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#486999 - 02/28/14 10:49 AM Today's Belize News: February 28, 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

Introducing the San Pedro Youth Cadet Corps
Cadets are taught a variety of skills and techniques, including foot drills, team work exercises, life skills lessons, and sporting skills. The group has scheduled practices at the Isla Bonita Elementary School campus. “We want the children to learn respect and honor, but also humility. In the coming months we will have Kristina Romero from the National Drug Abuse Control Council to speak to the youth about drug abuse and how they can make a difference in the community against drug use,” said Gonzalez. In addition, the San Pedro Youth Cadet Corps will also be preparing to participate in the Annual National Youth Cadet Camp held every summer by the Belize Police Department. Cadet groups from across the country are invited to take part in sporting activities and educational sessions. On Friday, February 28th at 3:30PM an introductory meeting will be held for parents, members and the general public at the Reef View Education Center located on Barrier Reef Drive. The San Pedro Youth Cadet Corps is aiming to have 50 members, there are currently 35 available spaces. Anyone interested in having their child join the San Pedro Youth Cadet Corps can contact Shane McCann at 631-8366, PC Juan Chu at 607-9033, Freddy Gonzalez at 604-0949, or attend the meeting to learn more. Uniforms will be provided at no charge for all members.

Canoe Challenge: Boom to the City – powered by GUINNESS
This year’s Boom to the City Canoe Challenge – powered by GUINNESS, went from Henderson’s Bank to Riverside Tavern on February 22nd, 2014, and had a big turn out with 26 teams paddling for the pride. The Junior Division was won by Turd’z, Martin Gideon, Sergio Barrera and Glenford Sutherland, sponsored by Martin Woods. In second place was Unruley Wave sponsored by Belize Rural High School with Jeffery Seguro, Ashton Moody and Mathew Mask. The third place team was AFM with paddlers Mark Menez, Alexander Cruz and Feliz Neal. The Intramural Division was won by Wateva Boyz sponsored by D & D Consulting Ltd., and paddled by Sergio Lopez, Adrian Williams and Jesus Linarez. Second place went to Western Home Supplies paddled by Alfred Lopez, Byron Cruz and Armando Lopez. Our third place finishers, 3 Hours Later, had a female paddler, Ashley Pelayo, Shaheed Mai and Victor Valdez.

Four new officers join The San Pedro Police Formation
Four new officers have joined the San Pedro Police Formation, bringing the total number of island officers to 43. The new officers on duty include three Police Constables and one Woman Police Constable. The San Pedro Sun is pleased to introduce the new officers.

Ambergris Today

Belize Works in Improving Road Safety and Reducing Fatal Accidents
With the increase in number of fatalities caused by traffic accidents along the highways around the country, the Government of Belize is investing more in making roads safer. Progress seems slow, but people are the center of the efforts because of the nature to save lives on the roads. The Government of Belize, within the scope of the Belize Road Safety Project, last week officials conducted a monitoring exercise on Friday, February 21, 2014, along the demonstration corridor from Belize City to Belmopan. The Government of Belize is undertaking this project in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank with the hope to implement sound road safety measures that will contribute to saving lives on Belize's road system. This is a first phase of a long-term initiative by the Government of Belize to improve road safety in the country with an overall objective to reduce deaths and serious injuries associated with road traffic collisions/accidents along a demonstration corridor by 20% in 2016.

Dorian’s Angels Support Cricel Castillo at The Arnold Classic
Belizean Bombshell, 25 year-old, Cricel Castillo has been making headlines locally and international as she is one of the few Belizean figure competitors. Cricel has made her country proud every single time she competes both locally and internationally. This week Cricel is currently in Columbus, Ohio in the United Stated competing at the famous Arnold Classic Figure Competition. Cricel took the first place trophy in the Figure Competition at the Diamond Classic, Boca Ranton Florida in April 2013 and is Belize’s Ms. Body Figure 2013. She is a dance and fitness enthusiast and is very motivated and dedicated to figure competition. Cricel left Belize on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, along with Rigoberto Vellos to compete at the The Arnold Classic, renamed Arnold Sports Festival. The event is an annual multidisciplinary sports convention named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, focusing mainly on bodybuilding and fitness and figure competition.

Misc Belizean Sources

Bookkeeping Workshop
Bookkeeping is the heart of any business. Without it, we cannot hope to keep track of the most important part of any business; money. Gain excellent skills in using various accounting procedures and maintain your books efficiently and effectively for the success of your business. On completion of this course, you will have a sound knowledge about the basic steps and techniques used in bookkeeping, including Identify the differences between commercial environment. Workshop Date: March 6th, 2014 Time: 9am to 12pm LOCATION: University of Belize, Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, College Street, Belize City Tel: 223-3195 or email: sbdc@belizeinvest.org.bz

Preliminary Estimates of GDP for 2013 and January 2014 Consumer Price Index

Private Citizen Wants to Take Hon Edmund Castro to Court
Go get'em, Trevor Vernon

ANNOUNCEMENT FOR POSTER CONTEST FOR WORLD WATER DAY
An International day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and the United Nations General Assembly responded by designating March 22, 1993 as the first World Water Day. Every year thereafter, World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 around the world. This year the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, in collaboration with other Ministries and Departments, has taken the lead for the celebration of the annual World Water Day (WWD) event as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater.

Belmopan Active Youth High School Drug Free Rally
NDACC Director and Drug Educator, Belmopan participates in the launch of Belmopan Active Youth High School Drug Free Rally at Independence park today in Belmopan. The event was held under the theme, "Count on Me to Be Drug Free." (Ministry of Health) (7 photos)

AND NOW WHO’S SELLING SEX?
(via Norris Hall) The most recent expose of sex tourism in the ever expanding tourism market in Belize, first came to light on Facebook and elsewhere, when people began to shout out loud about an advertisement by a company calling itself “Global Fantasies”, an online site advertising Belize as a sex paradise with offers of “Belize Adult Sex Vacations”. The first public reaction was to want to find out who is behind this one. It has the potential of becoming yet another scandal. It would appear that the Belize Tourist Board may, or may not, know something about this before the panties hit the fan. It was not until the public began to take notice and when Facebook began to flash, that the BTB, in typical reactionary fashion, blew some smoke from its rear end while snorkeling with its head in the toilet bowl. In a press release it warned hoteliers of the obvious: that under the Belize Hotel and Tourist Accommodation Act the advertising and sale of sex is unlawful.

Final figures for the 2013 tourism year
The final figures for the 2013 tourism year are in, and we are happy to report that Belize’s Overnight and Cruise arrivals are up! Last year Belize recorded 223,510 in PGIA arrivals. March 2013 saw the highest tourist arrivals at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) with 28,623 visitors; this is a 10.2% increase in comparison to March 2012. The month with the largest increase in 2013 was August, with a 10.5% increase when compared to August 2012. While there were 3% decreases for April and September, overall PGIA arrivals are up 5.5%.

Treason?
In a media interview after his election victory, Ralph Huang, the newly elected standard bearer of the United Democratic Party for the Cayo South constituency admitted that he had received financial contributions from a foreign company headed by one Mr. Lord Neil Gibson. Media reports are that Huang openly paid for votes and promised resident of the constituency that he would improve their lot by building roads and bridges and providing medical facilities for them. These reports are extremely troubling for many reasons:

ILLEGAL LOGGING
Yesterday at 11:15 pm Independence Police visited an area in the Maya Mountain Forest Nature Reserve where five male persons were detained for Unlawful Possession of Forest Product. They were in a Ford Tractor which was pulling a Trailer with about 1500 board feet of Rose wood. The five male persons are 38-year-old Pablo Ramirez, 25-year-old Ernesto Choc Guatemalan, 34-year-old Martin Coc, 18-year-old Javier Coc all of Trio Village and 26-year-old Shane Coleman of Independence Village were detained. The Blue Ford Tractor and the Rose Wood was Impounded at the Independence Police Station.

Jamaican government waives visa requirements for Chinese visitors.
In an effort to diversify and develop new markets for the tourism industry, the Jamaican government has waived the visa requirements for Chinese visitors. On Wednesday, Tourism Minister, Dr. Wykeham McNeil, said China has been added to a list of countries including Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Hungary and Poland where visa requirements for travel to Jamaica have been relaxed. “Last year we attracted 2,420 Chinese tourists an increase of 15.1 % over the previous year the fact is that the numbers are small but the market has potential for significant growth . In all the efforts to ease the difficulties experienced and to harness the market potential of China, Cabinet has now approved the conditional waiver of visa requirements for nationals from China who travel to Jamaica for tourism purposes for periods of 30 days or less,” he said.

Profiting from a strong private sector – Part IV - Entrepreneurship and Innovation:
New ideas and products most often originate with the private sector. A perfect example, did you ask your waiter or waitress at lunch for Marie Sharp pepper sauce? Perhaps you clean your tools with a citrus degreaser. And while you’re watching that new TV show on a local channel, do you snack on plantain chips or Belizean made chocolate? Think about it.

BAY Basketball Tournament
The Belmopan Active Youths are having a basketball tournament tonight, Friday, February 28th, at Hilltop Court, at 6:00pm.

SHJC's Cancer Awareness Efforts
Sacred Heart Junior College had 3 days of fundraisers, from Monday to Wednesday, for the San Ignacio Cancer Society. They had bake sales, ribbon sales, a donation day, and a 'color your hair' fundraiser. SHC raised $1,000, and it was presented to the Cancer Society after Dr. Marvin Manzanero gave a great presentation on cancer and the benefits of early detection. "In an effort to promote cancer awareness and to assist cancer patients, SHJC students, faculty and staff engaged in a 3-day fundraising event that culminated with a session given by Mrs. Flora Usher - President of the Belize Cancer Society - San Ignacio Branch, and Dr. Marvin Manzanero... The Director of Student Services presented the monies raised by faculty and staff through the different efforts carried out over the course of the 3 days. We collected a total of $953.87 cash and our Student Gov't Association pledged the remaining $46.13 to make it a total donation of $1,000.00."

