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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
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The San Pedro Sun

Discovering Merida MX on Tropic Air Belize
On Monday, March 3rd Tropic Air inaugurated their new flight service to Mérida, Mexico. Originating from Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Ladyville, the one hour fifteen minute direct flight arrives at the Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport in Mérida. While many Belizeans may be familiar with nearby Chetumal where some take advantage of the shopping opportunities, medical facilities and variety of entertainment choices, Mérida offers these same conveniences, but on a grander scale. Mérida is the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatan and is also the largest city in the Yucatan Peninsula, with a population of over one million people. Very much a vacation destination where culture, architecture, museums, and top-notch restaurants are in abundance, getting there couldn’t be easier now that Tropic Air offers this new flight. As part of promoting the new air service to Mérida, Tropic Air invited The San Pedro Sun, along with other Belizean media houses, travel writers and travel agents on the inaugural flight to experience the colonial culture and contemporary comforts this historic city has to offer. For two days we were accommodated by the Yucatan Tourism Board, and their public relations coordinator Josué Carmona Tapia was a very amiable and resourceful host.

Being a Good Pet Owner
Deciding to get a dog is a life changing decision for you and the dog, and should never be taken lightly. Dogs require at least a couple of hours of your time every day for feeding, grooming, exercise, training and play. They need to be kept safely contained and on walks, their poop needs to be picked up, bagged and placed in the garbage bin. If you don’t have a fence, then your dogs should never be left unattended in your yard.Your dogs will be able to run away to poop in the street or in your neighbour’s yards, empty garbage bins and generally make an unhealthy environment. They will learn bad habits like chasing children, bicycles or vehicles resulting in accidents or injuries. Not only are you placing them in danger, but they also could be causing nuisance problems in your community. Unbelievably, some irresponsible dog owners blame vehicle drivers when their dog is hit by a car or cart, forgetting that it is their responsibility to keep their dog safe and off the streets.

Misc Belizean Sources

Funeral for Martin Simon Paulino held in PG
Funeral service for former deputy mayor of Punta Gorda town Martin Simon Paulino was held this afternoon. Friends and family gathered at the St. Peter Claver Roman Catholic Church on main street to say their final farewell to Paulino who was affectionately Pau. He was found dead in his PG home […]

Domestic incident in Seine Bight leaves woman injured
A woman from Seine Bight village in the Stann Creek district was the victim of a vicious beating last night. Because of the nature of the attack, the name of the victim nor the perpetrator will be released at this time. Police in Placencia have confirmed that the incident involved the woman’s former spouse who was apparently intoxicated at the time of the beating. Police say that bruises on the woman’s body were clearly visible and she was referred to a doctor for treatment. Police have detained the man who beat up the woman and charges against him are pending.

The Social and Political Challenge of Belize
The Bredaa organization sponsored what can be called the first Belize Prime Ministers forum held at Los Angeles in 1992. The forum was hosted by Nuri Akbar and held at the Marcus Garvey school in front of a live audience. This interview was later broadcasted via Pacifica radio network (KPFK 90.7 FM) in Los Angeles on the BREDAA produced “Belize Caribbean Pulse” show. The guest included former and current PM Manuel Esquivel and Dean Barrow. Topic covered the economy, social/political challenges, foreign policy and the impact of race on the local body politics of Belize. Many of the issues discussed almost two decades ago remain elusive to the Belizean experiment. This historical interview was release on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Belize independence on Sept 21st 2011.

Vehicles crash on the Phillip Goldson HighwayA man is in critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City following a traffic accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway on Friday night. The victim has been identified as 21 year old Jesus Chicas, a resident of San Roma village in the Corozal district. The crash happened beween miles 73 and 74 on the Phillip Goldson Highway around 8 o’clock last night. According to Corozal police a Rodeo, driven by 20 year old Zamir Herrera was heading north when it collided with a south-bound pickup truck driven by Jesus Chicas, which apparently made a U-turn into the lane of the oncoming vehicle. 35 year old Sebastian Martined received a cut wound to his forehead.

Tide Fresh Water Cup tournament underway
The annual Tide Fresh Water Cup is kicking off today, literally. A football marathon marking the commencement of the sport segment of the community initiative is taking place at the Toledo Union Field in Punta Gorda town. 28 teams from within the Toledo Institute for Development and the Environment’s project region are taking part in this year’s competition. This is the tenth year of the TIDE Fresh Water Cup and coordinator of the competition Norman Budna says that the objective is to get communities and schools involved in the management of our natural resources. As part of the initiative, participating schools are required, at the start of the school year in September, to implement various environmental projects and if successfully assessed, then they are permitted to take part in the football competition.

A candle light march for Kayla Panda
A candle light march will also be held in Belmopan on Tuesday March 25th at 6:30 p.m. from in front of Kayla Pandy's house at #10 Oriole Street around the ring road and end in front of Belmopan Comprehensive School. Kindly wear either a green or white top. Candles will be provided. All are invited. Funeral will be on Wednesday March 26th at 2 p.m. Nazarene Church in Independence Village. A bus will leave at 10a.m. in front of BTL- Belmopan.

