I guess my good friend Jules, where is he. I guess Jules called him and say look, the teachers say you didn't tell them anything - you didn't apologized, so he gave an exclusive interview to Jules - you have my back and I have your back, because If I didn't have your back I would have said what I am saying. And so yes I told Isani that the Prime Minister has indicated that it is a genuine error on his path, but we want it in writing. We cannot be flip flopping here; one day it's July and the next day it's August and back and forth."

Channel 5

VIDEO: Inside the NCL consultations

The Sugar Crop Season finally gets underway
Smoke billowed from the mills at the Tower Hill Factory. Long and at last, at ten this morning, delivery of sugar cane began in earnest. The 2014 season is delayed [...]

More on the Castro and cheques from Belize Airports Authority
Minister of State Edmond Castro and the Belize Airports Authority—a politician and his personal piggy bank… The story of cheques drawn on the BAA’s account and made out to Castro, [...]

Teachers weigh in; say corruption is corruption
Did Edmond Castro cross the line when he used his authority as Minister in charge of the Belize Airports Authority to get his hands on public monies? Prime Minister Dean [...]

Godwin Hulse, on the other hand, tries to explain P.M. definition
And for more comment, News Five also went to the man who, at least before he walked the hallowed halls of government, was an anti-corruption champion and a relentless warrior [...]

The story of how a park ends into the private hands of a highly connected family in Orange Walk
How did a public space end up in private hands in Orange Walk? The story starts back in the seventies when the land located in the downtown area of Orange [...]

Dangriga Belize Bank Administrative Officer charged with theft
A whopping amount of two hundred and seventy thousand dollars went missing from the Dangriga Branch of the Belize Bank between 2008 and 2013 for which Administrative Officer Rosalva Kotch, has [...]

Belize and Guatemala sign an agreement to keep the peace
A high level meeting took place in Washington today between the Foreign Ministers of Belize and Guatemala, Wilfred Elrington and Fernando Carrera, and OAS Secretary General Miguel Insulza.  It ended [...]

Simeon Sampson is awarded at meeting of the Bar Association
The Supreme Court closed today for hearings as legal practitioners headed over to the Radisson Hotel for a one day conference. The Bar Association is an active voice in support [...]

Orange Walk resident says he wants equitable taxation
Earlier when we spoke to businessman Landy Burns, he was aggrieved that a plot of land that was being developed for sporting activities has now ended up in the hands [...]

PlusTV

BNTU Holds Rally in the West
The Belize National Teacher’s Union held a rally in San Ignacio today. Despite constant rain, some 600 teachers showed up for the Union’s third assemblage, calling for awareness to national issues and endorsing its requested salary adjustment. After years of clamoring on the part of the Union, the Barrow...

BNTU Highlights the OSH Bill at its Fourth Rally
One of the national issues highlighted at today’s BNTU rally is the Occupational Safety and Health Bill. The Bill, which was introduced in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, will create new provisions relating to matters of safety and health of workers or persons affected by such work, in order...

Dangriga Belize Bank Administrator Charged with Embezzlement
An administrator at the Belize Bank has been charged for 256 counts of theft from the institution’s Dangriga Branch. 34 year old Rosalva Kotch is accused of misappropriating some 271 THOUSAND dollars over a period from January 2008 to December 2013. Kotch was arraigned in the Dangriga Magistrate Court on...

Senator Hulse Comments on Barrow’s Definition of Corruption
The meeting of the House of Representatives which took place this past Wednesday buzzed with many interesting topics. Above all was the many cheques that Catro had been receiving from the Belize Airport Authority. When the stories started to air in the local media, public opinion screamed corruption. Nevertheless, the Prime...

Bar Association Discusses Timely Legal Issues
In keeping with its promise to become more prominently involved in the development of justice in Belize, the Bar Association of Belize called a Law Conference inviting its members and the Judiciary to meet at the Radisson Hotel. According to Secretary of the Association Aldo Reyes, the Association chose...

Bar Association Has Interest in Firearms Law
A topic not up for discussion at today’s law conference was the Firearms (Amendment) Act of 2008, which has come under scrutiny for its lax application to certain sectors of society. Today Bar Association Secretary Aldo Reyes says that the Association has used its privilege as among the first...

Government Loan Encounters Some Resistance
The Senate had a special sitting at the National Assembly, this morning, to hear two readings. First was to approve bill to amend the insurance act number 11 for 2004. The Second reading was to approve a motion to accept a loan from the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development...

CGA Says the Rainy Weather Forced them to Postpone Meeting with Growers
The Citrus Growers Association (CGA) confirmed this afternoon that ongoing inclement weather in the South, along with forecasted poor weather for this weekend, has led it to postpone its planned meeting with growers for tomorrow, Saturday, at the Association’s headquarters on the Stann Creek Valley Road. The meeting has...


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#484009 - 01/25/14 11:25 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 25, 2014 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here

Amandala

DENYS WILLIAMS’ ALLEGED KILLERS COMMITTED TO STAND TRIAL IN SUPREME COURT
Two Belize City men who are accused of the November 12, 2012 murder of Three Star Quality security guard Denys Anthony Williams, were committed to stand trial in the June session of the Supreme Court, after Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith ruled that the preliminary inquiry found enough evidence against them. Stephan Devon Jenkins, 19, and Ashton Steve Thompson, 19, both gave police caution statements after they were arrested for the shooting death of Williams, who was doing his security guard work when the two men attempted to rob the business place, located on Vernon Street. According to court documents, both men incriminated themselves in the caution statement that they gave to police. That, along with an eyewitness statement, provided the prima facie evidence necessary for the Chief Magistrate to commit them to stand trial in the high court. Both Jenkins and Thompson were unrepresented by an attorney at the preliminary inquiry. When it was time for them to speak in court, Thompson said he had nothing to say to refute the evidence that the police had amassed against him.

