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#485168 - 02/05/14 04:41 AM Today's Belize News: February 5, 2014
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Specials and Events

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

Holy Cross Anglican Primary School receives softball equipment
On Wednesday, January 29th, the San Pedro Sports Council (SPSC), in conjunction with the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), donated softball equipment to the Holy Cross Anglican Primary School. The donations are in an effort to continue promoting sports as a healthy youth recreational activity. Presenting the donation to the happy softball team along with their coach and teacher, Brandon Bood, was Councilor Gaby Nuñez and SPSC member Kent “Bob” Gabourel. 06 Softball donation for Holy CrossAccording to Bood, the equipment is much needed by the school. “These children love playing softball and they are good at it. We are thankful for the donation, it will really help our team better themselves,” said Bood. The donation included two softball bats, three softball balls, ten softball mitts and a complete set of the catcher’s protective gear.

Car accident causes major damage to utility pole
On Sunday, Febuary 2nd, the San Pedro Police Department and the San Pedro Traffic Department responded to reports of a car accident at the corner of Seagrape Drive and Mar del Tumbo Drive at around 4AM. Upon arriving at the scene, officers noted that the car had slammed into a utility pole located in the intersection of the street and then crashed into the fence of a corner lot in the area. The lower part of the utility pole was completely detached for the upper part, leaving the portion in mid-air, sustained only by the utility wires and cables. The repair cost for the utility pole is estimated to be between $4,000 to $5,000. No charges were brought against Nuñez.

Superbowl Parties Island Style
While American Football is not a sport typically played in Belize, over the years it sure has gained a devoted following in the country, especially on Ambergris Caye! Joining in the tradition of Superbowl Sunday which took place on February 2nd, many local businesses hosted parties as patrons and NFL fans visiting the island came out to get in on the NFL action as the Denver Broncos took on the Seattle Seahawks. In addition to serving up the ice cold drinks, some businesses even pulled out the jumbo screens and turned on the BBQ grills. Take a look at all the parties that took place around Ambergris Caye as fans watched the Seattle Seahawks’ ‘Legion of Doom’ dominate the Denver Broncos to win Super Bowl XLVIII 43-8!

Validation Session on Climate Change Assessment
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development (MFFSD), on behalf of the Government of Belize, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, and with funding from the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (EU GCCA) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is holding a two day consultative workshop on the Integrated Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment (V&A) for the following six sectors: agriculture, tourism, water, coastal development, health and fisheries. Targeted participants from the media, academia, research institutions, and relevant Ministries and Government departments have been invited to attend the presentation of the V&A Assessment on Wednesday, February 5th and Thursday, February 6th, 2014, from 8:30 am- 4pm at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel. The purpose of the workshop is to discuss the findings relating to the vulnerabilities of each sector to Climate Change and the sector specific adaptation measures that can be implemented to facilitate resilience.

Plastic Recycling
When you throw these plastic bottles away not only are you adding to the landfill but you are pitching .5/bottle. This photo equals .25 cents! You can take them to your local Bowen & Bowen distributor.

Ambergris Today

25 Years Ago: Children Pranks in the Old Days of San Pedro
I am sure every generation has its pranks and mostly children do it for innocent fun. Well, years ago in San Pedro was no different and here are some I vividly remember. How about the Tinta Tintera? How many of you today know this little animal quietly laying on the sand near the warm water of the beach and generally considered a sea slug (California Sea Hare –aplysiidae). Well, you ought to know that if you step on it, it will release an intense reddish purple ink. When we found one of these, we used to hurl it on someone just to have him or her turn purple as seen only during carnival days. It usually caused a lot of fun and laughter seeing the victims trying to rub off this intense dye or coloring that the innocent little creature uses to camouflage itself. That was the fun of Tinta Tintera.

Oceana Belize Instagram Photo Competiton
The Belize Barrier Reef is a source of wonder, enjoyment, food, employment, and above all, pride. We are truly “people of the reef”! To celebrate Reef Week 2014, Oceana Belize is embarking on a photo-competition via Instagram. The theme is ‘My Reef’. Each photo should highlight what the reef represents to you. The photographs are not limited to underwater shots. They should simply illustrate the personal connection between you and Belize’s magnificent Barrier Reef. A panel of judges will select the entries to be printed and exhibited during Reef Week 2014.

San Pedro High Has Special Guest Speaker Opening Career Week
Having recently graduated from the UWI at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, Belizean born Dr. Einstein Bodden was invited by San Pedro High School to be their guest speaker at the opening of the school’s Career Week. Dr. Bodden addressed the student body on Monday, February 3, 2014, during morning assembly. What makes Dr. Bodden’s case so special is that he has overcome a disability that has him bound to a wheelchair. Through very hard work, dedication and surpassing many obstacles, he and his family were able to send him to school in Belize and then through medical school abroad. Dr. Bodden has already come back home to Belize to practice medicine, but yesterday morning he addressed the students of San Pedro High School to share his incredible story and challenges that he encountered in his pursuit of his medical degree.

BEL Launches 2014 Golden Citizen Electricity Bill Pay Program
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) presented awards to recipients of its 2014 Golden Citizens Electricity Bill Pay Award during a ceremony held on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, at the Company’s Corporate Headquarters in Belize City. The 20 Golden Citizens awarded represent only a portion of the approximately 160 randomly selected senior citizens countrywide, whose monthly electricity bill will be paid by BEL for an entire year. BEL’s Golden Citizens Bill Pay Program is one of several initiatives through which the Company fulfills its new Mission “to provide reliable electricity at the lowest sustainable cost, stimulate national development and improve the quality of life in Belize.” The remaining 140 awardees from across the country will be visited and presented with certificates at their homes during the next week. Awardees are selected by BEL based on the following criteria: *Must be 65 years of age or older and registered as a Golden Citizen with BEL. *Must hold only one active account with BEL which is billed under the Social Rate Category.

Pic of the Week: Man at Work, Please Disturb
Every now and then you will bump into local artist Terryl (Man at Work) Godoy on the side of the street working on his next painting. He loves to paint the ‘City Scapes’ of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and does an excellent job at capturing the essence of island life. Terryl is very friendly and does not mind if you stop to talk to him while he is at work; so don’t be afraid to approach him the next time you bump into him.

Flashbacks: Expats Partook In Early Carnabal
Carnabal is perhaps as old as San Pedro or at least over one hundred years ago for sure. This is a historic flashback moment as it takes us back to one of the first expatriates to Ambergris Caye. We are referring to Mr. Vernon Hamman who took this photo and who settled on Ambergris Caye in the middle of the 1950’s. Featured here is Holly Hammon who lived in San Pedro on and off with her parents. Of course, a beautiful clear skinned blonde with blue eyes was very noticeable among a Mestizo population as is Neria Arceo, Tavo Arceo and Elena Graniel Ayuso who were dressed as Indians for this Carnabal dance of 1957 or 58. Holly is well remembered by her peers at the time as a joyful, friendly, beautiful white girl who was very privileged by San Pedro standards. However, at the time she was just an ordinary Sanpedrana who is remembered very fondly up to this day. Flashback salutes Holly and thanks her for this photo from the album or rather from the boxes of Mr. Vernon and Terry Hammon.

Misc Belizean Sources

Bob Marley Tribute!
Saturday Feb. 8th

Validation Session on Climate Change Assessment
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development (MFFSD), on behalf of the Government of Belize, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, and with funding from the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (EU GCCA) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is holding a two day consultative workshop on the Integrated Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment (V&A) for the following six sectors: agriculture, tourism, water, coastal development, health and fisheries. Targeted participants from the media, academia, research institutions, and relevant Ministries and Government departments have been invited to attend the presentation of the V&A Assessment on Wednesday, February 5th and Thursday, February 6th, 2014, from 8:30 am- 4pm at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel. The purpose of the workshop is to discuss the findings relating to the vulnerabilities of each sector to Climate Change and the sector specific adaptation measures that can be implemented to facilitate resilience. This approach would ensure that each sector’s input is taken into consideration for the final Report, which will be done by Dr. Bhawan Singh, Climatologist-Consultant and Honorary Professor from the University of Montreal, Canada. The workshop is being carried out as a follow up to the Integrated Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment held in Belize City workshop in September 2013, and is a major component of two (2) projects carried out by the National Climate Change Office (NCCO):

FFB Youth Development Program
The Football Federation of Belize had their Youth Development Program at Norman Broaster last week, and it culminated in the Football Festival on Saturday. Thanks, FFB, for providing this for our youth. "The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) continues the launching of its Youth Development Programs across the country. This Wednesday 29/1/2014 the launching of the programs is in San Ignacio and continues thru to Saturday 1/2/2014 when it culminates with a Football Festival. The FFB and the Cayo Football Association encourages footballers to attend the launchings at the Broaster Stadium between the hours of 4 – 6 on Thursday for the U-15 & Friday for U-17 players."

Illegal Waste Dumping Announcement from the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority
The Belize City Transfer Station located at Mile 3 on theGeorge Price Highway is now fully operational.

Looking for scholarship or training opportunities?
Then you should visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website. Just follow the instructions on the photo below.

