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#489395 - 04/12/14 06:40 AM Today's Belize News: April 12, 2014
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
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The San Pedro Sun

Fishermen targeting shark for export to Guatemala caught
Two fishermen were busted with shark meat and fins amongst other items when they attempted to export the products to Guatemala. The two men are Jose Chulin and Lineker Ortega, both Belizean fishermen. The incident highlights a problem that conservationists have been clamoring for years, a total review of the shark fishing trade and better enforcement of shark fishing regulations. Those talks have not seen much progress, but the incident, which occurred on March 22nd in southern Belize, brings to light the issue about the shark trade once again. According to the Fisheries Department, when the two men were in the process of being transported to Punta Gorda Town, they managed to escape in the dark of night, and despite searching the entire coastline, the men were not found. It was not until the following morning, on Saturday March 22nd, when a person called TIDE and reported that two fishermen had requested his assistance in exporting salted marine products to Guatemala. TIDE immediately responded and that is when they executed the arrest.

San Pedro Sports Committee hosts developmental football workshop
The San Pedro Sports Committee hosted a five-day technical and capacity building football workshop on Ambergris Caye. The workshop was geared to evaluate the skills of young athletes and at the same time, offer a Level 1 course to aspiring coaches. The workshop ended with an all-day football fair at the Saca Chispas Football Field on Saturday March 5th, in which footballers from all levels displayed their skills and abilities. These trainings include grassroots football for children between the ages of six and 12 years, formation of football academies, capacity building for coaches, beach and five-a-side football and capacity building for referees. “In San Pedro Town, we conducted two simultaneous workshops which included capacity building for coaches and the formation of football academies for sub-13, sub-15 and sub-17 teams… we look at the basic football philosophy and we also put what is being taught into practice. These are some of the ways that FIFA is helping Belize to develop football,” said Cowo.

San Pedro Tigersharks take a bite out of the Toledo Diplomats!
Week nine of the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) saw a crushing defeat for the Toledo Diplomats, the only team that had managed to win the Tighersharks in the league thus far. The San Pedro Tigersharks redeemed themselves and finished some unsettled basketball business with the southern team on Saturday 5th. So when the game started, it was on to settle the “beef.” The second quarter was no different, as it was clear that the home team was in to seal the game. Ervin Avila of Toledo opened the second quarter with a two point basket and came back a few seconds after with yet another excellent execution, putting the game at 25 to 11 apiece. Veteran Rico Black led the charge for the Tigersharks and after a successful cross over to Louis Pitterson, the good luck net shook. It was not the only time the net shook for the night, because after a slight improvement in the performance of the Diplomats and the dominant islanders, the halftime ended at 44 to 21; Tigershark was in the lead by a whopping 23 points.

Ambergris Today

Norwegian Cruise Line Invites Media on Tour of Norwegian Jewel
On the day that a group of Belize media personnel was invited by Norwegian Cruise Line to a special tour of their ship Norwegian Jewel there were three other ships that made calls to Belize; two of them were Norwegian ships while the others were for Carnival and Princess. Needless to say the Tourism Village in Belize City was teeming with activity from busy cruise passengers shopping at the village and others heading for tours around the country. The Norwegian Jewel is a 965-foot ship with the guest capacity of 2,376 guests. It is fully air-conditioned, has staterooms, villas and suites, 11 dining areas, seven bars & lounges, several pools, clubs, theaters, arcades, fitness center, spa, medical center and even a casino. That and much more is compacted into 15 decks or levels that encompass the state-of-the-art vessel. Amongst all the four vessels on call that Wednesday, April 9, 2014, between 8,000 to 10,000 cruise ship passengers were in Belize.

Breathalyzer Presented to Island as Part of National Anti-Drinking/Driving Campaign
The Belize Department of Transport presented the San Pedro Town Council and SP Traffic Department with a new breathalyzer as part of the ‘Think Before You Drink’ national campaign that was officially launched this week. On Thursday, April 10, 2014, the "Think before you drink. Don't drink and drive.” Campaign was launched on San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye at Central Park. Marion Mejia presented important facts of Drinking and Driving after which Mr. Chris Nuñez, Manager of Traffic Department, addressed the audience and stressed on the importance of sensitization and education on drinking and driving. He asked the community for their utmost understanding and cooperation for all to have safer roads.

Farewell to Stephen ‘Papi Box’ Manuel
It is with deep regret and sincere sorrow that we learned the passing of Stephen Manuel known to most people locally and internationally as Papi Box today Friday, April 11, 2014. Papi came to San Pedro as a young child and lived his entire life in San Pedro. A more suitable name for this friend would have been “Smily” since he shared a constant smile to everyone he came in contact with. This smile was shared with friends he served and entertained as a bartender for many years. He also shared his glee with passengers in his taxi and later on with his big clientele at Papi’s Diner where he excelled as a restaurateur. Papi Box served this community he made his home as a brave and roaring Lion.

Ariel Rosado Annual Bike Ride and Scholarship Giveaway
The Ariel Rosado Annual Bike Ride will be held on Saturday 10th May 2014 starting at Galen University campus in Central Farm and ending at Hour Bar and Grill in Belize City. Ride for Scholarships, Ride for your health, Ride for Fun. Registration and further information available at Ordonez Bike Shop on Pelican Street or Smiling Meats on New Road or call 223-5674/600-6665. Scholarships are available in the following categories: 1. Primary School Grants for students to learn to sail with the Belize Sailing Association 2. Secondary School scholarships covering the cost of Books, Tuition and Fees 3. Galen University Scholarship covering the cost of Tuition For further information visit our website at arielrosadofoundation@bz.com Or call our office at 223-5674 or 600-6665 Closing date for applications is Friday 13th June 2014.

