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#489349 - 04/11/14 12:14 PM Today's Belize News: April 11, 2014
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The San Pedro Sun

Four teams head into the SPSC Football Tournament Semi Finals
The San Pedro Sports Committee Football Tournament (SPSC) is heading into the semi-finals, and only four teams remain. The matches are getting tougher and tougher as every team is fighting for the coveted first place trophy. In the quarter finals, eight teams battled to score as many goals as possible to earn points and advance in the competition. The determining matches for the semifinals were played on Saturday, April 5th and Sunday, April 6th. Two matches were played on Saturday starting at 7PM. First up were FC United and Caye Caulker. FC United struggled throughout the game, as Caye Caulker was determined to take the win. In the end, Caye Caulker won the match in a 2-0 point game and earned a coveted spot in the semifinals. Next to take to the field were the Legends and Veterans. Both being seasoned teams; the match was certainly an interesting one. Unfortunately, it was the last match that the Veterans would play in the tournament, as they succumbed to the Legends in a 6-2 point game. This big win allowed the Legends to advance to the semifinals.

Jhoshi Alexander continues to represent Belize with pride
Congratulations are in order for Belize’s Jhoshi Alexander, Mr. Pacifico y El Caribe 2013-14. As part of his many prizes given to him as winner of the esteemed pageant held last year, Jhoshi was sent to Mexico City to further his preparation in the field of modeling, acting and dancing. While in Mexico, he is highlighted as a Belizean model and is participating in castings and activities that enhance his studies. Jhoshi will also participate in the “Feria de Culturas Amigas” alongside the Belize Embassy in Mexico within the month of April. “I am happy to be learning new things, and participating in these activities in the name of the country I consider to be my home, my land, and that which I love so much, Belize,” says Jhoshi. Jhoshi is even more excited to share the news that he has been selected to be the face/image for the Breast Cancer Foundation at the Central American level. Every year, the foundation chooses a male and female representative who will be part of a yearly campaign. The chosen representatives will be part of print, online and television campaigns, and this year’s chosen male image is that of Belize’s own Jhoshi Alexander.

Verge of Umbra: When Heavy Metal cheats on Hip Hop with Reggae!
The day I heard ‘The Meditation’ by Verge of Umbra started out like any other work day. It was a blip on my newsfeed well before my first cup of coffee, so I didn’t get to listen to it till late into the day. I should have pressed play immediately. Who needs caffeine when you have this tune to get your adrenaline revved up?! Allow me to preface this entire story with the fact that I am a metal enthusiast – as in, I love rock/metal and it is my go-to genre of choice – but, I am not an expert. I appreciate a good combination of drums (the drums man!) and guitar and pounding bass – it all blends into a backdrop that sometimes far surpasses the quality of lyrics even – but lyrics matter too! With the exception of, oh, I don’t know, country (?)…I listen to pretty much anything. But my first foray into music came with Guns N Roses, Nirvana and Metallica. I would say that two out of the three really cemented my love for rock. Not exactly the typical Belizean musical experience – believe me, I know!

BCWU and BTL reach collective bargaining agreement
Belize Communications Workers’ Union – The collective bargaining negotiations between the Belize Communications Workers’ Union (BCWU) and Belize Telemedia Ltd (BTL) began in June 2013. After its first-ever meeting on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 between the General Council of the Union and the Executive Committee of the Board, the Union is now confirming that it has agreed with the proposal presented by Executive Committee at the meeting. The Union congratulates the Executive Committee and all members of its General Council for conducting the meeting in an open and very healthy atmosphere that is most conducive to harmonious industrial relations.

Ambergris Today

$29 Million Worth of Marijuana Destroyed by US/BZE Joint Task Force
Joint Task Force-Bravo and the U.S. Embassy Military Liaison Office in Belmopan partnered with Belizean military and police forces in a highly successful marijuana eradication operation in Belize, March 15-20, 2014. The operation resulted in the Belizean government destroying 34 marijuana fields and approximately 57,283 mature marijuana plants for an initial estimated value of USD $29 million. In addition, the team also found and destroyed 25 pounds of marijuana seeds. Joint Task Force-Bravo provided aviation support, on-call casualty evacuation and caving ladder training for 52 Belizean personnel who participated in the operation.

Ambergris Caye Deserves More Tourism Dollars to Stay on the Island
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye is growing fast; maybe a little too fast. I love the direction that it is going, but our leaders better sit down and think very carefully at the decisions they make. For every action they take, there might be three to five reactions that they must be ready for. Is the town ready, is there enough infrastructure to sustain such fast development, do the positive effects outweigh the negatives ones and will they be ultimately beneficial for all island residents? Those are some questions amongst many that need to be addressed before any decisions are made. Ambergris Caye does need a lot more of its own taxpayers’ monies to stay on the island to help it keep up with development. Many residents complain that government does not feed its goose with the golden egg or invest enough in its moneymaker. All of these statistics prove that Ambergris Caye is, without a doubt, the country’s moneymaker. Our government does need to invest and develop tourism around the country with taxpayers’ money, but many on the island feel that we are not getting our fair share of returns. Do not forget this figure: $1.2 billion netted by tourism and of that 38% is generated by Ambergris Caye “by choice”. It is a whopping $456,000,000. Do we all agree we need a bigger share of the tourism dollars? Thank you.

Misc Belizean Sources

Businesses complain of soft drink shortages
The Cayo district finals of the Coca Cola Spelling Bee is taking place at the Countryside Park in Spanish Lookout. 14 boys and girls from 7 Zones in the Cayo district are competing in this afternoon’s competition vying for a chance to represent Cayo in the 20th Annual National Coca Cola Spelling Bee. There is an air of excitement among the competing schools, each hoping that their candidate will out-spell the rest of the condidates and earn the top spot.

Spanish Lookout hosts Cayo district finals of the Coca Cola Spelling Bee
Various business establishments in San Ignacio/Santa Elena have been reporting challenges obtaining soft drinks and in some cases bottled water from Bowen & Bowen Limited. So far there have not been any official word from the company on what the issue is, but several businesses either had no soft drinks in their coolers or were on the verge of running out on Thursday morning. We are in the process of confirming with Bowen and Bowen what is causing the shortage of products in the Cayo district.

Don't Drink and Drive Campaign
Today, April 10th, nine municipalities will simultaneously Launch the Don't Drink and Drive Campaign in collaboration with the Social Investment Fund (SIF). The campaign notes that worldwide drink driving is of great concern. It is well known that it causes many deaths and severe injuries in traffic. 25% or one out of four fatal accidents are caused by drivers being impaired. Here in Belize drink driving is known to be the second largest cause of fatal accidents. The Government of Belize is undertaking the Belize National Road Safety Project that has been funded with the implementation of the drink driving campaign through the Caribbean Development Bank. The Social Investment Fund has through its Belize Municipal Development Project, funded by the World Bank, created the strategy for the campaign as well as trained all traffic officers in Belize in enforcement tactics and road safety issues. The two projects have come together and collaborated closely with all TCCs to undertake this campaign at a national as well as a local level.

Ministry of Health Advises on Safety Tips to Prevent Drowning
Every year, the Ministry of Health records cases of drowning, an unintentional injury death that is preventable. During the six year period of 2008-2013, a total of 131 deaths by drowning were recorded.

The Combat Team Martial Arts Troupe
The Combat Team is having a free demonstration at the George Price Centre tomorrow night, starting at 7:00pm. The team is comprised of Brian Bryan, Brandon Stowers, and Jarred Sweat, and they've visited 45 countries so far, demonstrating their combination of martial arts and the teachings of Christ. They did a demonstration at Belmopan Baptist High School earlier this week. Here's a promo. "The Combat Team is a Christian Martial Arts Demonstration Team that uses their gifts, and talents in the martial arts as a platform to reach, teach, and share the love of Christ around the world. Admission is FREE...."

Earth Day Photo Competition
The University of Belize is having a photo competition for Earth Day. There are 3 categories, kids, amateur, and professional. Photos should follow the theme of 'Growing Green,' and must be submitted before April 23rd, and the winners will be announced at UB's Earth Day festivities on Wednesday, April 30th. Good luck! "To create a photo-line which will depict an individualized interpretation of the theme Growing Green while also encouraging the use of technology to capture Belize’s beauty at its best.

Benque Don't Drink and Drive Campaign
Benque is having their Don't Drink and Drive Campaign and Fair today in Centennial Park to raise awareness of the issue. There's a business fair that will go until 3:00pm. "The Benque Viejo Traffic Department and The Benque Viejo Town Council will hold 'Don’t Drink & Drive' Campaign & Fair tomorrow, April 10th at centennial park. The Ceremony will start at 10:00 a.m and the business fair will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Let’s come out join us! This campaign is under the BSIF Belize Municipal Development Project and The Town and City Councils nationwide collaborate with the National Road Safety Project."

Belize prepares for BETEX
BETEX, the largest tourism show organized and promoted by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) will be held next month in Belize City from May 7-12, 2014. According to Herbert Haylock, President of the BTIA, the first BETEX event was organized in 1996 and since then has taken place every two years attracting more than 350 local and international tourism professionals and press representatives. The travel show is a business to business event that showcases Belize’s travel destinations, hotels, tour operators and other tourism service providers. “It is an exclusive opportunity for international travel resellers (trade visitors) to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with local travel suppliers (exhibitors), learn more about Belize, and experience the destination first-hand,” says Mr Haylock, the BTIA President.

Police say “killer croc” captured
The Police Press Officer Raphael Martinez has released a photograph with the caption Killer Croc”, of a crocodile believed to be the reptile that attacked and killed 47 year old Carl Michael Diaz on Monday afternoon in Lord’s Bank village, Belize District. Diaz’ body was found in a water channel on the Green Estate property with the right foot almost severed and bite marks on the left foot. According to police reports, Diaz who is originally from Benque Viejo del Carmen was attacked and killed as he walked in the area to go fishing. The crocodile has been euthanized.

New Horizons Belize 2014 opening ceremonies held
Opening ceremonies were held for the New Horizons Belize 2014 exercise April 10 at the Edward P. Yorke school in Belize City, Belize. More than 200 Belizean and U.S. representatives from various schools, armed forces and organizations attended the event, which kicked off the annual exercise typically held in different Central American, South American or Caribbean nations each year. Opening ceremonies included presentations by each of the four schools receiving new facilities built by the BDF Light Engineer Company and U.S. military civil engineers. Also included in the ceremonies were speeches from the Belizean minister of education, U.S. Embassy chargé d'affaires and the Hattieville school vice principal. "The opening ceremony is very symbolic (and) is very important," said Lt. Col. Louis Sutherland, Belize Defence Force commanding officer for the services and support battalion. "The opening ceremonies was a reflection of what's to come."

