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#485406 - 02/07/14 05:16 AM Today's Belize News: February 7, 2014
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
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The San Pedro Sun

Healthy smiles courtesy of the Smile Dental Clinic and its volunteers
The Smile Dental Clinic at Holy Cross Anglican School is bringing more healthy smiles to the faces of San Pedro Town’s beautiful children. As reported in Volume 24, issue #05 of The San Pedro Sun, The Smile Dental Clinic is currently hosting a free two-week dental clinic open to all the children of the island. The second of two groups comprises of six volunteers, three from San Pedro Town and three from the United States. Heading the second group of volunteers is Doctor Alex Wills, a visiting dentist who has been offering his service for seven years at the Smile Dental Clinic. Dr. Wills is joined on his seventh mission by his wife Nancy Wills, a dental hygienist, both from Cape Carteret, North Carolina, USA. Dr Ken Beading from Kalamazoo, Michigan USA is also volunteering. Three local dental assistants, Eleanor Carrera, Bonnie Musbach and Norma Chin assist them while conducting the clinics. All three ladies have joined volunteers on several dental missions at the Smile Dental Clinic.

The San Pedro AIDS Commission is ready to take on 2014!
The San Pedro AIDS Commission is pleased to report on a successful 2013. For over 12 years, the San Pedro AIDS Commission has been assisting the community of San Pedro, providing both medical and moral support to persons afflicted by the disease. The group is made up of volunteers, and funds are gathered through fund raising events and donations from the generous community. Of their hard work and efforts in 2013, a grand total of $8,020.73 was given to HIV/AIDS patients. $1,219.90 went to medications and vitamins while $4,399.83 earmarked for patients’ living and travel (doctor, checkups, etc.) expenses. In addition, the San Pedro AIDS Commission allocated $1,511 towards education programs on HIV/AIDS.

60 million dollar water and sewerage expansion project planned for North AC
In October of 2013, The San Pedro Sun broke the story that the Government of Belize (GOB) is embarking on a project to design and construct a water and sewerage system on north Ambergris Caye. That project was unveiled to the residents of Ambergris Caye on Thursday January 30th at the first of several planned consultations. The project will see the installation of a second water and sewerage system for the northern portion of the island, a total of 15 kilometers north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge to Blue Reef Island Resort. The budget for the construction is US $30 which is a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) facilitated through the GOB. GOB has appointed Belize Water and Sewerage Limited (BWS) to be the executing agency for the project. It is geared to enhance the quality of life for the populace and visitors on the northern portion of the island, protect the fragile ecosystem and the Barrier Reef system and support the tourism package on Ambergris Caye.

Ambergris Today

Casa Pan Dulce Bakery Expands Services in Mainland Belize
Casa Pan Dulce Bakery, located at Laguna Drive, San Pedro Town, would like to inform its valuable customers of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker that TWIN TOWNS BAKERY of Santa Elena/San Ignacio is now a subsidiary of Casa Pan Dulce Bakery. We take this opportunity to inform our Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker customers that three of our products, namely sliced bread, special white and whole wheat bread will be temporarily packaged in the Twin Town’s Bakery bags (pictured above). This process is necessary to eventually phase out the bags and fully merge the two bakeries and eventually fully brand our Casa Pan Dulce name throughout all our market. Casa Pan Dulce Bakery is expanding horizons on the mainland and so we remain committed to operating in the most efficient manner, while keeping with its values, and constantly finding better ways and better products to serve our customers. We reassure our customers of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker that we will continue to use only the best ingredients in our products.

Teen Talk: Teens Can Overcome Peer Pressure
Was there ever a time when one of your friends wanted you to do something but you felt it just wasn’t right and you still did it anyway? Well that is a little thing called peer pressure and more than likely you have dealt with it before. When I was a little younger this was a very big problem for me but fortunately this was one of the problems I have successfully overcome. Now I am going to give you some tips on dealing with peer pressure.

Education in Belize: Next Steps?
We have tried to identify Who’s the Enemy in our Education Systems in Belize and open our eyes to why so many of us live desensitized to daily life in this new global and digital age. Now, it’s time to move on to the next stage. Are we ready and willing? Mega-sized problems that continue to plague our nation everyday lie not only in areas of Education but in other key areas that prevent us from improving our standards of living.

Misc Belizean Sources

for San Pedro

Carnaval 2014 Schedule!
Limited Food Booths Available! Visit or Call the San Pedro Town Council at 226-2936 to register your booth. Grand Prize for Best Carnaval Inspired Booth, Food and Drink! Also, all COMPARSAS who will be participating in this year's Carnaval to visit or call the San Pedro Town Council Office to register your comparsa!

$20.00 entrance fee for the PLB Belikin Opening Tournament Championship Game
The Management of the Belmopan Bandits Football Club would like to respond to comments in the public and social media concerning the $20.00 entrance fee for the PLB Belikin Opening Tournament Championship Game between the Belmopan Bandits FC and FC Belize on Saturday, February 8, 2014. While Management has great concern and consideration for all of the fans of the Belmopan Bandits FC and would like to see maximum support for our team at the game on Saturday, we must also remind our fans and football aficionados that to assemble and maintain such a talented team that is undoubtedly, on its way to its second PLB Championship in three seasons, has not been without cost and personal sacrifice on the part of the Management and Team. The Belmopan Bandits FC is the only fully professional football club in the country where players are paid on a weekly basis whether the team plays or not, or whether it’s a home game or an away game. For many of our players this weekly salary is their only means of sustaining their families and therefore Management has ensured that all players get paid every week for the past twenty weeks even though the gate receipts at home games have not been anywhere close to enough to cover weekly expenses. Even during the weeks when games were postponed due to inclement weather our players were still paid. No other team has done this for their players and that is why the Management is confident that the players will do their utmost best to bring the Championship home on Saturday night.

Denburg Edison Clifford Coleman passes away
On February 6, 1994 Belize lost a legend in Denburg Edison Clifford Coleman, a radio pioneer, comedian and journalist. He worked primarily with Radio Belize and is recognized as having brought that station to a position of prominence in the small Central American nation. Coleman was born in Benque Viejo del Carmen on January 8, 1931 to descendants of Honduran immigrants from Isla Roatan. Having attended primary school in Benque Viejo and high school in Belize City, he became involved in the nationalist movement on the labour front, working with George Price and the General Workers' Union in the 1950s. He had also gotten a part-time job with Radio Belize as a temporary announcer, at first working only in Spanish because the bosses thought he did not have the right accent for delivering an English-language newscast.

Startup Mistakes and common missteps in small business that you can learn
ost, if not all small business owners make mistakes and that can be a good thing. It means your are taking risks, and that’s how you grow your businesses. But making too many mistakes during the startup phase could land you in trouble. The key to small-business survival is to learn from your missteps and those you see other businesses making. Mistake 1: Setting your prices too low or too high. When it comes to pricing, service businesses have it a little tougher, since there isn’t a clear-cut cost of goods, and it’s easy to underestimate the time a job will take. Consult an association for your particular industry to help determine average prices for your type of business, clientele and location.

Lobster season will close effective February 15th
The Belize Fisheries Department would like to take this opportunity to inform the general public that the lobster season will close effective February 15th and it will remain closed until midnight of June 14th. As a reminder, please note that failure to comply with the closed season will result in prosecution in court under Regulation 3 (1) (b) of the Fisheries Regulations, Chapter 210 of the Subsidiary Laws of Belize R.E. 2003. The Department also takes this opportunity to remind fishers that lobster traps should be removed from the fishing grounds during the closed season. The Enforcement Unit will be vigilant in ensuring compliance with the removal of lobster traps that are found deployed after February 15.

Benque Viejo Ambulance missing
The Benque Viejo Ambulance has been missing for several months now with no action or explanation by public officials. It would seem that, since no one has any knowledge of it, it should be treated as Theft of Public Property. As yet no investigation has been launched or explanation offered. When Channel 5 attempted to interview the Benque Mayor on the subject he "ran". This is a serious health issue for the Town of Benque. The Polyclinc is only open during normal hours and this ambulance is critical for our health and safety. Your life could easily depend on this ambulance being available on a 24hr. basis. It would be easy to have it stationed at the Fire Department that is manned 24/7, has trained EMS personnel and drivers. First we have to find it. Rumors are that it is in Guatemala where it was used to help resolve a personal debt of the Minister. We need to know where are ambulance is, how it got there and why no one will talk about it. Silence creates rumors and that Ambulance belongs to the people of Benque.

Unrest within the residents of Benque Viejo
It appears there's unrest within the residents of Benque Viejo, residents not happy with their Minister with corruption issues fresh on their minds. The PM's comments hit home for many in Benque Last night a group of residents posted several placards around the streets of Benque, expressing their discontentment with their area Minister. The police were seen this morning 7:30am taking pictures of the placard's but didn't take them down? Do they agree? It's now assumed the Mayor will send town board workers to take them down? Yes confirmed by 10:00am the rights of residents in Benque to express their opinion were torn down by town board workers.

Caribbean member states of CRFM weigh in on important international case on IUU fishing
Seventeen member states of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are making their voices heard in a milestone international case on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing—dubbed Case No. 21—which is being reviewed by the International Tribunal on Law of the Sea (ITLOS), based in Hamburg, Germany. According to the CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, “this is a very important international case which should not only contribute to the development of international and domestic law in an area that is important for effective conservation and management of fisheries, but also clarify the law in respect of the responsibility and liability of States and international organizations for IUU fishing.” To date, more than 20 countries—Saudi Arabia, Germany, New Zealand, People's Republic of China, Australia, Japan, the UK, Chile, the EU, Sri Lanka and the US—and 8 organizations have submitted written arguments on Case No. 21. Those organizations include the CRFM, the Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Organization (OSPESCA), the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, and the United Nations.

Turneffe Orcas (killer whales)
just off Maugre Caye in the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve. Thanks to the divemasters from Amigos del Mar dive shop for taking the video. Enjoy! Amazing footage! We hear Orcas are spotted in the area on occasion, thanks for sharing!

