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#486916 - 02/27/14 05:06 AM Today's Belize News: February 27, 2014
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The San Pedro Sun

Chief Justice grants PUP Writ of Mandamus against Compol Whylie
This morning, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Belize, Kenneth Benjamin granted permission to the Leader of the Opposition People’s United Party’s Honorable Francis Fonseca, on behalf of the Belizean people, a permission of a writ of mandamus against the Belize Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie. Fonseca and the PUP have until 4:00PM on Wednesday February 26th to file official documents before the court. Earlier this month the PUP said that they have opted to take such actions after Whylie failed to act against the disgraced Area Representative Elvin Penner and criminally charge him for wrongdoings after being given seven days’ notice. The Former Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security with responsibility of the Nationality and Passport Department and Area Representative of Cayo Northeast has been in the middle of a major national scandal for the illegal issuance of a Belize Nationally Certificate number 28577/13 dated April 22, 2013 to criminal fugitive South Korean national, Won Hong Kim. That is the same nationality certificate used to issue a Belize Passport number P-0246777 dated September 8, 2013 given to citizen Kim. The Belizean people, the unions, social partners and the opposition have been calling for criminal charges to be brought against Penner but despite the public outrage, none has been forthcoming from the Police Department. After the writ of mandamus has been filed, Whylie should be notified by Thursday February 27th and he is expected to appear in court on Friday February 28th. It is expected that the PUP will ask the court to force Compol Whylie to execute his duties as mandated by law.

Isla Bonita Elementary School Students talk about Drugs and other Issues
On Friday, February 21st, Isla Bonita Elementary School opened its gates to the public to showcase their upper division students’ work via an open house. The open house demonstrated the students’ elaborate demonstrative booths on Drug Abuse, HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) and the Effects of Smoking. Judging each booth was Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police Department Luis Castellanos and Police Constable (PC) Juan Chuc. Using an array of pamphlets, examples, games and more, the students not only explained their topics but also identified the problem’s causes in a community. A group of standard six students, whose topic was Alcohol Abuse, explained how the heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages is affecting the youth of San Pedro. “Children of San Pedro are drinking alcohol before they turn 18. This is causing health problems such as Cirrhosis of the liver,” explained one of the group members. Castellanos further elaborated on the topic, giving real life examples of alcohol abuse that occur in San Pedro Town. After a series of fun question and answer games it was time to move to the next booth.

Ministry of Health Heads Delegation to Drug Abuse Program in the United States
A delegation of six Belizeans, through the National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC), Ministry of Health, returned to Belize over the weekend from the Training and Certification Program (PROCCER) Regional Training of Trainers Workshop with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, Organization of American States (CICAD/OAS). The objective of the program was to share new methods that can be adapted to improve the quality of care in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of drug abuse and dependence and drug-related violence. In this approach, the program works with both governmental and non-governmental front line organizations that provide drug abuse and violence prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services for persons suffering from drug abuse and/or dependence and their families, as well as other high-risk populations.

It’s time to Play with Chukka Caribbean Adventures!
Living on Ambergris Caye is blessing, we have the sparkling Caribbean Sea and gorgeous beaches as our playground. Yet every now and then, a change of scenery is needed, and there is no place than mainland Belize. It is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise. With sprawling mountains to mysterious caves, there is no end to the adventures you can partake in. Which it is impossible to experience everything Belize has to offer in a single day, with the help of Chukka Caribbean Adventure and Tropic Air, you surely can get your fix. At their invitation, I board the 7AM flight to Belize City, excited for the adventures that await me. We meet our two friendly hosts, Karina Cunil and Melecia Bank before we take to the road towards our first stop of the day. At Chukka’s Almond Hill Lagoon Sanctuary Outpost, we are greeted by the entire staff with a military salute (super official, I felt like royalty). There at the banks of the lagoon were our royal carriages- I mean airboats! The happy-go-lucky Chukka crew rounds up our group, giving us a briefing on the tour and the environmentally friendly vessels we are about to ride in. After the dos and don’ts of air boating, we took our seats in the vessel, put on our safety gear (noise canceling earmuffs) and with one final salute from the Chukka crew, we were ready for take-off.

Ambergris Today

Atlanta Silverbacks sign Belizean Soccer Player Deon McCaulay
He's the greatest striker of his generation but Deon McAuley's fame isn't only local - he's also one of only 3 players in the whole world that scored 11 goals in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. And the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks have signed one of them, Belize’s national team forward Deon McCaulay. Deon has hit the big time as it was announced on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, that McCaulay has signed with the Atlanta Silverbacks, a US professional soccer team. The Silverbacks Technical Director Eric Wynalda had been scouting him during the Gold Cup and they are very thrilled to have McCaulay in their team.

San Pedro Traffic Department Now Equipped with Speed Guns
Speeding is quiet an issue on Ambergris Caye and residents can be heard venting their frustrations on the local radio stations, while others commenting on the incredible road rage experiences on social media. To help in this situation the San Pedro Traffic Department is now equipped with a speed gun to monitor the speed of vehicles and to enforce laws even better. The speed limit in the San Pedro Town core area is 10MPH while on other roads its 15MPH. Motorists are asked to respect these speed limits and are advised that they will be fined if they are caught speeding. Other than golf carts, vehicles that will be closely monitored for speeding will be the taxis, private cars, Polaris vehicles and motorcycles.

Misc Belizean Sources

Fires burn in Bella Vista village
Reports from the Toledo district today indicated that the 2014 fire season appears to be off to an early start. An alert motorist travelling through Bella Vista village in the Toledo district on Monday afternoon, provided these photographs showing at least three fires burning. It is not certain how the fires started and one possibility may be the soaring daytime temperatures in the area.