$275,000 EMBEZZLED FROM BELIZE BANK, DANGRIGA
Rosalva Kotch, 34, an administrative officer at the Belize Bank, appeared in the Dangriga Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, where she was arraigned on 250 counts of theft for approximately $275,000 that went missing from the Belize Bank’s Dangriga branch. Kotch was released on $7,000 bail plus one surety in the same amount, but she spent Tuesday night in police custody. She was unable to post bail until the following day, Wednesday, her attorney, Marilyn Williams, the former Financial Intelligence Unit Director, told Amandala today, Thursday. Williams said she did not have any comment on the matter, because the bulk of the legal proceedings has not taken place as yet. A bank reconciliation uncovered that the monies went missing between January 2008 and December 2013.

MICAH WILLIAMS, 28, SUCCUMBS TO GUNSHOT INJURIES
Less than 48 hours after Eaton Carr, 37, died after being shot multiple times while walking on the dangerous Banak Street on Sunday night, Micah Williams, 28, of Racoon Street Extension, lost the fight for his life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after being shot in the right temple at about 8:50 Tuesday morning. Williams was washing his vehicle in front of his house when a man rode up to him and shot him in the right side of the head. The man then rode away. Williams was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in a critical condition by his neighbors in a private vehicle. In the Intensive Care Unit, doctors worked to save Williams’ life, but were not successful. Williams’ body has since been taken to the morgue, where it awaits a postmortem to certify the cause of his death. The official police report said that Williams was with two other persons when he was shot. Detectives of Precinct 2 said that they are seeking a Belize City man known to them, who they believe can assist in the investigation.

“HE DIDN’T STEAL THE MONEY!!”
On December 20, 2013, the Opposition PUP’s newspaper, The Belize Times, published a story that claimed that several cheques were paid out by the Belize Airports Authority (BAA) either to, or on behalf of, Minister of State in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Hon. Edmond Castro. Since then, the newspaper has published 9 cheques, 3 of them totaling just over 10 thousand dollars, which were made out directly to Castro. Other cheques, issued to bike shops, poultry stores, beverage companies, and funeral homes, amounted to another $15,000. According to The Times, the cheques were given to Castro to pay debts he incurred personally and politically, allegedly in the furtherance of his political work as Belize Rural North area representative. Since the story broke, Castro has told the media to talk to the BAA for information. When the media attempted to talk to the Airport Authority, however, the Authority refused any comment on the matter. Today, at the Special Sitting of the House of Representatives, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Francis Fonseca, raised the issue, declaring that he had up to 60 of the questionable cheques. Fonseca stated: “I have in possession here today, copies of some 60 Belize Airport Authority operating account Belize Bank cheques, which in my view demonstrate a consistent pattern of ongoing misuse and abuse of the Authority’s funds for personal and political purposes by the member for Belize Rural North. There are at least 10 cheques in varying amounts, Mr. Speaker, which are made out to members of the member for Belize Rural North’s family – Cheque # 005067 for $400; Cheque #004750 for $520; Cheque # 005144 for $1,132.

2 SENIOR IMMIGRATION OFFICERS ON “HOT SEAT!”
Last week, there was a major public outcry in response to reports that three immigration officers had been recommended for termination in the wake of the Penner Passport Scandal, and this week, two senior officers from the Nationality Section of the Immigration Department are now under scrutiny following an administrative investigation into the abovementioned scandal. Amandala understands that Gordon Wade, who heads the Records section, and the Counter Supervisor Ady Pacheco, who is the second in charge, are being asked to answer specific questions regarding missing nationality files. An official report on the circumstances surrounding the scandal was completed on October 4, 2013. It contains reports of interviews done with staff members at the Nationality Section who supposedly played roles in the issuance of a Nationality Certificate for the South Korean businessman, Won Hong Kim, who was in a Taiwanese prison when his nationality certificate and Belizean passport were issued on September 9, 2013.

“A LOT OF PROBLEMS” WITH NORWEGIAN’S HARVEST CAYE EIA
The US$100 million Stake Bank Cruise Docking Facility, which has received environmental clearance, is expected to proceed imminently after Parliament yesterday received a proposal for a 20-year development concession in the form of the Stake Bank Cruise Docking Facility Development Bill, 2014. Meanwhile, the US$50 million Harvest Caye destination island proposed by Norwegian Cruise Line for southern Belize is still under the lens, with the public consultation for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) held Wednesday night in Independence. “The EIA was just disastrous…” said a businessman, who supports the project conceptually. The concerned citizen told us that while the majority of the people who attended the hearing want to see something happening in the south, they want to make sure it is within the framework of a good EIA and is a good project, beneficial to Belizeans. People are skeptical and think everything is a conspiracy, so it is important that the concerns are properly addressed, he indicated.

Editorial: BELIZE’S DEMOCRACY: DETERMINATION AND DERAILMENT
For us, focus shifted from Cayo Northeast’s Elvin Penner, conspicuous by his presence, to Belize Rural North’s Edmond Castro, conspicuous by his absence, on Wednesday in the House of Representatives when Hon. Prime Minister Dean Barrow actually told the House, and the nation, that what had been going on at the Belize Airports Authority was “distasteful” but was not “corruption.” Glory, glory be. As we understand it, and this is a story broken by Channel 5 and The Belize Times, the Belize Airports Authority, under the chairmanship of one Kenworth Tillett, who has been refusing to speak to the media, has been in the habit of making out checks to Mr. Castro for various and sundry expenses which appear personal and/or frivolous. According to Mr. Barrow, these checks were approved by the board of the Belize Airports Authority, and, again according to the Prime Minister, this is a time-honored practice engaged in by Ministers and statutory boards within their portfolios.

