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#487939 - 03/13/14 11:54 AM Today's Belize News: March 13, 2014
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
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The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro Town and Roatan discuss signing of Sister City Relationship
On Friday, March 7th the San Pedro Town Council received a visit from Her Excellency Sandra Rosales Abella, Ambassador of the Republic of Honduras and Carlos Villanueva Medina, Minister Counselor of the Republic of Honduras. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the proposal of a Sister City Relationship between San Pedro Town and Roatan, Honduras. San Pedro Town has always had good relationships with its neighboring countries, so much that on October 26, 2013 the City of Chetumal renewed its Sister City Relationship with San Pedro Town. The aim of such relationships is to strengthen exchanges in the cultural, academic, tourism, economic and health sectors in both municipalities.

Social Investment Fund to inaugurate Guinea Grass Library & Multi-purpose Center
Eight hundred children in the village of Guinea Grass, Orange Walk District, will now enjoy a safe community space promoting reading, culture and knowledge through a project implemented by the Social Investment Fund (SIF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports through the Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS), and the community of Guinea Grass. The Guinea Grass Multi-Purpose Center, which was financed by the Government of Belize by a loan provided by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) at a total cost of $368,099, houses the community library, the Village Council, the Water Board and sewing facility. The library is equipped with furniture, books and computers made available by SIF. SIF was also instrumental in providing sewing equipment, sewing and small business/entrepreneurship training to men, women and youth in the village. The project represents SIF’s continued commitment of realizing its Mission by implementing social infrastructure projects and programmes that provide basic services to the most severely affected groups aimed at reducing poverty in urban and rural areas across Belize.

Jordy Craft is current top scorer of the SPSC Football Tournament
The San Pedro Sports Committee (SPSC) Football Tournament is winding down to the finals, and teams are fighting for the win. After the fifth round of games, FC United and Joker FC are still leading the boards in their group but they better not get too comfortable because Island Pure and Southwind are looking to take over. At this point of the tournament every goal counts. On Saturday, March 8th, four teams faced off in two grueling matches. In the first game, Southwind faced off Costa Blu. With every intention to take the lead in Group B, Southwind defeated Costa Blu in a 4-1 point game. The second game was between VH Bomber and Island Pure, the game ended in a 0-1 win for Island Pure.

NACNW group effort leads to the successful apprehension of two culprits
A neighborhood watch is a group of neighbors who believe that fighting crime is every citizen’s responsibility. That theory was put to the test on Wednesday March 12th by the North Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch (NACNW) in the Tres Cocos area of San Pedro Town. The group, working along with other people in the area managed to detain a male identified as 22-year-old Juan Carlos Martinez and later a 17-year-old male minor, who police believe have been terrorizing islanders in the Tres Cocos area of the island. San Pedro Police said that residents in the Tres Cocos area have been experiencing a number of burglaries and they strongly believe the two males are the ones who have been terrorizing the residents in the area. Both Martinez and the minor have been arrested and are expected to be charged for the incident and will be investigated for other similar incidents. Martinez, who is known to local authorities on the island, has been out of prison on bail after he was accused of an armed robbery on the island which is still pending before the court.

Darrington Louriano shot but refuses to speak to police
One person was treated and released following a shooting incident that occurred on Sand Piper Street in San Pedro Town on Tuesday March 11th. The victim is 21-year-old Darrington Louriano Jr. of a San Juan Area address. According to residents on Sand Piper Street, they heard several gunshots sometime around 9:24PM and moments later saw a dark skinned male wearing a gray T-shirt running towards the beach area. The incident occurred at a time when several area residents were heading home from work while others were trying to purchase food from a mobile food stall in the area. According to one eyewitness who requested to remain anonymous, as many as seven gunshots were fired. The person explained that some buyers were so terrified that they took cover behind the stall in fear of being hit. According to police, when they visited the scene, they found Louriano Jr. suffering from one apparent gunshot wound to the left shoulder.

“Footprints for Peace”- the community is invited
With the increase in crimes happening in our San Pedro community that led to the shooting death of Jeffrey Eiley, his family and friends have joined together to partake in a coalition to restore safety within the streets of San Pedro Town. The movement is called “Justice for Jeffrey,” and will see a series of events geared towards raising awareness and breaking stigmas associated with crime and violence, but will moreover be geared towards restoring compassion. Jeffrey’s violent death has brought to light what is lacking in our community, and it is the hope of his family that with the formation of the Justice for Jeffrey coalition, that sense of community and fellowship is restored.

Ambergris Today

My Baby Turns 15. Happy Quince Años Ambergris Today
I sit back at my desk, close my eyes and can just feel like it was yesterday when I published my first edition of Ambergris Today Newspaper. Wow! It has been 15 years from that day this year as Ambergris Today becomes a Quinceañera - Sweet 15 indeed! And as I keep my eyes closed, I recollect on all the wonderful memories that include happy times, triumphs, adventures, excitement, celebrations, knowledge, failure, tragedy, sadness and on top of it all, so much wonderful experience. My experiences working on building my personal business and public service to the community of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and my country Belize has brought tremendous happiness in my life. ‘Love your job and you will not have to work a day in your life’; this explains my passion towards my career.

San Pedro AIDS Commission Sends Thanks For Carnaval Support
The San Pedro AIDS Commission wholeheartedly thanks the following businesses/individuals who so generously helped us this year with our comparsa expenses. It is because of your support that our group moves forward. We salute each of you and say Muchas Gracias to: Mata Chica Resort NICH Kelly McDermott Kanabar Rojo Lounge Findley Halliday Sandy Point Resort Deputy Mayor Gabriel “Gaby” Nuñez Councilor Guillermo “Mito” Paz The San Pedro Town Council The Unique Pharmacy Yadira & Rene Paz Sajia’s Construction Traveller’s Liquors Captian Iguanas Coqui Rodriquez Elito Arceo Wilbert Magaña Elder & Corina Alvarez E&L Butane Juvinie Sabido Dennis Alfaro To Our Designers and Comparsa Helpers: Dianelita Hancock, Pablito Guerrero, Sandra Ayuso, Mrs. Irma Banegas, Angel Nuñez, Noel Wiltshire, JoVan Ayuso & Lilia Westby.

