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#487881 - 03/12/14 07:07 AM Today's Belize News: March 12, 2014
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The San Pedro Sun

Tropic Air Recognized by Pratt & Whitney Engines
Pratt & Whitney is one of the world’s largest jet and turboprop manufacturers, and the maker of the PT6 Engine, which powers Tropic Air’s fleet of modern glass cockpit Cessna 208 Caravans. Pratt & Whitney also recently recognized the Company with a special commemorative engine. The specially selected PT6 engine was fitted with a 24k gold data plate to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic engine series, and will be installed on one of Tropic Air’s Caravans during its routine and scheduled engine change later this month.

SPHS Male Softball Team claim 4th Victory at Northern Regionals
The San Pedro High male softball team travelled to Orange Walk over the weekend of March 1st -2nd where they defended their title as Northern Regional Champions for the fourth year in a row. The SPHS boys claimed a blow out victory Orange Walk Technical, then advanced to the Championship round where they took on Corozal’s Escuela Secundaria Tech over whom they also claimed victory. As such, the SPHS boys are once again the Northern Regional Champs for the fourth consecutive year. They are scheduled take part in the Nationals on March 14th and 15th where they will defend their back to back National Secondary School Softball Championship.

Ambergris Caye is #1 Again?! Why Thank You!
Can falling in love with a place be compared to falling in love with a person? If you are able to look beyond the beautiful waters and fancy resorts and actually embrace a place for all that it is AND all that it isn’t, when you focus on how it makes you feel instead of what you can see, then yes, I guess it is like falling in love. And Ambergris Caye has many loves whom she welcomes time and again in her warm embrace. Despite her flaws and growing pains, she’s managed to capture the hearts of so many who cannot fathom a year without a taste of her. Those visitors have ensured that for the second year in a row, Ambergris Caye is ranked #1 Island in the World on TripAdvisor®! Now that’s love! She welcomes first time visitors with her charismatic charm, stealing the hearts of many who remain faithful by returning every year. Some have even stepped up the commitment; making her their home away from home. Ambergris Caye means family and friendships cemented from the first smile and ‘hello’. Wanting to find out why our visitors have chosen to make Ambergris Caye ‘home away from home’, we took to the streets to ask. Our friends did not let us down, sharing their reasons why Ambergris Caye has earned this title yet again.

Ambergris Today

Tropic Air Recognized by Pratt & Whitney Engines
Pratt & Whitney, one of the world’s largest jet and turboprop manufactures, just recently recognized Tropic Air with a special commemorative engine. The company is the maker of the PT6 Engine, which powers Tropic Air’s fleet of modern glass cockpit Cessna 208 Caravans. The specially selected PT6 engine was fitted with a 24k gold data plate to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic engine series, and will be installed on one of Tropic Air’s Caravans during its routine and scheduled engine change later this month. Tropic Air is part of a Pratt & Whitney maintenance program that sees the current engines replaced with new ones at regular intervals in order to maintain the most up to date and energy efficient engines in its fleet. Certified Belizean aircraft engineers at Tropic Air’s maintenance facility in San Pedro carry out these engine replacements and avionic upgrades, along with other Cessna maintenance programs.

Travellers Awarded Gold in Fifty Best Rum Tasting in New York
Belize is yet again on TOP as Travellers White Rum is awarded Gold in TheFiftyBest.com Rum Tasting in New York. TheFiftyBest.com recently hosted a White Rum Tasting, where 20 contenders were evaluated for the distinguished “Best White Rum” awards for 2014. TheFiftyBest.com, rating the finest in wines and spirits, has once again shined its spotlight on White Rum. In a press release the online guide announced that it is very pleased to announce that Travellers Classic White Rum of Belize was awarded a Gold medal. Using professional criteria, the pre-qualified panel of judges blind-tasted the white rums and rated them individually on a 1-5 point scoring system, with 5 being the best. Rhum agricoles were tasted and scored separately. After tallying the scores, medals were awarded based on the judges' impressions.

Pic of the Week: Military Choppers Flyby Very Close to Ambergris Caye
Island residents have been hearing them hover over Ambergris Caye and even coming over town and flying very close over some buildings downtown San Pedro. Military helicopters have been spotted zooming by the island over the weekend and some residents are wondering what is going on. Well, remember that Ambergris Today posted that the Government of Belize and the Government of the United States of America approved a joint Belize Defence Force/U.S. Military training exercise? Well, this is why these choppers are flying in and out of the island. The exercise will continue through this week so there is nothing to be alarmed about; it is just a military exercise. The training events are being held in the Cayo District and San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Tropic Air Announces Service To Merida, Mexico
Tropic Air inaugurated non-stop service to Merida, Mexico on March 3, 2014. With the launching of this service, Tropic is the only airline to operate non-stop scheduled flights between Belize City and Merida. Initially, Tropic will fly (BZE) to Merida (MID) three times weekly. Tickets are available for sale at a special introductory price thru February. This new service will allow for the expansion of trade and tourism between the two countries and serve to further grow the historical ties between Belize and Merida. It will also allow the people of Merida to make easy connections to Roatan, San Pedro Sula, Flores, and 11 destinations within Belize. Merida is Tropic's second destination in Mexico and its fifth international route. In November, Tropic added Roatan service to complement its existing San Pedro Sula, Cancun and Flores, Guatemala routes.

San Pedro Sports Council Hosts Football Clinics
The San Pedro Sports Council has been hosting football clinics on Saturdays for the children of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye at the Plaza De San Pedro (Old Football Field). Football (soccer) is an integral part of local cultures across the world. It is something so positive that it brings smiles to children’s faces, even in the worst of circumstances. Football is for everyone; it can be played by everyone regardless of age, gender, religion, ethnicity or social background and level of fitness. It can be played everywhere and anywhere. Football is a school of life – Fair play, team spirit and camaraderie are just a few of the many values advocated by football and being taught to the island children at these clinics. Having fun is the most important thing in football and this is exactly what the San Pedro Sports Council and coaches wish to imply to the children of Ambergris Caye.

Flashbacks: Jeffrey Eiley, a Star Growing up in San Pedro!
From an early age San Pedro has grown to love Jeff. He first hit the spotlight at a tender age when he started imitating famous personalities like Michael Jackson and Ritchie Valens. At every festivity at Central Park, Jeff won the hearts of the audience with his great impersonations in singing and dancing. The highlight of his performances must be sharing the stage for Costa Maya Festival with famous calypso singer from Trinidad and Tobago, Denyse Plummer. He did not just show up. No, he prepared for his shows, mimicking every detail of clothing, shoes, shades and moves. For lack of better descriptive words, we will simply leave you with these photos to tell his story. Enjoy “Our Jeff” (+) as we will remember him forever.