FROM THE PUBLISHER
What’s more important in life than family? Nothing, really. Family is where you come from, and family is what you will leave behind when you are gone. Family is where you are nurtured and comforted and loved. But, family is what revolutionaries sacrifice when they choose that road to trod. Two of the greatest revolutionaries of our time – Ernesto “Che” Guevara of Argentina (and Cuba), and Nelson “Madiba” Mandela of South Africa, are clear cases of men sacrificing their families for their beliefs. Their children paid the price for Guevara’s and Mandela’s exploits, and, of course, their children’s mothers suffered with their children. The 1960s (Che and Madiba burst on the international scene in the Sixties) are just a half century gone, but already historians worldwide have declared the decade a sensational one in our lifetime. Looking back, the Sixties began just fifteen years after the carnage of World War II, which ended with the Russians swarming vengefully into a prostrate Germany from the east and the Americans dropping atomic bombs on the defenceless Japanese in the Far East. After the defeat of Adolf Hitler and German Nazism, it is safe to say that the world looked forward to a time of peace. After the storm, a calm, we say. That calm didn’t last that long.

STAKE BANK PROJECT TO GET 20-YEAR TAX CONCESSION
The Feinstein Group of Companies announced last year its intent to invest US$100 million in a cruise port at Stake Bank and a shopping zone at North Drowned Caye off Belize City, and today, the Stake Bank Cruise Docking Facility Development Bill, which would, among other things, provide for the developer to be exempt from Income Tax and General Sales Tax (GST) for 20 years, was introduced at a Special Sitting of the House of Representatives. “This, of course, is the enabling legislation that will now permit the developer to begin works on Stake Bank,” said Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in introducing the bill. He noted that the 16-acre island known as Stake Bank lies about 4 miles offshore from Belize City, and the idea is to locate the new cruise port there and to build the causeway to Belize City.

THERESE WARWICK WINS COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AWARD IN KENTUCKY
Therese Warwick, the second daughter born to KREM’s Tony Wright and his wife Marva, was presented on Saturday, January 18, 2014, with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Annual Coretta Scott King Spirit of Ivy Award for Community Leadership in Lexington, Kentucky. Warwick informs Amandala that her organization, Sisters Road To Freedom, Inc., is coordinating a mission trip to Belize in December 2014. They hope to be in Belize City for one week, at which time free empowerment workshops for women and teen girls will be held. Apart from her NGO ministry, Warwick also serves the community through her inspirational speaking.

WHY NO RECALL?
If there ever was a time when Belizeans have been feeling used and abused by the system of politics of our country, I opine it is now. This sentiment is coupled with feelings of frustration and injustice and a sense that we are in a spiral of deceit and corruption we just cannot seem to get out of. Those of us who have been voting for the past three to five decades have factors and events from which to compare, and know sufficient local political history to cause us to believe that indeed there is a PUDP System. Ironically, the new generation voters have also come to quickly realize the very things the older voters now know for a fact, and this is because in just this decade alone sufficient has happened that has caused them to unmask the PUP and UDP. There is no difference This is my analysis of the situation: there is no difference between the two most powerful parties: and the parties change at elections, but the system does not. Thus the promise of change in politics is rhetoric. The true change of policies, processes and operations cannot come about until there is change in the method by which we elect our political leaders.

GOLD RAIDERS MORE DETERMINED THAN EVER IN CHIQUIBUL
Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), the NGO which co-manages the Chiquibul National Park, estimates that at the moment, 100-150 Guatemalans, some of them armed, are engaged in illegal gold panning in the highlands of the Chiquibul/Maya Mountain area—and they continue to elude Belize security teams, thus posing a national security threat to the country. “The threat of gold panning is high and so are the losses to our national patrimony. These areas are the true birth place of the Chiquibul River. Sedimentation, garbage and fecal contaminants are now found in areas where humans had never been operating before,” said Rafael Manzanero, FCD’s Executive Director. Earlier this month, Manzanero went on patrol in the highlands of the Chiquibul/Maya Mountains (CMM) together with Joint Forces Unit personnel based at Ceibo Chico Conservation Post, and what they found was alarming. “The environmental damage is high and we estimate that today this is the most critical issue to address in the Chiquibul Forest alongside the illegal logging,” Manzanero said. “However, unlike illegal logging, the gold panning activity is more difficult to address due to the remoteness and dangers associated in capturing the panners.”

OSH BILL TABLED – BUT BARROW SAYS PRICE TAG WILL BE HUGE!
At the last sitting of Parliament, representatives of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) agitated for the immediate introduction of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Bill, claiming that the Barrow administration, which had promised to introduce the bill in 2013, had been dragging its feet in taking the bill to the House of Representatives. Well, today, Prime Minister Dean Barrow finally introduced the OSH Bill, and while he said that the objectives of the bill, as proposed by the NTUCB, are indeed laudable, he said that if passed, “the price tag will be huge…” and a tremendous cost to the Government, which will also have to set up a new statutory body to give effect to the reforms. The bill calls for the creation of a National Occupational Safety and Health Authority and an inspectorate. Barrow said that although it is perhaps time and even overdue that they make this quantum leap forward, nobody must be under any illusion, because there will be a “substantial burden and cost” to the Government of Belize, to the private sector and also to self-employed persons and small individuals who may hire just one worker.