Placencia Sidewalk Arts & Music Festival
We had a blast last year at the Placencia Sidewalk Arts & Music Festival last year! If you missed out, the fun begins next weekend! Take advantage of the Tropic Air Belize Valentine's special and fly your sweetie there for just $14 on Friday the 14th!

Fourth Road Project (Santa Elena / San Ignacio By-Pass) Lot 3 – Branch Mouth to Joseph Andrews Drive (Inclusive of River Works)
The Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Works & Transport announces the signing of the construction contract to carry out Lot#3 of this project, with the lowest evaluated bidder, CISCO Construction Ltd., for the sum of BZ$3,873,059.43. The Government of Belize secured a Loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for the Fourth Road Project (Santa Elena / San Ignacio Bypass) to be implemented in the Cayo District. This project is divided into four phases: (Lot 1) the upgrading of Loma Luz Boulevard; (Lot 2) a new bridge crossing of the Macal River; (Lot 3) the construction of a new high-embankment by-pass; and (Lot 4) the rehabilitation of Joseph Andrews Drive to the point it re-connects the George Price Highway. The subject of this contract signing, Lot 3 of the 4th Road Project, is the construction of a new high-embankment by-pass road that will link the North end of Joseph Andrews Drive to the Western Approach of a proposed new bridge crossing at the Macal River in the vicinity of the Branch Mouth Road. The scope of works includes: the setting out of the new alignment, the clearing of existing vegetation and other obstacles from within the new reserve; the importation and compaction of suitable material; the construction of a granular pavement layer; and the application of a bituminous wearing course.

Jungle Hospitality in Beautiful Belize
Jungle hospitality, one of the thing's Cayo is known for, is one of the focuses of this superbly written article from Jaxfax magazine. Chaa Creek and Hidden Valley Inn are highlighted, of course, and Caracol, ATM, Butterfly Falls, and the San Antonio Women's Group classes are recommended. Well worth a read. "Belize offers two realities: Jungles where you can hear the roar of howler monkeys and stay in rooms that make you feel like you’re at luxury summer camp - where you can disconnect from 24-hour media and other noise pollution, and the glowing aqua shore where you can lean against palm trees on a beach that retains its wild outlines and enjoy a pina colada. Belize offers both those experiences. Start in the jungle with rigorous hiking, biking, swimming, bird watching and other activities and end the trip with relaxation, snorkeling, a fishing excursion perhaps or a trip to a high-end spa."

Battle of the DJ's Competition
The Battle of the DJ's competition is coming to Benque. They'll have the dance at the Cancha Marshalleck on Valentine's day, Friday, February 14th.

Channel 5

Mayor Darrell Bradley’s choice words for CWU President, Audrey Matura-Shepherd
This morning, a team from the Belize City Council met with CWU President Audrey Matura-Shepherd and the Labour Commissioner in downtown Belize City. The issue on the table remains the [...]

Another prime property in Orange Walk East ends up in the hands of political affiliate
As recent as two weeks ago, we reported that the Guadalupe Park in the Orange Walk East constituency ended up the hands of Adin Aragon, the son of the former [...]

Rosewood bust in the South
From Orange Walk, we head south. The illegal logging of rosewood appeared to have cooled down that is until this week when SATIIM rangers on patrol in the Sarstoon Temash [...]

Labor Commissioner puts off redundancy of 26 security workers until next Wednesday
The meeting between the Labor Commissioner, the CWU and the Mayor concluded a little while ago at the office of the labor Commissioner. Word to News Five is that the [...]

The P.U.P.’s draft bill to amend the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act and the Firearms Act
In response to a sustained outcry against the Firearms Act, as amended in 2008, Minister of National Security John Saldivar stood in the House on Wednesday to say that his [...]

Opposition senator argues the draftsmanship of Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Bill
Following a Special Sitting of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the senate met today in Belmopan. Seven bills were brought from the House, including proposed legislation to deal with [...]

…Leader of Government Business agrees, but still passes bill
In responding to Shoman’s concerns, Leader of Government Business Godwin Hulse, echoed a similar sentiment, particularly where it pertains to laws that will inevitably have to be revisited.  Nonetheless, he [...]

Still no reaction from the B.N.T.U. on 4% salary adjustments
After crunching the numbers, the Prime Minister said on Wednesday in the House that the quantum in salary adjustments for teachers would not be less than four percent. The Belize [...]

Murder trial of Bert Vasquez adjourned once again
The lifeless body of thirteen-year-old Jasmine Lowe was discovered in an overgrown area off the Cristo Rey Road after she was reported missing in early June 2012.  In the wake [...]

Toledo West Area Rep calls out P.M. Barrow on Castro cheques scandal
As we showed you in Wednesday’s newscast, Minister of State Edmond Castro spent twenty minutes in the House reading a prepared statement to explain, or at least attempt to explain, [...]

Leader of the Opposition says no excuse to appropriate public monies
That was the PM in the House on Wednesday. He maintains that there were only three questionable checks, but the truth is that there were a lot more than that. [...]

Barrow and Briceño debate state of the economy
The Statistical Institute of Belize recently released statistics pointing to an unemployment rate of fourteen point two percent and an inflation rate of point five percent. As far as the [...]

Toledo East Mike Espat speaks of cancellation of port leases
In August 2013, the government cancelled the lease held by the Ports of Belize Limited to the Commerce Bight Port in Southern Belize. That…after the Belize Bank seized control of [...]

P.M. Barrow says millions to be invested for road works around the country
With the insults, condescending commentary and petty taunts out the way, the Prime Minister then disbursed some good news where infrastructure in concerned. The first bit of news is that [...]

Healthy Living looks at the value between a carrot stick and a French fry
February fourth was the celebration of World Aids Day. There is still much stigma associated with HIV AIDs so this year, the theme was Debunking Myths and Building Awareness. Tonight [...]


More Land Grab In O/W East
In the sitting of the House of Representatives yesterday, things ran smoothly for the better part of the morning. But as we showed you last night, the House soon turned into a boxing ring as things got pretty nasty as members of Parliament snapped very personal slurs against each other. Tonight we bring you the very thing that thing that triggered the chaos – land matters. Orange Walk South Area Representative Jose Abelardo Mai made reference to the land controversy surrounding the Guadalupe Park in Orange Walk East but then proceeded to present yet another case in which public land has once again been privatized in the same constituency. This time, the matter surrounds a land where the former East Polyclinic was once located. According to Mai, the paper works for that parcel is in the works and is to be given out to a UDP stalwart working at the Lands Department in Corozal.

Palmar Residents Accuse Land Committees Of Embezzlement
Tonight, descendants and concerned residents of San Jose Nuevo Palmar in the Orange Walk District are up in arms. They are alleging corruption and embezzlement of funds from lands in their village. Tired of being lied to and taken for granted by the present lands committee, the irate villagers took to the media today as they held a press conference staged at the Community Center. Reporter Maria Novelo and videographer Jesus Melgar were there to capture the fuss, here is that report. A handful of concerned citizens of the San Jose Nuevo Palmar Village attracted the attention of the media today as they accused the present and former land committees of illegally embezzling monies from lands being sold within the village. This they claim is contrary to the rules set in the appointment of a land advisory committee. Concerned Descendant, Lorenzo Aldana says, this has been occurring since 1996 without accountability or transparency, and villagers have simply had enough.


Opposition Party Wants Discretion to Be Restored to the Magistrate
The House of Representatives met on Wednesday and the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act and the Firearms Act were not on the schedule for the day’s events. This, according to the Opposition, People’s United Party, was an indication that the Government does not see the public outcry to amend or repeal the Law as an issue of pressing national importance. So today, the PUP held a press conference at its Queen Street headquarters to scrutinize the Law and with the assistance of two of its Legal Advisors, Anthony Sylvestre Junior and Karim Musa, it did. And the party hopes to make proposals with amendments that it hopes to present to the Government and other relevant offices. PUP Leader, Francis Fonseca, explained first. FONSECA “We recognize the importance for us to remain vigilant and tough on crime; crime is a real problem in our society but certainly when the citizens of our country are of a growing view that these particular laws are being applied inequitably, we certainly have an obligation to look at those laws and so, our message today is that we have done our work; we have proposed specific amendments to these particular laws, the Firearms Act and the Crime Control Criminal Justice Act; we are going to make that available to the Government of Belize; we want to work with the government on this issue.”

Police News
Craftsman tools valued at five thousand dollars were stolen from a Belizean mechanic in the Joseito Layout area in Corozal Town sometime between 10pm on February 4 and 8am on February 5. According to the mechanic, 56-year-old, Howell Grange, a grey Nissan Urvan vehicle belonging to A & R Company was parked in his yard and the two containers where the tools were stored were inside the vehicle. As their investigation continues, Police is reminding the public that the purchasing of stolen goods is an offense. A food delivery guy was robbed on Wednesday night in the vicinity of Faber’s Road in Belize City. Reports are that 34-year-old, Nelson Tablada was riding a Lifan100 motorcycle on McVille Road on his way to make a food delivery when he was approached by two men of dark complexion. Tablada says one of the men was armed with a handgun and he was robbed of his motorcycle along with other items. The two robbers are being sought by the Police.

Prime Minister Says He Is Hurt by the Untoward Behaviour of Some Ministers
Following yesterday’s House meeting we met up with the Prime Minister and we asked him whether he faces a greater threat from the opposition, People’s United Party from within the UDP. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “I don’t want to seem to be making light of the opposition; I don’t want to disrespect the opposition but it is a fair question and there are times indeed when I feel that my troubles are being caused more by the difficulties that the behavior or the actions of some of my ministers, the difficulties, that sort of behavior has resulted in. I am very worried indeed because I am absolutely convinced that the Government is doing a phenomenal job with respect to the kind of public spending I told you about, with respect to improvement in the quality of life, with respect to employment creation, with respect to the success against crime, with respect to being able to solve the huge issues of the day, BSCFA, ASR, the Super Bond, matters that are extremely critical and weighty in terms of the national interest and on that basis, I would have felt that notwithstanding the well-known difficulties of anybody trying to get a third term and which would have to be present in any case, I would have felt at this early juncture, we would have been able to feel pretty good about where we are; delivering goods and services, making sure that people can see tangible improvements but there is no doubt in my mind that the scandals have threatened to swamp us, they have threatened to cause us to come undone and naturally, that is a source of great regret because it is self-inflicted; I have been personally, extremely hurt because I at the top of the pyramid, run completely straight and that, I believe, is well known but when indeed, I have to defend or appear to be defending behavior that is the opposite of straight, my personal credibility takes a great hit.

