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#486534 - 02/22/14 04:59 AM Today's Belize News: February 22, 2014
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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Bert Oliva motivates SPHS students
Over 10 thousand students attended motivational talks as part of the annual Motivational Missionaries Tour 2014 organized by the Restore Belize Project. With the assistance of Chamberlain Consulting, Restore Belize invited Bert Oliva as the guest for the 2014 tour which ran from February 11th to the 19th. On Monday, February 17th, Oliva and his team made a stop at Ambergris Caye where he inspired and motivated the students of San Pedro High School (SPHS). The motivational speakers also made a stop in neighboring Caye Caulker Village before ending their tour on Wednesday where they met with students in the Toledo District.

14th Annual Spelling Bee Zone 5 Eliminations
A total of 14 students are representing the islands seven primary schools. Contestants include Brandon Worthington and Yaire Castaneda from Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES), Jannelie Mas and Daniela Novelo from Caye Caulker Roman Catholic Primary School (CCRC), Jessica Saki and Kirany Caal from Holy Cross Anglican School (HCAS), Juliannie Rivero and Ashley Minott from Isla Bonita Elementary School (IBES), Derrick Clark and Elias Zetina from New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School (NHSDA), Rachel Alamilla and Natalia Arias from San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School (SPRC) and Nicole Ritchie and Jackson Leslie from The Island Academy. The two top winners of the competition will represent Zone 5 at the Belize District Finals.

San Pedro Sports Committee launches Kids Football Clinic
On Saturday February 15th the San Pedro Sports Committee held a Football Clinic at the Saca Chispas Football Field in San Pedro Town. The clinic was spearheaded by Hector ‘Tito’ Alamilla of the San Pedro Sports Committee and Coach Alex Noralez, assistant coach in the Youth Program of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB). The clinic was open to three age categories Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 and was designed to provide the children with individual attention, while giving them the opportunity to grow, both individually and as team players, developing and refining the various sport’s skills and tactics. Approximately 50 children attended the first clinic. Another clinic is scheduled to take place this coming Saturday, and henceforth from 9AM. Clinics are scheduled to run through mid March.

Belize scores a “C” in regional Reef Eco-Audit
The 2014 Reef Eco-Audit of the Mesoamerican Reef countries is out and was made public simultaneously in all countries who share the same reef system. In Belize, Healthy Reefs Initiative (HRI) hosted the event at the Radisson Fort George Hotel on Wednesday February 12th and in attendance was a consortium of policy makers, environmentalists, conservation stakeholders and even a rigorous media. The report celebrated the successes in the collective efforts to protect and sustainably manage the region’s amazing coral reef but also highlighted the unfortunate slow pace at which achievements are met.

Elias Zetina of New Horizon SDA and Jannelie Mas of Caye Caulker RC are Zone 5′s top Spellers
The 20th National Coca Cola Spelling Bee is underway with district zone eliminations throughout the country. The Belize District Zone five eliminations, which entails Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, took place on Friday February 24th at the San Pedro Lions Den. 14 students from seven primary schools took their opportunities to test their spelling ability but in the end, Elias Zetina of New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) School took the top honors for the zone. The Spelling Bee competition is an annual collaborative educational effort conducted jointly between Coca Cola franchise in Belize, Bowen and Bowen Limited, and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Started in 1994, the competition has evolved over the past 20 years and is one of the biggest educational competitions, attracting students from all private and public schools in the country. In fact, the competition have been divided into zones, and according to Miriam Codd, District Educational Officer for Belize Rural South, it is the 14th consecutive Zone Elimination held between island schools. This year the national competition is being held under the theme “Go for the Goooal” which coincides with the year of the Football World Cup scheduled for later this year in Brazil.

Members of Caribbean Flying Adventures descend on Ambergris Caye
It seems that everyone around the world has gotten wind that Ambergris Caye is the Number 1 Island in the world (for the second consecutive year). That includes a group of about 16 pilots who flew to San Pedro Town, Belize on Friday February 21st in their private planes. The adventurers will spend the weekend on the island, taking in the sun, breeze and sea and just enjoy the La Isla Bonita experience.

A taste of Belize in Portland Oregon (USA)
So if there’s one thing we’re always looking out for, I’m sure by now you’ve figured out that it’s cool Belizean features! In an article recently posted by Willamette Week, a Portland (Oregon, USA) based online newsletter, a food cart dishing up tasty Belizean dishes managed to make its way onto the list of “Cheap Eats 2014: Top 5 Food Carts of the Year.” Love Belizean is a food cart that set up shop on SW 6th and Columbia Avenue in Portland, Oregon. Tiffany Quillen Love opened up Love Belizean on February 14th, 2013. While Tiffany isn’t Belizean she isn’t letting that stop her. The Hawaiian native fell in love with Belizean dishes like Rice n’ Beans on her honeymoon in the country and has been giving the people of Portland a taste of Belize , Marie Sharp pepper sauce and all. Tiffany was equally joyed to share her Rice n Beans with the Belize National Football Team that travelled to Portland for the Gold Cup in 2013. The team gave Love Belizean the Belizean stamp of approval. Love Belizean ranked third in the Top 5. Way to go Tiffany!

Ambergris Today

Spelling Bee Zone 5 Eliminations Held in San Pedro
Two representatives from each school took on the challenge and competed for a chance to be a part of the 20th Annual National Coca Cola Spelling Bee in the Belize district finals. Congratulations to Third place winner: Rachel Alamilla - San Pedro R.C. School, Second Place: Jannelie Mas – Caye Caulker R.C. School and First Place: Elias Zetina – New Horizon SDA School.

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

Mexico Offers Postgraduate Scholarships To Belizeans
The Embassy of Mexico informs that the El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) in Mexico, has opened its 2014 scholarship call for applications for postgraduate programs. There are seven scholarships available for Belizean Nationals to carry out Master degree programs and one for Doctorate degree program. These postgraduate programs are registered in the national program of quality postgraduate studies of Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT).

Condolences to Family of the Late Freddy Waight
Ambergris Today expresses sincere condolences to the family of the late Frederick Cassian Waight, "Captain Freddie" of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, who passed away on Saturday, February 18, 2014. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 22, 2014, at the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church on Ambergris Caye, Belize at 10:00 a.m. immediately followed by a memorial on the beach.

Education in Belize: Quality Schools
During the last few weeks, the entire country of Belize witnessed with great concern the plight of hundreds/thousands of educators and teachers whose pressing yet ignored working and workplace concerns had finally reached a boiling point. These professionals work very hard and tirelessly everyday to provide an education to our young people; yet they remain unappreciated by many, especially by those who control their very salaries, workplaces, and living conditions.

US Navy Seal Celebrity Marcus Luttrell Vacations in San Pedro
Marcus Luttrell is a former United States Navy SEAL who received the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his actions in June 2005 facing Taliban fighters during Operation Red Wings. His survival story was so amazing that Hollywood made it into the hit 2013 movie Lone Survivor where actor Mark Wahlberg portrayed him. Well Luttrell and his wife Melanie were vacationing in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, last week and enjoying the accommodations of Azul Resort in North Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Today also found out that the happy couple made trips to the reef onboard Lady Leslie catamaran and totally enjoyed what the island has to offer.

Misc Belizean Sources

Masquerade Ball Feb 22 8pm@ Holiday Hotel in San Pedro
DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS ELEGANT AFFAIR! If you don't have a mask, DON'T WORRY! We'll have masks for sale at the door for only $10!

Mexican Dance Company “Los niños Mayas de Cancun"
The Embassy of Mexico informs that the Mexican Dance Company “Los niños Mayas de Cancun" (The Mayan Children from Cancun) will participate at the fourth annual Street Art Festival in Belize City on Saturday, February 22th, 2014. The dance company “Los niños Mayas de Cancun" was created in the year 2000 with the objective of bringing together the most talented children of Quintana Roo and to provide them a space for professional training on traditional Mayan dances and from other parts of Mexico. The group’s performance offers the public a show within the highest standards of quality and fosters closer relations and knowledge of the culture and traditions of the Maya region of Quintana Roo. This dance company includes more than 20 children between 12 and 13 years old. The group has performed in most states of Mexico, as well as in Los Angeles and New York in the Unites States, Canada, Dominican Republic and Cuba. The group's performance will take place on Saturday, February 22, at 5:00 pm on Albert Street, downtown Belize City.

Western Ballaz Play Today
The Western Ballaz host the Dangriga Warriors today at the SHC auditorium. The warm up game is SHC vs. SHJC. This is their first home game so come on out and support the number 1 ranked team in the Elite League. The game will be televised on channel 5. The video is channel 5's highlights from last week's game, where they defeated the Running Rebels in Orange Walk. "Tip off found Kurt Burgess of Ballaz and Ian Carcamo of OW facing off- Burgess taps to Mark O’brien and we’re underway. Leith Paulino powers the home team to a 12 – 8 lead with this good looking three point shot and he would finish with 11 points and 6 rebounds. However, Kurt Burgess who came in as the assist leader in the league with 8, banks this triple off the glass to pull his team to a 16 – 13 lead at the end of the 1st quarter."