Teachers and Public Officers Salary adjustment announced
Teachers and public officers will get a 5% salary adjustment over 3 years. This was confirmed this afternoon by the Honorable the Prime Minister Mr. Dean Barrow. The announced salary adjustments of 5% over 3 years for teachers and public officers will amount to $22 million. This is in addition to the annual 2.5% annual increments based on merits. Future adjustments are expected to be determined on a merit-based system.

Nest boxes in Paynes Creek National Park
TIDE is working to protect threatened yellow-headed parrots by installing nest boxes in Paynes Creek National Park. So far 30 boxes have made nesting much easier for this intelligent bird whose populations have been reduced through illegal export in the pet trade and loss of its pine savannah habitat.

The Phoenix hosts Angela Kinsey and Rashida Jones
The Phoenix is very proud to have been able to host Angela Kinsey and Rashida Jones, who teamed up with Oceana to help promote the importance of ocean conservation. Rashida and Angela are great people and we really appreciate them taking the time to help Oceana do its thing, protecting Belize's Barrier Reef, the Caribbean, and oceans across the globe. We hope our fans enjoy these pics from their stay and adventures along the reef. Thank you as well to Tony Rath for these wonderful under water photos of Angela and Rashida. (4 photos)

Junior 'I Have a Dream for Belize' Winner
Congratulations, Kyla Cuervas, for winning first place in the U.S. Embassy's Junior 'I Have A Dream for Belize' essay contest! In related news, tomorrow is the last day to nominate the Belize Woman of the Year. "Congratulations to Ms. Kyla Cuervas from Our Lady of Guadaloupe High School in Belmopan for winning first place in the Junior 'I Have A Dream for Belize' Essay Contest!!! On Wednesday, she and the other participants attended the U.S. Embassy's special award ceremony for all of the participants. As a first prize winner, Kyla recevied a tablet computer device, a book of Dr. King's 'I Have a Dream' speech, and her essay will be published in the Amandala newspaper. Belize has a bright future in its youth!!!"

Junior Buddy's Big Birthday Bash
Junior Buddy had his 7th birthday this week, and The Belize Zoo threw a big bash for it. Happy birthday, Junior Buddy! In related news, there's now an action plan for the sustainable development of the Central Belize Corridor, which jaguars and many other animals use, and need. It's a great start, and you can read more about it on Panthera's or the zoo's sites. "As promised, Junior Buddy had a fan club of over 200 strong show up at the Zoo yesterday to wish him many more as we celebrated his 7th Birthday. Students, parents, and teachers from La Democracia and Mahogany Heights communities in the Belize District saw Junior diver headfirst into his pond to retrieve his delicious birthday bone, then proudly feast on it for the rest of the day while his admirers looked on. The entire school joined TBZ Director Sharon Matola in yet another rendition of the Junior Buddy song, while cameras rolled from Love FM and News 5 news stations. Games, prizes, snacks, facepainting and fun for all followed for a successful day in celebrating the magnificent jaguar species that still calls Belize its home, and will for many years to come!"

Reputation Week seeks good Belizeans
Public relations firm Nauta Vero, chaired by Niall Gillett is looking for a few good local men and women. Gillett told us today about his initiative to find five Belizean companies and individuals of whom the best can be said. Belizeans will have the opportunity to submit the names of a large company, a small business, an NGO, a politician – elected or aspiring; and an ordinary Belizean not otherwise nominated. Gillett says he took up the challenge when he did business with a foreigner who looked up Belize on the Internet following a family member’s visit and found things not to his liking, though that did not dissuade him.

Woman allegedly busted with marijuana at the northern border
Reports from Corozal say that a former Town Councilor has been busted with just a little less than one kilo of suspected marijuana. No official report has yet been put out by the police, but sources say that the bust happened on Wednesday at the northern border. Because no official charges have been laid against her as yet, the name of the accused woman is being withheld at this time. A source told has confirmed that the former town councilor was elected in 2009. More information will be posted as they are confirmed.

“Killa” Gentle murder verdict due March 5
Justice Adolph Lucas will rule next Wednesday, March 5, if 20 year old Corwin Bennett is guilty of the murder of reformed gang boss Raymond “Killa” Gentle. 34 year old Gentle, who had moved into sports and other community activities after renouncing his bad past, was shot 4 times while working on a house on Kraal Road on January 12, 2011. Bennett was tried without a jury and 13 witnesses testified including Gentle’s brother, Bevans, who recalled chasing the shooter unsuccessfully while narrowly dodging being shot himself, as the shooter’s gun misfired.

Private citizen wants Edmond Castro to answer for BAA funds
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 the embattled area rep was the target, as former public servant and journalist Trevor Vernon of Burrell Boom wants him to answer for the more than $30,000 handed out by the former board of the Belize Airports Authority (BAA) for various personal and political fortunes. Vernon says he believes that Castro should repay the money as it was not his to legally receive. Vernon retained Philip Palacio for the case but the man standing beside him today was PUP Belize Rural North aspirant and attorney Arthur Saldivar, who insisted that Castro committed multiple violations of the law and particularly the Prevention of Corruption in Public Life Act.

CitCo to begin concreting 35 streets
The second phase of a city-wide infrastructure project in the old Capital begins next week and by September of this year, one in every three streets in Belize City will have been concreted. The list of selected streets include significant arteries and according to Mayor Darrell Bradley, were selected for their importance as bridges of connectivity to move traffic and goods around the Old Capital. The total cost of the project is $9.7 million including drainage. The first phase of works was funded with a $20 million municipal bond floated by the Council and saw 102 streets concreted, some of which are in their final stages of completion. The second will be funded by a $10 million grant from Central Government, in addition to $2.8 million allocated for immediate works in the aftermath of last year’s wet weather and a drainage project outlined by the Council.

Public servants getting $22 million more
$22 million over three years. Prime Minister Dean Barrow confirmed this evening that this is the total figure for how much more teachers and public officers will be paid, guaranteed, by the Government of Belize. It represents an adjustment, but really an increase of 5%, the minimum they asked for, and they will also get the standard 2.5% annual increment. Despite issues with poor economic growth, the Prime Minister stated that this increase is locked in permanently. It also means that the Belize National Teachers’ Union, Public Service Union and Association of Public Service Senior Managers have added responsibilities, as adverse effects to the Government such as a reversal of the takeover of the Companies and Ships Registries and lower profits for Belize Telemedia Limited may easily reverse the state of affairs.

Motorcycle and van collide; one man dies
A man died as a result of a road traffic accident this morning on the Hummingbird Highway in the Cayo district. The victim has been identified as 29 year old Jose Flamenco, a resident of mile 28 on the Hummingbird Highway. Police say that around 11:20 am today, they responded to reports of a fatal traffic accident between miles 43 and 44 on the Hummingbird Highway that involved a motorcycle and a van. Flamenco, according to police, was the driver of the motorcycle and he was carrying Juan Pau of Plancencia as a passenger.

KHMH NICU and parking lot improved
2013 was a year to forget for the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, chiefly because of the bacterial outbreak at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) which claimed 8 lives before they had a chance to truly live. Since then money has poured in, both for renovations to the current unit and a new unit. Today public relations manager for KHMH Niall Gillett said renovations are coming along fine and size has been expanded. And from the inside to the outside, the hospital’s parking lot is the latest addition to Belize City’s concrete revolution. That is near completion, and when the installations are complete the hospital will implement its plans to charge for parking to all non-patients and staff and provide a slot for taxi operators to work in.

Cruise ship tourist overstays welcome
A 42 year old American from the U.S. state of Indiana says six hours is just too short a time to get to know the Jewel, so he stayed for a week. Bryan Rusk, a diesel mechanic, came to Belize last Thursday, February 20, aboard the Carnival Glory cruise ship but he failed to get permission to enter the country from either Immigration officers or the ship’s master. Once on Belizean shores he reportedly rented an apartment in the King’s Park area and spent a week sightseeing. But he ended his vacation on Wednesday when he turned himself in to the Fort Street Tourism Village. He pleaded guilty to failure to obtain permission to enter Belize and was fined $1,000, which he immediately paid.

Why is Belize the Perfect Destination for Retirees?
Those who will soon reach the retirement age, or have already started availing the benefits of a retiree, can better understand why saving is so important. Some may feel they should have started much earlier to end up with more dollar bills in their account. As you approach the retirement age, you want to save your accumulated wealth over decades and want it to last longer. Many single persons and couples want to settle down after retirement to a serene place where there is less traffic, life is relaxed and there is no race with time. For retirees, Belize, nestled in Central America, is the best place to relocate. Relocating to Belize is a great way to relax and save on your savings. Check out why Belize is the perfect destination for retirees:

Benefits of Retirement in Belize
QRP program give tax and residency breaks to foreigners with the status of a Qualified Retired Person (QRP). To be designated a QRP under the program, the applicant should be:

FORMER BELIZEAN BEAUTY QUEEN FORCED TO BECOME A MAN!
This is one of those WTF stories too salacious to pass up. To think it happened in Belize! Former Miss World Belize 2010 and Miss Earth Belize 2012, Jessel Lauriano has come forward with a rather bizarre story. According to the former beauty queen, who has been working at the Princess Hotel and Casino in Belize City since December 2012, the terms of her employment have dramatically changed and has rendered her to life of servitude. According Lauriano, she was first hired as a DJ after she was trained by her employer. Things deteriorated when she was forced to strip and perform topless in the club. She was then forced to make out with other women portraying herself as lesbian, Lauriano said. A beauty queen, she is no more because Lauriano is now a man. That was the latest request of her employer, Lauriano said.

Channel 7

Teachers Will Get 5%, Not 4%
Two weeks ago, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow told the media that the teachers and the public servants could expect a 4% raise. But today - as his government gets ready to present its new budget next week - he said that figure has been revised. With economic growth coming in at less than one percent when 2.5 percent had been projected - you might expect that raise to go down by a point or two, but today the PM told the media today that it's actually going up!:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "We've just gone over the numbers this afternoon and I can tell you that it is clear that the teachers will get 5%; teachers and public officers. We keep saying teachers because they made the most noise - this is teachers and public officers will get by our reckoning 5%, in addition to the 2.5% annual increment. We are looking at 22 million dollars more in salaries to public officers and teachers and by our calculations that represents not less than a 5% salary increase."