Chamber Analyzes OSH Bill
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, BCCI, says that it is reviewing the Occupational Safety and Health Bill that was recently tabled in the House of Representatives. The Chamber says that while it fully supports health and safety measures for employees, it is deeply concerned that the bill contains variation from the draft that was circulated and previously reviewed in 2010. Chamber Chief Executive Officer, Kim Aikman, told Love News what are the key areas that need revision. Kim Aikman “There are certain areas that need to be taken care of; we have the ergonomics area where chairs and tables need to be at specific heights and then we have in the construction industry, the helmets and the steel toe shoes and all that and as I said before, workers need to be protected and even without legislation, we have most of our members doing exactly what they need to be doing; we have members who insist on hard hats, members who insists on steel toe boots and we have safety measures in place by a lot of our big business.

Internal Audit at Corozal Town Council; How Much Money Went Missing?
In January we told you that the revenue department at the Corozal Town Council has been put on hold after it was discovered that thousands of dollars have been allegedly misappropriated from the revenue department. Three employees have not reported to work since the discovery and at the moment an internal audit is being conducted so that it can be verified the exact amount of monies missing and who is to blame. This evening when we attempted to get in contact with Corozal Town Mayor, Hilberto Campus, we were told he was meeting with the Council’s Administrator. An internal audit is currently ongoing and we were told that Mayor Campus would give a comment until the investigation concludes which at this point; no one knows when that will be. We’ll keep following this story.

Former Dean Files Lawsuit Against University of Belize
This afternoon Justice Courtney Ashton Abel heard the application by former Dean of the University of Belize, Abigial Mckay who is seeking permission to bring judicial review proceeding against the University for not renewing or extending her three year contract for two more years. Mckay claims she was wrongfully not extended for two years. Mckay’s contract ended on September 30, 2013 and her attorney, Audrey Matura Shepherd filed for a leave of application exactly three months after. Today we got both sides of the case including that of the defendants’ through their attorney, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow who used the University’s Staff and Faculty Handbook to have the application dismissed. AUDREY MATURA SHEPHERD “What happened is that Dr. McKay was hired under a five year contract, after three years it can be renewed; at the time, she was under the impression that based on the handbook, the very same handbook that they are saying has no value; the handbook states on page thirteen is that it is mandatory that Deans have a contract for five years but I just told you, the argument is that the handbook has no value. So, based on that, she has a legitimate expectation that she should come before the court and that she should have been given the opportunity to serve out her five years unless she resigned or they asked her to leave with good cause and she was never given any good time to leave.”

Contract for Road Project Awarded to Cisco Construction
A construction contract valued at almost four million dollars was signed earlier today, granting Cisco Construction the job to carry out part three of a four-phase road project in the Cayo District. Part three of the project involved the construction of a new high-embankment by-pass that will span across the Macal River near the Branch Mouth area to the north end of Joseph Andrews Drive in San Ignacio Town. The announcement came this evening from Belmopan, explaining that the scope of works under this contract includes the setting out of the new alignment, the clearing of existing vegetation and other obstacles from within the new reserve as well as the importation and compaction of suitable material, and the construction of a granular pavement layer. The project, which is divided into four phases and is being financed through a loan from the Caribbean development Bank, will also involve the excavation of a flood relief channel and the construction of reinforced concrete lined drains along the road alignment. Cisco Construction was awarded the contract as the company was reported to be the lowest evaluated bidder.

Closing Season for Lobster Draws Near
The Fisheries Department today announced that the close of the lobster season is drawing near which means that all the fishers who have their lobster traps in place under waters are obligated to collect them and put them on storage for next four months. Closing date for this season is Saturday, February 15 with a reopening scheduled for June 15, 2014. Any fishing for lobsters during this period will be deemed illegal and has a consequence for prosecution inside the courts under regulation 3 (1) (b) of the Fisheries Regulations, Chapter 210 of the subsidiary laws of Belize R.E. 2003. According to the Fisheries Department, their Enforcement Unit will be vigilant in ensuring that fishers comply with this order.


PUP Challenges the Government to Fix the Money Laundering and Terrorism Act
The Fire Arm Amendment Act (2008), which was instituted in effect to a surge in gun related crimes in the country, will return to the drawing board for revision. Such law is argued to go far-reaching legislation that runs the risk to impose great severity to law-abiding citizens. But...

Mr. Penner Talks to the Media First Time After the Scandal Broke up
Today, reports surfaced that Cayo North East Area Representative, Elvin Penner attended a meeting this afternoon, with the Prime Minister at his Whitfield Tower Office in Belize City. The ousted Minister of State has been seen out and about town regularly, but has declined media requests for interviews. Today,...

“He Missed the Point” Hon. Fonseca says About Minister Castro
Today at a press briefing, the leader of the Opposition spoke on Hon. Edmund Castor’s explanation of his personal use of public funds at yesterday’s House meeting. Today, the PUP leader said Castro got it wrong when he suggested that he was being blamed for the 76 cheques...

Evidence Found of Illegal Rosewood Cutting in the South
Yesterday at around 2:00 p.m. Rangers of SATIIM (Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management) discovered that about three miles from the mouth of the Sarstoon River and into a little area called Black Creek, a large quantity of Rosewood was being illegally extracted. We spoke with Greg Ch’oc, Executive...

Integrity Commission Formally Appointed
In an effort to combat Ministerial or official wrong doing, the Barrow Administration, with consultation with the Leader of the Opposition has constituted an Integrity Commission. The Integrity Commission, which has conceivably been lying dormant, is charged with requesting and overseeing the financial disclosures, this includes their finances, income,...

Firey Exchange Erupts in Assembly Over Various Corruption Allegations
Yesterday at the Sitting of the House of Representatives, all seemed to be going rather calmly; so much so that the leader of the opposition even mentioned that he received a text congratulating the House on the civility of the proceedings. But that calm would only last for a...

PUP Meets to Appeal for Two Major Amendments to the Law
The People’s United Party (PUP) presented some proposals for amendments to both the Firearms and Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act at a press briefing today in Belize City, in addition to some mentioned during the House meeting. Attorney and Party Communications Director Kareem Musa focused on the bail...

Not Easy to Make Guadalupe Park Public Says Lands Commissioner
Last week, a land dispute in Orange Walk Town was resolved amicably. The parcel of land in question was the Guadalupe Park and the two lots beside it which also belonged to the community. However, in 2012 the land was somehow privatized under the son of UDP standard bearer...

Minister Joy Grant’s House Burglarized
The home of Minister Joy Grant was burglarized and the thief or thieves made off with over $6000 worth of goods. The caretaker of the house which is located at Noralez Extension in Independence Village made the report that he went to check the home yesterday February 5th and...

Hon. Faber’s Back and Forths with the BNTU is Not Over
The back and forth between the BNTU and the Minister of Education is still not over. As discussions over salary adjustments continue, there continues to be apparent misunderstandings between the negotiating parties. In an interview given by the Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber to Love FM on Tuesday...

The Chamber of Commerce Explain Their Sight of the OSH Bill
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, today released its position on the Occupational Safety and Health Bill. Such Bill was tabled in the House of Representatives in January and seeks to secure the welfare of workers on the job site, as well as persons other than workers against...

USA and UB Students Take Joint Initiative to Train for Better Health
The University of Belize hosted a health fair today. The initiative was that of the Faculty of Nursing which collaborated with a team from the United States. The team of medical professionals and university lecturers and students offered information on diet, diseases, and other health related issues to those...

#485407 - 02/07/14 05:16 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 7, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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More News: Scroll up from here

The Guardian

The end of Offshore Banking Sector
“We can kick and scream, ultimately we have to comply.” - PM Hon. Dean Barrow That was Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s assessment of the Bills which were passed at the National Assembly on Wednesday February 5th in order for Belize to be compliant with international standards and regulations as it relates to the offshore banking industry. The amendments to become compliant came in the form of Bills which went through their three readings at the National Assembly and are as follows: | (1) A bill to amend the companies act chapter 250 of the substantive laws of Belize revised edition 2000-2003 to make provisions for the mandatory registration of beneficial owners of registered companies. (2) A bill to amend the domestic banks and financial institutions act number 11 of 2012 to make provisions for the prohibitions against licensing shell banks, remove reference to currency transaction reporting, enhance information gathering powers of the Central Bank. (3) A bill for an act to amend the Financial Intelligence Unit act chapter 138 (02) to provide for measures to ensure compliance with international standards on operational independence.

Audrey eats Crow
Audrey Matura Shepherd has had to retract her statements and apologized to UDP Belize Rural Central hopeful, Beverly Castillo. The exact text of her apology is as follows: PRESS RELEASE From Audrey Matura Shepherd Belize City, On 30 and 31 December 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 apologise to her for the harm done to her name and reputation as a result of my statements.

Gino Peck sets a precedent
Corporal Gino Peck, the officer who was charged and convicted of firearm offenses, has escaped jail time, and in the wake of that decision, there is the fear that a vacuum in the Firearms Act now appears to exist. Peck was convicted in a trial before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, in a case prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecution, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal on Monday, January 27, 2014. Readers may remember that on January 21, 2012, the Gang Suppression Unit searched his house and found 8 live rounds of .45 ammunition, 29 live rounds of 9mm ammunition, 21 twelve-gauge cartridges, 4 live rounds of .38 ammunition, and 2 empty Glock magazines. Because of the discovery, the GSU charged him with 2 counts of keeping unlicensed ammunition, and 1 count of keeping prohibited ammunition. He was tried and convicted, which caused outrage amongst the rank and file of the Police Department and the general public. Many believe that he should not have been charged as a civilian because he was exempted under the law, while others say that because of his track record and reputation as a good officer, his version of the events should have been accepted. Peck has never denied having possession of the items; his defence was that he was keeping them for operational purposes, in case the department called for his services on short notice. There were also rumours circulating that Peck supposedly was targeted by Superintendent Marco Vidal, the commander of the GSU, in some personal vendetta for a past grievance.