Traffic accident
There was a horrible traffic accident that happened a little after 4:30 that claimed the life of a man. According an eye witness he saw the Hispanic man who was riding a black bicycle crossing the pedestrian ramp that is located across from the First Stop Taxi Cooperative on Cemetery Road. According to the eye witness the man on the bicycle slipped and fell under the 10 wheeler truck. The front passenger wheel of the truck ran over the man’s head. The driver of the truck was quickly alerted by his passenger about what happened and he stopped the moving vehicle.

Benque House of Culture Marimba Academy
Musical interlude. The Benque Marimba Academy played at the inauguration of the Xunantunich Welcome Center, and the Pandy Show was there to get a great video of one of their songs. In related news, the SISE House of Culture is going to start offering marimba lessons. Contact them for more information. "Youths getting into marimba music... The benque house of culture marimba academy was playing at the Xunantunich visitor center."

World Water Day in Cayo
Happy World Water Day! Cayo celebrated Friday with an exhibition in the Bedran Hall at the SIRH. Many institutions set up booths for the event. The Department of the Environment is having an fb promotion, so you can go to their page and answer 2 questions to win. Video from the event.

CCIC Grant Funding
The Caribbean Climate Innovation Center is having a proof of concept competition, and funding between $25,000us and $50,000us is availble for development of climate technology that have a positive impact on sustainable agriculture, solar energy, water management, and related fields. The deadline is April 20th. Check out their website for more information.

Belize Still on Happiest List
Belize 'made another top 10 happiest countries list. Of course, and the reef is only a small part of the reason. "Wouldn’t you constantly be happy if you were surrounded by the largest barrier reef in the world, a relaxed Caribbean lifestyle, and a somewhat perfect climate? That’s what Belize citizens get to enjoy every day. On top of that, the country is known for its cultural diversity, making for a happy and harmonious place to live, Travel Channel says."

Minister of Education Patrick Faber Goes Ham – Damages Wife’s Vehicle
Like the song by Rose Royce, says, “you’ve abandoned me; love don’t live here anymore”. That must be what Minister of Education Patrick Faber was feeling on Friday evening when he paid his wife, Krishna Faber a visit at her mom’s home on Gill Street. Divorces are never a good thing. It’s harder when there are children involved. Both parties to the petition must try as best they can not to visit any trauma or discomfort on the children. Try telling that to Minister of Education, Patrick Faber! NBZLive has confirmed that Faber showed up at the Gill Street home of his mother-in-law, on Friday evening around six and got into a confrontation with his soon to be ex wife, Krishna Faber. It is not known what made the minister lose his cool but his penchant is well known as it has been on display before the nation in the House of Representatives. Faber, reportedly in an apparent intoxicated state hurled a cement block onto the windshield of his wife’s vehicle before leaving the property. Mrs. Faber moved in with her mom sometime late last year after enduring much verbal and physical abuse from her husband, sources close to them say.

Video: Belize socio/political challenge - NFL great Jim Brown & Kwame Toure speak on struggle.
39 minutes. n 1991 Nuri Akbar conducted exclusive interviews with two prominent activist and Legends - ESPN voted Jim Brown as NFL greatest football player of the twentieth century. The Hall of famer sat down for a rear in depth interview with the Belize Caribbean Pulse in his Hollywood Hills home.The late revolutionary/Pan Africanist Kwame Toure aka (Stokely Carmichael) granted a interview with us after his lecture on the campus of the University of California at Long Beach. Topic covered Self determination, Social Challenges within the Black diaspora, Gangs/Youth violence and economic development. These interviews are dedicated to the many youths around the globe who continue to be inspired by the work of Jim Brown "Amer-I-can" project and Kwame Toure Legacy of global social/political activism.

Video: Belize socio/political challenge- Past & future Prime Ministers of Belize
50 minutes. The Bredaa organization sponsored what can be called the first Belize Prime Ministers forum held at Los Angeles in 1992. The forum was hosted by Nuri Akbar and held at the Marcus Garvey school in front of a live audience. This interview was later broadcast via Pacifica radio network (KPFK 90.7 FM) in Los Angeles on the BREDAA produced "Belize Caribbean Pulse" show. The guest included former and current PM Manuel Esquivel and Dean Barrow. Topic covered the economy, social/political challenges, foreign policy and the impact of race on the local body politics of Belize. Many of the issues discussed almost two decades ago remain elusive to the Belizean experiment. This historical interview was release on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Belize independence on Sept 21st 2011. PT 2

Video: Travel Like the Locals with Darley
The Best "Off The Beaten Path" Destinations in Western Belize Darley's top picks, adventures that shouldn't be missed in Western Belize.