Belize Transport Department has donated a breathalyzer to the San Pedro Traffic Department
As part of the Belize National Road Safety Demonstration project, the Belize Transport Department has donated a breathalyzer to the San Pedro Traffic Department (SPTD). The breathalyzer is a device used to measure alcohol levels in the blood using a breath sample. This device seeks to crack down on irresponsible driving and prevent traffic accidents caused by drunk driving. Mayor Daniel Guerrero of the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and Head of the SPTD Chris Nuñez were on hand to receive the breathalyzer during a short ceremony held on Thursday, April 10th to commemorate the implementation of the Road Safety Project. Traffic departments across all municipalities and cities have also been equipped with a breathalyzer. (4 photos)

Belize's Child Prodigy!
By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez There are not a lot of women in Belize into IT She’s a trailblazer and trendsetter not into conformity She’s a visionary and wants good for her country She’s big on educational accessibility Running on a political ticket is not for she She’s been approached by PUDP, but she is for the community Not into popularity and all for national unity She developed and planned protocols and policies for the National Reform Party Winner of the UWI 2014 Outstanding Woman of the Year She’s one of Belize’s pioneer female programmers Born and raised in south side Belize Still residing where she grew up Pallotti and SJC sixth form are her alma maters ...

THIS DOG NEEDS HELP
Her name is "Lacie" and her owners died last October. She has lived in her yard without an owner since then. she became pregnant, weaned her puppies and the Belmopan Humane Society has found homes for many of them. A BHS member has been visiting, feeding and providing water twice a day for the past 2 months to "Lacie" and her pups. She has been spayed, has all her shots, dewormed. The house is up for rent and she must be removed. She is quite a fearful dog but one can see she craves attention and love just doesnt know quite how to respond to it yet. She has been used to going out on the street to look for food for many months so would need a very well secured fenced area. She would make a good watch dog and a loyal companion. If anyone can think of where we can put "Lacie" by the end of this weekend please call Lilly Morison at 602-7947.

The Queen’s Baton
The Queen’s Baton is set to arrive in Belize on Her Majesty’s Queen Elizabeth II 88th birthday, Monday, April 21st. The anticipated tradition, which has become a staple of the festivities, happens every four years. This year it signals the staging of the XX Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23rd to August 3rd, 2014. Belize’s participation in this symbolic precursor event takes place from Easter Monday, April 21st, through to the baton’s departure on Thursday, April 24th, 2014. During its journey in Belize, the baton will be making its rounds to Belize City’s House of Culture, Belize Youth Hostel & Cadet Corp, Governor General Field in Belmopan, BTL Princess Royal Park in Dangriga Town and Punta Gorda Central Park in Punta Gorda Town. Relay teams of one hundred participants will carry the baton to each destination where it will be welcomed with a reception, tree planting initiative and plaque ceremony. Celebrations for the Queen’s Baton Relay will be led by Patron of the Belize Olympic & Commonwealth Games Association, H.E Sir Colville Young. Joining the GG will be British High Commissioner to Belize Mr. Peter Hughes, Consul General of India to Belize, H.E Arun Hotchandani, Minister of Sports Honorable Herman Longsworth, Mayors of the respective municipalities and executives of the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (BOCGA).

BELTRAIDE Staff Easter Charity
Beltraide visited preschools around Belmopan, and had Easter egg hunts and handed out Easter baskets to the kids. Thanks, Beltraide! "The staff of BELTRAIDE came together utilizing its resources under the organization and personal allocations to give preschools in the Belmopan area a treat for Easter. This was done through an Easter Egg Hunt and mini Easter baskets for the kids. Kudos to another team effort."

The Combat Team Martial Arts Troupe
The Combat Team is having a free demonstration at the George Price Centre tomorrow night, starting at 7:00pm. The team is comprised of Brian Bryan, Brandon Stowers, and Jarred Sweat, and they've visited 45 countries so far, demonstrating their combination of martial arts and the teachings of Christ. They did a demonstration at Belmopan Baptist High School earlier this week. Here's a promo. "The Combat Team is a Christian Martial Arts Demonstration Team that uses their gifts, and talents in the martial arts as a platform to reach, teach, and share the love of Christ around the world. Admission is FREE...."

BELTRAIDE PARTNERS WITH DFC TO ASSIST MSME’S TO ACCESS CREDIT
On the 9th of April, the Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and the key investment promotion agency, Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to benefit local Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in the areas of credit facilitation and credit management. DFC, the country’s premier development financing institution, currently offers and manages a series of productive sector credit programs geared toward the MSME sector in Belize. BELTRAIDE, through its Small Business Development Centre Belize (SBDCBelize), will be providing much needed long-term technical assistance through the advice and training to entrepreneurs and MSMEs, who intend to access credit through the DFC, to systematically improve their access to funding and develop their business acumen.

HAWKSWORTH BRIDGE CLOSURE
The bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic Thursday April 10 through Wednesday April 16th between the hours of 9pm to 3am to carry out necessary maintenance on the bridge. The public is advised to use the low level timber bridge while this maintenance is being done.

First Music Summer Camp in Orange Walk !
Maestro Carlos Perrote will teach how to play Steel Pan, Garifuna & Afrocuban percussion, guitar and keyboards for children ages 5-18. Venue is the Banquitas House of Culture in Orange Walk, August 25-30. To register please contact organizer Elisabeth Hobarth at lizhobarth@yahoo.com, Tel. 226 3755. Spaces are limited-first come, first serve.

Cayo Welcome Center Marimba Dance

Video: Cruising the New River Lagoon in Belize to Lamanai
2min. As Belize's largest lake, the New River Lagoon is an oasis in a maze of narrow rivers and waterways that cut through Belize. Jabiru storks, roseate spoonbills, great black hawks, social flycatchers, snail kites, blue crowned motmots, night herons, northern jacanas, squirrel cuckoos, cormorants, and several species of parrot fly high above the surrounding broadleaf rainforest.

Video: BELIZE VACATION VIDEO PHOTO SLIDESHOW
5min. Belize vacation video slideshow of San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Lamanai, Belize, Mayan Ruins, Ambergris Caye

Video: Hike, Snorkel and Rappel to find the Mystery of the Maya
5min. For outdoor enthusiasts and pre-Columbian history buffs the Central American neighbors of Belize and Guatemala offer the best of both worlds. Swim to a jungle cave to find Maya ceremonial artifacts. Discover the jewel of Maya civilization at Tikal. Rappel down a 300-foot sink hole and snorkel in Belize's South Water Caye Marine Reserve. Virgin rainforests with orchids, howler monkeys and toucans and hundreds of species of exotic birds make getting to these magical and mysterious Maya sites half the fun.

Video: Belize Spring Break 2014 Huntington University
10min. Huntington University's spring break trip to Belize, Central America. We spent our week at the Hosanna House, with Here's Hope Ministries.

Video: EQUALLY DETESTABLE THIS SAME WEEKEND
1min. Belikin Bash in San Ignacio Belize

Video:
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Video: Belize Trip 2014
5min. Another great vacation video from recent visitors to Belize. An interesting dubstep version of Bob Marley's I'm a Rainbow Too adds something to it all. The last couple of minutes are in Cayo. Xunantunich gets its screen time, along with some canoeing along the Macal.

Video: Belizean Artist, Blak Berry stepping it up with his new single - Since Yo Gaan/Boom Boom (Dancehall Reggae Medley)
4min. Get the Single album on iTunes now :https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/boom-boom-single/id858238886 BlakBerry, Belize's Top Male Dancehall/Reggae Artist is kn...

Channel 7

Foreign Minister Updates Guatemalans On Civilian Killed In Chiquibul
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, met this afternoon with Guatemalan authorities to update them on the investigation into the death of 26 year old Tomas Desdicho Ramirez, the Guatemalan civilian who was killed by the BDF inside the Chiquibul on Belizean soil. As we've told you, Ramirez is the 4th civilian to be killed by BDF in 3 years, and so, his death has created some cross border tension. Elrington, who is trying to regain the confidence of the Guatemalans, granted us an interview after that meeting at his Belize City Office. Here's how he explained their discussion: Hon. Wilfred Elrington "These were two members of the "fiscales" they called them, these are people who worked in the prosecutor's office like the DPP office and they really wanted to come over to see to what extend they could be of assistance to us they told me in terms of trying to get to the bottom of what really transpired out there in the jungle which led to the death of the Guatemalan citizen. It's a difficult circumstances, but this exercise in no different from when it is allege that a policeman here has shot and kill a Belizean. It's the same process they go through; you investigate it in an objective and dispassionate way without it being said that you are sacrificing the policeman. This is a situation that it's almost a situation that damn if you and you damn if you don't because in the case where a policeman is allege to have shot a Belizean and kill a Belizean - if you don't investigate it properly or the public doesn't perceive that you are doing that - the government and the police is criticized."

Killer Croc Caught and Put Down
The man-eater that killed a father of five on Monday has been caught. After another night of waiting with no result, this afternoon croc catcher Vince Rose and a team of young men from Lord's Bank took action: they dug the Morelets Crocodile out of his lair and captured him. It turns out to be a 12 foot mature male - and it was properly subdued, and bound on site. Rose told Monica Bodden about his capture:.. Vince Rose - Owner, ACES "Last night zero activity, he didn't go for any of my traps, any of my snares, any of my chicken - he didn't go for anything anywhere nor did I see him last night. This morning I went out and checked about 5:30 this morning and he still hadn't gone for any of my traps. I went back there about 8:30 and there was a local kid who said that he say the croc, so he bring me back there and we saw the croc and then I notice that he had a house/den right there because he kept sticking his head and in and out and so I knew that where his house was. Meanwhile about 10 more local boys showed up and they insisted on digging the croc out of his hole. So at that point I said what the heck (they got more muscle and energy that I do), I am not sitting and digging, I would have just set my trap and walk away, but they dug him out and as soon as they saw his head and we were able to get his head up they came over and got me.

CCJ Upholds Malpractice Award for Janae
The biggest medical malpractice award in Belize's history has been upheld by the Caribbean Court of Justice. That's the decision that the court handed down this morning via teleconference. The panel of judges found that 2.3 million dollars must be paid to Janae Matute, and a little over half a million dollars must be paid to her mother, Georgia. 13 year-old Janae, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, has been featured in our newscast many times; she is the child who was born premature, and due to post-natal complications, she was left with the disorder, which makes her life a constant struggle. The doctor, Raji Meenvalli, who the family sued for malpractice in the Supreme Court, challenged it in the Court of Appeal - and when he failed there, took his case to the highest court in the land, the Carribean Court of Justice. That was head in February of this year. But in the end, he lost, and after the decision was handed down today, we got a brief reaction from his attorney, Godfrey Smith:

Coast Guard in Shootout and Chase With Pirates
The Coast Guard was in a dangerous shootout with pirates today. It all started at around noon when five fishermen made a distress call: they were 20 miles southeast of Belize City being robbed by 4 men. The coast guard responded, saws the pirates and set chase. They fired at the Coast Guard and the officers fired back. The chase continued like that for 2 and a half hours. Operations Officer, Lieutenant Greg Soberanis narrated the event for us:... Lieutenant Greg Soberanis - Belize Coast Guard "Coast Guard received a report from members of the fishing community that one of their vessels was being robbed just about 20 miles south east from here. The vessel escaped into the creek in the area of Middle Long Caye. We immediately deployed our standby unit from this location and upon arrival at the scene we were informed by the fishermen whose product was taken that the men were hiding somewhere in the immediate vicinity. The patrol conducted a search of the area but the said vessel and occupants were not seen in that particular area. The patrol continued their search and on their way back to base the vessel that was given to us as it relates to its description was sighted. We approach the vessel and immediately the vessel took off. A hot pursuit ensued where the vessel conducted evasive maneuvers trying to elude the coast guard patrol.