Misc Belizean Sources

Benque Earth Day Celebrations
The Benque House of Culture is having an Earth Day celebration on Tuesday, April 22nd, starting at 8:30am. They'll do a clean up and painting campaign at Centennial Park. They are looking for more capable volunteers, so if you're interested, call 823-2697. Happy Earth Month! "Our Act of Green will be to maintain and upkeep the beautification project at the Centennial Memorial Park, join in and be a part of the green wave for Earth day , because it is more than just a day, but a lifestyle."

Santa Elena Easter Marathon
Feelgood news of the day. The Santa Elena Primary students had their Easter marathon yesterday. More pictures here. Thanks go out to Janet Lopez, for organizing the wonderful event. "Janet Lopez hosted her second annual Easter marathon give away. Over 1000 students and not one left without sticky hands, a smile and something in their hands to remember the day. MONTHS of collecting and sorting, and accumulating. What an incredible, thoughtful, giving, loving, woman. Okay...what's for dinner?"

Western Ballaz Host Heat
The Western Ballaz host the Corozal Heat tomorrow night, Saturday, April 12th, at 8:00pm. The last time they played, in Corozal, the Ballaz beat them 78 - 76. The expo game this time will be the SHC second string team against a Benque junior selection. There will be lots of prizes, food, and drinks, and this time, there will be a $25 free throw contest too. Meluchi's will host the after party. "Game again this Saturday against Corozal Heat at SHC. This game will start at 8:00 p.m. Thanks for supporting your WB boys!!"

BEL Holy Thursday Hours
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) advises customers that opening hours for all BEL offices on Holy Thursday, April 17, 2014 will be 8am til 2pm

National anti-drink driving campaign launched
Countrywide today, especially in the major municipalities, a road safety campaign targeting drunk driving was launched. Communications Officer for the project, Daedra Haylock, told us that of particular interest to them is young people, who are being encouraged to consider the consequences of unsafe driving as a result of intoxication, which does not begin at the “falling-down drunk” stage, but with the very first beer or liquor. Haylock says alcohol-selling establishments may be asked to offer incentives to promote safe driving. The campaign is an off-shoot of the National Road Safety Project. According to Swedish communication specialist Jette Ravn, Belize was selected for several reasons including a high incidence of traffic fatalities and a generally cavalier attitude toward alcohol use.

UB hosts fourth annual research conference
Belize’s national university, the University of Belize, is trying to build the expertise and research background of both students and faculty and promote the academic, professional and intellectual development of all Belizeans. For the fourth straight year, the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences (FMSS) hosted a research conference showcasing the best of its students’ and faculty members’ research work, particularly in. The conference featured a wide variety of topics and Dean of the Faculty, Vincent Palacio, mentioned a few he is looking forward to hearing, including a report on Belize’s progress toward achieveing the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Palacio said that the ten best thesis papers delivered by students are being featured today.

Gardening students carry out beautification project in Cayo
Three students of Belize Botanic Gardens’ Professional Gardeners’ Training have designed and installed a garden at the public bus stop at the junction of the Chial Road and the George Price Highway in Cayo. Prior to the upliftment project by Ivan Tzib, Rozana Lemus and Byron Jaimie, the area was covered by trash and so the installment of the garden was timely to make the area look better. Members of staff of the Belize Botanic Gardens have pledged to assist with the upkeep of the garden by keeping the plants watered and emptying the garbage bin regularly. The initiative of the students is commendable, but lamentably not even 24 hours after the hard work of putting in the facility to beautify the area, vandalism appears to have already been visited upon the project as one of the plants has disappeared.

Hurricanes to Blow into Belize
The Belmopan Bandits are hosting the Houston Hurricanes tonight for an international friendly game. It'll be at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, and it starts at 7:30pm. "Hurricanes head Coach Brendan Keyes said I have been working on this game for a while now so for it to be confirmed today was worth all the hard talks we had. It's a great experience to travel over seas for the lads, myself and I look forward to see some beautiful places in Belize and mix with the locals. Team Captain Jorge Vela will make the trip after getting the good news today getting his papers and making him eligible to travel. I can't wait to play the Bandits Vela said with a big smile, it's great that Coach Keyes can get us these types of games."

Change of contact number at Cahal Pech Archaeological Reserve
The Institute of Archaeology would like to inform all Tour Operators, Tour Guides and the General Public that the contact number for the Cahal Pech Archaeological Reserve has been changed to 804-0207.

Buy Property in Ambergris Caye, Belize
Buying any type of property is a major decision and a great investment. It can be very intimidating, especially if you are considering buying property in another country or in an island such as Ambergris Caye, Belize. However with proper research and the right information the process is simplified and doesn’t have to be intimidating. When you make the decision to purchase property there are many things you need to consider. You need to decide where you want to purchase, how much you want to spend and what type of property you want to invest in. One type of investment that you can consider is purchasing a foreclosed property. A foreclosed property is simply a property that has been recovered by the bank from those that have stopped making payments towards their loan in an effort to sell the property to recover the money that was lent to the borrower. In these cases, when a bank has foreclosed on a property, they put the property on the market for sale and normally would be willing to accept less than market value for it. Therefore this simply means that you can get a great deal on the property.

Yes!! It is here. Rugby in Belize
Rugby Belize has announced the appointment of Jonathan Woodward, as Global Ambassador. This is a proud moment for Rugby Belize and hopefully the first of many exciting announcements in the future regarding the development of Rugby in Belize

American Actor David Cross
Hollywood Actor David Cross dives with our friends at Amigos Del Mar Dive Shop on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. This is really cool.

