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#488721 - 03/28/14 06:51 AM Today's Belize News: March 28, 2014
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The San Pedro Sun

43% of Belize’s population lives in poverty while PM Barrow reveals $1 Billion Budget for 2014/15
On March 7th, Prime Minister of Belize Honorable Dean Barrow presented the proposed General Revenue and Appropriations Bill (budget) for the fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015 to the tune of $1 billion dollars. That proposed budget was debated in the House of Representatives on Monday March 24th and Tuesday March 25th. The budget, entitled “Bettering People, Building Belize – A budget for All,” will provide $34 million in the form of increment and salary adjustment to teachers and public officers. The budget flows from the FY 2013/2014 in which Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was at 0.7% growth instead of last year’s projection of 2.5% GDP growth. Moreover, last year’s FY saw a combined rise in the inflation rate and cost of living. Adding to challenges is the fact that almost 25% of the population is unemployed. As reported by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) in their last annual report, 21,000 Belizeans who want to work are unable to find jobs. The challenges are compounded by the fact that 43% of the population is considered living in poverty – Toledo District being the poorest district, followed by the Corozal District.

SPTC to relocate two buildings for Police
While the building of the new barracks is being spearheaded by Kanabar and a few other businesspeople, there is another issue of concern: the relocation of two small wooden houses donated to the police that will complement the barracks project. The two houses were originally donated as sleeping quarters for the Belize Coast Guard by the San Pedro Business Association (SPBA). Now that the Coast Guard has new headquarters near the marina, they no longer require the use of the buildings, and the SPBA has offered the building stop the San Pedro Police Department.The SPBA claims that they approached the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) for assistance in relocating the buildings, but months passed without any word from the SPTC. SPBA memberElitoArceoannounced last week that he was prepared to move the buildings with the help of community support, since all attempts to get the council’s assistance had failed. Mayor Guerrero agreed that it has taken a few months for them to act on the initiative and indicated that the coordination to remove the buildings took time. “We know that tensions are high because of the recent crime and shooting and people want things to be done immediately, but these things take time,” said Guerrero. When asked what is taking so long,Guerrero indicated that the delay was due to the acquisition of nine lamp posts from Belize Electricity Limited that would be used as foundation piles.

Community responds to police barracks project but more help is needed
Due to the lack of much needed funds, the construction of San Pedro’s new police barracks has been at a standstill for the last several months. The new building is geared at providing better living conditions for island officers who have no other alternative but to live in deplorable and substandard conditions. Despite the financial challenges, the San Pedro community has fueled the efforts to soon resume the work. So far the project has consumed $62,000, which was raised through the efforts of a group of concerned businesspeople. The group took on the challenge to raise funds and get the barracks built. Mukul Kanabar, one of the active businesspersons spearheading the project,indicated to The San Pedro Sun that the group continues the appeal to other businesses to get on board with the project. Financed solely by a number of businesses and individuals on the island, the $62,000 raised has been depleted with the purchase of materials and labor for the project which is being supervised by Deputy Mayor Gabriel “Gaby” Nuñez of Gaby’s Construction. An additional $86,000 is needed to complete the project.

Throwback Thursday
The mama of the San Pedro Sun, the Coconut Wireless, dated 31 March 1988. 26 years ago photos on the front page, Jimmy Buffett impromptu poolside concert at Ramon's Village Resort and Tropic Air Belize's Johnny Grief III (with hair!) comes to the rescue at a neighborhood fire!

Our Senior Reporter Jorge Aldana has been covering the budget debate in Belmopan today
Newly sworn in PUP Senator Patrick Andrews speaks at the General Revenue Appropriation 2014/15 Bill (Budget) Debate. According to Andrews, the 2014/2015 budget is a UDP tool to prolong a ‘dying government’. "I cannot boast about this budget when I know the grassroots people are suffering because of the unfair distribution of our country's resources." He went on to say that this budget lacks consultation with the various stakeholders, thus it does not represent and address the real issues affecting the nation. Andrews elaborated that there is no plan in the budget to reduce poverty and create employment. "For instance Mr. President, the reality of the UDP food pantry program is just a political tool to create dependency on this UDP government implemented in strategic UDP areas. It is not teaching our people to fish but rather giving them a fish. If the government is serious about helping those in need, channel the millions through the social partners and charitable organizations to ensure that those who need it get it...this budget lacks vision and purpose."

Ambergris Today

Lime Shortage Crisis Hits the Region
The lime crisis in Belize has now reached staggering proportions. It is not only the shortage that is affecting Belizeans but the soaring price as well. The limes, those few that are available, are becoming smaller and they are so immature that it costs an effort to get half a teaspoonful of juice out of one. And the cost of limes has climbed to an all-time high of $1.50 cents each. In San Pedro it has hit hard like a bullet. What is a good fish soup (chechak) without lime? And how can you do a good conch ceviche with only a few drops of lime juice? Even the more conservative users of this precious juice who use it for cleaning fish or chicken have been hurting. Bartenders are scrambling around to locate some decent limes to fix up their cocktails, margaritas or tequila shots with lime. These are only a few of those complaining.

Jamila Janmohamed Awarded for her Fundraising Efforts
Around 2004, local Sanpedrana Jamila Janmohamed was asked to run the collection for the Poppy Appeal, during the month leading to Remembrance Day (observed in November and remembering Belizean and Commonwealth veterans, their families and fallen soldiers). Before Jamila’s participation in the collection in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, little over $200 was raised. Taking over the collection, she immediately raised funds in the thousands of dollars. This last year Jamila managed to handed in BZ$13,246.86 which is about UK£4,416.00. For her outstanding efforts, dedication and heart, Jamila Janmohamed was honored with an award by the Royal British Legion of Belize, which she is a member of, at a special function held at the Flagstaff Mess.

Misc Belizean Sources

How to Treat Jellyfish Stings
Jellyfish stings can vary greatly in severity. Most often they result in immediate pain and red, irritated marks on the skin. Some jellyfish stings may cause more whole-body (systemic) illness, and in rare cases, are life-threatening. Most jellyfish stings get better with home treatment, but severe reactions require emergency medical care. Here’s Dr. Lopez’ professional advice about the topic.

Pre-School Child Stimulation celebrations end today
Friday March 28th is the closing of the Pre-School Child Stimulation celebrations. A morning parade will commence at the Corozal Central Park through the principal streets of town. Come support our future leaders. Photos taken of Cultural Day. Pre-schoolers and teachers depicting our Belizean ethnic identities.

Activities for Pre-School Child Stimulation month 2014
- Sports Day Parade, ceremony and activities carried out on March 14 at the Andres Campos Civic Center. Guest speaker was Mr. Carlos Acosta, Sports Council Coordinator, Corozal. The event was fun and enjoyable for all who attended and took part.

Inspiration Center Inauguration
The grand inauguration of the Inspiration Center was today. Everyone involved deserves a huge round of thanks for making this dream a reality. It opens to the general public on April 14th. "The Inspiration Center is finally a reality for Belize! These are some snapshots from this morning's launch. More pictures to come!"

BTL Yellow Pages 2014 Video
BTL has a video out that talks about, and shows a lot of, the new 2014 phone directory. It highlights the photo competition they had to find the cover picture. Congratulations to Darren Lamb for taking the winning shot! You can see the congratulatory party BTL had at Chaa Creek for Darren, see his award winning picture, and also learn about the directory for mobile devices. Darren explains the picture here. "Today was a nice and sunny day and also it was the launch of our 2014 Telephone Directory, Take a look at the video and see how the enhancements to the book and also find out how we did this years cover. Enjoy"

Western Ballaz vs Warriors
The Western Ballaz will be traveling to Dangriga on Saturday to play the Warriors. This weekend marks the start of the second half of the season, so it's all rematches at this point. The game will start at 9:00pm, and will be televised on Channel 5. The bus is $5, and leaves at 5:30pm. We beat the Warriors 63 to 52 the last time, and here are the pictures. In related news, it's Jaime Cabajal's 18th birthday today. Happy birthday, Jaime! Its the rematch between the Dangriga Warriors and Cayo Western Ballaz! Make sure to be at Y-Not Island this Saturday March 29th. Game starts at 9.p.m.