Aragon secures the OW East
Orange Walk East is returning to the United Democratic Party; that was proven on Sunday February 2nd when 2,384 residents of that constituency came out to cast their votes to select a new Standard Bearer for that division. When the convention came to a conclusion, Elodio Aragon Jr. had emerged victorious, he had secured 1,327 votes while David Constanza received 1,033 votes. There were 24 spoilt ballots. Immediately after the ballots were counted, UDP Party Chairman, Alberto August made the announcement to a throng of supporters of both Aragon and Constanza as they waited outside the Louisiana Government School to hear the outcome. Shortly thereafter, Aragon was sworn in as the Standard Bearer and Constanza spoke to the UDP supporters. He thanked them for coming out and explained that he stands ready to work with Aragon to bring the East back to the UDP. For his part, Aragon extended the request that the campaigners, voters and Constanza to now join him in the work to secure a victory for the UDP in the constituency.

Palacio, Why Isn’t It about SALARY ADJUSTMENTS?
Whenever the leaders of the country’s biggest unions meet with Prime Minister Barrow, the Financial Secretary opens all the books. They get to know exactly how the economy is doing and they get the latest information on Government revenues. The last meeting with union leaders and Prime Minister Barrow was Thursday, January 30th, and once again they were updated on the performance of the economy and revenue collection. We are told that there was positive reaction to the numbers revealed. According to someone with knowledge of the event, the only friction was a request for a “floor” by a representative from the Belize National Teachers Union. A request which Prime Minister Barrow could not grant since there is too much outstanding data to make a commitment before the financial year ends. Bottom line is; teachers and public officers have a lot to be happy about. At the House meeting held on Wednesday, PM Barrow noted that the public officers and teachers will get no less than a 6% salary increase, 2% by way of the yearly salary adjustment and the 4% from revenues collected. The BNTU executives do not want the public to know of the great fortune coming their way. Truth be told, the fabulous news they received in the most recent meeting with Prime Minister Barrow has not even been relayed to the majority of Belize’s teachers. Why hasn’t it?

Gaining Perspective
A visitor to Belize listening to the chatter of talk shows and other media may get the impression that corruption is at an all time high in Belize when in fact the corruption “scandals” that are at the heart of the chatter are fairly low level. What is at a high level is decisive action from the very top to deal with any instances that immerge. Most of the instances are examples of long standing practices that jar because the UDP is held to higher standards than the PUP. They actually present an opportunity to clean up these practices through institutional change but for that to happen we must deal with the root causes. The issuance of a passport is a case in point. It is common knowledge that passports have been illegally issued for many years whilst Penner was only made a Junior Minister recently. It therefore stands to reason that he was not the mastermind behind the latest “Citizen Kim” incident and did not force public officers to actually produce the illegal document. Penner must face the legal and other consequences of a relatively minor infraction of falsely claiming to know Kim but the public officers who actually produced the false documents cannot escape culpability for their far more serious actions.

Coast Guard Boat collision claims Life
Benjamin Jerome Gentle Jr., a 20 year-old resident of Crooked Tree Village, died in an accident between 2 Coast Guard boats which injured 10 others on January 31. The Boats were ferrying people across the flooded causeway as has been happening for weeks since it became flooded from the excess rains affecting the country last year. Ladyville police found his body at around 6:30 a.m., inside one of the boats with huge chop wounds to his shoulder, under his right arm, and the right side of his lower back. The preliminary finding suggests that he got sliced to death from the propeller blade of the other boat engine when the two vessels collided. From what police have been able to piece together, at around 5:30 a.m. the two boats were ferrying people across the lagoon, and one of the drivers lost control of his vessel, causing it to slam into the other boat. The force of the larger boat caused it to ride over the side of the smaller boat, where Benjamin Gentle and the other 10 students were. That’s when the propeller came close enough to slice Gentle to death. Commander Elton Bennett, the Vice-Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard has told the media that the two drivers of the Coast Guard Boats were approaching each other to make an exchange, and while they were close enough, one of the boats suffered an engine malfunction which cause the driver to lose control, and that’s when the accident happened. He added that he finds it questionable that they were trying to do a transfer while en route and not at a drop off point, which is not normal operating procedure. At this time, the matter is being investigated by the Belize Port Authority, the Police Department as well as the Coast Guard.

Alrick Smith Convicted of Shooting at a Police Officer
On Tuesday, February 4th, 29-year-old Ladyville resident Alrick Smith was sentenced to serve 6 months in prison after he was convicted of aggravated assault upon a police officer. On May 11th, 2011 Smith was accused along with two others of stealing cattle from a farm in Isabella Bank. Police Officer Norman Anthony was assigned to respond to the crime in progress around 2 p.m. that day. He met a van in the May Pen area that fit the description of the one the cattle thieves were in. As it approached he ordered the driver to stop and come out. The driver refused; instead, he reversed the van and headed back towards Isabella Bank. Anthony fired a warning shot with his 12 gauge shot gun towards the van then set chase after. Anthony caught up with the van at the Flowers Bank junction and fired a shot which punctured the rear driver’s side wheel. The van came to stop and the driver, who Anthony recognized as Smith, ran into the bushes. Anthony says that Smith pulled out a black firearm from his left pants pocket and fired a shot towards him. Anthony took cover and Smith managed to escape but was later arrested and charged for shooting at the officer. In Court Smith was unrepresented. He implicated himself at the scene but claims it was not him who fired any shot at the officer. He said he was sitting in the passenger side of the van and there was no way Anthony could have seen any firearm in his hand. According to PC Anthony, he had known Smith for two years prior to the shooting incident and he had seen him earlier that day.

Aragon secures the OW East
Orange Walk East is returning to the United Democratic Party; that was proven on Sunday February 2nd when 2,384 residents of that constituency came out to cast their votes to select a new Standard Bearer for that division. When the convention came to a conclusion, Elodio Aragon Jr. had emerged victorious, he had secured 1,327 votes while David Constanza received 1,033 votes. There were 24 spoilt ballots. Immediately after the ballots were counted, UDP Party Chairman, Alberto August made the announcement to a throng of supporters of both Aragon and Constanza as they waited outside the Louisiana Government School to hear the outcome. Shortly thereafter, Aragon was sworn in as the Standard Bearer and Constanza spoke to the UDP supporters. He thanked them for coming out and explained that he stands ready to work with Aragon to bring the East back to the UDP. For his part, Aragon extended the request that the campaigners, voters and Constanza to now join him in the work to secure a victory for the UDP in the constituency. This latest convention has been the largest one on record this year for the UDP. On Saturday February 8th, an endorsement convention will be held for Juan De Dios Moguel to be the Standard Bearer of Orange Walk South in August Pine Ride and on Sunday there will be a convention to select a Standard Bearer in Toledo West in San Antonio Village.

Palacio, Why Isn’t It about SALARY ADJUSTMENTS?
Whenever the leaders of the country’s biggest unions meet with Prime Minister Barrow, the Financial Secretary opens all the books. They get to know exactly how the economy is doing and they get the latest information on Government revenues. The last meeting with union leaders and Prime Minister Barrow was Thursday, January 30th, and once again they were updated on the performance of the economy and revenue collection. We are told that there was positive reaction to the numbers revealed. According to someone with knowledge of the event, the only friction was a request for a “floor” by a representative from the Belize National Teachers Union. A request which Prime Minister Barrow could not grant since there is too much outstanding data to make a commitment before the financial year ends. Bottom line is; teachers and public officers have a lot to be happy about. At the House meeting held on Wednesday, PM Barrow noted that the public officers and teachers will get no less than a 6% salary increase, 2% by way of the yearly salary adjustment and the 4% from revenues collected. The BNTU executives do not want the public to know of the great fortune coming their way. Truth be told, the fabulous news they received in the most recent meeting with Prime Minister Barrow has not even been relayed to the majority of Belize’s teachers. Why hasn’t it?

Security personnel will receive full benefits and other jobs says Mayor Darrell Bradley
In late December of last year, the Belize City Council took the decision that it would be outsourcing the security section of the council that is currently being done internally. That meant that 26 persons would have to find another job. Last week Friday, January 31 was the deadline but before the terminations could be executed the Christian Workers Union who claims to represent the employees intervened. They were asking for fair treatment of the employees. Speaking to the media on Monday, February 3rd, Mayor Darrell Bradley gave his assurances that employees would be fairly treated. They would receive all their entitlements and any miscalculation by the council would be rectified and they would be paid off in full. More than that, he assured that 20 of the 26 security guards will be taken on by the new contractor who will be offering the services to the council. The other six will either be absorbed into other areas of service in the council or they would not be taken on because of discipline issues that they have with the council.

Citrus Industry ruffled - farmers not being paid
The shamelessly embattled citrus industry, which has had years of disputes between the Citrus Growers Association and Banks Holdings, or the CGA and Henry Canton, is once again having difficulties. Farmers are not being paid for their weekly delivery of their oranges, since the beginning of this crop season, which began a few weeks ago. The CGA held an emergency General Meeting on Saturday, February 2, where about almost 200 growers showed up to get an update from the executive what the problem is for them to be paid on a timely basis. It turns out that the problem is that there are audit reports to be done for the Citrus Products of Belize Limited, the company which buys the growers' oranges and produces the juices, and so the company's bankers have refused to release funds, which would then be used to pay the farmers to time. The main speakers at the meeting were Eccleston Irving, the Chairman of the CGA; Henry Anderson, the CEO of the CGA, who also sits on the Board of Directors of the CPBL, and Denzil Jenkins, the Chairman of the Belize Citrus Growers Investment Company Limited, the growers' company which has a 51% majority shareholdings in CPBL.