EDUCATION MINISTER REAFFIRMS GOVERNMENT COMMITMENT TO SALARY ADJUSTMENT FOR TEACHERS
Teachers from the three Cayo branches of the Belize National Teacher’s Union (BNTU), and specifically from Belmopan, San Ignacio and Benque Viejo del Carmen, are scheduled to host their rally on Friday, January 24, as part of a national wave of rallies by the BNTU to raise the public profile of their efforts to get the Government to pay a minimum 5% salary adjustment for teachers and public officers in July 2014. As a part of their campaign, the teachers are also taking on national issues – prime among them being corruption. Education Minister Patrick Faber in a statement in Parliament this morning said that the teachers should not go to Friday’s rally – but report to work, because students cannot afford to lose valuable class time; but all indications are that teachers are moving ahead with the planned rally. The minister said that Primary School Examination (PSE) grades have been stagnant for 10 years and they need to put their shoulders to the wheel, with everybody doing their part, to improve performance.

STRANGE KIDNAPPING IN COPPER BANK
Corozal police are currently investigating a bizarre and traumatic case of kidnapping which occurred last night in the remote village of Copper Bank, located on the outskirts of Corozal Town. Sabino Nah, 24; his brother Eduardo Nah, 32; and Eduardo’s common-law wife, Roxanie Cruz, 25, had gotten home last night just before 8:00 o’clock when four armed, masked men – who subsequently questioned them about drugs – barged into their compound, assaulted one of them, ransacked the family’s home and took Eduardo and Roxanie hostage. Superintendent Andrew Ramirez, the Officer Commanding the Corozal Police Formation, gave us a detailed explanation of how the incident unfolded. He said that according to the account of the incident they received from the victims after the incident, at about 7:45 Monday night, January 20, Sabino and Eduardo Nah, along with Eduardo’s common-law wife, Roxanie Cruz, arrived at their home in Copper Bank in Eduardo’s dark grey Toyota 4-Runner, and upon reaching in front of the yard, Roxanie got out to open the gate to let the vehicle into the driveway.

MENTALLY CHALLENGED MAN SURVIVES GUN ATTACK
A mentally challenged man who was shot in the neck has been released from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). James Elijio, 29, of Flamboyant Street, is recovering at his home with his family after he was shot by one of two men while he was going back into his house after urinating in the yard. The incident occurred about 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 15. A relative of Elijio’s said that he was released from the KHMH yesterday, but they are encountering some difficulties in caring for him at home, since one of his lungs is not functioning properly. Although the doctor strictly forbade Elijio to smoke, he smokes anyway, and resists their attempts to prevent him from doing so. They are, however, praying for his speedy recovery, the relative said.

CHRISTMAS DAY BOAT ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION CONCLUDES
The Office of the Ports Authority Commissioner has concluded investigations into a boating accident that occurred on Christmas Day in the New River, near the Lamanai Maya ruins, when a boat carrying ten tourists who were on a river cruise to the Maya ruin capsized. No one died, but the tourists suffered minor injuries and all their equipment was lost. The investigation determined that the captain of the vessel was at fault and charges have been levied against both the owner of the boat and the captain of the boat. The owner of the boat was given two charges — allowing the vessel to travel without adequate crew, and allowing the boat to be piloted by a captain who did not have the requisite license. The owner conceded to the charges and made an out-of-court settlement. Four charges were imposed on the captain — piloting a vessel without the requisite license, piloting a vessel without requisite crew, disobedience to regulations, and negligence. Ports Commissioner Merlene Bailey Martinez told Amandala that the captain has not yet indicated whether he will settle out of court. She said that this is an isolated incident and that there is no fear that captains are mishandling and jeopardizing the lives of people. However, regular checks will be made and Ports Authority personnel will be in the area of the Maya ruins to ensure safety procedures are carried out, but how frequently such checks can be made cannot yet be announced said the Ports Commissioner.

SEASHORE DRIVE PARK WILL REMAIN AS A PUBLIC SPACE: HON. “SANTI” CASTILLO
Last week, we reported on a land dispute which had been brewing between CITCO and the Lands Department over a portion of Buttonwood Bay Park, which is situated on Seashore Drive in the Caribbean Shores area of Belize City. Well, according to the current Caribbean Shores area representative, Hon. Santiago Castillo, that disagreement has been quashed through his intervention. The clash primarily involved the UDP Mayor of Belize City, Darrell Bradley, and an allegedly well-connected UDP private citizen – Giovanni Blease. The UDP Mayor asserted that the prime seafront property, also known as parcel # 3820, should remain as a public park, while Blease was in the process of acquiring half of the parcel for private use. Mayor Bradley – who has a particular political interest in the Caribbean Shores constituency – swore that he would do everything in his power to ensure that the piece of land stays in the hands of the Government – and by extension, the public.

COROZAL DRIVER SLAMS GAS PEDAL INSTEAD OF BRAKES
A vehicle collision in Corozal has left three people injured, damaged a car and a food stall. Angel Patt, 34, a construction worker of 3rd Street South in Santa Rita Area, Corozal Town, told police that the rear wheel of his vehicle became jammed in the drain when he was turning into 5th Street, from 3rd Street. He stepped on the accelerator, causing the vehicle to lurch forward, but when he tried to stop on the side of 5th Street, into which he had just turned, he stepped on the gas instead of the brakes, colliding with a grey Mercedes Benz that was parked on the street-side, causing it to slam into three people who were on the sidewalk at the time. Patt then lost control of the vehicle and ran into a food stall. The incident occurred about 9:40 yesterday morning.

NO CHARGES FOR BRAVE CITIZENS WHO KILLED 2 THIEVES
Today marks one month since a robber, Ajlan Requeña of San Ignacio, was killed during an armed robbery of the WW Store in the DFC area of San Pedro. Another thief was also shot to death, on Sunday night, January 19, during the attempted armed robbery of an accountant in the same DFC area of San Pedro. Michael Wallace, 24, of the San Juan area in San Pedro, who, along with an accomplice held up the accountant as he was about to enter his yard, was shot three times in the chest and upper body area at about 10:30 Sunday night.. Police have declared self-defense in both cases, and no charges will be brought against these citizens who stood up to the robbers.