Belmopan Bandits vs. Toledo Diplomats
The Belmopan Bandits are hosting the Toledo Diplomats tomorrow at the UB gym. Belmopan is currently 1 and 1. Go, Belmopan! You can see some of their last game, which was against the Dangriga Warriors, where the Warriors beat them by only one point, 57-56. Their first game, where they defeated the Orange Walk Running Rebels, 76-69.

Women in Arts Fair Call
The SISE House of Culture is having their annual Women in Arts Fair, and they are calling on female artists who would like to enter their arts to be shown. The fair will be at the Cayo Welcome Center on Saturday, March 29th. Call them at 824-0783 for more information if you're interested.

'I Have a Dream for Belize' Essay Winner
The U.S. Embassy is proud to announce that Mr. Elvis Usher is the winner of the "I Have a Dream for Belize" Essay Contest. CONGRATULATIONS!!! The second place winner is Mr. Javier Candelario Romero, and there was a tie for third place by Mr. Dale McDougall and Ms. Maryam Abdul. We received over 50 submissions and ALL of them were very insightful. We've compiled the quotes that stood out from all of the essay submissions and posted them below. Belize has A LOT to be proud of, all of the dreams were inspiring! Thanks to everyone who participated!

Rick Galvez Concert at Soul Project
Rick Galvez will have a concert today at the Soul Project. He has some new songs that he's going to unveil. He's an amazing artist, and admission is free. "Ricardo A. Galvez announces- For the past two months i have been working on several projects, one of which is a compilation of new songs for an album that i am adamant will be recorded and released this year. This Saturday night i will be performing an acoustic show at Belize Soul project, space for the creative arts and debuting some new material. For the first time in a long time i feel totally confident and excited with what I'm working on. Hope to see you Saturday."

Mexico offers postgraduate scholarships to Belizeans
The El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) in Mexico has opened its 2014 scholarship call for applications for postgraduate programs. There are seven scholarships available for Belizean nationals for master’s degree programs and one for a doctorate degree program. These postgraduate programs are registered in the national program of quality postgraduate studies of Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT). COLEF is a prestigious public Mexican institution, oriented to teaching and research.

Commentary: If government removes soldiers from the streets of Belize City, it better have a backup plan
By Wellington C. Ramos It is never a good situation for a country when the government decides to deploy soldiers on the streets to perform police duties for which they were not trained. Why? Because soldiers are not trained to perform police duties, only the police. However, due to the increase in crime over the years, the PUP and UDP governments in Belize had no choice but to take that action. Back in the 1960s, when the UBAD was creating havoc in Belize City, the PUP government under the leadership of Minister Carl L. Rogers, better known as "Lindy Rogers", formed the Police Special Force, which was known as PSF. At that time, our country of Belize had no army but had a volunteer force called the British Honduras Volunteer Guards (BHVG). They attended drills during the week in their respective districts and attended camp in Mountain Pine Ridge once a year to do military training. The original PSF enlistees had to do one year of training, which included six months of police duties and six months of military training. That was later broken down to about three months of each.

Golden Princess Casino Closes Operation at the Corozal Northern border in Belize - 200 workers out of work.
Workers at the Golden Princess Casino located near the northern border of Belize were informed that as of today they will not have a job to report to because the casino is closing its operation in Belize. According to a worker at the Casino, they were told that the Casino has been operating at a loss and therefore has gone bankrupt. But sources in the know say – that is far from the truth. On Wednesday, February 5th the House of Representative held an emergency meeting to amend and pass four important bills. They are the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Bill; the Financial Intelligence Unit (Amendment) Bill 2014; the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions (Amendment) Bill, 2014 and the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2014. Unlike the usual rancor that characterizes house meetings, where the “banking transparency legislations” were concerned, there was no sparring. The Opposition agreed even though they said that they didn’t like the bills.

Channel 7

Golden Princess Casino Closing Down; 100+ Jobless?
Tonight, the families of at least 130 Belizean workers in the northern part of the country are in state of financial panic after they were abruptly sent home this morning from the Golden Princess Casino located in the Corozal Commercial Free Zone. It's the kind of thing that blindsided the entire staff after a memo was sent out last night, requesting that everyone needed to attend a mandatory meeting at 11 a.m. this morning. When everyone was congregated, the upper management delivered the news like an executive sledge hammer: they were closing down Golden Princess, and approximately only 60 of their 270 staff would be retained after the process was over. The reasons given by the Executives at this morning's meeting were that business is slow at the establishment, the rent is too high, and there is not sufficient funds to keep casino open and employ everyone on staff.

Hon. Hulse Says Immig. Officers Didn't Have To "Lawyer Up"
Last night, 7News told you about the back and forth that Acting Director of Immigration Maria Marin, Attorney Godfrey Smith and Deputy Solicitor General Nigel Hawke had via letters about the questions being asked of Immigration officers Ady Pacheco and Gordon Wade about role in the Citizen Kim scandal. As has been widely reported, after fake Belizean Won Hong Kim got his passport issued to him in one day, his file famously disappeared, and those two officers from the Immigration Section reportedly handled the file at one point or another. As we told you, Director Marin wrote to Wade and Pacheco requesting that they answer certain questions, but instead of doing so, they retained Attorney Godfrey Smith who wrote back saying that his clients don't have to answer for any breech in procedures. Deputy Solicitor General Hawke, acting on behalf of the Immigration Department then wrote back to Smith saying that Marin's letters were not "show-cause" requests. Today, 7News caught up with Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse, and we asked him to share his opinion on the matter. He said that the officers pressed the gas too fast on the retention of an attorney:

NCL Submitted Their EIA Addendum
Today's edition of the Amandala newspaper reports that Norwegian Cruise Line has submitted corrections to the EIA that they promised, following the negative feedback at the Public Consultation Meeting held on January 22 in Independence Village. The newspaper reports that the Department of the Environment announced that they've received a 25-page supplementary document that they hope the DOE will consider when reviewing their proposal for their quote, "Harvest Caye Nature Park" Unquote. According to the Amandala, with this submission, the NEAC meeting, which was postponed indefinitely, will now meet in early March, after the members have been able to peruse the submitted documents.

Court: Lenny Bennett Shot His Ex
About 2 hours before news time, a jury of 9 found Lenny Bennett Benguche guilty of maiming his ex-girlfriend back in January 2008, when he caused her to lose a leg. Christina Zetina was forced to testify twice against Benguche's where he was acquitted of attempted murder, and then re-tried for maim. The charges arose from an incident that occurred around 8:30 p.m. on January 29, 2008, in which Benguche's ex-girlfriend was shot in her left leg. Because of the severity of the injury, her leg was amputated 10 days later. She testified that she and her boyfriend were riding their bicycles on Clother Avenue in Ladyville when Benguche fired shots at them and a bullet struck her in her leg. Benguche testified and denied that he committed the offence. He said that he was at a Chinese shop on Marage Road in Ladyville when he heard gunshots and he went home.

FECTAB: Back Off From Yhony
For the past, 2 weeks, well-known tour guide Yhony Rosado has been battling a new allegation brought against him by his competitor, Vitalino Reyes Sr. According to Reyes, Rosado, assaulted him on Boxing Day, and so, he now he's facing a disorderly conduct charge in the Magistrate's Court. Well, as we've reported, Rosado claims that the BTB is trying to use this opportunity to move against him and get his tour guide license revoked on what he calls a flimsy charge. As we told you, the Licensing committee is reviewing this allegation, and Rosado's livelihood could be placed on the line if they recommend that it be revoked. Well, FECTAB is take the stance that, if you touch one, you touch all, and today they' held a fiery 1 hour press conference. Rosado and his attorney outlined the long history of bad blood that he's had with Vitalino Reyes, who tried to get him convicted in court with false statements under oath.

Palm Grove Doesn't Want The Apartment Complex
Last night, 7News showed you a small part of our story on the Palm Grove residents who want to block the building of an apartment complex in their neighborhood, because they say that it's private property where their security and peace of mind will be disturbed. We'd interviewed them an hour before news time, and so tonight, we have their full comments to us: Stephen Heusner - Resident, Palm Grove "They are proposing to build a 5 story apartment building on a very small lot which is about 75' x 100' and it just seems out of the ordinary to cram a building of this size on such a small property." Omar Gomez - Resident, Palm Grove "I am here supporting my fellow residents, my neighbors and expressing our grave concern for the parking facilities that are inadequate for this proposed building and obviously the destruction of the entrance to the properties, it's a one exit and one entrance private property only and with this proposed building going up, we don't know who will be coming in and who will be going out and the lack of parking space will inconvenience the fellow neighbors and parking on the street would be very inadequate."