Health workers learn about quality performance
Belize’s Ministry of Health has committed to improvements in the national health system, which includes seeing that the system polices itself. This week at the Biltmore Plaza, approximately 60 health workers from the country’s major health centers and outposts will learn about optimizing performance for quality and learning for performance. Director of the Planning Unit for the Ministry of Health Dr. Ramon Figueroa says quality covers everything from patient care to service to equipment and training to internal analysis.

Spanish Lookout Business Expo
The Spanish Lookout Business Expo is this weekend. "The Spanish Lookout Business Chamber is organizing its biannual Spanish Lookout Commercial/Industrial Expo on Friday and Saturday, February 28 and March 1, 2014 from 9:00a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on each day to be held at the Country Side Park in the Spanish Lookout Community. We hereby extend an invitation to the wider Business Community in Belize to be a part of our highly anticipated expo."

Delroy Cuthkelvin picks up endorsement from former rival
The field of five aspirants for the Stann Creek West standard bearer position for the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) is now down to three. This follows the withdrawal of Adon Arzu on Tuesday. Duncan McPherson had withdrawn back in the middle of January. A brief statement emailed to the media today announced that Arzu had withdrawn from the standard bearer race and was throwing his full support behind Delroy Cuthkelvin. Barring another withdrawn before the March 16 standard bearer convention for the UDP in Stann Creek West, Cuthkelvin will square off against former minister Melvin Hulse and Alexander Romero. The statement put out from the Cuthkelvin camp says that elements of Arzu’s platform will be incorporated Delroy’s campaign and bid to emerge as the next standard bearer for the UDP in Stann Creek West.

Chief Justice grants permission for Writ of Mandamus
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin this morning granted permission for the Honorable the Leader of the People’s United Party (PUP) Mr. Francis Fonseca to apply for Writ of Mandamus against the Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie. The PUP went to the Supreme Court earlier this month seeking to have that body force the Commissioner of Police to arrest the Honorable the member for Cayo Northeast and to investigate him for his alleged violation of Belize’s Passport and Nationality Act. PUP leader Francis Fonseca sent Whylie a letter giving him a week to move to investigate Penner; but that letter was ignored.

The Dons of the Done Deal
by Lucius Blackstone The last time we visited the happy land of Felize things were going wonderfully. The industrious people of that fair land, through hard work and cooperative effort had made their home the envy of their neighbours. They had stopped cutting down their trees and instead invited people to come sit in the shade and enjoy the many beautiful vistas to be found in the pristine peaceful forests. For combined with the beautiful white beaches protected by their famous reef, with crystal clear waters lapping gently upon the sand, Felize was indeed a magical land to visit. In fact, once word got around, people from all over the world were coming to see this beautiful place and the Felizeans prospered. Some opened hotels or tranquil retreats, others restaurants, or fed their families by showing visitors the many sights to be found in this wonderful land.

BBIA Prize for Literature
The Belize Book Industry Association is having their first annual Belize Prize for Literature. They are looking for short fiction, 2500 to 3000 words, and the theme should be 'Belize: From Now Until the End of the Century.' The first prize is $1,000, and the deadline for submissions is March 30th. The top 10 will be published. Good luck!

Cayo West Women in Business Center
The Cayo West Women in Business Center had their grand opening. They are located near the Benque House of Culture. "The Benque Marimba Academy was a part of the grand opening of the new and refurbished Cayo West Women in Business Center. This is a rich source of empowering Women in the entrepreneurial sector and a rich contribution in the Arts & Culture. Visit and support this iniciative and buy all Belizean made handicrafts, show your love and appreciation to all things in Belize. Location St.Joseph Street, 1 block away from House of Culture."

Motivational Missionaries Tour Video
Bert Oliva and his Motivational Missionaries Tour came through Cayo a few weeks ago. They've uploaded videos from the tour, which they had in Benque(Cancha Marshalleck) and San Ignacio(San Ignacio Resort Hotel). When is the best time to change your life? Now! They've uploaded a series of videos on their youtube channel, and videos 9 through 11 are in Cayo, with 9 being a drive through Cayo. "Social change will only occur when a large enough group of people are made aware of, informed about and motivated to be upset by a specific issue. That is why we are creating a world tour. The Motivational Missionaries Tour is about educating the world's young adults and empowering them to take steps in personal growth. On our latest tour, we traveled around the entire country of Belize for the third year in a row while speaking to over 8,000 students."

John Paul II JC Groundbreaking
They had the groundbreaking for the new John Paul II Junior College. "A milestone for John Paul II JC and the community of Benque Viejo: Groundbreaking at our new campus on Saturday, February 22, at Chapel Hill. Our proud faculty and students at groundbreaking ceremonies with Bishop Dorick Wright"

Western Ballaz Defeat Dangriga
The Western Ballaz organizing committee, the SHC/SHJC community, the fans, and the sponsors, really came together and made the first home game a complete success. 3 and 0 makes the Ballaz the best team in the league. The players and the coach proved their skills. It was a great time for all. The cheerleaders did a great dance for halftime - - and there were raffles and even a half court shot prize attempt. Great food and drinks too. The Ballaz travel to San Pedro this weekend to play the Tiger Sharks, and host the Belize City No Limit the next week. Thanks to Adma's Photography for the great pictures.

Why I Love Belize
by Viannie Montero. Travelling to another country is always a great experience that teaches you many things that you probably wouldn’t otherwise learn. I had the opportunity to do just that, only that I wasn’t only visiting for a short time, I was relocating for three years. I am a born Belizean and have lived in Belize all my life, however in 2010 I moved to Barbados. My move to Barbados wasn’t because I had gotten a job or because I was eager to leave my country, instead it was simply because my husband was going to study there and as a result our little family of four relocated. Barbados is a beautiful Caribbean country that is surrounded by amazing, white sandy beaches that are simply irresistible. Walking to the beach is the norm in Barbados and you can get there within 5 – 10 minutes. That was one of the first things we did when we arrived, we walked to the nearest beach. The people are also very interesting and they take great pride in their country. They make an effort to keep their country clean and rarely will you see trash lying around on the streets. They are also very courteous to one another and would normally say good morning or good evening when you walk pass them. Respect is a great part of their culture and I love that about them.