COLA's Private Prosecution Of Penner
And while that 5% should provide some comfort to the teachers and public officers, on the political front government continues to hemorrhage politically for Elvin Penner's Citizen Kim affair. And the pressure is increasing as the 6 month statute bar draws near. As we've explained, those who say he committed a crime have to act before a 6 month statute bar prohibits them from trying to bring charges. The Kim stunt was pulled in early September, so the statute bar limitation kicks in next week, which is early March. That's why the PUP got their mandamus hearing tomorrow, and today we found out that COLA is also going for a private prosecution of Penner before the deadline. Their plan is very much a work in progress, but they say they have to get it in before the deadline. They explained at a press conference this morning at the Radisson that they have the intent but no attorney at this time:... Gilroy Usher Jr. - VP, COLA "At COLA we assert that Mr. Penner committed a crime against the integrity of this nation. Now where there exist a reluctance on the part of the state to take adequate action we the members of COLA through consultation with the people decided and will initiate a private prosecution against Elvin Penner."

PM to COLA: "Handle Yu Candle"
And since they say they got the idea from the Prime Minister, what does he think of it? He told the media today that he wishes them luck and he hopes that Penner will soon be in the UDP's rearview mirror:... Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Well I think they are exercising their rights as citizens and I would leave it there. I need to say that our party will soon start to announce the invitation for applications for standard bearer for the Cayo Northeast constituency and of course Hon. Penner - he is not going to be able to contest that convention and I don't think he is interested, but we will very shortly then have a properly elected declared standard bearer in Cayo Northeast and the continuing effort to hang Penner around the necks of the United Democratic Party will hopefully have to be rethought once that development occurs." Now the thing about a private prosecution is that the accuser must have first-hand knowledge and evidence of the crime. Sections 19 and 21 of the summary jurisdictions act says that anyone launching such an action must have the statement of the offence along with the accompanying documents relating to the offence. That's why the PUP balked at it, even though they have a slew of attorneys right in their own party. But COLA is rushing in where even a mass party dared to thread. As they freely admitted, they don't have the requisite documents. So will government help them get it? Here's what the Prime Minister said about that today:..

Ten Million For City Upgrade
They made it: in less than a year the Belize city council paved more than one hundred streets. And though there were major inconveniences for residents, things are starting to shape up now, and even the most hardened doubter would have to agree that the city is shaping up. The only problem is the other 420 streets that are in bad to terrible condition. The problem with those is that the city council has pretty much spent out the 20 million dollars it raised in a bond to pave those streets. So, to the rescue, here comes the government of Belize. Today Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Mayor Darrell Bradley outlined a plan for phase tow of the project. Here's how it will work:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "The absolutely splendid job that has been done - the way this city is being transformed, these are things that obliged the central government to partner with the mayor and hic city council in trying to move things forward and so my principal purpose for being here this afternoon is to say that with respect tp phase 2 of the street concreting program that the mayor and the city council have undertaken, central government is now going to contribute 10 million dollars."

Bradley Won't Run/Will Run/Won't Run": Say What?
But the one benefitting the most from that largesse is the Belize City Council. It’s an investment in the leadership of Darrell Bradley. But he’s told the media he won’t be leading for much longer. Bradley has said more than once that it’s one and done for him, meaning after one term, he’s moving on either to a division in the general election, or back to his law practice. The answer varies depending on whether you ask him on a good day or bad. But, today at a major press conference with his party leader, he changed up – and maybe that’s after the Leader Barrow gave him an endorsement:….

Hon. Finnegan Back Home, Back In Order
And while Bradley isn’t sure whether he’s coming or going, Micahel Finnegan is here to stay. The Mesopotamia incumbent and UDP Party Whip left Belize a month ago to get back surgery – his second in less than a year. During his absence baseless rumours circulated saying that he was in critical condition, and then today, another one took off saying that he’d died! Well he didn’t. And we can be sure of that because we found him back at his evening hang out spot today, right in front of Brad’s on Central American Boulevard. He told Monica Bodden he just returned and is feeling renewed:..

Cruise Tourist Liked The Place So Much, He Stayed
42-year-old American Tourist Brian Rusk came to Belize on a Cruise Ship, decided that a one day stay wasn't enough for him, and ended up being criminally charged for overstaying in the country. Rusk arrived on the vessel, Carnival Glory on last week Thursday, and he was supposed to leave when the ship took off. Instead he chose to stay in the country, where he ended up renting a room at an Apartment Complex on Lizarraga Avenue, where he was staying for the last 5 days. He was picked up by immigration yesterday, and when they found out that he didn't leave when he was supposed, to, the auto-mechanic from Indiana was charged with entering and remaining in the country illegally.

Hutchinson's Son Still Giving Trouble
UDP Caretaker for Belize Rural, Central Michael Hutchinson is preparing for an upcoming convention, but he will have to deal with his son's newest criminal charge will surely bring. 27 year-old Andre Hutchinson, who is mentally challenged, was remanded to prison for an allegation of indecent assault. His accuser is a 35 year-old woman who lives in Ladyville. She said that on Tuesday, she was walking on Scissors Tail Street when Hutchinson rode up behind her on bicycle and slapped her on the rear end. According to her, when she confronted him about it, instead of being remorseful, he allegedly laughed in her face and taunted her before riding off. Police arrested and charged him with aggravated assault of an indecent nature, and he was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith today. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, but the Chief Magistrate remanded him to prison until March 24, so that he can get a psychiatric evaluation. Of important note is that in March of 2009, Andre Hutchinson pleaded guilty to exposing his person in public after he rode naked through Ladyville in broad daylight.

Escapee Rodney A Robber Too?
22 year-old Sherman Rodney, who was arraigned on Tuesday for allegedly escaping from police went back to court today for allegedly stealing jewelry from a woman. Amy Eligio reported to police that on Saturday, February 15, she was walking on Jane Usher Boulevard when she saw Rodney snatch her gold chain with a heart medal, valued at $218. He ran off, but police soon detained him, and charged him with theft. He was arraigned today before the Chief Magistrate, where he pleaded not guilty and was granted bail of $500. He must return to court on April 16, his next court date.

Man died In Traffic Accident
There was a terrible traffic on the Hummingbird Highway today, which claimed the life of a 29 year-old man. Just before midday, Jose Flamenco was on his motorcycle between miles 43 and 44 when he slammed into a van being driven by 33 year-old Manuel Simpson. Simpson was travelling with his passenger, Juan Pau, and they were heading toward Belmopan when he collided with Flamenco. The mother cycle hit the passenger side of the van and police believe that he died on impact, or shortly after he went crashing to the ground. Pau was injured, and had to be transported to the KHMH for treatment. Police continue to investigate.

Rosewood Still Rolling
The rosewood hustle continues, and tonight, Independence Police have detained 5 men who they say that caught in the act of illegally harvesting Rose Wood. Last night, at around 11:15, they visited an area of the Maya Mountain Forest Nature Reserve where they found these a ford tractor pulling a trailer with 15 hundred board feet of Rose Wood. Inside the tractor at the time were 38-year-old Pablo Ramirez, 25-year-old Ernesto Choc Guatemalan, 34-year-old Martin Coc, 18-year-old Javier Coc all of Trio Village and 26-year-old Shane Coleman of Independence Village. The men were immediately detained and escorted to the Independence Police Station where their Rose Wood cargo remains impounded along with their Tractor. It is expected that these men will be charged with unlawful possession of a Forest Product.

GOB Supports Maduro
In Venezuela, after two weeks of anti government protests, more than a dozen people have died – and the government’s only hope for things to calm down is that next week’s carnival will cool student protestors down with some rum and rumba. But the government of Nicolas Maduro remains very embattled. That’s the same Chavissimo government that has extended the Petrocaribe initiative to Latin America and the Caribbean – which is the source of so much recent government spending on infrastructure – including g the ten million committed to City Hall today. So where does this government stand? Today the Prime Minister said it is with Maduro:..

PM Doesn't Frown On Lord Gibson
Lord Neal Benjamin Gibson, his website says he’s a businessman, humanitarian and philanthropist. He is an international businessman with an interest in Belizean politics, specifically the UDP’s recently elected Cayo South standard bearer Ralph Huang. Hunag has called Gibson a great friend and says they work together on many projects. But, one of Gibson’s companies is blacklisted by the Central Bank, and other sources say that he’s more of an imaginer – than a real investor. Today we asked the Prime Minister about his influence on the UDP and Huang. It’s been all over facebook and in the media, but the PM was surprised to learn of it:…

Siarsha In Merida, But Still Not Out Of The Woods
Two days ago, we told you about on Siarsha Amri Alvarez - the 3 year old with the rare and terrible skin condition that is eating away her entire outer layer of skin. It is life threatening and her father Simeon Alvarez Jr rushed her to Merida for specialized treatment. He told us tonight that she is receiving very expensive medication which is helping but she is still in intense pain. He says his medical bill so far at the Clinica de Merida is ninety one thousand pesos. He says she has opened her eye but the doctors are not sure she IS seeing. He's returning to Belzie tonight to collect donations to see if he can pay off the bill that ahs accrued so far as Doctors there are saying they cannot continue unless the bills are paid. We'll have na update tomorrow.

No Arrest In case Of Man Hit In Head
Tonight, 22 year old Carlos Vargas is at the KHMH receiving treatment for injuries he sustained when he was hit in the head with an iron tube. It’s an assault that happened 2 weeks ago, but the family is getting frustrated with the investigating officers who haven’t arrested the person he claims clubbed him. 7News spoke with Vargas today on the hospital bed, and here is what he told us.