Footprints for Peace Candle Light Walk
Greetings. It is our hope that this letter finds you and your place of business under the most fortunate of circumstances. As you are aware, our island was shaken with the savage murder of one of our own. In light of this, the Arceo and Eiley families are organizing a coalition against all forms of senseless violence. It is not only our family who has been affected by this tragedy, but the community on a whole has been robbed of their peace of mind. It is in this respect, that we are inviting the community to become a part of a movement to minimize the rate of crime in the number one island of the world. Our first initiative is a “Footprints for Peace” walk to commemorate the lives of all those who have been affected by violence.

25 Years Ago: Looking Back at how Lent was Celebrated in San Pedro
Last week Wednesday was the first day of lent and for all Christians it was the beginning of a long period of redemption. However, lent is perhaps only a word and a period, but practically life goes on as usual. Not so 25 years ago in San Pedro! Lent was a period of redemption and to be redeemed one had to really work for it to deserve it. The very first thing that was different in Lent in years gone by was the eating habit. Meat was not to be eaten for the entire period of Lent. To do so was like committing a mortal sin. Therefore fish was the only source of food in this almost entirely Roman Catholic community. Fortunately for Sanpedranos there was never a scarcity of fish on the Island and it was even more abundant during February and March when grouper were laying eggs and were abundant in several banks around the country. Consequently Sanpedranos corned fish in great quantities and were even able to export some for sale in Honduras and Guatemala.

Misc Belizean Sources

Man charged for Placencia jewelry store robbery
Quick work by police in Placencia led to the arrest of a man who allegedly stole an IPhone from a woman this morning on the Peninsula. The suspect has been identified as 37 year old Albert Betancourt, a resident of Placencia village. According to reports, the woman – a tourist – was walking on Main Street in Placencia around 6:30 am when her IPhone was stolen, probably by pick-pocketing. When she realized her phone was stolen, the woman went straight to the police and a search was conducted in the Sunset area of the village. That search led to the apprehension of Betancourt and during a search of his person, the stolen IPhone was found in his possession.

Disorderly conduct in Placencia
A man from Placencia village had his holiday celebration cut short on Monday night when he was arrested by the police for making unnecessary noise. Michael Foreman was taken into custody around 9 pm on Monday night after residents complained of a man behaving rowdy and loud swearing near the sidewalk in Placencia. Police say that when they visited the area, they met Foreman who appeared to be intoxicated. The officers say that on their arrival, Foreman proceeded to shower them with threats.

Placencia police nab suspected thieves
One month after a jewelry story robbery in Placencia village, police have nabbed a man they believe was involved. The suspect, identified as Lionel Vasquez, is a resident of Seine Bight village and police today announced that he has been charged for the crime of robbery. The jewelry store robbery happened in the month of February and police say that their investigation has so far led to the recovery of $19,000 worth of stolen loot.

New Justice of the Supreme Court
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will this morning swear in Sonia Young as a new Justice of the Supreme Court. Justice Young replaces temporary justice, Rita Joseph Olivetti, whose contract expired at the end of January. With the elevation of Justice Youngm, complement of judges on the Supreme Court bench is now 9, including temporary criminal Justice Antoinette Moore. Indications are that more Justices are being sought for addition to the Supreme Court bench.

Separate suicides reported in Orange Walk town
Two men have taken their own lives in Orange Walk town. The full details of the incidents are not yet known, but the men who committed suicide are Abel Garcia and Eduardo Pech. Reports are that both men were found hanging at their homes on Stadium Street in Orange Walk town on Monday. More details on this will be released shortly. The death of Garcia and Pech on Monday brings to three the number of suicides in the north in the last week.

The first event was organized in 1998. I had dreamed up four ideas for the launching of VIDA purified water, as part of my plans to grow the Big H brand from a regional business and place it on a national stage....with focus on promoting the natural, healthy beverage products that we had in mind to extend our product and market range. My brother Big-h Juices liked this idea more, so we went with it. We wanted a grueling adventure event that would showcase the natural beauty of Belize and our healthy products...with potential for attracting international interest. The first persons I went to was John and Martha August....owners of Marthas Kitchen. John is the son of Peter August, one of my dads best friends and compadre, both involved in the organization of very big horse racing events in San Ignacio in their time. Martha is my cousin....and their restaurant and guest house was the bee hive for tourists in downtown San Ignacio, where river canoeing tours had already sprouted. They loved the idea instantly....and promised to help in whatever way they can.

"The country I want to lead, is not one that will be dependent on me." Francis Fonseca

Partial Scope Agreement.
Belize and Mexico have for some time now expressed interest in pursuing a Partial Scope Agreement. Progress with this agenda continues to be made through communication at diplomatic and other levels with both countries reiterating the need for this Agreement. At the VII Meeting of the Belize Mexico Bi-National Commission in Belize, both countries reiterated their commitment to proceed with negotiations for a Partial Scope Agreement (PSA). On Monday, 03 March 2014, The Belize Delegation met with a high level team of officials from the Secretaria de Economía in Mexico City. The primary objective of the meeting was to discuss and agree on the General Framework and a schedule for negotiating a Partial Scope Agreement between Belize and the United Mexican States. The discussions highlighted the benefits to be gained by both countries with the successful conclusion of negotiations in areas such as transportation, trade in goods and Investment among others. With respect to Trade in Services, both countries have experienced significant growth in this sector which can only be augmented through the negotiation and implementation of the agreement. It is envisioned that negotiations will be concluded before the end of 2014. The meeting ended with both countries reaffirming their commitment to concluding a Partial Scope Agreement.

Ready for Belize Screen on the Green's screening of "The Color Purple?"
The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name. Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. Belize Screen on the Green is every second Thursday at the Governor General Field in Belmopan from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. The March screening is this Thursday, March 13th. Hope to see you there!

Dr. Jane Usher-Described as the longest running and most beloved CEO in the jewel, Ms. Jane, as she is fondly known, still manages Belize's most successful Credit Union, Holy Redeemer Credit Union. She assumed responsibility when the credit union had about $13000.00 in assets and 200 members. Under her leadership, HRCU now boasts approximately $400 MILLION in assets and 50,000 MEMBERS, enabling members who are also shareholders, to benefit tremendously from rebates from loans, dividends from shares, loan protection, funeral and many other benefits...Ms. Jane was also the 2nd woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, serving two terms, 1979-1989, as the Area Representative of Pickstock and a Cabinet Minister of Health and Cooperatives 1979-1984...

