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


The San Pedro Sun

Ground Breaking for Infrastructure Improvements at Archaeological Sites
Tourists and local visitors to archaeological sites in Belize will soon benefit from infrastructure improvements at the sites under the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (MTBCAAS) project. The infrastructure works will commence at Altun Ha, Belize District and a ground breaking ceremony was today (Wednesday, February 12), to mark the occasion. The project is funded by the European Union and the Government of Belize. European Union (EU) Ambassador Paola Amadei who addressed the ceremony remarked “It is a symbolic event as this EU funded project aims on one side to improve the experience of tourists visiting the archaeological sites AND as well promotes employment and better opportunities in the communities in the proximity of the archaeological site. This project has the component of promoting community development.” Visitors to Altun Ha will experience the upgraded Visitor’s Centre which will be outfitted with audio-visual equipment, enhancing the tourist experience. Additionally, a new male bathroom facility, walking trails and seating areas will be constructed. These improvements will cater to people with diverse abilities and increase health and safety at the site. A contract was signed with KIKOS Engineering Services for $255,583.41 to carry out the construction works at Altun Ha. Construction is expected to last for 4 months, ending in June 2014.

Global Fantasies advertises Belize as a hedonistic escape
Recent reports have surfaced of a website, namely Global Fantasies, promoting Belize as a destination for guests to enjoy the services of exotic escorts. According to initial reports, the website offers packages for visitors to enjoy Belize’s prime tourism destination along with the sexual company of Belizean women. Upon learning of this the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) quickly issued a press release on Wednesday, February 12th in which they denounced any affiliation with Global Fantasies. The press release stated, “We were recently made aware of a website created by an unknown group claiming to operate an ‘adult fantasy’ vacation destination in Belize. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is in no way affiliated with this group nor does it condone its actions, as this is a human rights issue. The Ministry of Human Development, the Human Rights Commission, and the Belize Police Department have been notified and will be handling the resulting investigation.” Of course residents of Belize reacted negatively to the advertisement, stating that the promotion of Belize as a haven for hedonism is jeopardizing the growing eco-tourism industry and family destination.

Police Report
On Tuesday, February 11th, 35 year old Eric Andrews, Belizean tour operator of Barrier Reef Drive in San Pedro Town, visited the San Pedro Police Station and reported that on Monday, February 10th at about 8:30PM he went into his apartment, located on Barrier Reef Drive to retrieve his licensed 9mm Luger firearm, chrome and black in colour, valued at $2,200 from a safety box in the bedroom of his apartment. When he got to his bedroom, he noticed that the safety box was damaged and open. Upon making a further inspection, he noticed that the firearm was missing along with two magazines containing 26 live rounds of 9mm ammunition. Police are currently investigating.

Misc Belizean Sources

Miss Belize Wins Diosa Maya
Congratulations, Dalina Reyes! Miss Belize won the Diosa Maya pageant in Mexico this week, for the second year in a row. That is an amazing dress. "In case you missed it, Belize's Dalina Alyssa Reyes is the new Diosa Maya Internacional 2014. She was crowned late last night in Merida, Mexico. She was crowned by outgoing queen and fellow Belizean Grisel Rosseli Carballo, making it the second consecutive year an Orange Walk beauty captures the crown for Belize. First-runner up was Miss El Salvador Cecilia Menjivar, while second runner-up was Miss Honduras Eidy Josselyn Bueso Lopez."