Misc Belizean Sources

Women’s arts & craft display in Punta Gorda
As part of celebrating Women’s Month the Toledo Women’s Department of Toledo is today hosting an arts and craft display at the PG Central Park. According to Coordinator Loraine Johnson, the main objective of the day-kong event is to “showcase the talents of women and their efforts in keeping to strive for the best.” And a look at the vast array of items on display, the arts and craft done by the women of Toledo are second to none. Johnson says that “as women we also have a lot of potential to do things and that success starts with wanting to do something.”

Outstanding women recognized in Corozal
Activities for Women’s month are continuing across the country. Here in Corozal, women are being treated to a complete spa treatment for a previously unheard of $5.00. This includes manicure and pedicure for that one low price. In related news, two prominent women from Corozal have been designated Most Outstanding. They are 66 year old Elda Sutherland, a retired Community Development Officer. Sutherland contributed 23 years of service to her people as an officer with the Human Development Department. The other awardee is 23 year old Niedi Leticia Rosado.

Fun run in PG a success
Promoting a healthy lifestyle was the theme of this morning’s Fun Run in Punta Gorda town. Over 360 persons, including children with special needs took part in the event which was coordinated by Special Olympics Belize and the One World Running volunteer group from the United States. Organizers say they are happy with the turn out. Congratulations to all who took part in the Fun Run.

Hot and dry today; but rain on the way
It is another hot day in beautiful Belize, as fair and mostly dry conditions will push the heat level to the high end of the thermometer. But rain is on the way as a weak cold front approaches the country. The general forecast for Belize and her coastal waters is for sunny skies with cloudy spells. Then the change will come this afternoon with an increase in showers and isolated thunderstorms starting over inland areas and then spreading southward tonight. Winds are easterly to southeasterly at 5 to 15 knots. The sea state is choppy.

CARNAVAL 2014 - PAINTING & COMPARSAS (47 photos)
San Pedro Town Council

Ministry of Health Invites the Pharmacy Association to Dialogue on Regulatory Framework in Pharmacy.
The Ministry of Health notes with concern a press release issued by the Pharmacists Association dated March 11, 2014. As always, the Ministry of Health is happy to discuss any issues the Association may have, but regrets that the executive of the Association has not made any attempt to contact the Ministry in this regard. Nonetheless, the Ministry is open to discuss such issues at any convenient time and has already responded by inviting the executive of the Association to meet. While the Ministry supports several of the points raised by the executive, it opposes others. Some of the issues raised appear to be flawed conclusions based presumably on inaccurate information. The Ministry emphatically rejects the underlying premise of the release. Certainly, the quality of pharmaceuticals is an important issue. The public sector has a clear and transparent procurement process in place which optimizes the quality of supplies – but the inspections over pharmaceuticals sold privately have been weak and must be strengthened. The Ministry also agrees that a strong, independent unit should be created, staffed and empowered to carry out these and other functions.

Meet the U.S. Embassy's Woman of the YEAR 2014
Congratulations to Dezerie Jacklyn Phillips!!!! You are an inspiration to women in Belize, and women around the world. Through your example of excellence you teach girls and women that they can achieve anything in any field. Dezerie Jacklyn Phillips was born on December 22, 1967 and joined the Belize Police Department on December 1, 1985 and worked her way up the ranks during the course of twenty eight plus years to her current post of Senior Superintendent. She is currently one of two deputy officers commanding Eastern (Police) Division which is the largest division in the department and her duties & responsibilities are focused primarily on community policing enhancement and administration.

Corozal Police News Report
The Corozal Police Department has noted to the Corozal Daily the increase on a number of burglaries and robberies of late. We would like to inform the neighborhood watch groups to kindly become active and report any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.

YWCA Cultural Experience in Benque
The YWCA, which has been touring their Cultural Experience all over Belize, visited the Cancha Marshalleck in Benque yesterday. The Institute of Social and Cultural Research was there to take some pictures, as was the Benque House of Culture. Benque HoC Pictures The Senior Steppers put on a show to Gangnam Style. Classic! "The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA Belize) has touched the lives of over 400 rural women and youth from various cultures through the Expanding Economic Opportunities through Entrepreneurship and Market Development Project (YWCA EEOEM Project). To honor this accomplishment during Women’s Month, the YWCA CULTURAL EXPERIENCE is a month-long cultural celebration of YWCA Belize women and youth that showcases the culture of each represented district through food, music, dance, drama, arts & crafts, and other cultural presentations."

Vanzie Lamb acquitted of rape charge
A jury of nine this afternoon acquitted Belize City resident Vanzie Lamb, 44, of rape after nearly three hours in deliberation. The trial’s conclusion before Justice Troadio Gonzalez had been delayed since last week as a juror recovered from a bout of illness. Lamb had been accused of abducting and sexually assaulting a 14 year old girl from Punta Gorda in May of 2009 while she was visiting Belize City for a party. The girl told the court that she was taken by Lamb from the scene of a car crash to his house where he allegedly beat, raped and tied her up. She reported the matter to police after escaping her binds the following morning.