BANGLADESHI-BELIZEAN CHARGED FOR EMPLOYING BROTHER WITHOUT WORK PERMIT
Afsar Miah, 37, a businessman of 17 Orange Street, was arraigned on a charge of employing a person not in possession of a valid work permit when he appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano on Tuesday. The Immigration Department is alleging that Miah hired Mohammed Moynul Amin, a Bangladeshi national, who does not have a valid temporary work permit. When asked to enter a plea, Miah told the court “I am guilty.” But he desperately wanted to explain the situation to the Magistrate, after he said he was guilty. When he was allowed to speak, Miah said: “it was not me who hired him.” He was referring to his brother Mohammed Moynul Amin.

LUPUS IN THE BELIZEAN SOCIETY
Please allow me some space to share some of my thoughts and feelings and “heal” in a way that has helped me over the years in overcoming overwhelming emotions that as human beings we tend to hide by keeping to ourselves. You see, writing for me has always been an escape and a therapeutic measure that even though at times takes on a “dark” undertone, has always helped me greatly. Today, I want to write a little about Lupus and how this sinister disease has crept into our lives and taken one of our very own. This word Lupus was something that had never entered my vocabulary until about three years ago when my sister Shante Lewis, who was residing in the U.S.A., called me and my mother and told us she had been diagnosed with the disease. Still, I didn’t know what that meant and as she explained what her doctor had said about her about “staying out of the sunlight and how Lupus was a disease that broke down your immune system…” we didn’t fully grasp the full reality of what we faced. Over the next two years, she got progressively worse, constantly gaining and losing weight because of the medications and being in and out of the hospital. All I could do was pray and over the phone give her words of encouragement and hope that the disease would go into remission.

PLB BELIKIN CUP OPENING
The first encounters of the home-and-away semifinal playoffs in the Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Opening Season 2013-2014 took place on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, with one team now holding a commanding position, while two others are “even-steven” going into the decisive game 2 of the semifinals this weekend. Belmopan Bandits prevailed, 3-0, over BDF at the Isidoro Beaton; while FC Belize and Verdes FC played to a 0-0 stalemate at the MCC. BDF vs Bandits On Saturday night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, it was home standing and #3 seed Belmopan Bandits FC delivering what most fans are feeling was a 3-0 knockout punch to #2 seed Belize Defence Force FC. The game was more competitive than the score indicated, and the difference may have been the return to top form of Deon McCaulay, considered Belize’s best striker, despite being surpassed in the scoring race this year by Jarret Davis of FC Belize and hot newcomer Clifton West of Police United, who took the top scoring honors.

LET’S DO IT RIGHT, FFB
Belize District football is presently in shambles, where the administration of the sport is concerned. This was most evident when our National U-16 squad that participated in last November’s UNCAF U-16 tournament at the FFB Stadium in November of last year did not include a single player from Belize District, the media, commercial and population center of the country. For all intents and purposes, the Belize District Football Association (BDBA) is presently inactive. Various tournaments have been held in the rural (e.g. the Edmund Castro Cup) and in the city, including the Smart 13 & Under tournament and the (open) Belize City Mayor’s Cup, and there was an open female tournament; but these have not been administered by the BDBA, but instead by private individuals. In the case of the female tournament, one former member of the elected BDBA executive was supposed to be in control, and that tournament ran into all kinds of problems and confusion. There is a desperate need, especially with the FFB now rolling out plans countrywide for youth football development, for the situation to be properly organized in the Belize District, under an officially constituted Belize District Football Association, which can effectively coordinate football activities in the district, and represent the district in communication with the FFB.

ORANGE WALK SPORTS
Female 8-A-Side football The finals of the Abelardo Mai Female 8-A-Side football tournament will be held on Sunday, January 26, at San Lazaro Football Field Sunday, January 26 2:00 p.m. – Carmelita vs Guinea Grass (for 3rd place) 3:00 p.m. – Chan Pine Ridge vs Indian Church (for the Championship) Trophies and cash prizes will be distributed after the game. First prize – $500.00 plus trophy; second prize – $300.00 plus trophy; third prize – $200.00 plus trophy; fourth prize – $100.00 plus trophy. Male 5-A-Side semifinals The first round of the Caribbean Rum 5-A-Side semifinals was held on Tuesday night, January 21, at the People’s Stadium, and both semifinal games ended in 1-0 scores. In the opener, Landy’s dropped Barrios, 1-0, on a goal by Gabrielito Perez (a former National U-20 player). And in the nightcap, Sherwin Williams clipped Trafalgar, 1-0, with a goal from Luisito Cunil (a former U-21 sub-goalkeeper).

GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL TRAINING IN BELMOPAN
The Belmopan Football Association (BFA) and the Belmopan Bandits, along with coach Leroy Sherrier Lewis, are conducting Grassroots Football training for children ages 6 to 17 at the Devon Beaton Park. This past Saturday was the first of many training sessions. 66 participants showed up, both male and female. This youth football programme is to train/develop talent and foster special techniques. Football is a universal language, and it is an integral part of local cultures across this nation. In Grassroots Football we have found that there is a perfect partnership within the FFB, BFA and the Belmopan Bandits, who are all united in the belief that the true power of football is in the connections that it creates between people and the great partnerships that it cultivates. We will be utilizing this Grassroots Football program in order to create a positive medium for the children of our community, to develop and nurture their talent, which in turn will have a positive impact in our community of Belmopan.