Belmopan Football Association Talent Search
The FFB and Belmopan Football Association are finishing up their talent search today. A new tournament starts today. In PLB news, the Verdes and the Bandits both play today. "Football Federation of Belize and the Belmopan Football Association will be conducting its grassroots selection of Talent from Wednesday 19 February, 2014 to Saturday 22 February, 2014 All coaches of the Belmopan City Council Kids, female and youth cup are ask to bring along their players on the specific dates below: Schedule for the selection of Talents Day1 : Wednesday 19th February, 2014- U-13 (boys & Girls) Governor General Field Day 2 :Thursday 20th February, 2014 - U-15 (boys & Girls) Governor General Field Day 3 : Friday 21th February, 2014- U-17 (Boys & Girls) Governor General Field Day 4 Saturday 22nd February 2014 - Grassroots Festival ( Boys & Girls) Devon Beaton Park All Players and Coaches are ask to attend the Saturday Grassroots Festival"

Happy BIrthday Dali and Mayor Daniel!
Happy Birthday to Mayor Daniel Guerrero and his twin sister, Dalinda Guerrero. May God bless you and we hope you have a great birthday!

MMAC: Live to Race
The Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge is over, and the YogaSlackers won the race. Here's the 3rd of 4 videos they made about preparing for the jungles and mountains of Belize. They had some serious gear they had to take with them. The race results are on this webpage: "Welcome to the third video in the the Maya Adventure Challenge series. Follow the YogaSlackers as they prowl through untamed jungles for three days and three nights non-stop in the Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge. We’ll be there every step of the way to bring you the planning, the execution, the failures, and the triumphs in a four-part video series."

Community journalists graduate in Punta Gorda town
Graduation exercise was held on Saturday, February 22 for a group of Toledo men and women who underwent training as community journalists. The training was an initiative of Ak’Kutan Radio and was designed to give participants of the training course a basic understanding and knowledge of what it takes to gather the news, write stories and present the news on radio and television. The training was conducted by veteran broadcaster/journalist Patrick Jones. A total of 12 community journalists graduated on Saturday during ceremonies which were held at the Father Francis Ring Parish Hall in Punta Gorda town.

The Belize Times

From the bottom of the barrel!
Having barely survived the monstrosities that are the scandals of Elvin Penner and Edmond Castro, the UDP seems hell bent to make corruption, fraud and criminal behavior, even involving international goons, the hallmarks of their last term ever in office. Just as the hopes of Belizeans increase for the People’s United Party to keep a failing system in check to ensure that the known UDP wrongdoers face the full weight of the law, there is more news that the UDP continues to abuse our country at the operation of vicious international charlatans such as Kim Won Hong.

Editorial: RISING SUN
“Our elders say that the sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under them.” Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe Belize is in shambles. To the average Belizean, the past six years have been unstable, uncomfortable and uncertain. This is the not only the socio-political reality but even more torturing, it is our economic reality. At the BELIZE TIMES we have watched expectant faces fold time and hearts sink with heaviness after each scandal and the pious press conference that follows. Deep down, even in 2008, we all knew that we were getting “puss inna bag” but there was a cut off point for the voting public and they spoke with that voice of God. Yet no political analyst was startled when Barrow recently admitted publicly that his Party is guaranteed to lose in the next general elections. Let’s not forget that Barrow, the maximum leader of the forty thieves, has been consistent in his pronouncements in this regard. Way back in 2008 Barrow told the media, without shame that it would not be so much that the UDP would win the elections of that year but that the PUP would lose it. Belizeans wanted a short change of scenery and possibly were curious to see if, even by a long shot, Barrow could govern and govern with the eloquence with which he campaigned. But there is nothing smooth in 2014: nothing romantic about Barrow and his legion of doom.

SCA girls maul Pallotti 24-9
The St. Catherine’s Academy girls won 24-9 over the Pallotti high school girls when the high school softball competition continued at the Rogers Stadium on Monday, February 17. The Pallotti girls led 7-0 when Marlette Martinez, Vivianne Gongora, Jinel Flowers, Deja Young, pitcher Andrea Avaloy, Courtney Lightfoot and Thelma Young scored in the top of the 1st inning, but the SCA girls soon roared back to take over the lead 9-7 when Jeddah Sacasa, Kendisha Armstrong, Kendiece Armstrong, Shellidah Moguel, Celine Barrow, Jada Jones, Cori Mckenzie and pitcher Jacqueline Alas scored in the first inning.