Police and Minister Elrington Hold Computer Classes for Mahogany Area Women
The Mahogany Police Sub Precinct is teaming up with Hon. Wilfred Elrington and the Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence to provide computer literacy training for mothers from the Mahogany Street area. The project is the brain child of Sergeant Brent Hamilton, Head of the Mahogany Street Police Precinct. Sgt. Hamilton hosts a Cadet Corps for young boys in the area. He says that parents of his cadets have visited the station numerous times to ask for assistance with homework assignments that must be completed on the computer. In many cases, the visits were made not because the parents do not have access to computers but simply because they do not know how to use them. Hamilton says that some parents have even purchased computers but cannot operate them. These were the factors that drove him to look for partners to provide computer literacy classes for mothers of his cadets and other women from the area.

Get moving Belize
On Monday February 3rd, the Belize City Council officially launched a fitness program called "Get Moving Belize". According to Mayor Darrell Bradley, the program will see a partnering between Body 2000, the Belize Diabetes Association and the Belize City Council to promote healthy lifestyles for Belize city residents through exercise. Every morning from Monday to Thursday for the next three months, residents are encouraged to come out to the Battlefield Park, the Memorial Park and the Maud Williams high school basketball court from 5 to 6 in the morning to exercise. Mayor Bradley says the purpose is two fold: to promote healthy lifestyles as well as to encourage the use of public spaces in Belize City. "We are going to have zumba classes; we are going to be doing a weigh in, so that people can actually monitor their progress. We are going to be working with the Diabetes Association to provide continuous diabetes, pressure and sugar testing, so that we are actually tracing individuals and their making improvement," "We are talking about building a better city and important to that is building better citizens and building positive values and building a sense of wellness and welfare," stated the mayor.

Illegal Waste Dumping Announcement from the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority
The Belize Solid Waste Management Authority (BSWaMA) hereby informs the general public that the Belize City Transfer Station located at Mile 3 on the George Price Highway is now fully operational. Note that the main entrance to the Transfer Station is located adjacent to the Belize Waste Control compound. The opening hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday to Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The Belize Solid Waste Management Authority and the Belize City Council hereby ask the public to refrain from dumping garbage at the entrance of the old dump site that has now been closed. Anyone caught dumping garbage at the said location will be issued a fine of $2,000.00. We take this opportunity to ask motorists and commuters not to litter the highways. Keep any garbage in your vehicles or public transportation and dispose of it properly upon arrival at the final destination. There is only one Belize so do your part and help us to keep it clean.

Diabetes on the Rise
President of the Belize Diabetes Association, Anthony Castillo, told a gathering at the Battlefield Park on the occasion of the Belize City Council's launch of their 'Get Moving Belize' campaign, that diabetes is on the rise in Belize. According to Castillo, since last year November 14th, the International Diabetes Federation brought out worldwide statistics including statistics for Belize in which it pointed out at 15.8% of the adult population of Belize between the ages of 20 and 79 is affected by diabetes. "This is alarming for us, with more people suffering from diabetes it means that there are less people to form part of the work force and we need healthy people to develop the country," stated Castillo. Diabetes is a debilitating disease that more than causing serious health complications that can eventually lead to death if it goes untreated, is also a very expensive disease to treat. People are predisposed to it via heredity or acquire it through lifestyle choices. Castillo says that the Diabetes Association's goal as a support group is to educate the public about the disease to prevent people from acquiring it and to help those with the disease to learn to live with it.

For all the marbles this coming Saturday
The 2013 Opening Season of the Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup will come to an end on Saturday February 8, 2014, out at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in the City of Belmopan. This is the second and final game in the championship series between the Belmopan Bandits and FC Belize and this one is for all the marbles, as the winner will be crowned the champions and the loser will have to play the brides-maid roll. On Sunday February 2, 2014, at the MCC Grounds, the visiting Belmopan Bandits and the host team FC Belize played to a 1-1 draw. The visiting Belmopan Bandits were the first to get onto the scoreboard when Deon McCaulay scored his team’s only goal of the game in the 5th minute of play to give it a 1-0 lead. The first half of the game ended 1-0 in favour of the Belmopan Bandits. At the start of the second half of the game, the Belmopan Bandits enjoyed a 1-0 lead and its defence did a decent job of protecting its goal. However, the offence of FC Belize was finally able to penetrate the Belmopan Bandits defence and got into the Belmopan goal area where Mark “Kello” Leslie was able to score the equalising goal for his team in the 62nd minute of play for a 1-1 draw. At the end of the long whistle, game one in the championship series had indeed ended in a 1-1 draw.

Albert Constituency youth basketball tourney to start
The Albert UDP Committee will be hosting a Youth Basketball Competition for boys living in the Albert Constituency and are between the ages of 11 – 15 years old. The competition is scheduled to commence on February 15, 2014 and teams are quickly forming. Boys living in the Albert constituency that are interested in participating in the competition can pick up application forms from Ms. Mary Guzman at the Youth for the Future Secretariat on Regent Street (Old Hotel Mopan) and at the National Sports Council Office at Rogers Stadium. The Youth Tournament will be played only on Saturdays and is being sponsored by the Hon. Herman Longsworth, Area Representative for the Albert Constituency and the Minister of State will direct responsibility for Youth and Sports.

Elite Basketball competition to commence this Saturday
The National Elite Basketball League is pleased to announce that the 2014 competition is scheduled to commence on Friday February 7 at 9:00pm at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City. According to the Commissioner of the Elite League a short Opening Ceremony will take place before tipoff time at Bird’s Isle. The teams that will participate in this year’s competition are, Belize City No Limit, San Pedro Tigersharks, Belmopan Bandits, Orange Walk Running Rebels, Corozal Heats, Cayo Western Ballaz, Dangriga Warriors and Toledo Diplomats. The games are scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays and will be played at prime venues across the country. On Friday February 9, in game one Belize City No Limit will go up against San Pedro Tigersharks at Bird’s Isle and at the UB Gymnasium in Belmopan at 9:00 pm it will be the Belmopan Bandits against the Orange Walk running Rebels. The competition will then continue on Saturday February 8 with two more games on the schedule. In game one out at the Andres Campus civic Centre at 9:00 pm it will be Corozal Heats against Cayo Western Ballaz and at the Why-Not Island in Dangriga Town, it will be the Dangriga Warriors against the Toledo Diplomats.

Manzanero charged for Murder
Wanted fugitive, 30 year-old Kevin “Migit” Manzanero, who police were seeking for about 6 weeks, has finally been arrested and charged with murder for the shooting death of 56 year-old Freddy Lopez Sr. Manzanero is one of the 2 suspects who police wanted to question in relation to the shooting death of the San Ignacio Resident who was killed in front of his wife, daughter-in-law, and 2 grand-daughters on December 23, 2013. Readers may remember that on that day, Lopez was escorting his family home in the Kontiki Area of San Ignacio when they were approached by 2 men. One of them was armed with a handgun, and they tried to rob the family. Fredy Lopez Sr. picked up a rock because his family was in danger, especially his wife who was being physically restrained by the other unarmed man. The man with the firearm saw what he intended to do, and that man shot Lopez in the chest, and they immediately ran off. Lopez died in the presence of his family on the spot.

Free Education for the Needy on the Horizon - MOE to Standardize High School Fees and Pay for CXCs
Now that the teachers have concluded their series of rallies, the Ministry of Education hopes to turn the page and focus on much needed education reform. On Tuesday morning, February 4th, the Ministry held a breakfast briefing with the press to discuss the next phases in the roll out of the Secondary School Finance Reform as well as new initiatives such as the capping and standardization of secondary school fees and subsidizing of CSEC/CXC examinations. The Secondary School Finance Reform is being phased out over a seven year period. The measure is expected to level the playing field for secondary education institutions in the country by allocating government funds to schools based on student enrollment rather than number of teachers. Schools will receive a set amount of money per student. They will receive more if they accept students with less financial resources. They will also receive more if they enroll students who need more academic assistance. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Education, David Leacock, says sometimes equality is not justice. He says, “There are some people who need more help than others.” Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber, says, “We are saying to the schools; if you take students from poor economic background and if you take students who have been struggling with academics then we will give you more because they need more help.”

Opening New Markets of Trade for Belize
A national consultation on measures to improve Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures SPS in Belize was held last week Thursday at the George Price Center for Peace and Development. A team working out of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture IICA Office in Barbados took to the podium to make a presentation on a special Caribbean Project, which seeks to benefit Belize and other countries in the Caribbean. The Project, ‘Support to the Caribbean Forum of ACP States in the Implementation of Commitments Undertaken Under the Economic Partnership Agreement for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures,’ hereafter referred to as the SPS Project, was signed into effect by IICA and the European Union EU on August 24, 2013. This 42 month project comes at a cost of Euro 11.7 million and is to benefit CARIFORUM Countries. Three of the main components of the SPS Project are Legislation, Coordination mechanisms and capacity building, which are greatly needed to improve both sanitary and phytosanitary measures. These CARIFORUM countries are comprised of Belize, Antigua & Barbuda, The Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam, the Bahamas and Trinidad & Tobago.

Oil Money opens opportunities for Belizean Students
The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust signed a cooperation agreement on Monday of this week with the La Immaculada Credit Union at the Belize Natural Energy main office in Belmopan. With the signing of documents by the General Manager of the La Immaculada Credit Union, Yolanda Gomez, followed by other leaders of the Credit Union based in Orange Walk, a total of 1.5 Million dollars will be made available as part of a second round of funds to be released to students aspiring for higher education at secondary, junior college and even university levels in Belize. This brings to a total of 2.5 million dollars that the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust has invested in Credit Unions around the Country since the inception of a program that is preparing students and “unlocking potential.” A release from the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust states that the further expansion of its National Student Loan Program is a partnership with local Credit Unions that started as a pilot initiative in April 2009 when the trust placed an initial investment of one million dollars. This pilot yielded loan facilities to over 600 Belizean students, pursuing secondary and tertiary education at local institutions throughout Belize.