Belize Trade Delegation Visit to Mexico City

PM Barrow attends CARICOM summit
The Honorable the Prime Minister Mr. Dean Barrow has traveled to Kingstown, the capital of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. While in Kingstown, Prime Minister Barrow is attending the Caribbean Community Heads of Government meeting. A terse press release issued by the Government Press Office provided no details of the meeting and only reported that the Prime Minister is due back in the country on Thursday. The Caribbean Media Corporation is reporting that several major issues are being discussed at the 25th CARICOM inter-sessional summit which opened on Monday, including the situation in Guyana which is lagging behind in approving anti-money laundering legislation. CMC reports that CARICOM leaders have expressed concern over Guyana’s failure to approve the legislation and expressed concern “about what is taking place in Guyana.”

Vehicle crashed into Jacintoville bridge
A Toledo resident escaped serious injury or worse when the vehicle he was driving crashed into a bridge on the Southern Highway. Cecil Woodye was driving a small pickup truck heading towards Punta Gorda town when he reportedly lost control and crashed into the railing of the bridge in Jacintoville. Woodye, according to reports, did not suffer any injury. Police investigations continue.

Tennis shoes for Toledo children
Members of the One World Running, a team of volunteers from the United States are in Punta Gorda town for the annual Fun Run. The event this year is being held in conjunction with Special Olympics Belize with support from SMART telephone company. Today, members of the One World Running group were busy distributing tennis shoes and T-Shirts to children from various schools in the Punta Gorda area, including St. Peter Claver, St. Benedict, PG Methodist, Little Flowers and the Toledo Community College.

Justice for Jeffrey
Justice for Jeffrey: Join hands with us on Thursday, March 13th at 5:30pm at the Central Park where invited guests will give testimonies on how violence has affected our island. AFter the testimonies, we will proceed with a candle light walk through the main streets of San Pedro. Peace starts with us. God Bless you.

Citrus Greening has been announced as rampant in Belize
Sad day at Jasmine Cottage. A neighbour told me that Citrus Greening has been announced as rampant in Belize and they have it on their trees, so I just checked all our trees and found Blotchy Mottle on all of them. This site states that pruning does not work and the trees should be removed. I really do not want to destroy my fruit bearing lime, lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, tangelo and 2 orange trees. It has been suggested to me that there may be a cure for this by spraying with larsban. Any ideas before I get the chainsaw out!

Venezuela assures PetroCaribe and ALBA agreements are safe
Venezuela says the current political unrest in the country poses no danger to the future of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas(ALBA) and the oil initiative PetroCaribe. Venezuela’s Ambassador to St Lucia, Leiff Escalona Barrueta, addressing a sod turning ceremony for a bridge building project funded through ALBA, said there were "concerns expressed by various communication professionals in the news media" regarding the two initiatives that Caracas has been using as a means of integrating Latin America and the Caribbean.

Please join the Women's Dept. & Bmp Women's Council in celebrating Women's Month 2014

Rotaract Food and Clothing Drive
It's Rotaract Week, and the Rotaract Club of San Ignacio is having a clothing and food drive. You can drop off canned foods and clothing at Hode's. Thanks, Rotaract! "WANT TO GIVE BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY BUT DONT KNOW HOW? As Part of our Rotaract Week, The Rotaract Club of San Ignacio will be collecting clothing in Good Condition and canned foods as of today, March 11th, up until Saturday (15th) in the Morning. Your generous contributions can be dropped off at Hode's Place stating its for the Rotaract Week Project. If you have questions on what all you can donate, comment below, inbox our page or ask any Rotaractor you may know"

Belize International Film Festival
The Belize International Film Festival is accepting entries through March 26th. They have 6 categories for film submission. For more information, email them at info@belizefilmfestival.com. In related news, the Cayo International Film Festival is next month, and it'll take place at the Soul Project and the Cayo Welcome Center. "The Belize International Film Festival (BIFF) is currently accepting entries for its 2014 Edition that will take place July 16-21stin Belize, Central America. This unique 5 day Festival in the tropics focuses on independent films with storylines that celebrate cultural diversity; a reality of life in the Americas where multiple ethnicities integrate with each other daily while managing to hold on to their diverse cultural identities."

Penners, Elvin and Rocio, Living It Up on the Lam!
Last unofficial report was that 16 statements have been recorded by Police investigators in the Penner case, including statements from Minister responsible for immigration, Godwin Hulse; CEO, Candelaria Saldivar and Director, Maria Marin. Neither Penner nor his JP accomplice could be found for questioning and NBZLive has confirmed that they have skipped town! It’s official, Penner is now a fugitive from justice just like the man who got him into this mess in the first place. Penner is on the lam with his wife, Rocio Penner and our best guess is that they are somewhere in Mexico, thanks to clues offered by the dullard he has for a wife. Police are expected to file complaint today, Tuesday, March 11, 2014 in the Belmopan Magistrate court after their efforts to arrest Penner as per the order of mandamus issued by the court on March 1st, 2014.

Education in Belize: Effective Discipline
What constitutes effective discipline? Why should we raise our children subject to some form of discipline? How do we properly enforce discipline everyday in our homes and schools? If we do not continuously discipline young people how will they comprehend that there are always consequences to any bad choices they make? We cannot address these questions comprehensively in just one article; however, we can discuss what discipline is about vs. what it is not. Most parents and teachers think of discipline as the system of (self) control that we use to bring out the best behavior in children and in ourselves. Schools focus on discipline mostly as a system to prevent and/or cope with students’ behavior problems. However, no matter which definition we use, I feel strongly that we should not consider discipline to be merely a system of punishment for adults or children, or have punishment be its major purpose.

Video: Jim's Diving Movie Belize 2014
A selection of the best clips from a week in Belize with Chuck and Robbie's dive operation. They are, hands down, the best in the business. This video features Jim, Kristy, Dave and some of the Chuck and Robbie's crew: Big Sexy, George, Robbie, Bryan and Danny. Wildlife featured are: Loggerhead Turtle, Reef Sharks, Octopus, Moray Eels, Nurse Sharks, Lobster, Crab, Barrel Sponges, Hawksbill Turtles, Green Turtle, Eagle Rays, Southern Stingrays and assorted fish. This footage was filmed exclusively with a GoPro Hero 3.