Mayor To Palm Grove: Take It To Court
And so today, 7News spoke with Mayor Darrell Bradley, who they point to as the government authority who is not acting in their best interest. Bradley told us that City Hall cannot block the development without good reason: Mayor Darrell Bradley "I made it very clear to Mr. Heusner that when we deal with regulations and when we deal with the building code, it is that a person applies for a building permit and we will go back to them in relation with certain issues that we may have. As long as they satisfy us with those issues we can't by law block the development. The residents in that area and Mr. Heusner want this thing to be stopped. They have certain remedies that they could take, if it's a nuisance, if its problems that they are finding out they could bring an action in court to deal with the developer directly, but our point of view from the city's responsibility is to regulate them and regulating them means that we are ensuring that they are compliant with the law including the building act and they are building in such a way that ensures that whatever they build comports to certain basic standards including parking and we are doing this, so I don't understand what the issue with the residents are."

Repeat Offender Jailed For Firearm
32 year-old Jevon Levi Usher is spending his third night of a 10 year sentence behind bars after he was convicted of firearm offences in the Magistrate's Court. His trial took place before the Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith, and ended on Wednesday evening. Police say that they saw him on Jane Usher Boulevard on February 22, 2013. At around 10:15 p.m. they were on patrol and when Usher saw them coming, he tried to throw away an item before they arrived near to him. The officers detained him and immediately retrieve what he threw away; it turned out to be a glock 9mm pistol which had 3 live round in its magazine. So, they charged him with keeping an unlicensed firearm, and keeping unlicensed ammunition. The arresting officers testified to the discovery, and his defence, he said that they fabricated the entire story claiming that the area was too dark for the officers to see him throwing away anything. Under a crafty cross-examination, the police prosecutor asked him if it is not true where the officers detained him is a crime-stricken area. He answered yes saying that he always had to be "strapped" to protect himself, suggesting that he is regularly armed.

Dakers To Jail For Indecent Assault
48 year-old George Dakers is spending his second 9 of a 3-year sentence after he was found guilty of indecent assault against a 12 year-old girl. His trial took place before the Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith, where the 12 year-old testified that on May 11, 2013, at around 2 p.m., she went to Dakers' house to beg him for a nail. She said that Dakers told her that he didn't have any, and when turned around to leave, Dakers squeezed her buttocks. She said that she immediately told her mother who called the police and reported the incident. Dakers was charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature, and in his defence in the trial, he told the court that the child was telling lies on him once again, like she supposedly always does. He denied ever touching the girl.

Belize Sign On To Jaguar Corridor Initiative
Today, Belize signed on with 18 other countries to a memorandum of understanding which an official commitment from Government and its environmental partners to collaboratively implement science-based conservation initiatives that secure and connect jaguars and their habitats in Belize and beyond its borders, facilitate land development that is both ecologically sustainable and economically profitable, and mitigate human-jaguar conflict throughout the country. Now, it's an initiative which the experts say started in Belize, and it has finally come full circle with this MOU. World renown Jaguar Expert was the main speaker at the Signing, and he explained that from his observations in other countries, Belize has the healthiest relationship with the big cat: Dr. Alan Rabinowitz - CEO, Panthera "Now there are 18 countries signing these MOUs to maintaining the jaguar corridor. It doesn't mean necessarily a bunch of new protected areas, it means land use zoning; thinking of land where wildlife now becomes a part of the thinking of agricultural development; new road building and all those kinds of things. It just means a better way of thinking and where all the local communities and local people are involve in that way of thinking because it's their land, its where they live, it's their resources. Everything got started here 30 years ago and not only am I thrill to see it have come full circle now to where Belize is now signing this MOU for the jaguar corridor, but I want you to realize that you are a piece of the jaguar corridor as small as it might seem. When you look at a map from Mexico through Argentina, it's actually a very special piece of the jaguar corridor."

The First Bel Riv Expo
Another major environmental event which happened in the river valley is the first Belize River Valley Eco-Tourism and Commerce Expo which opened today in Bermudian Landing. It's a commercial opportunity that has been closely organized by the administrators of the Community Baboon Sanctuary Women's Conservation Group. Today, 7News stopped in at the opening ceremony to find out a little about it. Here's what the guest speakers had to say: Hon. Godwin Hulse - Guest Speaker, Belize River Expo "We want especially to recognize the Community Baboon Sanctuary Women's Conservation Group for presenting this Belize River Valley Bel Riv first ever expo. Give the women of the area a huge hand. And I say the women because in 1995 myself together with a group of men attempted to get some economic activity going and we struggled for about 5 years and we never has any major success. Miss Jessie was a part of this. I don't know where she is hiding, come up here Miss Jessie. She was part of this activity together with a lot of other women in this area and she never lost the vision, has been involved in everything in this area, has been keeping literally the babboons alive in the footsteps of her husband and together they did that, she runs the museum and today we will open a business center. She is energetic, full of life, but we have to give her a special hand for this day."

Stix's 9th Day of Healing
Community activist Perry "Stix" Smith has been organizing his Days of Healing all of last year, which is catching on with the residents of the communities affected by the Belize City Gang Landscape. He's putting together his first for 2014 together this weekend, and today he explained to us what his plans for event, which seeks to engaged marginalized youths and give them a sports day to enjoy: This Sunday's healing will be held at the Complex Field. It starts at 9 am, and and ends at 6pm.

A Special Edition Nowhere To Fly For Street Art Festival
And those children he hopes to engage are those who live their lives in constant fear or influence of the gangs that operate in those territories. It's something that Joseph "Stamp" Romero is hoping to bring to life at this Saturday's Street Art Festival. He's had 2 productions of his innovative play called "Nowhere to Fly, Gangs and Boys", and in Saturday's production, he hopes to engage festival goers with a vivid tale of what these youths experience. He told us a bit about how it has been received so far:

Bert Oliva Reached Out To Almost 10k Kids
Motivational Speaker Bert Oliva has been around the country on his third tour to inspire your children to reach their full potential. Yes, they've probably come home and told you exciting stories of eating fire, walking over broken glass, and bending steel using their necks. But, the real message is that to achieve goals, mind over matter is the biggest weapon they have in their arsenal. Oliva and his associates told us about the tour, and the more than 9,000 children they've hopefully influenced positively:

Channel 5

FECTAB’s fiery press conference to clear Yhony Rosado’s name
The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize, FECTAB, held a press briefing this morning to discuss details of a longstanding rift between executive member Yhony Rosado and rival tour [...]

Executives call out Chukka and B.T.B. on state of cruise tourism industry
Among other issues discussed were FECTAB’s perennial gripe with Chukka and the Memorial Park as part of the Fort Street Tourism Zone.  David Almendarez, an executive of the organization, brought [...]

Global Fantasies: European tourist scammed out of US $26,000
From FECTAB’s protest on the current state of cruise tourism, to widespread objection to another growing sector of the industry, sex tourism.   That niche market sells in premiere destinations all [...]

Over 100 employees fired from Golden Princess in Corozal Free Zone
News Five has received credible information that the casino known as the Golden Princess, located near the northern border, has closed its doors. Those reports circulated this morning, along with [...]

Belize City Mayor discusses BML contracts
The Belize City Council currently pays two sanitation companies for work done in the city – Belize Waste Control and Belize Maintenance Limited. Both companies account for over one hundred [...]

The daring escape of yet another prisoner
In Thursday’s newscast, we reported that San Ignacio Police have launched a manhunt for accused murdered, twenty-five-year-old Jarod Arthurs Lamb. Lamb escaped from custody around eight-thirty on Thursday morning, while [...]

15 years behind bars for Lindbergh Alexander Clarke
Twenty-one year old Lindbergh Alexander Clarke is tonight serving the first night of a fifteen-year stretch at the Belize Central Prison, after being found guilty of three firearm-related offences.  This [...]

Man found guilty of maim
A jury of five women and four men entered the deliberating room at eleven-thirty this morning, to decide the fate of Lenny Bennett Benguche, whose trial for maim commenced in [...]

Immigration bust at Blue House Bar in Ladyville
The Immigration Department continues to target ‘happy bars’ in Belize, racking up an impressive record of cases for immigration offences. Last week it was Temptation Hill, and today officers were [...]

Mahogany Street Police Precinct assists elderly man
The Mahogany Street Police Precinct continues its stellar working in building the Lake Independence community by assisting the needy through a series of community outreach initiatives.  This morning, a team [...]

G.O.B. signs MOU to protect jaguar corridor
This morning in Burrell Boom, officials from the Ministry of Forest, the University of Belize and Panthera, as well as other representatives from various environmental groups, gathered for the signing [...]

The annual Street Art Festival
On Saturday, downtown Albert Street will come alive with the annual Street Art Festival hosted by the Institute of Creative Arts. The transformation will see the commercial hub of the [...]


Red Cross Empowering Communities To Be Decision Makers With In Their Communities
In July 2013 the Belize Red Cross began implementation of the Resilience in the Americas, RITA project. The project is focused on educating and empowering communities in becoming decision makers within their communities. Through the American Red Cross, the project is being piloted in ten countries in the Latina America and Caribbean Region. An assessment model was developed to be a holistic, multi-sector analysis of the needs of communities which in Belize is being managed by the Belize Red Cross. RITA activities are being carried out in San Victor, Consejo, and Corozal Town in the Corozal District, as well as Black Water Creek, Santa Cruz and San Antonio Rio Hondo, Louisiana and Trial Farm in the Orange Walk District.