The Reporter

EDITORIAL
A federal judge in the United States last week struck down a contract which the City of Detroit had negotiated with two big banks. Faced with hard times, the City of Detroit had agreed to pay $128 million to the banks in return for a bailout loan. But Judge Steven […]

Verdes & FC Belize draw in Belikin Cup football playoffs
Verdes FC of Benque Viejo del Carmen will need to exploit the home-field advantage when they host FC Belize for game two of the playoffs of the Belikin Cup football tournament at the Marshalleck Stadium on Saturday night, January 25, as the city boys held Verdes […]

Wesley College girls lead high schools football
The undefeated girls of Wesley College are leading the Belize City high schools football competition organized by the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA), posting their third victory 3-1 over the girls of St. Catherine’s Academy at the M.C.C. grounds in Belize City on Saturday, January […]

Night work throws body into chaos
Doing the night shift throws the body “into chaos” and could cause long-term damage, warn researchers. Shift work has been linked to higher rates of type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and cancer. Now scientists at the Sleep Research Centre in Surrey have uncovered the disruption shift work causes at the […]

Superfoods of the future
These foods may not be mainstays in your diet now. But these nutritional powerhouses are the superfoods of the future. Millet is used more for birdseed than side dishes—but it may be the next gluten-free wonder grain. Easily grown in arid land, this whole grain is pale yellow, round, tiny […] Chief Magistrate rules extradition for Deon Bruce

Chief Magistrate rules extradition for Deon Bruce
Deon Bruce, 28, got bad news on Friday in the #1 Magistrate’s Court, after Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith ordered that he be extradited to Cook County, Illinois, U.S.A. to stand trial for murder and attempted murder among other charges. The Belizean is accused of shooting […] Belama land case involving ex-CEO in court

Belama land case involving ex-CEO in court
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin is to decide whether an injunction he placed at the end of December on activity at Block 16, Parcel No. 2127, located at the corner of Albert Hoy Avenue and Chetumal Street in the Belama Phase I area, is to be […]

Violence fears in Thailand rise
Rights groups and others have called on Thai authorities and anti-government protesters to respect human rights and avoid violence during mass demonstrations in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. The People’s Democratic Reform Committee protest group — which hopes to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office — launched its “Bangkok shutdown,” intended […]

Vatican cleric Scarano charged with money-laundering
A senior Italian cleric has been charged with laundering millions through the Vatican bank, police say. Monsignor Nunzio Scarano is already on trial and under house arrest on separate charges of plotting to smuggle 20m euros ($26m; £17m) into Italy. The former Vatican accountant and two other people were served […]

Balance of Power: a cure for the woes of absolute power
“No, do you see what’s happening in the United States where they have a system where paralysis is able to be engineered because the way that republican module works; you can have one chamber controlled by the party that doesn’t form the administration, one chamber Democrat, one chamber Republican. “You […]

Minister of Education addresses BNTU and BCCI
By Benjamin Flowers Staff Reporter The Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber, took to the offensive against the Belize National Teachers Union and the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry this week, when speaking about the teachers’ rallies for their salary adjustments. Faber, speaking at a Special Sitting of the […]

Cane deliveries will be “minimal!” BSCFA says the bad roads remain a serious problem
The cane farmers may only be able to deliver a “minimal” amount of cane when the crop starts, because of the deplorable conditions of the sugar roads, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association Vice-Chairman Afredo Ortega said Thursday. Despite the road conditions, Ortega told Reporter […]

Belize Super-Bond Restructuring receives international award
By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter The negotiations to restructure Belize’s US $547.5M Super bond in March 2013 have been awarded the 2013 Sovereign Restructuring Deal of the Year by Latin Finance, a financial publication covering Latin America and the Caribbean. The award was presented to the Government of Belize […]

BTB holds 13th Annual Industry Presentation
By Benjamin Flowers Staff Reporter “Belize needs to be proud for having a seven percent growth in arrivals from 2012 to 2013… the region will not see over three percent,” Bonita Morgan, guest speaker at the Belize Tourism Annual Industry Presentation. The event, which took place at the Corozal Bay […]

Price of Red Kidney Beans Soars
Since two weeks ago, the price of red kidney beans, a locally-produced commodity, skyrocketed from roughly $2.25 to as much as $3.25 per pound. The reason is said to be the need to import the product from the United States, and that was caused by the recent flooding due to […]

We will not be moved! Teachers rally comes to Belize City
By Benjamin Flowers Staff Reporter Hundreds of teachers took to Belize City’s streets in peaceful protest last Friday morning, as the Belize district branch of Belize National Teachers Union took their turn at the country wide tour. The rally started off at the Constitution Park with approximately 350 teachers, but […]

OSH Bill introduced
By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter Prime Minister Dean Barrow introduced the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Bill at the first House sitting of 2014, to the satisfaction of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB). The tabling of the Bill came after months of public outcry from the […]

Castro Again? P.M. Barrow says,“Wrong but not corrupt!”
By Benjamin Flowers Staff Reporter The Peoples United Party claims to have more evidence of sums of money paid to Hon. Edmond Castro by the Belize Airport Authority, but the Prime Minister says these payments do not amount to corruption. PUP leader, Francis Fonseca, announced at Wednesday’s Special Sitting of […]

Alone! Penner back, but isolated!
By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter Former Minister of State in the Immigration Department, Elvin Penner made his first appearance in the House of Representatives since the immigration scandal involving Won Hong Kim broke last September. At Wednesday’s House sitting, Penner sat quietly in the far left corner of the […]

Chamber of Commerce to Minister Faber: “Read carefully!”
By Benjamin Flowers Staff Reporter “Attempts by a minister to insult and threaten the largest taxpaying group in the country because he had not carefully read our press release is certainly not the wisest course of action for healthy partnership and development,” the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry said […]

Blogs

Heroic Indiana Jones moment by Victoria House Resort staff Marlon Gonzalez
While preparing something to eat he heard commotion coming from his neighborhood. Marlon sprang into action to see what was going on and if he could help. He took his flashlight since they were in an area of San Mateo that has limited electricity and flashed around the area. After illuminating his neighbors across the river, he noticed some kids and a mother calling for help. He went in the crocodile waters to aid the wailing family. When he reached them he found out the Mirna had swallowed a big marble and it was stuck in her throat. Her family was in a panic not knowing what to do. Marlon could tell by her color she was not well and after doing a few fast back blows to try and dislodge the marble, he could see the girl was turning blue and going unresponsive. Marlon laid her on the ground and started doing chest compressions. He remembered that you switch from back blows an abdominal thrusts to CPR when a choking person turns blue because their heart has stopped pumping oxygenated blood. At the same time Marlon was administering CPR on Mirna, he called for her brother Dixon to help by the dory [small flat bottomed fishing boat], so they could get to the Holy Cross Anglican School.