Laura Esquivel-Frampton leaves Tourism Director post
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) confirmed this afternoon that Director of Tourism Laura Esquivel-Frampton had resigned after a 22-month tenure. In a release the Board said Esquivel-Frampton’s resignation was “for personal reasons” and commended her knowledge of the industry and personal integrity. These may be a response to allegations that the daughter of former Prime Minister Sir Manuel Esquivel and former City Councilor was being pushed out after several senior managers reported requested a meeting with Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia to discuss concerns of poor management, leadership and control of finances. A letter circulated in the press quotes the group as saying that Esquivel-Frampton has not been open with them and financial concerns have reportedly limited the functions of the Board’s departments and caused significant dissatisfaction with industry partners.

Police train to communicate during emergencies
The Belize Police Department is an especially key member of the apparatus for national response to disasters and emergencies. Today, 45 staff members of the Police Communications Control Room were trained in emergency disaster response. Chief trainer is Wayne Usher of the Central Emergency Management Organization, and participants will learn about establishing and maintaining an operations centre during emergencies and how to cope with stress and pressure in tough times. Additional presentations are being made by the Meteorological Service and Belize Red Cross. This session is the first of several planned for the Communication division of the Department.

Women in Art exhibit opens
Women’s Month activities continue tonight in Belize City with the launch of a special art exhibit saluting our most creative women. It kicks off at the Bliss and Communications Officer for NICH, Shari Williams says the 7:00 p.m. opening is not limited to the art found on canvas. There will be a special dramatic and musical performance titled “Evolution of the Belizean Woman,” produced by Maryam Abdul-Qawiyy and exhibit of culinary art from Chef India of the “Back to Life” Café. The curator of the exhibit is up-and-coming artist Briheda Haylock. She said she wants a different experience for visitors, where the pieces are not just hanging on the wall but part of the atmosphere inside the gallery. She acknowledges as an artist herself that art is an increasingly important method of self-expression for women and indeed for all humanity.

Former Minister Louis Sylvestre dies
Former Minister of Government and long-standing area representative Louis Sylvestre died last Thursday after a long illness. The House of Representatives observed a moment of silence in his honor on Friday prior to the National Budget presentation. Known as “Cuz” or “Louie,” he was one of the towers of the People’s United Party (PUP) in the time of Right Honorable George Cadle Price. Sylvestre was first elected to political office in 1957 and served until 1984, holding the portfolios of Agriculture, Local Government and Public Utilities and was chairman of the PUP. He would later leave to form his own political party and eventually join the UDP. Sylvestre was recognized for being close to his constituents, particularly in San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker, where he will be buried after a memorial service on Friday.

Kirk Smith Jr. acquitted of murder
On Tuesday, a jury freed Kirk Smith, Jr., 22, from a charge of murder at the direction of Justice Adolph Lucas. Smith was accused of shooting Wesley College janitor Eyan “Trouble” Arnold, 35, to death at his home on Berkeley Street in August of 2010. But attorney for Smith, Bryan Neal, argued in a no-case submission that the evidence against his client was weak and did not positively link him to the murder. Crown witness Corporal Antonio Pop could not identify Smith in court, saying that he saw a man looking like Smith briefly and from a distance. Smith said he was not in the City at the time of the incident but in Hattieville with his aunt.

Estel's BBQ Cookoff
Come join us this Saturday for our annual BBQ cook off. Its gonna be lots of fun!!!!!

FEASIBILITY STUDY, ARCHITECTURAL AND ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND COSTINGS FOR THE ISIDORO BEATON FOOTBALL COMPLEX AND FACILITIES
Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL), a public sector agency of the Government of Belize is undertaking the design, construction and management of capital projects in Belize with particular emphasis on sporting and other multipurpose facilities. The investment project was initiated on March 12th, 2014 with contract signature for consulting services and architectural designs for infrastructure at the Isidoro Beaton Football Complex and Facilities. BIL, along with technical support from the Ministry of Works, will be working closely with the Local Government Representative and local municipality for the area. The investments to be financed as a prerequisite to any commencement of the civil works, and relevant to this consultancy, include a

Cayo Classifieds 11-Mar
This week's Buy and Sell Weekly is out. Read about Victoria Peak in this issue. "In the weekly 'Wellness Corner' read about the 3-day juice cleanse. Ladies, on page 7 see New Arrivals at Pink Boutique for all your fashion needs. View page 12, Central Wholesale Premium Wines & Spirits. You don't have to drive to Belize City, prices are the same, 'free' delivery service every other Saturday and will find any alcoholic beverage or kitchen supplies and deliver for 'free.' Looking for a room? Rumors Resort Hotel located in the San Ignacio Hills has special rates for locals, missionary group specials or planning an event the staff are well trained to assist your needs.

La Ruta Maya Cultural Night
The La Ruta Maya Cultural Night was a great success, and the Cayo Welcome Center proved to be the perfect spot for the wonderful event. Fire spinning and the World Culture Band really made it a great night. Pictures on G+. "The Cayo Welcome Center was happening Thursday night for the La Ruta Maya Cultural Night. They had artists, cultural presentations, music, fire spinning, and the World Culture Band played too. Thanks, NICH!"

Help Little Siarsha Fundraiser
There will be a fundraiser for Siarsha Alverez at Club Next on Friday, March 21st. The $15 collected at the door completely goes to Siarsha. They have a great line-up of DJ's for the event. Eclipse Sound, Cloud 9, Richie Galvez, Mistah Geeh, New Vybz Sound, and many more will be at the event.

Real Ice Cream Sandwiches
This ice cream sandwiches remind me of the stuff we get from the store, with one difference...It tastes way better. The cookie or skin is very simple to make and you can use any ice cream flavor you chose.

Video: Mopan River Belize
The majestic Mopan River in western Belize.