Coconut Macaroons
6 egg whites Pinch salt 2/3 cup honey (run your honey under some hot water if it has crystallized, it needs to be liquid) 2 1/2 cups shredded coconut Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets with coconut oil. Beat egg whites until almost stiff peaks form. Add salt. Slowly pour in honey while whipping the eggs. Fold in the shredded coconut with a spatula until it's thoroughly mixed. Be gentle, you don't want to deflate the eggs. Using a large cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop the mixture onto the prepared cookie sheets spacing about 1 inch apart.

Intercitidina Video for Rotaract Club of the Year
The Rotaract Club of San Ignacio, which won the Club of the Year, has a great video of all the events they did last year. Inspire you it will. Great high-energy soundtrack too. Thanks, Rotaract, for all the amazing projects you undertake in Cayo. "This video is a compilation of the work done in the Cayo Areas that the Rotaract Club of San Ignacio is responsible for. The work shown begins from Intercitadina 2013 to the start of Intercitadina 2014. We hope this video inspires you and gives you all an insight of the works we do. San Ignacio won the award: Club of the Year for the Country of Belize, 2014!"

Metal Haven at Soul Project
Metal Haven Acoustica is coming to the Soul Project! It'll be on May 10th, and tickets are only $5.

BNE Charitable Trust Expands Student Loan Program
Feelgood news of the day. The BNE Charitable Trust is expanding the Student Loan Program considerably. Thanks, BNE! "The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust announces the expansion of its national Student Loan Program. The Student Loan Program is a partnership with local credit unions and started as a pilot initiative in April 2009 when the Trust seeded an initial investment of $1 million dollars. This pilot has yielded loan facilities to over 600 Belizean students pursuing secondary and tertiary education at local institutions throughout the country. Today, the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust is pleased to announce an additional investment of $1.5 million dollars to scale up and expand the program, thereby bringing its total investment to $2.5 million."

Benque Market Positions
If you want a stall in the Benque Market, they are accepting applications. Contact the Benque Viejo Town Council for more information. "Applications for Benque Market NOW AVAILABLE! Aplicaciones para el Mercado YA DISPONIBLE! For more information, please visit Benque town hall."

Buy and Sell Classifieds 3-Feb
Buy and Sell Weekly has a new issue out. Read all about the benefits of massage and the sights in Mountain Pine Ridge in this one.

Nowhere to Fly at Gwen Lizarraga
Nowhere to fly is a production that involves (dance, theatre, etc) that discusses the effects of gang involvement on our young population. It aims to spark a national dialogue (first starting in Belize City) in a constructive debate about gangs in the face of increasing efforts to suppress gang activity with police presence through GSU and Precinct Policing. Two of five scheduled performances have already taken place at Central American Boulevard and the Gwen Lizarraga High School. The next production will be held February 22 on Albert Street as part of the 2014 Street Art Festival. During the auditions Artistic Director Joseph Stamp-Romero, who also wrote the piece, stated that individuals who had already been witnesses to gang related violence were sought to play the characters. One person looking at the play at Gwen Liz remarked that the performers did not seem to be acting as much as retelling their stories; a testament to the quality of the actors' craft and the auditioning process.

"Nowhere to Fly" Gwen Lizarraga edition (24 photos)
Taken at Gwen Lizarraga High School

IMPORTATION/EXPORTATION of goods between Belize and Mexico suspended.
Today the Corozal Daily was at the Mexican border and Belizean businessmen continue to be agitated over a sensitive temporary halt of goods over the Mexican border that are the core economic activities in the area. The only custom Broker agency – SERVICIOS ADUANEROS INTEGRADOS, S.C. (SAI) for the importation and exportation of goods on the Mexican side of the border, has been suspended since Friday 24th. Goods and merchandise cannot be transported into Mexico, or from Mexico into Belize since the license for SAI has been and remains suspended. The reason for the suspension by the Mexican authorities, or when it will be lifted, is not yet known. Marcelino Miranda of the Mexican Embassy in Belize has stated to the media that SAI, the custom broker agency on the Mexican territory, is a private company and has nothing to do with the Mexican Government.

Channel 7

Wanted Honduran Human Trafficker In Belize
40 year-old Honduran Blanca Garay Rodriguez is in the custody of the Belize Immigration Department tonight. She is waiting to be handed over to the authorities of her home country following a warrant for her arrests as a suspected facilitator for a human trafficking ring in that country. Yesterday, immigration officers got a tip that there was a woman wanted by Interpol living in the Mile 8 Community on the Western Highway. They responded and detained Rodriguez, and a check of her documents revealed that she was a Honduran national who was granted a permit to enter into the country and stay here until last week Tuesday. The immigration documents also showed that she entered the country 3 weeks ago, and that she failed to comply with the terms of her visitor's permit.

Teachers Give Themselves An A+
On January 6th, the Belize National Teachers Union said its members would raise their voice in 2014 - and they have. The Union successfully staged six rallies across the country in 21 days - showing impressive machinery and muscle. Success was assured because the main thing that drove them to rally was already assured: their raise of pay was in pocket, but the teachers wanted to broaden their voice on a range of national issues - and these days, if it's scandal you're looking for there's no shortage of that. Today, the union assessed itself, and not surprisingly, the teachers gave themselves an A+ - but like concerned parents, we wanted to know what was really behind that report card. Here's what we found out at a rally wrap-up press conference:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Today, union leaders from the districts came to BNTU headquarters in Belize City for a victory lap. Their rallies are over, and they are claiming success: Kathleen Flowers, Belize District President "Were we not successful? Yes we dare say we were. We brought a level of success in that we got the nation thinking about the issues."

Education Minister Says It's Not Personal With Union
And while that's the Report that the BNTU gave to the media today, the Minister of Education also had a few comments to share about their rallies. He held a breakfast meeting with the press this morning, where he unveiled new social justice programs for needy students under his ministry, and when he was asked about the rallies, he said that whatever the Union Executives said on the Rostrums for these 6 different rallies - up to an including calling him a "lee bwai", he doesn't take it personally: Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education "The ministry remains committed to working with the BNTU. I know that that is something that you have as great concern. A lot has been said by union officials on the rostrum and the podiums of these rallies. Let me assure you that as minister and as head of the ship of the Ministry of Education and I don't take any of it personal, that in fact as I think Winston Churchill once advised that when there are these kinds of events, of course he was talking about war, I am not talking about war, that you don't get distracted by all of this noise and trying to defend. Although some will accuse me of that, but from now we are on track and we are hoping that sharing these initiatives with you this morning will help us to move forward because we waste time defending and defending and we are distracted from where we want to go. This ministry is focused. This ministry has a plan."

Ex Commish Henderson Rebuts Vidal
Last night, we showed you the statement from the Commander of the Gang Suppression Unit, Superintendent Marco Vidal, who said that at the then Commissioner of Police, David Henderson sanctioned the search and charging of Corporal Gino Peck. Well, Henderson, who is now the Director of the National Forensic Science Service, says that Vidal statement does not properly reflect his involvement in that case. Via Telephone, Henderson told us that yes indeed, he was informed of the search, and will not deny that, but he says he didn't sanction any criminal charges against Peck. According to Henderson, he was not informed that there was any intent to bring criminal charges against Peck, until after it was done, and he adds that from the time he was informed that a search was conducted, he had been trying to intervene for the GSU to bring disciplinary charges. He said that he had made it quite clear that he would have preferred that disciplinary action was taken against Peck.

Hon. King Pressed "Record" Again?
7news has confirmed that there is major tension in the Barrow administration tonight, and Ministers of State Mark King and Edmund Castro are at the center of it. Last Friday, the pair had a meeting with businessman and former UDP National Campaign Manager Karim Barges. Our information says the talking was very frank - and in it, certain allegations of corruption against Castro were discussed plainly with him. And our reports say that while all this was unfolding Mark King was recording the conversation. Our information says that shortly after the meeting was finished, he forwarded the conversation to the Prime Minister Dean Barrow to implicate Castro. That's where it lies tonight, like a slide in a slide projector just waiting for someone to turn on the light. As far as we know only King and the Prime Minister presently have copies of the conversation. King has a past history of recording conversations with his party Officials.

CWU Pres Audrey Says Security Workers Are OK
Yesterday, 7News showed you the testy back and forth between Mayor Darrell Bradley and the media about the ongoing dispute surrounding imminent termination the 26 security workers, whose jobs are being made redundant. While that conversation between the Bradley and the reporters got heated, CWU President Audrey Matura-Shepherd says that her meeting with him and the Labour Commissioner was very cordial. She hosted a press conference this evening, and gave the media an update on that meeting from yesterday: Audrey Matura Shepherd, President - CWU "We know that for now the mayor has agreed that the terminations will not take effect until this Friday. We are in negotiations; we are telling him Friday is not enough to negotiate with him. The other update is that that of Couse information came to us because we had a meeting with the mayor yesterday with the councilor responsible for security Mr. Willoughby and 2 members of staff Ms. Nunez and Ms. Ursela. Both of them are administrators; one is the human resource officer and one is her assistant."