Belize is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Flanked on the East side by the stunning Belize Barrier Reef, this exotic country is breathtaking to behold. Belizeans are some of the luckiest people in the world -- they wake up every morning in paradise. This website is a shrine to all things Belizean. Show your love for the motherland and flaunt your Belizean pride. We have a lot of cool stuff in our shop we just know you'll love. Welcome! Have a look around.

Channel 7

Cuban Twins And A Nigerian Busted With Bogus Documents At PGIA
2 Cuban brothers and a Nigerian are in custody tonight after they were busted by the Immigration Department at the PGIA with fake immigration documents. The men flew in to Belize, and it is believed that they were trying to make their way to the US. 40 year-old Cuban twin brothers, Joel Jaimes Gonzalez and Joany Jaimes Gonzalez, and 53 year-old Nigerian Patrick Joshua Aibaengbee, landed on the Avianca flight from El Salvador yesterday. The brothers tried to get into country with fake passports, and fake Belizean visas. In the case of Joel and Joany Gonzalez, the walked up to the arrival section and presented 2 separate Guatemalan passports. Joel handed over a passport which said that his name was Nestor Bayona Carreno, his brother Joany, handed over a passport which said that his name was Felipe Bayona Carreno. If the fake documents passed inspections, the 2 brothers would have been able to enter the country legally because Guatemalan citizens do not require a Belizean visa to travel here. Luckily, the immigration officials processing the documents became concerned and made closer checks. On verification, they found out that the Guatemalan passports were forged with the photographs of the brothers superimposed into them to look official, in an attempt to allow these impostors to get through immigration.

Global Study On Homicide Blows Up Belize
The United Nations Global Study on Homicide was launched yesterday in London, and, using 2012 figures, it shows Belize with the third highest murder rate in the world. As regions, Southern Africa and Central America have the highest murder rates per hundred thousand, and Belize with the 2012 rate of 44.7 murders per hundred thousand Belize was third highest in the world behind Honduras and Venezuela. Belize's figures for 2013 showed a sharp decline in the murder rate to 29.8 murders per hundred thousand citizens. Still that is high because, globally, the average homicide rate is 6.2 per 100,000 people, but Central America has rates four times higher, more than 24 victims per 100,000. Interestingly the statistics also show that Belize City was among the most dangerous cities on earth with a murder rate of 105.1 murders per hundred thousand citizens. Under the heading for each country's most populous city's murder rate, only Guatemala City at 116, Caracas Venezuela at 122 and Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis at 131 were higher. Juarez Mexico and San Pedro Sula which have the highest city murder rates in the world, were not listed in that category because they are not the most populous cities in their countries.

Penner Was Questioned
At a press conference yesterday, Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca complained that police had not yet gotten a statement from Elvin Penner and that the investigation file is incomplete. Fonseca suggested that police were dragging their feet and if that continued, the PUP would go to the court to find Commissioner Allen Whylie in contempt. But 7News has confirmed that Penner was questioned by police - indeed he did not give a statement - because he told the investigators he would have to consult with his attorney. Generally, accused persons only rarely give sworn statements to police. Police have handed over the file to the DPP, Cheryl Lynn Vidal who told the media two weeks ago that, quote, "I have not yet reached the stage where I am satisfied, on what has been presented to me by the police, that I can properly direct that charges be laid." End quote.

Con Man Caught In The Act
A man has been going around Belize City impersonating a BEL collection agent. His con is that he tells residential home owners that he can get their light bills discounted - they just have to give him the bill and the money, and he'll get it done. After that he disappears, with the money and the bill never to be seen again. The man presents himself with a bogus ID to facilitate the scam. Reports of this sort have been going around for weeks - but this morning one sharp Belize City resident put a stop to his game. The Buttonwood Bay resident told the man to hold on while he got his money together. The resident used that time to call police who responded quickly and picked up the man. Despite our best efforts, police have not provided any further details, but BEL did send out a release today. It says that BEL advises customers to request proper Identification card - one that looks like this - from any person claiming to be a BEL employee or contractor. Any and every BEL employee claiming to be conducting work on behalf of the power company can be asked to present a valid identification card.

Leon Gomez Convicted, Emerges Emotional From Court
22 year-old Leon Gomez is at prison tonight awaiting his sentencing hearing after he was convicted on Wednesday night of manslaughter in the courtroom of Justice Adolph Lucas. Gomez was charged with murder for the stabbing death of 27 year-old Salvador Martinez. Viewers may remember that on January 18, 2010, at around 6 p.m., Ladyville Technical High School and Sadie Vernon High were having a football match on the MCC Grounds when a brawl broke out in the stands. Martinez tried to part the fight, and while he was trying to protect a friend, he got stabbed in the chest and abdomen area, which caused him to bleed out and die. The main crown witness was one of the young men who was in the fight that day. He told the court that he had a misunderstanding with another man who grabbed his phone out of his hand, and while he was arguing with the person who took it away, he felt a pint bottle hit him across the head. That's when the fight broke out, and he saw Martinez fighting with Gomez. The fight stopped when someone shouted that police was coming, and when he looked over, he saw that Martinez was suffering from multiple stab wounds. The prosecution, led by Crown Counsel Portia Staine, also got Gomez's caution statement admitted into evidence. He told police in that statement that he was fighting with a man who he stabbed in the hand to release him. Gomez said that when the man released him, he ran away.

A River Used To Run Through It
The development what's to be Lake I Boulevard has been making the news since last Friday because of the squatters who were in the way, but tonight, we report on it once again because the development has caused the contractors to block the river. Tonight, we spoke with the Contractor, Francis Woods, who is the Director of Cisco Construction, and he told us that they started filling the river 1 and a half to 2 weeks ago. He tells us that it is important because they will have to operate heavy equipment in the area to drive piles into the ground for the bridge which will connected the boulevard to Belama's Chetumal Street. When we asked him if there is going to be any long term environmental consequence of doing that, he told us that he doesn't have the documents in front of him to be able to say exactly, but he says that an EIA was done, which was properly vetted and signed off on by the DOE and NEAC. He says that the workers are following the recommendations of the Department of Environment to the letter to ensure that there is little impact on the environment in the area.