Video: Belize's Indian Community celebrates Holi Festival

Video: Tarrus Riley live in Belize City with BadGyalSharon opening for him

Video: Cruise - Day 4 - Belize City, Belize

Video: An Injured Dolphin Approached this Diver for Help. Then This Happened
During a night dive last January at Gadren Eel Cove in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii; a bottlenose dolphin caught in a fishing line approached scuba diver Keller Laros for help. The dolphin’s left pectoral fin was stuck, wrapped around fishing line with a hook embedded into its body. Laros, who was equipped with scissors, was able to free his fellow mammal and the amazing rescue was caught on film by Martina Wing.

Video: Belize Bonefish on the Fly
Fly fishing for bonefish in Belize.

Video: Belize Horse Carriage Tour
Horse & Carriage Tour in Belize City, Belize. 30 minute tour with horse drawn carriage and Belizean guide.

Video: Maya Mountain Adventure Race
My first attempt at making a picture movie. Enjoy.


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#487940 - 03/13/14 11:54 AM Re: Today's Belize News: March 13, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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Channel 7

Bert Vasquez Will Stand Trial Without Jury
Bert Vasquez, who has been charged with the murder of Jasmine Lowe, will stand trial in the Supreme Court in a trial without jury. That's the decision that came out of the San Ignacio Magistrate's Court when his preliminary inquiry was completed. Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, presented all the materials to the court that will be used case to attempt to convince the Judge of Vasquez's guilt – that includes DNA evidence, according to our sources. Simeon Sampson, attorney for Bert Vasquez, made submissions that his client should not have to stand trial in the case because the doctor could not specify what the cause of death was, and that there was no direct evidence, such as eyewitnesses, who tied his client to this crime.

Linbergh Tucker's Father Speaks About His Son's Alleged Drunk Driving
Last night we told you about that terrible accident that took the life of a 3 year old girl and a 28 year old adult male. Ashley Silva was in a vehicle driven by her father Karim Silva and her mother. They were hit head on by Linbergh Tucker – who was allegedly driving drunk and in the wrong lane on the Boom Road. It has the arc and the elements of an infuriating traffic tragedy: a young life needlessly lost to a man who should not have been behind the wheel. But, it's not always that simple. Today Monica Bodden spoke to his father, Linbergh Tucker Sr, who wasn't there but has gathered information as to his son's state of mind when the accident occurred:

BTB Sends Sheepish Release
The Belize Tourism Board sent out a sheepish release this afternoon confirming what everyone knew yesterday: Director of Tourism Laura Esquivel-Frampton has resigned. The release tries to gloss over her tumultuous departure, saying that was resigning the position for personal reasons. It adds quote, "During her tenure, she conducted herself with integrity, genuine concern for the industry and fiscal accountability." That last part, about "fiscal accountability" alludes to the concerns raised about the multi million dollar deficit the BTB finds itself it. The consequent across the board budget cuts for the coming fiscal year is what seems to have tipped the entire situation and led to the unprecedented mutiny by the BTB senior managers. Seven of them signed a letter of no confidence and sent it to the minister one week ago. After that, Esquivel Frampton's fate was all but sealed, and the fact of the deficit left Cabinet with its hands tied. And so, the daughter of the UDP's two time Prime Minister was pushed out of the job after two years, serving only a few months longer than her predecessor Seleni Matus who was also pushed out. Overall, it does not create a favourable impression of the BTB as a well-governed or stable organization. And so, the Director of Revenue Collection Javier Paredez, now takes the helm as Interim Director – his second stint in the job – that he last took up when the previous Director was pushed out.

Coye's Cleared In Appeals Court, But Owe Millions In Taxes
8 days ago, we told you about the dramatic decision that the Court of Appeal made when it reversed Belize's first money laundering conviction and acquitted the Coye Family. More than that, the Court ordered that the Government of the Belize had 60 days to return the 1.557 million dollars in cash that police found at their house on New Year's Eve 2008. That's a complete reversal in fortune for the Coye Family which has lost their name, their reputation, their business, and their cash flow – so much so that they had to struggle to find the money to bury Michael Coye when he passed away a few days after being released on bail. But that 1.557 million dollars is not the entire sum of the Coye family's financial assets. In fact, it's only a part of the 6.5 million dollars total which was frozen by the FIU because they were under suspicion of being ill-gotten gains from money laundering.

Income Tax Says Coye Assessment Fair and Just, Not Arbitrary and Oppressive
But we did have more success with this afternoon, when we spoke with Commissioner of Income Tax, Kent Clare. He told us there are certain aspects of the case that he is unable to discuss due to confidentiality under the Income and Business Tax Act. He did say however that this assessment is not new, and it was done legitimately under the Income tax Act. Clare told us the Department's contention is that taxes were due on business that the Coye's conducted but didn't pay tax on, and that is how the assessment was made. As to the sum, which Saldivar calls oppressive, arbitrary and exorbitant, Clare told us that the assessment was done under the law. He said that the claim was lodged with the Registrar of the Supreme Court a short while after the assessment was made. The assessment was made under section 111 (3) of the Income and Business Tax Act. That section reads, "Where it comes to the notice of the Commissioner that a person or entity has not reported or disclosed any receipts which ought to have been reported or disclosed, such unreported receipts shall...be taxed at the rate of 50% of such receipts, in addition to any other penalties leviable under this Act..."