Video: Parrot Cove Lodge Hotel - Hopkins - Belize
Featuring an outdoor swimming pool, a garden and a terrace, Parrot Cove Lodge is centrally located in the Caribbean coastline in Hopkins Belize between the reef and the rainforest. Rooms with tropical décor include tile floors, cable TV and pool views. The bathroom is private and has a shower and free toiletries. Chef Rob's Gourmet Café changes its dinner menu every day, based on the availability of market fresh products and International food. Guests have free use of our bicycles, kayaks, and snorkel gear. There is also an on-site diving shop. Parrot Cove Lodge can help planning additional activities. Philip Goldson International Airport is a 2-hour drive from the Parrot Cove Lodge.

Video: Tour of Belize with Mr Ken

Video: Crab eating on the bottom of the sea
Munching crab

Video: Guatemala - Belize
I spent one week traveling through Guatemala to Belize in the fall of 2013. Here's a collection of clips from the trip. Places visited: - Antigua - Semuc Champey - Rio Dulce - El Remate - Temples of Tikal - Belize City - Caye Caulker

Video: Vega Inn Beachhouses Hotel - Caye Corker - Belize
Vega Inn Beachhouses is located in Caye Corker. These fully equipped houses are situated across from the public beach and offer free Wi-Fi. With 1 bedroom, the houses feature a seating area and a kitchenette with a sink, microwave and fridge. Guests enjoy a white-sand garden and views of the public beach and the Caribbean Sea. There is a terrace with hammocks. Guests at Vega Inn Beachhouses will find restaurants, bars and shops within a 2-minute walk. The ferry to San Pedro and Belize City is 400 metres away. The property offers free parking.

Video: Sky Flower Hotel Belmopan / El Rey Hotel - Belize
Centrally located in Belmopan, this family-run boutique hotel ofers 24-hour reception, free Wi-Fi and free parking. It can arrange transfers to Belize Airport, as well as the ferry and bus terminals. All rooms have a fan and private bathroom with a hot shower and free toiletries. Most feature a flat-screen TV. Suites additionally have air conditioning, a seating area and a coffee maker. El Rey Hotel has a restaurant and packed lunches can be requested. A laundry and ironing service is offered and luggage storage is available. You can hire a bicycle from the tour desk.

Video: Belize March 2014
Diving with Chuck and Robbie's we encountered a pod of wild dolphins

Video: Ziplining in Belize
7 minutes

Video: Princess Hotel and Casino - Belize City
With an outdoor pool, a spa and and a health club, the Princess Hotel and Casino is in Belize City. Free Wi-Fi access is available, and the property has 2 on-site restaurants, a gym and a business center. The rooms here have cable TV, a sitting area and a refrigerator. Featuring a shower, the private bathrooms also include towels. You can enjoy a sea view from all the rooms. At the Princess Hotel and Casino, there is sit-down restaurant and a buffet restaurant. One of the restaurants specializes in seafood dishes. The Celebrity restaurant is also 215 yards away. The property has a private beach area. An array of activities can be enjoyed on site or in the surroundings, including fishing, bowling and massage treatments. There is also a cinema, gift shop and a beauty parlor. Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport can be reached in a 20-minute drive. The property provides free parking.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Miss Lobster Fest 2013 sizzles in photo shoot!
The reigning Miss Lobster Fest 2013 – 2014, Miss Sherylee Dawson, sizzles in her latest photo shoot. She is set to give up her reign at the end of June. It is a right of passage for each Miss Lobster Fest to be awarded a special photo shoot. This year’s photo shoot took place at Spoonaz Cafe in Belize City. Photographer for the occasion is Ernie Alpuche Photography. Her is the queen in all her regaldom.

Cayeboard Connection hosts book fair
Today, 4-7pm

Would you like to study in Mexico?
Belizeans can benefit from the Mexican Special Scholarship Program 2014. The Embassy of Mexico is pleased to inform that the Special Scholarship Program for Foreigners 2014 has been launched. The special programs, beginning between April and October 2014 include: Visiting professors High-level conferences “Genaro Estrada” Scholarship for Specialists in Mexican Studies Artists Fellowships Media Fellowships Programs for Improving the Quality of Mexican Secondary and Higher Education Institutions.

The Belize Times

BTB’s Worst Kept Secret – Millions of Dollar in Deficit
As the Belize Tourism Board tries to recover from the hemorrhaging caused by the political drama and local and international embarrassment of having to oust its own leader, former BTB Director Laura Esquivel Frampton, as a result of what those on the inside called her “secretive, egotistical” style of leadership, it is also trying its best to conceal from the public a crushing financial dilemma which the flagship tourism institution finds itself in. Well-placed sources in the Tourism Industry have informed the BELIZE TIMES that as the BTB enters its new financial year, it is staring at a huge non-projected financial deficit to the tune of millions of dollars. The information reaching the BELIZE TIMES is that the deficit is the result of an overly-aggressive and poorly coordinated and monitored marketing campaign which has cost the BTB millions of dollars which was not part of its financial forecast. This marketing campaign, which involved the contracting of an international company, who sold them a new but very costly branding concept that involved rainbow colours and a new BTB logo that was similar to one already conceptualized and launched by Mexico’s tourism officials, was met with resistance by BTB executives. These level-headed, experienced tourism officials who tried to apply the brakes on this marketing campaign, felt that there was not only not enough bang in the buck, but not much sense either. The strong reservations expressed eventually got overruled by Esquivel-Frampton who gave the ultimate approval to the marketing campaign. The result, we are reliably told, is a tab to the tune of millions of dollars which was not forecasted in their expenditure.