San Ignacio Police On Hunt For Escape Prisoner
Police in San Ignacio are tonight seeking the help of the public in recapturing an escaped prisoner. About 8:30a.m this morning, San Ignacio Police left the Hattieville Prison en route to San Ignacio. On board the van were seven prisoners. While on their way to San Ignacio, in the vicinity of Ontario Village a loud bang was heard, as a result, the driver stopped to investigate. Upon checking it was observed that the back door was partially opened and prisoner Jarod Arthurs Lamb had escaped from custody.

Concern Raises Over The Use Of Horse Drawn Carriage Tours
Much scrutiny is being raised towards the long-standing Horse drawn carriage tours in the Tourism Sector particularly where the hub of those activities are prominent in Belize City. Of much contention is the revision for proper care of the animal Under the Cruelty to Animals Act, Chapter 115. Tonight, Reporter Maria Novelo visits the story in an effort to educate and raise awareness of what many people call an ‘inhumane’ practice in the Tourism sector. Maria Novelo – Reporting A leisure ride in a horse-drawn carriage around the core of Belize City is one of the longest-running tourist traditions in the country’s history. And while it is a major income earner for several families, many find the horse-carriage industry unsustainable as it is presently with its sub-standard practices. We spoke to several activists, concerned residents and animal lovers who weighed in on the issue.


Acquitted in First Trial; Jury Unable to Reach Verdict in Retrial
A jury of five women and four men retired around 11:30 a.m. today to see if it can reach a verdict in the court of Justice John Gonzalez for 28 year old Lenny Bennett Benguche, charged with maim. The charge arose from an incident that occurred around on January 29, 2008, in which Benguche’s ex-girlfriend Christina Zetina, was shot in her left leg. The injury was so severe that Zetina’s leg was amputated 10 days later. Zetina testified that she and her boyfriend were riding their bicycles on Clother Avenue in Ladyville when several shots were fired at them. Benguche, who was not represented by any attorney, testified that at the time of the incident he was at a Chinese shop on Marage Road in Ladyville when he heard gunshots and he went home. The prosecution is being represented by Crown Counsel Leroy Banner who is being assisted by Crown Counsel Killeru Awich. The trial is a retrial. In June 2010 Benguche was acquitted of two counts of attempted murder for Zetina and her boyfriend. The jury was, however, unable to reach a verdict for maim.


Escaped: Two prisoners, Separate incidents, Same Day
Another prisoner has escaped from police custody. This would be the third for February 2014 and the second in one day, Thursday February 20, 2014. Last night we told you about Jarod Lamb who jumped out of a moving police van on his way to court in San Ignacio....

Beauty Queens’ Pictures Removed from Sex Vacation Website
Organizers of the Miss Belize Pageant have officially written to Global Fantasies, the website which advertises Belize as a sex paradise, offering young Belizean females for sale. The website displays pictures of numerous women, supposedly all Belizeans, who could be purchased for the entertainment pleasure of foreigners. Some of...

Casino Closes at Corozal Free Zone
Golden Princess Casino at the Corozal Free Zone in northern Belize has closed its doors. There has been no official word from the management of the casino but speculations as to the reason for the closure are rampant. Unconfirmed reports are that the casino will be moving across the...

Man Found Guilty of Maiming Ex-Girlfriend
A jury of 5 women and 4 men stepped into the deliberating room at 11:30 this morning to decide the fate of Lenny Bennette Benguche whose trial for maim commenced in the Supreme Court of Justice Troadio John Gonzalez since Monday of this week. They came back out his...

Bar Owner Back In Court for New Immigration Offense
The Immigration Department was back in court today after they raided Blue House Bar, the business place of a well-known naturalized Belizean who is originally from Guatemala. Mrs. Dora Prado is no stranger to the court. In fact, this is the second time that she is being charged for...

Community Service for Woman Who Lied About Rape
Mysha Williams has escaped prison sentence, but must do community service for committing a mischievous act. The 18 year old woman fabricated a story about being raped last weekend. She went to the police station and told police she was raped in her home and even took police her...

Venezuelan Ambassador Complains About International Media Coverage of Anti-Government Protests in Venezuela
The Venezuelan government is gripped with political unrest and has categorically accused the International News Media CNN of “…hostile coverage”. According to an article posted by BBC news, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that many international networks have created a false idea that Venezuela is faced with civil...

Understanding the Relationship Between Ralph Huang and Lord Gibson
When UDP “Caretaker” for Cayo South, Ismael “Miley” Garcia backed out of the race for UDP Standard Bearer for the Cayo South Division political observers were wondering who would fill the void. In came Ernest Patnett from the village of Teakettle, a close associate of Belmopan Area Representative John...

#486535 - 02/22/14 05:00 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 22, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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More News: Scroll up from here


The gang violence that has been in low intensity for the last several months throughout Belize City appears to be escalating among rival gangs, as stepped-up shootings in various Southside gang turfs have begun to register casualties again. On Wednesday morning around 9:30 the life of a young man was snuffed out for no sensible reason, other than his bad sense of timing and his apparent exercise of poor judgment, according to his sister, who said she was warned by the elders in her Supal Street neighborhood that her brother would be killed if he went into the George Street neighborhood, where he has friends. Tarique Keylon Cadle, 25, took his last breath as bullets mowed him down to the ground in a yard on Plues Street. His corpse was transported to the morgue at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, after his sister identified it to police. An area resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, said she heard about five or six shots in rapid succession.

Two men from the George Street area are being treated at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after being shot multiple times by a man reportedly from the Supal Street Gang at about 11:30 Tuesday night at the corner of West Canal and King Street. The two injured men are Tarique Tzul, 25, of West Street, and Andrew Tate, 27, of George Street. Tate was shot twice in his right arm, once in the left arm, once in the left side of the abdomen, once below the stomach, once in the right upper leg, and once in the left upper leg. He has been declared to be in a critical condition and is in the Intensive Care Unit of the KHMH. Tzul was shot in his left upper leg and has been declared to be in a stable condition. Police announced that fifteen 9mm expended shells were retrieved from the scene of the shooting.

Jason “Soup” Williams, 35, an associate of the Supal Street Gang, is facing two counts of aggravated assault charges, as well as a charge for discharging a firearm in public. Williams was remanded to the Belize Central Prison after he was arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court Thursday morning. Williams pleaded not guilty to the three charges. Before he was arraigned, Williams took advantage of the presence of reporters in court to express his innocence, saying, “The police dem di try set me up.” He claimed that police saw a man with dreadlocks running and arrested him for the crime. The shooting incident occurred on Tuesday night in the vicinity of West and Bishop Streets. According to Police Constables #1308 Elvin Nah and #124 Jason Augustine, they responded to shots being fired in the area, and they saw a man with dreadlocks whom they identified as Williams, running.

It looked like a scene out of a movie – an SUV smashed through the glass wall of a supermarket in Ladyville, leaving half of the vehicle in the store and the other half outside on the pavement. The accident occurred at about 3:30 yesterday afternoon. Luckily, no one was injured, but the vehicle slammed some goods off a shelf in Sky City Superstore, knocked down a 5-gallon water rack containing about twenty bottles, bursting some of them, among other damages. The vehicle, a Nissan Pathfinder with L/P- CY- 31479, which carried a Belize Wild Life and Referral Clinic logo on the right back glass, ended up parked on top of the water rack. The woman who was driving the SUV was detained by police, pending charges.

The worst nightmare of a mother, who was praying for the safe return of her son after he had been missing for 13 days, became a cold reality today. The decomposed body of Luis Enrique Moreno, 22, of Santa Familia Street, Orange Walk Town, was recovered this morning at about 7:30 at the area of the Richman Hill Farm in Shipyard, Orange Walk, after he was reported missing by his mother, Marcela Moreno, since the morning of Wednesday, February 5. Moreno’s skeletal remains were found under a cohune tree on a farm called Rancho Lalo, about 400 meters inward, from Mile 2 ½ on the Guinea Grass Road. Marcela Moreno went to the site and identified the body as that of her son. Moreno told Amandala that she recognized her son from the boxers and sweater he was wearing when he left home on the morning of Wednesday, February 5.

Three immigration officers and their attorneys appeared before the Public Services Commission on Wednesday, February 19, to present arguments for why they should not be terminated from the public service for their role in the issuance of a Belize passport to South Korean Won Hong Kim. But the man who appears to be the principal architect behind the passport scandal, the disgraced former Immigration Minister of State, Elvin Penner, was not questioned during the Immigration Ministry’s internal investigation, carried out by its chairman, Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration; the CEO in the Ministry of Immigration, Candelaria Saldivar; and Director of Immigration, Maria Marin. The findings of the investigation, a three-page document signed by Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse and dated November 11, 2013, appear to be raising more public eyebrows than providing answers the public needs because of the investigators’ refusal to question Penner, who signed the passport “for a business associate I knew before I entered politics.”