Ministry Makes Secondary Funding More Needs - Based
On the Prime Minister's New Year's Day address, PM Barrow promised that his government would engage in initiatives to lessen the burden of parents with graduating high school students by paying for CXC examinations. Well, the government's intervention is more far reaching than that. They've been working with the schools for their Secondary Education Finance Reform Initiative. It's a program where the Ministry is seeking to assist all students and their parents to make education more affordable. At a breakfast event today, Minister of Education Patrick Faber unveiled how this program will work where his ministry of cooperating with the Ministry of Human Development, Poverty Alleviation, and Social Transformation. Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education "This initiative which is phased over 7 years and seeks to level the playing field of secondary education financing by allocating public resources to secondary schools on a per student basis and including compensation component of additional funding for students identified as having academic or socio economic need. Related to this secondary education finance reform we are currently engaged in negotiating with secondary schools a restructuring and capping of secondary school fees. This we proposed to include waivers of fees for students identified as having socio economic need."

Unions Not Happy with Hon. Faber
And as you might expect the teachers union is not too happy with the proposal. But it's not the proposal itself, it's the process of getting there - and what they say is a lack of consultation. The President explains:.. Luke Palacio, BNTU National President "We are looking at the secondary schools finance reform right now that is affecting our teachers. Again, it's a done deal. We are called to a meeting and say this is what is going to happen in education. Where was the research done? Who was to do the research, was it the teachers or the ministry? Inviting the teachers to come and let us research this matter and then decide that this is the best remedy or the best way to address it." The minister of education told us this evening that the finance reform was undertaken in 2010 in which the union's former president was intimately involved. He added that everything that is done, the joint staff relations council is a part of it and the union is represented on that.

Incinerator "Brukdown," Infectious Waste Stored In PG Morgue
There is a health concern coming out of Punta Gorda tonight. Our colleagues at PGTV report that toxic medical waste in red bags is being stored in the PG Morgue. Red bag waste is the most sensitive type of medical waste and it is bagged like that to denote potentially infectious material or a biohazard. But the bags have nowhere else to go because the incinerator at that facility broke down, and then so did the one at the Southern Regional Hospital! So, the waste had to be disposed of by burial, but the earth was too wet for heavy equipment to operator. With that it had to be stored in the morgue and the incinerator room. As bad as it looks to the public eye, today a senior health inspector told us the waste does not pose a public health risk:.. John Bodden, Senior Public Health Inspector "Currently they are being kept under good condition. They are being properly managed. Its just that we've had difficulty in terms of the disposal of the red waste from the hospital." Jules Vasquez "Okay, but sir is this safe having these red bags in the morgue? We know that red bags are the most toxic sort of medical waste."

Gun In Bar
Caye Caulker police collected an illegal weapon when they searched a bar. It happened on Saturday 1st February 2014 at 12 when checks were made at a Bar located in the village and whilst there one of the officers heard a loud noise as if something heavy dropped on the tiles. He then made checks by the area where he found a .38 revolver without rounds bearing a serial number on the floor. The firearm was taken to the police station and labeled as found property.

The Burning Bus Was Borrowed Goods
Remember the burning bus we showed you last night? Well, it's owner Linsdale Blease is mighty ticked off because he rented it to Gregory Duran, who then rented it to Richard Arnold - who was in charge when it caught on fire. The bus was seen at mile 25 where some was streaming from all corners. No one was hurt.

"Midgit" Manzanero For Murder
Tonight, 27 year-old Kevin "Midget" Manzanero is spending his second night at the Belize Central prison after he was charged and arraigned for the murder of 57 year-old Freddy Lopez Sr. Viewers may remember on December 23, Lopez was shot and killed in front of his wife, daughter-in-law, and his 2 grand-daughters in San Ignacio. Well, after 6 weeks, police have finally charged one of the two men they believe to have been his killers. Via phone, The Deputy Officer Commanding San Ignacio Police explained the circumstances surrounding Manzanero's arrest: Insp. Reymundo Reyes "Yesterday morning we got a directive from the office of the director of public persecutions that we could proceed with charges of murder, conspiracy to commit robbery against Mr. Manzanero - the charges for the death of Mr. Freddy Lopez - because he constituted to that of a robbery which ended up in a murder. That why he was given the other charge of conspiracy to commit robbery also."

Community Computer Literacy
The Samuel Haynes Center on Mahogany street is the home base for many successful pilot programmes, and now they have another - computer literacy for the community. Sargeant Brent Hamilton who is in charge of community policing explained how it came about:.. Sgt. Brent Hamilton "The program got stated in having our cadets on Tuesdays, Mondays, Wednesdays and myself and Mr. Jenkins and some of the parents came in and ask for the help for their kids. I told Mr. Jenkins that the community that I work in - no matter where they come from; red, blue, yellow, green - this is about people. That's where my passion is - people. We need to do something for our community when it comes to technology. I thought myself but I want a better way forward for someone to teach these mothers and we look up at the ceiling in my office right behind us here and said where will the computers come from? Where the expert will come from? Who will finance it and so I knocked on my door behind me and I look and I saw Mr. Elrington one day walking in the compound and I said ahhhhh."

Channel 5

An international fugitive, wanted for human trafficking, is caught in Belize
A Honduran woman is the latest international fugitive to be caught in Belize.  Forty year old Blanca Garay Rodriguez was on the run since early January; she was picked up [...]

The B.N.T.U. rallies; union says the numbers don’t lie
Fresh off a series of rallies and marches, the Belize National Teachers Union took stock today of a series of industrial actions held throughout the month of January. The final [...]

Minister of Education extends an olive branch to the union
At the height of the recent demonstrations, there were heated exchanges between the Belize National Teachers Union and the government. The prime minister called B.N.T.U. President, Luke Palacio, a windup [...]

The CWU versus the Belize City Mayor
Since last week the fate of security workers declared redundant by the City Council has been under much scrutiny. Those workers received their layoff letters on January twenty-third, and the [...]

CWU President says it needs at least 2 weeks to settle issue of fired workers
Matura-Shepherd says that by only asking for two weeks, she is showing extreme goodwill, since the union could demand its month notice. That request has been formally submitted to Mayor [...]

Should the gun laws be revised?
And our question for tonight is: Do you think the gun laws should be revised? Yes or No. Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or [...]

B.D.F. Soldier, Cpl. Norman Rodriguez, in need of medical assistance
In 2007, B.D.F. Corporal Norman Rodriguez was diagnosed with a condition called arterio-venous malformation on the brain. It’s not a tumor, but it is something like a growth…an abnormal connection [...]

…He says he has been let him down, but the B.D.F. says not so
Corporal Rodriguez feels that the B.D.F. has let him down, and feels that he is being given the runaround. Today News Five was in Price Barracks, where we discovered that [...]

Accused Murderer, Edwin Paula, escapes and is on the run
On June fifth, four persons were formally arraigned for murder and attempted murder after a brazen robbery attempt at a bar in Belmopan. Three of them were fourth form students [...]

Kevin ‘Midget’ Manzanero finally arraigned for murder of Fredy Lopez
On January nineteenth, a month long police manhunt for Kevin ‘Midget’ Manzanero ended when the wanted man was chopped as he allegedly attempted to enter a home in the Chapel [...]

Hazardous waste stockpiling at Punta Gorda Hospital
There are allegations of a harmful situation brewing at the Punta Gorda Hospital tonight.  News Five understands that hazardous waste, including expended hypodermic needles, as well as other biological refuse, [...]

Ministry of Education launches financial aid program for high school students
With the teachers rallies now concluded, the Ministry of Education is launching a financial aid program for students enrolled in secondary schools.  Following an extensive review of the sector, the [...]

Attorney calls Firearms Act unconstitutional
The recent arrest, trail and conviction of Corporal Gino Peck have brought the Firearms Act into sharp focus. But the truth is that since the Act was amended in 2008 [...]

A literacy program for residents of St. Martin De Porres
Residents of the St. Martin de Porres area are benefiting from computer literacy thanks to a program spearheaded by the Belize Police Department with assistance from the Samuel Haynes Institute [...]

Diabetes – a silent, but most deadly disease
The Belize City Council, in association with Body 2000 and the Diabetes Association, launched its Get Moving Belize program on Monday. It’s an initiative created to get citizens more aware [...]

World Cancer Day
Today is recognized globally as World Cancer Day and for the rest of the week a campaign will take place to increase cancer knowledge and eliminate misconceptions about the deadly [...]

The Recall and Order parody; a belly full of laughter
Last December, the Elections and Boundaries commission said no to a recall petition for the Cayo Northeast Constituency. Elvin Penner, the disgraced former minister of state, was found to have [...]