Pack for a Purpose with TRL
Table Rock Jungle Lodge is one of many lodges in Cayo that are supporting the Pack for a Purpose project, where they ask guests to bring some school supplies down in any extra space they might have in their luggage. It might be just a book or 2 at a time, but over the course of a semester, that all adds up, and they donated it to the Cristo Rey primary school. Thanks, TRL! " Thanks to all our great guests who PACKED FOR A PURPOSE this season and to our niece, MIKAELA TRULL, who celebrated her 13th birthday by asking for books and sports equipment for the Cristo Rey School kids rather than presents for herself! This was our largest and most exciting donation yet! Let's keep it up! You can help the local village children when you visit Table Rock Jungle Lodge, Belize, too--click here for more details: www.packforapurpose.org"

Toledo farmers take part in survey on climate change
Farmers of the Toledo district were today part of a series of countrywide consultations on climate change and its effects on the agriculture sector. A mango tree in front of the home of one of the leaders in the village of Silver Creek was the venue for today’s forum. It was a meeting devoid of any political tint whatsoever and gave the farmers an opportunity to be a part of something that will affect them and their way of living. The survey is being conducted by the Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technology. Dennis Jones is the Executive Director of BEST.

A meeting with Toledo farmers
under the mango tree in Silver Creek village.

FINPYME ExportPlus Trains Belize Companies For Export
IIC holds training workshops to help SMEs in Belize to create export business plans. The Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) held the first of its five-part series of training workshops aimed at increasing the strategic planning capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Belize. The program is designed to boost SME exports by helping companies draw up business plans to enter new markets. According to Mr. Bove, the training will help the companies identify their strengths and weaknesses in order to become more competitive in the international market. We are pleased to be a part of this effort.” The participants of the two and half day included Belizean companies such as Marie Sharp’s Fine Food and Product, The Orange Gallery, Traveller’s Liquor Limited, BASGroup, Hot Mama’s Belize, Quality Poultry Product , Chemical Specialties of Belize and the Bureau of Standards who participated in the first day of training tailored to meet internationalization standards the BELTRAIDE team was influential in stirring discussion whilst the knowledgeable guest speakers Ms. Julie Colinet and Mr. Antonello Bove respectively carried out their presentation.

St. Luke’s Methodist marching band receives new instruments
The Purple Spirit Band of St. Luke Methodist Primary School this afternoon received a timely donation of musical instruments, without which they were in danger of being unable to participate in the annual Band Fest sponsored by LOVE FM. They are a favorite in the City for major events, and the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation stepped in today under the Community Action for Public Safety Project (CAPS). Minister of State in the Ministry and Lake Independence area representative, Mark King, said that the school and surrounding area will continue to benefit from the program, which tackles the problem of youth development especially for out-of-school youth.

Inspiration Center opens
The Inspiration Center, intended to be an integrated, community based program for disabled and disadvantaged children and adolescents from especially poor areas of Belize, opened its doors in grand style today. After a year and few months of fundraising and then construction, Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis Barrow told this morning’s audience that the real work now begins, of making it into a true home. She says the Center is intent on fostering development of Belize’s “differently abled” community and other Belizeans’ respect of them. Two Inspiration Telethons in 2012 and 2013 raised some $1.5 million, much of which was donated by the Government of Belize.

Supreme Court decision for SATIIM next week
This morning in her chambers, Justice Michelle Arana told parties to the SATIIM vs. GOB and U.S. Capital case that a decision will be given next Thursday, April 3. In the interim, SATIIM’s plans to seek an injunction to halt pre-drilling activity in the Sarstoon Temash National Park were discontinued. But it appears that frustration with the Mayas of southern Toledo for U.S. Capital seems to have reached a peak. Attorney for U.S. Capital Energy, Michael Peyrefitte, told the press after court that it seems the Maya only care about one thing, demanding a greater share of the oil revenue should oil be found. He described the Maya as great at “playing victim” but maintains that the percentage is already set and so they will not get very far. According to Peyrefitte, U.S. Capital never had any intentions of starting drilling before a decision had been made by the courts. He expects that even with a decision next week in their favor, drilling would not actually begin until April or May.

CARILED Local Economic Development Officer
There are a lot of acronyms in this job opportunity, and a even more years in the proposed CARILED project. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is partnering with the Ministry of Labour and the SISE town council, and they are looking for someone to be the Local Economic Development Officer for Cayo. Basically, they need a qualified point person for the 6 year project. The applications should be in by April 7th. Good luck! "For further details, Interested applicants for the position of Local Economic Development Officer (LEDO) may contact the Town Administrator for the San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Council at the following number: 804-2035."

San Jose Succtoz Festival 2014
San Jose Succotz Village is a destination for the escapists. You will find yourselves reveling in the essence of this little remote region of Belize while enjoying the annual attractions that the 3-day “San Jose Succotz Festival 2014” offers (March 28th – 30th, 2014). The Event: Day One – (March 28th, 2014) live musical performances, food and drinks, crowning of the San Jose Succotz Fiesta Queen, and a dance hosted by Super Furia. Day Two – (March 29th, 2014) river activities (canoe and tubing), bicycle race and a dance hosted by the legendary Gilharry Seven of Belize and Sonido Magico of Guatemala. Day Three – Cultural Day and dance hosted by Sonido Magico.

Ms. African Queen Pageant
Is this Saturday, March 29th at the Bliss Center in Belize City

March 16 - March 22 2014 Fishing Report
Bottom line, fishing is really, really good right now here at El Pescador! Wow. Award ceremonies every night are filled with stories about dreams coming true. Beaming faces, proud parents and a proud fishing director! The guides have been very committed to making each day special for their anglers. It’s truly rewarding witnessing relationships between the guides and their anglers grow. Send me your pictures you guys! fish@elpescador.com. We want to brag about you on our facebook page. As they say here in Belize, “Why not?” For those of you getting ready for your trip – practice your cast! The ones that show up practiced are making huge leaps forward in their casting once they get here. Isa and I have enjoyed this week as we tally up what has been going on out there in the day of fishing. My bonus this week was of course having my family here. It was so special for me to watch my fish-crazed sister and brother-in-law cast and learn on the flats. Now you know! Thank you to all of my El Pescador family for making my family feel so welcomed. From the EP fishing department we hope to see you again soon casting to your dreams. Fish On!

Video: Belize
8 min. I had the opportunity to travel to Belize on my winter break! It was an amazing experience, and I am so happy that I can share it with you!

Video: Belize 2K14
32 min. An educational recap of 7 students and 2 faculty members Spring Break Service Learning trip to Punta Gorda Belize. Hosted by Garcia Homestay.

Video: Dolphins at the Bow, Placencia, Belize
3 min. From a recent sailing trip to Placencia, Belize, and the first time using my new GoPro... we had an escort out into the Inner Channel. It's hard sticking your new camera into the water while sailing by at 7 knots!

Video: Belize 2014 Eagle rays
2 min. At Ranguana Cay.

Video: Belize Trip March 2014
5 min. Belize SB2014 filmed with GoPro Hero3

Video: Corozal to San Pedro Belize
1 min. A flight from Corozol to San Pedro, Belize. March 27th, 2014. Beautiful!

Video: Belize 2014
3 min. Oklahoma State University Literacy Project St. Johns Anglican Primary School Belize City

Video: Sacred Heart Flash Mob
Students from Sacred Heart School in San Ignacio in Belize raised awareness about Literacy by performing in a Flash Mob

Video: Expert removal of a botfly larva (beef worm)
Don't panic if you're unlucky enough to get a botfly larva under your skin during a visit to Belize. They can be extracted simply and painlessly. Here's advice on how to do it from an expert.