Video: Another great week of diving with Belize Pro Dive Center! March 3 - 10
We got highlights from another great week of diving...Night dives with octopus, deep dives with turtles oooohhh even a dolphin!! Enjoy!

Video: Belize & Roatan on Carnival Conquest
Video of the dive excursions in these two ports

Video: PM Dean Barrow Reflects Belize's Debt Stewardship Into the Budget

Video: 2014 2015 Budget Reading Includes More Infrastructure, Health and Education

Video: Marie Sharps
History, current products, about their factory, and more!

Channel 7

Palace Coup Claims Esquivel-Frampton As Director of Tourism
Director of Tourism Laura Esquivel-Frampton is resigning from the BTB. She packed up her possessions at the office today - and is not expected back. It's a dramatic development in this major industry - and as we understand it, hers is not a happy departure. Through she is resigning, best information tells us that she was pushed out of the job in what can only be called a "palace coup" orchestrated by her executive management team which lodged a dramatic vote of no confidence in a letter to the minister last week. The letter points to what they say is a lack of leadership, and poor fiscal management that led them to put forward a no confidence vote. The letter tells Minister Manuel Herredia, that, quote, ""we firmly believe that the organization and industry deserves a leader who leads." It warns him that quote, "if decisive action is not taken at this time, it will lead to an even worse position," end quote.

Penner Investigation Comes To 7News
Police investigators worked through the weekend to gather more statements in the investigation into criminal wrongdoing by Elvin Penner. They were acting under orders from the Director of Public Prosecutions who received the file on Friday evening and found that the investigation was incomplete and that statements had not been recorded from certain key persons. So that's the job that investigators led by Inspector Santiago Ciau undertook this weekend. One of those key persons was 7News Director Jules Vasquez. On Saturday, Ciau came to Channel 7's studios to record a statement on the email that Penner sent to this newsroom on September 27th, 2013. In that he said his friend Won Hong Kim came to him to get a signature for a passport. Penner's accusers say that this amounts to a confession of wrongdoing since Penner could not have met with Kim in September, because at that time Kim was in a Taiwanese jail. So, the email is pivotal and so is this text message which Vasquez exchanged with Penner - in which the area representative acknowledged that the mail was from him.

Immigration Officers Who Issued Kim Passport Re-instated
And while Penner may be getting on the hook - the three Immigration officers who alleeg3dly issued Citizen Kim's passport look like they are getting off it. Immigration Officers Sharon Neal-Flowers, Omar Phillips, Erwin Robinson, who were accused of having a hand in the Citizen Kim passport scandal have been cleared of all wrong-doings by the Public Service Commission, and they've been reinstated to resume duties as public officers. Viewers may remember that all 3 officers faced a tribunal hearing before the Commission a month ago, when they defended themselves against allegation with their attorneys Oswald Twist and Andrea McSweaney McKoy. In that hearing, which was concluded in one day, the Commission heard evidence from the Acting Director of Immigration, Maria Marin. Well, after reviewing the materials placed before them - which we are told was rather thin, the Commission has ruled that these officers did not act in a manner that would justify their termination from the public service.

Free, After Four Years On Remand
35 year-old Ian Arnold was gunned down on Berkeley Street in 2010, and today the man accused of killing him 22 year-old Kirk Smith was allowed to go home a free man after he was acquitted of murder. Crown Counsels Kayshia Grant and Shanice Lovell prosecuted the case, and after Justice Lucas allowed for submissions, Smith's attorney, Bryan Neal argued on behalf of his client that he had no case to answer. After careful consideration, Justice Lucas agreed with him and directed the jury to return a not-guilty verdict - leaving Smith to go free after three and half years on remand. A short while after the case was completed 7News spoke with Neal outside of the court room, and he explained the details of his no-case submission:

Man Beaten To Death In City
There's been a modest upswing in crime in Belize City in 2014, and today - after a relatively quiet long weekend - another murder was reported. In this case, a body was found up the Western Highway near the Belfoam factory near mile two and a half on the Western Highway. Monica Bodden was on the scene and found out that police believe 47 year old Arthur Conner was beaten to death. Here's her story:.. Monica Bodden reporting This morning police were called to a murder scene at mile one and a half on the Western Highway. The body of a man was found inside an abandon vehicle in the Belize Foam Factory compound. He was later identified as 47 year old Arthur Conner who police believe was beaten to death. 7news was on the scene and here's our story. The body of 47 year old Arthur Conner was discovered by police inside this abandoned van- at around 8:15 this morning. Police say they received a call of an electrocution at mile 1 and half on the Western Highway- but when they arrived on the scene, they saw Conner covered in blood with injuries to his upper body - which suggested he was viciously beaten to death.

Small Girl Loses Life to Drunk Driver
The long weekend was full of activities - and many of them were centered in the Belize River Valley where the Ruta Maya was rolling through. Unfortunately, it probably also created the conditions for an deadly accident that claimed the lives of two persons, one of them a three year old girl. The accident happened at around 5:15 near the first entrance to the village where 28 year old Lindbergh Tucker was driving a white Honda Civic SUV out of the village - when he collided with a KIA Sportage coming from the opposite direction. The Kia Sportage was driven by 31 year old Karim Silva- who was travelling along with his 3 year old daughter Ashley Silva, his wife and 2 other passengers. Silva and his family were at Bacab when he received a call from his sister who needed roadside assistance. He was on his way with his family when the tragic accident occurred.

One More Dies In Fatal Accident
And about twelve hours before that accident claimed the lives of the child and the adult, another man died from a traffic accident on the Western highway. At around 9 a.m. on Sunday, Belmopan Police went to an area between miles 50 and 51 in Camalote Village where they found the body of 22 year-old Jose Martinez. He was lying next to a red motorcycle, and the officers also found a red Isuzu Rodeo which had sustained damage to its front portion. What police have been able to learn so far is that 53 year-old Anthony Polonio was driving the Rodeo going toward San Ignacio and at that location, he had a head-on collision with Martinez, who was riding the motorcycle. Martinez was flung from motorbike, and he suffered massive head and bodily injuries; he died on the spot.