#485169 - 02/05/14 04:41 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 5, 2014 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here


Former Assistant Commissioner Elodio Aragon Jr. Wins Convention In O/W East
The General Elections are three years away but with both major political parties already setting the stage by holding conventions to elect their Standard Bearers it would seem that elections are not that far. Over the weekend the ruling party held convention in the Orange Walk East Constituency where two candidates, who already have a political back ground, threw in their hat in the political ring. Backed up by his father, former Minister Elodio Aragon, Elodio Aragon Junior, Former Deputy Police Commissioner went head to head against former UDP Town Councilor and teacher David Constanza. It was in deed a tight race that at the end even prompted allegations that the winner bought over the election. Our news team was there to capture the highlights and filed the following report. Flamboyant Street in Orange Walk Town was closed off to a sea of red shirts and populated with tents - it looked like a political festival had come to town. But inside on Zericote Street, at the entrance to Louisiana Government School, it was intense and competitive despite it being a UDP Convention. Former Deputy Police Commissioner, dubbed ‘Son of the East’ Elodio Aragon Junior went head to head against former UDP Town Councilor and six form teacher David Contanza who was looking to enhance his political carrier by contending the title of Standard Bearer for the Orange Walk East Constituency. Both candidates felt extremely confident in what would be a close race for the east.

Bus Loaded With Tourist Ignited By Fire, No One Is Hurt
A group of tourist received the fright of their lives this afternoon as the bus they were traveling in burst into flames near mile 25 of the George Price Highway. Images we received show the bus completely engulfed in flames and fire fighters doing their best to dose off the inferno. We have been unable to confirm what caused the bus to catch fire but we can tell you is that luckily, no one was injured.

BTB Holds Consultation On National Classification System
The Belize Tourism Board’s quality Assurance team was in the Orange Walk District today to conduct consultations with stakeholder on improving the quality standards of their services. It is all about providing a good night’s rest to customers. Compliance Officer of the Quality Assurance Department, Shola Babb says the team has completed the National Classification system for accommodations and is now conducting its second round of work by meeting with the stakeholders. “Last year the compliance team for the quality assurance department went around the country to do our standards check on all properties and now we are back again to go around with our second round of audits. We came back to Orange Walk to speak to them about what they find out, because they all received reports, so we talking to them about what they received in their reports and how they feel about the different ideas that we gave them and about the legislation that we put in place.”

BTIA O/W Chapter Discusses Issues Affecting Industry
The Orange Walk Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association held a forum over the weekend to share updates on issues affecting the industry stakeholders. The event saw the participation of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the Vision Inspired by the People (VIP). Chairperson of the BTIA, OW Chapter, Yvette Torres, told us more. “The Belize Cane Farmers having lately with BSI/ASR position of the cane farming of the bagasse. We can say what they were trying to come in agreement with and so basically it is for them to share with us their status at this point in time and also we had the VIP’s which is the anti-corruption movement from Belmopan, they just appraised us with their vision and their existence and what is their way forward in this movement. So it was BTIA decision that me wanted for us to have a better understanding with what is really happening in our community and with our national issues and how we can engage in these types of forums with them.”

Preparing Future Professional Football Players
Primary School students do not only score some of the best academic achievements in Orange Walk. There are those students who become some of the best sports athletes as well, and one school in town may very well be honing the skills of some of the best football players the district has known. How so, you ask? Well through friendly football matches amongst classes. Here is a look at the initiative at the La Inmaculada Primary School. Today was a great day for a football match! The morning sun was bright and warm. The teams were dressed and ready to play ball and parents were present to cheer their favourite team on. The players – male and female teams from room six and seven of the La Inmaculada Infant division.

Philip Alvarez Park Gets Facelift
Last week we reported on a group comprised of teachers and students from Mills Christian School in Edmonton Alberta, Canada who are carrying out community service projects throughout urban and rural areas of Orange Walk Town. This weekend, the group’s efforts were turned to the Philip Alvarez Park, a favorite recreational spot for many residents of Union Town. We caught up with the team and asked of their efforts, which are nearing completion. no-photoDavid Calbert– Group Leader, Mills Christian School “Our school actually sends teams to a few different countries; we have been to Mexico, right now we have one team at the Dominican and we have another one in southern Belize and two in Jamaica right now so they are doing some of the projects, working in some villages, doing house builds and things like that. We ended up coming down to Belize a few years ago with a different organizations that had some inroads and so and when we got here we just got in love with it so we were just trying to find ways of building into the community and in finding ways to be practical help and to also be practical application of what we think our faith is about.”

Philip Goldson Highway Records Another Fatality
This afternoon, shortly after midday, the Philip Goldson Highway registered its 2nd fatal traffic accident when it claimed the life of a 47 year old man from the Village of San Joaquin in the Corozal District. While police are still trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together all indications are that the victim was under the influence of alcohol when the accident and that might have contributed to the fatality. Reporter Victor Castillo was at the scene of the traffic accident and filed the following. Tonight the remains of 47 year old Ricardo Eustacio Castellanos lies at the Corozal Community Hospital’s Morgue tonight while his family members prepare to lay him to rest. Castellanos’ life was cut short shortly after midday today when he was knocked down between miles 73 and 74 on the Philip Goldson Highway in the Village of Louisville in the Corozal District. When we arrived in the area police was already processing the scene but the body of the deceased still stretched on the highway in a pool of blood.

13 Year Old Drowns In Dug Out Pond
A teenager lost his life on Sunday after an outing with friends turned deadly. The 13 year old drowned in dug out pond located in a marl pit near the Village of Chan Pine Ridge in the Orange Walk District. While authorities in Orange Walk Town are still investigating the drowning our news team headed out to the area today and filed the following report. At first glance, this dug out maul pit seemingly looks like a refreshing dip on a windy Sunday afternoon, but little did a trio of friends know, the outing would end in tragedy. Thirteen year old Luis Uh, better known as ‘Paisita’ of a Mahogany Street Address, Orange Walk Town and two other friends decided to visit this area, a maul pit, located some two miles off the Chan Pine Ridge road near the dumpsite. But the afternoon outing turned deadly after 3:00pm. Orange Walk Police was informed of the suspected drowning a little before 4:00pm and dispatched a team from the CIB and Crime Scene Branch to the secluded area.


Belizean Importers Delayed at Mexican Border
Several importers of Mexican goods are stuck at the northern border unable to enter Belize since Friday last week. Arturo Cantún has the details. ARTURO CANTUN REPORTING “Approximately 50 cargo trucks filled with Mexican goods are parked at the northern border on the Mexican side. These include trucks with goods destined to Belize as well as Guatemala and Honduras. Since Friday, importers and exporters have been unable to get clearance for their goods as the license for the only custom brokers at the border on the Mexican side has been suspended by the Mexican’s Ministry of Finance. We spoke about the situation with Belize’s Honorary Consul in Chetumal, Licenciado Jorge Valencia. JORGE VALENCIA “The situation at the Mexican border is that the Customs Brokers’ licenses were revoked and since they are revoked, they cannot do any type of documentation either for importation or exportation because the system won’t accept the number they have as their license. So, until their licenses are placed in order again, they won’t be able to work. I spoke to some people earlier this morning at the Mexican customs and they are working to resolve it. What happened is that on Monday, it was a holiday in Mexico and this took place on Friday evening and since today is their first working day, they are seeing if they can resolve this as soon as possible. It is affecting Belizean importers because they cannot export from Mexico to Belize; all their goods are stuck at the border because there is a lack of customs brokers. I believe and I hope that it should be resolved by the end of the day or first thing in the morning.”

Police News: Escaped Prisoner, Stolen Vehicle
A Belizean laborer has reported to the authorities that his green and black Suzuki Side-Kick vehicle was stolen between the hours of one and five o’clock on Monday, February 3, 2014. The Belize City resident, 38-year-old, Syrus Welch told police that his vehicle, with license plate C-62886 was parked at the taxi stand on the George Price Highway. Investigations are on-going. A bus rented to Richard Arnold caught fire on the George Price Highway near mile twenty five yesterday at around 1:40pm. Police along with the Belize Fire Department responded to the scene and efforts were made to extinguish the fire. Reports are that the bus belongs to Linsdale Blease who had rented it to his stepson, Gregory Duran who in-turn rented it to Richard Arnold. The cause of the fire is still unknown and investigations continue.

Interpol Leads Immigration Officers to Alleged International Human Trafficker
Alleged international human trafficker Blanca Rodriguez, a 40 year old Honduran national who is wanted in Honduras for human trafficking, was fined one thousand dollars today by Magistrate Leslie Hamilton after she pled guilty to failure to comply with the conditions of her visitor’s permit. She was ordered to pay the fine forthwith, in default six months imprisonment. She was unable to pay so she was taken to prison. At the end of her term she will be deported to Honduras. Immigration officers, acting on information they received from Interpol, went to a house at Sunset Park yesterday and picked up Rodriguez. She arrived in Belize about three weeks ago via the western border and she was given a permit to stay in Belize for four days and because she had violated the conditions of her permit she was arrested and charged.