Parlacen Makes Overtures To Belize
A body called "Parlacen" - as in the Parliament of Central America wants Belize to be a member. Parlacen is an extension of SICA, the Central American Integration System, and it's a political institution with headquarters in Guatemala City. It facilitates regional discussions about political, economic and cultural affairs of common interest. Today the president of the parliament Paula Rodriguez came to Belize ot meet with Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Foreign Ministe3r Wilfred Elrington. Elringotn says they are recruiting Belize ofr membership:.. Hon. Wilfred Elrington "It's interesting that years ago you initiatives were made by Belize to become full members of Parlacen and the opposition was raised by the Guatemalans. But the present Guatemalan administration is fully on board with the idea that Belize should be a part of Parlacen. As a matter of fact Ms. Paula who is Paula Rodriguez who is the president of Parlacen is a member of President Molina's party in Guatemala and her visit is with the full vetting of the president of Guatemala and the present administration in Guatemala. Her invitation is for us to become observer members of Parlacen."

Trade Ambassador Bert Tucker Passes
Former Belize Trade Ambassador Adalbert Tucker died in Jamaica last night. Tucker had been ailing from complications of prostate cancer. He went to Jamaica - where his sister is the honorary counsel for Belize - to seek treatment, but his condition was too advanced to be effectively contained. He took a turn for the worse two weeks ago and died last night. Tucker has an impressive international resume as an international development consultant. He had graduate degrees from UWI and Harvard, and worked in Jamaica during the Manley years, and also in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Liberia. But his friend and former boss Wilfred Elrington remembers him best as a humanist and a patriot that he first met as a boy on west Street in Belize City:.. Hon. Wilfred Elrington "A very passionate nationalist; very powerful sense of humor; a tremendous memory and just a very kind individual. He really was into education. He saw education as being vital for us. A good human being; being would have lost a good son, a very solid, native son who to the extent that he could made his contribution to Belize different ways."

Kidney Fair Under-Attended
When's the last time you went to check your kidney? That's what the Kidney Association of Belize hoped that members of the public would do today at their annual fair. The association says that it's a vital organ which is one of the first parts of the body to be affected by hypertension or diabetes. And if you watch the news - you'll know that there are enough people out there suffering from end stage renal failure. Today, we stopped in to find out how the fair was going: Ruby Nicholas, President, Kidney Association of Belize "The purpose of the fair is to invite participants to come out and find out about their health status. We have several of the providers here. We have the Diabetes Association; we have the nurses, the doctors; we the AIDS center; HECOPAB and we have invited those who could have come out with their materials to provide information for the public." Daniel Ortiz "Why is it important that one knows the health of their kidneys ma'am?"

Ornel Brooks, A Media Rememberance
Last night we told you about the passing of former police commissioner Ornel Brooks. The 63 year old was cremated today and after a memorial service on Monday, his remains will be taken back to Gallon Jug, where he was born. And while there are so many stories about this particular boy from Gallon Jug - today Jules Vasquez went into the archives - specifically the years between 1996 and 1999 - when Brooks - then in his mid to late 40's - emerged as the most media engaged police commissioner ever. You might not remember, but for a while there, his media appearances dominated the national discourse, and sometimes he even outshined his ministers, Dean Barrow and Jorge Espat. Jules Vasquez marvels at how things have changed from Brooksy's days:.. ComPol Allan Whylie "As I said I was out of office, so I can't comment. I need to get into office to see what have been said, what has been submitted to me before I could say something." Geivanni Brackett, reporter "Have you heard anything on the news?" ComPol Allan Whylie "No." Jules Vasquez reporting Didn't see the news? Ornel Brooks was the news! He was the first modern police commissioner Belize knew. Modern in the sense that he was fully engaged with the media. He didn't hide behind hollow press officers - he didn't even have one, neither did he skulk away from the cameras, Brooks put on his best suit whether camouflage or business, and engaged the media frontally and fearlessly. ?No commissioner of police before or after carried himself with such singular swagger.

Lifting Their Voices For Lent
The Belize Choral Society is hoping that you will come out and support their Lenten Choral concert, which takes place tomorrow at the Parish Hall. It will feature music they've been working on for months, and we stopped in last night to see their final rehearsal. Courtney Gillett, a member of the choir, told us why you will enjoy it: The concert starts at 8 p.m., and tickets can be bought from choir members or at the door for $20.

Profile Of a Vocal Teacher
Tonight's I am Belize Profile is about teacher Lavern Ferguson. She teaches at St Luke's Methodist but to get there she had to overcome family and peer pressures as one of the youngest high-schoolers to be a good student, and great teacher:

Good Egg Hunting
On Tuesday, we showed you the pre-schoolers who got their chance to go scavenger hunting for some pre-Easter treats courtesy of BTL. Well, today, the primary school students of Bethel in Belize City, got their opportunity thanks to the Belize City Council and Diamonds International. We stopped in the see the egg hunt in progress, and to catch a glimpse of those excited students race about to score some early Easter eggs.

Channel 5

Government approves extension to US Capital Energy despite court ruling
Tensions are reaching a feverish pitch tonight between Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, U.S. Capital Energy and government. On April third, Justice Michelle Arana handed down a major decision [...]

SATIIM says it will do what it takes to block the oil company
The Mayan Leaders in the buffer communities held an emergency meeting this afternoon in light of Cabinet’s decision. The spokesman for the Mayan leaders is SATIIM’s Executive Director Greg Ch’oc. [...]