BTL Union Gets 4%, Praises Exec Anwar Barrow
Last week Friday we told you how BTL employees took a minute to bang on their desks in unison - an expression of union solidarity in ongoing collective bargaining negotiations. Well, it seems management heard them loud and clear - because the Union was offered and have accepted a 4% increase. A release from the Union today saying that quote, "the Union is now confirming that it has agreed with the proposal presented by Executive Committee." The release sates that that major points agreed on for the three-year period, October 2013 to September 2016 are for a yearly 4% salary increase retroactive to 1 October 2013; a 1% increase in company and staff pension contributions; a $25 increase per month in phone benefit for staff; and free 4G service for each staff member.

PUP Says Barrow's Nepotism Overbearing
But the PUP isn't impressed - not with Anwar Barrow. At a catch-all press conference today, the party once again called for the Board of Management at the telephone company to rescind their decision to appoint Barrow as the Chairman of the Executive Committee. Today, Opposition Leader, Francis Fonseca, used that platform to criticize the Prime Minister for a series of appointments of his family members to very senior posts within his Government. Here's how he explained it: Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "Anwar Barrow's appointment as chairman of the executive committee of management of BTL is the latest in a series o appointments of family members to positions of influence made by this UDP prime minister, Prime Minister Barrow since taking office in 2008 and I want to take this opportunity to remind the Belizean people about some of these appointments: Lois Young Barrow, the ex-wife of the prime minister, appointment to serve as ambassador to the United Nations and prior to that appointment Belizeans will know that she served as the primary private legal counsel to the government of Belize. Shyne Barrow, I mean no disrespect but that is the name I am aware of Jamal Shyne Barrow, the son of the prime minister appointed musical ambassador of Belize after he was deported back to Belize from the United States of America.

PUP Says It's Not Playing On Penner
Another full court press that the Opposition is making is against Elvin Penner, the man who has been criminally charged and arraigned for the Citizen Kim passport scandal. 5 weeks ago, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin granted the Writ Of Mandamus which compelled Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to re-open an investigation against Penner for his role in the issuance of the fraudulent nationality certificate and Belizean passport to the South Korean fugitive, Won Hong Kim. Today, Fonseca told the media that time is going, and they will not wait forever to give ComPol Whylie a chance to provide disclosure. He said that if they don't see any positive movements with the investigation, they will press the court to find him in contempt:

Supreme Court Allows Judicial Review of Recall
And while they wait for things to progress on the criminal side against Penner, they're also pressing forward on the civil side to get him ejected as Area Representative of Cayo Northeast. Today, Justice Courtney Abel heard the application from Orlando Habet and 5 other residents of Cayo Northeast to challenge the decision of Chief Elections Office, Josephine Tamai, to reject 337 signatures, which meant that the threshold to trigger a recall referendum against Penner wasn't met. After hearing from Acting Solicitor General Nigel Hawke and Attorney Lisa Shoman, he granted leave to bring judicial review proceedings. Outside of court, Shoman explained what their hopes are for a favourable outcome in the case: Lisa Shoman, attorney "The chief elections officer depending on what the court decides - we are fighting for the 79 people who signed twice; 72 who signed twice and 4 more who signed three times. The chief elections officer disallowed all of those people because of the double signature. We are saying the law doesn't say that is a penalty at all.

PUP Comments On Dan Silva Situation
And a little more from that PUP press conference, it's been months in the making, but former 3 term Lake I Area Representative, Cordel Hyde, was finally confirmed by the party as the standard bearer who will run in that constituency. As has been widely reported, Hyde and the party parted ways under less-than-friendly terms, but he's now fully back in the PUP fold. Opposition Leader Fonseca discussed his candidacy today: Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "Mr. Hyde has applied to be a candidate for the People's United Party in the Lake Independence area and the national executive of the party has approved that application subject to one meeting that we will have, but yes that is the case that Cordel Hyde in fact is the only applicant for Lake Independence and will in fact at some future date, that date has not yet been determine, will be sworn in as the PUP standard bearer in Lake Independence." Attorney Kareem Musa, the son of Former PUP Leader and Former Prime Minister, Said Musa, will also make his debut as the Standard Bearer for Caribbean Shores. Fonseca discussed it after we asked him about the party's plans for that constituency:

Bradley Says Mind Still Not Made On Mayorship
And while the PUP is entering its general election campaign season, the UDP has finished that phase and is now preparing for its municipal conventions. The biggest name in all this has been rising political star Darrell Bradley. He didn't in his name for Mayor at the party's deadline on March 28th , and since then he's been vacillating on his decision on whether or not he'll run. Today, this would be Prince of Denmark told us about his dilemma: Mayor Darrell Bradley "I think that in terms of running for mayor in office again, it's an easy decision for me, I have other commitments in terms of my family commitments, I have other commitments of my professional development as an attorney, I have other views in terms of other political office that I am thinking about, so it's not an easy decision for me. Of course I can't not make a decision very long into the future, it's something that I am seriously reflecting on, It's something that I am consulting people on. It's a thing that I want to go forward in politics but there are other considerations that I have to give before making a final decision."

Former COMPOL Brooks Passes
Tonight, we note the passing of former Commissioner of Police, Ornel Brooks. Brooks died this morning in Belize City after an emergency surgery yesterday. Reports say he experienced multiple organ failure after surgery for a gastric disorder. Brooks was 63. He was a career police officer who ascended to the highest post in the Department in the mid 90's and served until the year 2000. He had a memorable, often colourful term as Commissioner - where he gained distinction for his strong hand and his media savvy. After that he was the Director of the Drug Council and then went on to be Director of Security at the central Bank - from which he retired three years ago. As per his wish, he will be cremated and his ashes taken back to his home in Gallon Jug. There will be a memorial service on Monday.

New Awareness Effort To Curb Drunk Driving Over Easter
Today, a "Don't Drink and Drive" Campaign was luanched. It's a national effort, part of a wider Road Safety programme to upgrade highways and activate enforcement. But, with Easter approaching, the message of safe, sober driving was timely, and multiple agencies put the word out today. 7News was there: Jules Vasquez reporting Any cause that can get these two potential political rivals in the same photo op has to be a good one. And it is - drunk driving has caused dozens of traffic fatalities in Belize. But despite all the carnage there's no hard numbers because driving drunk has never been seriously enforced or monitored in Belize. But with the number of road accident deaths, it caught the attention of the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank: Jette Ravn, Communications Specialist "Belize was selected by the World Bank to begin with for this project because it was detected that you have some serious problems with road safety and traffic management in the country."

Mayor Says "Bar" In Park Part of Bowen Branding
And while we had the mayor on the subject of drinking and driving, we asked him about the Lighthouse Beer bar that now graces the shoreline at the BTL Park. Well, at least we thought it was a bar, but the mayor told us, it's not! Jules Vasquez "Mayor we see the bar in the background, we lost that bottle - the Lighthouse." Mayor Darrell Bradley "No man, it's not a bar Jules." Jules Vasquez "But its painted Lighthouse Beer." Mayor Darrell Bradley "Because its sponsored by Bowen and Bowen. You used the word bar and I just want to correct you." Jules Vasquez "It looks like a bar." Mayor Darrell Bradley "Yes but a bar has certain legal definition; a bar is place that you can access alcohol without the consumption of food - that's not what that place will be. It's painted that way because one of the good corporate sponsors for the BTL Park project has been Bowen and Bowen and they gave a lot of sponsorship in relation to that facility, but that's like saying that Tavern which is a place that I go quite often is just a bar, it's not a bar. Even though it's named Tavern which connotes that it's a bar."

UB Researches All Kinds Of Stuff.
The University of Belize today held its Fourth Annual Student Research Conference. The idea is to put research at the top of the pyramid of higher learning, and in so doing, enrich the society with scholarly papers on subjects as varied as Default Risk among Credit Unions, to the perception of tour guides on the Stake Bank Project. We found out more today:.. The conference is a one day event and it finished this afternoon…

More New Horizons
This morning the US Embassy held the opening ceremony for New Horizons 2014. New Horizons has been staged in Belize a number of times since 2007, and this year, the US Southern Command will be constructing four new classrooms in the Belize District. In addition, the team will improve facilities at the Belmopan Hospital and offer free medical services in the areas of general and family care, dental care, ophthalmology, urology, surgery, gynecology services and health education around the country. The US Chief of mission told us more this morning at EP Yorke high in Belize City:.. The four schools that will be benefiting from the project include Edward P. Yorke High School, Hattieville Government School, Sadie Vernon High School and Stella Maris School.

Ashcroft Alliance Laments Long Wait For Appeals Court Judgment
Today was supposed to have been a big day at the Court of Appeals. All parties had been notified that the long awaited judgement on the re-acquisition of BTL by the government of Belize would be handed down. But, yesterday, delivery of the judgment was postponed again. And, the Ashcroft Alliance isn't happy about it. They issued a release today in the name of the BTL Employees Trust. The release says it is almost five years since the nationalization first began and no compensation has been paid. IT warns that quote, "massive interest is accruing on the compensations…which Belizean taxpayers will also have to pay. To explain the latest delay, the release then goes unto make a suggestion of dubious motives in the case of one Appeals Court judge - a suggestion which we won't repeat because it seems to tread dangerously close to contempt of court.

Hon. Mike Says Mayans Attended US Capital Meeting
Last night, we told you about the scolding that SATIIM had for Michael Peyrefitte, for inviting the Mayans to a meeting on Tuesday to discuss US Capital Energy's interpretation of the judgment from Justice Michelle Arana. Their press release suggested that no one attended that meeting and boycotted as a "vile attempt" by the oil company try to influence them and to weaken their resolve to fight the exploration in the Sarstoon Temash National Park. Well, Peyrefitte told us today that SATIIM's Executive Director, Greg Ch'oc was being disingenuous by reporting that no one, including the Mayan Leaders of the buffer communities, attended. He provided us with photos of that meeting, and listed off the names of the leaders of the communities which attended. He said that representatives, including Leaders, from Crique Sarco, Lucky Strike, Sunday Wood, Conejo Creek, Barranco, Midway, Santa Anna, San Felipe, and Jacintoville attended the meeting and they had a good discussion about the judgement and what it means.

Channel 5

Man-eating croc in Lord’s Bank is finally captured
A News Five team is just back from the headquarters of the Belize Coast Guard where three men have been detained following a shootout at sea. We’ll have that coming [...]

Coast Guard comes under fire in Belizean waters
This story just in…a high speed chase in Belizean waters involving the Belize Coast Guard took place this evening. Our News Five team is just back and reports that three [...]