Cricel's Journey To Perfection, Will It Be Enough?
Last night, 7News told you about how Mr. Belize, Rigo Vellos and Ms. Belize Fitness, Cricel Castillo, are in Columbus Ohio to compete in prestigious Arnold Classic Bodybuilding Tournament. It started today, and will continue through to Saturday. Rigo is preparing for his preliminary round qualification which happens tomorrow, and at this hour, Cricel is competing to try to qualify for the competition. Rigo and Cricel are up against the elite bodybuilders in the world, but these two are no slouches themselves. Before she left, Cricel granted an interview, in which she explains her training regimen to be able to compete with other top class athletes abroad. Here's what she told us:

Bus Driver Admits His Bus Was Overloaded
Last night, 7News told you about 63 year-old Jose Elmer Villanueva, who tumbled out a moving overcrowded bus and ended up in a coma. Well it seems that the Traffic Department is taking that accident seriously, and today a bus driver was taken to Magistrate's Court for taking on too many passengers. 41 year-old Roman Chan was taken to the Belize City Traffic Court for the offence carrying passengers in excess of what his bus could safely seat. According to Traffic Officers, on last week Friday, he drove his Blue Bird Tillett Bus on the Northern Highway with 20 more passengers that bus could carry. He busted at a checkpoint at mile 8 on the Northern Highway, in front of Manatee Lookout. At the time, the officers stopped him and found out that he had over filled the bus.

Channel 5

Penner’s signed recommendation claims he knew Won Hong Kim for 3 years
The memo from the D.P.P. queries whether the police intends to proceed with an investigation to determine if anyone can be charged for immigration irregularities. News Five has also obtained [...]

Was Prime Minister Dean Barrow aware of the memo?
Shortly after receiving a copy of that damning memo, News Five contacted D.P.P. Cheryl Lynn-Vidal for comment. She was livid about the leak and had absolutely nothing to say about [...]

Teachers to get a 5% salary adjustment
Teachers and public officers will get a salary adjustment in July, retroactive to April. The increase has been the subject of heated discussion and intense negotiations, but it appears, at [...]

PM says nominal GDP growth for 2013 is no cause for worry
Prime Minister Barrow has stated that they are locked into the commitment, so even if revenues decrease next year, G.O.B. will still have to shin up. The next big issue [...]

COLA to file suit against Penner
This Friday, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will hear an application by the People’s United Party’s Leader Francis Fonseca on why Elvin Penner should be investigated by the Commissioner of Police [...]

Finnegan back in Belize following spinal surgery
Minister of Housing Michael Finnegan returned to the jewel this afternoon after a round of successful spinal surgery. Finnegan left Belize for the U.S. late last month and was treated [...]

The history of Lord Neil Benjamin Gibson; is it of concern?
Lord Neil Benjamin Gibson, Minister of Trade and Investment Erwin Contreras and novice U.D.P. politician Ralph Huang…those three names have dominated social media in recent weeks, intensifying after Huang was [...]

VIP says U.D.P. Cayo South standard bearer, Ralph Huang, treasonous
U.D.P. Cayo South standard bearer Ralph Huang, who was recently elected by voters in that constituency, has reportedly admitted to receiving financial contributions from a foreign business interest that has [...]

$10 Million to be spent on infrastructure in Belize City
As is traditional whenever Prime Minister Dean Barrow makes an appearance, he was bombarded with any number of issues. But his presence at the Radisson today was actually so he [...]

1 man dead and another critical following accident on Hummingbird Highway
One man is dead and another remains in critical condition, following a road traffic accident this morning on the Hummingbird Highway. Just after eleven a.m., a van driven by thirty-three [...]

Independence Police uncover illegal logging operation
An illegal logging operation in South Stann Creek, carried out by a group of five men, has been uncovered by Independence police.  On Wednesday, shortly after eleven p.m., officers visited [...]

B.T.B. releases Tourism Stats for 2013
Tourism statistics for 2013 are out and the Belize Tourism Board is boasting a significant increase in the number of overnight and cruise arrivals.  There were a total of two [...]

PM speak on uprising in Venezuela
There is currently civil unrest which has resulted in numerous casualties in Venezuela, as troops mass to quell anti-government protests. Normally, while that would be cause for interest and commiseration [...]

Venezuelan Ambassador says uprising does not affect PetroCaribe
Violent protests continue to rock Venezuela, where the government is coming under heavy pressure from opposition parties. But according to news reports, even as the unrest continues, a rift between [...]

Healthy Living explains the basics of child stimulation
Child Stimulation Month is celebrated in March. This year’s theme is: “Where our future begins”.  Many parents are known to focus on the formal education of their children; but development [...]

CTV3

Burglary At FarWorld Technology In Orange Walk Town
Orange Walk Police are investigating a burglary that occurred sometime last night at Far World Tech located at the corner of Cinderella and Fonseca Streets. According to owner of the computer store, Sylvino Riverol, he estimates that the break in took place after midnight. SYLVINO “A restroom from the back window, and we lost two laptops and we lost about four watches, some flash drives, DVD blue ray player, and a hundred dollars cash from the smart top-up.” Dalila Ical – Reporter “But from the way things happen you still have a lot of valuable that were actually left untouched?” SYLVINO “Yes, that is what I notice that the person that came in didn’t had knowledge that we had a lot of valuable stuff in the stores, for example we had a lot of wireless routers, speakers, we had Mac computers in the technician room and none of that was actually touched not even the brand new printer that we have for display so it seems that the person that came in just saw a laptop and couple watches and that is what they decided to take so it was a quick and probably somebody that; a sprang head I would say.”

Scotia Bank Observes Small Business Week
Scotia Bank continues to observe small business week and the branch in Orange Walk Town today held a seminar with small business owners in the district. Lourdes Gongora, Business Banking Manager says this is their way of giving special attention to small business entrepreneurs. Screen_Shot_2014-02-27_at_7.39.58_PMLourdes Gongora – “It is important because as we say small business is the engine to the growth of the economy and Scotia Bank has invested much time and effort for catering for this sector of the economy, we are highly interested in creating awareness amongst our business customers in order to continue nurturing that idea or that interest in continuing with the business or even to start a new business.” Dalila Ical – Reporter “How exactly is Scotia Bank doing that for this particular week?” Lourdes Gongora – “For this particular week we have engage into conducting a seminar which we are carrying out today and the primary focus of our seminar is talking about marketing because marketing is the most vital role that plays into building up your business and we here at Scotia Bank are interested in working along with our customers to be able to create that awareness for at the end of the day all of us would be happy and will have new businesses growing, establish business doing more business and that is the idea.”

Drug Lord "El Chapo Gusman" Captured In Mazatlan Sinaloa Mexico
After 13 years of successfully running away from the law, Drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán was unexpectedly arrested on Saturday in Mazatlán, a Pacific port city in Sinaloa, his home state. Supplied with U.S. wiretaps and surveillance technology Mexico was able to track El Chapo’s cell phone locations as he traveled from one safe-house to another through connecting secret tunnels and city sewers. The Mexican press reported that his journey between hideouts involved moving through stinky black water, dead rats and rotten garbage. As head of the Sinaloa Cartel, an international criminal organization with billions of dollars in revenues, El Chapo was the #1 supplier to the U.S. of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines. Guzmán and his associates have been indicted in New York, Illinois, Florida, Texas and California on charges of drug trafficking, racketeering, money laundry, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit homicide, among many others.

Mr. Belize To Compete At The Arnolds Sports Festival
Since 1989, the unparalleled Arnold Sports Festival has attracted fans across the world yearly to Columbus, Ohio, for a myriad sporting events like archery, fencing, and gymnastics, just to name a few. Of course, the reason bodybuilding fans love this time of year is the Arnold Classic. The world's best IFBB pro bodybuilders will come together gunning for the top coveted prize. This year's Arnold stage will see no shortage of incredible bodies from a variety of promising newcomers and established seasoned veterans. Two of those participants are no other than two of our very own Belizeans, Ms. Belize-Fitness Cricel Castillo and Mr. Belize Rigo Vellos. 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.


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PlusTV

PM Barrow Responds Onto the Huang-Gibson and COLA Vs. Penner Situations
The Prime Minister also responded to today’s announcement by COLA that it was seeking private prosecution of Elvin Penner. Basically, he says that the organization can do as it pleases, though when we asked him if the resources of the State and in particular the files at the Immigration...

KTV Latino King and Taxi Driver’s Widow in Desperate Need for Forensic Help
Almost six months have passed since the reported death of KTV Latino King and taxi driver Daniel Aguirre. As you might remember, Aguirre’s vehicle was found engulfed in flames in an isolated area miles off the George Price Highway. Inside the vehicle, the charred remains of what was widely...

Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Gets Much Needed Improvements
2013 was a year to forget for the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, chiefly because of the bacterial outbreak at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) which claimed 8 lives of new born babies. Since then, money has poured in, both for renovations to the current unit and a new...

35 More Cemented Streets for Belize City, Due Yearend, Says Mayor
This afternoon the Belize City Council announced plans to concrete an additional 35 streets, most major arteries, in its second phase of a city-wide infrastructure project. The first phase, funded with a $20 million municipal bond floated by the Council, saw 102 streets concreted, some of which are in...

Belize Territorial Volunteers Call on Women for Duty
This coming month of March is women’s month. The Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) are heading back to the Belize-Guatemala borderline and leader Wil Maheia explains what they are doing to honor the country and its women. Mr. Wil Maheia- Belize Territorial Volunteer “As you know that March is woman’s...

Father of Goal Scorer McCauley Responds Proudly About his Son
Player Deon McCaley has scored his way into the big leagues. He signed a contract with professional football club Atlantic Silverbacks in Atlanta Georgia officially making him the first Belizean to ever sign a professional football club in the U.S.A. He is scheduled to start training on Saturday, March...

American National Fined for Illegal Overstaying in Belize
A 42 year old American from the U.S. state of Indiana overstayed his welcome by about a week. But he has a good reason: he told a court this morning that six hours is just too short a time to get to know the Jewel. Bryan Rusk, a diesel...