Another Guyanese Judge
Senior Magistrate Shona Griffith, who has been an administrator and a sitting magistrate in the Belmopan Court, is now a Sitting Justice of the Supreme Court. Griffith, who has been an attorney for 15 years, and a Senior magistrate in Belize for a little over 2 years, was sworn in today before the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin, today to make it official. It is expected that the new Madam Justice Griffith will serve the judiciary in civil jurisdiction. She continues the trend of Guyan-ization of the judiciary in Belize where she becomes the 5th Guyanese high court judge to be appointed. She joins her sister judge, Justice of Appeal Minnet Hafiz-Bertram, and her brother judges, Dennis Hannomansingh, and Courtney Ashton Abel, and Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, who is also the Chair of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, which reviews candidates for such appointments. Fellow Guyanese Judge, Oswell Legall demitted office as Justice of the Supreme Court a few months ago.

7 Years For Stealing A Bike
19 year-old Eutychus Nunez, a resident of Mahogany Street, will spend 7 years in prison for robbing a 17 year-old boy of his bicycle. The minor told police that on last week Thursday, he was riding bicycle on Princess Margaret Drive when 2 men rode up beside him. One of them begged him for a dollar, and when he refused, one of the men punched him in the face causing the minor tumble of his bike. One of the men stole his bike and his 2 assailants rode off leaving him there. Police investigated the young man's report, which led to the bike's recover and the detention of Nunez. He was charged with robbery and harm, and he was arraigned today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. He pleaded guilty to the charges, and after careful consideration, Senior Magistrate Frazer sentenced him to 6 years in prison for the robbery and 1 year for the harm. Both sentences are to run concurrently, so he will only spend 6 years in jail.

PM At CARICOM Summit Talking Reparations
Prime Minister Dean Barrow is in St. Vincent and the Grenadines wrapping up a CARICOM Heads of Government Summit. Prominent issues being discussed by leaders include the legalization of marijuana and reparations for slavery. The leaders form the 14 CARICOM countries say they will back a ten point claim for reparations from European countries. Barrow left the country on Saturday and is due back on Thursday.

Siarsha On The Mend, Getting Ready To Come Home
Little Siarsha Alvarez - the three year old with that rare skin disorder - is doing better and is getting ready to come home. That's the word from her father Simeon Alvarez in Merida who told us today that she's fought off pneumonia and will be discharged tomorrow at noon. Tropic air is sponsoring the family a free flight on their new Merida route and so they should be back tomorrow. But Siarsha is under strict orders. The doctors say she can only bathe with purified water and she has to be kept in an air conditioned home. Those with Stevens-Johnson syndrome suffer for as long as ten years with side effects. The family's medical bills so far? About thirty thousand Belize dollars.

Ruta Maya Runs Through The River
The 16th La Ruta Maya River Challenge started on Friday in Cayo and 170 miles later, rolled into Belize City on Monday. It was a closely contested match amongst all the top teams this year, and on the Final day, 7News was on Belcan Bridge to see the teams which crossed the finish line first. Here's how that finish went yesterday: Though the Belize Bank Bulldogs came in second in the final leg of the race, their cumulative time was the best to earn them their 7th win. They've placed second in 3 of the last 10 River challenges.

Kites Magically Aloft On Ninth March
And while Bowen and Bowen kept busy organizing the La Ruta Maya, they also put in a lot of time to prepare for their 4th Annual Kite Contest. The skies above Marine Parade in Belize City was filled kits of all kinds, and 7News stopped by to see the collection being flown. We spoke to a few of the contest winners about their kites, and what it takes to make the biggest, most unique, and, most eye-catching entries. Here's what they told us: There were winners chosen from 6 categories in the Juniors and Seniors level, and each was given a cash prize.

Reef Week Underscores Conservation With Simple Message
And after the Kite contest, our news team moved over to the 2014 Opening of Reef Week, which was held at the BTL Park. Reef Week is an initiative where the conservation communities come together to promote Belize's barrier reef and what the public can do to help to protect it. 7News stopped by to speak with a few of the reef experts about its importance to the reef agenda: The theme for this year's Reef Week is "Our Food! Our Jobs! Our Pride & Joy!"

The Passing Of a Political Giant
Tonight we note the passing of a political giant, Louis Sylvester, widely known as Cuzz. He died on Thursday night from complications of a debilitating stroke he suffered in 2008. He was 82. Sylvester's political career spans the history of modern Belize starting in 1952 when he became involved in the nationalist movement with George Price. Under Price, he served in various capacities from 1957 to the 1984 when he was politically undefeated. Sylvester came to be synonymous with his political stronghold in Rural Belize, and on Friday in the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Dean Barrow paid tribute to his common touch:..

#487882 - 03/12/14 07:08 AM Re: Today's Belize News: March 12, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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3 year old girl and man killed in Burrell Boom Accident
There are three more deaths to add to the growing list of traffic fatalities; so far, there have been at least fifteen accidents since the beginning of the year in [...]

Ontario resident perishes in fatal accident in Camalote
Traffic accidents are among the leading causes of death, and unfortunately an Ontario family is grieving the loss of a loved one. A third fatality occurred on Sunday, involving a [...]

A four-car pileup along the Boom Road
Just a few moments prior to the deadly traffic accident which claimed the lives of three year old Ashley Silva and twenty year old Linbert Tucker, there was a four [...]

Laura Esquivel-Frampton pushed out of B.T.B.
There is a breaking story in the B.T.B. and that is Laura Esquivel-Frampton, the high profile daughter of former Prime Minister, Manuel Esquivel is resigning from the post of Director [...]

Investigations continue into Immigration Scandal
Speculation about the pending arrest of former Minister of State with responsibility for Immigration Elvin Penner ran wild and free over the long weekend. On Friday, News Five was informed [...]

Belize City man found murdered in the cab of a truck
The long weekend was filled with tragedy but no murders. Unfortunately, the inadvertent moratorium on murders did not last, and just after eight this morning Police Detectives from Precinct Two [...]

Police still looking for accused murderer, Gabino Garnett Jr.
San Ignacio Police remain on the lookout for Gabino Garnett Jr., the man they believe is responsible for the fatal stabbing of twenty-year-old Earl Baizar on Friday morning.  The Dangriga [...]

Quarrel in the U.D.P.; Councilor Willoughby forgives Herman Longsworth
Last week Thursday, U.D.P. Minister of State Herman Longsworth accused Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega of undermining him to benefit Belize City Councilor Phillip Willoughby – basically stealing his idea [...]

Senior Magistrate Shona Griffith elevated to the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has been operating under staffing constraints in the complement of judges since the double blow of losing Justices Oswell Legall last May and Justice Rita Joseph-Olivetti in [...]