Taxi Driver Fined for Facilitating Honduran with False Document
Twenty-four year old Belizean national Dyron Galves, a businessman and taxi driver of Castle Street who tried to help a Honduran woman to get a Belizean visa by using a false document, was fined one thousand dollars today by Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart after he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty to a charge of assisting a person to use a falsified document. Galves was ordered to pay three hundred dollars forthwith and the balance by March 4, in default six months imprisonment. Galves paid the three hundred dollars and he was released. On December 3,2013, Galves and Honduran national Rebecca Garmendia went to immigration office in Belize City with her passport and a job letter from Galves which claimed that he worked for Chinese businessman Zen Hui Yan at a peanuts supermarket on Kelly Street. When immigration officers checked they found that Galves did not work for Yan. When they went to Tang’s Supermarket, owned by Yan and they interviewed Yan he told then that he did not sign any job letter and he did not give anybody permission to use his name.

BNTU Says it Is Not About the Salary
The Belize National Teachers Union, BNTU, today held a post-rally press conference at its Belize City headquarters. The event was to give a report card on the support the Union received at its rallies and to unveil its plan for the next two months on issues it deems of national importance to which it feels the Government should give urgent attention. In all instances, the Union reports at least a 90 percent turnout of its branch memberships in the respective municipalities where the rallies were held. Its President, Luke Palacio, underscored that teachers did not hold the rallies solely to get their salary adjustments, but also to get the government to address issues such as corruption and classroom hazards. Another sticking point for the Union is the social security coverage for people traveling to and from work, which National President, Luke Palacio, said needs clarification. LUKE PALACIO “In terms of the social security, the to and from work, we know that a couple weeks ago in the Amandala newspaper, the Social Security did put a release in there where they were talking about coverage of our employment injury to and from work and we feel that the release seems to be somewhat contradictory.

Corozal Police Puzzled by An Apparent Suicide in Corozal
The body of a Hispanic man was collected off the Philip Goldson Highway between miles seventy three and seventy four by Police officers in Corozal. Reports coming out of the Corozal Town Police Station indicate that on Monday, February 3, 2014, Police were called out to the area at around 12:15pm when they encountered the man later identified as 46-year-old, Ricardo Eustacio Castellanos, an unemployed resident of San Joaquin Village in the Corozal District. Upon arrival at the scene, police also encountered a green Toyota Corolla sedan parked about four hundred feet into the road side. Investigations revealed that the taxi, bearing license plates CZL-D-1913 was being driven by 56-year-old, taxi driver, Giovanni Correa also of San Joaquin Village heading in the direction to Orange Walk when the deceased reportedly threw himself onto the highway in the path of the oncoming taxi. The impact caused severe injuries to his head and face and killed him on the spot. The scene of the incident was processed by the investigators and Police noted that there were no damages to the car. Castellanos was taken to the Corozal Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival at around 2:22pm. The taxi driver was issued with a notice of intended prosecution and the body of deceased awaits a post mortem examination as the matter remains under investigation.


Manhunt is on After Escaped Prisoner
Authorities are on a man hunt for an escaped prisoner. The prisoner escaped on Monday around 4:30pm, while Police were transporting inmates from the Belize Central Prison. When the police van reached the Cotton Tree pedestrian ramp, 29 year old prisoner Edwin Paula jumped out and escaped. Police are now...

BNTU Declares Rallies a Success
This morning representatives of the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) met with the press in Belize City. The Union has been rallying its membership across the country in the month of January to the delight of some and the chagrin of others, especially the Government. But according to Belize...

BNTU Keeps Pressure on Government Corruption
The Union’s key message, apart from its fight for a salary adjustment, is prodding the Government to adequately address key national issues especially corruption. Today, Mr. Luke Palacio touched on some of the Government’s responses, beginning with the Occupational Health and Safety Bill. Mr. Luke Palacio- President of the...

Ministry of Education Discusses Financial Reform
This morning the Belize City press sat down with officials of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports including Minister Patrick Faber to review latest developments in education. This included proposals to revise and streamline fee schemes in high schools, school subsidies and grants and payment of examination fees...

Alleged Human Trafficker to Serve Jail Term
40 year old Blanca Rodriguez, said to be wanted by INTERPOL for alleged involvement in human trafficking, was today read a charge of failure to comply with conditions of a visitor’s permit in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. Rodriguez pleaded guilty and began a six-month jail term after being...

San Joaquin Resident Knocked Down and Killed
A 46 year old resident of San Joaquin Village lost his life in a vehicle accident yesterday. The incident occurred at about noon, near miles 73 and 74 on the Philip Goldson Highway. According to Police, a 1996 Toyota Corolla driven by 56 year old cab driver, Geovanni Correa,...

Mexican Border Traders Gets Stucked on Their Side
Since Friday of last week, importers and exporters had been prohibited from crossing the Mexican border with Belize. This caused some 50 cargo trucks, destined for Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, to be backed up at the border. According to Mexican media, the license granted to the customs brokers were...

Salvadoran-Belizeans Denied Voting Rights at Their General Elections
Last Week Friday we aired an exclusive interview with the Ambassador of El Salvador to Belize, H.E. Ambassador Rolando Ramos, who we caught up with as he was about to leave for El Salvador with a score of five buses full of Salvadorans who live in Belize. They were...

Waste Control Issues at Punta Gorda Hospital
It is a Hospitals responsibility to ensure they implement the best sanitation policies and that those policies are enforced. However, Plus News has received credible information, that the Punta Gorda Hospital is undergoing a garbage crisis. We have received Allegations regarding sanitary neglect that contaminated garbage is being to...


The atmosphere at the Magistrate’s Court on Friday appeared surreal, as the sound of voices from an impromptu, illegal protest filtered inside the courtroom where the sentencing fate of Corporal Gino Peck, who had been found guilty of having illegal ammunition in his possession, would be determined. “Free Corporal Peck now,” the crowd chanted. Inside the courtroom, no one in authority made any attempt to quiet the protesters, as Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith accepted a submission suggested to Gino Peck’s defense attorney by Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, and imposed a fine of $600 for Peck’s three ammunition convictions. For the mitigation hearing, Peck was represented by his attorney Simeon Sampson, Senior Counsel, who was joined by Ellis Arnold, Senior Counsel. But it was the DPP’s assistance to the defense that averted the up to eight-year prison sentence that Peck’s conviction under the Fire Arms Act had mandated.

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced at a press conference held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel this afternoon that water rates are due to increase in April by 6.4%—that’s an average increase of $1.04 on every 1,000 gallons a customer consumes, or $6.40 for every $100 worth of water consumed from the Belize Water Services Limited (BWSL). The existing rate is $16.24 per 1,000 gallons, and the increase would take the rate up to $17.28 per 1,000 gallons. The new rates would apply until March 31, 2015; but the public has 15 days to comment on the preliminary PUC decision. On December 31, 2013, BWSL had applied for a rate increase of 16.25%, in line with their business plan which calls for $25.679 million worth of capital investments; however, the PUC said that after reviewing BWSL’s proposal and considering the company’s past performance and its ability to fund investments, the PUC has reduced the capital investments by $11.35 million, to $14.326 million.

The Gentle family of Crooked Tree Village is today mourning the death of their son, Benjamin, Jr., 20, who was killed in a two-boat collision at about 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning in the Crooked Tree Lagoon. Benjamin was travelling with nine high school students, who are attending various high schools in Belize City and Ladyville, on a Coast Guard boat shuttle from Crooked Tree to the causeway for onward travel to Belize City and other areas, when they were hit almost broadside by another Coast Guard boat. The Coast Guard was assisting over 500 villagers daily to access the road because floods, for the last three months, have devastated the causeway linking Crooked Tree to a road leading to the Northern Highway. The boats also assisted in transporting goods and other necessities for the village. In addition to suffering huge chop wounds to his shoulder, under his right arm and on the right side of his lower back, Gentle sustained massive injury to his midsection and died almost immediately. Gentle was declared dead on arrival at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

While the sugar industry is scrambling to recover significant losses that were incurred due to an 11-week delay in the start of the season, there is huge uncertainty within the citrus industry, which happens to be another vital industry that supports the Belizean economy. As we had reported earlier this week, this predicament has arisen due to the fact that payments to local citrus growers for orange and grapefruit deliveries that have been made to the processing plant, belonging to the Citrus Products of Belize Ltd. (CPBL), have been repetitively lagging since last October when the 2013/2014 citrus crop season commenced. In order to address the very serious matter, an emergency meeting was called by the executives of the Citrus Growers Association (CGA), which represents the interests of the citrus farmers. That meeting – which was initially set for last Saturday, January 25 – was held today at the CGA’s headquarters, located at Mile 9 on the Stann Creek Valley Road.

The governing United Democratic Party (UDP) held a standard-bearer convention for the Orange Walk East division on Sunday at the Louisiana Government School. After the ballots were tallied, Elodio Aragon, Jr., emerged as the new UDP candidate for Orange Walk East. Some 2,384 votes were cast, with Aragon obtaining 1,327, defeating David Constanza, who received 1,033 votes. There were 24 spoilt ballots. Aragon, who resigned from his public service job as Deputy Commissioner of Police to enter the political arena, told Amandala that he wanted to thank the UDP voters of Orange Walk East for supporting his candidacy. “I am looking forward to serving the people of the Orange Walk East constituency. We want to make Orange Walk East the pride of Orange Walk Town,” Aragon said. In reference to his opponent, Aragon added, “he is a good candidate and it was a great race.”