5 fishermen home safe, while a trio of pirates is in custody
While five fishermen are home safe, a trio of pirates is in custody tonight. As we reported on Thursday night, the Belize Coast Guard responded to a robbery twenty miles [...]

Godwin Hulse tells immigration officers “Lord turn it around”
There has been precious little coming out of the Immigration Department where the Penner situation is concerned. At this point…and really at every point since the scandal broke, there have [...]

Senior immigration officer chastises Director Maria Marin
Minister Hulse’s call to a talk show on Wednesday morning was in response to a previous Belizean caller who was upset at the turn-around and endless hassles to get a [...]

2 Cubans and a Nigerian caught at the P.G.I.A.
There was a big bust at the P.G.I.A. on Thursday when a Avianca flight touched down from El Salvador.  On board were two Cuban twin brothers with fraudulent Guatemalan passports [...]

More illegal logging of rosewood in the south
If all has gone as scheduled the Forest Department, working along with the Police, should be conducting a sweep of South Stann Creek. The goal is to crack down on [...]

Work halted at Marion Jones because of non-payment
One month ago Minister of Sports Herman Longsworth told News Five that the Marion Jones Sporting Complex was close to completion. That’s a story we had certainly heard before, multiple [...]

One month later, still no results for crop destruction at Valley of Peace
It has been almost a month since a little over thirty-five acres of vegetables were destroyed in the Valley of Peace community.  The destruction, it is strongly believed, is the [...]

Cordel is back in the P.U.P. ranks
At the P.U.P. press conference held at Independence Hall on Thursday, there was much about governance matters and social concerns. But there were also some plain political talk. The P.U.P. [...]

Guatemalan officials in Belize to investigate killing in Chiquibul
The recent killing of a Guatemalan national by Belize Defense Force personnel inside the Chiquibul forest has sparked renewed concerns by the international community about the existing border issues between [...]

Belize High School donates to the Belize Youth Cadet
Organizations donating to other less advantaged entities – it happens maybe less than one would hope, but it does happen. Still, our attention was caught on Thursday as students from [...]

SIF Rep says no monies for investors of previous contract
Last Wednesday, the Social Investment Fund handed over the contract for the completion of the Dangriga Marketplace to CB Constructions out of San Ignacio. The new contract valued at a [...]

2 notable personalities pass away
Two notable personalities have passed away. Ambassador for Foreign Trade Adalbert Tucker lost his battle with cancer on Thursday night in Jamaica where he was receiving treatment. Tucker had been [...]

CitCo and Diamonds Int’l host Easter egg hunt for Bethel students
Easter is fast approaching, but today, it came early for students of Bethel Primary School who were treated to an Easter Egg Hunt. Diamonds International located within the Fort Street [...]

Kidney Association holds annual health fair
There was another event not far from our studios. The Kidney Association in Belize held its annual health fair at the Lion’s Club Parking Lot on Princess Margaret Drive. The [...]


Team Healing Hands Donates Wheelchairs To Disable Children
A group of rehabilitation professionals known as Team Canada Healing Hands are in Belize providing rehabilitative education, training, and care in areas of need, particularly for children with disabilities. During their visit this year and over the course of the week, they tended to approximately 55 children, provided 18 wheelchairs and customized 15 others. We caught up with the team today at the House of Culture where we met Occupational Therapist, Carolyn Kelly who told us about their capacity building with workers from Project Hope and the Inspiration Center. Carolyn Kelly – Occupational Therapist “We’re trying to set up a wheelchair for a little girl and she could be at risk at pressure because she doesn’t have cushion on her wheelchair, this is her chair here, and you can see that the upholstery is very weak and it is crooked so our job is to give her a nice flat seated surface and to give her cushion so that when she sitting in her cushion her skin is protected and she will be able to sit upright and level. We brought lots of things from Canada but our hope is that we can use materials that are available here in Belize so that when we leave all the professional therapist and health professionals in Belize can continue to be able to do the work when we are gone.”

Ministry Of Health Issues Advisory On Safety Tips To Prevent Drowning
The death of two forth form students from Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico in San Roman Corozal, has apparently prompted the Ministry of Health to send out an advisory on safety tips to prevent drowning. As mentioned last night, an investigation is still ongoing on the circumstances surrounding the death of 16 year old Edgar Puck from the Village of Patchakan and 15 year old Anahi Zepeda from San Joaquin who drowned in the Macal River on Friday while on a class trip in San Ignacio. With the Easter Holidays right around the corner, the Ministry of Health is partnering with the city and town councils and the National Association of Village Councils to address the issue of drowning. Reports are that every year the Ministry records cases of drowning. During the six year period of 2008-2013, a total of 131 deaths by drowning were recorded. Recent statistics show that in 2013, there were 20 deaths due to drowning, with the Belize and Cayo Districts seeing the greater number of deaths with 8 and 5 respectively. Males, in particular are the most at risk group, accounting for more than 80% of all drowning deaths. In 2013 alone, males represented 85% of all drowning deaths for that year.

Corozal School Holds Kite Competition
Physical activity is defined as any form of exercise or movement and may include planned activity such as walking, running or other sports. It may also include daily activities such as household chores, gardening, walking the dog and believe it or not flying a kite. Now, we all know that it is that time of the year when kites are on demand. But for schools that hold kite competitions, it is more than just students having fun in the sun. Kite flying helps children feel more confident, happy and relaxed. The activity improves their self- esteem and self-concept, sense of belonging, ability to sleep better, self-expression and the opportunity to achieve. With so many benefits in kite flying the Corozal Church of Christ Primary School launched their annual kite contest today. A total of 35 kites were submitted by students from preschool to standard one. The competition continues tomorrow with students from the middle division and upper division taking part in the event.