Court grants judicial review of the decision to reject signatures in recall petition
While the political gods continue to throw a shroud of protection around former Minister of State Elvin Penner, the fates seem to be conspiring against him. Today, leave for judicial [...]

B.T.L. Employees Trust comment on pending judgment on nationalization of Telemedia
Justice delayed is justice denied… This afternoon, the B.T.L. Employees Trust issued a statement in respect of a long pending judgment on the constitutionality of the second nationalization of Telemedia [...]

Opposition calls Anwar Barrow’s appointment at B.T.L. an act of nepotism
The People’s United Party held a press conference at Independence Hall this afternoon. The topics up for discussion ranged from Elvin Penner to very internal politics. We’ll have all that [...]

P.U.P. has hard questions for PM and John Saldivar on Mytheon Solutions
Another topic on the political table this afternoon was the now very well known Mytheon Solutions. That company was first registered by John Saldivar and Khalid Belisle in 2009. John [...]

CCJ upholds decision in the case of Doctor Raju versus Janae Matute
The Caribbean Court of Justice today issued a decision in the case of Doctor Raju Meenavalli versus Janae Matute and her mother, Georgia. The decision was delivered from Port of [...]

Belize Communications Workers Union gives update on negotiations at B.T.L.
While the P.U.P. is calling Anwar Barrow’s appointment at B.T.L. an act of nepotism, the Belize Communications Workers Union is throwing bouquets at Barrow. The union said in a release [...]

The transparency and accountability of the Integrity Commission
It’s mostly gone under the radar, but March thirty-first was the deadline for all members of the National Assembly to file their declarations with the Integrity Commission. It’s actually something [...]

P.U.P. comments on the Holy Emmanuel squatters
The Holy Emmanuel squatters, as they’ve been dubbed, have been prominent in the news for the past week. Their homes are being threatened by the massive infrastructural work which will [...]

Mandamus Update: P.U.P. Leader says he will do what he has to
Today, the People’s United Party won a significant victory in Supreme Court, a victory which injected at least a spark of life into a dead recall petition. But that’s only [...]

Stewart Krohn asks NCL Executive to clarify a number of issues
On Wednesday, Vice President of Destination Development for Norwegian Cruise Line, Colin Murphy, told the media that the company is moving full steam ahead with plans to construct a multimillion [...]

Leon Gomez, Guilty of Manslaughter
On Wednesday night, twenty-two-year-old Leon Gomez was found not guilty of murder for the January 2010 stabbing death of Salvador Martinez.  He was however, found guilty of manslaughter.  The verdict [...]

The New Horizons Belize 2014 project is launched
Four schools in the Belize District will be getting spanking new classrooms as part of a project by New Horizons Belize. The U.S. Southern Command is teaming up with three [...]

Don’t Drink and Drive…a campaign to keep the road safe
Traffic accidents have been on increase since the beginning of year and invariably it involves drunk drivers.  This morning, a simultaneous launch of a Don’t Drink and Drive Campaign took [...]

Traffic laws to regulate alcohol limit for drivers enforced
The campaign was also launched in Belmopan this morning. Representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, as well as the Social Investment Fund, through the Belize Municipal Development [...]

Healthy Livings looks at a Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
Complimentary & Alternative Medicine, or CAM, is a term used to describe non-mainstream health approaches. Some of these approaches are used together with conventional medicine – complementary and some are [...]

CTV3

MOE Investigates Drowning Of Students
On Friday we reported on a high school trip gone horribly wrong. As a consequence, two forth form students of Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico drowned in the Macal River after strong currants swept them off their feet while washing off. But it seems the drowning of 16 year old Edgar Puck from the Village of Patchakan and 15 year old Anahi Zepeda from San Joaquin was not the only mishap experienced that day. But first let’s talk about the investigation being carried out by the Ministry of Education and the Board of Directors of ESTM. We understand that today both parties met to look at preliminary findings and will make a determination in terms of how they will proceed in gathering additional evidence in getting students and teachers accounts of the incident. While it is an ongoing investigation Jahmor Lopez, Education Center Manager for the Corozal District, spoke to us on the course of action they will take.

BTIA Orange Walk Chapter Weighs In On Band Fest Change Of Venue
The shift in venue for the 2014 Love FM’s Band Best has sparked the ire of many people, particularly those who had made plans to make an economic profit off the event. Today, the Belize Tourism Association Orange Walk Chapter issued a press release expressing their discontent with the changes. The BTIA Orange Walk Chapter says it is “disappointed” after what happened adding that it could have been avoided given that there would have been better communication and preparation among all parties involved. Those key parties are also listed in the release and they include Love FM, which oversees Band Fest, and the Orange Walk Sports Council, which manages the People’s Stadium. The organization says that quote, “It is inexcusable for the Orange Walk People’s Stadium to be kept in such deplorable conditions” end of quote.

CZL Police Issues Safety Easter Tips
The Corozal Police Formation is gearing up for the long Easter holiday weekend but in the same light they are asking the public to do their share in maintaining peace and order in the district. Officer Commanding the Corozal Police Formation, Andrew Ramirez, says there is much that business owners can do to safeguard their stores. “1. Report anything suspicious either vehicle or persons, I think Corozalenos or nortenous knows exactly who the north individuals are so we can just look out for outsiders. 2. Close your business on time and do not risk opening after the prescribe hours. 3. Do not take anything for granted. 4. Do not walk in isolated areas by yourself. 5. Avoid going out alone with amount of cash and jewellery. 6. Do not over consume alcohol and know who you socialize with. 7. If you leave your house during the Easter Holidays please contact your neighbour and the police we will ensure that patrols are conducted in those areas during your absents and please be reminded that the Corozal Police Station Number is 402-0022.”

The Progress Of 2013/2014 Crop Season
April 6th 2014 marked the end of week 11 of the 2013/2014 sugar cane crop season. The report, provided by the Belize Sugar Industries Limited, shows that for week 11 the factory milled fifty three thousand eight hundred and thirty seven tons of cane. To date, the factory has milled a total of five hundred and fifty seven thousand nine hundred and seventy eight tons of cane. Last year, during the same period, the factory milled four hundred and twenty seven thousand six hundred and ten tons of cane. Taking a look at sugar production, six thousand three hundred and ninety six tons of the sweetener was produced for week 11. An overall of fifty nine thousand two hundred and sixty one tons of the product has been produced so far. Last year, the factory produced forty two thousand two hundred and forty four tons of sugar.

CZL Police Continue To Investigate Armed Hold Up Of Jing Jing Store
Corozal Police continue to investigate the robbery of Jing Jing Store located at the corner of the Philip Goldson Highway and the Paraiso Junction. Owner of the establishment, Hui Bang Chen, told police that three male persons, 2 of them of creole descent and the third of Hispanic descent, entered the business. One of the men pointed a gun at him while another robbed him of three to four hundred dollars in cash. The third person attacked a costumer and took one hundred and fifty d0ollars that was in his wallet. The men escaped on bicycles.

Wanted Man Captured By Orange Walk Police
Tonight, Orange Walk Police is reporting a breakthrough in the attempted murder case of Woman Police Officer, Marilyn Pate which occurred on December 5th, 2013. For context, as previously reported, on December 5th, WPC Marilyn Pate accompanied personnel of the Human Development Department to the house of Oscar Perez in Trial Farm, Orange Walk when the incident transpired.

Pharmacist Association Stands Firm, They Want Newly Appointed Director Of Inspectorate Removed
On March 12th we reported on the dissatisfaction from the Pharmacist Association of Belize with concerns over the illegitimate appointment of Danini Contreras who is the Minister of Trade Erwin Contreras’ daughter as Director of the Drug Inspectorate in the Ministry of Health. The Association says that Contreras, who holds a degree in Chemical Pharmaceuticals, is and was not qualified for the post. The association maintains that to be a drug inspector, one would have to be a registered pharmacist, have 5 years working experience; specialized training in drug inspection, and have an associate or a diploma in pharmacy. And today, a little over a month after they first reacted to the news, the Pharmacist Association of Belize issued another release on their meeting with Minister and CEO of the Ministry of Health on March 26th.

"No Drink And Drive Campaign" Launch In Orange Walk
One of the most anticipated holidays is just days away and there is no doubt that there will be A LOT of alcohol consumption happening throughout the course of the Easter weekend. It is a time when hundreds of Belizeans travel to various destinations with their families to enjoy the holiday but once alcohol is involved, danger always looms. This was part of the message that was delivered this morning by representatives of the Orange Walk Town Council and the Ministry of Works and Transport as they launched the national road safety “No Drink and Drive Campaign”. The campaign was launched at the Central Park and Dalila Ical has more on the story. Dalila Ical – Reporting Errol Gentle – CEO, Ministry of Works & Transport “One death is too much and whilst we are trying, last year we had 20% reduction in fatality caused by traffic accident, last month alone there was three and whilst we are looking at a 20% reduction my thing is that if we can go to 75% reduction let aim for it because one death is too many.”

Man-eater Crocodile Captured
Tonight, despite the tragic death of Benque Viejo Del Carmen resident, 47 year old Carl Diaz, there is good news to report for the residents of Lords Bank as the man-eating crocodile has been captured. Since the incident unfolded on Monday, Vince Rose, Owner of the American Crocodile Educational Sanctuary (ACES) has been setting traps and hunting the apex predator. And Rose and his team hit the jackpot this afternoon when the Croc was captured. We spoke to Rose who said that immediately after its capture, the crocodile was euthanized. Here is what he told us via telephone today. Vince Rose, Owner, American Crocodile Educational Sanctuary (ACES) “Today we set up the traps and one local boy came up to me and said that he think he saw the croc and he brought me back to the bush and he pointed me to where he saw it and then I found his den where he lives and he was hiding in his den and that was about 10:00am and another ten local kids showed up and they insisted upon digging on his den and so I left them just to go ahead and start digging and was about to setting up another trap and then they finally broke through the top on the ground onto his den and saw him and then that was probably about 2pm and then I put my other trap onto him and safely capture him and then brought his to Aces Shrimp farm and at that point we call the police and they requested the animal to be put down as soon as possible and that is what happened.

Chairman BSCFA Throws Hat His Hat In The Political Ring
Both major political parties are gearing up for general elections. The work has begun and over the last few months several conventions and endorsements have been held in both camps. In the same light, men and women, however sparsely, are tendering their application for different constituencies. One such person is Alfredo Ortega, who is popularly known as the spokesperson for the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Ortega has entered his application to run for candidate of Orange Walk North in the People’s United Party. We spoke with Ortega who told us more about his decision. Alfredo Ortega – Aspiring Candidate “Realmente el sector agrícola y el sector de la industria azucarera de que el apoyo ácido poco, yo estado aquí desde el 2000 y hemos estado luchando bastante para que la industria azucarera llegara a otro nivel y claro hemos logrado bastante internamente en La Asociación hemos logrado hacer cambios, criterios y reglamentos que se han dado acá dentro, realmente no estoy usando La Asociación como un plataforma tome mi decisión individual porque yo quisiera ver de que el sector agrícola llegue a otro nivel y no solo el sector del canero pero si no el sector agrícola productivo para que así Belice pueda tener una mejor posición en tener una seguridad de comestibles porque la mayoría de alimentos se han sido importada y vemos de que hay bastante potencial aparte de la caña como en la producción de vegetales, en la producción de arroz que ahorita está en los suelos y realmente necesitamos dar ese cambio y de que garantiza de que hay un mercado del producto y viendo esos factores entonces eso me ha dado la decisión de postularme en las convenciones que vienen.”