Delille Academy girls win national football championship
The Delille Academy girls won the high school football championships after a penalty shootout against the Orange Walk Technical High School girls. The Delille girls stopped the Orange Walk girls 3-2 in a penalty shootout when regulation time and overtime ended in a 1-1 draw. MVP Shayama Caliz had scored for the Delille, but Orange Walk’s Norielly Terry equalized on a penalty conversion. In penalties, Shayama Caliz, Naomi Gamboa and Orel Gillett scored for Delille, while only Baeza and Terry scored for Orange Walk. 3rd place went to St. Ignatius girls who won 2-1 against the Gwen Liz girls; with 2 goals by Jenelle Smith, while only Vivica Young scored a free kick for Gwen Liz.

Angel Tzib wins Valentine’s Classic
Angel Tzib, riding unattached stunned the big names in the cycling fraternity like Giovanni Lovell, 2013 Cross country champion Darnell Barrow and National road champion Byron Pope by winning the 19th annual Digicel Valentine’s Day Cycling Classic held by the Cycling Federation of Belize in uncontested style. Tzib clocked 3:55:49 as he coasted to the finish line at Leslie’s Imports concluding his 89-mile ride to the Hector Silva airstrip and back on the George Price Highway on Sunday, February 16.

City Gang Warfare Escalates – 25 yr. old murdered in retaliation for Tuesday night shooting
3 days after celebrating his birthday, 25 year old Tarique “Paulie” Cadle, was gunned down on George Street on Wednesday morning. Cadle, who is a resident of Supal Street, went to visit a friend when a gunman chased him through the yard, cornered him near the back fence and opened fire at him. Cadle is the nephew of Jason “Soup” Williams, who was arrested by the Police for a shooting that occurred on Tuesday night on George Street. In that incident, Kariq Tzul, of West Street address was shot twice in the left leg and 27 year old Andrew Tate of George Street, was shot in both arms, the left side of his abdomen, his stomach, right upper leg, and left upper leg. Tzul is in a stable condition while Tate is receiving treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, in a critical condition.

PM’s band aid solution to citrus crisis
The Prime Minister’s announcement at a press conference yesterday that his government will bail out the Citrus Growers Association from their bad debts with two local banks prompted knee-jerk reactions, some from unexpected quarters. It made a good political gambit for the PM but it will be short lived. The CGA still owes the Social Security Board. The move will simply exacerbate that debt. Another debt owed by the CGA to the European Investment Bank becomes due next year. The Prime Minister’s move will only delay the spread of the cancer, putting a band aid on the CGA’s inability to manage. Until some of the old antagonists in the industry dies, their problems will never go away-like Ireland, it is like the past happening over and over again. Here are a few reminders for the CGA: The same man, who will be appointed to sit on the newly constituted Board of Directors of CPBL and representing the SSB, was planning a move for a hostile takeover of your 51 percent shares in CPBL. It is the same man, who, as the Police Minister, sent Police Officers to block three newly appointed members of the CGA from attending their first Board meeting of CPBL.

No Escape for Penner! – PUP asks Supreme Court to order a Criminal Investigation
The People’s United Party has turned to the Supreme Court in order for UDP area representative Elvin Penner to face justice for his criminal act of illegally facilitated nationality and passport documents to an international criminal, South Korean fugitive Kim Won Hong, last year. The move by the PUP has come about because the Barrow Administration has protected and defended Penner, and has frustrated and intimidated every possible chance of a proper investigation by various authorities, instead of defending our laws. Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the UDP hold a razor thin majority in the House of Representatives that would be much closer to collapsing if Penner goes to trial and is found guilty, as would be expected in the face of the mountain of evidence of wrongdoing. Despite the evidence that exists, Barrow has declared publicly that he sees no criminal wrongdoing and has defended Penner’s political longevity to save his own. His declaration seems to have scared away the Police Department and the Financial Intelligence Unit.