Fraudulent UDP Conventions! – Delroy Cuthkelvin confirms conventions are rigged, wants Chairman Alberto August sanctioned
Someone in the UDP has finally found the courage to publicly confirm that the conventions held by the United Democratic Party to elect standard bearer candidates for the upcoming elections are fraudulent. Delroy Cuthkelvin, who is a Chief Propagandist for the UDP and who was hired on a political contract to head the Belize Press Office, has exposed that the UDP conventions are entirely rigged. Cuthkelvin speaks from experience. He boycotted the Stann Creek West convention, held last weekend, as a result of heavy manipulation of the voters’ list by UDP Chairman Alberto August to favor the recycled candidate, Melvin Hulse. In a press release issued on Monday March 17th, Cuthkelvin said that they boycotted the convention because August had arbitrarily removed over 600 voters, when the candidates had only agreed to disallowing 200 from the total list. “…we made the decision to boycott the convention as we were convinced that to participate in it would be to validate a glaringly fraudulent and undemocratic process deliberately designed to disenfranchise legitimate voters of Stann Creek West and install the Chairman’s candidate of choice, Melvin Hulse,” stated the press release.

New Senators Bring Fire & Fury
PUP Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca said he expects fire and fury from his new appointments to the Senate, which were announced this afternoon at a press briefing at the Party Headquarters, Independence Hall. Formidable Attorney Anthony Sylvestre Jr. and community activist/Belmopan Standard Bearer Patrick Andrews are the two new Senators, who will join the Lead Opposition Senator Hon. Lisa Shoman. When addressing the media, Sylvestre said that it is a privilege to serve as a Senator for the PUP and that he will take the job were seriously. He criticized the Barrow Administration as being a “Government in an abyss” and one that has “lost the legal and moral authority to govern”.

Legal Drug Hustlers
By G. Michael Reid I hereby ask forgiveness of all those readers who tolerate my weekly rhetoric since I had need of a two week hiatus. My absence was necessary to attend to an urgent medical situation. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) has wreaked havoc on my frame and has necessitated the replacement of several joints. Science has not yet found a way to halt the damage that RA does to joints nor have they found a way to help the joint to repair itself. They have found a way to replace those joints that become severely damaged and I have since had the need to replace both hips and a knee. Hopefully, this latest replacement will set me on relatively good footing for a fair period of time and allow me to once again move around and be productive. I must say a big thank you to Dr. Francis Smith and Dr. Roberts, who together, have been remarkable at stitching and patching up of my dilapidated frame. Thanks to the nurses and other helpful staff members of the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital. Many thanks also to my family and friends who have been most helpful and supportive during my “downtime”. I would have loved to have traveled abroad for this latest procedure but financial constraints left Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) as the only option. I was determined not to solicit anymore handouts so I sold ‘stole and barrowed’ all that I could and haggled with the doctors for a good deal. I have had success in a previous surgery at the KHMH and do not share the fear of that institution that some people do. Having been there before on several occasions and seeing what is happening though, I believe gives me authority to assess and compare between what it was and what it is today.

Editorial: Of Quicksand, Parasites and Puppets
Dean Barrow once described his second term in office as quicksand. His first four years were the glory years: an extended honeymoon involving lobster dinners on Miami Beach, million dollar legacies for the first Mrs. Dean Barrow, plush jobs for the kids and the highest judicial appointment for his Brother, Denys. Yes, Barrow was able to get away with anything and everything. Barrow’s second term in office however, has been nothing short of an utter disaster. With only a slim two seat majority, Barrow’s grip on power is now at the mercy of his lawless, his desperate, his conniving, his incompetent, and yes his corrupt UDP Ministers. Only months after winning the 2012 general elections, Elvin Penner used the two seat slim majority as leverage to force Barrow into appointing him Minister of State with power to sign nationality certificates and passports. According to the Laws of Belize, the power to sign Belizean nationality certificates is reserved exclusively for the substantive Minister, who in this case is Godwin Hulse. In essence then, Barrow bent over backwards to accommodate Penner so that Penner would not “cause problems” for his leadership. Barrow authorized and Hulse recognized.