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#489350 - 04/11/14 12:16 PM Re: Today's Belize News: April 11, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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More News: Scroll up from here

CEMJC Holds Annual Expo
The Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College welcomed prospective students and their families to an Open Day at its campus today where visitors were treated to a fascinating range of exhibits from each program sector of the school’s curriculum. It also saw the participation of several members of the business community. Our news team arrived just in time to capture the event as it was winding down, here is that story. Dalila ical – Reporting A total of 276 students enrolled at the Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College got some much needed hands on experience of the programs they are studying for; from tourism to IT to Agriculture. The open day was an ideal opportunity for the students to present and explain their work to a wide audience. Lizbeth Cabral – Tourism Lecturer “We divided the projects in the different sectors; we have food and beverage, attractions and entertainments and then we have history and culture, we have accommodations and we have like two operators on tourists and so all of these 16 projects we incorporated the Creole, the Garifuna, the Maya, the Mestizo, we have a ship and we have Belize Airways the first airline in Belize, we have the Billboard tour, ATM cave tour, we have a rainforest lodge and we have a variety of stuff out here today.”

UN Places Belize In Third Place In List Of Countries With Most Murders
In a recent report released by the United Nations Africa is declared as the region with the highest number of murders in the world. Honduras is the most violent country in the world, with a rate of 90.4 intentional homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, based on data from 2012. Honduras is followed by Venezuela with 53.7. But what is making headlines on this side of the globe, especially here at home, is that Belize ranked third in the list. According to the UN’s report Belize ranked third with 44.7 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants. El Salvador placed fourth with 41.2. Bear in mind that in the report rates above 20 are considered serious. The UN study attributed the high murder rate in Latin America to organized crime and decades of political violence.

PlusTV

Chief Elections Officer to be Challenged on Penner’s Pre Recall Review
Justice Courtney Abel has allowed three of the original five applicants in last week’s filing of the challenge to the decision of Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai to recommend the rejection of 337 signatures from the original 2,002 presented to the Governor General last November. Lead applicant Orlando Habet...

Chetumal Bridge Project Causing Environmental and Health Hazards
Concerns over the environmental impact of the Chetumal Street Bridge project have been raised by fishermen and some residents of Belama. We have already reported on the concerns of the squatters of the area, but our colleagues at KREM are reporting environmental impact concerns as well. About a week...

Janae Matute and Mother Win Final Case in CCJ Ruling
The decade long saga of Janae Matute and her mother Georgia Matute, finally came to a close as the trial judge of the CCJ ruled in favour of Janae and her mother against obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Raju Meenvalli. In June 9th 2000, Georgia Matute realized she was pregnant and so...

Leader of the Opposition Updates his Views on National Issues
The People’s United Party (PUP) called a press briefing today at Independence Hall for a regular update on national issues of interest to the party. Leader Francis Fonseca called for newly appointed chair of the Executive Committee of Belize Telemedia Limited Anwar Barrow to resign his post on the...

Man Eating Crocodile Captured
The man-eating crocodile that killed 47 year old Carl Diaz, while he was fishing in the area of Green Estate on Monday afternoon, was captured today. ACES crocodile expert had been hunting the croc for the past two days. Police issued this picture today showing the captured animal all bound up....

Another Employer Charged for Avoiding Payments to Social Security
The man popularly known as “Brads”, 44 year old businessman Kim Chee of a Vernon Street address, appeared in court today charged with failing to make Social Security contributions for employees within the prescribed fourteen-day period under law. Chee is accused of missing the deadline in each month from...

The Guardian

Orange Walk’s Cocky Mayor
It is perhaps one of the most unethical and disturbing things in business, for someone to use their position for personal gain. Based on evidence provided to the Guardian Newspaper, this is where Kevin Bernard finds himself in these days. This newspaper was furnished with various correspondences by Facebook and e-mail between Bernard and a young man who’s name we will not publish which points to some great deal of inappropriate behavior on the part of the mayor. The first in the series of correspondences has three pictures of a male’s genital which were forwarded to the aforementioned young man. Apparently there was a request whereby the young man said “yeah sure send it i wud like to see it jeje”. The respondent to the e-mail carrying the address: Kevin Bernard ( muchodinero24@gmail.com ) complied to the request and sent three pictures. There is a note on the email stating “OK please keep to yourself, Send me a text when u get this”. Looking at the e-mail, the request was made on February 5, 2011 at 12:26p.m. and by 10:37p.m. it came.

Crocodile kills man in Ladyville
Carl Michael Diaz, a 42 year-old resident of Benque Viejo, who has family living in Ladyville, is at the KHMH morgue awaiting a post-mortem, and at this time, it is believed that he died from a crocodile mauling. It happened at around 3 p.m. on Monday, March 7, on a private property known as the Green Estate in the Lord’s Bank/Ladyville area. Someone heard him screaming, and when they went looking, they found Diaz near a pond all the way to the back of the property. He was already dead at the time, and there were signs that a crocodile attacked him. A minor is believed to have witnessed part of the attack, but he was too traumatized to speak with police at the time when they approached him. Diaz was found on the bank of the pond with fishes he had caught in a small sack. He had injuries all over his body, but most notably, his right foot was almost severed; there were bite marks also on his legs which suggested an animal attack. There was also blood in the grass nearby, and animal tracks believed to be those of a crocodile.

The Bridge is Coming
Work crews are working diligently on both the northern and southern ends of Chetumal boulevard where the construction of a new bridge will soon begin. A couple of weeks ago a contract was signed with Cisco Construction Company for the filling of the approaches to the bridge in preparation for the bridge’s construction. Another contract was signed with M&M engineering for the actual construction of the bridge itself. The preparatory work is now well underway with material being dumped up to enable heavy equipment to access the river for piles to be driven into the river itself. These will be the supporting structures which will hold up the bridge. When the Guardian visited the site on Tuesday April 8th, dredging equipment was on site removing silt from the river bed while clay was being dumped into the river for access to take place. Work commenced for this last week and within the next week or so the piles will be driven. While there is a concern that the river is being filled up, this is only a temporary measure being done. After the pile driving is complete, the material will be removed from the river.

Belize Celebrates World Health Day
World Health Day is celebrated every year on April 7 in commemoration of the World Health Organization being founded in 1948. This year Belize joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Health Day under the slogan “Small Bites, Big Threat”. The specific focus during this year’s World Health Day activities is on vector bourne diseases; a topic on which Belize has reasons to celebrate since the country has significantly reduced its cases of vector borne illnesses since the start of the millennium. The European Union recently approved a grant of €750,000 for the Ministry of Health to continue its combat against vector bourne illnesses. Kim Bautista, Vector Control Chief of Operations in the Ministry of Health, organized a health fair on Monday, April 7th, at the Lions Club Parking Lot in Belize City to highlight some of the initiatives that the unit has undertaken to reduce vector bourne illnesses across the country. Vector borne diseases refer to diseases that are spread by organisms such as mosquitoes, ticks and sand flies that transmit viruses, parasites and bacteria to humans. The Vector Control Unit is known for its spray trucks that are disturbing to the nostrils of most Belizeans. However, according to Bautista, there is much more that must be done to effectively combat vector bourne diseases. The activities of the unit will increase from basic surveillance and spraying campaigns to community education and systematic approaches. Using the funds from the European Union, the unit will be working with local authorities and communities to identify neighbourhood hazards and promote best practices. Bautista said surveillance will be intensified over the next 20 months. He said there will be a focus on community drainage systems and solid waste management, among others.

Victim of his judgement
At this newspaper when we began to see Julius Espat sidling up to Plus TV, we knew it was bad news for that media entity. We had long had suspicions that the fair and balanced approach that the television station had would soon be eroded and replaced with outright negative campaigning against the government. The first outright move that the TV station made was exposed when Jason Andrews threw in his hat as a candidate for the PUP in Belmopan. It is our belief that Julius Espat was the guiding hand behind Andrews' decision. While at the time Louis Wade tried to save face and pretended to kick Andrews off as a host of their morning show, there were still undertones present. Those undertones began to get louder and louder and soon enough the television station had gone from religious, fair and balanced to downright negative and anti-government. It got so bad that Hon. John Saldivar mounted a lawsuit against Plus TV and Andrews and Wade- and won. Minister Saldivar did not seek financial compensation, and given the nature of the TV station's continued attack on him, maybe he should have. We are also now of the belief that he will soon mount another suit.

The Belize Natural Energy and Government of Belize Charitable Trust Launch Empowerment Fund
The Belize Natural Energy and Government of Belize Charitable Trust is pleased to announce the launch of the first phase of its Empowerment Fund. The overall objective of the Fund is to empower entrepreneurs through the establishment of revolving loan facilities to finance viable business ideas that contribute towards bettering Belizean communities. The first phase of the Empowerment Fund is being rolled-out through La Inmaculada Credit Union Limited with seed capital of $750,000 and will be implemented out of both the credit union’s Orange Walk and Belmopan offices. To mark the official launch of this program, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 at La Inmaculada Credit Union headquarters in Orange Walk Town. The Trust and La Inmaculada both share the similar mission of empowering and uplifting Belizean people and communities so that they can become the conscious architects of their own future.

Easter Egg Hunt in BTL Park
The BTL Park was like the end of the rainbow for preschoolers of Belize City on Tuesday, April 8th, as treasures were found all over the place. Belize’s kindest corporate citizen, BTL, sponsors various kinds of events throughout the year for Belizeans of all ages. Since Easter is a time of year little children look forward to, the staff decided to sponsor an event specifically for infants. Therefore, invitations were extended to five preschools across the city. The teachers were encouraged to take 25 second year students to the BTL Park for an Easter egg hunt on Tuesday. The event started at 9:30 a.m. Before the search for goodies commenced, parents, teachers and BTL staff members played some fun games with the children like “rabbit find a hole”. After the games, the parents, teachers and BTL staff took the children to look for treats in the park. They all had fun hunting down the sweet treats. Some found more than others but every single child went home happy since after the hunt they were all provided with refreshments and an Easter basket. Loyal BTL customers wishing for a similar Easter treat can text in to win an Easter vacation for four in San Pedro which includes airfare, accommodation, gulf cart, tours and meals. Others can choose to take advantage of the Easter Double/Triple promotion every Wednesday in March.