Final Public Consultation Meeting Held on Norwegian Cruise Lines “Nature Park” in Southern Belize
Wednesday night I attended the Public Meeting, the FINAL public meeting, about the environmental impact of the proposed Norwegian Cruise Lines Cruise Ship port at Harvest Caye. The caye is 2 miles away from Placencia, a very small tourist village and from the larger (but seriously UNtouristy) port town of Independence/Mango Creek, Belize. The building/dregding plan is going to progress at speeds unseen in Belize. The caye is basically mangroves and sand right now. No fresh water, no electricity…nothing. So now Harvest Caye, part of the Southern Eastern Coast of Belize, surrounded by nature reserves, breeding grounds for manatees is being sold to one of the largest cruise ship companies in the world. I visited the tiny island last August. And saw fish, a manatee and these AMAZING dolphins on our way over. More wild life than I’ve ever seen on any boat trip in Belize.

Gorgeous Glass Beads Made in Placencia, Belize For Jewelry & For Dread Locks
A few weeks ago, someone sent me a facebook link for someone making pretty PRETTY glass beads in Placencia, Belize along with this picture. Veda’s Beads. A little brown string with gorgeous hearts. Veda (which I later found is Jessica’s middle name) has a bead selling business on the American based website Etsy. A site that helps craftspeople and artists distribute their wares worldwide. The cool thing is that they are also based in Placencia, Belize. With this nugget in the back of my mind and with a trip to Placencia in my future, I contacted Jessica, the artist, to meet her, to see her beads and, of course to tell her all my ideas. It’s really one of my more annoying qualities. When I meet someone and I am excited about THEIR business, I can’t stop talking “have you thought of this?”…”Oh my god, do you totally know what you should do?”. Like they never thought of it.

Belize Research Shows How Fungi are our Forest’s Friends
The beautiful tropical flora and fauna, big, small, colourful and camouflaged, will impress anyone who walks through Belize’s stunning rainforests. But they may miss one of the most important components that contribute to rainforest diversity –the humble yet omnipresent fungi. However, new research conducted by Oxford and Sheffield University researchers in Belize’s Chiquibul National Forest Reserve sheds interesting light on the role that fungi play in our rainforest diversity, and the dramatic, damaging effects fungicides can have on the biosphere. The study, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and published in Nature, sampled 36 seedling plots in the Chiquibul. It found that fungi prevented a single species of plant from dominating one area by spreading quickly between closely-packed plants of the same species, keeping it in check and thus enabling a wider range of species to flourish.

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor
Belize joins the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), through the execution of a Compete Caribbean project in Belize to strengthen the Economic Development Council (EDC) [BL-CC2037] and improve the business climate and entrepreneurship; Belize, for the first time, has joined the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). Three members of Belize’s National GEM team are attending the annual meeting of GEM national teams in Santiago, Chile. Other team members for Belize are representatives from the Ministry of Economic Development, the Directorate of Foreign Trade, and the Belize Agro-productive Sector (BAS Group). This national team will be the coordinating body for the two entrepreneurship measurement tools, the Adult Population Survey (APS) and the National Expert Survey (NES).

“Boat Drinks” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Yesterday morning after producing and publishing the edition of the blog from my ‘office’ on the western (lagoon) side of the house I was tempted (oh how I was tempted) to drive to ‘Town for breakfast at Estel’s. But I didn’t have time for that (but you’ve go loads of time you’re thinking). No, Rose and I had stuff to do. We had to revise the Belize Port Authority’s Mariners’ Handbook. Why would you want to do that when you’ve got a fence to cover with protector you are wondering. Well, number one it was raining. Number two, I didn’t particularly feel like getting the brush out anyway. But, and more importantly, Rose and I were scheduled to take the Theory section of the test/exam for a Master’s License that, once successfully taken, will enable us to drive a powered boat in Belize waters.

International Sources

Teaching School Children the Rosary in the Jungles of Belize
A parishioner of St. Alphonsus Parish in Ocean Springs, Eddie Kemmerer recently spent 10 months with a missionary order, The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, in the small Central American country of Belize. There, in addition to his regular duties, he learned of and became involved in a special ministry to the school children that is focused on teaching them all about the rosary. He reflects on his experiences: "Walking the streets of Benque Viejo in the Central American country of Belize one afternoon several days after my arrival to fulfill my commitment to serve at a Catholic mission there, I was practically beside myself. I was wondering what in the world I had done. I had just left a very good engineering job in the United States (probably the best assignment I had ever had) to come and live in poverty with others like me who had received what I believe to be a very special calling from God to do so. "The calling was so strong that I just couldn't ignore it or resist it any longer. So I left everything . . . taking care of all my worldly connections as best I could before leaving as I knew there would be little if any contact with anyone or anything to do with my "possessions" back home for almost a year.

Majority of Belize population has no access to sewerage services
Only 11% of Belize's population has access to sewerage services, according to a new report from the IDB.