PUC Rejects BWS Request for 16% Rate Increase
On December 31st the Belize Water Services Limited submitted a request to the Public Utilities Commission for a 16.25 percent increase in water rates for the Annual Tariff Review covering the period April 1st, 2014 to March 31st, 2015. The Public Utilities Commission has rejected that request, opting to instead approve a 6.4 percent increase. The 6.4 percent rate increase approved by the Commission is an initial decision. Rudolph Williams Jr., Director of the Water and Waste Water Sector in the PUC, explained the Commission’s decision on Monday, February 3rd. Williams said the Belize Water Services Limited presented an investment plan for $25.679 million in the 2014-2015 period. He said, “The Commission felt that some of the investments could be delayed to the next full tariff period and some of them were not necessary at all.” Therefore, the Commission approved an investment plan of $14.3 million. Williams said, “Based on our assessment, we believe the rates and investment plan approved by the Commission is a realistic one and B.W.S. will be able to execute it in the next tariff period.”

Remembrance of Consie Locke
1. Imagine this. Cons is standing outside -- where she can talk -- looking on, as this Remembrance is about to be given. She turns to you, standing beside her and opens up those big, bold eyes. She flashes her familiar, mischievous smile and says: “mek ah yer weh fool dis one he wan seh”! That is Cons! 2. Although her favourite singer was Jim Reeves it is Matt Monro or Ray Conniff, among the artists of her generation, who comes to mind in remembering Cons. They come to mind for the evocation in the title of the hit song “Love is a many splendoured thing.” Because there was such splendour in the abundant love that Cons gave to so many persons and things. Hers was not a contained or subdued love. It was a robust, earthy, expressive, supportive and brilliant love. 3. Her greatest love was for her family: her late husband, Ray, and daughters Barbara, Phyllis, Sandra and Diana. And her big sister, Sister Elma. They meant so much to her and she was fiercely protective and caring for them. Her family returned that love in equal measure and intensity. It was truly wonderful to see the way that Cons and her husband and children continuously bonded. They shared life.

Belize National History Association Formed
A Belize National History Association BHA was recently formed in Belmopan. It is an attempt to gather Belize’s collective memory and to encompass as many people as possible. To begin that process, several members of BHA have been elected to the Executive Board at the George Price Center for Peace and Development. Having evolved from a National History Commission, the BHA has now gained the services of Francis Humphreys as Chairman, Gian Vasquez as Vice Chairman, Myrna Manzanares as Senior Member and Ifasina Efunyemi as Junior Member. Also elected to the Executive of the BHA was Fred Hunter as a Senior Member. The new Executive Board to the Belize History Association is now tasked as a semi-autonomous body to chart the way forward to improve the scholarship of Belizean History and come up with a strategic plan by April of this year, which will guide their collective work during the next two years. Meanwhile; the long term plan of BHA is to put together and write a general History of Belize.

Sol Releases New Oils for Older and High Mileage Vehicles
If you have a vehicle that is more than nine years old or has more than 75,000 miles on the dashboard then Sol Belize has a lubricant made especially for you. The new Shell Helix High Mileage motor vehicle lubricants promise to extend the engine life of older and high mileage vehicles. On Wednesday, February 5th, Sol Belize launched the Shell Helix HX7, HX5 and HX3 high mileage lubricants. Michael Merritt, Lubricant Technical Advisor for the Sol Group, held a familiarity session with Sol employees and lubricant wholesalers and retailers. Merritt says the Shell Helix high mileage line was created because “in this global economy people cannot afford to just be changing vehicles.” He says, “The automotive industry expects that after 75,000 miles a vehicle will start experiencing the effects of aging.”

Wesley College and Gwen Lizarraga in the finals of Central Region Football competition
The Central Region Secondary Schools Football Competition is fast winding down at the MCC Grounds with the commencement of the championship round. On Monday February 3, in the first game of the female competition, Wesley College and Gwen Lizarraga High School played to a 0-0 draw. In the first male game, Wesley College and Gwen Lizarraga High School played to a 1-1 draw. The goal for Wesley College was scored by Kenyon Lewis while the goal for Gwen Lizarraga High was scored by Clinton Dawson. On Friday January 31, in the female semi-final game, Gwen Lizarraga High School eliminated St. Catherine Academy by the score of 2-0. The goals for Gwen Lizarraga High School were scored by Tyra Moreira and Kishay Bevans. In the male semi-final game, Gwen Lizarraga High School eliminated Anglican Cathedral College by the score of 3-0. The goals for Gwen Lizarraga were scored by Albert Davis, Clinton Dawson and Allan Castillo.

Wesley College girls and boys leads in Central Region high schools softball competition
The 2013-2014 Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition commenced on Tuesday January 28, 2014, at Rogers Stadium. In the game played in the male competition, Wesley College blasted Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 23-11. The winning pitcher was Keeron Young and the losing pitcher was Devontae Middleton. In the first of two female games played on Wednesday January 29, Ladyville Technical High School edged Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 5-4. The winning pitcher was Amber Wade and the losing pitcher was Ashley Lucas. In the second game, St. Catherine Academy won over Excelsior High School via the default route. On Thursday January 30, in the male competition, Ladyville Technical High School won a lopsided game over Anglican Cathedral College by a score of 24-12. The winning pitcher was Issac Dominguez and the losing pitcher was Keyvon Evans.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Stolen Boat
Sea Prowler was stolen last night from Tsunami dock in Caye Caulker. Any one knowing the whereabouts or seen this vessel kindly contact Neno Rosado as urgently as possible at 610-3151


Caye Coffee, Construction and $1 Cotton Candy in San Pedro, Belize
I’m a giant fan of coffee. And, after visiting a coffee finca (plantation) in the mountains of Colombia (how very Juan Valdez of me, don’t you think?), spending some serious time in the Rum, Cigar and Coffee House in downtown San Pedro and in Starbucks around the world, I fancy myself quite the know-it-all on the subject. Robusto. Arabica. Elevations. A “coffee nose”. I’ve got the terminology down pat. So what if I like my coffee with EXTRA powdered non-dairy creamer and lots of sugar? To completely switch subjects now…I took a walk up the beach yesterday evening and noticed two construction projects. One is a sea wall being built right in the middle of town where BC’s Bar used to be… Sigh…I guess the big condo project has officially started. Here is what we are going to get smack dab in the middle of town. ALSO, Sandbar (formerly bar & restaurant) has been closed for a few months now and is working slowly to remodel as a hostel. Total change of plans! Here is what it looks like so far.

Iron like a lion in Zion – Belize says Happy Birthday Bob “Nesta” Marley!
Bob Marley was born Robert Nesta Marley on Feb. 6, 1945 in Saint Ann, Jamaica. His father, Norval Sinclair Marley, was a white Englishman and his mother, Cedelia Booker, was a black Jamaican. Bob Marley died of cancer in Miami, FL on May 11, 1981. Marley had 12 children, four by his wife Rita, and was a devout Rastafarian. Bob Marley’s father died when he was 10 years old, and his mother moved with him to Kingston’s Trenchtown neighborhood after his death. As a young teen, he befriended Bunny Wailer, and they learned to play music together. At 14, Marley dropped out of school to learn the welding trade, and spent his spare time jamming with Bunny Wailer and ska musician Joe Higgs. One of the 20th century’s most charismatic and challenging performers, Bob Marley’s renown now transcends the role of reggae luminary: he is regarded as a cultural icon who implored his people to know their history “coming from the root of King David, through the line of Solomon,” as he sang on “Blackman Redemption”; Bob urged his listeners to check out the “Real Situation” and to rebel against the vampiric “Babylon System”.

Belize forecast – bikini weather
If votes had been cast and decisions made based on today’s weather, Belize could have made the 10 Countries With Perfect Climates list. Perfect weather, hot and sunny with a few fluffy clouds and no real wind. When I got the email from my Helena Montana Weather man this morning telling me he was suffering -27 temperatures and wishing he was in San Pedro, I could not resist writing him back and mentioning the Belize forecast was bikini weather how amazing our weather was. I decided to send him the photo collage below from a few recent stock pics and and a promise to unchain myself from my desk for a break and go enjoy some sunshine and a cocktail in his honor. Plus I wanted to snap a few more pictures for today’s post.

Exploring new development in rural Small Businesses
A capacity building workshop, is being executed by SBDCBelize Beltraide with approved funds from Compete Caribbean, is taking place in the Placencia Village in collaboration with the Placencia Village Council, from Feb 3 – 7, 2014. In light of upcoming investment developments to the south of Belize, these workshops were geared towards targeting new and existing entrepreneurs in order to enhance their business skills, professional services and standards. Participants, who comprised of entrepreneurs and businesspeople from Placencia and the surrounding area, spent one week learning various business centered topics. These topics included: Entrepreneurship; Basic Business Plan Development; Costing and Pricing; Record Keeping; Developing Customer Service; Logistics; and Marketing and Sales.

San Pedro’s Best Food Spots
San Pedro has the best restaurants in Belize, period. This is due to the fact that Ambergris Caye is Belize’s most popular tourist destination and it has been that way for many, many, many years. There are two other main factors that support their food scene, one, they have a large expat community (see: why retire in Belize) and two, compared to the other locations, the standard of living is much higher for the locals (San Pedranos). But enough socio-economic drama, let me introduce my recommendations for the best food spots in San Pedro.

Homemade Waffles
2 c. white whole wheet flour ½ c. all-purrpus flour 1 ½ Tbsp. bakyun' powd'r ¼ tsp. salt 2 Tbsp. flaxseet meal 2 Tbsp. finelee groun walnuts 1 tsp. cinnamon 3 egg yolks 2 2/3 c. skim milk ½ c. canola earl 1 tsp. vanilla 3 egg whites Method: 1. N' a large bowl mix togeth'r white whole wheet flour, all-purrpus flour, bakyun' powd'r, salt, flaxseet meal, groun walnuts, an' cinnamon.