SMART No Limit sacks Belmopan Bandits elite basketball
SMART no Limit posted their 3rd win over the Belmopan Bandits (73-56) in the national elite basketball tournament which continued at Bird’s Isle on Friday night. Greg “Chippy” Rudon hit 4 treys as he led SMART with 27 points. The Bandits had led 15-14 in the 1st quarter, Andrew Ortiz rammed home 3 monster dunks to add 12 points and tie the score 31-31 at the half. No limit ran over the Bandits in the 3rd quarter as Elsworth Itza scored 10 points. Kyle Pascacio led the Bandits with 14 points. Other game: Cayo Western Ballaz vs. Toledo Diplomats – 83-54 Top scorers: Richard Troyer, 14pts (Cayo); Daniel Valerio, 22 pts (Toledo)

Mexican import takes SMART Belmopan Cycling Elite Classic
Team Benny’s Megabytes’ 20-year-old Mexican import Ignacio Prado won the annual SMART Belmopan Cycling Elite Classic, organized by the Cycling Federation of Belize on the George Price highway, and finishing in front the SMART headquarters on the Philip Goldson Highway on Sunday, March 16. Prado won the $1,500 1st prize, a trophy and two nights at the Inn at Robert’s Grove when he rode in 1st in 4:34:09. Other finishers 2nd – Herman “Hijo” Requena (SMART) – 4:34:57 – $1,000 and a round trip to San Pedro 3rd – Oscar Quiroz Jr. (Western Spirits) – 4:34:58 – $700 prize 4th – Robert Liam Stewart (Team Benny’s Megabytes) 4:35:17 – $350 5th – Brandon Cattouse (C-Ray Road Addiks) 4:36:32 – $200.

Gwen Liz girls win softball nationals
The Gwen Lizarraga High School girls won the high school softball championships by shutting out the Southern Zone winners, Independence High School girls 2-0. MVP pitcher Ashley Lucas struck out 7 batters to shut out the IHS girls while Roslyn Smith and Lucas scored off Camryn Linarez’s pitching for the 2-0 win. 3rd place went to the Belize Rural girls who won 7-4 over the Alvin Young girls. Leeyann Moody and Brentlee Garcia came home in the 1st inning, and Lorette Young came home in the 2nd for BRHS to lead 3-0 until Naomi Myers and Simpson came home in the bottom of the 2nd.

International Disgrace!! – Chetumal media sniffs out criminal Elvin Penner
The BELIZE TIMES reports to our concerned Belizeans that even the media in Chetumal has shown interest in the arrest of the disgraced UDP Cayo North East Area Representative Elvin Penner for his criminal wrongdoings. Last week the BELIZE TIMES reported that even though the Supreme Court has ordered the Commissioner of Police to accelerate their investigation into Penner’s issuance of fraudulent Belizean nationality and passport to South Korean Kim Won Hong who was at a Taiwan prison at the time, Penner is roaming free and was even seen shopping and vacationing in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico last weekend. Penner, the ComPol and the UDP continue to thumb their noses at the authority of the Supreme Court and the loud calls for action made by the Opposition, social partners and every right-thinking Belizean.

PUP Mourns passing of PG Deputy Mayor Simon Paulino
The People’s United Party wishes to record our profound sadness at the passing of Simon “Pau” Paulino. Mr. Paulino served as a PUP Deputy Mayor elected in March 2012 under the leadership of Punta Gorda Mayor Anthony Fuentes and PUP Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca. Mr. Paulino was a well-respected elder resident of Punta Gorda known for his profound connection with the people of the communities. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and the PUP PG family.

What is Eric Chang hiding?
Eric Chang continues to serve as a UDP Belize City Councillor even though a dark cloud of notorious mystery hangs over his head. Chang has yet to come clean about his involvement in the Kim Won Hong nationality/passport scandal along with disgraced and corrupt former Minister of State Elvin Penner. For unexplained reasons, Chang “disappeared” from Belize for several months right after September last year. This was exactly around the time during the Independence celebrations last year when the scandal broke out that UDP area representative and then Minister of State Elvin Penner had given a fraudulent Belize passport to a South Korean Kim Won Hong who was at the time in a Taiwan prison. Chang’s name also surfaced as a major player. The unconfirmed report was that Chang was the special courier who personally took the illegal passport to Taiwan to Kim and who “collected” for the favour.

AMAZING GRACE – Slow and Steady Wins
This past weekend was full of adventure, excitement and lots of water. Crowds surged and sighed to the rhythm of rough hewn paddles dipping into the dark green waters of the competition route. Shouts and exclamations grew louder and louder as the steady stream of colorful canoes nosed their way down the stream towards the finish line. A frenzy of encouragements poured out of the people lining the river witnessing the end of the three day race. I couldn’t help but think, however, that though the people went crazy with anticipation the closer those boats drew to the end of the race, the true goal for some of those participants was not to be the crew that crossed the finish line first (although I’m sure most of them wanted to accomplish this). I saw in the determined set of the jaws and strong steady strokes of the paddlers that, even when a crew had already passed first, the race was not over. The goal changed from gaining the hype and acclaim of coming in first to an equally important challenge: finishing the race. In life, a lot of pomp and circumstance goes to the people who start out strong with all the noise and excitement that a thrilling launch to a race will bring. They have lofty attitudes and are unspoiled to the rigors of the long journey. These people are strong. They’re tough. They’ve got half of the gambling room abuzz. These are the people everyone will tell you to watch, to count on.