Quite a number of vehicle owners have fallen victim to car thieves, and today, one such victim came to Amandala, frantically trying to locate her SUV, which had been stolen over the weekend. Khadijah Castillo, who lives in the Ladyville area, told us that last Saturday, February 1, she was at the annual BDF Day Fair, where her vehicle keys got misplaced during the day, and this led to her vehicle being subsequently stolen later that night. Castillo – who was visibly distraught – said that she was attending the dance that was being held on Saturday night in Price Barracks when her vehicle was stolen from the parking lot between 12:00 midnight and 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. She explained, “Initially, earlier in the day, the keys were misplaced on the BDF campus, after which we got the spare keys to remove the vehicle from the compound. Later in the night, I went back out to the dance, and when I was leaving to go home, I discovered that the vehicle was missing. It’s a black 2005 GMC Envoy with license plate number BZ C-44411.

EDITORIAL: The gun law
“One military arena in which some of the traditional hierarchies remain intact is arms sales – at least of the traditional kind. The same dominant suppliers – the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, Italy – still account for the overwhelming majority of arms deals, in a top tier that has held intact for decades.” - pg. 144, The End of Power, Moisés Naím, Basic Books, 2013 It is fair to say that the legal minds of Belize have failed us where this gun law is concerned. We have to point the finger of accusation at the Bar Association, which is the organized body of lawyers, attorneys, barristers, and so on in this country. Where was the Bar Association when the gun law was being contemplated, when it was drafted, when it was debated, and when it was being implemented so drastically as to imprison great grandparents and minor children in its unconstitutional net? The people of Belize became horrified by the explosion of violent crime in the early 1990s, and they turned desperately to the dormant death penalty. The Belizean people were told by the politicians, however, that the European Union was very much opposed to our proposed hanging of convicted murderers, because this was something the Europeans considered inhumane and dreadful. The Belizean people were told that the Europeans were being friendly to us in various trade and other arrangements, and that the Europeans would become hostile and break off these trade arrangements if we began to hang convicted murderers.

I ran into a very successful businessman on Friday afternoon when both of us went to look for the same person. This gentleman is from the generation of Belizeans before mine, and one of the aspects in which his story is a great one is that he never got the opportunity to attend high school, whereas all of his close childhood friends did. Over the years, the gentleman and I have spoken briefly on several occasions, but it may be that Friday was the occasion for our longest conversation ever. Almost certainly, it was our most probing, perhaps actually challenging. I would say that he is not bitter about his tough childhood, but it is for sure that he is triumphant in his adult success, which is spectacular. Before our time, there were stories like this. I don’t think Isaiah Morter, our first native millionaire, attended any kind of high school. Bob Turton dropped out of primary school when he was nine years old. It is possible to do business without being educated, but on Wall Street today the business leaders are educated to very high levels. They all have Master’s degrees in business administration at a minimum, and some will have degrees in law and accounting besides.

The last of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) nationwide rallies was held in the Toledo District today. This morning, teachers from the Punta Gorda and Toledo Rural branches assembled at the Toledo Sports Complex before marching toward the Toledo Central Park, where there were a host of presentations from the BNTU Punta Gorda branch president, Hilton Garbutt, as well as Toledo Rural branch president Steven Cho, and the fiery BNTU national president Luke Palacio. There was also a presentation by the Leader of the People’s National Party (PNP), Wil Maheia. In his address, Palacio updated his membership on Thursday’s meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. In that meeting, seven union leaders from the Belize National Teacher’s Union, the Public Service Union (PSU), and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) sat with the Prime Minister, to discuss a projection on revenue collection and a floor for the salary adjustment which was promised to the teachers. The floor is defined as the minimum increase that Government can commit to.

Relatives and friends are currently mourning the death of a beloved mother, grandmother and housewife who died of natural causes on Friday, January 31, 2014, at the age of 81. Ms. Constance May Locke nee Olivera was born on November 26, 1932, and lived on Bocotora Street in the Queen’s Square division in Belize City. She is described as a very active and outspoken mother of four daughters, who was good with her hands, and used to do sewing and crafts. According to her relatives, she was also a caterer and a very good cook who used to make pastries such as lemon pie, as well as other niceties such as meat pies and panades. They told Amandala that she will be remembered mostly for her outspokenness.

The Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) plans to hold a press conference tomorrow morning, at which it will update the media and the general public on its plans to step up the momentum of its national activism leading up to the reading of the next national budget in just a few months. Representatives of the BNTU and the Public Service Union met last Thursday with Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow to advance talks about the promised salary adjustment for teachers and public officers. Kathleen Flowers, BNTU’s 2nd national vice president, who is also head of the Belize District branch, told Amandala today that the BNTU executives also met over the weekend. “We are looking at continuing to advance this cause. It is not a one-off thing. We will try to sustain this until [the] reading of the budget,” Flowers told us.

On December 30 and 31, 2013, I made certain statements on Channel 5 news and in the Amandala. In these statements I implied that Mrs. Beverly Castillo abused her office as CEO in the Ministry of Natural Resources in order to facilitate title to a specific property for her mother and son. These statements were unfounded and Mrs. Castillo has consistently denied that she abused her office in the manner that I implied, and I fully accept her denial. I retract the statements made and apologize to her for the harm done to her name and reputation as a result of my statements.

Death in Cristo Rey, San Ignacio; police declare suicide
Police said that Cesar Antonio Tzib, 49, a resident of Cristo Rey, San Ignacio, committed suicide by hanging himself by the neck in an unfinished concrete building in the village on the Cristo Rey Road. They took him down and took him to the San Ignacio Hospital. The gruesome discovery was made on Thursday. Police said that they responded to a report of a suicide in Cristo Rey Village. On their arrival, they saw Tzib in a kneeling position, with a hammock wrapped around his neck. He was immediately released from the hammock and taken to the San Ignacio Hospital, where Doctor Chen of the San Ignacio Hospital, declared him dead on arrival.

Labour Commissioner intervenes on behalf of 36 terminated security officers
The Christian Workers Union (CWU), which has come to the aid of the 36 security officers of the Belize City Council’s Security Department who got their walking papers from the council in a meeting held on January 21, 2014, had some “good news” to report this afternoon. In a press conference held today by president of the CWU, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, she declared that the Labor Commissioner, Ivan Williams, has intervened on behalf of the workers who have been laid off. Matura-Shepherd stated, “The Labour Commissioner called the CWU office this morning and informed us that he had gotten all the correspondence. He was apparently out of office for a while, but he assured us that he would intervene because, based on what he was seeing, the Belize City Council had not complied with their statutory obligations to give all the notices they should. We had even inquired if he had gotten any notice as the Labour Commissioner, and we found out that [actually] he did not get any notice.

Man, 40, sexually abused his daughter, 14
The 40-year-old father of a girl, 14, is in police custody pending charges of multiple counts of incest against his child, under the age of 15, and indecent assault upon on a female child. The daughter, 14, told police that her father had sex with her regularly, against her will. The child charged that he has been taking advantage of her since 2011, the acts being committed when her mother was not at home. In September of 2011, he took her to a house in the village and raped her, the girl said. She reported that in 2012 and 2013, he engaged in sex with her frequently. Last week, on Thursday, January 30, she was at home sleeping in her bed when her father came into her room, awakened her and raped her, the girl reported.

The Mexican State Police of Chetumal, Mexico, have brought into use a Filter Review System to capture individuals for whom arrest warrants have been issued, guns, ammunition, drugs and stolen vehicles, by installing surveillance cameras and maintaining database stations on the federal highway between Chetumal and Bacalar, to the village of Huay Pix in the Chetumal area. The systems were installed yesterday. Police operate a checkpoint where vehicles travelling on the highway must stop and the names of the occupants of the vehicles are loaded into a database to make checks on their identity before clearing them. A camera also scans the vehicles for illegal and contraband goods. According to Diario De Chetumal, the database has been used to clear over 300 vehicles and 400 people since it was put into operation yesterday.

Dear Sir, On Thursday, January 23, the last container load of merchandise was allowed by the Mexican authorities to be exported from Mexico into Belize. It is not until Tuesday, February 4, that we might know when another will be allowed. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect something like this to happen in a great country like Mexico, and for so long. I know that the amount of exports to Belize is insignificant to their whole picture but man, this is unbelievable, when the whole world knows that exports are super important to a country’s economy. There are millions of pesos lost in sales, extra costs to merchandise stuck at the border, plus orders put on hold because of this situation. The Belize government has also lost millions in revenue.

PLB Belikin Cup
Game 1 in the Finals of the Premier League of Belize’s Belikin Cup Opening Season 2013-2014, between home standing #4 seed FC Belize and visiting #1 seed Belmopan Bandits FC, ended in a 1-1 stalemate yesterday evening at the MCC Grounds. In front of a massive crowd with vuvuzela horns blowing, the Bandits took the lead early on a 5th minute strike from Deon McCaulay, kicking into the southern “ragamuffin” goal, from off a centering pass from the right side by midfielder David Trapp. The FC Belize defence appeared unsettled early in the game, and they hesitated just long enough for Deon to grab the opportunity and send a sharp grounder that caromed off the inside of the right goal post, past a diving Glenford Chimilio in goal for FC Belize. The equalizer for FC Belize came at the 17th minute of second half (62’), off a similar play, as it was FC Belize’s Stephen “Breds” Baizer serving the center across goal from the right goal line for an advancing Mark “Kelo” Leslie to slap in the equalizer past the Bandits’ Woodrow West from point blank range.