Reputation Week Seeking Nominees for Recognitions
We are almost at the end of Reputation Week. It’s a first time initiative of the public relations firm Nauta Vero, chaired by Mr. Niall Gillett. Mr. Gillett told us today about his initiative to find five Belizean companies and individuals of whom the best can be said. Mr....

Belize Active Youth Launches Drug Awareness Campaign at Independence Park
It was a relatively hot day in the City of Belmopan, nevertheless, that was no deterrent for dozens of High School youths who gathered at the Independence Park for BAY’s youth rally drug awareness campaign. President of Belmopan Active Youths Anna Banner Guy told about the day’s event. Ms....

“Thousand Men Rally” to Hit the National Assembly Steps
The Thousand Men Rally is prepared to hit the National Assembly Steps tomorrow, Friday from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Men from all walks of life are invited to partake in this spiritual building event that will see key presenters like Louis Wade Jr., Pastor Scott Stirm, and other...

The Guardian

Men and Women at Work
Hundreds of Belize City residents will have the opportunity to earn some money over the next 12 months as Cisco Construction Limited executes an important feature of Government’s Southside Rejuvenation Project - the paving of Central American Boulevard. Through an agreement with OPEC, the Government of Belize will spend over $4.7 million on the concreting of Central American Boulevard from Belcan Bridge to its intersection with Caesar Ridge Road. Those who bid for the contract were mindful of Government’s special emphasis on making the project as labour intensive as possible in order to create the maximum amount of employment opportunities. Cisco Construction Limited submitted the most favourable bid and was awarded the contract. The first phase of the project started on Monday, February 17th, with the trenching of the section of the street from Belcan Bridge to Mahogany Street. It is a job that with heavy machines would require 5 men to complete; however, almost 30 men are working in that area with pickaxes and shovels. The men are trenching the side of the street for the utility companies to get in and adjust their lines for the concreting of the street. The second section being trenched is from the roundabout junction with George Price Highway to Iguana Street.

Fishermen fish oversized lobsters
The fisheries department issued a release on Wednesday in which it advises fisher folk that the closed season for the spiny lobster runs from February 15th to June 14th every year. During the closed season no one is allowed to fish for the crustacean. Persons who have traps are also advised to remove their traps from the sea bed during the closed season, those found in the sea will be confiscated and destroyed by the fisheries department. Currently the department is conducting an inventory of lobster traps which will run until March 7th of this year. While these are some of the measures taken to ensure that the Spiny lobster is not taken from the waters out of season, there are measures to ensure the continuity of the specie in Belizean waters. And these measures have landed three fishermen in trouble with the fisheries authorities. On December 18th they were found with 68 lobsters inside the Glovers Reef Marine Reserve inside what is considered the conservation zone where no type of fishing activity is allowed. What the fisheries officers found is next to amazing as the catch contained Spiny lobsters which were as big as 3 feet in height and their tails weighed as much as 2 pounds. The normal catch for lobster include tails that range in weight from 7 to 9 ounces.

Free Zone Heist nets over a million pesos
Corozal Police are investigating a robbery in the Commercial Free Zone in which the thieves managed to rob a businessman of $208,333.33 in Belizean currency. 48 year-old Ricardo Villasenor, a Mexican businessman told police that on Monday, February 24, at around 9:30 a.m., he was leaving the back exit of his store to get into his vehicle, which was parked on the compound of his business place, North American Store. That’s when 2 men ambushed him at knifepoint and ordered him to hand over money bags which were inside the trunk of his car. Fearing for his life, he complied with their requests, and handed over 2 plastic bags which contained 1.25 million pesos, or $208,000 Bze. Currency. The men then shoved him in the trunk, after which, he was robbed an additional 800 pesos, or $133 Belize, and his cellular phone.

Economic Growth Stunted by Challenges in Agricultural Sector
In 2013 the economy of Belize grew by 0.7 percent, according to the initial estimates from the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). 0.7 percent is significantly lower than the 4 percent growth in 2012 and even the 2.5 percent growth projected for 2013. The disappointing growth rate was a direct result of the significant decrease in production of citrus and sugarcane products. The citrus and sugar industries were injured by both natural and manmade disasters in 2013. However, the shortfall in the agriculture sector was offset by the growth in aquaculture with the rebound of shrimp exports. A second consecutive year of double digit growth in construction also acted as a boost to the economy as well as a record number of overnight tourist arrivals. In 2013, production in fishing increased by 28 percent. Glen Avilez, Director General of SIB, says this was due in large part to the resumption of operations at the Belize Aquaculture Limited’s shrimp farm after nearly two years of closure. According to SIB, in 2013 farm shrimp grew by 81 percent to $51.6 million. Avilez says the construction sector was the second largest contributor to the economy’s performance with a growth of 16 percent. He attributes this growth to “a significant boost to public infrastructure projects such as those being carried out by the Belize City Council and Belize Municipal Development Project”. Tourist arrivals increased by 6 percent in 2013. There were a record number of overnight arrivals with over 294,000 foreigners spending at least one night in Belize. This increase in overnight tourist arrivals resulted in a 4 percent increase in hotels and restaurants services. One of the positives from the prolonged period of rain in 2013 was a 7 percent increase in electricity production. Government services also increased by 6 percent.

Cayo North coming back to the UDP
The Cayo North Constituency has a new Standard Bearer for the United Democratic Party. On Sunday February 23rd 2,051 voters came out to the CET in San Ignacio and from 10 in the morning to 5 in the evening they voted to have a new Standard Bearer. At the end of the convention Omar Figueroa had received 1,383 votes besting his competitor Jorge David Tesecum who received 648 votes. There were 20 spoilt ballots. Immediately after counting and tallying the announcement was made public to a group of anxious party supporters who had gathered at the gate of the CET. Addressing the crowd was Alberto August, Party Chairman, who indicated that this had been one of the largest conventions the division had ever seen. He then went on to administer the oath of allegiance to Figueroa after which Tesecum spoke to the UDP faithful in the constituency.

BTB & Industry Partners Give Couple A Belizean Honeymoon
The couple’s positivity in the face of such a difficult time in their lives, coupled with the acts of thoughtfulness and kindness demonstrated by Precinct II, really moved us and we created a nine day itinerary after we received overwhelming support from our industry partners. On Friday, February 21st, Mr. & Mrs. Flowers departed for the much needed break which takes them to the destinations of Placencia, San Ignacio and San Pedro. The pair is set to experience the warmth of our Belizean hospitality and the indescribable beauty of our country through the best of what Belize has to offer in attractions, food, art, transportation and accommodation. The Belize Tourism Board extends a sincere thank-you and acknowledges all the people who made this initiative a success. We want to recognize Tropic Air, Robert’s Grove, Tutti Frutti, The Art Affair Gallery, Laru Beya, Splash Dive Center, Maya Beach Bistro, Barefoot Services, Rum Fish Y Vino, Wendy’s Creole Restaurant, The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Yute Expeditions, Rolson’s Cosina Y Cantina, San Ignacio Resort Hotel, Hode’s Place, Boaz Golf Cart Rental, Belize Pro Diving, Caprice Restaurant, El Divino, Victoria House, Elvi’s Kitchen, Caramba’s, and Seaduced. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Garifuna Celebration of Our Founding Fathers
This thanks giving event is going to be a mini Dugu known to Garinagu as Chugu. During the ceremony the convergence of the Garifuna communities of Guatemala, Honduras and Belize will take place in a Mass of thanksgiving on the 28th and Mali drumming on the 27th and 28th along with Offerings of song and food to the ancestors. We give thanks to Joseph Chattoyer,his chief wife Barrouda, his daughter Gulisi, Elejo Veni, Marco Sanchez Diaz (the founder of Livingston Guatemala, Thomas Vincent Ramos the Garifuna Settlement Day founder of Belize, Juan Francisco Bulnes (Walumugu) the founder Of Honduras settlements and Santiago Avilez. This event is also a process of the healing of our nation as we believe that our ancestors still play a vital role in our daily lives. All are invited.

Deon McCaulay plays professional Football in Atlanta
“It feels very good to be here in Atlanta, and I’m excited to play in the U.S. I want to thank the Silverbacks organization for giving me the opportunity to come here and represent their team,” McCaulay said. “I’ve arrived in Atlanta with a good level of fitness, and my expectations are to come here and help the team win championships. I always try to succeed in everything that I do, so I hope that I can score some goals and help the team win.” Before the 2013 Gold Cup, McCaulay spent time training with the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer during their preseason camp. The prolific forward’s move to the Silverbacks marks the first time he will play professionally in the U.S. McCaulay arrived in Atlanta on Sunday, and he will begin training with his teammates when the Silverbacks’ preseason begins this Saturday.

I Have a Dream for Belize
The historic and poignant “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. beckons all Belizeans to enact the change we deserve. We have been called to build, to uplift, and to drive towards social, political and national development. The national psyche can no longer rest on complacency and mere reaction. We are now pressed to be proactive in our approach in the realization of all our endeavors. I have a dream that Belize will be the country most recognized for its understanding of the spirit of community. My dream for Belize includes using our hands and hearts to appreciate the rich, aesthetic beauty that we have cherished for so many decades. The beauty I speak of lies in the canopies of the Chiquibul Forest, the majestic Barrier Reef and in communities where we leave our doors unlocked and shared rice and beans with our neighbors and the occasional stranger.