Supporting Sports in OW South
In support of young people’s involvement in positive activities, Area Representative Hon. Jose Mai co-sponsored football jerseys which were donated to Compassion School in Yo Creek Village. The students of Compassion School are talented athletes and they hope to compete in upcoming sports tournaments. In handing over the jerseys, Hon. Mai expressed his hope that the students reach their goals academically and athletically. He mentioned that he will continue to organize sporting events in Yo Creek and other communities to young people the kind of additional positive activities that will help them grow into productive citizens. Principal Manuel Rejon thanked Hon. Mai for the continued help he has provided to Compassion School.

Celebrating Women…Developing Leaders
As we celebrate women’s month, I must share the attributes I believe encourage and motivate all girls and women to become excellent leaders in their daily lives. Ladies, you must define your own success by breaking the rules of the games. Sisters world-wide have already shattered the proverbial glass ceiling, so I challenge you to be more assertive, and learn to promote yourselves and be ambitious. The definition of leadership has many parts, which includes figuring out what needs to be done, having a vision to solve the problem and learning how to motivate people to achieve the vision. So, ladies what type of leader are you? Here are some character and personality traits of a good woman leader. Do you have any of these traits? The answer should be YES! I believe in you, so believe in yourselves, and go for it. Leadership: It is important that you lead with integrity. Leadership is risky, dangerous, challenging, and inspiring as you influence people for the good to fulfill humanity’s highest potential.

The Government outside the Government
In the beginning there was one government….it taxed the people and provided services based on those taxes….through its various line ministries. Then…the public sector entrepreneurs started special-interest projects…with the guise of improved services through better management…with “cost-recovery” mechanisms, replicating all kinds of quasi-government statutory bodies out of these projects. Most with special “laws” that these bodies would write for themselves with their built-in authority/right to tax, but without the fiduciary responsibility to account for those “extra-budgetary” revenues. The line of authority still ended with the Minister under whose portfolio the statutory body fell, so the MINISTER ruled in the CENTRAL GOVERNMENT….and the NOT-SO-CENTRAL GOVERNMENT. He became a king with two fiefdoms. So it was….that the politicians built….a house for themselves and their favorites….outside of the house where the voting public has a direct say. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is one of those houses. The Minister of Tourism is at the head of the line of authority….it has a Board of Directors that is appointed by the political directorate of the day, but which is mostly rubber-stamp…and it has its own law that gives it authority/rights to collect taxes and license fees…with its own “tax-collectors”. Among them, the Hotel Tax….which is many millions of dollars in revenues each year.

WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – Shall We Rally???
Belizeans are surely aware that the women’s rally held by the National Women’s Commission and Ms. Kim Simplis Barrow took place on March 6th, two days before International Women’s Day. On March 5th, the People’s United Party’s fifth Women’s Agenda was launched in an impressive ceremony at Independence Hall. Our party has presented a Women’s Agenda, a set of specific manifesto commitments and pledges, in every election cycle since our first one was launched in 1998. We felt that it continues to be of importance to put together and to make public our pledges and our agenda for the unfinished business of bringing Belizean women fully into the development of our country. Likely American Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has this year made it clear once more that equality for women is the great unfinished business of the twenty-first century. Likewise the head of the United Nations Agency for Women Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka called for big steps, not baby steps, to bring about equality for women. We need a “He for She” campaign, she said, so that men can be integral partners in the work for women’s equality. I agree wholeheartedly that: “Equality for Women is Progress for All!!”

More contracts for Gapi Vega’s delinquent nephew
The nephew of the NOT NORMAL Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega continues to benefit enormously from Government projects, even though he has yet to account for an abandoned public contract to repair a road in Orange Walk Town for which full payment had been made. The BELIZE TIMES has confirmed that Imer Hernandez has been awarded a contract to build a multi-million dollar fence near the Belize border with Mexico. The BELIZE TIMES has not seen any evidence of any tendering for the contract, before it was awarded to the privileged UDP family member. There is also no immediate need or clear purpose for the almost half-a-mile-long fence being built with public funds. But Hernandez’s company, which bears his name, is being paid millions to carry out the work. This time the money is just right, it seems.

Helping the Differently Abled
On Thursday last, March 13, 2014, Area Representative for Belize Rural Central Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia attended a small but very special ceremony at the Belize Zoo. Zoo Director Sharon Matola and Zoo Officials hosted the opening and ribbon cutting for a section of the Accessible Walkway Project. British High Commissioner H.E. Peter Hughes, Faculty Members and Students of the State University of New York (SUNY Cortland), Hon. Dolores, and key representatives of the Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities (BAPDA) gathered to celebrate the achievement of another phase of the project. Mr. Hughes gave a contribution on behalf of the British High Commission, SUNY Cortland students put in the sweat equity, and Hon. Dolores made a donation to the project’s completion.