La Ruta Maya-Belize River Challenge
An exhilarating four-day endurance challenge to the finish line, as “Belikin La Ruta Maya – Belize River Challenge” canoe racers vie for the win! Be among thousands of (cheering) fans, lining the Belize and Macal River bank during this spectacular 4-day race on March 7th, 8th, 9th & 10th, 2014. Witness this (170 mile) display of epic sportsmanship and celebrate in commemorating ancient Maya civilization’s legacy. The festivities begin with a “Cultural Night” in San Ignacio, Cayo District, on March 6th starting at 7:00 p.m.

Court of Appeal opens for 2014
The Court of Appeal has began its first session for 2014 in Belize City. In addition to the opening case with Wilbert Cuellar and Darwin Diaz, other major cases listed for hearing in this session include Lavern Longsworth, appealing a murder conviction; Melonie Coye, the sole living defendant in the Money Exchange money laundering case after the death of her father Michael, who is also seeking an appeal; Patrick Lorent, acquitted of carnal knowledge, in which the ruling of the trial judge is being challenged, Edward Buller appealing a manslaughter conviction and Gregory August appealing a murder conviction. Attorney for Coye, Arthur Saldivar, appeared in court on Monday and was told the case was accidentally left off the court docket but would be fitted in depending on the calendar.

Unconfirmed but reliable information is that PUP Senator Collet Montejo has been sacked. Montejo earned the ire of his party’s hierarchy after he endorsed Luke Espat for Standard Bearer for the Cayo Central constituency. Recently Montejo was encouraged to re-enter the race in the division which he lost marginally in the 2012 elections. Those plans changed shortly when he was asked or told to stand down from contesting. Montejo then decided to support Luke Espat. Inside sources tell NBZLIVE that senator Karen Bodden may also be on the chopping block and that Lisa Shoman will be the only senator that will retain her post. Convention is set for Sunday, April 27, 2014 when Luke Espat will face off with Daniel “Dan” Silva.

Channel 7

Supreme Court Grants PUP Mandamus Hearing
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has decided that he will hear the case from Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca on why the court should force the Commissioner of Police to investigate Elvin Penner for his role in the passport scandal. As we’ve reported, early this month, the PUP retained attorney Edwin Flowers to write to Commissioner Allen Whylie demanding that he should direct his officers to commence a criminal investigation into former Minister of State Penner’s role in the issuance of a fraudulent passport to South Korean Won Hong Kim. Commissioner Whylie ignored the request, so the PUP took it to the next step by filing a Writ of Mandamus to let the court decide if it should compel the ComPol to do it. That application was heard today before Chief Justice Benjamin, and after the hearing, the CJ decided that the case has merit and that he should allow the PUP to present their full case as to why the police have acted inappropriately when they didn’t investigate Penner. After the case, Fonseca spoke with the media. He said that while he is pleased with the outcome, he’s upset that a professional such as the Commissioner has to be compelled to serve the people:

Retaliatory Murder One Block From Cops
About an hour before news time yesterday, there was a shooting on Armadillo Street, very close to the Racoon Street Police Precinct. 5 young men were socializing in a yard on Armadillo Street when a gunman ambushed them and let off with a barrage of gunshots and ran off. He left 2 persons injured, and 1 of them died 12 hours later. Police won't confirm, but street sources say that it is a direct retaliation from Supal Street against George Street for Tarique Cadle who was buried yesterday. Today, 7News went looking for answers, and Daniel Ortiz has this report: Daniel Ortiz Reporting Marsha Arnold - Mother of Deceased "I heard last night. My niece called my work and told me that my son got shot. They say that he was in surgery. He got 2 shots in the back, and 1 in the hand. Basically, they say that he was on Armadillo Street with some friends, and a gunman pulled up in the yard and fired shots."

Youth Says Police Set Him up to Get Wet Up
On Monday night's news, we told you about 21 year old Andrew Augustine. He is the young man that was shot on Sunday night in the Lake Independence area. Augustine was picked up by police just after 10 that night when he was found with a stick of marijuana. But instead of him being taken to the police station to get charged for possession of the drug, he was instead taken and release in the PIV neighbourhood – one of the biggest gang territories in Lake Independence. Now Augustine lives behind the complex area which is known to be the turf of another gang, one that just happens to be rivals with the PIV gang. And even though the young man claims to have no affiliation with any gang, he told us he became an easy target due to a set of malicious police officers. Augustine was shot in the neck but despite all odds, he is alive to tell his story which he shared with Monica Bodden today: Andrew Augustine - Shooting Victim "They went straight down Mahogany Street, and when they thought about letting me off is when they took a curve up Flamboyant and hit all the way to the back in the heart of PIV going to the river side. When they reached there, they told me to jump out and go home. I felt so good that I wasn't going to get a charge, and I started to walk home.

Did Corwin Kill Killa? The Judge Will Decide
Justice Adolph Lucas has reserved judgment after hearing the murder trial without jury of 20 year-old Corwin Bennett, who was accused of gunning down 34 year-old gang leader Raymond "Killa" Gentle in January of 2011. The prosecution, led by Crown council Shanice Lovell, presented evidence that Gentle was doing construction work on Kraal Road when his assailant shot him 6 times. Gentle's brother testified as an uncooperative eyewitness. He gave police a statement that immediately after the shooting on January 12, 2011, he chased down the shooter but couldn't catch him. He even picked Bennett out of an identification line up. But, in court, he told the court that he didn't want to give evidence in the case because he feared for his life. Crown Counsel Lovell still managed to get the identification evidence admitted by calling the police officer who conducted the ID parade on the day that the main witness pointed Bennett out of the line-up. The prosecution also tendered 2 caution statements that Bennett gave to police in which he admitted that he was the shooter in one, and in the other, he said that he was with the shooter on that day.