Bitter times in Citrus Industry
The saga of Stamp and Sharp is immortalized in song and gave notoriety to Stann Creek’s Pomona Valley. The story is always told in bits and pieces and is as about complex and confusing as today’s Pomona problems. The problem today is citrus which has been undergoing some seemingly insurmountable problems and challenges. If you listen to the news and if you listen to Anthony Chanona, a panacea has been discovered and an elixir has been delivered. Nothing could be further from the truth! In a Press Conference on Monday, Prime Minster Dean Barrow announced that he would be once again be dipping into public money to bail out private interest. Social Security has been a cash cow and monies there from have been used for everything except what it was initially intended for; Fifty million to Belize Telemedia (BTL), fifteen million to Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) ten million to the cane industry, etc., etc. Yet, poor hard working Belizeans who are the prime contributors to this fund must go begging to the public when in need of medical attention. As I write, Norman Rodriguez, a corporal of the Belize Defense Force (BDF), who is suffering with a brain tumor cannot receive assistance to receive medical attention. Something is terribly wrong with this picture.

PUP Chairman meets with Cayo West leaders
Party Chairman, Henry Usher, made a working visit to the Cayo West Constituency on Sunday 16th February 2014. His first stop was a tour of Arenal Village and a courtesy call on the Chairman of the village, Mr. Mirto Naj. Villagers came from all over to voice their concerns about the neglect of Erwin Contreras and the UDP who have completely abandoned the village. Chief among the cries was a lack of proper medical attention. The PUP built a health clinic in Arenal, but since the UDP took office in 2008 the clinic has become a shell. No nurse, no medical supplies. It has not opened its doors in the last 5 years. The closest health outpost is Benque Viejo, so even the most minor medical attention requires an arduous journey along one of the many terrible roads throughout Belize.

AMAZING GRACE – The Empty Faucet
This past Sunday, at a local Kingdom of God embassy, an ambassador relayed a thought-provoking story. An American missionary was attacked in the Amazon by a group of one of the native warrior tribes. Five indigenous people who happened by stepped in to save the man. As a token of his appreciation, the missionary took them out to dinner at a hotel in the nearest city. The group went up to the man’s hotel room to talk and he told them that they could have anything they could carry and that he would pay for it. The people led him into the bathroom and pointed. “We want that they said.” The missionary was astounded for the people wanted the bathtub faucet! When he tried to explain why that would be impossible they insisted, “We have no running water at the touch of a button at home. This is what we want”. What the tribe people did not understand was that the faucet had no power on its own. They mistakenly felt that the running water came from the faucet. They did not know the power came from the pipes connected to the faucet. These pipes were behind the walls and unseen to the human eye, yet the faucet would be a useless object without this ‘invisible’ source. It is the same with human beings. People who call themselves ‘Christians’ may have the shiniest exteriors, their faucets may even be made of gold; true value, however, lies not in the tool used to bring forth the water, but in the actual water. If the beautiful gold faucet is inlaid with precious stones and cannot conduct water from the pipes, it is a very beautiful piece of trash. Now, I am in no way calling people trash, but those who perform all the right rituals and actions without being connected to the Source are simply blowing hot air.

The mixed economy philosophy – What does it mean?
The Father of the Nation, Hon. George C. Price, always preached that Belize should implement a “MIXED ECONOMY”…..but how many understand what he meant? The National Constitution, our supreme law, prescribes that the people of Belize “respect the principles of social justice and therefore believe that the operation of the economic system must result in the material resources of the community being so distributed as to sub serve the common good, that there should be adequate means of livelihood for all, that labour should not be exploited or forced by economic necessity to operate in inhumane conditions but that there should be opportunity for advancement on the basis of recognition of merit, ability and integrity, that equal protection should be given to children regardless of their social status, and that a just system should be ensured to provide for education and health on the basis of equality”.