Bluffton couple answers call to help kids in third-world countries break cycle of poverty with ROW Kids
Using a photobook of landmarks for directions, the missionaries traveled dirt and rock roads through the Maya Mountains to Billy White, a remote village in the Cayo District of western Belize. The photos instructed them to turn left at this tree, then take a right at that gravestone. Through terrain that was once a jungle, the 15-passenger vans drove along charred hillsides that had been farmed using the slash-and-burn method. Off the edge of the narrow path, they could see down the steep drop-off, hundreds of feet that ended at a river. Arriving at the village three hours later, they pulled up to the school they were there to help. The school day was over, and the dozens of children playing in the front yard scattered. They returned within the hour, having run home to change into their best clothes for their guests. Over the next week, the missionaries worked on the dilapidated school building and taught Scripture in vacation Bible school. They spent their free time playing marbles or pickup soccer games with the kids and visiting locals who had invited them to their one-bedroom, dirt-floor homes. Some students picked flowers that bloomed around the school building and put them in the hair of their females guests.

Camping in comfort on a beautiful beach
Glover's Reef Atoll adventure offers best snorkelling in the Caribbean, but no Wi-Fi... It was our first night in Belize and things were not starting out well. "You didn't tell me we were camping!" exclaimed my 16-year-old daughter Kelsey. "I would never have agreed to come if I had known we were camping." She had a point. I hadn't used the word "camping" because to me camping means a sleeping bag on the floor of a tent. We were in a comfortable wooden cabana with beds, mattresses, pillows and sheets. There was electricity and a central shower area with running water and flush toilets. This wasn't really camping. I suspected the underlying problem was really a case of nomophobia or fear of being out of cellphone contact. With no cellphone signal and no Wi-Fi, the cabanas were practically prehistoric - in a teenager's mind, at least. When I booked the trip with Island Expeditions, I had hoped that a few days away from technology on a mother-daughter adventure trip would be fun for both of us.

New and larger ports in works, more choices for cruisers
Think you’ve seen all there is to see in the Caribbean? Cruise lines don’t think so, and together with some of the island governments, they’re doing something about it. As cruise ships become larger, and as repeat passengers yearn for different ports of call, cruise lines and seafront destinations in the Caribbean are expanding existing ports and building new ones. The idea is to give passengers new destinations to explore, create more diverse itineraries, and in the case of port expansions, to provide more docking space that can accommodate today’s increasingly larger ships. Norwegian Cruise Line plans to build a $50 million eco-friendly port on 75 acres in southern Belize. The property consists of two adjoining islands. The design has not been finalized, but Norwegian envisions two destinations at the port — docking/tendering facilities on the island and a mainland connection point for inland tours. Facilities would include a floating pier, island village with open-air structures, a marina and transportation hub for tours to the mainland, a lagoon for water sports and a beach area.

Tax duckers: Rich and disgusting
Billionaire Ty Warner, who grew wealthy from Beanie Babies, evaded taxes by hiding as much as $107 million in an offshore account. He pleaded guilty, paid $53 million in penalties, and drew two years of probation. Warner is the latest in a long string of rich Americans who cheat on taxes, which forces other Americans to make up the sums the evaders don't pay. Forbes magazine, which focuses on wealth, compiled a list including these examples: Kenneth Dart, heir to a Styrofoam cup fortune, renounced his U.S. citizenship and lived in the Central American country of Belize, a tax haven.

Researchers consider future of VI reefs
Although some Caribbean reefs, including many in the Virgin Islands, have been monitored and studied over the years, others haven’t, and almost nowhere has there been any research about the interaction between reefs and people who live near them. Yet people are strongly impacted by — and have a strong impact on — coral reefs. That’s the idea that sparked the Future of Reefs project, a Newcastle University-based study that hopes to pave the way for managing coral reefs in the face of climate change. “The heart of it is joining up ecological work and social facts,” said Sarah Young, who is heading the project in the VI, at a Wednesday evening meeting in the East End/Long Look Community Centre. The group will be conducting interviews in EE/LL to get a perspective on an area where lots of fishing takes place. They’ll also be working in Cane Garden Bay to get the perspective from a heavily tourism-based area.

Tread lightly
The truth behind the carbon footprint of cruise ships... The Great Maya Reef runs the full length of the Yucatan Peninsula and south to the Bay Islands in Honduras. It’s the largest coral reef in the western hemisphere; worldwide, it’s second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It’s a mecca for divers and snorkelers, and has spawned a thriving eco-tourism industry along the Costa Maya. Beginning south of the Mayan Riviera, the Costa Maya stretches from the Mayan ruins of Tulum to Xcalak National Reef Park, and encompasses the Sian Ka’an international biosphere reserve. The approach to the biosphere is lined with low-impact hotels, interspersed with boho vegan restaurants and eco-chic retreats. But as you move down the coast, unspoiled beaches give way to something entirely unexpected. A thick ribbon of rubbish decorates the edge of the shore, just a few hundred feet from the reef. Shards of plastic. Broken disposable cutlery. Bottle caps. The odd shoe.

A TIME OF CONNECTION IN BELIZE
EduDeo Ministries is constantly evaluating its impact and effectiveness with its partners and is committed to some earnest face-to-face time to build our relationship and find out what God is doing in and through are partnerships. Many great things are being reported through regular reporting channels but it’s always surprising to see and hear for yourself some of the incredible things God is doing in and through a partner. Tim Bootsma, EduDeo’s International Partnership Director, returned from a 5-day trip to Belize last month after visiting the schools there and hearing from each of the principals and the association leadership about some of their celebrations. He found it to be a rich time of hearing from them. Upon return he shared a few of his reflections: 1) School leaders have a strong desire to be an intentional Christian School and have a clear focus on modeling and teaching the word of God to the students. There is a great desire to continue to learn more about what this means both theoretically and practically.


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