Barrow’s Bogus Budget – The PM’s Budget Speech is wickedly deceptive
The Prime Minister presented his Budget Speech to the Legislature a few weeks before the official fiscal year begins on 1st April. This was his seventh since he first came to office in 2008 and the third since he called snap elections in 2012 when his government was returned to office with a very slim majority. These have become annual masquerades and puppet shows to bolster the fast diminishing credibility of a government which has now established itself as egregiously corrupt, self-serving and nepotistic-especially with a royal family of Barrows. The country now looks as if it is Belize, Barrow, Barrows & Associates, Inc. The Budget Speech is supposed to be a narrative by the Prime Minister to review the performance of the national economy, an accounting for his government’s performance and an overview of the government’s objectives and proposals on how the government proposes to spend tax-payers money, called revenue and expenditure, for the next twelve months. But the Prime Minister’s budget presentation was far removed from the reality of the mumbo-jumbo and falsified figures prepared by the Ministry of Finance – most of which will be mismanaged, misappropriated and simply siphoned off. The budget is bogus.

REFLECTIONS ON THE PUBLIC SQUARE – The 2014/15 Budget – Some Facts, Figures & Notes
The Budget presented on March 7th, 2014 by the Prime Minister is a Budget disconnected and divorced from the Belizean reality being lived on a daily basis by families across our Country. It is a Budget that offers no hope and no plan to grow the economy and create jobs for our people. It is a Budget that celebrates poverty and dependence. The Belizean reality in 2014 is thousands of lost jobs, businesses closed, homes auctioned or repossessed, loans defaulted on, children out of school, the sick dying because of unaffordable healthcare, families unable to keep the lights on and the stove burning and increasingly unable to put food on the table . In 2013, GDP growth fell to 0.7%, the worst economic performance in more than 20 years for Belize. The production of all our major crops: Banana, Sugarcane, and Citrus fell significantly. Petroleum production continued its downward spiral falling by a whopping 23% in 2013.

UDP Rots Away
Like a cancer spreading its deadly contamination, corruption is slowly rotting away Dean Barrow’s United Democratic Party. The most recent bombshell to hit the UDP as a result of this cancer is the resignation of former Prime Minister and former UDP Leader Manuel Esquivel and his wife Kathy Esquivel from all of their posts held in the Barrow Administration. Former PM Esquivel was appointed as a senior advisor to Prime Minister Dean Barrow in the Ministry of Finance. He was also a Government-appointed Director on the boards of Belize Telemedia Limited and Belize Sugar Industries. His wife was the Chairman of the National AIDS Commission. The resignations followed the sudden announcement that the Esquivel’s most political daughter, Laura Esquivel, was leaving the Belize Tourism Board as Director. She had been ousted by her own employees who said she lacked leadership.

Faber punishes teachers for BNTU rally – PM supports salary deductions, claims teachers were being “utterly unreasonable”
Patrick Faber never misses a beat to show Belizeans how petty, unreasonable and vindictive he is. The hundreds of teachers who exercised their right and defended their cause by participating in last week Wednesday’s Belize National Teachers’ Union demonstration outside the National Assembly as the Prime Minister Dean Barrow read his lame budget have been punished by the Barrow Government. A massive and loud crowd of teachers gathered outside the national assembly from early Wednesday morning to call on the Barrow Administration to give the teachers a respectable salary adjustment and to deal with the scandals and corruption. Led by their militant national president Luke Palacio, the teachers have proven to have backbone, unlike other union leaders, and have taken their fight for respect seriously. The BNTU is no poco tiempo organization.

Cry Baby Delroy!
As a voter in the Stann Creek West division, I now consider Delroy Cuthkelvin as no politician and as the UDP’s biggest cry baby! Nobody was plotting against or standing in Delroy’s way. In fact if you listened to Delroy’s radio ad just a few days before the convention, you would think that Delroy was the chosen candidate and that he was well financed and enjoyed the blessing of the party leadership. He even boasted to have a committee of 90 members, but on convention day only got 19 votes. But Delroy seemed hard to believe his own propaganda and he did the smart thing when he bowed out and cried foul. He blamed UDP Chairman Alberto August, who I agree ain’t no saint and Melvin Hulse, who is a “tyaad old horse” as their own nasty mouth Joe Bradley would say.

Crimea: Lessons for Belize!
Dear Editor, The ongoing crisis in Ukraine presents strategic lessons for Belize which should guide our response to the “eastward drift” by Guatemala. Ukraine has for the last couple of years been a covert battlefield for the so called West as they try to penetrate Russia’s sphere of influence. Under the guise of democracy the West supported, if not orchestrated, the overthrow of a democratically elected government solely because that government was, in their view, eastward leaning. It is safe to say that the West in their zeal to topple Yanukovych, severely miscalculated the likely Russian response. Western leaders have been quick to draw similarities between Russia’s Crimean experiment and Germany’s invasion of Poland. There are significant differences of course, but this is not the focus of my treatise. The Crimean conundrum is rooted in the large Russophone population in Ukraine–about 17%. Ukrainians of Russian decent never fully assimilated into the overall national body politic thus they remained oriented toward Russia. When the West inspired the overthrow of the duly elected government of the Ukraine, Russia took immediate measures to maintain its sphere of influence. The pretext was that the “new” Ukraine was westward leaning and thus posed a serious threat to Ukrainians of Russian decent. Russia therefore had no choice but to intervene in Crimea in order to protect its people. The West disputes that such threats exist but what is done is done: strategic battle plans are now being drawn up on both sides of the Atlantic!