Kirk Smith Jr. acquitted of murder
Twenty-two year old Kirk Smith Jr., who has been on remand for almost four years walked free late this afternoon from a charge of murder.   Smith was accused of [...]

Oliver Peters arraigned for his uncle’s murder
While Smith has been freed of a murder charge, thirty-seven year old Oliver Peters has been arraigned for murder. Peters is accused of stabbing his uncle to the left side [...]

Former P.U.P. minister, Louis “Coz” Sylvestre, passes
Former P.U.P. minister, Louis “Coz” Sylvestre, passed last Thursday after ailing for years. A memorial service will be held this coming Friday; and today, while acknowledging his contributions, the People’s [...]

NICH issues last call for Belize International Film Festival entries
The National Institute of Culture and History through the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts has issued last calls for entries for the 2014 Belize International Film Festival. While the [...]

Dr. Billie Jean Young in the jewel for women’s month
Actor, activist, poet, and educator, Doctor Billie Jean Young is here in the jewel in celebration of Women’s Month. The Women’s Issues Network Belize (WIN-Belize) has planned several activities for [...]

Belize Bank Team and Western Ballaz top weekend competitions in Sports
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   The 17th running of the Annual Belikin La Ruta Maya attracted 68 canoes as the Mopan River tossed to [...]


Double Suicide On Stadium Street In Orange Walk Town
And here at home Orange Walk Police are tonight investigating two separate incidents of suicide, both which occurred last night approximately an hour and half from each other. In the first incident authorities were called to the residence of Evelia Pech on Stadium Street around 9:30pm. There they saw the lifeless body of 36-year-old Edwardo Pech, businessman of the same address. Pech’s body was observed lying face up with no signs of visible injuries. Preliminary investigations revealed that Pech was out socializing with friends and after a while he left and went home. It was around 9:25p.m when his mother, Evelia Pech, found him hanging from a rope tied to a 2X4 beam at the back of an enclosed shed located adjacent to the family’s house. The authorities do not suspect foul play.

Elijah Miller Found Guilty Of Manslaugther
On Friday we told you about Elijah Miller who was tried at the Northern session of the Supreme Court for the murder of his then two year old stepson. Miller was accused of beating 2 year old Ezekiel Tejeda to death on July 1st, 2009. The case, which was heard before Supreme Court Judge Herbert Lord, entered into deliberation on Friday with a jury of twelve. When we left you on Friday the jury was still deliberating. But today we can confirm that at the end of deliberation the jury found Miller guilty of Manslaughter. Miller was remanded to the Hattieville Prison pending sentencing hearing on March 27th.

Three Political Endorsement In Orange Walk Town
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has said that the only elections bound to happened any time soon is the municipal elections and vehemently added that his administration is in for the long haul. Despite his confidence, the PUP has begun oiling its machinery and over the weekend endorsed three standard bearers in the Orange Walk District. They are Standard Bearer for Orange Walk Central John Briceno, Standard Bearer for Orange Walk East, Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez and standard bearer for Orange Walk South, Jose Abelardo Mai. Our newsteam was there to catch highlights of the event and bring you the following report. Carmelita Perez – Reporting PUP party supporters joined current area representatives for Orange Walk Central John Briceno, Orange Walk East, Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez and Orange Walk South, Jose Abelardo Mai in the endorsement ceremony held at the Crystal Palace Auditorium on Saturday March 8th.

Director Of B.T.B. Resigns From Her Post
The Director of the Belize Tourism Board Laura Esquivel Frampton has resigned from her post. That’s the news coming out of the BTB tonight. But was it something Frampton was pushed into doing? Apparently she was. CTV3 News was able to obtain the copy of a letter dated March 5th 2014 directed to the Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia Jr., by the members of BTB’s Executive Management team. In a nut shell, the first paragraph of the letter states that after several meetings held with Minister Heredia, past and present chairmen of the board, board of directors, and the CEO of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the team is making an official grievance their dissatisfaction and to put forward a vote of no confidence against Frampton. The letter states and we quote, ‘The vote of no confidence is based on the evolving discussions that we, the undersigned, have had over the past year with you (Heredia) and those outlined which have delineated three major concerns. The first major area of concern is leadership.

Police Makes major Drug Bust In Xaibe Village
Corozal authorities made a major drug bust in Village of Xaibe over the Baron Bliss holiday weekend. While many enjoyed quality time with their families, authorities in that municipality report that in the wee hours of Sunday morning, equipped with a search warrant approached the residence of 66 year old Gregorio Villamil Sr. where on arrival they encountered two houses on the same lot. Two of which would reveal illicit activities occurring. Police searched inside a Pimenta house with zinc roof and present at the time were Roberto Rodrigo Villamil, Francisco Aguilar Jr. and Luis Angel Villamil. The search led to the discovery of (1) corn chips plastic bag containing green leafy vegetable substance and (1) piece of paper containing within green leafy vegetable substance suspected cannabis. At the station the drugs were weighed and amounted to 61.7grams. The trio were subsequently arrested and charged for the offence of Drug Trafficking.

Pictorial Exhibition In Memory Of Hugo Chavez
Today a pictorial exhibition was opened at the Banquitas House of Culture to honour the more humanitarian side of the late Hugo Chavez Frias, former president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Born Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías on July 28th 1954 in Sabaneta, Venezuela, Hugo Chávez was the son of schoolteachers. Chavez became president in 1999 and was widely known for his reform efforts and strong opinions as president of Venezuela. Chávez discovered that he had cancer in June 2011, and subsequently underwent three surgeries. He eventually acknowledged the severity of his illness and he passed on March fifth 2013 at the age of 58 in Venezuela. The exhibition is being promoted by the Venezuelan Government and is titled “Por Aqui Paso Chavez”. Ambassador of Venezuela to Belize, Yoel Perez Marcano told us more about the small exhibition.

C.C.C. Students Hangs Herself
Over the holiday weekend, a total of three suicides were recorded in the Northern districts; one in Corozal, a 13 year old female student and two in Orange Walk, both male persons. On Friday, 13 year old Frances Diana Salam a Corozal Community College student from Santa Rita Area, Corozal Town, was found dead at the back of her residence hanging from a rope. Police investigations have revealed that at around 4:15pm, PC Sotero Salam, attached to the Special Branch arrived at home along with his wife and two daughters ten and twelve years of age respectively.