The Plan to Complete Global Sanitation by 2015
“How long will it take for countries of the poor to have adequate access to clean water?” It has been 13 years since the United Nations Millennium Declaration wrote this statement, and to date, many governments that signed up have noted the members in their communities are “still living and dying in their own feces for want of somewhere clean and safe to go to the toilet”. There is a global plan to reduce by half the number of people without access to sanitation by 2015. For many countries, this will definitely happen. How does Belize compare with other developing countries and what can we do to make the necessary changes to make sure our country is in compliance with this mandate? Globally, over 2.5 billion people live without adequate sanitation. Over 900 million people live without adequate access to clean water, which means people are exposed to the transmission of germs from feces by flies, fingers, and other sources, which can result in a public health crisis. I read that, “Sanitation is the basic environmental condition that affects the well-being of people. The conditions included a clean and safe water supply; efficient and safe animal, human, and industrial waste disposal; clean and safe air; protection of food from biological and chemical contaminants; and adequate housing in clean and safe surroundings”.

Belize’s reef health fair, GOB’s score: poor
The government of Belize has once again found to be lagging in implementing internationally recognized best practices in the management of nations’s fisheries resources. It’s been almost 5 years since Douglas N. Rader PhD and Kate Bonzon of the Environmenal Defense Fund visited Belize in March 2009 to propose a system of fish catch share as the only way forward for sustainable fisheries in Belize, but the UDP administration of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has again be found dragging its feet in implementing the necessary legislation to make it work. Belize scored fair: 3.1 out of a possible score of 5, in its performance to keep the Belize Barrier Reef healthy, according to an Eco-report presented by the Dr. Melanie Mcfield of the Healthy Reefs Initiative (HRI) and Roberto Pott of Belizean NGO, Healthy Reefs for Healthy People, at the Radisson Fort George Hotel on Wednesday, February 12. HRI monitors Belize’s reefs as part of the Meso-American reef, in collaboration with the other countries: Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, and published a similar report back in 2011. Since then all the other 3 countries have improved their scores, only Belize has not improved over 2011.

PUP Marshalls Unit – Moving Forward!!
The work of rebuilding the PUP Marshalls Unit goes on with renewed vigour and efforts. This weekend, the Marshalls President Stephen Latchman will hold a meeting with his Dangriga Executive to plan the way forward. On Saturday February 8th and 9th Marshalls President Stephen Latchman met with Marshalls members of the Orange Walk district. A new executive body was appointed prior to the meeting and sworn in. The members of the new executive are President Joel Mollinedo, Vice President Enrique Castillo, Secretary Berta Ortega, Assistant Secretary Antonio Novelo, and Treasurer Mario Gongora.

A Public Fool or a Pig Using Lipstick?
A recent editorial in a national newspaper that has a mutually cozy business relationship with the Prime Minister and his government, took an unusual, but not unprecedented step, to rebuke the PM for “making a public fool of himself”. This chiding of the PM by one of his fair weather friends, is certainly an indication of the shifting political winds against this most unpopular government. But it is not news. If it is news, it is stale news. It is certainly not an epiphany. Cynics, and there is a growing number of those, even snicker that that newspaper’s editorial is a political, publicity, or business stunt. That assertion may have some credibility based on the experiences of readers and pundits. Reading between the lines, the paper has virtually implied that not only has the Prime Minister become a pig with lipstick but more like a pig using lipstick to cosmetically cover up all the evils of his corrupt administration. It would be easier for him to use white lime to help him with the white wash. But even that will only serve to temporarily keep away the maggots and the flies swarming in a government that is rotten to the core. The Prime Minister is fully aware that his power and strongman control is unravelling, and so is his very dangerous political ambitions. He and his government are currently suspended in thin air by a spider’s slippery thread.

WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – FOCUS ON LADYVILLE
This week I would like to focus on Ladyville and to acknowledge many businesses in the area which have added to the amenities enjoyed by residents of this sprawling suburban and rural community. Many times it feels like there are several Ladyvilles because there are such widely diverse smaller zones and residential areas. For example the Ladyville/Lord’s Bank area has a section that is called Hollywood. Another “barrio” is called Spanish Town. Yesterday Pepe and I gave a ride home to Ms. Marion Wallen, who worked for many years with the late Audrey Courtenay. Ms. Marion joked that she lives in the “poor people” Hollywood, since apart from some attention to one or two streets in the area, there are still many bad streets and lanes, making access for residents very difficult. There are the businesses and services at the International Airport, the Coca Cola/Belikin Factories, SriLuck Plastics, Gentrac, the Vista del Mar Marina, Medina’s Construction, Rodla Construction, Easy Does It Auto Shop, Bella Vista Development, Bacab Eco Park, the Data Processing site at Mile 13, Qespro Pest Elimination Service, M&M Engineering, Belize Optical Supply, Belize Western Energy, Mood FM Radio Station, and St. Christopher Clinic and Pharmacy. I am sure this list is not exhaustive.

REFLECTIONS ON THE PUBLIC SQUARE – NO SENSE OF PURPOSE OR DIRECTION
The UDP Government of Dean Barrow is a Government without purpose or direction. It is a Government without a Plan. A government that lives from day to day reeling from crisis to crisis. No wonder then, that Belize is in a crisis. Ask yourself the following questions: What is this UDP Governments Economic Development Agenda? Does the UDP Government have a Governance Reform Agenda? What is the UDP’s JOB PLAN? What is the UDP SOCIAL AGENDA beyond furthering dependency thru handouts? What is the UDP’s National Security Plan not only to fight crime but also to preserve our territorial integrity? Where are our Education, Health and Housing Sectors going? What is our Natural Resources Agenda? I could go on and on but you get the point. This is a UDP Government that is headed nowhere and quickly. Take the recent standoffs in the Sugar and Citrus industries. The PUP have long called on the Government to become more engaged in bringing the parties in these industries to the table and craft a responsible solution but Barrow and the UDP waited in each case for the matter to become a national crisis before responding.

Blogs

An Aussie Strikes Back with a tip of the Akubra to Ambergris and Chaa Creek
First of all, we are a continent, see? So the comparison is unfair. You don’t need weeks and the constitution of a camel to cross Ambergris Caye and see all the sights. You don’t even need shoes. Second of all, Ambergris Caye is in the bleedin’ Caribbean, home of swashbuckling tales, Pirates of the Caribbean, buried treasure and all that, so there’s an unfair advantage right there. And third of all, most importantly, you can get to Ambergris Caye from The Lodge at Chaa Creek, one of the world’s top eco resorts, in the time it takes to drink a frosty Fosters. The last time I tried to get home to Aussie from Chaa Creek it took something like three days. And at Chaa Creek you’re surrounded by beautiful rainforest (on par with our Daintree, I’d have to admit), stacks of activities like canoeing, horseback riding, attractions such as ancient Maya temples and the like, a wonderful staff and a restaurant serving some of the best tucker to be had anywhere.

International Sources

Trip to Belize offers outdoor adventures filled with exotic wildlife, sights, sounds
HOPKINS VILLAGE, Belize — Permit, bonefish and tarpon beckoned from mangrove-flocked cayes dotting glistening saltwater flats, but our bountiful reward had nothing to do with recompense gained via measured swings of a fly rod. In reality, the true treasures of this small country nestled below the Yucatan Peninsula in Central America are its people, culture and distinct places, including some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world featuring an abundance of amazing species. My new bride, Michelle, and I spent our honeymoon in November based out of a private residence on what certainly was a quiet and splendid beach, but getting off the beaten path provided so much more to marvel at, allowing us to partake in activities we otherwise never would have enjoyed.