Arun Cowo Buys Bed and Wins 2014 Kia Sportage
Corozal resident and Free Zone bartender, Arun Cowo, is the lucky winner of a 2014 Kia Sportage. Cowo was one of seven branch finalists in Courts Belize’s grand promotion. Marketing Officer Gina Ford explained that being named a finalist in the promotion was based on luck of the draw but winning the coveted $75,000 vehicle took a bit of work. From the month of January to the end of March, Courts customers received one ticket to enter the Kia Sportage raffle for every $50 purchase, cash or credit. Cowo and his wife purchased a bed set at the Corozal branch for some $3,000. That earned him almost 60 tickets, one of which was selected at the branch drawing. Six other finalists were selected from across the country and all showed up at the Belize City Branch on Saturday, April 5th; all except the Dangriga finalist that is. Arun Cowo and his wife were the first to show up at the Belize City Branch on Phillip Goldson Highway. Cowo said he left Corozal on the 4:30 a.m. bus and got to Courts before 6 a.m. The final showdown started a little after 11:30 that morning. The last finalist to show up was the Belize City representative. Marketing officers of Courts then explained to them the rules of a “Minute to Win It” showdown.

Macal and Belize River claims three lives
Since Friday of last week the Macal and Belize Rivers have claimed three lives. In the first instance, two students from Northern Belize met their deaths in an unplanned entry in to the Macal River, while a Guatemalan also drowned in the Belize River. At about 3:30 pm last Friday, two students Anahi Zepeda and Edgar Puck stepped into the Macal River to wash off the mud from their bodies obtained after a tour of the Che Chem Ha Caves by the Arenal Road in Benque Viejo Town. The region of the river where the two fourth forms students from Escuela Secudaria Mexico in San Roman Village entered is by the temporary wooden bridge that connects San Ignacio to Santa Elena and where sometimes powerful under-currents exist. Unfortunately, 15 year old Anahi Zepeda lost her foothold on the lichen covered pebbles and was dragged down some 300 yards to where a deep section of the river is known to exist. This alarmed 16 year old Edgar Puck, who then dived in and tried to rescue his friend, but was dragged further down the river, they both did not resurface. A third student, Ruggen Tuz from San Narcisso then went to their aid but it was in a fruitless effort. Shorty after, the body of Edgar Puck was found near the bank of the Macal River, where first aid was applied but with no success. At about 5:24 pm that same evening, the body of Anahi Zepeda was found further down the river. Both were then taken to the San Ignacio Community Hospital where they were pronounced dead on arrival. A post mortem has since been conducted, which revealed that both friends died as a result of asphyxia by drowning.

CXC Officials visit Belize to assist the Ministry of Education in improving the quality and relevance of Technical Vocational Training in Belize
The Ministry of Education has through the support of the European Union engaged the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) to provide Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ). CVQ is the certification needed for free movement of artisans and other skilled workers throughout the Caribbean under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. CVQ represents a qualification that can be given to students graduating from the ITVETs and High Schools as well as to persons already in the workforce, for achieving a set of skills towards a trade such as electricity, plumbing, hospitality, etc. Belize, as a signatory member of the CSME, is expected to prepare its citizens for this free movement of labour. To initiate the process, the EU is funding two CXC experts, who are visiting Belize from 31st March to 4th April, 2014. These experts will work alongside the staff of the Employment Training and Education Service of the Ministry of Education and to build capacity for the implementation of CVQs in Belize. During the visit, the CXC Officers will visit ITVETs and Technical Secondary Schools in the Banana Belt to obtain firsthand information of existing infrastructure, systems, processes, and human resources that can contribute to preparing students for CVQs They will also hold separate consultations with TVET administrators and instructors from all districts in Belize to further enhance their knowledge of the existing system and to identify gaps that need to be addressed.

Southern Tour - Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture- Honorable Gaspar Vega, Minister of State- Honorable Hugo Patt, Chief Executive Officers of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture and senior officers of the Lands and Agriculture Departments and the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) toured the southern districts on April 1 and 2, 2014. The Deputy Prime Minister and his team first met with members of the Board of the Citrus Growers Association to discuss the control of Citrus Greening and the Certification of Citrus Nurseries. The meeting concluded with an agreement to immediately convene the task force that was set up to oversee the citrus greening certification program. The BAHA will continue to play a central role in control of HLB and the certification of citrus nurseries. The team then travelled to the village of Trio to meet with the small farmers in that area to discuss the issue of land holdings. The Deputy Prime Minister committed to regularize landholdings by June of this year.

Harvest Caye to Welcome Guests in Fall of 2015
“We expect Harvest Caye to be operational by the fall of 2015,” says Colin Murphy, Vice President of Norwegian Cruise Line with responsibility for Destination Development. The National Environmental Appraisal Committee has approved a revised Environmental Impact Assessment submitted by Norwegian Cruise Line for the development of Harvest Caye. The cruise line is now preparing an Environmental Compliance Plan and will then apply for relevant permits to commence its US$50 million development project. Colin Murphy says Norwegian made adjustments to its EIA based on the concerns raised at public consultations on the project. He says one of the concerns involved the source of potable water for Harvest Caye. Murphy says we made adjustment and included a state of the art reverse osmosis system on the island that is similar to what we have on the ships. The treatment system will be able to use sea water and produce quality drinking water. There were also concerns about an incinerator that was proposed for an inland site. Murphy says, “We addressed that concern and changed the plan; therefore, the incinerator will be built on the destination itself and as proposed will release very little emissions into the air.” Murphy says there were also concerns about the dredging of the area.

Ministry of Health personnel Attend Drug Treatment Seminar in Nassau, Bahamas
The Ministry of Health will be represented this week at the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, Organization of American States (CICAD/OAS), Standardized Drug Treatment Data Form Project Training Seminar from 9th – 10th April 2014 in Nassau, Bahamas. The objective of the training will be to strengthen the capacity of the Research and Information Unit of National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) as well as rehabilitation and treatment facilities in Belize to gather, analyse, and report drug related information in a standardized form. According to the Regional Drug Observatory, of which Belize is a member, drug treatment is one of the sectors where drug-related data is most underdeveloped. A pilot project on standardized drug treatment data form was successfully implemented in three Caribbean countries during 2012 and 2013. A report from that project indicates that it has been a valuable source of information on drug treatment in the region.

‘Paint Up A Storm’ held in San Ignacio Town
An activity celebrating the free expression of art was held in San Ignacio Town at the Cayo Welcome Center on Saturday of this past weekend. Sponsored by both the Winsom Foundation and the San Ignacio’s and Santa Elena’s House of Culture, the arts filled day brought together artists from Belize City and other parts of the Country. Children were out in large numbers to place fine stokes of many colors to paper. While some ten artists, who worked in pairs, were given boxes of a variety of supplies and asked to come up with their own costumes. By mid-day Saturday, five models walked on stage with their costumes, some made from easily accessible materials such as plastic, paper and tape. “The whole concept is for artists to come, no pressure, it is not to sell...it is just for the pure joy of creating and having stuff coming from your soul,” says Winsom Winsom, who has been holding 'Paint Up a Storm' in San Ignacio Town for the last five years, mostly at her own expense.

Political Mischief maker to be charged
Following an accusation by one Mr. Jermaine Miranda, involving the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Eddie Webster, and Mr. Frank Mena, a meeting was held today, 4th April 2014, in the office of the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr. Robert Mariano, at the Dangriga Police Station. Attending the meeting which started at 11:30 am were Mr. Robert Mariano, Mr. Frank Mena, Mr. Eddie Webster, Mr. Moises Lopez, the Honourable Michael Peyrefitte, Reverend Frederick Francisco, Senior Justice of the Peace, Mrs. Antoniette Webster and Mr. Jermaine Miranda. During the meeting Mr. Miranda admitted that the accusation he had made against Mr. Webster was untrue and he had done so to create mischief. Mr. Miranda apologized to Mr. Webster and Mr. Mena for his lack of judgment and mischief. It is expected that Mr. Miranda, according to Mr. Mariano, will be charged for making a false declaration to the police among other offences.

In for a Surprise
I must offer compliments to Channel 7 for the impressive scores obtained in the recent media survey which revealed something many of us already knew; that this news station was considered by viewers as most reliable and accurate in its reporting. I mean, their culture in exercising tough professionalism combined with in-depth research on national issues is considered wide-ranging and informative. Most importantly, News 7 has no concealed agenda to pursue, and no political dragon to slay. Many other outlets cannot make such claim, especially Channel Fox, who is managed by a PUP die-hard and has turned the station into a campaign arm of the Opposition. Let me tell you a few things about Fox. If there is but a minor occurrence in the most remote corner of our country which can have even the slightest negative influence on this UDP Government, Fox will chew it up and spew it out on viewers with a impassioned twist in the tale. If there is a meeting of the Senate or the House, 80% of the news coming from Fox will show the Opposition members delivering their presentations, with the other 20% showing Government Ministers saying something or the other, mostly out of context.

Squatters moved from Lake I Boulevard
Since Thursday, April 3, a small group of squatters has been trying to play upon the sympathies of the Belizean public, which has been tolerant over the years, in trying to force the Government into granting them the piece of land they are squatting on, which just so happens to be in the way of the Lake Independence Boulevard. Readers may remember of the operation that the police conducted in June 2011, where all the squatters in that area, which was known as Chetumal Street South, were removed to make way for the Government’s mega development. The plan was to build a boulevard which connects the Western Highway to Chetumal Boulevard in the Belama Area. Government also committed to putting an international bus terminal and a sporting complex in the area. After these people were duly warned and moved, others in distance, pretended like they didn’t know they were squatting on land that the Government intended to use. For 3 years, these other squatters (or in some cases the same squatters, who simply moved over), got away doing it. Now that Cisco Construction and its employees are working hard to lay the foundations for the boulevard, spreading clay to develop the area, the houses of these squatters are in the way, and they refuse to move. They are begging the Government to leave them untouched, but that is not only impossible, since the land is needed, but also unfair to the hundreds of Belizeans on waiting lists for years trying to get a piece of land.

U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State visits Cayo
U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Francisco Palmieri (Paco) toured the San Ignacio Police Station on Friday of last week , as part of his two day visit to Belize. While at work, Francisco Palmieri overseas the Caribbean and Central America in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Francisco Palmieri has served in various posts around the World; including the Columbia and Mexico/Merida operations, in addition to 19 Narcotics Affairs Offices throughout the Western Hemisphere. During his visit Palmeiri met with Officer in Charge of the San Ignacio Police Formation Ralph Moody and his Deputy Reymundo Reyes, as well as Community Groups making an effort to reduce crime in the area. Present at the meeting with him was Caesar Sherrard, Chairman of the People’s Coalition of Cayo PCC and Ernie Braun, Chairman of the Cayo Neighborhood Watch Association CNWA. During his visit at the police station in San Ignacio Town, Francisco Palmieri had an inside view of the Evidence Room, which had been obtained with the assistance of the U.S Embassy. He also had conversations with a finger print specialist attending to a finger print recognition system at the San Ignacio Police Station.