Remanded for Assaulting Wife with Firearm
Twenty-seven year old Floyd Jones was remanded to Belize Central Prison today when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser and was arraigned on charges of aggravated assault with a firearm and using threatening words. Jones pled not guilty to the charges. Senior magistrate Fraser explained to him that the court cannot offer him any bail because of the firearm offence. She remanded him into custody until April 30. The incident occurred on January 22 in Hattieville. Jones’ wife reported to the police that Jones slapped her in her face with a firearm and threatened to kill her. Jones’ troubles were not over yet. He was brought back to court, this time before magistrate Dale Cayetano, and he was charged with common assault. He pled not guilty to that charge and he was offered a bail of three thousand dollars and his case was adjourned until May 5. Jones’ wife reported to the police that while she was inside Green Iguana Lodge in Hattieville Jones came up to her and slapped her.

7-Year Jail Sentence for Stolen Bicycle
Nineteen year old Eutychus Nunez, an unemployed of Mahogany Street, was sentenced to a total of seven years today by Senior magistrate Sharon Fraser after he pled guilty to robbing a bicycle from a 17 year old boy and causing harm to him. Nunez was sentenced to six years for robbery and one year for harm. Senior magistrate Fraser stipulated that the sentences are to run consecutively. The incident occurred around 3:45 p.m. on March 6. The boy reported to the police that he was riding his black beach cruiser bicycle on Princess Margaret Drive when two persons rode up beside him and one of them asked him for a dollar. The boy said he refused and that was when one of them punched him to the left side of his face and caused him to fall. The boy told police that they both rode away with one of them towing his bicycle. The police launched an investigation which resulted in the recovery of the bicycle and the detention of Nunez. The second suspect has not been arrested yet.

Griffith Appointed as Justice of Supreme Court
Hon. Madam Justice Shona Griffith is a new justice of the Supreme Court. She was sworn in today by the Chief Justice Hon. Kenneth Benjamin. Justice Griffith will work in the civil jurisdiction and will be doing the same work as Justice Rita Olivetti. Justice Griffith was a senior magistrate at the magistrate Court in Belize for a little over 2 years. She is a Guyanese national who holds a master degree in law which she obtained from the University of London. She is a graduate of Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad.

Student Fined After Going on Joyride
Twenty-two year old Clarine Estrada, a student, was fined a total of one thousand five hundred dollars today by Magistrate Dale Cayetano after she pled guilty to taking a conveyance and damage to property. She was given until July 31 to pay the fines. If she defaults on payment she will serve 18 months. She was also ordered to pay 800 dollars in compensation for the damage that was done to the left rear passenger side of the vehicle. The incident occurred on March 8. Estrada’s boyfriend, Akeem Theus gave her the keys for 2002 Nissan pick-up that he was driving for the company he worked for. He told her to get some cigarettes that were in the vehicle. But instead she drove away. Police later found Estrada along with two other occupants in the vehicle in Ladyville. Estrada managed to get away from the police. However, she later turned herself in. The vehicle is the property of Raymond Charley Sr and it has a value of eighteen thousand dollars.

Sunday Morning Accident Proves Fatal in Western Belize
22-year-old Jose Martinez of Ontario Village died as a result of a traffic accident on the George Price Highway on Sunday morning. Police say when they visited Camalotte Village they saw Martinez’ body on the highway as well as a red four door Isuzu Rodeo parked on the highway with damages to its front portion and a red motorcycle extensively damaged. 53-year-old Anthony Polonio was driving his vehicle from the direction of San Ignacio to Belmopan when upon reaching between miles fifty and fifty one there was a collision with the cycle driven by Martinez. Martinez sustained head and body injuries and died on the spot.

Belize’s Main Opposition Party Remembers Louis Sylvestre
The People’s United Party has extended sympathies to the family of Louis Sylvester. As we mentioned last week Sylvester died at the Karl heusner Memorial Hospital. In its release the PUP says Sylvestre served as a PUP Representative in Rural Belize from 1957 to 1984 under the leadership of the Rt. Hon. George Price. During that period he served in different capacities as a Member of the Cabinet. The PUP says Sylvester was a humble, “people’s man”, whose contributions to politics and development in Belize will not be forgotten.

PM Travels for Heads of Government Meeting
Prime Minister Dean Barrow is in St. Vincent and the Grenadines where he is attending the CARICOM heads of Government meeting. The Prime Minister is expected back home on Thursday. In his absence Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega is acting Prime Minister.


13 year old commits suicide in Corozal Town
A total of three reported suicides took place in the Northern Districts of Corozal and Orange Walk over the weekend. The first incident, occurred on Friday March 7th, in the Santa Rita Area, Corozal Town, at the residence of Police Constable No. 1146 Sotero Salam attached to the Special...

Vehicle Slams into Belmopan Store
On Monday morning, a car rammed into a Chinese convenience store called ’99′ located in the Picini area, Belmopan, causing extensive damage. Luckily enough, no one was hurt, though it did put back the proprietor, Zi Qiang, several hundred dollars in expenses. However, he told us that they are...


Belize’s Biggest Sporting Event: La Ruta Maya River Challenge Ends Yesterday in Belize City
And DANG, yesterday was a hot one in Belize’s largest city. La Ruta Maya is a torturous (my own word) 180 mile, 4 day canoe race across Belize on the Belize Old River – an important trade route for the Maya between cities like Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, Altun Ha and the Caribbean Sea. SERIOUSLY impressive the tv and radio folk that were talking for hours and hours doing play by play for a canoe race. I mean…it has its moments for sure…but man…there is no way I could keep that conversation going. I decided to test my press credentials/see if I could sweet talk my way into the press area on the side of the river. The Belize Defense Force was kitted out in half camoflauge/half Belikin t-shirts and not letting many pass into the press zone. They are in charge of the official times, safety and standings of Ruta Maya.

Belize Celebrates Baron Bliss Day
With the Red Baron, Baron Barracuda (for those of you who remember the kids’ show “Under the Sea”) and many other notables, there has been an assortment of, shall we say, interesting barons. But not many as interesting, and as cool, as Baron Bliss. And Belize has some very interesting holidays, and today we commemorate Baron Bliss Day in honour of Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, 4th Baron Bliss, commonly known as Baron Bliss. Born on February 16 1869 and living a very interesting life until he passed away March 9th 1926 aboard his yacht anchored off Belize City, Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, was an English traveller and adventurer who willed nearly two million Belize Dollars a trust fund for the benefit of the citizens of what was then the colony of British Honduras, now known and loved as Belize. Born Henry Edward Ernest Victor Barretts, he lived in England in Buckinghamshire as a youth, an engineer by trade. At some point in his adult life, inherited the title 4th Baron Bliss of the Kingdom of Portugal, from an ancestor.