Inter-District Semifinals
Game 2 in the home-and-away semifinals series were played over the weekend in the FFB (Open) Inter-District Football Tournament 2013-2014. On Saturday night, February1, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence, it was the home team, MnM Steelers grabbing the 2-0 win over Progresso FC with goals coming from Dion Burgess (34’) and Gilbert Rivars (90+’). The victory gave MnM Steelers a spot in the Finals, because their previous meeting had resulted in a 2-1 win for Progresso; thus the Steelers prevailed in the series by an aggregate score of 3-2.

Police said that at about 5:30 Thursday evening, they were on mobile patrol in the Jane Usher Boulevard area when they saw a man whom they recognized. He was stopped and police conducted a random search on him for drugs, weapons or ammunition. They found a 9 mm pistol on him. The gun was loaded with a magazine containing 7 live rounds. Police demanded a license for the gun and ammunition, but the man was not able to provide one. He was immediately arrested.

Man stabbed in San Martin, Belmopan
A man is being treated at the Belmopan Hospital after he was stabbed in the left side of the chest, in the left arm, and sliced across the left cheek. Benjamin Guerra, 43, a mason of Mexico Street, Belmopan, told police that he was at home at about 10:45 Saturday night when he got into an argument with his nephew, 25, who stabbed him multiple times. Guerra was rushed to the Belmopan Hospital, and is reportedly in a critical but stable condition. His nephew has fled the house and has since gone into hiding.

More burglaries in Belize City and San Pedro
Burglaries were reported by police in Belize City and San Pedro. The second report of burglary was made by Jose Paz, a businessman of Boca Del Rio Drive in San Pedro, who told police that at about 5:30 Wednesday, January 29, he locked up his business, Milo International of Pescador Drive. He said that at about 6:30 a.m. Thursday, he received a call informing him that his business had been burglarized. He rushed to his business place and saw a hole, measuring about 2 feet by 1 foot, in the center of the back room of the building. He then found that an assortment of electronic items and furniture had been stolen. Police continue their investigation.


Zen Arcade. Why not take a Yoga vacation in Belize?
Aside from flying the coup on cold weather, for many, a vacation is often taken to recharge their batteries and rejuvenate themselves. After all who isn’t ready to feel refreshed and inspired? Whether you live here or are visiting, why not take a Yoga vacation in Belize at Zen Arcade the new ‘vacation yoga’ hot spot in San Pedro town? Enjoy a group class or private session at the tropical tree top Yoga studio. There is also a private poolside relaxing option and The Chaya Cafe will be a forming an alliance with world famous Rojo Lounge . This is scheduled to open in late Feb and will provide reasonably priced, delicious healthy food options created by Chef Jeff and his team. Rojo is known for wraps, salads, noodles, yogurts, granola, and smoothies. [We so need this, I can't wait :)] Chaya Cafe will also be offering beer and wine as well as a few other signature cocktails. Zen Arcade phone number is is 226-3177 and their web site which will be live soon is Zen Arcade Belize. Located behind the old Belikin distributor across from Island Academy near the big pink grocery store south of town. Every First Sunday of the month Yoga class is free for everyone. Zen arcade is child friendly and Private Classes Available in house or out-call. Space is limited, first come basis.

“Butts Up! Butts Up!” yelled a park ranger in a neon green t-shirt. Unfortunately, being in the front of our group, his warning came too late for me. My butt slammed into the large rock just beneath the surface of the water. I thought to myself, that’s going to leave a bruise! We’d come to this small Central American country on a cruise for the holidays with Laura’s mom and sister. In doing some research, Laura discovered cave tubing in Belize. We’d been to caves in Turkey, but we’d never been cave tubing before, so this seemed like the perfect way to spend the day! In the Mayan hills, about half-way from Belize City to the Guatemalan border, the limestone rock underground has been eroded by water to form massive caves. In one area, a tributary of the Sibun River called the Caves Branch River flows through these limestone caves – today this area is known as the Nohoch Che’en Archaeological Reserve (or the locals call it the Caves Branch).

Video: Wildlife in the rainforest of Belize
Wildlife footage from a nature reserve in the rainforest of northern Belize: capturing Spider monkeys’ intimidation techniques and the infamous Royal Rat. The 260,000 acre reserve is reputed to have the healthiest and most plentiful population of jaguars in all of Central America. To support the reserve’s ongoing conservation, Programme for Belize run two eco-tourism sites offering accommodation in the heart of the forest for guided or independent hiking, wildlife spotting, and exploration of an ancient Mayan archaeological site.

First dive of the month – 65 lionfish!
Continuing our great work at removing the invasive lionfish, February has started with A BANG!! Tracy Allen, our Marine Scientist and PADI Instructor,, managed to remove a record breaking 65 lionfish in one dive, on Monday 3rd February!! Excellent work Tracy, and Lionfish, be scared, be very scared!!

International Sources

VIDEO: Evolutionist Bill Nye the Science Guy and Creationist Ken Ham debate at Creation Museum
Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern, scientific era? Leading creation apologist and bestselling Christian author Ken Ham is joined at the Creation Museum by Emmy Award-winning science educator and CEO of the Planetary Society Bill Nye.

Top Ten Extraordinary Weather Videos of 2013
The year 2013 was another extraordinary one for weather extremes, with a world-record 41 billion-dollar weather disasters. With the rise of smart phones and YouTube, we now have an amazing capability to document and make available videos of disasters like these, and I present here my pick for the top ten most remarkable weather videos of 2013.

AFSOUTH prepares to execute New Horizons '14 in Belize
Members of Air Forces Southern have begun to trickle into Belize in preparation for New Horizons '14, a U.S. Southern Command exercise focusing on improving the joint training readiness of U.S. military members, partner nation civil engineers, medical professionals and support personnel through humanitarian assistance activities. This will be the second year in a row that the New Horizons exercise has taken place in Belize. Last year, members of the Belize Defence Force, contractors throughout Belize and Airmen, soldiers, and Marines worked side-by-side to build community centers, medical clinics and schools. "We are thrilled that the Belizean people have been gracious enough to invite us to conduct the New Horizons Exercise in their country for a second year in a row," said Col. Daniel Pepper, New Horizons '14 Air Expeditionary Task Force commander. "Our friendships and partnerships with the Belizean people have grown tremendously over the past two years and we look forward to strengthening our great relationship during this year's exercise."

50 degrees to the south
When I leave Toronto, the temperature is hovering at 20 below zero. When I land in Belize City, it is hugging 30. Driving in to the city on the Northern Highway, the hot breeze styling my hair, I wonder what the body thinks of all of this. I am not sure if we are constructed with materials that can tolerate the addition of 50 degrees in the course of the length of time it takes to eat our oatmeal, shovel the driveway, start the car, salt the steps and slither in to work. But despite the climate change, I still feel, oddly, at home. Formerly the British Honduras, Belize achieved independence in 1981. It is a young country, the only English-speaking entity in Central America. It boasts the second-largest coral reef in the world (after Australia) along with rainforests, sugar plantations, marine treasures, Mayan temples, fertile fields of fruit and more cultural diversity than is common for this part of the world. But regardless of the difference in the environment, there are similarities to NL, beyond the history as a British colony. I note that they have a very broad view of the use of condensed milk, adding it to tea and historically using it as baby formula (among other things). Both places have a term – a “boil up.” Except that here it is a dish of boiled eggs, fish or pigtails and sweet potatoes and plantains. Rather than tea and Vienna sausage in the bush.

A Peek into the Famed Mexican Cuisine
North American state of Mexico is known for its rich history, heritage, culture and cuisine. With the social media providing numerous avenues of publicity Mexican cuisine is riding on the wave of popularity the world over. Even before my five week sojourn in Mexico during Christmas and new year season I was aware of the varied flavors of Mexican cuisine, its famed chilly and variety of spices that gives an appealing taste to Mexican food. Being a foodie I was eagerly looking forward to feel the popular maize-based dishes and other cuisine popular in different regions of Mexico. From reasonable street food eateries to traditional restaurants and cafes Mexico is filled with eateries everywhere. One can find people eating on the streets, parks, on trains, cars, market places and almost everywhere. There are markets lined up with food stalls offering an array of dishes filling and satisfying both the hunger and craving for food. Mexico offers one of the best street food cultures in South America. Mexican food is enormously varied, with myriad regional differences and full of surprises. Not surprisingly UNESCO has named Mexican cuisine as an intangible cultural heritage of mankind.