Voice of the West held in Cayo
A 13th 'Voice of the West' competition was held at Hodes’ Place on Savannah Street in San Igancio Town on Thursday night of last week. Organized by the San Ignacio Rotary Club, this much awaited competition brought together some 42 participants from 12 High Schools in Belize. The future luminaries participated in various areas of public speaking, gaining much applause from a large and youthful audience. In a just released note by the Rotary Club of San Ignacio “...in the eyes of the Rotary Club of San Ignacio all participants are winners. We would like to thank you and your Schools for all the hard work that you put into the outstanding presentation.”

American National Freed of Drug Charge for Hemp Seeds, Not Cannabis
In December 2013, American national John Downard was busted at the Phillip Goldson International Airport with what authorities said was illegal drugs, 461 grams of hemp seeds. Downard was charged with one count each of importation of a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled drug. His trial began back in February of this year before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton. Downard’s attorney, Rachel Montejo, submitted a no case application at the beginning of the trial based on the fact that hemp seed is not a controlled drug. On Monday, April 7th, Magistrate Leslie Hamilton upheld Montejo’s no case submission and ruled that Downard had no case to answer to for drug trafficking of cannabis seed. That was after Forensic Analyst Diana Bol-Noble’s report concluded that “no cannabis resins were detected”. In her view that meant that whatever was in it was psycho tropic.

Arson suspected in Cayo
Police in Cayo continue to look for Mark Estell, the ex-husband of Evelyn Estell, whose place of shelter at number 31 Carillo Puerto Avenue in Santa Elena Town was completely burnt with all the uninsured contents inside, on Sunday of this past weekend. Neighbors near the burnt building, measuring 20 by 18 feet, report seeing flames coming out of the two storey building from all directions. Living downstairs in the cement portion of the building at the time of the fire was 30 year old Evelyn Estell, a Naturalized Belizean, along with her two young girls. Living alone in the upper wooden flat at the time was the owner of the building 82 years old Agustin Avelino Martinez (Don Ting), a Naturalized Belizean. Evelyn Estell was awoken by smoke and on realizing that the house was on fire, exited the burning building along with her two kids in the nick of time. While Agustin Martinez in the upstairs section, tried to douse the flames but was slightly injured in the left leg.

Late to Court and guilty of Gun Charge
On August 2nd, 2011 the Anti-Drug Unit of the Police Department busted 21-year-old Jose Cocom Jr. with a sawed off shot gun. At about 1 p.m. that afternoon, police officers of the Anti-Drug Unit were on mobile patrol in Hattieville Village when they noticed a group of men standing at the Cool Spot near the roundabout. The driver of the mobile, PC Pech, and other officers exited the vehicle and approached a Hispanic man, identified as Cocom, who was acting suspiciously. The officer informed the man that he will conduct a search on him. According to officer Pech, that was when Cocom raised up his hands and said, “Sir, I surrender and I have a gun”. Cocom was cautioned by the officer and he began to cry. He lifted up Cocom’s shirt and saw a sawed off shot gun on his waist. According to officer Pech, Cocom said, “I thief that from somebody.” He was once again cautioned about his statement. The officers then arrested and escorted Cocom to the Belize City Police Station.

Jerome Ferguson Jailed for Stealing Gold Rings in Holding Cell
Jerome Ferguson was sentenced to two years imprisonment for stealing from a fellow detainee while in a police holding cell. According to police reports, on Friday, April 4th, 31-year-old Glen Williams was detained by police and handed over his personal properties, including $500 cash and 4 gold rings. Upon his release the following day, he went to collect his properties and that’s when it was discovered by the police that the items had already been claimed by another man, identified as Jerome Ferguson. Officer Santiago Ciau immediately launched an investigation into the matter and realized that it was Ferguson who signed out for the items. Ferguson was located and charged with theft.

Roshawn Higgs Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking
Roshawn Higgs, mother of five children, pleaded guilty to drug trafficking on Wednesday, April 9th and was imposed a non-custodial sentence in form of a mandatory minimum fine of $10,000. At about 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8th, police searched Higgs’ home at number six 7th Street in the King’s Park area after they found her standing in her yard by the door acting suspiciously. According to PC Carl Garbutt, while on patrol in the Kings Park area he saw 35-year-old Roshawn Higgs standing by the door of a house acting suspiciously. The officer informed her that he will conduct a search of her home for illegal firearms and drugs. During the search of Higg’s room, Officer Garbutt found a barrel and inside it he found a blue container with three plastic bags containing green leaf like substances suspected to be cannabis. PC Garbutt cautioned Higgs, then arrested and escorted her to the police station where the suspected weed was weighed in her presence. It amounted to 150 grams.

Two stabbed in Hattieville, one dies
Justin Lemoth, a 27 year-old resident of Hattieville, was remanded to prison for allegedly killing 17 year-old Richard Waight Jr., and injuring his 16 year-old friend, both of whom are resident of Hattieville Village. Waight and his friend were on the basketball court, which is in the vicinity of the village police station, on Friday, April 4, at around 9:25 p.m. They were reportedly socializing when they had a misunderstanding with some other young men who were on the court as well. According to police, Lemoth got involved, and pulled out a knife and stabbed both Waight and his friend. Waight suffered a wound to the left side of the chest, and his friend suffered one to the right lower abdomen. Police were immediately called, since they were but a stone’s throw away, and both young men were taken to the KHMH. Unfortunately, Waight’s injury caused him to bleed out before he could receive medical treatment, and he passed away, while in the arms of his father, Richard Waight Sr.

Belize Logistics’ Jose Gomez Charged for Non-payment of Social Security Contributions
Proprietor of Belize Logistics, Jose Gomez, appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer on Friday, April 4th, to face a charge of failure to make contribution payments to the Belize Social Security Board. According to reports, Gomez has failed to make contribution payments to Social Security for his employees from August 2013 to February 2014. It is a serious charge because it means that an employer takes money from their employees’ salary for Social Security contributions but doesn’t make the payments. The employer is therefore stealing from his employees and committing fraud using the Social Security Board. In court Gomez was unrepresented and pleaded guilty to the charge. He told Magistrate Frazer that his business has gone next to bankrupt and that he has gone from four employees to one and he will try his best to catch up with the payments. Gomez at one point owed the Social Security Board over $1,200 but has paid some $600 towards it. Frazer imposed a fine of $500 plus a $5 cost of court which must be paid by May 31st, 2014.

Woman police attacker caught in Little Belize
Police have finally caught up with a man whom they say chopped one of their own on the 5th of December of last year. At the time, Woman Police Constable Pate was responding to a domestic dispute in Trial Farm Village in Orange Walk when she was attacked by a man wielding a machete. During the attack Pate was severely chopped to the head having her hospitalized for a number of days. The attacker managed to escape. While Pate was on her way to recovery, the attacker remained at large until Wednesday April 9th when police say they conducted an operation in Little Belize Village in the Corozal district. During the operation they apprehended Oscar Perez, 44, of trial farm village. He has since been charged with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm and wounding.

Anfernee Romero succumbs to shooting

Keron Rosa Appeals Drug Trafficking Conviction
Justice Adolph Lucas has reserved his ruling on a drug trafficking case in which Keron Rosa was convicted for drug trafficking on July 22, 2013, imposed a fine of $10,000 and sentenced to three years imprisonment. Justice Lucas heard the appeal on Friday, April 4th. Rosa’s attorney, Anthony Sylvester, argued that the sentences imposed upon his client were unconstitutional. Crown Counsel Kaysha Grant of the DPP’s office argued that the sentence imposed on the appellant was not grossly disproportionate and is allowed by the Constitution. Justice Lucas will deliver his judgment on May 9th.

Spice Man Arthur Sewell Charged for Holding Out on GST
Arthur Sewell, 70, appeared in the Belize City Magistrates’ Court on Friday, April 4th, to face a charge of failure to file General Sales Tax return. The allegation being made by the GST Department is that Arthur Sewell, who is the owner of Sewell Spice located at #61 Euphrates Avenue, failed to file GST for the months of October, November and December of 2013 and January of 2014, a total of four months. Sewell appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart and in court pleaded not guilty to the offense. The trial against Sewell will take place in June of this year and will be prosecuted by Jacqueline Meighan. According to our information, Sewell has a previous conviction for non-filing of Social Security for which there is still an outstanding balance on the imposed fine.

Byron Pope wins Pre-Cross Country Race
The Cycling Federation of Belize sponsored its Pre-Cross Country Race on Sunday April 6, 2014. The race started from in front of Leslie’s Import on the George Price Highway to Mount Hope and then back to Leslie’s Imports. The race which lasted some 5:10:04 was captured by Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes. The second rider to cross the finish line was Marlon Castillo of BTL Cycling. Henry Moreria of Predators Belize was the third rider to cross the finish line in a time of 5:10:13, and he was followed by Gregory Lovell of BTL Cycling in a time of 5:11:03 and then followed by Brandon Cattouse of C-Ray Road Addikz. The race was a warm up leading up to the 86th Running of the Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic on Saturday April 19, 2014.

San Pedro Tigersharks continue to lead Elite Basketball League
The National Elite Basketball League competition continued over the last week with four games across the country. On Thursday April 3, 2014, at the University of Belize Gymnasium, the home team the Belmopan Point Bandits defeated the Dangriga Warriors by the score of 66-54. The top scorers for the Belmopan Point Bandits were Stephen Williams with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 5 steals, Erwin Robinson with 13 points, 3 rebounds and a steal and Dorian Jones with 9 points, and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, the top scorers for the Dangriga Warriors were Jamir Flores with 13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal, Gary Francisco with 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals, and Macario Augustine with 8 points, 11 rebounds and a steal. The competition continued on April 4, 2014, with two more games. At the Bird’s Isle in Belize City, the Belize City based Smart “No Limit” Team won handily over the Corozal Heats by the score of 71-62. The top scorers for the Smart “No Limit” team were Gregory Rudon with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals, Erwin Orosco with 12 points, 1 assist and a steal and Elsworth Itza and Kevin Domingo with 10 points each. For the Corozal Heats team, the top scorers were Jason Grant with 22 points, and 8 rebounds, Marcel Richards with 15 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal and Sheldon Williams with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists.

Police United maintains lead in Premier League Belikin Cup Tournament
The Closing Tournament for the Belikin Cup of the Premier League of Belize continued over the last week of play with three games across the country. On Saturday April 5, at the Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo Town, the home team Verdes FC edged the Belmopan Bandits by the score of 2-1. The home team Verdes FC got on the scoreboard first when Nahjib Guerra scored the 1st goal of the game in the 37th minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. It was until the closing minutes of the first half of the game that the visiting Belmopan Bandits were able to get onto the scoreboard when Elroy Kuylen scored the equalizing goal for his team in the 40th minute of play. The first half of the game ended 1-1 in a draw. In the second half of the game, the Verdes FC was able to penetrate the defence of the Belmopan Bandits, when Jamil Cano scored his team’s 2nd and final goal of the game in the 84th minute of play for the 2-1 victory. On Sunday April 6, at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the San Ignacio United FC and FC Belize played to a 2-2 draw. The visiting FC Belize was able to get onto the scoreboard first when Jarret Davis scored the 1st of his two goals in the 41st minute of play to give his team a temporary lead. However, the lead was short lived as the home team the San Ignacio United FC got onto the scoreboard when Anthony Gonzalez scored the equalizing goal in the 43rd minute of play.