Blogs

Poly Clinic meeting and San Pedro blood drive preparations
Our second San Pedro blood drive is today from 9:00am – 2:00pm at Los Pinos Clinic on the same road as Tropic Cargo.Today we increase the store of “Ambergris Caye” blood that is being kept in Belize City at Belize Blood Bank Services. This reserve of blood to People on the Island who require blood in an emergency or surgery. Currently, Chairman Aiden Salazar and Vice Chair Anthony Anderson are the 2 board members who can authorize blood use to the Blood Bank. Last time we collected 49 pints of blood, learned a lot and the system is working – so far 2 Islanders have used 7 pints of blood. We plan to continue to improve and refine our process as we go along. This time I was put in charge of the entertainment division and so my bag is packed with coloring book, crayons, blank paper and my portable dvd player with Blue Planet so the adults can have something to enjoy while they wait. Amy offered to help and bring some word search and a few books.

Blue Skies, Blue Water, A Friday Afternoon in Caye Caulker
Here are some pictures around Caye Caulker. Every time I go…which now seems to be about once a week…I take the same pictures over and over. But the caye is just SCREAMING to be photographed. Everything just looks so perfect to me.

Mastering the Art of Maya Cooking at Ka’ana
Part of the spell-binding magic of Ka’ana is its deep roots in the Maya culture. Our strategic location is set (literally!) on the doorstep of an ancient Maya city and has inspired Ka’ana’s name which means “Heavenly Place.” We aspire to expose as much of this great culture as possible through our stunning adventures that take you to the top of thousand-year old temples or deep into the sacred underworld. We’ve even brought the Maya magic into our resort with the unique decor and authentic pottery on display throughout the entire property. Most of our guests are left with a sense of wonder at the rich history of the Maya people, and plenty have asked to learn more about the culture. If you can’t get enough and would love to experience Mayan culture in a unique way, then hop aboard and let us to take you and your taste buds on one more adventure – a culinary journey!

International Sources

Caribbean Chief Justices and Multidisciplinary Teams Participated in Workshop on Drug Treatment Courts
The Organization of American States (OAS), in cooperation with the Canadian Association of Drug Treatment Court Professionals (CADTCP), held this week in Vancouver, Canada, a Drug Treatment Court (DTC) Exchange and On-Site Study Program event for four Caribbean countries: Jamaica, Belize, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago. Each country participating in the event sent a team made up of judges, magistrates, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, and treatment providers, as well as chief magistrates and chief justices. For his part, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin of Belize observed that the experience “will serve to inform the imminent launch of a pilot DTC program.” Chief Justice Benjamin asserted that “the sharing of experiences from other Caribbean countries has been invaluable.”

Archaeological Team Uncovers Elite Residential Complex
Researchers are now uncovering evidence that will shed light on the lifeways of Maya elites, the class of people who lived within that rung of society between the kings and royal households and the commoners of ancient Maya civilization. For four weeks in July, 2013, a team of archaeologists, students and volunteers under the auspices of the Maya Research Program, based at the University of Texas in Tyler, excavated the remains of what is considered to be an elite residential complex or compound at the site of Xno'ha (named after the nearby Xno'ha Creek) in northwestern Belize. They discovered, in addition to architectural features, a cache of purposefully positioned Late Preclassic (400 BCE - 200 CE) ceramic vessels, and an Early Classic (200 - 600 CE) tomb. Under the direction of site supervisor Alexander Parmington, excavators focused on a set of structures designated 'Patio Group 78'.

Saint George's Caye Resort in Belize is featured on the popular TV show MOTION
Self-described workaholic Shiloh Janes was terrified to go scuba while visiting Belize with host Greg Aiello. After a few hours of training, he faced his fears and plunged into the ocean. Self-described workaholic Shiloh Janes was terrified to go scuba while visiting Belize with host Greg Aiello. After a few hours of training, he faced his fears and plunged into the ocean. Greg and Shiloh plan to dive on a world famous reef, get up close and personal with jungle wildlife and discover the Maya ruins of Belize. There's nothing quite like the Caribbean. It is a popular escape for travelers in search of crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, cool drinks made of rum and the warm tropical sun. Like a lot of visitors of Belize, they made plans to stay off coast on a tiny island known as St. George's Caye. The St. George's Caye crew picked them up from the airport in a van along with several other guests to take them to a small boat for the seven mile ride to the resort.