At a Special Sitting of the House of Representatives held in early February, Johnny Briceño, Orange Walk Central member for the Opposition People’s United Party, cautioned Parliament that “there needs to be some education” on the bills that had gone to the House for rapid approval, so that Belize could comply with foreign pressure to put into place revisions to its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism legislation. Belize is a small nation of about 350,000 people and many people are connected by relation or association, so the legislation would not just cover the 40-odd persons in Parliament. Belize’s Money Laundering and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2008 has been amended twice – in 2013 and again in 2014, and the scope of persons explicitly regarded as PEPs has substantially expanded.

Belize Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, having failed to respond to the Monday deadline in a letter sent to him by attorney Edwin Flowers, S.C. on behalf of Hon. Francis Fonseca, the Leader of the Opposition, People’s United Party, will now have to answer in a Supreme Court judicial review. On Wednesday, the PUP, through its legal advisor, attorney Anthony Sylvestre, filed for the judicial review at the Supreme Court Registry. The PUP hopes that the court sets an early date for the hearing. The PUP Leader is seeking a writ of mandamus – for a Supreme Court judge to instruct Commissioner Whylie to investigate and bring criminal charges against the disgraced former Immigration Minister of State, Elvin Penner, for his role in the granting of Belize nationality to the imprisoned South Korean, Won Hong Kim.

The capitalists speak of the “magic of the market place” as an explanation for the energy which fuels their system. That energy is considered the reason for the success of the capitalist system. That energy appears to be derived from the instinct which propels man to seek sustenance for himself at the individual level. So then, the capitalist system is basically a selfish system. The capitalists and neoliberals do not really dispute such a characterization of their system. They argue that man is a selfish being, and that there is really no way forward other than to have man compete against man in a fight for survival, to the death if that becomes necessary. In our third millennial capitalism, the medium of exchange is money. Those who make a lot of money are those who are considered successful, and those who don’t have money, suffer and die. There is great enjoyment amongst the successful ones, and there is crushing misery amongst those who are doomed to die. This is one of the contradictions of capitalism. A few accumulate excessively, while the masses suffer. Proponents of capitalism say this is how it has to be, because the competition is the thing. It’s all about the market place.

We can see now that Barack Obama has served the interests of the American power structure quite well indeed, and for this reason the intensity of domestic hostility to him, such as that of the Tea Party movement, appears unjustified, or misplaced. For sure some of the hostility to Obama has flared up because of moral and religious opposition to his positions in favor of abortion and homosexual rights. But the United States is a nation with a racist, white supremacist history, so that some of the hostility to Barack is also derived from a serious discomfort with the notion of a black man leading the most powerful nation on earth. In Belize, our abiding concern has to do with how we survive and grow as the only black, English-speaking nation in Central America, and one whose territory is claimed by the most powerful Central American republic – Guatemala.

“Negligent discharge” of weapon injures three
Three persons were injured at the entrance of the Brown Sugar Water Taxi Terminal on North Front Street at about 10:00 this morning after a licensed gun owner discharged his firearm, causing bullet fragments to hit the victims after the bullet ricocheted off the concrete floor. As a result, a girl, 12, was grazed on her leg; her mother suffered abrasions on her chest, and a man who was standing near the gun owner suffered a wound on his foot. They were all treated by technicians of the BERT ambulance who went to the scene of the incident, after which they were all released. A witness who was standing near the entrance of the terminal told Amandala that the man had just come off a boat at the dock and was standing in front of the entrance talking to another man when he pulled up his pants, which were starting to fall, and his finger made contact with the trigger. The gun he was carrying in his pants then discharged, releasing a fragmented bullet that hit the victims about 15 feet away.

Belize avoids G-7 sanctions – but review of money laundering measures pending
When the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), established by the G-7, met in France earlier this month, they decided that Belize should not face financial sanctions, because it had taken action to implement new laws, mostly designed to address compliance with international guidelines to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism. While the cautionary note against Belize, issued last November by the regional body – the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), remains in force, Gian C. Gandhi, Director General – Deputy Chairman of the International Financial Services Commission in Belize, told Amandala today that Belize will be subject to a review by the CFATF plenary in May. A country representative would be attending on Belize’s behalf. Sanctions against our sister Caribbean country, Guyana, which faced a political gridlock which stopped them from passing their version of the anti-money laundering legislation ahead of the France meeting, have also been deferred, Gandhi indicated.

Celebrating the recovering legends – Paul Nabor and The Mighty Sparrow
Belizeans countrywide were recently much relieved and happy to learn that the ailing musical legend Paul Nabor was released from the hospital and was at home recovering his strength in time to join in his already planned birthday celebration in Punta Gorda. Another musical legend, a veteran musical giant of the Caribbean and the world, the Mighty Sparrow, is reportedly also much stronger, and in fact is visiting his hometown in Trinidad during the upcoming Carnival season. Sparrow was reportedly in a diabetic coma a few months ago in Brooklyn, New York, where he has resided for years. Sparrow is no stranger to Belize, where he has a strong and loyal following among Belizeans of the ‘60’s and 70’s and later generations. Though he first visited Belize City in 1969 at the height of his career, and again in 1995, as well as on a couple other occasions, Belize remains one of the few countries where the universally acclaimed “King of Calypso” has not yet been officially honored with the “keys” to our city.

Call me… I will deal with Penner forthwith!
In an ironic twist of faith, three immigration officers are facing a Service Commission Tribunal to fight to clear their name and keep their job. Sharon Neal, Omar Phillips and Erwin Robinson appeared before the tribunal this week, and while they still wait to hear the verdict, the public has already issued their verdict against the one man who is yet to face the public, a tribunal, a commission of inquiry, a police investigation and a court. Elvin Penner seems to have become untouchable, despite his being at the centre of this most distasteful and embarrassing episode in our country’s history. Penner on the prowl What the bits and pieces coming out of the reports are showing is that EVERYONE in CABINET knew Penner was a dangerous man to officers at the immigration department, and there was reason for concern. I say this because of the following statement made by his Minister, Godwin Hulse, on February 17, 2014:

6 years after Yeshua went missing, family continues to seek closure
Earlier this week, police reported that some human remains had been found on the island of Ambergris Caye, and Agnes Nunez wondered if perhaps those could be the remains of her beloved son, Atony Yeshua Roches, who disappeared exactly six years ago today from St. Martin De Porres in Belize City. “Not one day goes by without the family thinking about him and not knowing where he is, is what hurts the family the most,” Joseph Nunez, Yeshua’s brother, told Amandala. Joseph said that on Wednesday, February 20, 2008, Yeshua and Kenrick, his other brother, were hanging out together, and Kenrick left him to go take a bath. When he returned, Yeshua was nowhere around. The brother was told that Yeshua had gone through the “PIV” area in St. Martin De Porres, and he searched for him – to no avail.

CCJ bids farewell to first female judge
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is the highest appellate court for only three Caribbean countries, but at farewell ceremonies held today for retiring justice, Madam Desiree Bernard—an inaugural judge of the CCJ and its first and only female member thus far—Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque urged other Caribbean countries to establish the CCJ as their final appellate court. Among those attending the session in Guyana was the Chief Justice of Belize Kenneth Benjamin. The CCJ was established in 2001 and inaugurated in 2005. The court serves two functions for member states of CARICOM: In its original jurisdiction, it deals with matters such as the right of CARICOM nationals to move freely between countries and to, likewise, face no hassle in moving their money and business to another CARICOM country. Secondly, the court is empowered to hear appeals from the three acceding countries.

Conrad Jones still missing – his family want him found and brought home
Retired Police Inspector Conrad Jones, 64, of West Street, Belize City, disappeared on September 12, 2012, in Hattieville, and his family wants him or his body found, to complete closure for the family, his relatives say. Jones has been missing for two years now. A Customs guard at the time he disappeared, Jones was returning home after concluding duties in Benque Viejo for Customs on Thursday, September 11, 2012. The driver of the vehicle he was in, left him at the Hattieville roundabout around 11:30 p.m. A security guard for the Golden Haven Home for the elderly near the roundabout said that afterwards, around 2:00 that Friday morning, September 12, he saw Jones still in the area trying to get a passage to go home. He said that he went to make his security rounds on the compound, but when he came back around 2:30 a.m., Jones was nowhere to be seen.

Man knocked down in San Joaquin
Two weeks after a man was knocked down and killed in the Louisville area of the Corozal District on the Philip Goldson Highway, after he reportedly threw himself into the path of oncoming vehicle, a San Joaquin man is lucky to be alive after he was knocked down by a vehicle when he suddenly walked in front of oncoming traffic. The incident occurred about 9:30 Saturday night in San Joaquin between Miles 79 and 80. Marciano Tun, 43, of San Andres, was rushed to the Corozal Town Hospital by the vehicle that knocked him down, where he was treated for his injuries and released shortly after. Primitivo Torres, 53, an employee of the Border Management Security of the northern border, told police that he was driving his vehicle from Corozal towards Orange Walk when in front of Everyday Super Market, between Miles 79 and 80, in San Joaquin, a man who was walking on the left side of the road suddenly ran across the highway to the right side, causing him to knock down the man.