63 Year Old Falls Out Of Bus
Tonight, the family of 63 year-old Jose Elmer Villanueva is worried about his condition after he tumbled out of a J&J bus coming from Benque. It happened this morning just before 7 o'clock. The bus was moving when Villanueva, who uses a cane, slipped and fell out suffering injuries that doctors are unsure of yet. Fortunately, someone rushed him to the KHMH, but due to his pain and his condition, the doctors placed him in an induced coma. Today, 7News caught up with his niece, who explained what they knew about it accident: Badra Coleman - Niece of Jose Elmer Villanueva "We know that he came to Belize the day before and he was returning to Orange Walk. Apparently, some people say that somebody wanted to step out and so he stood up and a truck was coming or something and the bus swerved and he fell out. But we don't really know because we haven't spoken to him yet. He is in intensive care here at the Karl Heusner. He was put in an induced coma so that they can observe him for the next forty-eight hours."

Family Wants To Know Who Hit And Run A 13 Year Old
And while that family wants to thank the unknown person who helped them, another family wants to speak with the unknown individual who knocked down their 13 year-old son and cousin. Earl Ismael Flores was struck in a hit and run on Sunday afternoon just after his family had had dinner. He was walking around in Burrell Boom when someone knocked him down and fled the scene. He was fortunately found a short while later by residents who alerted his parents. He was rushed to the KHMH, and he remains in a critical condition, and today after searching for answers his family turned to the media to make a plea to the person who did it to just come forward and speak with them. They told us that this person needs to accept that a human's life is now on the line because of their actions:

GDP Growth Improved In Fourth Quarter, Against All Odds
The Statistical Institute of Belize today released the fourth quarter GDP figures for 2013. Growth had been projected at 2.5% for the entire year, but a slew of adverse circumstances conspired to cause almost zero growth for the first three quarters of the year. So, how did it turn out in the final quarter? That's what we found out today at an SIB Press Conference at the ITVET Compound:… Jules Vasquez Reporting The GDP in the fourth quarter of 2013 increased from the previous three quarters which were virtually stagnant, but at 1.5% the mild uptick is nothing to write home about – and it still only brings to annual growth to less than one per cent: Glen Avilez, Director SIB "In the fourth quarter, there was an acceleration, and that was the period of highest growth of 1.5%. Putting all 4 quarters together, we get a growth rate of 0.7% for the entire year. We are a little worse off than we were last year. If the size of the economy was 100 last year, it has expanded by 0.7%, so it is just under 101."

Gino Got A Gun
We've heard a whole lot about Corporal Gino Peck with guns, but tonight the story is different. He's the one making the bust, not being busted! This morning at 8:40 Peck along with members of the Quick Response Team for Precinct 2 searched a yard on Supal Street. They found a black Glock 23 brand pistol with the serial numbers scraped off. It contained a magazine loaded with (14) live rounds. No one was in the area so it was labeled as Found Property. It has been sent to the Forensic office for further analysis.

Thief Outsmarted By Smart Phone Gets Ten Years
23-year-old Ashton Grant is spending the second night of a 10 year sentence, after the Chief Magistrate found him guilty of stealing a 25 hundred dollar iPhone. The investigators caught him with the phone after using the "iCloud feature" which finds the device's exact location – or in other words, he got outsmarted by a Smart phone. It belongs to Tanya McNab, who testified that in December 2012, she had just pulled into her driveway when a man approached her on bicycle and pulled a knife. He then robbed her of her hand bag which contained her iPhone, and as soon as he rode off, she went to work to track the phone. With the assistance of police officers who she quickly alerted, Grant was caught with the phone in his possession, and she identified him as the man who robbed her. The officers charged him with robbery, and after the case went to completion, the Chief Magistrate found him guilty. Though he begged for leniency as a young father, he has a previous conviction for robbery, so the Chief Magistrate sentenced him to serve 10 years in jail.

BRN Resident Calling Castro To Court
At the top of the newscast we told you about the writ of mandamus that the PUP has gotten a hearing for. That one is against Cayo Northeast Representative Elvin Penner. But now there is another action filed, and this one is against Minister of State Edmund Castro. Trevor Vernon, who lives in Belize Rural North today filed an application for declaratory relief, asking the court to rule that Castro violated his oath of office. He explained it to us today: Trevor Vernon - Taking Edmond Castro To Court "This action is to seeking to get the court to confirm and to issue a declaration on whether Mr. Castro - Minister Castro - as the Minister in charge of the Belize Airport Authority, abused his office for personal gain. If we just sit back and let this fly, it's going to create a dangerous precedent. We would want the judge to acknowledge, and in his declaratory relief statement, acknowledge that the Minister did violate his oath of office. I think that the time has come that we need to - I as a voter out here in Belize Rural North - I am very offended by the fact that Ministers can just use Airport Authority, or whichever of these statutory boards, as their personal slush funds, paying his political workers. And we intend to also share this with the OAS when they bring in their team in April and have them take a look at it because they're going to be bringing in a team base on the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption that we signed. We're going to have them take a look at this to see if it violates the spirit and the word of that convention."