Biscuit Mix Rolls (Cinnamon Er Pizza)
Wit Valantines a'kummin up I berrowet un idee frum my daught'r-n'-law ta shape t'rolls like heerts. Y'all a'ken use t'same recipe ta roll 'um up like reglar cinnamon buns. Click here fer t'large biscuit mix recipe. Ingredyints: 3 cups biscuit mix 1 cup milk 2 Tbsp soft butt'r fer spreddin 1/2 cup brown sugar an' 1 tsp cinnamon fer spreddin 1/2 cup icyun' sugar mixet wit 1 1/2 Tbsp milk fer drizzle

International Sources

Nearly 20% Of Seats On US Flights Are Empty
It may feel like every flight these days is packed to the gills — and that's certainly the way airlines want it — but nearly 20% of seats on American domestic flights go unfilled. According to newly published numbers from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the passenger load factor for flights in the U.S. is 83.8%. While lower than you may expect, that makes U.S. flights the most crowded in the world. China isn't far behind with a load factor of 80.3%, Brazil climbed from 71.8% in 2012 to 76.% in 2013, and Japan reported by far the lowest figure, just 64.3%. The global rate for the domestic market is 79.9%.

Spirit carries only 1 percent of U.S. fliers, yet has significant name recognition thanks to provocative advertising. Baldanza has increased the number of lines on Spirit's route map by 73 since 2010, while doubling the size of Spirit's fleet. He undercuts other airlines on base ticket prices, but turns a profit by packing more passengers into planes and then charging them extra for almost everything, except the cabin air. It's a strategy that consistently produces one of the best profit margins in the industry. Passengers don't necessarily trust Spirit either. They are attracted by low fares but then compelled to play a game of dodging fees. Some drive to the airport to avoid paying up to $16.99 extra each way to book online. Customer service is notoriously lacking, something Baldanza attributes to keeping costs low so tickets are affordable. Each boarding pass printed by an agent at the ticket counter costs $10. A bottle of water, free on most airlines, costs $3. Spirit has 24 different types of baggage fees, including ones for placing a carry-on bag in the overhead bin. So, it's not surprising that Baldanza sees revenue opportunity where others see controversy. Would he allow in-flight cellphone conversations if the government lifts its prohibition? "Sure," he says without hesitation. "If we can make money at it."

USA official will visit Guatemala and Honduras
Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) William R. Brownfield will visit Guatemala and Honduras February 9-12. In Guatemala, he is expected to meet with President Otto Perez Molina and several members of his cabinet to discuss citizen security cooperation under the Department of State’s Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). As part of the U.S. commitment to support Guatemala’s efforts to strengthen the rule of law, Assistant Secretary Brownfield will also meet with Commissioner Ivan Velazquez of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and announce additional U.S. assistance.

Locals travel to Belize for birding
Alas, we enjoy the tune only for a few warm months before the thrush heads south again. This year, I got to see one in January — but it was in Belize in Central America. On Jan. 11, five of us traveled to Belize. Not only did we experience the rich diversity of bird species, but we also spent time with local Audubon members conducting bird surveys, providing eBird data collection training and discussing ideas for signage at their wildlife sanctuaries. Upon our arrival at Black Orchid Resort, we were greeted by a pileated-like lineated woodpecker and knew immediately this was a great spot to begin our adventure. Early next morning, we were in a boat on the Belize River. Accompanied by Matt Jeffery of International Alliances, we watched red-lored parrots and Montezuma oropendolas fly overhead, while raucous groove-billed anis, colorful black-cowled orioles and other tropical species foraging along the shore. For most of us, these were previously unseen “life” birds. Many more were to come.

Ignacio volunteers serve abroad in Belize and Jamaica during Christmas break
Thirty-seven Loyola University New Orleans students and staff went to Kingston, Jamaica to work with elderly and children with disabilities, while others traveled to the Mayan villages of Belize, to serve others for 10 days without electricity or running water. Their efforts over the Christmas break are a part of Loyola’s Ignacio Volunteer Program. “This Belizean adventure urges me to not take any of my fortunes for granted and to evaluate my misfortunes with a wider lens,” said Loyola sophomore Eddy Schneider. “The Belizean village was so unique and amazing in its own way. In particular what stood out to me was the way that the people in the village all worked together to make the village a better place.” In the village of San Jose, six student-athletes from the Loyola baseball team, along with their coach Doug Faust, shared their baseball skills with young Mayan children whose first-ever experience with baseball was when Loyola baseball players taught them last winter. Bringing bats, gloves, baseballs and other equipment that was donated by the team for the entire camp of more than 130 children, each afternoon was spent playing tee ball and trying to catch fly balls and grounders.

Former Crestview pastor's Belize mission makes a difference
When the Rev. Heath Burchett announced in 2008 he'd been called to another church, First United Methodist Church members were heartbroken. However, loss of the church's young youth minister and associate pastor and his energetic wife, Amanda, was another ministry's gain. Since leaving Crestview, the Burchetts have been building a mission the couple founded in Belize City, Belize.

The grand tour of Central America
It is exciting coming over to Central America, not knowing much about the region. It has been a steep learning curve though, taking a tour group to places I had never been before. They knew it was my first tour and were very understanding. It has been really exciting, like leading an expedition. My favourite place so far has been Caye Caulker in Belize. There are no cars, just golf buggies, and the roads are paved with sand. It is the most laid-back place I have ever been. We spent Christmas in Mérida, an old colonial Spanish city on the Yucatán peninsula. There was very little open so I organised take-away pizza on the rooftop of the hotel, overlooking the city.

#485411 - 02/07/14 05:38 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 7, 2014 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here

Channel 7

PM Trying To Broker Citrus Saving Deal
As we've been reporting since last week - there's a crisis in the Citrus Industry. Farmers can't get paid because the Citrus Products of Belize Limited -which owes them, hasn't found an auditor to satisfy their bankers - and until they do, their accounts remain frozen, and the farmers are out a million dollars - which increases weekly. Add to that the enduring hostility between the majority shareholder which is the Citrus Growers Association and the minority shareholder Banks Holdings - plus the fact that industry wide earnings are way down, and you've got a full blown crisis in one of Belize's most important agro-industries. And that's where the Prime Minister had to enter today. He held meetings with the two growers groups, Belize Citrus Mutual and the Citrus Growers Association. They're trying to map a way to get out of their short term cash problems, and their longer term difficulties with Banks Holdings. At an emergency meeting last Saturday THE CITRUS GROWERS took a resolution that they will agitate to buy back the 47% shares from Banks Holdings for over 20 million dollars and their intention was to approach government for assistance.

City Council And CWU Go To Mediation
The City Council intends to fire 26 security workers tomorrow - with 20 of them being re-hired by a new private firm. But their workers' representative, the Christian Workers Union is trying to stop the transition or at least slow it down. Through public pressure, the Union managed to delay the changeover by a week, but now it's coming right down to the wire. Both sides were called to a mediation session by the Labour commissioner Ivan Roberts this morning at the Labour Office in Belize City. The mayor had to leave early to head for a court appointment - but the media caught him on his way out - and he said what CWU President Audrey Matura Shepherd is asking for is unreasonable:... Mayor Darrell Bradley "We will deal with the labour commissioner as much as is required for him to be satisfied that whatever processes that need to be follow we will follow. But for our intents and purposes we have agreed as a council to proceed with this. We made representations to the labour commissioner that we have taken into account the staff members. We have tried to make the blow as soft as possible. I stay up at nights when I have to make these kinds of decisions. We have cooperated with everything that the union has but many of those proposals that they have are very unreasonable and we will not accede to anything that is unreasonable."

PUP Says Change Gun Law Now!
The Gun Law, it's been at the forefront of the public discourse for weeks now, and yesterday in the House of Representatives, you actually heard both sides of the House agree on making changes to the draconian laws. Police Minister John Saldivar said he was in discussions with the Director Of Public Prosecutions and the Solicitor General and had commenced a review of the laws to make them fair and less Draconian. But, today the PUP held a press conference to say no discussion with the relevant authorities needed; they have the changes in hand. The party has produced a draft for the Crime Control and Criminal Justice act, and for the firearms Amendment Act. And in a curious twist says they want to lead from the opposition: Kareem Musa "The PUP has a duty and an obligation to step in where the government seems unable to govern and to make the necessary changes. We are in effect leading from the Opposition." Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "When the citizens of our country are of a growing view that this particular law, these particular laws are being applied inequitably or leading to injustice we certainly have an obligation to look at those laws."

Jury Mulls Murder Verdict
Right now at the Supreme Court a jury of 12 is deliberating to reach a verdict in the murder trial of 28 year old Glenford Ferguson Jr., who was accused of the February 2007 stabbing death of 27 year-old Koffi Beeks. Crown Counsel Sheneiza Smith prosecuted the case and she called her main eyewitness who said that Beeks was eating in front of Mel's Bar in Ladyville on February 16, 2007. The witness testified that she saw when Ferguson Jr. grabbed Beeks in a "bear hug" from the back. He then pulled out a pen knife and stabbed him the left side of his neck. Beeks bled out, and even though he was rushed to the KHMH, he died from the blood loss while undergoing treatment. Ferguson had given Ladyville Police a caution statement saying that he stabbed Beeks in self-defence. The medical examiner testified that from his observation, Beeks was stabbed from behind.

Sickening Rape Of Small Child
Independence police continue to look for an uncle accused of sexually abusing his 8 year-old niece, and as soon as he is located, he will be criminally charged. The child reported to police that on Saturday evening, she went to her aunt's house to get some food to eat. She said that when she got inside, her uncle arrived and forced himself on her where he had intercourse with her against her will. A medical examination certified that she was carnally known. Also, On Tuesday, a Guatemalan mother visited San Ignacio Police with her 3 year-old infant saying that 15 year-old boy assaulted her daughter. She told police that on Monday evening, she left her daughter inside a room with the boy for a few minutes. She said that her child came to her in the other room she was bleeding from her privates. A medical examination confirmed that she was assaulted.