Convicted Of Killing His Own Stepson
29 year-old Elijah Miller, a resident of Orange Walk, is at Prison tonight awaiting sentencing after he was convicted of causing the death of his stepson. As viewers may remember, Miller was accused of beating 2 year-old Ezekiel Tejeda to death on July 1, 2009. The child's mother alleged at that time that Miller threw Ezekiel in the air, stoned him with a pint bottle and shook him. She realized that something was wrong with her baby, and took her to the Northern Regional Hospital. The doctor said that the child was fine, but a short while after, he had to be rushed to hospital a second time, where he died of complications originating from abdominal trauma after he received multiple bruises to his abdomen, bowel, and intestines. Miller stood trial before Justice Herbert Lord in the Northern Sessions of the Supreme Court, and after deliberations, the jury of 12 found him guilty of manslaughter on Friday night.

Man Cleared Of Rape Accusation
44 year-old Vanzie Lamb is free tonight after he was acquitted of rape in the court room of Justice Troadio John Gonzalez. He was accused of an outrageous case of sexual abuse by a female who was only 14 years-old at the time. The victim, who came to Belize City from Punta Gorda for a party, testified that between May 1 and 2 of 2009, she was involved in a car accident on King Street. She said that Lamb forcefully took her from the scene of the accident by putting her on his bicycle, and he rode her to his house, where he dragged her inside. While there, Lamb allegedly tied her hands and legs and raped her. She was only able to get away just before daybreak by cutting her hands and legs free with a knife that was nearby. Evidence was entered before the court that the medical examiner certified that she was carnally known.

Pharmacists Fight Over Hon. Erwin's Daughter's Appointment To Big Post
You surely know the name of Minister of Trade Erwin Contreras, but you probably don't know his daughter Danini Contreras. But she's making the news tonight because she's gotten a big job at the Ministry of Health and the rarely-heard-from Pharmacists' Association of Belize is making a major stink about it. Contreras – who we are told has a degree in Chemical Pharmaceuticals was brought in as the Director of the Drug Inspectorate in the Ministry of Health. The Pharmacists Association says that she's not qualified for that post and today the President and Vice President of that association – who both work for government – spoke plainly about why they're dissatisfied with her appointment: Hortence Humes - President, Pharmacists' Association of Belize "To be a drug inspector, you have to be a registered pharmacist, have 5 years working experience, specialized training in drug inspection, and have an associate or a diploma in pharmacy."

Man Shot On San Pedro
21 year-old Darrington Louriano Jr., a resident of San Pedro Town, is at home tonight, recovering from a gunshot to the shoulder. According to Police, Louriano reported that sometime after 9 o'clock last night, he was walking on Sandpiper Street, and he was heading toward his neighbourhood, when he heard the sound of a gunshot. He didn't see who the shooter was, but he later realized that he had been struck in the left shoulder. He was escorted to the San Pedro Polyclinic, where he was treated for his injury and then released.

Police Get Trained In Handling Emergency Callers
Police are always responding to emergencies and people in dire situations, but in a natural disaster, that load of desperate callers is multiplied. Today, the employees of the Police Eastern Division Communication center, 911 operators and other members of the division were trained on how to respond during a time of national emergency. We found out more at the Queen Street Station conference room. Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood - Police Training With CEMO "Our personnel from the control room, or emergency center for the Police Department, we have decided to cooperate along with CEMO, members from the meteorological service, the Belize Red Cross, and of course, a psychological aspect, we have a nurse coming in to help to emphasize people who work at the control room in times of emergency or disaster. Well, on a daily basis, we deal with emergencies, but in the event, we face one of those horrific storms, what they should and shouldn't do."

Man Busted On Major Marijuana Move
Tonight, 29 year-old Cayo resident Adan Martinez is at prison after he was allegedly busted at the Novelo's bus terminal with 16.5 pounds of marijuana. According to police, one of their officers was on foot patrol, and while at the bus station, he decided to search Martinez, who was carrying two knapsacks. Inside, the officers found 2 parcels of suspected cannabis. Martinez was charged with drug trafficking, and was arraigned today before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton, where he pleaded not guilty, telling the court that he was given these packages, and that he didn't know what was in them. His bail came up for question and Magistrate Hamilton adjourned the matter until the afternoon session to see if Martinez was eligible given the amount of cannabis that was found. When the case resumed, he was granted bail of $10,000, which he was not able to meet. He will remain on remand until he is able to make arrangements to do so.

Music Instruments For The Masses
Yesterday, the National Youth Orchestra and the Choir of Belize accepted a donation from the international non-profit organization, MusAid. MusAid, an organization that was founded in 2006, has been in the country assessing the Orchestra's musical needs, and after consultation, the instruments were delivered. MusAid's founder presented a few of the instruments to NICH's Music Director at the Maud Williams High School, and 7News stopped in. We spoke with the organization's founder about the donation: Kevin Schaffter - Founder, MusAid "Part of our organization's - the first step in helping a country is that we visit, we see what kind of needs the schools have, and after that, we form a long-term relationship where we supply the instruments that they lack, and we bring teachers that can help with different, various instruments that they may not have teachers in Belize for. So, for example, in Belize, the lack is in lower strings, chello and base, and so, we hope in the future to bring chello and base teachers to help."

After A Long While, A Regatta To Remember
Last night, we showed you some of the 9th of March weekend activities like the Kite Contest, the Ruta Maya race and the opening ceremony of the 2014 Reef Week. But one that we didn't get to last night is really the original 9th. of March event. That is the Baron Bliss Harbour Regatta which has been held in the Belize City harbor every year since 1928, one year after Baron Bliss's death. Recently, the number of boats participating has dwindled, but not so this year, when the Belize Sailing Association joined the party; it's 47 teenaged sailors in their Optimist class sailing dinghies gave the harbor regatta a shot in the arm of fresh, young blood who look to keep alive the tradition for many years to come. Here's the story: The Sailing association had also held a regatta of six races for the Optimist class only of Buttonwood bay on Saturday.