Behind the Rejection of the Penner Signatures
Yesterday we reported on the decision of Justice Courtney Abel to allow three of the original five applicants in last week’s filing of the challenge to the decision of Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai. Tamai recommended the rejection of 337 signatures from the original list of 2,002 presented to...

BTL Employees Trust Wants Judgment
The Court of Appeal had set April 10 as the date when it would deliver judgment on the second nationalization of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) after hearing the case in October of 2012. That’s over a year ago and after several postponements of the judgment, the BTL Employees Trust,...

BCWU Wins Pay Increase for BTL Workers
Sticking with BTL, it has been involved in negotiations with the Belize Communications Workers’ Union (BCWU) over the latest collective bargaining agreement for workers. Those have come to an end and while they did not get 5% pay increase as asked for, they came close, with 4% salary increase...

Does Government Have the Right to Appeal Mandamus?
At the PUP’s press conference in Belize City on Thursday, the Opposition claimed that the Government continues to drag its feet on the prosecution of ex-Minister of State Elvin Penner. As part of that foot-dragging, notice has been served of the appeal of the decision of Chief Justice Kenneth...

2 Cubans and a Nigerian Busted at PGIA With Fraudulent Documents!
Yesterday Thursday, April 10, 2014 at around 4 p.m., Immigration Officers at the Phillip Goldson International Airport intercepted three people with fake passports coming off an AVIANCA flight from El Salvador. On board with fraudulent documents were two Cuban brothers with fake Guatemalan passports and a Nigerian with a...

Squatters to Get Legal Advice?
Last week we reported on the plight of squatters in the area behind the under-construction Lake Independence Boulevard. They are being told to vacate their properties immediately to make way for development in the area. The problem is, they say they have nowhere else to go, and their area...

New Horizons Project Kicks Off at EP Yorke
On Thursday, the U.S. Southern Command launched its New Horizons 2014 exercise, dedicated to bringing the military personnel of Belize and the U.S. and the local Ministries of Education and Health into partnership for training and improvement of social services. At the launch, U.S. Charge’ D’Affaires Margaret Hawthorne spoke...

St. Martin’s Easter Day Kick Off
Children from St. Martin’s Government School in Belmopan had an Easter holiday kick off this morning with an all day sports day event at the Governor General’s Field in Belmopan. We dropped by right in time to witness the old marble and spoon race. Clementina Romero, Vice Principal of...

#489397 - 04/12/14 06:41 AM Re: Today's Belize News: April 12, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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“He not only wanted to be a policeman. That was his dream. He lived to be a policeman,” Eldon Brooks said of his late father, Ornel Brooks, who lost his battle with colon cancer while undergoing treatment in Belize City this morning. One of my father’s favorite phrase was “top cop,” Eldon said of the man who rose from the humble rank of Constable to Commissioner of Police, after spending some thirty-odd years in the Belize Police Department. Brooks took over command of the Police Department in November 1996, and held the post for the next three years. Following his retirement, Brooks’ next posting was at the National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC), where he assumed the post of director. When his job at NDACC came to an end, Brooks took over the security operation of the Belize Central Bank, as chief of security, before settling into his quiet retirement.

The hunt for a crocodile that attacked and killed Benque Viejo resident Carl Diaz, 56, while he was fishing in a waterway in Lords Bank, Ladyville, at about 4:00 p.m. Monday afternoon, is over. The male Morelet crocodile, which weighs about 550 pounds and has a length of about 11 feet, with part of its tail missing, is being held at ACES, the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) in Ladyville, and it is expected to be humanely put to death by the authorities. The hunt for the vicious crocodile began on Tuesday evening after it killed Diaz. Vince Rose, a crocodile expert, told Amandala in an interview this afternoon that after a hunt for the animal that continued throughout last night, it was spotted at about 10:00 this morning near a hole in the area. The team had to dig out the crocodile, but it was not an easy task, because the beast had dug in tightly in the hole, and they also had to contend with its powerful jaws.

Leon Gomez, 22, walked out of the Supreme Court of Justice Adolph Lucas with tears in his eyes, still protesting his innocence, “da no me.” Gomez was visibly upset and had to be restrained by relatives and court policemen, who led him to the waiting police mobile unit that would return him to the Belize Central Prison, where he has been on remand since he was charged with the January 18, 2010 murder, of Salvador Martinez. Justice Lucas has set May 12, as the date for a mitigation hearing and sentencing of Gomez, after a jury of 5 men and seven women returned a unanimous not guilty of murder verdict, but a 10-2 split decision of guilty on the lesser count of manslaughter. The jury had deliberated for over four hours. Gomez’s murder trial began on March 17, but in the opening days, a number of voir dires slowed down its progress, as counsels, defense and prosecution, hammered away at points of law, legal arguments which had to be held in the absence of the jury. Attorney Alifa Elrington Hyde, who represented Gomez, tried, but failed to prevent a caution statement that her client had given to police from being entered as evidence in the prosecution’s case.

Zetora Johnson, 82, of Baracat Street in Belize City, claims that witchcraft is being used against her by a man whom she knows, who is demanding $250 from her to cure her. Johnson, speaking with Amandala today, told us that she has refused to pay him, and now, she cannot sleep at night and feels “all kinda things” moving in all parts of her body, and her legs and ankles are swollen. She showed her swollen legs and ankles to us and said that the pain would begin from her toes and move up to her legs, which become swollen and very painful, and to get relief, she soaks them in water, or urine. She said that her life has become full of misery and pain. Johnson told Amandala that three years ago a group of Africans were living in a house next to her property on Baracat Street, and her son began an intimate affair with one of the women. But the woman’s brother-in-law was annoyed, because he was in love with her also, and animosity began to develop between the brother-in-law and her son. The man began to threaten him.