Collision on Philip Goldson Highway
Two vehicles collided in the Mile 20 area of the Philip Goldson Highway and four people travelling in the vehicles suffered minor injuries. An Isuzu Rodeo collided with a GEO Tracker. Police said that one of the vehicles drove onto the highway, colliding with the other vehicle in the oncoming traffic. The incident occurred about 5:30 Sunday evening. Police investigation revealed that the Rodeo was traveling from Grace Bank to Sandhill and upon reaching the junction of Philip Goldson Highway and the Hattieville-Boom Road, made a left turn onto the Philip Goldson Highway and collided into the Geo Tracker which was travelling from Sandhill to Belize City. Both vehicles suffered damage to their front portions, and windshields.

Former CitCo security officers’ issues still not resolved
Although 19 of the 26 security workers whose jobs were made redundant by the Belize City Council (CitCo) have already transitioned into employment with the new, privately-owned security firm, Rangers Security, Amandala understands that none of those workers have yet gotten new offer letters with their new terms of employment, and neither have all of the 26 workers received the full range of benefits that they have been promised. This morning, two of those workers, accompanied by the president of the Christian Workers Union (CWU), Audrey Matura-Shepherd, told Amandala that they have not gotten any indication from the Council as to when the formal arrangements will be finalized by their new employer, and to add to that, they are still not sure when they will be paid the rest of their severance and compassionate packages from their former employer. According to Matura-Shepherd, the workers are at a loss as to when they will be able to get the appropriate monies that they rightly toiled for. She said, “I wish I could have reported that everything has gone smoothly, but it hasn’t. We [CWU and CitCo] agreed to several points, and some of them are being implemented, but the biggest concern at this time is that the workers still have not gotten all their money. Maybe it has not been calculated as yet, but we should have gotten some correspondence to that effect. At the end of the day, these people want their money and we as the union need to provide them with a reasonable explanation as to why this thing has not been settled.

Skeletal remains found in San Pedro Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve
The skeletal remains of a person found in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye yesterday morning have been taken to the National Forensic Unit for identification by way of DNA procedures. The bones were found by the Marine Reserve ranger, who discovered them in the mangroves while conducting routine checks in the area. Police reports are that at about 2:00 Monday afternoon, they went to the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve where a park ranger reported that while conducting routine checks to ensure that all was in order in the reserve, she found human remains in some mangroves, on the western side of the reserve. Police found the human bones partially embedded in the mangrove. The bones retrieved from the area were parts of the fibula, pelvis, ribs, sternum and the cranium. The bones were then placed in a bag and taken to the San Pedro Police Station, after which they were sent to the Forensic Laboratory.

North Carolina woman nabbed in San Pedro on charges of fraud for adoption scheme
A North Carolina woman was apprehended on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, and taken to the US by foreign authorities, after Belize police arrested her in an apartment on the island. This was confirmed this week by local law enforcement authorities, which did not inform the public of Mooney’s detention here on charges of fraud in relation to an adoption scheme. On Tuesday, February 11, the US Department of Justice said that four employees of International Adoption Guides Inc. (IAG), an adoption services provider, would face charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States in connection with its Ethiopia operations after having been indicted by a grand jury in South Carolina. “The company’s executive director, Mary Mooney, 53, of Belmont, N.C., was apprehended in Belize by Belizean authorities and transported to the United States. Haile Mekonnen, age unknown, an Ethiopian national who ran IAG’s operations on the ground in Ethiopia, was also charged in the indictment,” said the US State Department statement.

The US has called out Gambia’s president, Dr. Yahya Jammeh, after statements he made on the occasion of the country’s 49th anniversary of its independence from Britain this week and broadcast on national television. Jammeh said that, “We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively.” The Islamic leader said that the world powers are promoting a “satanic” agenda which threatens peace and stability in Gambia. He said this agenda will never be accepted in Gambia, and accepting it would one day lead to brothers marrying their biological sisters, fathers marrying their own daughters and mothers marrying their own sons. Jammeh said they would not accept any friendship, aid or any other gesture that is conditional on accepting homosexuals or LGBT, which, he said, stands for Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis.

After spending 15 months in the Belize Central Prison, since Corozal Police charged him in November 2012 with firearm and drug offenses, Mexican national Zurisaday Villasenor Mendez, 22, secured a $75,000 cash bail from the Supreme Court on February 10, and appears to have fled the jurisdiction of Belize’s Magistracy since then. Mendez’s case was called up on Tuesday at the Belize City Magistrate’s Court, to which it had been transferred from the Corozal Magistrate’s Court due to security concerns. But neither Mendez nor any of his three attorneys showed up at court. The conditions that Supreme Court Justice John Gonzalez had imposed on Mendez’s bail was that he was to surrender all his travel documents; he was supposed to report to the Corozal Police Station, and he was to appear at all adjournments of his case. Mendez, however, had reportedly failed to report to the police station.

A Guatemalan businesswoman who was busted with 1,800 pounds of sea cucumbers (a discovery which prompted an investigation by the Fisheries Department) was fined in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court, where she pleaded guilty for employing undocumented workers. Georgina Maribel Mendez Aldana, 49, a resident of Mango Creek, Stann Creek District, was assessed by Immigration officers with two counts of employing two Guatemalan workers, who did not have the necessary temporary work permits. She pleaded guilty to the two charges, when she appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, who charged her $1,000 for each of her two undocumented workers. Cayetano ordered Aldana to pay the fine forthwith, in default of which she would serve six months in prison. She was able to pay the court fine, but remained in police custody pending investigation into the sea cucumbers.

Demand education
Dear Editor, As scandals explode, we are reminded of previous scandals that have come and gone. “De lee breeze” has repeatedly blown over, as Said Musa infamously declared. Media houses report scandals but do not allow for political analysis or welcome commentators to their broadcasts. Follow-ups are done the night after and then the matter is forgotten. The citizenry continues to struggle while our Ministers exploit us and worse, exploit the future of Belizean children. In this letter, I do not want to merely complain. I want to make a proposal to the people of Belize. Demand education. Demand it for yourself. Demand it for your children. Demand it for your grandchildren. In Belize, we are not offered courses in political science, development, and gender studies. When we graduate primary school and high school, we are knowledgeable in academic subjects like math and science. But we graduate socially inept. Many of us do not know how our system works. We do not know our basic rights. We do not know where Belize stands relative to the rest of the world. We do not know how to participate in our democracy and we do not know how to make our country better. The education system is spitting out people who are unable to participate in the development of their country, not because they do not want to participate, but because they do not know how.

The least of these, my brothers and sisters
Dear Editor, In last weekend’s edition of the Amandala,in the Features section, an Editorial (I don’t know what else to call it) was posted under the above mentioned lead in. Full of outrage, as it is, over more examples of the pervasive and fundamental venality of GOB, I view (and hope) that this posting will help bring about the spark needed to effect and correct the current “in-your-face” culture of “Don’t be shy when feeding at the public trough; get all you can, however you can!” A country being run by a group of politicians no better than gangsters – that’s Belize. For those who have lost hope that it will ever be different, I have this to say: history is full of examples of the actions of ordinary people who decided they were tired of waiting for justice and respect; who were tired of being economically bullied; who were tired of being bought at election time for a piece of chicken and a T-shirt, a ball-cap and a free beer.

Coming up this Saturday, February 22, will be the first ever Gary Francisco Rep Your Wood 3 on 3 Basketball Marathon, sponsored by Frank Pawpa Mena. Rep Your Wood means represent your area. This Marathon will take place at Ghans Basketball Court at 9:30 a.m. Registration is free. There is only one prize, which is $200.00, the winner takes it all. There will be special cash prizes for the best free throw and 3-point shooter. This Gary Francisco 3 on 3 Basketball Marathon will take place every last Saturday in every month at different basketball courts in Dangriga. Mr. T. Birthday Classic Also coming up this Sunday, February 23, will be the 5th Annual Mr. T. Birthday Classic. This race will start (and finish) in front of Wadani Shed at 10:30 a.m. and head all the way on the Southern Highway to Kendal Bridge and back. First place gets $300.00; 2nd $200.00; 3rd $100.00. Registration is only $5.00. Station prizes will also be provided going and coming.

PLB announces
The Premier League of Belize late yesterday released the long awaited decision of its Disciplinary Committee on sanctions to be imposed on “Verdes Football Club due to the infractions that occurred on 26th January, 2014 between Verdes FC and FC Belize at the Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo Town.” And a number of Verdes stars have been effectively suspended from the upcoming Closing Season, which should last about 3 months. Five Verdes players were given lengthy suspensions: Norman (“Tilliman” Nunez) Pipersburgh, Orland Lyons, Gilroy “Bredda” Thurton and Julian Maldonado were suspended for 6 months; and Jacinto “Fowl” Bermudez was suspended for 2 years. In addition, the PLB stated that “Marshalleck Stadium should not be used until improvements are made, initially for the second part of the PLB tournament.” And “Verdes will incur the cost of repairs to the referee vehicle pending the Police Report.” The release notes a damage cost list totaling $1,395.00.