Women Artists Free Like They Want To Be
Women in Art 2014 opens tonight at the Bliss Center. It's part of Women's Month, but Curator Briheda Haylock says it's also an opportunity to shake things up and focus on revolutionary art: This year's exhibit features twenty women.

Channel 5

Laura Esquivel Frampton officially resigns as Director of Tourism
Director of Tourism Laura Esquivel-Frampton has officially demitted office, following a two-year stint as head of the Belize Tourism Board.  Her resignation from the post was formally confirmed via press [...]

Minister of Tourism says Esquivel-Frampton resigns for personal reasons
Since being appointed the portfolio of Minister of Tourism in 2008, the posts of Chief Executive Officer and Director of Tourism have been revolving doors in Heredia’s ministry.  Current C.E.O. [...]

Pharmacy Association lashes out at MOH on appointment of the daughter of Minister Erwin Contreras
Political connections and lucrative appointments – that’s always been commonplace in Belize, almost as traditional as rice and beans. But that doesn’t make the pill any easier to swallow. Today, [...]

Pharmacy Association says she does not meet requirements
The association has pulled no punches with the issue of its release, stating that the appointment is based on a preferential political agenda and asking that the situation with the [...]

Bert Vasquez to stand trial for the murder of Jasmine Lowe
Accused murderer Bert Vasquez has been committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court for the murder of Jasmine Lowe. The decision was handed down at the preliminary inquiry today [...]

Attorney says allegations against Sharon Neal in immigration scandal were groundless
As we’ve told you, the three passport officers whose names were dragged through the mud of public scrutiny in the immigration scandal have been exonerated by the Services Commission. Despite [...]

Belize City man clings to life following broad daylight shooting in Gungulung
A mid-afternoon shooting near Holy Emmanuel Street has left one Belize City resident clinging to life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.  Shortly before three o’clock today Tarique Gillett, a [...]

Shooting in San Pedro
A week ago, a tour guide was murdered in San Pedro and on Tuesday night, another resident of the island was shot as he headed home. Around nine-thirty p.m., on [...]

Rafael Juarez still on the run for murder of Jeffrey Eiley
It’s been a week since the ruthless murder of thirty year old Jeffrey Eiley on San Pedro. Eiley, a well-known tour guide, ran from his killer but could not escape [...]

Ombudsman issues report on 1st year in office
The ombudsman, Lionel Arzu, has issued a report on his first year in office. It contains a wide range of public matters from police brutality to inmate treatment and housing [...]

Belize City man is freed of a rape charge
After deliberating for hours, a jury decided the fate of thirty-eight year old Vanzie Lamb, a Belize City man accused of forcibly abducting a fourteen year old primary school girl [...]

Training for officers on disaster preparedness
Members of the Eastern Division Communication Center, comprised of a team of twenty-three, nine-one-one dispatchers were participants in a one-day workshop organized in conjunction with the City Emergency Management Organization [...]

Women in Art Exhibition launched at Belisle Art Gallery
Throughout this month, activities are being held to celebrate women from all walks of life, home makers and professionals alike, be they bold, challenged, or in whatever capacity. Over at [...]

CTV3

Police Officer recieves Large Cut Wounds
A bar brawl in Concepcion Village in the Corozal District has left a pair of brothers with grave wounds. Reports are that on Sunday March 9th, at around 11:05pm, police visited Concepcion Village where they saw 22 year old Javier Noble; police officer attached to the Belize City Eastern Division, suffering from a large cut wound to the head and bleeding profusely. Investigations revealed that on even date, at about 10:50pm, Noble and his younger brother, 18 year old Angel Noble, were socializing in front of Tony Gongora’s Bar situated in the same village when they were involved in an altercation with 22 year old John Medina and 18 year old Christian Medina, both of the same village.

Appointment of Daughter Of Minister Erwin Contreras Raises Eyebrows
There is much contention and controversy regarding a new post in the Ministry of Health. We are talking about the Director of Drug Inspectorate in the Ministry of Health that has been allegedly filled by Danini Contreras, the daughter of Minister Erwin Contreras. News of this was first broken on March 4th by Plus Television in Belmopan. Today, a heated and lengthy press release was circulated by the Pharmacists Association of Belize denouncing the position that was filled in ‘secrecy and by a person with strong political ties. For the association this is one more indication that the MOH has no real desire to support and strengthen the practice of pharmacy in Belize. According to the release, there is the urgent need to ensure that such position be filled following clear and transparent processes and to remove any suggestion of political interference or other conflict of interest. The PAB stated 6 facts backing up their belief that Contreras is not fit for the position. The PAB states that one: the has no working experience in the field, no knowledge of the pharmacy programme in Belize, is not registered as a Pharmacist under the Chemist and Druggist Act Chapter 311 of the Laws of Belize and lacks the specialize training required to carry out duties necessary in the Drug Inspectorate position.

Alleged Release Of Catholic Diocese Causes Controversy
Much like the release issued by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belize City-Belmopan opposing to the 20,000K strong women’s empowerment rally, a similar release is being circulated to the local managers, administrators, principals and teachers who share common catholic missions. The release is causing quite a controversy at the helm of the Catholic Diocese as it emphatically states and we quote “I write to you as Bishop to remind you that organizations whose activities and positions are actively opposed to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church and which endanger the souls of people of God cannot be welcomed under any circumstances in our schools. These organizations often present themselves as champion s of some apparent good whether it be to educate on sexuality and reproductive rights, AIDS or to administer certain medical treatments or shots to our children. Of much scrutiny from the catholic Diocese if organization such as the Belize Family Planning Association (BFLA), UNIBAM, the National Aids Commission or the Red Cross program of ‘Together we can’ foster programs that ultimately undermine our catholic values. BFLA, the operational arm in Belize of International Planned Parenthood, is an instrument of the most serious crimes against life and our Christian morality.” End of quote.