Channel 7

Hon. Penner Criminally Charged
Tonight, Former Minister of State Elvin Penner is out on a $2,000 bail after he was arraigned on criminal charges for misdeeds he allegedly committed as minister of state in the Immigration Ministry - when he facilitated the bogus passport for South Korean fugitive Kim Won-Hong. The public and the opposition have been pushing since September for Penner to be charged for his central role in the Citizen Kim Affair, but in the end it was a private prosecution undertaken by activist organization COLA that got him charged. President Geovanni Brackett and Executive Member Nedal McLaren charged him under the Passport Act of "vouching the fitness" of Won Hong Kim, without having actual knowledge of Kim as an applicant. Additionally the COLA members charged him under the Nationality Act for "making a statement which he knew to be false" for signing the Nationality Certificate knowing that Won Hong Kim has never been a citizen of Belize.

PM Measures His Words On Penner Criminal Charges
And so, today, a former member of the Barrow Cabinet and two-term UDP representative was charged. Though the UDP has cut him off, and distanced him from the party, Penner hasn't done the same. He still appeared with a posse of red-shirt wearing UDP supporters today - and unless he crosses the floor or is recalled, he's still an elected UDP representative. So then how does Party Leader Dean Barrow feel about Penner being charged today? When we caught up with PM Barrow at the opening of the Inspiration Center, he was measured in his remarks:.. Jules Vasquez "How do you feel about him being arraigned?" Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Well the matter is before the courts, I won't comment. Justice will take its course." Jules Vasquez "However, just speaking in very general terms about a person who was elected under the UDP and who serve in the Cabinet under you, facing criminal charges. You would think on the objective circumstances it would bring shame."

COLA Lawyer Questions Whylie Decision
But back now to the Penner case. As you heard in our story, COLA's attorney said that they are depending Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to turn over all evidence that the police has gathered before the next court date. He said that they will continue to press him and the Auditor General to turn over whatever evidence they have. But, as we told you, Whylie has filed a notice of his intent to appeal the Writ of Mandamus, which was granted by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. COLA and their attorney have interpreted that as a clear attempt to defy the intent of the court's compulsion, but they says that ComPol Whylie must go another step, which is to apply for a stay of execution. He would then be asking to court to relieve him of the responsibility of having to complete the investigation, which Musa told the media is political suicide for the UDP Government. Here's how he explained it:

Oil Company Lawyer: Maya Leaders Put Money Over All Else
And turning now from the Belmopan Magistrate's Court to the Supreme Court in Belize City, SATIIM today had an injunction hearing. As we've reported that Toledo Mayan group says that the oil company US Capital Energy has violated the spirit of an undertaking to the court, by getting ready to drill in the Sarstoon Temash National Park, when a pivotal judgment is pending. That judgment could assert Mayan Customary Land Rights over the exploration area and put a stop to US Capital's activities. So today SATIIM went to the Supreme Court asking for an injunction to stop any further pre drilling activity. But, that request was set aside when Justice Michelle Arana told them that her judgement would be issued next week. So, with that, they agreed to hold off on the injunction. But, attorney for US Capital Michael Peyrefitte was not impressed. He said it's all just public relations engineering:...

Inside The Inspiration Center
The Inspiration Center - it's Kim Barrow's dream for physically challenged children. But while most dreams just stay up there in the clouds, she brought this one to earth, and to life - by relentless promotion and fundraising. Today it culminated in the opening of the center, a world-class facility which was built in just 18 months. 7News was at the opening - which was a "standing room only" event:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The clatter of drums set the tone for today's event which was a celebration in song and in word of a long and emotional journey that saw Kim Barrow and her dream make it intact through tough times: Kim Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children "Images just flash back to this moment and it's an emotional day for me. I can recall coming back from one of my chemotherapy treatments and I was really worried that this wasn't going to happen. It was at that point that I realize maybe I was biting more than I could chew and I was kind of desperate."

Hon. Grant Defends Board's Decisions On National Bank
Yesterday, we showed you CEO Colin Young's categorical denial that his Minister, Joy Grant, used her influence as Chairman of the Board of Directors at the National Bank of Belize to get him a loan at a preferential interest rate and with preferential terms. That was one of the reasons that Grant and former Manager Jose Marin, a veteran banker, clashed which he says led to his termination. That's an ugly allegation against the reputation of the 6 month old bank, which was created to provide lower income Belizeans with access to affordable credit. So today, at the Senate Debate on the 2014-2015 budget, Grant, who is a Government Senator, used the platform to the respond directly to the allegations. Here's what she had to say: Senator Joy Grant "We want to be clear also that the board of the National Bank of Belize which comprises someone from the social sector, someone from the business community unanimously agreed that it was time to terminate the existing general manager and have moved on from this. We now have a very experience person who is serving as assistant general manager and we will be advertising for a general manager very soon. There are robust internal procedures and processes in place at the National Bank and no one director can approve any loan or advance to anyone."

PM Apparently Intrigued By CEO Young's Loan
Today we also got a chance to hear the Prime Minister's opinion on the shake-up at the National Bank. The General Manager was fired last week - and he said he was glad to go because - as he described it - the Board wanted him to engage in unethical behavior. So what's the Prime Minister's take on this kerfuffle at one of his Government's signal accomplishments? We asked him today:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Do I saw the reports of what Joy Grant who is chair of the board said and I completely endorse those remarks. Anybody who knows Joy Grant knows that Joy Grant would never ask anyone to do anything improper. Mr. Marin is somebody that I knew from a previous life; I was the one who asked him to come onboard initially, so I would not say anything unkind about him. Obviously the entire board felt that it was time for there to be a parting of the ways. It just turned out that it was not the kind of fit that the board and the bank required."

Barrow Says Sir Manuel Still Respected
We also got to ask the Prime Minister's about last week's hot issue - which is Sir Manuel and Lady Kathy Esquivel's resignation from all their government posts. As we told you PM Barrow responded to Sir Manuel's letter of resignation. Esquivel described the letter as "generous", but what did the PM really say? We asked him today:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "I wrote to both Sir Manuel and Lady Kathy; I thanked both of them for their stellar service with respect to the last positions they held. I went on in the case of Sir Manuel to make the point that this was of course just part of a large trajectory - a larger historical background that fixes him firmly in the national consciousness as an exemplary public servant, as an exemplary politician and exemplary prime minister. I expressed my regret at his departure, but made clear that in the circumstances I understood. And that's where I will leave it."

Why Didn't EU Get The Memo On Belize Fisheries?
And finally today we got to ask the Prime Minister about the European Union ban on fisheries products from Belize. A release from government this week said that there was no justification for this action because in January, a delegation from the EU visited Belize to discuss the action taken by Belize to comply with the EU Regulations on Illegal and Unregulated fishing. But then this decision came out in March, which led Jules Vasquez to ask the PM if that delegation flew back to the EU on that ill-fated Air Malaysia flight: Jules Vasquez "The people who came to see him in January must have been in the Air Malaysia flight or some such thing because apparently he met with them and they didn't take the message back. They must have disappeared."

Turtle Catchers Caught Hustling Hicatee
Tonight two Belize City men are faced with 3 counts of illegal fishing after they were caught with 8 hicattee turtles by officers of the Fisheries Conservation Compliance Unit. The men were in an area called Mexico Creek just outside of Sandhill Village when their boat was searched by the officers who found the hicattees inside a gill net. The law clearly states no person shall have in his possession more than 3 turtles at any given time nor should these turtles be captured using a net. Also 4 of the turtles were undersized and one was oversized. So the two men were detained by the officers and the turtles are now in the possession of the department where stats will be taken and then they will be release back into the wild. We found out more:..

Hon. Mark Says No Thief Spotted At Hon. Julius's House
All this week, we've been reporting on the reported break in at PUP Deputy Leader Julius Espat's house on Seashore Drive in Belize City. It happened on Sunday morning and he told police the thieves took two laptop computers and his budget reply speech. As to who's responsible, he inferred that he's got his eye on his neighbor Mark King. King ignored the insult and responded magnanimously by saying he was helping police with security camera footage. You see, King has 16 security cameras on his house, and now he says he's reviewed all of them. He gave us his verdict today:.. Hon. Mark King "I did mentioned in the National Assembly that I try to be good to my neighbor although he tries to insight - it would be unfair to say he accuses me, but indirectly he in sighted and I said to him it's not the best thing, I look after. I did follow up the police request and I did check the surveillance videos and from the angles that our videos were relayed absolutely nothing happened there. I would not like to instigate anything else on it, but I would say from our cameras nothing came of it. I would know from the side and his rear end of his home, but I would say that at the end of the day we don't have to go through these things as neighbors."