A star is born
This morning, a young man from San Ignacio, originally from the village of San Antonio in the Cayo District, shook up the cycling world with a daring move in the home stretch of the 19th Annual DigiCell Valentine Cycling Classic here in Belize City. The Elite/Masters/Masters 4/5 race started (at 8:00 a.m.) and finished (just before noon) at Leslie’s Imports on the outskirts of Belize City, after making the journey on the George Price (Western) Highway to Mile 46 and returned. And nowhere along the hectic route, with prominent team names and renowned past champions being oft repeated by Krem Radio announcers, was a certain rider’s name even mentioned. But as the race neared its climax toward the end, the name of Angel Tzib rang out loudly, as the unattached rider made a strong early move, while prominent teams/riders were sizing up each other; and before they could gather themselves, Angel was too far ahead for them to catch him. It caught the announcers, Mose Hyde and Matthew Smiling, as well as the fans gathered at the finish line, completely by surprise. Aside from enough strength in the legs after the 90-mile journey, it also took daring and bravado to make that first bold move, and Mr. Tzib proved he had no shortage of either in the post- race interview.

The results of the National Secondary Schools Sports Association’s (NSSSA) national high school football tournament, held on Friday and Saturday, February 14-15, at the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga, appear to strengthen the theory held by some observers that the team that wins in a tough battle in game 1 on Friday usually falls in the finals on Saturday. Both female winners on Friday had convincing victories; but the last male match-up had to go to overtime and then penalties. Four male and four female teams represented the four country regions – North, Central, West and South in the high school football Nationals, which follow a simple knockout format, with Friday’s losers playing for 3rd place on Saturday, and the winners on Friday meeting for the championship on Saturday.

Man who attempted to steal a BDF M-14 rifle arraigned
A Belize City man accused of attempting to steal an M-4 carbine rifle from a Belize Defence Force corporal in January was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on a single charge of attempted theft on Tuesday. Patrick Bevans, 22, a resident of the Jane Usher Boulevard area, who was released from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital into police custody, pleaded not guilty to the charge. Bevans can barely walk on his own, because of injuries he alleges police inflicted on him, on January 12, the date when the incident occurred. When asked by the Chief Magistrate what happened to him, Bevans replied that he was beaten by police and BDF soldiers. Smith granted him bail of $1,500, $300 of which had to be paid as cash, and $1,200 as bail plus one surety.

Loot from burglary of Fruta Bomba discovered
Items stolen from the warehouse of Fruta Bomba/Belize Fruit Packers located in San Andres Corozal were found by police in a lot in San Andres about 1:30 Sunday morning. According to Que Pasa, Corozal, police found (2) picnic tables (4) vehicle tires and (1) wooden door. No one was in the area and no one has yet been arrested Police said that they were on patrol about 1:30 Sunday morning in San Andres Village area when they were alerted about the burglary of the warehouse, and went to the area, where they found the stolen items. Que Pasa reported that the manager of Fruta Bomba, Martin Aguilar, was contacted who confirmed that the warehouse had been burglarized. He was taken to the Corozal Police Station, where he positively identified the items as belonging to the company

Third suspect in Brian Townsend murder caught
Exactly one day after another of his alleged accomplices was found slaughtered in the village of Arenal, on the Belize-Guatemala border, Benque Viejo police came across a third suspect whom they were seeking in connection with the murder of Brian Townsend, 68, a Canadian missionary who was abducted last Christmas Eve and subsequently found dead in Arenal. Last Wednesday, February 12, while in the Valley of Peace attempting to identify the body of Raulito Balona – who had been found shot to death the day before in Arenal for reasons that have not yet been ascertained by authorities – via a photograph of his body, the investigators ran into the third suspect in the Townsend murder – a 19-year-old Hispanic male resident of Benque Viejo Town. Although police could not release his name due to the nature of the investigations, today the Officer Commanding the Belmopan Police, ASP Sinquest Martinez, confirmed to Amandala that the suspect was taken into custody and is presently behind bars at the Belize Central Prison.

4 thieves pardoned by their victim, who dropped charges in court
A group of 4 robbers walked out of the Corozal Magistrate Court as free men yesterday after the robbery victim, Brandon Cobo, told Magistrate Hurl Hamilton that he did not want to proceed with court action against the men. Cobo, 20, a mason of Skeleton Town area, Corozal Town, and his cousin, Isair Monima, told police that they were walking home on Santa Rita Road about 1:30 Sunday morning, February 16, and upon their arrival in front of Magaña’s Pharmacy, a brown Trooper with license plate CZL C-11374, stopped in front of them and four men got out of the vehicle. One of the men grabbed Cobo around his neck, from behind, and told him, “you Spanish, what do you have for me?” Cobo told police that the culprit then pushed his hand inside the right pocket of his pants and took out his pink Motorola cell phone, valued at $150, and $50 cash. The thief also snatched Cobo’s thin-link gold chain with a small cross medal, which was valued at $250. The total value of what was taken from him is about $450.

Fined and confined for 53 pounds of compressed “hydro” weed
A Belize City man pleaded guilty to one count of drug trafficking when he was arraigned before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton, who fined him $10,000 and sentenced him to three years in prison. The court prosecutor, however, did not withdraw the charge against a woman, Clarissa Vasquez, who was charged in connection with the drug bust; instead, she was offered bail and her case adjourned. After entering his guilty plea, Magistrate Hamilton told Reynard Grinage, 40, a mechanic and resident of Faber’s Road, “it’s mitigation time, now beg for mercy.” Grinage told the court, “I want to say that everything that was in the house, this young lady (referring to Vasquez, 31, a resident of 51 Kelly Street and temporary employee of BEL, who was charged with him) has nothing to do with.”

Apartment broken into and gun stolen
An apartment in San Pedro was burglarized at about 8:30 Tuesday night, and thieves stole a 9mm pistol loaded with 26 live 9mm rounds. The owner of the gun, along with police, is trying hard to recover the firearm before it can be used by criminals. Eric Andrews, 35, a tour operator of Barrier Reef Drive, San Pedro Town told the San Pedro police that about 8:30 Monday night he went to his apartment, located on Barrier Reef Drive, to retrieve his licensed 9mm Ruger pistol, valued at $2,200, from a safety box in the bedroom of his apartment. When he got to his bedroom, he found that his room had been broken into. He checked the safety box in his bedroom, but it was damaged and open, and his firearm had been stolen, along with 2 magazines containing 26 live rounds of 9mm ammunition.

Man 49, sentenced to 3 years for indecently assaulting girl, 12
A Belize City man, 49, was found guilty of aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a 12-year-old girl today and was sentenced to three years in prison by Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. George Dakers, a construction worker and resident of Freedom Street, was accused of indecently assaulting the girl in May, 2013. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith heard an in camera testimony from the victim, who is still12. According to the child, on May 11, 2013, her mother sent her to the house of a neighbor to borrow an iron. It was while at the home of her mother’s friend that the child met Dakers, who was also visiting the house.

The Reporter

Why PUP took Compol to court!
Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow has said that the Peoples United Party should launch private prosecution proceedings against ex-Minister of State Elvin Penner. But PUP legal advisor, Anthony Sylvester, said that under the law, that’s not possible. “Under the Summary Jurisdiction Procedure Act, we can’t […]

CWU and BCC keep swinging
Mayor Darrell Bradley claims that all security workers have been paid exactly what they were due, while Christian Workers Union President Audrey Matura-Shepherd claims that the mayor is mistaken. Bradley explained that the ex gratia payments for four people are the only payments outstanding, […]

Skeletal remains found in OW
Orange Walk Police have launched a full investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of twenty-three-year old Luis Enrique Moreno. Moreno’s skeletal remains were found on Tuesday morning, approximately half a mile on Richman Hill Farm located along the Guinea Grass/Shipyard Road in the Orange Walk District. The […]

Man freed by Judge after conviction recalled to Appeals Court
Wilbert Cuellar, who was found guilty by a jury in December of 2011 and upon his appearance for sentencing, was freed by the trial judge, is scheduled to appear before the Court of Appeal in the February/March session on Monday, February 24th. The office […]

Escuela Mexico boys win National Football Championship
William Ysaguirre Freelance Reporter The boys of Escuela Secundaria Técnica Mexico of San Roman, Corozal, will represent Belize at the upcoming Central American Junior Scholastic Games (CODICADER) in Guatemala in September,. They have won the National Football Championships organized by the National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA). Delille Academy in […]

Delille Academy girls win National Football Championship
William Ysaguirre Freelance Reporter The girls of Delille Academy will represent Belize at the upcoming Central American Junior Scholastic Games (CODICADER) in Guatemala in September, after winning the National Football Championship organized by the National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA). Delille Academy hosted the tournament sponsored by Bowen & Bowen […]