LOVE FM

Baby Siarsha Returns Home
About two weeks ago, the Alvarez family reached out to the public for financial help in seeking medical attention for their three year old daughter who was diagnosed with a rare skin condition. Today, the toddler and her parents returned to Belize; Reporter Renee Trujillo and cameraman, Brian Castillo went to the airport to meet them and get an update on the child’s health condition. RENEE TRUJILLO REPORTING “In the latter part of February, the Alvarez family was distressed after learning that their three year old daughter, Siarsha Amri Alvarez was diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) – it is a life threatening skin condition that affects the skin and the mucous membranes that is known to be caused by certain medications, infections or in rare cases, cancer. The case became publicly known as the family had reached out seeking financial aid in order to have Baby Siarsha travel to Merida, Yucatan for medical attention. Today, the family returned to Belize on Tropic Air and got to speak with the parents.”

Association of Pharmacists Opposes Newly Created Post in Ministry of Health
The Pharmacists Association of Belize has reacted to a news report on a newly created position of Director of Drug Inspectorate in the Ministry of Health. The Association says Belize is plagued with a myriad of issues related to the quality of pharmaceuticals which pose numerous direct threats to the health and safety of the people of this country. It says for years it has advocated for an inspectorate unit that is supported by appropriate legislation. It insist that the unit must be properly created, equipped and staffed by suitably qualified persons and necessary laws be enacted and enforced to give the requisite authority to carry out their duties effectively. The Association said while a person has been hired as the Director, she has no working experience in any field including pharmacy, is not registered as a pharmacist under the chemist and druggist act and lacks the specialized training required to carry out duties necessary in the drug inspectorate unit.

World Bank: Belize Ranks High for Homicides
The World Bank Citizen Security Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean Rodrigo Serrano-Berthet has revealed in a report by the World Bank that even though the Latin American and the Caribbean regions possess only nine percent of the world’s population, almost one of every three murders globally are committed there. According to the report, thirty percent of the world’s homicides occur in these two regions, adding that of the fifty cities around the world that has the highest homicide rates, forty two of those cities are in Latin America including the top sixteen. Berthet says that the report indicates that Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala make up the countries with the highest murder rates in Central America; Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil rank highest in South America; and in the Caribbean, Belize and Jamaica are the worst.

Jury Says Vanzie is Not Guilty of Rape
A jury of six women and three men deliberated for about 2 hours and 45 minutes today in the court of Justice John Gonzalez before it found 44 year old Vanzie Lamb not guilty of rape. The jury’s verdict was unanimous. The incident occurred between May 1 and May 2, 2009. The complainant, who was 14 years old at the time, testified that she was involved in a traffic accident on King Street and she was abducted by Lamb. She said Lamb put her on his bicycle and rode her to his residence, an unpainted wooden house, in Jane Usher Boulevard area. She said she struggled with Lamb just before they reached his house and Lamb threw down his bicycle and dragged her into his house. She testified that lamb raped her then he tied her hands and feet. She also said that Lamb struck her on her back with a dumbbell. She said that while Lamb was asleep she managed to cut herself loose with a knife just before daybreak.

Interim Director Appointed for Belize Tourism Board
Late yesterday, Love News Centre got a copy of a letter that was addressed to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, Manuel Heredia and signed by seven of the Belize Tourism Board directors who seemingly came together and made a formal documentation of their votes of no-confidence in BTB’s Director, Laura Esquivel Frampton. It indeed came as a surprise but the shocker was when Frampton’s resignation was announced earlier today via a press release from the Belize Tourism Board. For those who are unaware, Frampton is the eldest daughter of former prime minister, Manuel Esquivel and a supporter of the ruling United Democratic Party. In the letter the directors cited several reasons for their votes of no-confidence, stating that the major area of concern is her leadership ability and we quote, “a leader should exhibit character that is beyond reproach, be transparent in their motives and demonstrate integrity as an example for and on behalf of staff and industry partners. Instead, her actions have exhibited a secretive, egotistical philosophy of policy implementation that is directly responsible for the current lack of morale throughout the organization.

Belizean Centenarian Walks For Cancer in United Kingdom
A Belizean man, who migrated to Edinburgh, UK decades ago, has planned an epic trek in the form of a fundraising walk for charity. The trek planned is a sponsored walk for the children’s cancer charity, Cclasp. According to an article on the internet, the one hundred and four year old, Sam Martinez has chosen to do this for Cclasp as that organization had been very instrumental to his family when his granddaughter, Carrie battled leukemia as a child. Martinez is reported to have been one of eight hundred Belizeans who traveled by ship across the Atlantic to work as tree fellers in Scotland and of those men, is the only one that is still alive. Retired only ten years earlier at the age of 94 as a meat packer, Martinez is an avid supporter of charities and says that he finds it heartbreaking that young children are battling cancer while he is a picture of health at the age of 104. Martinez was born in Barranco Village in the Toledo District in 1910 and is one of 11 children, many of whom died during Hurricane Hattie in 1931. His last return to Belize was in 1990.

PlusTV

Shooting Incident in San Pedro Leaves Another Victim Injured
There was another shooting incident in San Pedro Ambergris Caye. It happened last night, Tuesday March 11th, at about 9:24 p.m. The incident happened in the San Juan Area where 21-year-old Darrington Lauriano was shot to the shoulder. According to police reports, Mr. Darrington Lauriano Jr. was walking on Sandpiper...

Mr. Vanzie Lamb Acquitted of Rape
A jury of nine this afternoon acquitted Belize City resident 44 year old Vanzie Lamb of rape after nearly three hours in deliberation. The trial’s conclusion before Justice Troadio Gonzalez had been delayed since last week as a juror recovered from a bout of illness. Lamb had been accused...