Belizeans, beware of scamsters in Cancun!
The vacation season will be here again in a little over a week, and many Belizeans will be making the trip to Cancun, Mexico, where they may be approached by agents of a vacation promotion company, trying to get them to buy into timeshare packages on the promise that they will receive major hotel discounts on future trips to Cancun after paying an initial fee. However, some of the persons who have been approached by agents for such deals while they were staying at hotels in Cancun have indicated to us that rather than gaining discounts, they have lost thousands of dollars in the process. “It was a horror story for me,” said one San Pedro resident we spoke with today. He told us that he and his wife lost $1,400, after they opted out of a deal proposed to them while they were staying at a Cancun hotel two years ago, in August. The couple were vacationing with their child, and the father told us that rather than spending their time enjoying their days in Cancun, they sacrificed some of that valuable time in trying to negotiate a package for future vacations—which they eventually abandoned after seeing terms and conditions which would have locked them into an agreement which seemed to them like a preapproved loan. He said that the hotels were probably selling the schemes to get money to recover millions that had been lost due to hurricane damages.

CCJ upholds $2 million ruling for Janae
Janae Matute and her mother, Georgia Matute, were jubilant today over a decision handed down this morning by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), in which the court agreed with decisions made by the lower courts to award the family over $2 million in damages after they found Georgia’s gynecologist, Dr. Raju Meenavalli, liable for miscalculating her due date—an error which the courts believe caused Janae to develop her lifelong disability. Janae sued via her next of kin, Georgia Matute, her mother. “I am very excited,” her mother said, expressing her gratitude that The Almighty has blessed them in being able to see justice in the matter. “A lot of times we feel we do not get justice, but He is faithful,” said Matute. She told us that she has not yet gotten an indication from her attorneys on what will be done to ensure that the court’s award will be settled.

EDITORIAL: Kremandala and the PUP
Channel 7 reported on Wednesday evening that former PUP Lake Independence area representative (1998-2012) Cordel Hyde will become the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) standard bearer for the division in an endorsement convention next month. We had been hearing much the same thing for a few weeks now, but in such delicate matters one has to wait and see. Since withdrawing from his chairmanship of PUP Lake I early in 2012 when his son became terminally ill in New York City, Cordel Hyde has worked in different capacities at Kremandala. The PUP standard bearers that we know, are holding on to their day jobs. At the point when they begin full time campaigning for general elections, things change. Since 2009, the faction which is presently in control of the PUP has taken the position that Kremandala is in the paid employ of the Barrow UDP government. That PUP faction even published its own newspaper, called The National Perspective, for two plus years, until late 2011 when they regained control of the PUP following the resignation from leadership of Johnny Briceño. There had been a competition for PUP leadership following the resignation of Said Musa as PUP Leader in February of 2008. In a leadership convention that March, Johnny Briceño had defeated Francis Fonseca by a narrow margin. In that convention, Cordel Hyde and Mark Espat, then the PUP Albert area representative (1998-2012), had supported Mr. Briceño.

From The Publisher
In September of 2011, the Kremandala group organized a national conference of Belizean writers, artists, musicians and intellectuals, something we called “WAMI.” We financed the initiative ourselves from within Kremandala, so our logistics were modest. We certainly hoped that we could make it an annual affair, but that was not to be. WAMI did not receive the support from Belize’s tertiary level educational institutions which the conference should have, but that is easily explained. Belize’s tertiary level institutions are controlled by the ruling political party and by religious organizations. Neither the government or the churches have any interest in exposing the young minds under their jurisdiction to any ideas which have not been processed and approved by the establishment. The ideas, then, which are presented to our young people in Belize’s tertiary level institutions are only those ideas which are acceptable to the government and the churches. Because Belize is a society where there is freedom of expression, tertiary level young people also have access to ideas which originate with newspapers, radio stations, and television stations, not to mention their own social media. As you can imagine, the processed and approved ideas presented by the government and the churches are often outdated: certainly, they are not cutting edge.

Escuela Secondaria Mexico students laid to rest
Two fourth form students of the Escuela Secondaria Mexico school of San Roman, Corozal, who drowned in the Macal River in San Ignacio while swimming with their classmates on Friday near the low bridge, were buried in their respective home villages on Sunday. Anahi Zepeda, 15, who is a resident of San Joaquin, Corozal, was buried in that village’s cemetery, and Edgar Puck, 16, a resident of Patchakan, was buried in the Patchakan Village Cemetery. Zepeda was an honor roll student, while Puck was the designated valedictorian and was to have presented the valedictory speech at the upcoming school graduation. The tragedy occurred at about 4:00 Friday evening near the low bridge in San Ignacio. The fourth form class had been on a school tour of the Che Chem Ha Cave System in the Cayo District, and had stopped at the swimming area near the bridge, to wash themselves off, when Zepeda and Puck were swept away by strong currents that came down the river.

Crocodile kills man in swamp near Green Estate, Lords Bank
Carl Michael Diaz, 47, a fisherman of Benque Viejo Del Carmen, Cayo District, died after he was attacked and dragged under water by a crocodile while he was fishing in the water in an area in Lords Bank, at about 3:00 p.m. Monday afternoon. A resident of the Spanish Town area, Lords Bank, told police that at about 3:00 p.m. on Monday, he was walking in the area, about to go fishing, when he heard a noise coming from the water channel. He went to see what was happening and that was when he saw a man being attacked and dragged under water by a large crocodile. The man immediately began to make noise to distract the crocodile, which released the man and disappeared in the water. Diaz’s body was later recovered by police. According to the police officers, they located the body of Diaz around 4:00 p.m. Monday afternoon about 900 feet southwest of the Green Estate property in Lords Bank. He was lying face-down in the water, and his right foot was almost severed, they said. The officers also observed that there was a huge, irregular wound on his right leg, and there were three bite marks on his left foot. Diaz was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival at about 6:00 p.m. Monday evening.