Queen’s Baton Relay edges closer to Belize
The Queen’s Baton Relay was launched on October 9, 2013, at Buckingham Palace in London, England, by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, placed a message that will be read by her at the opening of the XX Commonwealth Games on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. The baton relay demonstrates the unity and diversity of the Commonwealth of Nations, and the first leg of its epic journey was to India on October 11, 2013 as the host of the last Commonwealth Games, which were held in New Delhi, India, in 2010. The Commonwealth Games are the second largest multi-sports event in the world only after the Olympics and are held in the odd years of the Olympic Games. Unlike the Olympic Torch, the Queen’s Baton Relay is actually far more extensive than the torch relay. During an eight-month span the relay will cover some 190,000 km before it returns back to Scotland for the opening of the games.

National Primary schools softball championships this Friday in the City
The National Primary Schools Softball championships for school year 2013-2014 will come to an end on Friday April 11, 2014 at the Rogers Stadium in Belize City. The championships will feature the champions in both girls and boys categories from all six districts of the country. The official opening ceremony is scheduled to commence at 8:30 am at Rogers Stadium and will be declare opened by Linda Reyes, ISF Hall of Fame Member and former Ace pitcher of the National Women’s Softball Team of Belize. The games in the girls’ competition will be played at Rogers Stadium the home of softball in Belize while the boys’ competition will be played at the Hostel Field. The schools that will be competing in the girls’ competition are from the Stann Creek District Richard Quinn RC from Georgetown Village, from the Cayo District Camalote St. Jude RC, from the Belize District Muslim Community, from Orange Walk District Carmelita Government School from the Corozal District Corozal Methodist School and from the Toledo District Aguacate Roman Catholic School.

Blogs

Middle Street San Pedro Finds – Art and Ice
$2bzd for a shaved ice? Don’t mind if I do…I stopped in for one totally old school snow cone. Lime syrup (they have lots of flavors) that all sinks right to the bottom. Once this thing softened up and I could mix it, it was a pre-lunch delight. I’ll have one again. You can pay .50 extra for condensed milk which I know many love. But I’ll stick to the classic. Particularly in the summer. Just about a block north is Saul’s shop and he is the reigning king of painted signs. All hail the king. Stop in just to look at the cute labels and packaging and t-shirts…the guy knows how to design a logo. Saul owns The Rum, Cigar and Coffee Shop that is THE coolest spot in town to have a coffee, meet all sorts of characters, take a seat inside (in his new lounge) or out front and watch the world go by. Also an EXCELLENT spot to drop off your husband while you do some shopping. Cigar and coffee with rum cream? He’ll be glad to wait.

“Looking for Linda” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
On returning home from our trip to Mérida it was very easy -virtually seamless in fact – to resume the routine (has a certain ring to it that. A bit like a Cole Porter song, “Begin the Beguine”. No? Oh well never mind). Regular readers will know the score. Up early, mug of black coffee and iPad out on the veranda for start of the day meditative time. Just me and my thoughts and wherever the Internet will take them. The only things that limit where my thoughts may travel are whether I have ingested enough coffee and the Internet bandwidth. Obviously I have total control over the former unless we have been stupid enough to run out of coffee – and although I might have my moments there (being stupid I mean)- we don’t because Rose is never that stupid. She’s far too organised for that. Now control over bandwidth? Well that’s a completely different matter entirely. I’m powerless. You’d imagine though, wouldn’t you, that at around 05.30/06.00 hours that most of the bandwidth would be available to me. Mine all mine and all that. I mean how many other people are up at that time drawing off my bandwidth? Doesn’t work that way though as I’ve found out. I decide where I want to ‘head off to’ enter it in the Search Bar and then watch and watch that bloody egg timer. But hey that’s part and parcel of living in a place like this. I mean I didn’t come here for supersonic Internet speed. It would be nice of course but it’s not the be all and end all.

Excursion Focus: Goff's Caye, Belize City
Royal Caribbean offers a number of cruises to Belize City and like us, you may be looking for something fun to do here during the day. We spent weeks searching for the right excurison for our family and we eventually decided on Goff's Caye. Goff's Caye is a small private island off the shore of Belize City. It's only accessible by boat and you must book a private excursion to reach the island. Did I mention Goff's Caye is small? It's only 1.2 acres of sand but if you're looking for somewhere to swim, enjoy the sun and snorkel, then this is the place for you. We booked our excursion online for $40 per person (kids under 4 are free). This gets you transportation to and from the island, snorkeling equipment and complimentary rum punch. Getting to and from the island is probably the most difficult aspect of the entire itinerary. Royal Caribbean ships have to tender in Belize City, so you have to take the Royal Caribbean tender to Belize City and then take a different boat to Goff's Caye.

Exploring The Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave in Belize
I rolled up into San Ignacio, Belize in a dilapidated old school bus without much of a plan, as I often do. This was the second half of my Belize adventure. The first half was a sun-soaked few days on the islands, but now I was in the jungle, where the real adventure is. I was itching to find something unique and exciting to do, so shortly after checking into my hotel I went on a mission to find what there was to do in this remote little city. As I walked out of my hotel I heard a call “Hey buddy, you looking for a tour? Jungle? River tubing? Mayan ruins?” Well that didn’t take very long, did it? Now normally I can’t stand these guys. I realize that they’re just trying to make an honest buck, but when I pass by every day for a week and they don’t get any less pushy I start to get pretty annoyed very quickly. This time was different though – I was eager for something to do and these guys were throwing opportunities at me. “Ok, so what do you got?” After debating what seemed to be dozens of available options I settled on a tour of Actun Tunichil Muknal, also known as the ATM Cave. It featured a jungle hike, cave exploration and an ancient Mayan sacrificial site, all lead by an experienced guide. Not bad for my first venture into the jungles of Belize.

Around San Ignacio Belize in 10 incredible Photos
Rated as the ecotourism town in western Belize, San Ignacio offers a plethora of tours and activities for the adventure traveler. Canoeing, bird watching, cave exploration, hiking, zip lining, river tubing, Maya Temples, cascading waterfalls, and sumptuous Belizean meals are just a few of the things that mesmerize travelers to visit this part of Belize. So here you go, the best travel photos of things to do in San Ignacio Belize.

Taking a Plunge in Belize
Strapped in and dangling from a cable, I cautiously peer over the tree stand. My heart is in my throat. Somehow, the lush dense green of the rainforest almost lessens the severity of a 140-feet drop. Before I know it, I’m gliding effortlessly over the treetops and marveling at the beauty of this island gem (in between giddy girl screams, of course). Belize has completely won me over. Zip lining thorough a tropical rain forest is just one of many jaw dropping experience visitors can add to their bucket list. Sacred caves and ancient Maya temples, world-class diving and snorkeling, and memorable dining options are just a few to consider. Situated between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize encompasses the best of both worlds. On one side, you’ll find Central American jungles, on the other side – the Caribbean Sea. With that map, it’s no wonder Belize a primary port of call for many cruise lines. That was the case with us – just an excursion day. After one visit, though, I decided just one day here would never be enough. Our zip-lining adventure took place in Caves Branch Archeological Reserve, southwest of Belize City. Many local tour guides are available, and packages can often include zip lining and cave tubing (which we also did).

UDP Takes Another Political Hit as SCTOB Grants Leave for Judicial Review on Penner Recall Petition
Very satisfied attorney Lisa Shoman and Orlando Habet as they exited court this morning, Host of Vibes Radio’s Morning Buzz, Albert Vaughan in background. The once thought to be moribund recall petition lodged by Orlando Habet, PUP standard bearer in the Cayo Northeast division and four others has gotten new life today in the Supreme Court of Belize. On Thursday morning Justice Courtenay Abel of the Supreme granted leave for Judicial Review of the Chief Elections Officer’s decision to reject over 300 signatures from the petition to recall disgraced former Immigration minister, Elvin Penner. Having made that decison, the Chief Elections Officer, then notified the Governor General that there were not enough signatures for the referendum recall to be held. That should have done away with that – however It didn’t sit well with the Opposition PUP. They articulated their disapproval and rejection of the Cheif Elections officer’s decision in a press conference held the party’s headquarters on Thursday, January 9th, 2014.

International Sources

My Thoughts On Today’s Colorado State 2014 Hurricane Season Forecast
Colorado State University (Dr. Phil Klotzbach & Dr. William Gray) released their April forecast for the upcoming 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season. In their latest forecast, they are predicting a total of 9 named storms with 3 of those storms becoming hurricanes and 1 of those of hurricanes becoming a major hurricane (Category 3, 4 or 5).

Summer school: Belcampo’s artist-in-residence program turns a Belize resort trip educational
“We made history today,” says Antony John, bouncing back from the telescope. That double-crested cormorant is not supposed to be here,” I home in on the yellow-faced bird with its great black wings outstretched. John — a gangly Welshman in safari garb, with spiky salt-and-pepper hair and rockstar piercings — explains its natural habitat is coastal. “If this is the first local sighting, who should we report it to?” I ask. “Nobody. We’re going to shoot it,” says John. As well as cracking jokes without mercy, John is at Belcampo jungle lodge, near the seaside town of Punta Gorda in Southern Belize, to share his expertise as a birder, painter and organic farmer. The former host of Food Network farming show Manic Organic, from Stratford, Ont., is the inaugural chef in Belcampo’s artist-in-residence program, which allows visitors to learn skills from wrapping tamales to mixing mojitos alongside some of the world’s leading food experts.

Caribbean must strengthen measures to deal with proceeds of crime
The two-day eighth annual regional Proceeds of Crime Conference began here on Wednesday with Caribbean countries being urged to strengthen measures aimed at curtailing the activities of criminals that could undermine national security. “This conference is important because serious and organized crime threatens national security by fueling violence, breeding insecurity, creating instability and weakening governance. “In doing so it poses a significant threat to prosperity, threatening economic growth by discouraging inward investment and creating barriers to business,” said Eamon Kearney, the Programme Manager-Caribbean Criminal Assets Recovery Programme (CCARP). The conference, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and hosted by Dominica’s Financial Intelligence Unit, is part of the DFID’s initiative that covers the seven independent countries of the Eastern Caribbean, along with Belize, Guyana, Jamaica and Montserrat.

The Strange Ventriloquy of Sounds
Last month I asked what you love about Africa and received a great response – thank you. One thing that came through loud and clear (no pun intended) were some of the sounds of Africa, from the singing grass to the roar of a lion. This got me thinking about how nostalgic a sense sound is, and how powerfully it can immediately transport you to a place and time. Here are where some of my favourite sounds from around the world take me. And you?

Ready, set, go slow
Residents and visitors on Caye Caulker, Belize, take life at a slower pace. Holly Firfer reports for CNN.


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