Moderate exercise may cut women’s stroke risk
Brisk walking, tennis and other types of moderate exercise may lower a woman’s stroke risk by one-fifth, a new study says. Being more active also offset the increased stroke risk linked with using hormone replacement therapy to treat the symptoms of menopause, the study found. The researchers looked at the […]

STD education must start long before kids engage in sex
Having a stable home life as a child, nice friends and success at school reduces the odds of getting sexually transmitted diseases as a young adult, according to a new study. The University of Washington researchers said the findings show that efforts to prevent STD infections should begin years before […]

Sea cucumber fishing season opens but fishermen getting short-changed
The fishing season for sea cucumbers opened on Saturday, February 15, but local fishermen harvesting this valuable marine resource are not getting a fair share of the profits from their hard work. According to statistics provided by Fisheries Officer Adriel Castaneda, the 69 fishermen issued licenses last year harvested a […]

Sea cucumber kingpin busted
A woman suspected of being a Guatemalan sea-cucumber black market vendor was busted with $65,000 worth of illegally harvested sea cucumber. The woman, 49-year-old Georgina Maribel Mendez Aldana, was stopped at the mile 4 checkpoint on the Phillip Goldson Highway. The pickup truck she […] Man shot to death on Plues Street

Man shot to death on Plues Street
A Supaul Street resident, 25-year old Tarique “Pauly” Cadle, was shot several times and died on Wednesday morning in a yard on Plues Street. Cadle, who would frequently hang out on Plues Street and had several friends in the area, was at a friend’s […]

PACT issues over $350,000 in grants
The Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) accompanied by Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable development Lisel Alamilla awarded over $350,000 in project grants on Monday. The first grant, totalling $199,998.75, was given to the Belize Audubon Society for a project titled Enhancing St. Herman’s […]

Mechanic’s keys unlock drugs
A set of keys led the Gang Suppression Unit to a stash of more than 50 pounds of marijuana this week. Following a fruitless Monday-morning search of a four-door Ford Taurus car, the unit found the keys in the possession of the car’s alleged […] Minister of Immigration Senator Godwin Hulse

Attorneys say immigration officers have no case to answer. But Minister says “Not so!”
The attorney for two Ministry of Immigration officers named in the ongoing “Citizen Kim” scandal says his clients have no case to answer to, but Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse said Monday that that’s not the case. Hulse told […]

Is OSH Safe For You?
Occupational safety and health in the workplace is unquestionably important. For many businesses, particularly large industrial ones, the recently tabled OSH Bill should merely formalize already existing safety programs. For others, unsafe practices should be eliminated through the introduction of reasonable safety requirements. Regrettably this is not what this Bill […]

Reality of Opportunity Cost
Opportunity Cost: “A benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up in order to acquire or achieve something else. Given the fact that every resource, that is land, money, time, capital, etc, can always be put to some alternative use(s), every decision to use resources has an […]

Obama warns Uganda over anti-gay bill
President Barack Obama has warned Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni that enacting an anti-gay law would complicate relations with the US. Under the proposed legislation, those convicted of homosexual acts could face life imprisonment. The law would also make it a crime not to report gay people. Museveni last month refused […]

North American leaders meet to discuss trade and immigration
The leaders of the three major North American countries have met in Mexico to discuss trade, immigration, energy and other issues. On Wednesday, US President Obama, Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto and Canada’s PM Stephen Harper held a hemispheric summit. Mr Obama faces stiff opposition from his own Congress on parts […]

PM: Too busy for Integrity Commisssion
“I have been too busy really to have conducted any search for replacements of the Integrity Commission,” Prime Minister Dean Barrow said this week. Barrow told the media that he has been having difficulties trying to construct the Integrity Commission and that he had […]

Integrity Commission or Integrity Omission?
By Louis Wade The Belize Integrity Commission is on pause again. The limbo was created this time when two of the three names, submitted by the Prime Minister, backed down after New legislation was tabled in the National Assembly. The previous excuse for the absence of this most important commission […]

Petro Caribe: are Caribbean countries prepared for the worst?
Caribbean governments that are members of the Petro Caribe Agreement with Venezuela would be prudent by beginning to adjust their budgets to take account of the loss of benefits now derived from the oil arrangement. This is especially important for the countries of the Eastern Caribbean that […]

GOB Rescues CPBL with intricate new structure
The first set of funds made possible through a new configuration designed to rescue the Citrus Products of Belize Limited, CPBL, and by extension, the citrus industry, is expected to be released by Friday to assist the company to meet urgent debts and to […]


Last Night’s DELICIOUS Tasting Menu at Casa Picasso in San Pedro
Casa Picasso is one of my favorite restaurants in San Pedro. They do delicious tapas, have a seriously comfortable cocktail bar and outside loungy area…really good people and good food. It is definitely on the list (along with Blue Water Grill and Elvi’s Kitchen and others) of my “MUST DINES” for dinner in San Pedro. Casa Picasso has been doing a Thursday Tasting menu for the past few months and I haven’t tried it.

US Embassy Belmopan Woman of the Year 2014 Award
Call for nominations...

“Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today)” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Now where was I? I’ve become so indisciplined of late in producing editions of the blog that I sometimes struggle to remember – increasing age/reducing grey cells- what I last told you about. That description of my mental condition (deteriorating memory capacity) and the consequences of it (one being I cannot recall what the last edition contained) probably doesn’t mean a great deal to you because you probably (understandably by the way) feel that most of what I write is repetitive anyway. So apologies in advance if you feel that what follows is something that you have read or seen before. Just make allowances for me. Sometimes I’m just a ball of confusion! When I last sat down and produced an edition (and it seems so long ago now) I told you that I had dug up six coconut trees from our adjacent lot to swap for a banana plant. What I didn’t mention was that the swap was with Carlo of Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill. Fascinating information isn’t it! “Who cares” you are probably thinking. Exactly, I’m thinking. I ‘left’ you with a photo of our cart loaded with the coconut trees but I left you in limbo. Would the swap be made? Answer – yes it was. And Carlo increased his side of the deal. We got the banana plant AND a plantain plant. Now you know what’s coming next. Yes, photos of the plants and me planting them (still awake?).

International Sources

7 Caribbean beaches you need to try
When going to a new destination, many of us stick to the beaten path; we'll go where the other tourists are going for the first time around. But once you’ve been to Cancun, or Montego Bay, or any other well-touristed beach spot, you may be more interested in heading somewhere a tad more under-the-radar on your next visit to the area. Or perhaps you’re the type who opts to skip the crowds the first time around. Either way, we love these seven underrated beach destinations; they’re rarely a traveler’s first choice, but perhaps they should be. Most travelers headed to Belize head to Ambergris Caye, which offers easy access to Belize’s best snorkeling and diving. But its beaches can’t compare to the beaches found on the Placencia peninsula. Travelers to this area can also experience Belize’s rainforests and Mayan ruins – neither of which can be found on the cays. It is still possible to snorkel and dive from this area; the reef is a 45-minute boat ride away.

Les secrets du Belize
Niché au cœur de l’Amérique centrale, le Belize est réputé pour ses plages et son climat. Et pourtant, s’enfoncer un peu dans les terres suffit à dévoiler son caractère exceptionnel. Pris en tenaille entre le Mexique et le Guatemala, le Belize, ce petit pays d'Amérique latine, n'est pas que soleil et plages. Vue sur l'Océan Pacifique à l'est, plongée dans la culture maya à l'ouest. Et pourquoi pas un cours de poterie dispensé par une communauté de femmes yukatanes ? Ou encore une chasse au jaguar en compagnie d'un expert ? Ou, enfin, une longue baignade au milieu d'une crique cachée ? Trois expériences exclusives qui confèrent un nouveau visage à cette destination trop souvent réduite à son potentiel balnéaire. On part du plus urbain au plus sauvage ; de San Antonio, le plus grand village du district de Toledo, le seul muni d'électricité. C'est pourtant là que sévit le plus grand respect pour l'environnement. Devant une série de maisons à toits de chaume, un groupe de villageois en costumes traditionnels bigarrés agitent bras et jambes sur des rythmes effrénés. Voilà la danse du cerf sacré, le trait d'union entre l'homme et la nature. Traversé par divers cours d'eau, cette charmante bourgade jouit d'une atmosphère extrêmement chaleureuse.

Wish you were here? The most amazing island in the world - in pictures
Boasting virgin tropical rainforests and hundreds of beautiful limestone caves, Ambergris Caye in Belize has been voted the number one island in the world. With swaying palm trees and pristine beaches, it's not impossible to see why this idyllic 36-mile strip in Central America scooped the top spot of the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Island awards based on the reviews of millions of people. Surrounded by the azure Caribbean, the far north tip of Ambergris Caye is almost within touching distance of the stunning 190-mile-long Belize Barrier Reef, which is teeming with underwater life, including Caribbean dolphin, yellowtail damselfish, nurse sharks and parrot fish.


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Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
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We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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