Measurement
Measurement by itself has little value. It is only when it is teamed up with evaluation on defined indicators that it becomes a powerful tool to measure your action or intervention. A simple example can illustrate this truth. Imagine that you have a table with a broken leg and you decide to fix it. You make your measurements, cut the lumber and fix it into place. However, no matter how precise your measurement it is of no use if you do not evaluate whether it does the job once you have finished. To evaluate the situation you need to know the indicators that you will use to determine whether you have been successful. In this case the indicators might be that the table top is horizontal and the table does not wobble. If one or more of the indicators are not fulfilled then your intervention has failed. Even if the table is now stable and flat you still need to determine whether you could have accomplished your goal spending less time and money. Maybe a thinner piece of lumber or one made of a cheaper wood would have done the job just as well at a lower cost. As you can see the ideas behind the new science of monitoring and evaluation are pretty obvious, even simple-minded and have been in use in the physical sciences and in business from the very beginning of these disciplines. We cannot imagine scientists publishing their raw measurement data without explaining what they were trying to find and evaluating whether or not their results prove their hypothesis. No business person of any sense would authorize a marketing campaign without knowing what results the investment might bring and evaluating whether it had been successful when it was completed. This evaluation would include a detailed cost analysis to determine if profits had improved by more than the cost of the campaign.

Central Christian girls and boys remain undefeated in primary schools softball competition
The Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition continues at Rogers Stadium with a number of games on the schedule. On Tuesday February 25, in the girls’ competition, Central Christian School continued on its winning path when it won handily over St. Martin De Porres School by the score of 20-1. The winning pitcher was Hannah Usher and the losing pitcher was Melanie Smith. On Monday February 24, in the girls game played, St. Luke Methodist defeated St. John Vianney by the score of10-4. The winning pitcher was Destiny Rudon and the losing pitcher was Camryn Hinds. In the boys’ game, St. Luke Methodist won over Buttonwood Bay Nazarene by the score of 9-5. The winning pitcher was Avery Rudon and the losing pitcher was Mark Estell.

San Pedro Tiger Sharks rebounds after an unexpected loss
The Elite Basketball League third week of competition continued over the last weekend with four games across the country. On Saturday February 22, 2014, three games were played at various facilities in the district towns. At the San Pedro High School, the host team the San Pedro Tiger Sharks rebounded with an impressive victory over the Corozal Heats by the score of 79-54 after losing the week before to the Toledo Diplomats at the PG Sports Complex. The top scorers for the San Pedro Tiger Sharks were Winston Pratt with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals, Ashton Edwards with 18 points, 1 assist and 3 steals and Darwin Leslie with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. For the visiting Corozal Heats, their top scorers were Jason Daly with 11 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists, Geovannie Lennan with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 5 steals, and Jason Grant with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 1 steal.

Nazarene High School continues on winning path in high school softball
The Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition continues at Rogers Stadium in Belize City. On Tuesday February 25, in the scheduled male game between St. John’s College and Anglican Cathedral College, SJC won over ACC via the default route. On Monday February 24, in the female competition Gwen Lizarraga High School defeated Wesley College by the score of 10-0. The winning pitcher was Ashley Lucas and the losing pitcher was Brianna Meighan. The competition then continued on Saturday February 22, with a number of games in both the female and male competitions. In the first female game of the day, Nazarene High School won over Pallotti High School via the default route. In game two played, Ladyville Technical High School defeated Wesley College by the score of 12-2. The winning pitcher was Amber Wade and the losing pitcher was Brianna Meighan.

MnM Steelers Inter-District Football champions
The Football Federation of Belize 2013 Inter-District competition finally came to an end on Sunday February 23 at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan. In the second and final game in the championship series, MnM Steelers of Independence Village routed the Roaring Creek United by the score of 2-1. The visiting MnM Steelers were able to get on the scoreboard first when Rollin Burgess scored the 1st of his 2 goals in the 39th minute of play for a 1-0 lead. The lead was further extended when Rollin Burgess scored his 2nd and final goal of the game in the 48th minute of play for a 2-0 lead. It was well into the second half of the game that the home team Roaring Creek United was able to score its only goal of the game when Kenroy Williams scored in the 78th minute of play to cut the deficit into half. However, the defence of the MnM Steelers were able to keep the Roaring Creek United offence from scoring any more goals in the game to preserve the victory and the Inter-District title.

Football Federation of Belize calls female footballers to training camp
In preparation for the Women’s UNCAF Qualifier which will be held in Guatemala from May 19 – 25, 2014 for the Women’s CONCACAF Gold Cup in Cancun, Mexico, the Football Federation of Belize is calling the following players to attend a meeting at 10:00am and a training session in the afternoon on Saturday March 1, 2014 at the Football Federation of Belize Training Facility in Belmopan. An invitation is also extended to any other player wishing to attend the meeting and training.

Cycling Federation of Belize to holds Test races
The Cycling Federation of Belize would like to inform of the upcoming events scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, as we continue our Test Race Events. Please note that both events carry a registration fee of $10.00. Kindly confirm your participation no later than midday, Friday, February 28th. Any confirmation there after carries the late fee registration of $20.00 per person.| Saturday, March 1st - Individual Time Trial on the Boom Road This event will be held on the Boom Road starting at CDS Service Station at 6:30 a.m. Open Elite/U23/Masters will do 15 miles; while the Female/Junior/Youth will do 9 miles.

Joel Borland captures first Test Race
test race.jpg - 43.80 KbThe Cycling Federation of Belize held the first in a series of Test Race Events on Sunday February 23, 2014. The event featured a Hill Circuit Race from Belmopan to approx. 1/2 mile from Cave Branch Bridge and return for three and a half laps, with a return climb to finish on top of the Hill in Armenia Village, for the Elite and two and a half laps with a return climb to finish at the same spot. Elite: 1st. Joel Borland of BTL Cycling Team 2nd. Ron Vasquez of Western Spirit 3rd. Peter Choto of Western Spirit 4th. Giovanni Lovell of BTL Cycling Team 5th. Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes 6th. Marlon Castillo of BTL Cycling Team 7th. Giovanni Choto of Western Spirit 8th Herman 'Hijo' Requena of SMART Cycling Team 9th. Quinton Hamilton of SMART Cycling Team 10th. Gregory Lovell of BTL Cycling Team

The Return of Street Games
Under the auspices of the Belize City Council and UDP representative for the Lake Independence constituency, Hon. Mark King, the once very popular street games are back in Belize City. On Sunday February 23rd the most recent installment of the Street Games were conducted on Mahogany Street at its intersection with Periwinkle Street. Teams signed up with the Belize City Council to participate in football and basketball competitions at the end of which the Yabra Sporting Club took home the 1st and 2nd place in football. In basketball Unruley Ballers took 1st place and Sey Sorry took home second place. Hon. Mark King and Councilor Philip Willoughby who's brainchild the Street Games was originally, both indicated that they were more than happy with the outcome of this first try. Hon. King stated that there will be many more such sporting activities taking place in his constituency especially because it creates a community spirit which has been lacking in the area. He added that he will do his best to also upgrade existing sporting facilities to ensure that sports return to Lake-I. Already significant investments have been made in the basketball court behind the Charles Bartlett Hyde building, "but there is much more to be done," stated King.

Town Council holds meeting in San Ignacio Town
A public meeting to take account of the developments within the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena was held on Wednesday night of last week. Mayor John August joined Council members to interact with members of the public and share some good news. In his financial report, Mayor John August informed that the revenue for January 2014 was $493,219.13, plus $80,236.18 brought forward from December 2013. He reported that the expenses were $482,525.13, bringing to a positive balance of $90,930.18 to the end of January 2014. (Government’s subvention and grant to the Town Council for last month stood at $51,780.00) The Mayor also announced that within the next four months the various stadiums within the Twin Towns will be the upgraded. This is thanks to five million dollars that Government has apportioned to improve the sporting facilities in both Santa Elena and San Ignacio. Some 1.5 to 1.8 million dollars will be going towards the improvement of the Victor Galvez Stadium and $600,000.00 to $700,000.00 towards the Falcon Field in San Ignacio.

Simulation Exercise for Avian Influenza held in Toledo
A communication center was set up Wednesday of this week at the Community Center in Big Falls in the Toledo District to act as a coordinating center on a hypothetical outbreak of the Avian Influenza Virus. At the center of the activity is Dr. Miguel Figueroa, Director of the Food Safety Department within the Belize Agricultural Health Authority. In this simulation exercise, the participants include the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health, Police as well as partners from the Belize Poultry Association, who have been reacting to an imagined outbreak of Avian Influenza.

No More Pillaging for the PUP
The People's United Party is in so much trouble that they realize that if things continue in the manner in which it is going, their party will not be able to survive for another term. This is the first time that they have had to endure two consecutive terms out of office and they cannot survive. A third consecutive term, which is what the UDP is looking at, would be a disaster for the PUP. Faced with their inability to fill their pockets at the expense of government coffers they have strategically been trying to undermine the government. Readers will recall that very early after the elections they attempted to have elected representatives, Hon. Mark King, Hon. Herman Longsworth and Hon. Elvin Penner removed and new elections called for these seats. Needless to say those failed. What readers will also recall is that being in government to the PUP is literally a bread and butter issue. They eat at the trough every single time they have been in office and their inability to do so now is causing them belly-ache.

What to do when making a cellular phone purchase
Occasionally we purchase products that are defective and then go back to the store owner for redress but none is to come our way. This is especially troubling with cellular phones. These devices have become the center piece of our lives not only to communicate but to conduct bank transactions and to log into our documents in the ‘Cloud’. It is estimated that in 2010 some 5.4 billion people owned a mobile phone; in 2011 it was 6 billion and in 2013 that figure rose to 6.8 billion. But what can we do with a phone that we have invested our hard earned money on and two weeks later we discover that it is faulty? It is a dilemma faced by many around the World and for this reason March 15, 2014 will be celebrated as “Fix Our Phone Rights!” under World Consumer Rights Day. As Belize prepares to observe World Consumer Rights Day, workers from the Belize Bureau of Standards BBS launched their first mobile booth at the Cayo Welcome Center on Friday of last week. Samantha Budna Banner, who is a Consumer Protection and Education Officer, was along with other members of her team educating members of the public on their rights, particularly as it relates to purchasing a cellular phone. The BBS team also took the opportunity to conduct a survey to examine customer trends when purchasing the ubiquitous cell phone.