What the Price Of Beans Has To Do With Inflation Spike In January
Earlier on, you saw the Statistical Institute of Belize outline the figures for Belize's fourth quarter GDP. But that's not all the SIB has in the numbers bag today. They also unleashed the latest inflation statistics for January. It was high, and we found out why: Jules Vasquez Reporting Prices have been trending up from August of last year. Glen Avilez, Director SIB "In January, prices were roughly 1.8% higher than they were in the same month of last year." Transportation and food prices were up the most - food by as much as 4% and transportation by 5%. Glen Avilez "Food was heavily influenced by fresh vegetables being significantly up in that month, when compared to the same month of 2013."

46 New Cycles For Police
While his name was being called in the Supreme Court today, police commissioner Allen Whylie was in Belmopan receiving a major donation from his department's minister John Saldivar. Saldivar handed over 46 Meilun Trail bikes, along with helmets. He also threw in two Nissan Navarro pickup Trucks – all valued at over a quarter million dollars. No word yet on where the motorbikes will be deployed.

Buff Belizeans Bodybuild Abroad
They've got muscle….and Mr Belize Rigo Vellos and Ms. Belize-Fitness Cricel Castillo are the first Belizeans to participate in the Arnold Classic being held in in Columbus, Ohio, from February 27th to March 1st 2014. A release says Cricel will compete in the Women's Figure B Class among 40 competitors while Rigo will compete in the Light Heavyweight Men's Bodybuilding Category among 22 competitors from all over the world. They must first qualify in a preliminary stage if they want to advance to the finals on Saturday. The Arnold Classic is a highly recognized bodybuilding tournament named after 7-time Mr. Olympia/4-time Mr. Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

#486917 - 02/27/14 05:07 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 27, 2014 [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

More News: Scroll up from here

Channel 5

Court grants P.U.P.’s application to seek Judicial Review
The People’s United Party wants former Minister of State Elvin Penner to be held criminally liable for his role in the Won Hong Kim passport scandal. Just as vehemently, the [...]

P.U.P. wants ComPol Allen Whylie to criminally investigate Elvin Penner
The P.U.P. chose this less travelled route of seeking a writ of Mandamus because the party has maintained that it has exhausted all other options, legal and political. But is [...]

Urban warfare: one dead and minor injured, but was it gang related?
Two men were shot on Tuesday night as a surge in urban warfare grips the City. On Tuesday night following the funeral of Supal Street’s Tarique Cadle who was murdered [...]

Massive layoffs at Fruta Bomba in Corozal
Last Friday, we reported on the laying off of fifty-seven workers at the Golden Princess Casino in Corozal.  Employees of the gambling den were let go in the wake of [...]

SIB Report: 2013 records lowest economic growth in past 3 years
The Statistical Institute of Belize held its second press conference for this year. Today, S.I.B. released the figures for G.D.P. and inflation rate. In short, S.I.B. confirms that the basket [...]

P.U.P. Leader speaks on the recall petition
All eyes will be on the Supreme Court on Friday, as the P.U.P. fights for judicial review and the government fights to protect the man in the center of an [...]

Trial for 2011 murder of Raymond “Killa” Gentle concludes
Back in January 2011, Kraal Road gang leader, Raymond Gentle, aka “Killa”, was executed at his jobsite in Belize City while he and his co-workers were building a wooden structure.  [...]

Shane Budram escapes jail time for ammunition charge
Shane Budram is no stranger to the courts or police. The thirty-seven year old street figure has been before the court on a slew of charges; he was back today [...]

2 persons injured in separate traffic mishaps
Two persons were gravely injured in separate traffic accidents in the past three days. The family of sixty-three year old Jose Elmer Villanueva is today standing vigil at the K.H.M.H., [...]

13 year old Earl Flores clinging to life following hit & run
Another family from the Belize District is at the K.H.M.H. tonight, praying that thirteen year old Earl Ishmael Flores will hold on to life. Flores is from the small community [...]

Road Safety Project to introduce breathalyzer test
Traffic fatalities are inevitably a part of the annual mortality rate every year.  Casualties of road traffic accidents often perish as a result of speeding or drunk driving.  While there [...]

The uprising in Venezuela
The Venezuelan government is bracing for more protests which have now spread to the capital, Caracas.  The United Nations, as well as the Pope speaking from the Vatican, has called [...]

Venezuelan Ambassador speaks on relations with United States
The Venezuelan Ambassador says that the opposition is fueling the uprising and accuses the US government of throwing its full support behind the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, MUD or [...]


Fruta Bomba Cuts Staff Due To Consequence of 2013 Weather Conditions
Agriculture across the country has been adversely affected by the incessant rains that fell in the latter part of 2013 and early this year. Farmers in northern Belize saw great losses in crops like onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers and even sugar cane fields were flooded triggering a decrease in its sucrose content. Going further north, into Corozal, the climate’s impact may have proved damaging even for non-farmers. Reports reaching our news room are that a total of 95 employees were released from Fruta Bomba as a result of the bad weather conditions last year. General Manager at the company Rigoberto Vivas confirmed that the releasing of these employees was necessary. Gilberto Vivas – General Manager Fruta Bomba “As you know that the effects of the bad weather that we had 2013, I think it didn’t only affected Fruta Bomba but it affected the entire agricultural sector in Belize, so in order for us to survive we had to lay off some people. It decreases our production volume to about 50%, we use to export about 30 to 35 thousand boxes right now we are between 8 to 12 thousand boxes and that is even more than 50% and that is our weekly basis.”