Senate Wasn't Talking About Stolen Speeches
And while Espat and King will take that up in the House of Representatives, today in the senate they weren't talking about stolen speeches, security cameras, humpty-dumpty or ramen noodles when they debated the budget. The Senate prides itself on enlightened debate, not the name calling and petty accusations that dominate discourse in the House. Senator representing the business community Mark Lizarraga didn't like the budget. He said that for the last 2 fiscal years, the country has been borrowing around 160% more than it did 26 years ago. Senator Mark Lizarraga "Mr. President is 1987 we Belize owed externally 200 million dollars. 26 years later we owed 2.16 billion dollars. On average an increase of 77 million borrowing per year we have constantly borrowed according to the available statistics from the Central Bank over the last 26 years to balance our budgets. The budget deficit for fiscal year 2012/2013 was 77.8 million dollars, which is about on average. But the budgeted deficit for fiscal year 2013 was 125.8 million - 48 million more than average, but Mr. President, the actual numbers are projected to spike to 137 million. That's some 60 million dollars more than average. The budgeted shortfall Mr. President for 2014/2015 is projected at about 126.5 million or some 49.5 million more than average."

Love For St. Luke's
This afternoon Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation- Anthony Boots Martinez handed over 14 thousand dollars' worth of Musical Equipment to St. Luke's Methodist Primary School. This initiative is a part of the Community Action for Public Safety Project that is being implemented by the Ministry, and intends to provide the students with extracurricular activities that will promote constructive use of their free time. The generous donation couldn't have come at a better time for the students of St Luke, who will be taking part in the Love FM's Band fest competition. The value of the instruments is A LITTLE OVER fourteen thousand Belize dollars. That includes 6 bass drums with carriers, 5 snare drums with carriers, 4 metal cowbells, 5 cymbals and 4 guiros.

Channel 5

Elvin Penner is finally charged; the D.P.P. joins in the private prosecution
Former Minister of State Elvin Penner appeared in Belmopan Magistrate’s Court this morning where he was criminally charged for his involvement in the immigration scandal. Despite what appears to be [...]

ComPol must continue to investigate Penner despite appeal
On March third, the Supreme Court issued landmark directives to Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to investigate Elvin Penner and the Won Hong Kim passport scandal. The court took that [...]

PM weighs in on the arraignment of Penner
Prime Minister Dean Barrow also spoke on this morning’s arraignment of his former cabinet minister and Cayo Northeast Area Rep., Elvin Penner. He told the media that in his estimation, [...]

PM says the EU needs to get its act together on fisheries sanction
The European Union earlier this week imposed fisheries sanctions on Belize because the country has been found not to be cooperating in the fight to stop illegal fishing. The government [...]

Gabino Garnett Jr. arraigned for murder
  While Penner was arraigned in Belmopan, in the San Ignacio Court, Gabino Garnett Junior was charged for murder. Garnett Junior was wanted by San Ignacio police in connection with [...]

US Capital Energy Attorney says SATIIM’s legal challenge is all about money
Country Representative for U.S. Capital Energy Ltd., Alistair King, as well as Executive Director Greg Ch’oc, of the Sarstoon-Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, SATIIM, were back in court this morning.  [...]

SATIIM’s Greg Ch’oc responds to US Capital’s claim
According to Ch’oc, the injunction has been a secondary issue because SATIIM believes that it will gain more grounds on the primary matter which is its challenge against government to [...]

3rd person dies from horrible Burrell Boom accident
An accident on the Boom Hattieville Road two weeks ago claimed two lives: a three year old girl passed away and so did a twenty-eight year old driver. Ashley Silva [...]

Chair of National Bank says Board members supported termination of Jose Marin
The decision to remove career banker Jose Marin has left a black eye on Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s National Bank of Belize Limited. Marin lasted only half a year at [...]

PM wants to know about the loan that likely caused Marin’s demise
Jose Marin was dumped due to complaints that loans were not processed fast enough. It is said that Marin’s ouster had to do with a loan application by Grant’s C.E.O., [...]

Senator Mark Lizarraga gets fiery in the senate
As we mentioned earlier in our newscast, the Senate met today in regular session following the Budget Debate on Monday and Tuesday. News Five wasn’t there long, but while we [...]

PM says it is what it is in respect of the resignation of the Esquivels
Since his return from a CARICOM intercessional meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines last Thursday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has not given the media interviews. Well the press caught [...]

Consumer Price Index for February shows 1.7% increase in expenditure
The Consumer Price Index for the month of February, released earlier this week by the Statistical Institute of Belize, indicates that there is a one point seven percent increase in [...]

3 Cubans detained in Belize City
A trio of Cuban nationals, who entered the country unlawfully and believed to have been en route to the United States, was busted by immigration officials inside a hotel room [...]

Inspiration Center inspires many to attend grand opening
The idea for the Inspiration Center was birthed in 2012 and since then Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis Barrow has been hard at work making that dream [...]

The impact of technology on your vision in Healthy Living
Time for a little mathematics….Try to add the number of hours you spend looking at a computer monitor, smart phone, tablet, e-reader and yes, even the hour or so you [...]


Immigration Minister Says Penner Investigation Needs to Be Factual and Tight
The immigration scandal has hit all the media houses in Belize as several investigations are being carried out and many have been asking for charges to be levied against the former minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, Elvin Penner. As we mentioned earlier in our newscast, Penner is expected in court tomorrow…..and while the outcome of that is left to be seen, Renee Trujillo and cameraman, Brian Castillo met up with Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse and here is their story. HON. GODWIN HULSE “The only reason the media is involved in this and the only reason the media and the public knows about this is because the Taiwan Embassy made a request to our Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with respect to this gentleman and the fact that he was asking for some protection as a citizen of Belize. When it came to my desk, I recognized that there was something wrong and we were the ones who initiated that investigation and went promptly to the Prime Minister, who after he looked at it, promptly within a day decided to move Mr. Penner from Cabinet.”

Nat’l Security CEO Says Police Officers Will Get Paid ASAP
Complaints were coming out of the Police Department about two weeks ago regarding payments that were not forthcoming for duties worked some months ago. Colonel Lovell assured the media that this matter is being addressed. COLONEL GEORGE LOVELL “Extraneous duties, as we refer to them, is something that is issued after the fact, the one that is done in the December period is usually issued around the March time frame. March is the period when we look at our finances and there is a period of time when the Ministry of Finance will close all budget activities. This unfortunately happened and a few of the extraneous duties which the Ministry has approved for some reason did not make it through the Human Resource Management System that we have at the Ministry of Public Service. I had my Finance Officer, since Friday, looking into the matter …just by way of background, what we have is our country broken down into two areas of responsibility for the purposes of payment for extraneous duties; we have a group that is looked after by the Belmopan financial section and that includes all those police formations and branches from Toledo to the west part of the country. So, Stann Creek is involved, Independence, Belmopan and San Ignacio – those people received their monies. The second half, which is administered by the Belize City area which includes Belize City, Corozal, Orange Walk, I was made to understand that even though we had approved it at the ministry and the Police Headquarters have given it back to the finance people to pay, for some reason that got held up in the financial process. We are working diligently to make sure that the police officers do get their money and there is not a much longer delay.”

#488722 - 03/28/14 06:51 AM Re: Today's Belize News: March 28, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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Former Minister Elvin Penner Gets Arraigned in Court Today
Former Minister Elvin Penner was arraigned in court this morning in Belmopan before Magistrate Aretha Ford. Our reporter Emanuel Pech was on the scene today and filed the following report. Emanuel Pech- Reporter for Plus TV Many questioned whether Elvin Penner would even show up at the Magistrate court...