PUP continues on Mandamus hunt
The People's United Party was back in court again on Wednesday February 26th as they pursued their effort to have the commissioner of police lay charges against Hon. Elvin Penner. In the Supreme Court Justice, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin decided that he will hear the case by the Opposition Leader, Francis Fonseca, as to why the court should force the Commissioner of Police to investigate Elvin Penner's role in the immigration matter. The PUP had earlier written sto the Compol, Allan Whylie demanding that he direct an investigation against Penner. Since they have neither the moral or legal authority to do so, the letter fell on blind eyes and now, in a bout of good conscience, the PUP want the matter taken to court filing for a Writ of Mandamus.

Barry Lee Wade Busted with Over 8 Pounds of Weed
Barry Lee Wade, 34, and his common-law-wife, 37-year-old Elizabeth Ann Linarez, were busted over the weekend with 3.9 kilograms of marijuana. The Gang Suppression Unit executed a raid of the couple’s home on Mahogany Street Extension at about 4:30 on Saturday afternoon, February 22nd. According to reports, when Jonas Velasquez opened the door, police proceeded to search the house and found a bag in one of the bedrooms which contained six parcels. Another bag in the room contained ten parcels. Officers checked the parcels and found that they contained marijuana. They then went to get the owner of the house, Barry Lee Wade, and escorted him to the house. Wade told the officers that Velasquez had nothing to do with the marijuana and that he did not live there. Velasquez was allowed to leave. As officers were concluding the search, Wade’s common-law-wife, Linarez, showed up. Since she lived at the house, Linarez was also arrested and taken to the police station. The marijuana was weighed in their presence. The six parcels amounted to 2.7 kilograms and the ten parcels amounted to 1.2 kilograms for a total of 3.9 kilograms marijuana, or 8.6 pounds.

Escaped prisoner captured, one still at large
Sherman Rodney,22, escaped from police a few hours after Steel Bob jumped out of a moving vehicle also escaping police custody. Police say that an officer escorted him to the KHMH because he was complaining of severe pain to his left arm. When he was taken inside a room by a nurse, the officer waited outside, and when the nurse exited, he went in to check on Rodney. Rodney took the brief moments of no supervision to escape. After 3 days of searching, Rodney handed himself back into police custody, and he was charged with escaping from lawful authority. He was arraigned on Tuesday, February 25, before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, and when the prosecutor explained that Rodney was being investigated for a crime, bail was denied, and he was remanded into custody. Officers from the Criminal Investigation Branch immediately escorted him back to the police station after his arraignment.

Steven Palacio Remanded for 4 Rounds of 9 mm Ammo
Steven Palacio, 23, is in jail after he was allegedly busted with four live rounds of 9 mm ammunition on Saturday, February 22nd. Palacio was unrepresented when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Monday, February 24th, and pleaded not guilty to keeping ammunition without a license. Due to the nature of the offense, bail was not granted and Palacio was remanded to the Belize Central Prison.

Guatemalan Illegal Fisher Pleads Guilty to More Crimes
Guatemalan Georgina Maribel Mendez Aldana, 49, has been back and forth to court since she was busted on Monday morning, February 17th, with thousands of sea cucumbers. Last week she pleaded guilty to two counts of employing a person not in possession of a valid employment permit after she was caught with 52-year-old Hugo Rolando Orellana Salas and 22-year-old Cesar Gerardo Hichos Ramirez who claim she is their boss. Aldana paid a fine of over $2,000 for that offense. Aldana was immediately rearrested after paying the fine and charged along with her workers for engaging in commercial fishing without a valid Fisherman’s License; attempting to export fish without a valid fish exporter’s license and engaging in the fishing of Sea cucumbers without a special license. She pleaded not guilty in court before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton on Tuesday, February 18th, and the case was adjourned for Monday, February 24th, so she can gain legal representation.

Escaped prisoner has been re-captured in Cayo
Four days after having escaped from a moving Police van on the George Price Highway and near his home in Ontario Village in the Cayo District, Jarod Arthurs Lamb, better known as “Steel Bob” was recaptured by Police in Santa Elena Town at about 4:00 PM on Monday of this week. San Igancio Police had been informed on the whereabouts of Jarod Lamb and responded to his location, seeing him flee near the Santa Elena Football Field. Police then set chase and fired several shots at him, with one shot being directed two inches below his left knee. Jarod Lamb was then escorted to the San Ignacio Hospital and then to the Karl Heusner Hospital where he is now in stable condition and under Police guard. Jarod Lamb was being transported by Police from the Hattieville Prison to the San Ignacio Magistrate Court on Thursday of last week along with six other prisoners when he freed himself from his handcuffs and made a “loud bang” on exiting the back of the vehicle.

Anthony Hunter dies in Traffic accident
Police from Belize City Precinct 2 continue to invest the terrible traffic accident which claimed the life of 52 year old Anthony Hunter, the son of Former PUP Minister Freddy Hunter. The accident happened just after 8 a.m. on Saturday, February 22, at Mile 2 on the George Price (Western) Highway in front of the Foam Factory. Police found Hunter's lifeless body in the middle of the road and his trademark grey Kawasaki "Ninja" motorcycle in the drain. Across the road, they found a backhoe excavator, which belongs to Cisco Construction, with one of its wheels showing signs of impact. The driver of the backhoe, one of Cisco's employees, told police that Anthony Hunter slammed into his back wheel. They've been able to piece together that the driver was in transition between the intersection of the highway and Linda Vista Street, when Hunter came up on the backhoe, unable to avoid the crash. Investigators believe that the force of the collision was massive enough that it crushed his face and killed him almost instantly.

Protecting Belize’s Jaguars
Panthera’s CEO Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, Hon. Lisel Alamilla, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, and Dr. Wilma Wright, Interim President of the University of Belize, have signed a memorandum of understanding which will benefit the Jaguars living in Belize’s Central Corridor. The trilateral agreement represents pledges from all 3 parties to work together in implementing science-based conservation initiatives to conserve Belize’s jaguar populations and their natural habitats. It’s significant because according to scientists, they discovered a jaguar corridor in Belize, which showed the ideal relationships between the wildlife and human populations.

Lindbergh Clarke Gets 5 Years for Gun and Ammo Conviction
Lindbergh Alexander Clarke, 21, a laborer of a Central American Boulevard address, is in jail after he was convicted of three illegal weapons charges. At around 1 a.m. on July 14th, 2012, Clarke drew the attention of Gang Suppression Unit officers when he was seen riding a bicycle contrary to the flow of traffic on Central American Boulevard. The officers approached and tried to stop him but he sped off. The officers chased him and, according to detective constable Adrian Lopez, that was when they saw him throwing an object from his waist into a drain on Central American Boulevard. The officers eventually caught up with Clarke and took him back to the area where the object was thrown. Lopez placed a plastic over his hand and retrieved the object from the drain. It turned out to be a black Carl Walther brand 9 mm pistol with serial number 132218. It was loaded with 3 live rounds of bronze PMP brand 9 mm ammunitions and 2 live rounds of Winchester brand bronze .380 ammunitions. Clarke was arrested and charged with one count of keeping a firearm without a license and two counts of keeping ammunition without a license.

Another City Murder
The recent gang feud between George Street and Supal Street has led to the murder of 21 year-old Ryan Arnold and the shooting of a 15 year-old who now has a bullet lodged in his right leg. At around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 25, a group of 5 men were socializing on Armadillo Street when a gunman rode up on bicycle and fired gunshots at the group. When they realized what was happening, everyone tried to take cover but Arnold was shot in the back, while the 15 year-old was shot in the leg and grazed on the arm. The man, according to the victims, rode in the direction of Supal Street, and in the aftermath of the shooting, Arnold suffered extensive internal injuries from the bullets which struck him. Both he and the minor were immediately rushed to the KHMH, and after he held on for just over 12 hours, Arnold passed away.

Stephon Anderson charged with attempted murder
A man was shot in the city on Sunday February 23rd and police have charged 23-year-old Stephon Anderson, a resident of #7 Ebony Street in Belize City for the shooting. Anderson, who was unrepresented appeared in the Court room of Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith where he was read three indictable offenses including, one count of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm and dangerous harm for the shooting of 21-year-old Andrew Augustine. In court, no plea was taken from Anderson and due to the nature of the offenses, he was denied bail and remanded to the Belize Central Prison until April 15, 2014.

Accused killer of Raymond Gentle’s fate hangs in the balance
Back in January 2011, Kraal Road Gang Leader, Raymond Gentle, aka “Killa” was executed at his workplace on Kraal Road in Belize City as he was in the company of men and co-workers building a wooden structure. Following the killing the trial without jury came to a close on February 26th before Justice Adolph Lucas. Appearing to answer to the charge of murder is 20-year-old Corwin Bennett, who will learn his fate on March 5, 2014. Bennett who could not afford an attorney was represented by legal aid attorney’s Baja Shoman and Michelle Trapp-Zuniga. At the end of the case, Judge Lucas heard addresses from both attorneys for the accused as well as from the DPP’s crown counsels in the matter, Shanice Lovell who was assisted by Porsha Staine.

I-phone finds Robber
Tanya McNab, a Belize City resident was robbed at knife point on December 30th, 2012 in the George Street area of Belize City. At the time a man placed a knife at her and stole her handbag valued at $2,000 which contained an I-phone along with personal items such as her wallet, credit card, passport and other identification cards. It was her cell phone however that led police to the robber and his subsequent arrest and conviction. After being robbed McNab used the phone’s tracking capability to let her know what the phone’s location was. That led police to an alley off Princess Margaret Drive and onto Gentle Avenue in the King’s Park Area. When police made checks in the area they found 23-year-old Ashton Grant in possession of NcNab’s I phone. On Tuesday February 25th Grants’ trial began before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. It took 2 hours to complete and at the end of his trial, Grant was found guilty of robbery and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment since this is his second conviction for similar crimes.