A Dream To Visit Different Cultures and Belize Is No Exception
Two couples from the Netherlands are doing the unthinkable and quite frankly we find the next story an admirable one. With a self-built motorhome, Ton and Anneka Vogelzang have been travelling the world since 2007. They have been to over 40 countries and yesterday they arrived in Belizean soil. When our news team caught up with them at Eco Adventures we learn that the view from the windshield is constantly changing; one day its ruined castles and the palaces of great empires in Turkey, the next week its white sandy beaches in Merida Yucatan and today they found themselves being sun kissed under the Belizean sun. World Travelers Ton and Anneka shared their story with us. TON VOGELZANG – World Traveler “We started a couple of years ago our first stop was to India and then Naple and back home and then we made a decision to go to America and there we were not so lucky because in family there was a small problem we had to go home. 2012 we started again in Baltimore United States and then to Canada, Alaska and then from Alaska southwards to Mexico and Belize now.”

Scotia Bank Corozal Raises Educational Campaign To Assist Small Business Customers
In this day and era when the world is evolving faster than we can cope with, business owners are constantly looking for new ideas to keep their customers satisfied and their business running. Of course good management is also key when it comes to running a business. Bearing that in mind, Scotia Bank is holding a month of activities across the country in celebration of Small Businesses. In Corozal Town, a forum to educate business owners was held at the branch office with over a dozen business owners in attendance. Yvonne Romero. – Business Banking Manager. “This week was design as small business week and during the course of this week we have had different activities and one of them being the one that we had today which was a presentation to our small business customers who were interested in attending and getting a little bit more information on the cash flow and why it is important for a business and why is it can affect the business, how they can increase their cash flow to have a more stable and profitable business so that is the session we had this afternoon with invitees that we had.”

Helpage Hold Tea Party For Elders
Today, the Zenobia Meggs Helpage Center was filled with happiness and comfort thanks to the warm hospitality of the Helpage volunteers who treated our golden citizens to a tea party. It gave attendees a sense of belonging and usefulness as special friendships united under one roof. Our news team deemed it worthy to highlight the event. And despite only one fourth of its members showing up, President of Helpage Orange Walk branch, Arecelia Leiva, who told it was a wonderful afternoon spent. ARCELIA LEIVA – President, OW HELPAGE “We invited the Senior Citizens to come and spend an evening of fun and to socialize with their colleagues and so we had a tea party and we played some games and we had some help workers from the Orange Walk Hospital who came to delight them with some games because we want them to be active and not to just stay home and be sedentary so we invited them to have a day of fun.”

The Myths About San Antonio Cenote
Tonight, we will feature a story that not many of us know the history of; these are the mysterious Cenotes that are found in the San Antonio Rio Hondo Village in the Orange Walk District. While the Ancient Maya believed that the rain god Chaak resided in caves and natural wells known as these cenotes, these sinkholes are giving archaeologists new insights into the sacred landscapes of the ancestral Maya. From what we gathered during our weekend escapade to three of the many sites, cenotes are natural sinkholes that form when the roof of a cavern collapses. The Mayans believed the mysterious formations were entrances to the underworld. Reporter Maria Novelo delves deeper into the mysteries of these underworlds and bring’s you this report.

Miracle Child Is In Great Shape
Tonight we bring you a success story involving a child whose family is calling him, a miracle child. In a follow-up to a story we ran exactly one year ago, we were elated to get a call from the family of then 12 year old Graciano Ramos, who, as we’ve reported, fell off a tree and sustained life threatening injuries including a fractured skull. At the time, Graciano’s diagnosis was dismal as doctors claimed that he only had a twenty percent chance of living. And while it has been a long road to recovery, we were pleased to catch up with Graciano and his family today. At home, we found the 12 year old smiling as he has defeated the odds. Felipa Smith – Aunt “We took him to the hospital and they transfered him to Belize and they told us that we only had 20% chances that Graciano will live but today I can say that we have Graciano 90% living and when he came out of the hospital he weighs 42 pounds and now we have him with 95% so we see the increase in his weight and he is doing good now. Before we use to brush his teeth, wash his face and clean and now he is doing everything by himself; he is trying to take off his shirt, his socks so we see a lot of improvement with him.”


The Reason Why We Love
Let us leave some inspiring words from the Bible for your growth. This week’s verse is taken from 1 John 4:19.. We love because first loved us.

Gunman Kills Mr. Ryan Arnold, Another Gets Injured
Around 5:30 on Wednesday evening, a single gunman opened fire on a group of five socializing on Armadillo Street in Belize City. His shots caught 25 year old Ryan Arnold in the back and a 15 year old minor in the leg. According to police, Arnold died around 6:30...

Commissioner of Lands Speaks of Structural Stir and Suspension of Officers
Last week, there were reports of suspensions, resignations and terminations at the Lands Department. The media reported that there three very senior officials were dismissed from the Land’s department as well as some suspensions over missing funds . You may also remember, that despite our many attempts to seek...

Private Citizen Wants to Take Hon. Edmund Castro to Court
Earlier this week, we reported on Edmond Castro’s suit against a Belize Rural North resident who told the nation she worked with Castro to get hundreds of visa recommendations for Chinese nationals. Today Castro’s name was in court again, and this time, he is the target. Former public servant...

Daylight Robbery in Corozal Commercial Free Zone
A daylight robbery occurring in the Corozal Commercial Free Zone has left one businessman short of several Hundred thousand dollars. On Monday the 24th February, 2014 about 10:00am Ricardo Villasenor 48 yrs. A Mexican businessman of Quintana Roo, Mexico, exited the back of North American Store to go to...

Man Falls From Moving Bus
Reports are that a man fell out of a moving bus this morning on the Phillip Goldson Highway en route to the Northern Districts. The incident occurred a little after 7:00 am near the Burrell Boom junction. Reports are that the man was sitting on the machine at the...

Hard Times For Family Following Murder
On Monday we reported that 44-year-old Thomas Ferguson Sr. lost the battle for his life on Saturday, February 22. Mr Ferguson had been in the hospital since December 7th of last year after he was stabbed, allegedly by his nephew Oliver Peters, who will now be charged with murder. Reports...