Helmet-less Motorcyclist Dies in Accident
There was a fatal traffic accident in the Orange Walk District. On Tuesday night, 18-year-old Jacob Niekoleis Jr., a Belizean Mennonite of Little Belize, Corozal District was riding his motorcycle without a helmet and upon reaching a curve on the Linda Vista Road he lost control of his motor...

Girl Knocked Down on Pedestrian Ramp in Belmopan
And just this evening, a student of the Belmopan Comprehensive High School was knocked down at the pedestrian ramp located by the school. Reports are that a motorcycle knocked down a girl by the name of Rosita, but then didn’t stop to render aid. Rosita became unconscious and was...

Teachers’ Pay to be Docked for Day of Demonstration
Principals have been asked by the Ministry of Education to dock the pay of those teachers who participated in the Friday March 7th demonstration. This is what various teachers have told Plus News. The teachers were wondering whether or not it would have been for more than one day...

Gabino Garbutt Arraigned for Murder
Gabino Garbutt Jr. was formerly arraigned today for the crime of the murder of Earl Baizer. Garbutt appeared before Magistrate Norla Morgan in the San Ignacio magistrate court. No plea was taken and Garbutt was remanded until his next court appearance on July 2. Garbut handed himself in to...

Armed Robbery Hits Independence Village Store
There was an armed robbery of a Chinese owned store in Independence Village. On March 22nd, at 9:00p.m., three masked men entered Wendy’s Store located at Amado Mena and Big Creek Road. The female proprietor, Kia Xia Zhau, was in the store at the time. One of the men...

Motorcyclist Knocked Down
Police have released information about an accident that happened in front of Benny’s apartments on Tuesday. The incident happened at mile 4 on the Phillip Goldson Highway where a Nissan Altima, driven by Charlett Castellanos and a Red and White Yamaha Motor cycle collided. The motor cycle driver was...

Supreme Court Decision Adjourned for SATIIM Next Week
This morning in her chambers, Justice Michelle Arana told parties to the SATIIM vs. GOB and U.S. Capital case that a decision will be given next Thursday, April 3. In the interim, SATIIM’s plans to seek an injunction to halt pre-drilling activity in the Sarstoon Temash National Park were...

Inspirational Center Opens
After several years of telethons and fundraising, the Inspiration Center opened today to great acclaim. It is intended to be an integrated, community based program for disabled and disadvantaged children and adolescents from especially poor areas of Belize. After a year and few months of construction, Special Envoy for...

New Senators Sworn in Today
Two new senators were sworn in today at the National Assembly. The budget was approved by the House of Representatives on Tuesday and so it was passed on to the senate today. At that senate debate, the two new PUP senators were sworn in. They are Anthony Sylvester and...

The Guardian

EU Ambassador to hold high level meetings in Belize
Head of Delegation of the European Union to Belize Ambassador Paola Amadei will be visiting Belize from March 26 to 30 to participate in the first political dialogue with the Government of Belize as foreseen under article 8 of the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement. The British High Commissioner Peter Hughes will also participate in the meeting which will address issues of mutual interest for Belize and the EU related to national security, human rights, regional integration, climate change and natural disasters. The dialogue will also cover recent developments in Belize and the European Union in the political and economic sphere. Commenting ahead of the meeting, Ambassador Amadei said:”We appreciate the good relations that the European Union has with Belize and reaffirm the EU’s commitment to strengthen a comprehensive dialogue on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. Our aim is to harness our already strong and mature relationship based on shared interests to the benefit of our citizens.”

More Oil in Belize
Officials at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum are 'cautiously optimistic' at an oil find made by Maranco Energy Belize Limited. During the Budget Debate held this week, the Prime Minister announced that the company had made a discovery of an oil field which may contain as much as 50 million barrels of oil. But before anyone can go about jumping to celebrate, there is concern that the oil may not be easily extracted. Speaking to Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Dr. Colin Young, he told the Guardian that the oil find was made after a third well was drilled in the Maranco exploration block located in Gallon Jug. He said that the third well, Canal Bank Number 3, showed significant potential for oil. This came after the company announced last year that they had struck the oil but were having difficulty in extracting it. Since then the company has sent rock cuttings for analysis and the results of these have shown that the oil is at a 16 API or it is a heavy crude. In comparison, the oil at the Spanish Lookout fields is between 38-40 API, or it is light sweet crude. The lighter the crude, the better flowing it is, there is no such luck with the latest find however.

Undebatable Budget
The majority of Belizeans are extremely disappointed in the performance of the PUP parliamentarians during the debate of the 2014/2015 national budget, and Prime Minister Dean Barrow is the man to blame. One woman in the gallery of the National Assembly on Tuesday, March 25th, said, “He [PM Barrow] made it difficult on the Opposition because he went and presented an undebatable budget.” However, the opposition members went to the House and tried a thing. The “Leader” of the Opposition was first to take a shot. In what supporters of both the U.D.P. and P.U.P. are saying was the weakest budget presentation by a Leader of the Opposition ever, Francis Fonseca’s only memorable statement was in name tagging Ramen noodles to Ministers of Government. Fonseca’s comical performance lasted less than 30 minutes. The only thing he managed to do, other than making people laugh at his jokes, was making people laugh at him. It was a very feeble attempt to convince people that he knows a cent about economics. When he spoke facts he failed to show he understood the numbers, and, even worst, for the majority of the presentation he chose to ignore the factual figures from the Statistical Institute of Belize and introduced his own.

Drug Plane in Spanish Lookout
Cayo police are investigating a burnt plane that was found near the Aguacate Lagoon in Spanish Lookout on Tuesday of this week. So far members of the Civil Aviation Department, Belize Defence Force and Police have visited the site. The Cessna 6-seater which was originally thought to have crash-landed in the area is now believed to have been used to transport illicit drugs. The plane was found partially burnt with only portions of the wings and tail having been spared from the blaze.

DUNCE of the Year!!!
The race for Dunce of the Year ended on Monday, March 25th, with a rant from Mike Espat about something that “really bothers” him. In his contribution to the budget debate, Espat referred to a quote in Prime Minister Barrow’s budget speech in which he said, “Away, then, Mr. Speaker, with the harlot’s brow, falsely beautified with plastering art.” Espat scolded PM Barrow; saying how dare he refer to Belizean women that way. He instructed the Prime Minister to have some respect for the women of Belize because “our women are not whores [harlots]”. Espat’s charges baffled the scholars in the gallery of the House of Representatives. It was as if he used the stage to announce that not only is he ignorant and illiterate but he also is too slow to realize when he is the one being insulted. Prime Minister Barrow was using a line from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in which Claudius spoke about disguising “ugly actions” using “fine words”. PM Barrow’s use of the line was referring to the P.U.P.’s recent “recommitment to social justice”. PM Barrow said, “The whore’s pockmarked cheek made pretty with make-up is just like the ugly actions they [PUP] are seeking to disguise with their new rhetoric.” Such beautiful use of a literary masterpiece went far above Mike Espat’s level of understanding.

A Doctor for Corozal South West
Doctor Angel Campos secured a victory in the most recent convention held by the United Democratic Party. The polls opened at 10 in the morning and by 5 a total of 1,432 residents of the area had voted. When the final tallying was done Doctor Angel Campos had come out victorious with 1,210 votes cast in his favor. His competitor, David Romero secured 210 votes. There were 12 rejected ballots. Immediately after the announcement was made to the crowd of supporters who had gathered outside of the Escuela Secundaria Mexico in San Roman, the oath of allegiance was administered and both candidates got an opportunity to address the supporters. Romero explained that the democratic process had taken its course and the people had spoken. “It was now time to unite and move forward with the UDP”, he stated. For his part Dr. Campos thanked God, Rivero, the UDP and the people for the opportunity that was offered to him to be the Standard Bearer. He stated categorically that the division will now move forward and that he will bring back the South West constituency to the UDP.