Ride for the Children of Belize
The Challenge Gobie Foundation is having a bike ride to fundraise for the pediatric intensive care unit at KHMH. It starts in Punta Gorda on Friday the 14th, at 6:00pm. The finish line is at Caribbean Tire in Belmopan. They'll have a booth there where you can get t-shirts and bike raffle tickets. Good luck, Gobie! Have fun riding in that dog suit. You can register here: Registration Form

Color Purple at Screen on the Green
The Color Purple is the movie being played at this month's Screen on the Green. It's Thursday, March 13th, at 6:00pm, at the Governor General Field in Belmopan. "The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name. Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture."

The Sixth Round of CARICOM-Canada Negotiations
The sixth round of negotiations for CARICOM-Canada Trade and Investment Agreement was held at Knutsford Court in Kingston, Jamaica from the 3rd of March to the 8th of March, 2014. Director General of the Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN), Ms. Gail Mathurin, welcomed the delegation and explained that the sixth round of negotiation would be done in a two-part series with the second half reconvening at the beginning of April in Ottawa. The sixth round of negotiations covered topics of Trade-Related Agricultural Cooperation, Trade in Services and Investment, Financial Services, Investment, Intellectual Property and Innovation, Institutional Issues and Dispute Settlement and Environment.

ReefCI working with the local school kids!
ReefCI and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have recently partnered up to target primary level schools around Punta Gorda Town. Our focus is Educational Outreach/Programs on environmental issues affecting freshwater sheds and the Marine Coral Reef Ecosystem. The initial objective is to focus on garbage disposal and recycling. Through this initiative, Ms. Emi Yamaguchi (JICA) and myself, Mr. Jason Guy (Marine Biologist), are collaborating with the Punta Gorda Town Council, Solid Waste Management Authority and the Department of the Environment. Our aim is to educate and get students actively involved in the intended objective of proper garbage disposal, recycling and on solid waste management on a whole. The first joint presentation was conducted on Wednesday March 5th at the PG Methodist School. Belize is celebrating Reef Week this week and the theme is “Our food; our jobs; our pride and joy: our reef!”

International Sources

Best White Rum
Rum is a sugar cane distilled spirit that is directly influenced by terroir, tradition and technique. Sugar cane can be grown anywhere in the world that hosts a tropical climate. But the Caribbean is considered the predominant producer of rum. White rum is also known as "silver" or "light" rum. It is light-bodied, light in color and lightly sweet in flavor. As is all rum, white rum is produced from sugarcane juice and molasses, and normally has a short distillation period. But unlike gold, dark and aged rums which are matured in charred oak casks, white rum is mellowed in plain oak casks or stainless steel tanks for about a year, then filtered. By aging the spirit in this way, the final product remains clear. Rhum Agricole is produced mainly in the French West Indies. The main ingredient is sugarcane, with a tasting profile defined by dry, grassy notes. This differs from rums produced from molasses with sweeter, vanilla flavors. Gold: Travellers Classic White (Belize) Nose: Banana, tropical fruit, apricot, elderflower, almond, subtle vegetal. Palate: Vanilla, subtle cocoa, buttery, banana, fig, marzipan, nutty, toasty notes, flowery, cherry blossom, rose, charcoal. Finish: Floral, clean, short.

The Placencia Condos & Residences as the Top Belize Destination for March 2014
bestretirementdestinations.com has declared The Placencia Condos & Residences as the top Belize retirement destination in the month of March 2014. Retirement destinations destinations are analyzed by the independent research team at bestretirementdestinations.com to uncover which destinations supply the top Belize services. The ratings are reexamined on a monthly basis based on the latest achievements of contending Belize destinations.

Cocaine: the new face of deforestation in Central America
In 2006, Mexico intensified its security strategy, forming an inhospitable environment for drug trafficking organizations (also known as DTOs) within the nation. The drug cartels responded by creating new trade routes along the border of Guatemala and Honduras. Soon shipments of cocaine from South America began to flow through the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC). This multi-national swathe of forest, encompassing several national parks and protected areas, was originally created to protect endangered species, such as Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) and jaguar (Panthera onca), as well as the world's second largest coral reef. Today, its future hinges on the world's drug producers and consumers. Recently, a report in the journal Science by seven researchers working in Central American forests examined the effects of Mexican drug policies on the MBC, urging policy makers to target ecological devastation as an unintended consequence of a skewed emphasis on supply-side drug reduction policies. They highlight this unfortunate side effect of Mexico's successful law enforcement: the deforestation of pristine areas within smaller countries like Honduras and Guatemala, ill-prepared for an influx of drugs.

Belize, a True Caribbean Gem
A tiny country snuggled between Mexico to the North and Guatemala to the south on the Caribbean side of Central America, Belize is a true Caribbean gem with a warm and breezy climate year round. The coolest part of the year is from December to May (the wet season) and the hottest from May to September (the dry season). Belize can be humid as you move inland but by the Caribbean there are beautiful breezes to be found.

Three Belize Getaways
Any experienced scuba diver will have Belize on their shortlist of the best diving destinations in the world. It's home to the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere, there are hundreds of islands ("cayes," as they are called locally) that dot the 240-mile coastline and give visitors an abundance of diving opportunities. While there are picturesque white-sand beaches, luxury shopping and vibrant culture on land, there is just as much happening underwater. For most traveling from the US, the best point of entry is to fly directly to Belize City and then head to one of Belize’s largest and most inhabited islands, Ambergris Caye. Ferries run frequently to the island, but one of the most spectacular ways to travel is by small plane. If you're comfortable in a smaller plane (14 seats to be exact) and don't mind the extra expense, this is by far the best and fastest way to travel around Belize.

Taking a break abroad
This spring break, while many students take a breather from classes, some Gamecocks will be getting hands-on health care experience, helping rural villagers and getting a taste for world travel. The service-learning trip to Belize promises to be a life-changing experience for the 24 students. One of 10 study abroad class trips during the weeklong break, “Service learning in Belize, health care in developing countries,” will give students a firsthand look at how a health care system works, the a taste of health care global systems for pre-med or pre-pharmacy students, says Eileen Korpita, director of pre-professional advising and host for the trip. The students will observe doctors working in rural villages in the Central American country, from finding patients to taking medical histories and watching diagnoses to distributing prescriptions. “It gives them a great observational experience for health care. They see a lot more in one week than they have the opportunity to see in the United States typically,” she says.


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