Man Charged With Damage To Property In Under Investigation For Incest
A man has been arrested and charged for the crime of damage to property and is under investigation for the crime of incest. A 15 year old female minor of the District of Corozal visited the Corozal police station accompanied by her mother and reported to police than on...

Fatal Road Traffic Collisions Decline
Belize is investing in making roads safer as across the nation, Government has initiated road works across the country. In a reminder released by the Project Management Unit of the Road Safety Project, progress seems slow, but people are the centre of their efforts to save lives on Belize’s...

Belmopan Hospital Auxiliary Staff Threaten Strike as Overtime Pay Is Delayed
The Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan was brewing with tension Tuesday afternoon and according our sources, members of the auxiliary staff, were threatening to go on strike. This was because they claimed that their over-time, which they had already worked for, would not be paid to them this coming...

Jarod Lamb Is Recaptured
Jarod Lamb is finally back in police custody after being on the run for the past week. On the 18th of February at 9:30am when Police were escorting (7) Male prisoners from Kolbe Foundation Prison to San Ignacio Town in the Blue Police van, prisoner Jarod Lamb escaped by...

Shane Budran Acquitted of Keeping an Unlicensed Firearm
36-year-old Shane Budran of Wagner’s Lane, Belize City, was acquitted of a charge of keeping an unlicensed firearm on Tuesday morning in the Magistrate’s Court. Magistrate Dale Cayetano upheld a no-case submission from Mr Budran’s attorney, Richard “Dickie” Bradley, who told the court that the sole prosecution witness and...

Court of Appeal Begins First Session For 2014
On Tuesday the Court of Appeal began its first session for 2014 in Belize City. We already told you of one major decision they handed down involving Wilbert Cuellar and Darwin Diaz, accused of attempted murder. Cuellar, who was convicted but then released by Justice Denis Hanomansingh after the...

Health Workers Learn About Optimizing Performance
Belize’s health system is not the best, but the Ministry has committed to improvements and that includes seeing that the system polices itself. This week at the Biltmore Plaza, approximately 60 health workers from the country’s major health centers and outposts will learn about optimizing performance for quality and...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker Sailing Club Thank Yous
The Caye Caulker Sailing Club would like to thank the following for their support towards our fundraiser that was held on Saturday, February 22nd 2013. Without your assistance and support we wouldn’t been able to have a successful fundraiser for our kids. We would also like to thank all those who came and supported us at the Palapas, the DJ for providing entertainment and Pat & Stell’s. Last but not least the San Pedro Junior Sailing Club and President of the club Tammy Peterson. You guys have been giving us much needed assistance and we greatly appreciate all the support you have given to us and we look forward to many more!! After expenses we made approximately $3,900.00. This will assist us in the upcoming regatta that will be held in Belize City on March 8th and 9th.

R.I.P. Bob Ross
Funeral Mass to be held at St. Martin’s de Porres On Friday, February 28, 2014 at 10:00 am And on Saturday, March 1, 2014 10:00 am Caye Caulker Nuestra Señora de la Ascunción Predeceased by his mother and father and three brothers. Survived by his wife Elizabeth Ross, daughter Karen Ross and other family members abroad. The Ross Family would like to thank Dr. Jorge Hidalgo, Dr. John Sosa, Dr. Jorge Lopez, Nurse Arlene Requena, Miss Martha, and all the other medical personnel and health care providers who helped care for Mr. Bob during his illness. God Bless you and thank you.


Sailing and Dining on the Rum Punch 2 Never Disappoints
Yesterday was a GORGEOUS day. In fact, February has been an absolutely gorgeous month. And that is just how it should be. Lots of sun, getting a bit warmer (no blanket needed at night anymore) and breezy. Perfect for all things. But especially perfect for sailing. A bunch of fun friends were headed out on the old Belizean-made ex-fishing boat, the Rum Punch 2. They even brought their own pirate flag. These ladies are prepared! George Eiley (above), the owner, was born and raised in Placencia, Belize but in the 70s fell in love with Ambergris Caye where the tourism and tour guiding businesses were in the beginning stages. He purchased the Rum Punch from a fisherman, cleaned her up and started tours.

“Finish What Ya Started” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
The irregular publishing frequency though does create this recollection issue. But hey, most of you know the usual beginning of my blogs anyway. You know, got up, make coffee (black, no sugar) take it and my iPad out on to the veranda (normally the western facing one on the first floor) and enjoy the sights, the sounds (even when there’s hardly any sounds at all) and a sense of total relaxation. And then there’s my fairly frequent (I wonder if I might be the most regular breakfaster there?) visits to Estel’s where I continue with my ‘me time’ (Rose rarely goes with me for breakfast). Monday was much the same until I asked Rose if she wanted to join me for breakfast and she said that she did. OK we set off later than I would normally set off but it was worth it (got to keep building up those brownie points!) All was going great until Rose struck up a conversation (she’s so much more social than I am) with a woman sitting at the table next to us. The woman explained that she and her husband had recently moved here and was looking to get a slow cooker and asked Rose if she knew where she could get one. Quick as a flash (and she has her moments, believe me) Rose responded “Take John. You won’t find a slower cooker than him!”.

Chocolate, diving, Whale sharks and Science!
Toledo’s links to chocolate goes back to Ancient Maya days. But in present day too there are a number of chocolate factories where you can experience how chocolate is made (and taste it of course!) If you are a chocolate lover, like us, then a date for the diary is 23rd, 24th and 25th May! Toledo hosts the annual Chocolate Festival of Belize, a unique 3-day event celebrating chocolate and culture!! Its a “must see” festival starting with wine and chocolate night, showcasing some of the areas finest chocolatiers! Saturday is an all day street festival in PG and Sunday is the closing ceremony at one of the beautiful Mayan sites, Lubantuun. Pilot whales, dolphins, silky sharks, huge hawksbill turtles, large rays and a WHALESHARK!! All that in the past few weeks with ReefCI!! What have you been up to?? Although March – June is official whale shark season here in Belize, for the past few years we have seen them as early as January and right through to September. 2014 started off well with sightings in January and February, so its gearing up to be another exciting whale shark season! ReefCI are delighted to announce that our PADI Instructor extraordinaire, Tracy Allen, has accepted a new challenge! With a background in biology, Tracy will be using her degree and focusing more of her time and energy on collecting and analysing our data.