New appointments to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Belmopan. March 26th, 2014. In a brief ceremony this morning at the Belize House in Belmopan, three men were officially appointed to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire on the occasion of the New Year Honours 2014, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to Belize. This year’s honorees include: Mr. Rafael Manzanero for his contribution to Environmental Protection; Dr. Adrian Alexander Coye for his contribution to Medicine and Mr. Rodney Harold Neal for his contribution to the Public Service. Both Mr. Manzanero and Dr. Coye received the insignia of Ordinary Officers of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire while Mr. Neal received the insignia of Ordinary Member of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The Governor General expressed his sincere gratitude to the men for their hard work and dedication to Belize.

BINGO in Fort George
The Government of Belize has noted with concern the decision of the Council of the European Union to list Belize, along with Cambodia and Guinea, as a ‘non-cooperating third world country’ in the fight against illegal fishing. The Government believes that there was absolutely no justification for this action as Belize has taken all necessary steps required by the E.U’s Directorate General of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) to eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The decision of the EU Council is based on outdated information and takes no account of the measures adopted by Belize within the last six (6) months to strengthen its high seas fishing regime. In October 2013, Belize enacted a new and robust High Seas Fishing Act which came into effect on November 8, 2013. This Act was supplemented by the Sanctions Regulations and the Licensing Regulations, both of which came into force on March 12, 2014. These regulations which prescribe stringent penalties for violations of this Act would make the High Seas Fishing Act fully operational – a key demand of the EU. In addition, Belize has signed a contract with a South African Company, Capricorn Fisheries Monitoring, to provide On Sea Observer services for Belize flagged vessels, at a cost of about US$200,000 for the first year. This program takes effect from April 1, 2014.

Belize responds to the decision of the European Union Council on High Seas fishing
The Government of Belize has noted with concern the decision of the Council of the European Union to list Belize, along with Cambodia and Guinea, as a ‘non-cooperating third world country’ in the fight against illegal fishing. The Government believes that there was absolutely no justification for this action as Belize has taken all necessary steps required by the E.U’s Directorate General of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) to eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The decision of the EU Council is based on outdated information and takes no account of the measures adopted by Belize within the last six (6) months to strengthen its high seas fishing regime. In October 2013, Belize enacted a new and robust High Seas Fishing Act which came into effect on November 8, 2013. This Act was supplemented by the Sanctions Regulations and the Licensing Regulations, both of which came into force on March 12, 2014. These regulations which prescribe stringent penalties for violations of this Act would make the High Seas Fishing Act fully operational – a key demand of the EU. In addition, Belize has signed a contract with a South African Company, Capricorn Fisheries Monitoring, to provide On Sea Observer services for Belize flagged vessels, at a cost of about US$200,000 for the first year. This program takes effect from April 1, 2014.

Dolores causing pains in Rural Central
Motorists travelling on the Philip Goldson highway were taken aback when all of a sudden, some humongous speed bumps were erected near to the Our Lady of the Way R.C. School in Ladyville. This is the same area where 8-year-old Kyeisha Joseph, was knocked down as she came off a school bus to go to school. Acting in the most hasty and uncalculating manner, it seems Dolores Balderamos Garcia, trying to be some sort of guardian angel, put them up. She even called radio stations beating her chest and pronouncing that this was the only act she has done since being elected area representative more than two years ago. And while she beat her chest in triumph, motorists beat their heads on their steering wheels as the bumps were just too much. The height is just too much and now instead of savoir, she turned into a mechanic's best friend as complaints keep pouring in that motorists are ripping the base pans off their vehicles.

Francis Frowns on Laborers
Every single day hundreds of Belizeans wake up and get to the job of improving the country's infrastructure. They are hired as manual laborers, cutting and tying steel and mixing and pouring concrete on the streets of Belize City and other municipalities. It is back breaking work, but it is an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. For Francis Fonseca however, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and who sips on fine wine and nibbles on expensive cheese on a daily basis, the work is undignified. So much disdain does he have for the manual laborers working across the country that he made light of their honest work. But not only did he make light of the work, he next to ridiculed the workers saying that they were out on the streets breaking stones. He made reference to them almost as if it was demeaning to be doing the work.

Albert Area Representative Herman Longsworth opens Wesley Lower School’s Computer Lab
The Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Area Representative for the Albert Constituency on Thursday March 20, 2014, opened a Computer Lab at Wesley Lower School on Albert Street. The lab is equipped with 10 computers which are all internet connected and also includes an access point which allows the teachers to integrate technology into their everyday teaching. The lab was totally refurbished at the expense of the Hon. Herman Longsworth and he pledged to donate some more computers to the lab. According to the Principal Ms. Darlene Lozano, the lab is occupied daily with at least 75 pupils taking computer classes.

Phone Book Cover Selected in Facebook Competition book Includes Discount Coupons from 33 Businesses
In 2014, the Facebook site seems to be the center of the world; therefore, it makes sense that the Belize Telemedia Limited left it up to Facebook users to decide what goes on the cover of its 2014 telephone directory. In a Facebook competition themed “The Great Belizean Adventure”, applicants were encouraged to submit photos of their adventures throughout Belize. There was no limit to the amount of submissions one could make. Over 800 photos were submitted featuring some of the most beautiful moments in time that are unique only to the Belizean adventure. The winner of the competition was determined by how many people liked the photos on Facebook. At the close of competition it was Daren Lamb’s photo in the Caribbean Sea near Caye Caulker that was liked the most with 1,396. Lamb said he had taken hundreds of photos in his life and had taken some beautiful shots of birds. He said those shots with the birds’ wings extended were always in a horizontal position. The winning shot was one of a Tern flying to eat a small fish held in the hand of a tour guide. The Tern’s wings were extended vertically and Lamb says he knew it was a special shot. The opportunity lasted about three seconds and Lamb managed to take a photo which rewarded him with an iPad 4 and a year free DigiCell service. Second and third place went to students from the Belize High School.

Prime Minister Barrow to Hand Over $1 Billion to Hon. Oscar Requena
The Prime Minister of Belize was so impressed with Hon. Oscar Requena’s presentation at the 2014 budget debate that he is thinking about presenting a cheque to the Area Rep for over one billion dollars, according to rumours. We are told that Hon. Requena already has a plan for the money. He gave hints of that plan in his budget presentation but those close to the Area Rep have given a few details. Within six months time, Requena plans to hot mix every street in Toledo West. Every drain will be equipped with pipes that will flush out dirty water and replace it with high quality purified drinking water. Water pipes will reach every home with hot and cold shower and Jacuzzis. Lamp posts and electricity will be extended to every home- even in the most remote communities and there will be no light bill. There will be an ambulance, police truck, autobus, grader and bulldozer for every street. Requena’s affiliates say he plans to build a couple high schools and a university in every village and education will be completely free, even the pencils and erasers. For those out of school, office jobs will be provided for everyone regardless of educational background and skill set. Massive green houses will be built weather proof so that storms and Mother Nature will never affect agricultural products.

Valley of Peace Farmers loose crops, blaming Green Tropics
The Ministry of Agriculture is completing its investigation into allegations that crop dusting done by Green Tropics in the Valley of Peace village on March 15 may have destroyed as much as $150,000 dollars worth of vegetables being produced by some 30 farmers. Ministry personnel have sent samples taken from the crops to El Salvador to determine what type of chemicals were causing the damage. Those results are expected by the middle of next week. A spokesperson from Green Tropics has told the media that if the company is culpable they will deal with the liability. As much as 150 to 200 acres of vegetables have been damaged. Farmers say that about 80% of their crops have been damaged and are dying as a result of chemical burns. It is also believed that the rest of the crops have received damage where it will not be able to be harvested.

Young Woman murdered by Boyfriend
Residents from the Cayo District are still reeling from the horrible murder of a recent graduate from the University of Belize. Twenty four year old Kayla Burgess was found dead shortly after 6:30 p.m. last Thursday in the rear of her Kia Sorento SUV; some 100 yards from the Pride of Mopan Bar on the Santa Familia Road. She had a plastic bag covering her head and a white plastic strap tightened around her neck. Kayla Burgess’s vehicle was processed by investigators but the key was not found. The body was transported to the San Ignacio Hospital where death was confirmed at 8:30 p.m. On Friday, the body was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital morgue for a Post Mortem Examination. Her cause of death has been certified as due to broncho-aspiration, from asphyxia, which resulted from strangulation. Subsequent to this incident, 21 year old Vince “Vinnie” Garbutt, a Galen University student from the Kontiki Area in San Ignacio was detained and was observed to have scratches on several parts of his body.