Mrs. Laura Framptom Resigns from Post of Tourism Director
The Belize Tourism Board announced today the resignation of Mrs. Laura Frampton from the post of Director of Tourism. According to the announcement, Mrs. Frampton has served in that capacity for the past two (2) years and is resigning the position for personal reasons. However, the daughter of ex...

Salvadoran Electors Residing in Belize Travel Again to El Salvador for a Second Round; Results not Clear Yet
On Friday 31st January, five buses left Belmopan en route for Salvador. On board were some 200 Salvadoran-Belizeans who were going home to El Salvador to cast their vote in the Presidential elections. The group encountered some problems with the Media and the Police but were able to cast their...

Belize Police Department Gets Steadier for Disaster Reaction Management
In times of disasters and emergencies, more than at any other, the Belize Police Department is a key tool to steady the populace. Of course, police officers are humans too, and their jobs are not without doubts and anxieties. Today, 45 staff members of the Police Communications Control Room...

Dr. Billie Jean Mounts a One Woman Show at University of Belize
Women’s month continues to be celebrated in Belize. Today the Women’s Issue Network of Belize (WIN Belize) in collaboration with the University of Belize and the US Embassy celebrated the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, an African American that participated in the black rights movement. There to dramatize her...

Two Separate Incidents, one Dead,Three Hospitalized in the South
Reporter Harry Arzu- Dangriga Correspondent for Plus TV “40 year old, a resident of Placencia village succumbed to injuries he sustained while working on a fiberglass boat yesterday. Police from the peninsula reported that shortly before midday, Vernon, a fisherman and a tour guide from the said community was...

Blogs

The National Aids Commission Gaming Fair 2014
he National AIDS Commission has been serving the Belizean public with resource, research, and a coordinating approach to the HIV/AIDS situation in Belize since 2002. At the heart of this effort has been the resounding issue of the public identity or public image of the Commission. While the commission has its governing regulations and systems of structure to effectively do its work; the general public doesn’t truly know what the Commission is and what it does. This “misunderstanding” or “misinformation” by the general public is largely fueled by a lack of correct information from the NAC itself; and is mostly viewed by the targeted populations (youth, MSM, FWS, LGBT, etc.) as a complete disconnect between resource managers and those who need these resources. Belize’s very large youth population (approx. 62% of the population) is a very diverse and dynamic group, encompassing and range of cultures, languages, dialects, socio-economic backgrounds and sexualities; but technology unites them and connects them to the world. While there are varying devices and techs available to the Belizean youth, the cellular phone is the one device that most young people have access to on a daily basis.

Bandits vs. Tiger Sharks
The Belmopan Bandits hosted the San Pedro Tiger Sharks, and lost 84-59. They travel to Belize City to play the No Limit this Friday.

The Mayan Ruins of Caracol
I can't put my finger on it, but there's something about traipsing through ancient ruins that makes me feel very small. I guess it just puts everything in perspective making me realize how many thousands of years humans have been around before me and how the species will do just fine continuing to exist long after I'm gone. It makes me feel small but part of something bigger at the same time. Visiting the Mayan ruins of Caracol in western Belize has been one of my favourite experiences so far in Central America. Our day started at 7am in San Ignacio in front of the PACZ tour office on Burns Avenue. My sister arrived the afternoon before and it was so nice to see her smiling face again. Everyone meet my little sister Rachelle! Back to the ruins -- 14 of us piled into a van with our knowledgeable guide Bruce to begin our bumpy two and a half hour journey into the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. "It's going to get worse before it gets better!" Bruce warned. "Only the last 10 km before Caracol is paved road." He was an excellent driver though and navigated our van through muddy terrain that others weren't able to pass through. "Good thing we didn't rent a car," I muttered to Rachelle since that was our original plan.

International Sources

Belize Family Fun Day in Houston

Brooks Tropicals says tropical creating ‘sling-shot’ effect in family meals
Mary Ostlund, director of marketing for Brooks Tropicals, headquartered in Homestead, FL, a leading grower, packer and marketer of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables, told The Produce News that tropicals are moving into the mainstream in consumer diets. “At first consumers and restaurants were trying these items as something new and unique — ways to help expand their palette and menus in healthy ways,” said Ostlund. “But as familiarity with these interesting and exciting products has increased there’s been a sling-shot effect. Putting together a vibrant fruit salad in the summer is easy. In winter it’s not as easy as more mainstream fruits are off the peak of their seasons, lower in availability and sometimes in taste.” Ostlund explained that “Caribbean Red” papayas are grown in the Central American country of Belize. Solo papayas are grown in Brazil. “SlimCado” avocados and starfruit are produce in Florida. Uniq Fruit is produced in Jamaica and Persian limes are grown in Mexico.

OAS anti-corruption mechanism to conduct on-site visit to Belize
A Commission from the OAS Mechanism for Follow-Up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) will conduct, from April 23 to 25, an on-site visit to Belize with the consent of the host country, as part of the follow-up “inter pares” process carried out by the Mechanism in various countries of the region. The Commission will be made up of representatives of Canada and Jamaica to the Mechanism for Follow-up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) who, with the support from the Department of Legal Cooperation of the OAS Secretariat for Legal Affairs, in its capacity as Technical Secretariat of the MESICIC, will meet with representatives of the main oversight bodies of Belize. The purpose of the visit is to collect in-situ information on how these organs perform their functions, which will serve as an input during the preparation of the report on Belize by the MESICIC at its meeting in September 2014. In addition, it is expected that the Commission will meet with Belize civil society organizations, representatives of the private sector, professional associations, and academics in order to address the topics that are currently being reviewed in the Fourth Round of the MESICIC.


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