International Sources

Belize - bot flies, beef worms, pinching and other joys of travel.
This is my introduction to the Bot fly, the Beef Worm, and the technique that's used to get the parasite out of ones body, after the infestation. Exciting day today. I have had a bump beside my ear for about a week. Carpio, Jack's little renter that uses the basement downstairs, looks at it and says I have a "Beef Worm" This I do not need to hear. Covers it with Vick's Vapour Rub, and puts a band-aid on it. "We'll get it out later" he tells me. Marvey, I think. So , the way to get this thing out is to squeeze the skin together. Like someone pinching you real hard. He's trying to squeeze this thing from under my skin - to get its little head to show so he can grab it and pull it out. Now, sit back and think about that for a moment…………It is big enough to have a head and a body - growing under my skin - and I think I have two others in me. Just like home - NOT!! So , at it he goes, Squeezes the skin together , gets his wife to bring out a pair of tweezers, and starts trying to get a hold on his ( The beef worm's) head. Success! - he gets it, I feel a little twinge of pain and sure enough, he drops down this little worm (about 1/8 of an inch long!) on the rail. I find this really hard to believe - this bloody "beef" worm has eaten a portion of my body, grown from a bite from a fly! What the HECK!!! looks over my bites, one is mosquito and two more look like infection from the dreaded Bot fly, the "beef worm" carrier.

Mc Cauley to become first player from Belize to play professional soccer in the US
Star striker Deon McCauley has become the first Belizean footballer to sign a contract with a professional soccer team in the United States. McCauley has signed with the Atlanta Silverbacks which competes in the North American Soccer League (NASL), the second tier of the American Soccer Pyramid. McCauley, who plays for Belize’s Belmopan Bandits, has been scouted by numerous international teams since his ascent to football stardom. He boasts of a stellar record as the first player to score a hat trick in the World Cup qualifiers. The 26 year old striker scored 11 goals in eight matches for Belize in World Cup 2014 qualifying to tie Dutch star Robin Van Persie and Uruguayan Luis Suarez for the most goals in the 2014 qualifying campaign.

Ten reasons to travel in March 2014
Whale shark season in Belize begins next month, and one tour operator (Original Diving; www.originaldiving.com) intriguingly claims to have found "a secret spot where scientists can predict exactly when and why these elusive creatures turn up, year in, year out". Should they fail to show, there's always dramatic dive sites like the Blue Hole to compensate.

Waste Management Volunteer Programs Around the World
Belize is the only country in Central America with English as their official language, so you'll fit right in during a two month volunteership with FrontierGap. Their project takes place in Southern Belize and aims to support local communities by providing jobs toward protecting the country's exotic rainforest ecosystem. You can be gardening with kids, constructing new facilities or even managing social media for raising waste management awareness. $1,500 is a bit much for a volunteership without accommodation or food, but your home currency will likely stretch a long way -- average apartments go for $200 a month and food and drink come cheap. Plus there will be plenty of free time to snorkel the Northern Hemisphere's longest barrier reef in any one of Southern Belize's secluded beaches.

Big fish still excite veteran angler
In ways, it's heartening to me that I still get excited when I cast to a big fish because I know that I am not jaded, and I'm still passionate about fishing. Still, I would like to be able to calmly make pinpoint casts at 60 or 70 feet and not have to worry about mechanics. On our recent trip to Belize, my wife, Carol, and I had the pleasure of being guided by a master guide, Eloy Badillo. Eloy had roamed the waters around the island of Caye Caulker since his youth and knew hundreds of square miles of water as well as I know the waters of the Bighorn River from Afterbay to Two Leggins. Not only does he know the waters but he can spot fish as easily as an osprey. Our first day with Eloy had gone well: Carol landed four or five bonefish in the course of a half hour and I had landed one on my first cast. After we had eaten lunch, Eloy motored to a flat near a small caye. The water was only a foot to 2 feet deep and the bottom was sand, not marl. So Eloy and I disembarked and started to wade across the flat.

A Stunning Map Pinpoints the Worst Places in the World to be Gay
After months of debate and controversy, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni officially signed the country's anti-gay legislation into law on Monday, charging those found guilty of "aggravated homosexuality" with life in prison. The move is a huge backwards step not just for the country, but for all of sub-Saharan Africa, which has seen rampant homophobia in recent years due to the ongoing AIDS crisis. The fear and hatred of homosexuality in turn has created an awareness vacuum for HIV/AIDS, leading to a vicious cycle of disease and hate. As can be seen on the map, homophobic legislation is most commonly found in a bloc stretching from Africa to the Middle East and South Asia — these regions incidentally include the only countries that have death penalties for homosexuality: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Nigeria, Mauritania and Somalia.

How Many People Live in the Caribbean?
How many people live in the Caribbean? It’s a question we’re often asked. And the answer is, well, complicated. That’s because it depends on what geographical area you define as the Caribbean. We culled data from a range of sources, using the most recent estimates from 2012 across the region, breaking it up into different sub-regions and then applying it to the various definitions of the Caribbean. We start with the Caribbean Community, the political bloc of largely English-speaking countries, along with Haiti and Suriname, joined by Guyana, but not by Cuba or the Dominican Republic.


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