Coast Guard Seals, And Then There Were 2
In just a few years since it was established in 2005, the Coast Guard has gained a high public profile. Yes, they've had misdeeds and mishaps - like the one that resulted in a loss of life last week, but few can question the unit's commitment to excellence. Add to that, major "back-ative" from the US Military, and you end up with the Coast Guard Seals trained by the US Navy Seals. We showed you the first squad's graduation last year, and this year's intake is now in their fifth week of rigorous training. Here's how it looked yesterday:.. Jules Vasquez reporting These two Coast Guards crawling unto the beach - with the crack of gunfire ringing around them are going through hell, or as their Commander calls it, hell week:

Benque Ambulance, Down But Not Out
The ambulance for the Town of Benque Viejo Del Carmen, which also provides service to surrounding communities, has been missing from the area for emergencies, and because of that, rumours have been circulating that the allegation is that it has been confiscated by a business entity in Melchor De Menchos as some sort of collateral for a supposed ministerial debt. Well, Mayor Miguel Velasquez of the Benque Viejo Town Council, which manages and maintains the ambulance, told 7News today that this allegation is UNTRUE. He explained that the ambulance broke down for some days now, and they've been trying to get it fixed. An auto mechanic was identified in Peten, Guatemala as the ideal person to repair it after an extensive search, so it was towed to his mechanic shop. Velasquez said that a particularly difficult part for the ambulance had to be ordered, and the mechanic is in the process of installing it to finalize the repairs.

Barrow Vs. the Brothers Espat In The House
Last night we had a whole lot of news on the House of Representatives, almost to the exclusion of everything else. But even with all that, we still missed a few items of note. First is the Stake Bank Cruise Docking Bill - which was presented for a first reading at the last House meeting - and was approved yesterday - again with bi-partisan support. And, right that it should have that because the developer Mike Feinstein has had traditional ties with the PUP as a backer. And so, both the current and former leaders of the party spoke in favor of it yesterday - but then the former leader John Briceno brought up another port, the one in Commerce Byte that led to a round of finger pointing from the House Floor right into the Gallery: Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "We wish to offer our support to this project and in arriving at that offer of support we looked at essentially 4 criteria: 1.) Is this project good for the economy of Belize? We believe so that it will be good for the economy of Belize. We think it's critically important to the future of the cruise tourism industry which is obviously directly related to the economic development of Belize - have all the environmental clearance been met - have all the technical people signed off on the project and given their approval on the environmental side and my understanding is that has been done. That is very important. And finally, the developer Mr. Feinstein and the Stake Bank team are Belizeans who I think have a consistent history of investing in Belize."

Briceno Challenges Inflation/Unemployment Stats
And while he got that one started, Briceno managed to dodge the PM's hammer blow in the debate. But he didn't get off so easy when he spoke on statistics. As we've reported, the Statistical Institute of Belize has produced reports showing very low inflation and decreasing unemployment. Briceno didn't challenge the veracity of the figures, but he did question what they mean: Hon. John Briceno - Area Representative, Orange Walk Central "Certainly it is welcome news Mr. Speaker that the SIB presented that inflation was at a low rate of 1.6%. But I am sure many Belizeans is not feeling the numbers because if you ask the ordinary citizen across the length and breadth of this country they will tell that they are not feeling those numbers because they feel that the cost of living continues to go up. For example in 2009, a pound of red kidney beans was at $2.25. Today that same pound of red kidney beans is $3.50. during our time that we were in government the UDP use to say that things hard out here, but right now if you talk to the Belizean people, most of them will tell you that things are harder out here under this UDP government."

Remembering That Morning On The Crooked Tree Lagoon
Tomorrow will make it one week since that terrible boat collision happened in the Crooked Tree Lagoon. It cost the loss of one life, 20 year old Ben Gentle, but nine other were injured. Two of them, a 14 and a 15 year old are still in the hospital recovering. Monica Bodden spoke to them today about their medical situation and their recollection of that terrible morning:.. Monica Bodden reporting It's exactly one week since the fatal boat collision in Crooked Tree Village. It has left an entire community traumatized and some of its victims are still hospitalized. Today I visited 2 of the youngsters at the KHMH Surgical ward. Monica Bodden "Alita, tell me how are you doing today?" Alita Garbutt - Accident Victim "Good, not bad, only some shocks on my foot."

BREAKING: Citco Redundancy Put On Hold, Again
There is late news coming out of that meeting at the labour department which finished at 6:45. President of the Christian Workers Union Audrey Matura Shepherd tells us that the redundancy has been put on hold again, this time until next week Wednesday. The Labour Commissioner Ivan Williams, not Roberts as we had reported, needs time to further review the case, we are told. Matura Shepherd also tells us that the mayor stormed out of the meeting because he was unhappy with that resolution to again delay the council's plans. We could not reach the mayor for comment

Palmar Problems
Tonight, there is a rift growing in the in the San Jose Palmar Village in the Orange Walk District. It's because of the way that the village's land committee has been distributing lots over the past few months. It surrounds the appointment of the committee members, which a group of Palmar residents says do not have a proper mandate. They're making wholesale allegations against the committee, but essentially, they're challenging the committee based on this document, signed in October 2001 by the then Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. John Briceno, who is currently the Orange Walk Central area represent. The document supposedly outlines how exactly the appointment of the lands committee should take place. The group held a press conference today, and here's a short excerpt from the Chairman of the village explaining the challenge: Village Chairman "The next group is saying that they will fight it and they are saying that they are already the lands committee but we will not accept that. We are here to say that we are united and if we have to go - I don't know what we will have to do but we will not accept a committee that is appointed or only selected by a small group of people. We will only accept a group - a lands committee elected by the descendants of San Jose Nuevo Palmar."

Ras Indio, Rebel Fu Real
Reggae Artsist Ras Indio has touched stages all over the world, and now, for the first time in a while he's back to perform in Belize for a Bob Marley Tribute. The show takes place on Saturday at the Ornage Walk East Sports Center - yes the same one that's been in the news recently. Well this weekend, all those troubles should be healed by music. He told us about the show - and about his new song, which is in the truest tradition of protest music:.. THE SHOW STARTS at 6:00 on Saturday.

Rotary’s Rose
The Rotary Club of Belize is putting on the first night of their latest production called "Every Rose Has Thorns". It's a fund raising initiative to keep programs like the Gift of Life going. Last night, we showed you how the program was going, and now the Rotary Club is asking you to come out purchase tickets and come watch the play. The organization has been doing it for almost 10 years, and yesterday the Secretary told us why you would want to support them: The first showing started a while ago at the Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts, and they would like for members of the public to buy the tickets, the proceeds of which are going to their outreach programs.


Former Minister Of Natural Resources Clarifies Accusations Made Against Him
After Mai revealed that case publicly in the House sitting, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega snapped back and pointed fingers at the People’s United Party on similar accusations. According to the Minister of Natural Resources, while the PUP is quick to make accusations, they have themselves engaged in the very act they now condemn as the opposition. Gaspar Vega – Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Natural Resources “I will make mention of one Mr. Meggs applied and paid for a piece of property which was the prime property of the residence of the health inspector of every health inspector that visited Orange Walk town, that is where he was housed or she, and the only reason why he has not gotten a title is because I have not issued it and they have not challenge it in court because they are ashamed of what they’ve done.” And in view of the continuous rise in land battles, we checked with Orange Walk Central Area Representative John Briceno on the accusation and he said that in this case, the matter was not properly clarified adding that the Minister of Natural Resources was making at attempt at distracting the attention from his managerial abilities in the ministry.

Auditors Investigate Allegations Of Misappropriation Of Funds At Corozal Town Council
In the month of January of this year the Corozal Town Council came under scrutiny after allegations surfaced that a whopping $80,000.00 was misappropriated from the tax revenue department. At that time Mayor Hilbert Campos revealed that the Revenue Manager had been relief of his duties. It was also reported that two other persons also from the tax department of the town council were being investigated. We must note though, that Mayor Campos never agreed that $80,000 was missing as was rumored. He stated that the missing fund was not even close to the figure rumored and that an investigation would be carried out into the matter. Tonight we can safely tell you that an investigation is ongoing at the council. Sources tell us that officials from local government are currently conducting a complete audit to the books of the council. Today Reporter Victor Castillo decided to take another glimpse in the issue and tried to get in contacted with the Town Administrator for an update but he was told that the administrator is in an all-day meeting.

Orange Walk Police Crack Down On Human Trafficking
Belize is classified as a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. In both aspects Belizeans and foreign women and girls, primarily from Central America, are obliged to work in bars, nightclubs and brothels throughout the country. And while the Government of Belize does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; it is making significant efforts to do so by enacting an anti-trafficking law for the protection of potential victims. And it is no secret that human trafficking of persons remains a societal ill here in our country and on a local scale there is a no tolerance policy program under the auspices of the Orange Walk Police Department. Reporter Maria Novelo sat down with Second in Command, Inspector Julius Cantun to see what steps are being taken to ensure the effective prohibition of the commercial sexual exploitation among girls and women. Here is that report!

Weekly Crop Review
Though it was delayed for close to two months due to the stalemate between the Belize Sugar Industries Limited and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, the 2013/2014 crop season is finally underway. What repercussions the delay will have is no yet known but what we can tell you tonight is that the miller and the producer are working hand in hand in order for the crop to be a successful one. The crop has entered its third week and figures for the second week show that up to February 2nd a total of seventy thousand three hundred and ten tons of cane has been milled. In efforts of keeping Northenos informed about the progress of the crop season tonight we kick off our weekly crop review. Week 2 of the 2013/2014 sugar cane crop season began on January 27th and ended on February 2nd 2014. Figures show that since the beginning of the crop season on January 24th to February 2nd the factory has milled a total of seventy thousand three hundred and ten tons of cane. Last year during the same time frame the factory milled ninety four thousand eight hundred and fourteen tons of cane.

More Charges Levied Against Kevin Manzanero
Today more charges were added to Kevin Manzanero’s police record when he appeared before Magistrate Hurl Hamilton at the Corozal Magistrates Court. On November 16th of 2013 Chinese businessman Jain Chang of College Road in the Corozal District, reported to police that around 1:30pm, two male persons wearing caps, entered the store where both men pointed what resembled to be firearms and accosted his worker Yan Chao Wu who was behind the counter. Then men made off with approximately $1,800.00 in cash and nine cellular phones, 45 cellular batteries and an I phone all adding to a total value of $6975.00.


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