Belizean killed abroad
Joseph Firek, a 59 year-old American, has been charged with murder in the first degree and a hate crime, after Chicago police believe he caused the death of a Belizean living in that city. 59 year-old retired Belizean boxer Michael Tingling was well-liked in his North Side Chicago neighbourhood and on Wednesday, March 19, he was walking his 15 year-old daughter, Masharah, in the Rogers Park neighbourhood at around 2 p.m. That’s when he noticed that Firek was reportedly eyeing his daughter while making inappropriate gestures. Firek approached Masharah, and that’s when Tingling intervened, and they started to argue. Firek then reportedly punched Tingling, who uses a heart pacemaker, in the chest, while making racial epithets. The Tinglings then tried to avoid a further confrontation, and they headed to an alleyway, but Firek pursued them while shouting insults, and soon after Michael Tingling started having trouble breathing. Reports say that when Firek realized what was happening, he started repeating, “I hope he’s okay. I hope I didn’t kill him.”

Not guilty of Masterminding a Murder
Aracely Cahueque, 21, the woman who was accused in October 2010 of soliciting the help of 3 men to murder 18 year-old Raylene Dyer so that she could get control of her baby, was acquitted in her Supreme Court Trial on Friday, March 21, 2014. She becomes the fourth defendant to walk in connection with Dyer’s murder. Since Wednesday, March 12, Cahueque began standing trial before Justice Denis Hanomansingh and a jury of her peers for 3 counts of abetment to murder. The accusation against her was that she hired the 3 men who were accused of the actual killing to get it done on her behalf. Police said that she had done it because she wanted Raylene Dyer’s 3 month-old baby, Ravonne Dyer. Investigators believed that her intention was to try to fool her boyfriend into believing that she became pregnant for him, and that he needed to support her and this baby that they supposedly shared together.

San Pedro residents Charged for Attempting to Bribe Senior Supt. Broaster
Argyle Jex, 28-year-old tour guide of Coral Street in San Pedro, and Lewis Caal, 33-year-old tour guide of Pescador Drive, San Pedro, have been arrested and charged with attempting to corrupt a public officer. The men are accused of attempting to bribe Senior Superintendent of Police, Edward Broaster, on Saturday, March 22nd. The men were held in custody on the island of Caye Caulker when they allegedly offered Broaster $100 for their release. Broaster refused and in addition to drug possession, which they were originally held for, they were jointly charged with attempting to corrupt a public officer. The men appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Tuesday, March 25th, where they were jointly charged. No plea was taken from the men and they were granted bail in the sum of $1,000 each plus one surety of the same amount. Chief Magistrate Smith ordered the men to report to the San Pedro Police Station every Monday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. until their next court date on May 15, 2014.

More Traffic Mishaps in March
For the month of March alone, there have been 10 people who have died as a result of traffic accidents on Belize’s roadways. The most recent happened on Saturday, March 22, at around 5 a.m., where 63 year-old former BDF Soldier Henry Pascual was doing his morning jog on the Stann Creek Valley Road. That’s when a motorist knocked him down from behind. The driver stopped and rendered aid, taking him to the Southern Regional Hospital, but he died shortly after from the injuries he sustained. The next accident happened in Belize City where the skull of a man was crushed underneath a dump truck. 33 year-old Honduran Jose Martinez was reportedly riding his bicycle contrary to the flow of traffic on Cemetery Road, and when he arrived at the pedestrian ramp, he fell off his bicycle. That’s the same time when a dump truck was trying to get over the ramp, and one of the wheels crushed Martinez’s skull killing him instantly. Police have investigated and they are waiting on the DPP’s Office to decide on whether or not they should charge the driver of the truck for anything. It is notable that eyewitness reports say that Martinez was riding as if though he was intoxicated.

Northern Illinois University lecturers call on Minister Herman Longsworth
The Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports with direct responsibilities for youth and sports, on Wednesday March 12, 2014, received in his Belize City office, four lecturers from Northern Illinois University, which included Programme Coordinator Dr. Paul Wright, Dr. James Ressler (Sports Education Model expert), Dr. Jin Jung (TPSR Model Expert) and Dr. William Pitney (Athletic Trainer) along with Ph.D candidate Jenn Jacobs, and Mr. Rob Castañeda, Beyond the Ball founder and coordinator. The US team is a part of the Belizean Youth Sport Coalition which has as its theme “Using Sport to Promote Social Change”. The purpose of the Belizean Youth Sport Coalition is to increase the extent to which youth sport programmes promote youth development and social change.

Police United clip Verdes FC in Belikin Cup Tournament
The Premier League of Belize 2014 Belikin Cup Closing Season competition continued over the last weekend with three games across the country. On Saturday March 22 at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the host team and co-leaders in the Closing Season, the Police United blanked the visiting and other co-leader Verdes FC by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Harrison Tasher in the 63rd minute of play to give the Police United Team their 2 won of the campaign. On Sunday March 23, at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the visiting Paradise/Freedom Fighters and the host team San Ignacio United played to a 0-0 draw.

Central Christian girls win again in primary schools softball
The Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition continues at Rogers Stadium with a number of games. On Tuesday March 11, in the girls’ game played, Central Christian School continued on its winning path when it defeated Trinity Methodist School by the score of 16-0. The winning pitcher was Hannah Usher and the losing pitcher was Devina Periera. In the boys competition game played, Unity Presbyterian edged Wesley Upper in a hotly contested game by the score of 7-6. The winning pitcher was Shemmar Bowen and the losing pitcher was Andy Alford. The competition then continued on Wednesday March 5, with two more games. In the girls’ competition, Muslim Community School defeated Holy Redeemer School by the score of 14-1. The winning pitcher was Essenie Vernon and the losing pitcher was Tyra Belisle.

15th Annual Junior Cross Country Cycling Classic
The Cycling Federation of Belize would like to inform of the upcoming 15th Annual Junior Cross Country Cycling Classic, which is scheduled for Sunday, March 30th, starting at 9:00 a.m. from the Succotz Ferry outside Benque Viejo and travels the George Price Highway to finish in front of Leslie’s Imports. The Technical Meeting for this event is scheduled for Friday, March 28th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association Conference Room, upstairs of Dooney’s on Albert Street. Please note deadline for registration to participate in the event is this Thursday, March 27th.

National male softball championship this weekend
The Belize Softball Federation will be hosting its 5th National Male Softball championship at Rogers Stadium on Saturday and Sunday March 29 and 30, 2014 respectively. This year’s championship will feature the champions and sub-champions of the Affiliated Association which had a male competition in 2013. The games were originally scheduled to play last year but had to be postponed because of the inclement weather. The games are scheduled to commence at 4:00 pm on Saturday March 29 with game one being played between the Belize City champions Guardian Bombers and the Cayo Association second place team Esperanza Royal Devils. Immediately following that game will be game two, between the Belize City sub-champions Oceana Strikers and the Cayo Association league leading Belmopan. This will be followed by game three which will feature the two winners from games 1 and 2.

San Pedro Tigersharks and Cayo Western Ballaz lead in the National Elite Basketball competition
The 2014 National Elite Basketball League competition continued over the last week with four games on the schedule. On Thursday March 20, at the UB Gymnasium in the City of Belmopan, the visiting and current-co-leaders in this year’s competition the Cayo Western Ballaz defeated the home team the Belmopan Bandits by the score of 58-46. The top scorers for the Cayo Western Ballaz were Richard Troyer with 16 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal, Kurt Burgess with 11 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal and Farron Louriano with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Meanwhile, the top scorers for the Belmopan Bandits were Dorian Jones and Christian Rodriguez with 9 points each. Dorian Jones also pulled down 7 rebounds and had 3 steals in his team defeat, while Jamal Harris with 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 steal. At the Y-Not Island in Dangriga Town, the Belize City No Limit team won handily over the Dangriga Warriors by the score of 66-53. The top scorers for the Belize City No Limit team were Gregory Rudon with 23 points, 4 rebounds, 1, assist and 2 steals; Andrew Ortiz with 13 points, and 6 rebounds, and Kevin Lorenzo with 8 points.