Amandala

3 PEOPLE STILL MISSING
Three persons, reported missing, have not yet been found. They are Hilmar Cal, 15, of Libertad, who went missing on Thursday, January 31; Mamerto Castillo, 87, missing since February 13; and Conrad Jones, 64, a retired inspector of police, missing since September 13, 2012. Hilmar Ical left home in Libertad to sell homemade bread in Corozal Town, and has failed to return home since, and no one seems to know where he is. Ical is described as being of Mestizo descent, with brown complexion; he is about 5 feet tall, of medium built and weighs about 85 pounds. Ical is now missing for 27 days. Marmerto Castillo, also known as “Don Mito,” of Yo Creek Village, Orange Walk, was last seen 14 days ago by his family, at about 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 13, when he left home to go for firewood in San Lazaro Village. To date, his whereabouts are unknown. Castillo was last seen wearing a light pink long-sleeved shirt and khaki long pants. The family said that Castillo has problems with his hearing, and is offering a reward of $400 for information leading to his successful recovery.

POLICE FIND 1,353 GRAMS OF WEED
Ladyville police on an anti-drug patrol in Ladyville found and confiscated 1,353 grams of weed, found in some bushes on Scissors Street. No one was in the area. The weed was taken to the Ladyville Police Station and deposited as found property. Police said that at about 8:00 Monday morning they went to the Scissors Street area and conducted searches for drugs, guns and ammunition. They found a black plastic bag hidden beside a patch of bushes in an open lot on the street. The bag was retrieved, and it contained twelve separate parcels that contained weed. The weed was taken to the Ladyville Police Station, where it was weighed and it amounted to 1,353 grams

Blogs

Fresh Baked Bread and Cinnamon Buns: San Pedro’s The Baker
Ambergris Caye’s “The Baker” has been open for about five years. With various locations and a handful of different owners, I hadn’t been much of a customer. And honestly? I hadn’t heard much about it around town. Without rave reviews, I was just going to stay away. Though I am no health nut, the last thing I wanted was to find myself alone on a Friday night with a fresh baked loaf of whole wheat bread, a stick of butter and my toaster oven. The guilt would be hard to bear. But over the past six months, I’ve seeing glorious pictures of pastries and treats on Facebook and heard friends working through the cinnamon bun guilt, their cinna-sins (sorry)…even setting up rules like “only one a week” or “I’m giving them up for Lent”. Time to get in there. I started with the VERY convenient coffee station. $2bzd cup of coffee. Make your own. To-go cups. AND it tastes good. San Pedro’s own Caye Coffee in fact.

OK, Hand up! Who Eats Sea Cucumber?
If you’ve done a fair amount of diving or snorkeling (and who amidst the turquoise beauty of Belize hasn’t?), you’ll have seen the innocuous-looking critters on the sea floor, and immediately understand how they got their name. They do look like cucumbers past their use-by date that have spent too much time on the sea floor. Other varieties are more distinctive, covered with squared spike type thingies that make them look, to us, anyway, kind of cool. Well, cool-ish. Let’s be honest – there’s nothing very striking about sea cucumbers. For most of us, that is… But read Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson, James A Michener and those writers of the South Seas and you’ll come across them… Often known as trepang, bêche-de-mer or balate, they are highly prized in Asia, going for some $300 a pound in Chinese markets.

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
Jada helps me out while I recover from a eye strain and a little bug and makes a semi-homemade ice cream sandwich. Although, she uses store bought ice cream, she does make the chocolate cookies from scratch. These sandwiches were so rich that I was able to share one with Jada an be totally satisfied.

Belize’s biggest beach party!
Join us for the biggest beach party in Belize!! Head out to Tom Owens for an overnight diving/snorkelling/swimming adventure on abeautiful remote private island. Then head up to Placencia for the most amazing beach party, Placencia Lobsterfest!! Eat some lobster and lionfish kebabs, enter competition,s drink rum and dance the night away on the beach!!

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Raspberry Creem Parfait
Febuwary is knowed as t'‘luv month’. N' keepin wit at theme…here is a tastee lil parfait at we enjoyet at a luncheon earli'r thishere month. Servet up n' wee Masen jars er mini-parfait glasses…it is t'purrfeck ‘afterthouite’ ta a lovelee meal. Chocolate Crumb Base: 1 cup oreo bakyun' crumbs 4 tablespoons meltid butt'r Creem Fillin: 1 cup whippyun' creem 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teespoon vanilla 4 oz. / 125 ml creem cheez 1/2 cup icyun' sugar (confectyuners sugar)

International Sources

Climate Change: Shifting the Debate to Geopolitics
Climate change, nearly by definition, is slow, moving at a pace that constrains policy debate and typically precludes it from being the most important geopolitical event of any day. However, a report released last night by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the United Kingdom's Royal Society -- building on a major Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment released in September -- reflects a consensus in the scientific community that the world is changing in ways that could influence the actions of countries for decades to come. Though the issue of climate change remains politically controversial, the public scientific consensus makes the issue essentially geopolitical and warrants a focus on its possible economic and general policy implications. How then can we use the imperfect scientific tools available to anticipate the effects of a changing environment? Like all science, climate change research is in a constant state of evolution. Our understanding of how different aspects of climate interact is expanding, as is our ability to forecast future environmental behavior. Increased computing power increases modeling capacity. However, we are still limited by instrumentation and by our inability to measure and fully understand climate conditions. Scientific models used to predict the magnitude of climate change, as well as the effects climate change will have in various regions, are not completely reliable. Because there are so many variables involved in developing climate models, structural uncertainty is inevitable. Every equation output is used as an input somewhere else, exponentially increasing the effects of any mistake or incorrect assumption, and each iteration can breed new errors.

Tropic Air flights to Belize begin on Monday
Tropic Air, the largest and most experienced airline in Belize, will begin nonstop flights between Merida and Belize City on Monday March 3rd. The flights will operate three times a week, and will offer connections to destinations throughout Belize, as well as two cities in Guatemala and two in Honduras. TYT reporter Stewart Mandy will be joining the inaugural flight from Merida to Belize City, and will be reporting from San Pedro on Ambergris Caye next week. Have you been thinking of visiting Ambergris or any of Tropic Air’s other destinations? Getting there is about to get a whole lot easier. We’ll be telling you everything you need to know. Watch for Stewart’s reports soon!

In Hard-To-Believe Yarn, Fugitive Cuban Migrant With Long U.S. Criminal Record Is Finally Caught
But in the end, he got caught. Officials in Belize found him hiding in the bushes near the country’s border with Guatemala. Belizean immigration officials found the 33-year old Valdez outside the small border town of Benque Viejo, carrying an unmarked Cuban passport, a cellphone and over $2,000 in cash. Authorities in the small, English-speaking Central American country charged Valdez with illegal entry, arraigned him and charged him $2,000, but were unable to deport him to neighboring Guatemala because he did not have a stamp in his passport for that country.

Belize, Part I (Placencia)
Hi. I'm Brigid Gallagher. I'm a Chicago-based Photographer and Writer and this is my blog. Thanks for checking it out. I went to magical Belize with my beautiful wife for our honeymoon and it was pretty much the greatest ten days of our lives. My photos from the vacation should clarify why it was so difficult for us to get on the plane home. It was, hands down, the best vacation we've ever been on and we have Susan's (my wife's) maid of honor, Melissa Pugh (of Jet Set World Travel) to thank. Melissa planned the ENTIRE honeymoon for us and she is basically the greatest travel consultant and person out there so you should immediately book a vacation (because you know you need it) through her and fabulous Jet Set. I'll kick off my series of Belize posts (there will be four total) with a look around breathtaking Placencia. Enjoy! So, yeah, this was our home for five nights. Our little cottage on the sea at Turtle Inn (a Coppola Resort). It was heaven. We have nothing but amazing things to say about our stay at Turtle Inn - it's a spectacular place. The staff is wonderful as is the management. Actually, I might just go ahead and apply for a job there.

Sonia Marsh & Life in Belize
This week’s League of Expat Writer’s features Sonia Marsh. Some of you may have read my previous interview with Sonia where I discussed her “Freeways to Flipflops” book. This week, Sonia discusses how her family coped with food shopping as their year as an expat in Belize – and her account of a trip to the local orthodontist. In 2004, my family left our comfortable life in Orange County, California, to experience life as an expat in Belize, Central America. After two months of living in a hut, we decided to buy a house on the island of Ambergris Caye. There, we relied on our boat for transportation, including shopping for food. After running out of food every other day, I finally learned how to stock up gringo style. This was something I’d taken for granted in the U.S., and now I worried that my boys weren’t getting enough nutrition to stay healthy – especially Alec, who seemed to be growing skinnier by the day.

LA PERLA DEL CARIBE, AMBERGRIS CAYE, BELIZE
Strolling lazily down a tropical white sand beach, a soothing azure sea lapping rhythmically at your feet, a Caribbean breeze stealing away the cares of the world as it brushes gently across your face… This is La Perla Del Caribe Resort. This Luxury Ambergris Caye Resort is located on the north end of Ambergris Caye, the most popular vacation destination in Belize. La Perla Del Caribe captures the Caribbean ambiance of Belize in elegance and luxury. You can relax in the modern indoor-outdoor style of your private beach villa between trips to the pool and snorkeling, just offshore lies one of the top ten dive sites in the world, the pristine Belize coral reef. Or you can enjoy the vibrant life of the island, participate in village fiestas or sample local and international cuisine in the restaurants and clubs.

Wildly Civilized Paradise in Paradise
Cayo's Chaa Creek got another great article written about it, this time by Communities Digital News, and they are right about it being a paradise in paradise. The lodges activities, along with many of the main Cayo sites, are covered. "With more than 60 species of vegetables, herbs and fruit trees, the 30-acre Maya Organic Farm is a favorite tour for guests that can be done either by vehicle or on horseback. Even the swimming pool is environmentally designed with salt water that continuously circulates and re-cycles. Activities include a private 365 acre nature reserve, miles of well maintained nature trails, nature hikes, birding, horseback riding, mountain biking and canoeing on the Macal River which flows beside the property. There is even a rainforest medicine trail where naturalists showcase the importance of medicinal plants, their uses and the need for conservation."


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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!
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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.
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