Just recently, I was traveling in South America…well, Uruguay to be precise. This wasn’t my first time either…it was my third. It was the first time for my partner, and our first REAL vacation out of Mexico (trips home to visit family in Canada do not count). For him, it was a real eye opener, as his career doesn’t require him to travel around a lot, so all his understanding on “Latin American Culture” is based on what he has experienced thru living in Merida, Yucatan. Upon arriving in Montevideo, we took time to explore shops, talk to locals and take in the sights. As some of you may know, Uruguay is famous for its Meat and Wines, and to properly enjoy them, you have to go to a local’s house or one of the famous Parillada’s in town. Both of us were (as I have been on both previous trips) totally amazed at the level of care and attentiveness the service crews took at each restaurant we went to. They listened, understood, repeated orders to confirm, and brought you what you asked for without any mistakes. Just to be clear here, we ate at only 1 touristy place, and these experiences were shared through several restaurants of varying levels of quality. La Passiva and Don Pepperone (compared to Viejo Molina or VIPs or Chili’s) considered in Uruguay as the lower end spots, up to an upscale traditional Parillada in Punta Carretas Neighborhood (compared to being in Alta Brisa Neighborhood), all delivered the same level of care, not just to us, but to all their clients.

5 don't-miss spots in Belize
Protected rainforests, Maya ruins, Caribbean beaches and the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere. Add English as the official language and the widely accepted U.S. dollar, and you can get a great vacation on easy mode in Belize. Still, with so much to do, it can become a lot of work to fit it all in. Travelzoo editor Andrew Young recommends taking on just a little bit of this country in the heart of Central America at a time, and offers this list of his five top spots to get you started.

11 Travel Photos from Belize
Next up in the series of travel photos from Central America is this gallery from Belize…

Doing business or investing in Belize
Any Canadian interested in doing business or investing in Belize should first complete a thorough process of due diligence and investigate potential partners using a variety of information sources. Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service in Guatemala is aware of several cases of fraud. Any newcomer to the market should know that legal and administrative processes can involve many delays and challenges. There have also been legal and constitutional changes in 2012, such as the 9th amendment to the Constitution of Belize, that have had important impacts on the country’s telecommunications and energy-distribution sectors. Although there is no Belize - Canada Chamber of Commerce, many members of the Canadian and British business communities have joined the American Chamber of Commerce. First time business travelers to Belize should consider this source of information.

5 Travel Photography Tips For Great Composition
Outlined below are five secrets for creating a great composition in a photo, which is particularly useful for taking shots of wildlife and nature when you are traveling. 1. Read it like a book We are taught from an early age that in order to read we move our eyes from left to right in order for the words and sentences to make sense. When something is learnt at such a tender time in our lives, it becomes second nature. Because our brains are programmed in this way, we tend to use this habit in most things we do. This is the same when looking at a picture, the human brain will automatically ‘read’ the image from left to right. Bearing this in mind, one can compose an image in a way that keeps the ‘reader’ fascinated throughout your ‘story’.

#485175 - 02/05/14 05:35 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 5, 2014 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here


Importation And Exportation Problem At The Belize/Mexico Border Solved
Fifteen days that’s how long the importation and exportation at the Northern Border was put on halt due to the suspension of the license of the only Agencia Aduanal “SAI” at the Mexican Border in Supteniente Lopez. Tonight, the good news is that another broker agency has begun operations and is working tirelessly to release all cargo trucks that have been stranded for days. Reporter Victor Castillo has been following the story since last week and today he was once again at the Mexican border and filed the following report. Over the past days we have been reporting on the ongoing situation at the Belize/Mexico Border where products were not being allowed to be exported or imported to and from Belize and Mexico due to the suspension of license for the Agencia Aduanal, “Servicios Aduaneros Integrados,” which is the only broker agency for the importation and exportation of goods on the Mexican side of the border in Subeniente Lopez. After sitting at the border for fifteen days, these containers, filled with a number of products including cement, steel and vegetables are finally being released for importation to Belize. The problem was solved with the opening of a new broker agency which started its operations on Friday last. With the importation and exportation of goods returning to normality we managed to speak with Jesus Miguel Lara the director of the new agency, “Alfonso Bello Juarez”. Lara explained to us more in detail the entire operation.

Thousands Of Dollars Lost due To Importation/Exportation At The Border
While the problem of importation and exportation of goods at the Northern Border is finally resolved, the damage has been done and truth of the fact is it will take days before all the containers have been released. The 15 days interruption has caused a trickle effect on the economy of Belize with its rippling effects being felt by distributors down to the layman. Reporter Maria Novelo followed the story and filed this report. Maria Novelo – Reporting An unexpected shortage of cement has stunned the construction industry in the northern districts, delaying many projects; from small to large scale. And the present embargo is being blamed on the freezing of importing and exporting cargo trucks at the Mexican Border; where we understand, the license for trade of the broker agency, “Servicios Aduaneros Integrados,” has been suspended. It’s a suspension going on for fifteen days and today, the effects are being felt from the distributors to the average construction men, who are either unable to supply the cement or can’t build due to the shortage.

BMDC Manages To Salvage Shipment Of Onion At The Border
The unusual impasse on importations into Belize from the Santa Elena Border in the north has been resolved since late Friday evening. As we reported, the license to the only broker in the Subteniente Lopez area, Chetumal Mexico was cancelled preventing all shipments from entering Belize. One of these shipments belonged to the Belize Marketing Development Cooperation, BMDC. Contrary to reports, that shipment was salvaged and today we spoke with a representative of the BMDC who clarified the situation. Reporter Dalila Ical has that story! Dalila Ical – Reporting Reports on the media have been varied in regards to the Santa Elena Border situation but Administrator at the Belize Marketing Development Cooperation Sylverio Marin says that contrary to reports, the BMDC has not lost any of its onions being imported from Mexico. One shipment that was stalled had been brought across. That container was stocked with six hundred bags of two varieties, white and red onions.

BTIA Chapter Vandalized
There have been sporadic campaigns to encourage civic pride among Belizeans countrywide. This is even encouraged in various schools and by environmentally conscious civilians. However, there is that part of our communities that make the efforts all the more challenging and every so often members of the public have to endure unpleasant sceneries of pollution and defaced buildings. This is the case of members and executives of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, Orange Walk Chapter. Tourism Information Officer, Jasmine Zetina, contacted our offices to bring their contention to public notice for one reason only – to reiterate the importance of community consciousness and pride. According to Zetina, members of the BTIA chapter had only repainted the BTIA office building last Wednesday in an effort to cover areas that had graffiti. It was a small project that took some time to fund but only days after the wall was once again defaced. Jasmine Zetina – Tourism Information Officer, BTIA, OW “Sunday afternoon when I came here at the office I was angered and appalled at the same time sadden at the fact that the back wall of the centre once again has been graffiti and this around it has been done even worst, the persons went ahead and graffiti the post and did their art work and as well as on the sign here where we have the BTIA Orange Walk sign. The BTIA Orange Walk members have decided to stand and say you know what enough, we actually have had enough of this and we are trying very hard to get our Orange Walk community, our town beautified and moving forward. We are not going to give up we still going to continue strive for it and we can only move forward with it in orange Walk with the help of the community and we are trying together with the community to make Orange Walk a better place to visit and a better place to live in.”

BNE And LICU Extend Access To Students Loan Program
The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust in conjunction with the la Inmaculada Credit Union has expanded a program that seeks to help Belizeans access student loans. The program, the National Student Loan Program’s first phase was started in 2009 and made small loans accessible to high school, tertiary and university students across the country. That part of the project has been concluded and yesterday both parties signed a new agreement that sees to increasing the amount of funding to the LICU for student loans. Credit Manager at the LICU Reynaldo Novelo elaborates on the criteria for obtaining a loan. Reynaldo Novelo – Credit manager, LICU “Generally, what would be required is that the student must forward a letter of acceptance from the institution they will be studying, they will need to become a member of the Credit Union if they are not one of them but if they are member they can participate in the program and also in terms of their grade point average, they must at least a 2.5 from the feeder institution from where they are coming from and during the course of the program then we will develop a cost estimate whereby we will see that the applicant will be in a position where they can finance at least 20% of the studies that they are involved in and the institution will finance the 80%, also during the course of their studies they must maintain a GPA of 2.5. We will disperse the monies by semester and each semester the student will be required to furnish to the Credit Union a list of the expenses that they had incurred through the semester and then we will be disbursing the monies for the semester.”

PUP Orange Walk East Committee Issue Release In Support For OWTC Land Acquisition
The People’s United Party Orange Walk East Executive Committee today issued a lengthy release on a resolution to support the Town Council’s lease application to the Ministry of Natural resources for the acquisition of parcels 2215, 2218 and 2219 for the Community Park and playground under the municipal jurisdiction meaning the East Sports Center and Guadalupe Park. On the night of January 28th, the East Executive body met to discuss the motion and unanimously voted in favor of four points which include: For parcel 2215 to be used as originally planned for the designated Guadalupe Park, 2. For parcels 2218 and 2219 to be obtained and used as sports playground, 3. That community parks and playgrounds be the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Orang Walk Town Council and 4. That the Orange Walk East Executive Committee supports the notion that the Town Council is best fit to operate at a local level for development as per their mandate.


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