I listened in, on and off, to the budget debate on Monday and Tuesday past and I must say that it was, from the presentations I got to hear, much more civil than on previous occasions, even with the usual background banter from both sides. For the most part, I think the topics addressed were properly researched and the deliveries eloquent. We can allow ourselves a dash of pride once in a while you know, when something like this goes right for a change. Of course some people have commented that the PUP Leader shouts too much, and that Musa has now been reduced to reciting Mother Goose rhymes. I tell you, with the next election slated for 2017, and Musa vying for another five-year term, it seems that the PUP will have to prop him up to make his speeches/recitals in the future. The man just will not retire from politics. Then I must mention the usual counterfeits in the PUP, the ones that use this forum to grandstand about how saintly and intelligent they are as compared to the UDP. They preach on every occasion about how deeply concerned they are about the plight of the Belizean people and if ever they get appointed to the Cabinet, they would do, oh so much for our country! How humbly they would serve the people and corruption would never taint their white, four-pocketed “Guayaberas”. I need to ask a favor: the day you hear me say that I subscribe to the words of Julius Espat, Marin Jr. or any Fonseca, I want you to please have me committed.

Candle Light vigil for Kayla
A candle light vigil was organized on Tuesday night in the City of Belmopan for Kayla Burgess. It began with a procession from #10 Oriole Street that went around the Ring Road then ended at the Belmopan Comprehensive School. (See full story on page 17)

World Water Day Exhibition held in San Ignacio Town
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture the Hon. Gaspar Vega declared open World Water Day exhibitions at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel on Friday of last week. Present for the occasion was the Mayor of San Ignacio and Santa Elena John August as well as standard bearer for the Cayo North Division Omar Figueroa. Also present for the opening were industry leaders in the water sector such as the Belize Water Services Ltd BWS and the Belize Electricity Limited; two partners inextricably linked in the extraction, processing and distribution of water resources in Belize. Children, students and other Belizeans were bused in from different parts of the Country to visit the various booths at the Resort Hotel and meet with local experts on water. In his main address the Hon. Gasper Vega informed that water is used to generate 45% of Belize’s electricity, three times the average amount of electricity produced worldwide via hydroelectric power. “As our population grows and our appetite for more potable water and energy increases and as climate change threatens water supplies, we need to identify more in-Country sources of water for clean, affordable and sustainable energy,” Hon. Vega said.

Preventing children from coming in conflict with the law
The news ticker flashes across the screen – a teenager and his uncle are arrested for breaking into a home and injuring the occupants in the process. Another teenager is accused of assaulting the owner of the neighborhood grocery store. A third teenager has been caught with drugs at school. Their crimes vary from petty to serious offences but the alleged perpetrators have one thing in common – they are minors all under the age of eighteen. This makes them children; and although they have come in conflict with the law, they are still children. Children who come in conflict with the law are those who are alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law. The concept contravenes with the connotation that many have of children – ‘children’ in our minds are supposed to be innocent and full of promise and hope representing the best of society. The unsettling thought of them as having the capacity to perpetrate crimes often leads people to immediately ascribe adult status to them and advocate for the full administration of the law for their crimes.


From Los Angeles to Belize with ease and what it was like riding the Inaugural flight
The inaugural flight of a new aircraft route is always a historic occasion and local Ambergris Caye resident Rosie Syme shares her story of what it was like being one of the passengers on the first flight. “Taking a midnight flight from anywhere is never anyone’s favorite thing to do, but for me there was something special about this direct flight to Belize. I was so excited that I could get home on a short 5 hour flight, and everyone I spoke to felt the same way. There were many couples and families excited to visit the country for the first time and everyone was eager to arrive and get started on their days’ activities. Checking in was a breeze – much better than I had expected considering the flight leaves from LAX and it was the holiday season. Many of the staff at the airport were surprised to hear Delta is now offering a direct flight to Belize. I guess that’s what happens when you’re on the inaugural flight! Everything went quite smoothly on the flight. After takeoff the lights were dimmed and most people settled in for the night. Everyone seemed to have a full day of activities planned since the flight arrives in the early morning around 7:30am.

International Sources

Nina Agdal Turns 22, Plays in Bikini in Tropical Belize (photos, video)
Nina Agdal traveled a long way from chilly Denmark to the tropical beaches of Belize for her first Beach Bunny bikini shoot. To mark the occasion the brand put together a video as a birthday present. Nina turned 22 yesterday (Mar 26), but she’ll always be a 10 in our book. The video a behind-the-scenes look at her Belize expedition to Kanantik Resort. From there she traveled by boat to a remote island called “Sanctuary Belize.” Nina talks about her career and traveling to the exotic location. “It’s paradise; it’s postcard material; it’s gorgeous,” she says.

Vuela in Belize tra siti Maya e diving
Il tour operator Vuela propone “Belize diving, Maya e avventura”, un viaggio di 14 giorni/12 notti tra cayos nel Mar dei Caraibi lungo la seconda barriera corallina del mondo, siti archeologici Maya, parchi naturali e fiumi. Il tour inizia a Placencia con un programma che include diverse immersioni al giorno e pranzi in stile Caribe sui cayos. A Silk Caye ci si immerge tra squali balena, tartarughe e mante, mentre a Pompion Caye si scende lungo una parete ricca di granchi, aragoste e tartarughe. Il giorno dopo è la volta di South Water Caye e Grand Channel, tra una miriade di pesci tropicali, squali nutrici e tartarughe, ma anche spugne, coralli, gamberi, pesci angelo. Segue Glovers Reef, patrimonio dell’Unesco, a un’ora e mezza di barca da Placencia e tra le più belle immersioni dei Caraibi occidentali. Si passa poi al Monkey River, fiume ricco di mangrovie e pesci, ma anche di iguane, coccodrilli e uccelli e habitat naturale della scimmia urlatrice. Il viaggio prosegue al Blue Hole National Park, dove vivono molte specie di animali, tra cui il giaguaro, l’ocelot, 200 varietà di volatili e dove si trova l’Inland Blue Hole, una piscina naturale di acqua dolce che cela numerose grotte sommerse. Dalla natura si passa all’archeologia con la visita del sito Maya di Xunantunich e, successivamente, a Caracol, una delle città Maya più estese. Quota con sette pranzi, transfer e voli interni da euro 2.960 euro. Voli intercontinentali calcolati con la migliore tariffa disponibile.

Nina Agdal Loves Her Bum in Beach Bunny Bikinis
Danish model Nina Agdal joins Beach Bunny bikinis for her first photo shoot for the brand in tropical Belize. Nina, who appeared topless on the cover of and inside Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue joins models Kate Upton and Irina Shayk. Both have also repped for the brand and appeared in SI.

Belize, the Caribbean's undiscovered coast - audio slideshow
Kevin Rushby takes a sailing trip through Belize's mangrove islands and reefs, stopping off for a bit of snorkelling along the way

Belize Baby!
Well today I wore socks with sandals you guys…however there is no evidence that this crime occurred because cameras were forbidden on this excursion. I should probably just stop blogging and giving fashion advice but instead I am going to share with you an experience of a lifetime and get real deep because it’s my blog and I will get intellectual if I want to…Oh and happy Thanksgiving. As I am here in Belize with my family I am being MIND BLOWN and it is only the second day. Read on to learn about the amazing ATM Caves (Actun Tunichil Muknal which means Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre) and our experiences… So we finally show up to the cave entrance after about 45 minutes. Which by the way Belizean minutes are much longer than actual minutes. Example-he said it was going to be a 2 and a half hour tour…it was four and a half. But no one is complaining.


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