Schism deepens over oil drilling in southern Belize
Tensions continue to run high between some members of the Maya community and US Capital Energy, after what Greg Ch’oc, executive director of the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM), has described as a “bullying” attempt by US Capital Energy to summon Maya leaders to a meeting at their Punta Gorda office on Tuesday morning, so that the company could give them their interpretation of the ruling. Ch’oc told Amandala that, “US Capital had written to community leaders inviting them to a meeting, and what was interesting is that Michael Peyrefitte and company officials were going to interpret the decision of the court to the leaders.” “When did Mr. Michael Peyrefitte [US Capital’s attorney] become the legal counsel for these communities? Is this even ethical for his profession?” Ch’oc questioned, in a statement issued Tuesday. “US Capital Energy and its operatives need to understand that maintaining the status quo – bullying communities — is no longer an option and that this action by the company is a vile disrespect for indigenous communities,” he added.

Dredging inside South Water Caye Marine Reserve approved: official
For the past two weeks, fishermen from southern Belize, as well as concerned persons from within the environmental community, have been questioning an ongoing dredging operation inside the conservation zone of the South Water Caye Marine Reserve. When we first heard of the case more than a week ago, we checked with the Department of the Environment, but we were told that they were not aware of any such operation. Roberto Pott, chairman of the South Water Caye Marine Reserve Advisory Committee, told Amandala today that they had received no notification that dredging would ensue inside the protected area. Amandala confirmed today from Michelle Alvarez, Inspector of Mines at the Geology and Petroleum Department, that the department did issue a permit to Devon Castillo of Dangriga to dredge inside the protected area – but only after the required clearance was received from authorities such as the Fisheries Department and the Department of the Environment.

King responds to squatters, but now Belama residents report environmental hazards
A third bridge that is intended to join the northside and southside areas of Belize City, over the Belize River, has caused much controversy in the past few weeks – first by a group of squatters on the Lake Independence side who are saying that their area representative, Hon. Mark King, reneged on his promises after assuring them that the new project would not spill over onto the properties that they now occupy; and now from residents on the other side in Belama, who have expressed their concerns about harmful environmental impacts that have resulted from the plan to construct a bridge adjoining the two sides of the city. As residents who have squatted in the low-lying extended areas of Holy Emmanuel Street in the Lake Independence area remain under a cloud of uncertainty as to where they will go next, since they have been told that the project will claim the meager tracts of government land that they have inhabited, some Belama residents have also detected disruptions in their way of life and in the environment in which they live which are already causing serious concerns.

People have power and wealth in many ways, by high position in office and possession or control over money is one of the most common. However, the most basic and humble means of power is to own land. Think of it and you will see how owning a piece of land may be all you need to empower you, establish you and feed you. Yes, land is one of the most valuable and powerful resources Belize has, but this has eluded many of our people who have either failed miserably or taken for granted how important owning land is. Nations have been invaded for a piece of real estate; relatives have feuded and killed over land; some of the biggest frauds have been over land, and politicians have known how to use possession, control and ownership of land as one of the most effective campaign promises to get elected. This week Belize has seen a magnified version of land disputes, first with the Maya asserting their rights to the communal land and second the Lake-I residents squatting on land in the area of the soon-to-be Chetumal Boulevard Bridge. However, while both have their own nuisances, take note that at the core of it all is the issue of power… who has the power to take control over the land.

Doug Singh is new CPBL Chairman
Last Wednesday, April 2, the newly reconfigured Board of Directors of the Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL) met at CPBL’s headquarters on the Stann Creek Valley Road in the Stann Creek District, and current Social Security Board (SSB) chairman Doug Singh was unanimously voted to assume the chairmanship of the recently embattled company. The meeting was the first to be held since the terms of a new Memorandum of Understanding were ironed out by the Government of Belize in conjunction with the other stakeholders in the citrus industry to move the company out of an impasse at the end of February. Amandala spoke to the new chairman Doug Singh today and firstly, he gave us a breakdown of the compilation of the new CPBL Board members. He explained that the new board is comprised of two directors from Banks Holdings, namely Richard Cozier and Henry Canton; two representatives from the Citrus Growers Association (CGA), who are Henry Anderson and Denzil Jenkins; Karen Bevans, who represents Heritage Bank; Jose Novelo from the Ministry of Agriculture, representing GOB; and of course, Singh himself, who also acts as the representative of SSB.

Rosewood inventory exposes threat of stock decimation
Preliminary information coming out of a $130,000 rosewood assessment being conducted by the Forestry Department is that illegal loggers have cut down so many mature trees—standing in the forest for at least 80 years—that it could threaten the health of rosewood stocks in southern Belize. Dr. Percival Cho, Forest Officer, is leading the rosewood assessment, which he told Amandala is almost 50% complete and should be concluded by June 2014. While Cho could not provide us with exact numbers at the time of our interview, he was able to tell us anecdotally what the situation looks like on the ground, in Toledo and Stann Creek, where they have been doing the inventory. He said that two teams of 4 persons each (locals hired for the project) have been measuring rosewood trees, and they are able to say that the majority of larger trees, 12 inches in diameter and more, are found as stumps—which means that they have been stripped from the forest. The standing trees are smaller and immature, not suitable for export for hardwood products, but only usable to make fences and to burn as firewood.

Carnal knowledge in San Pedro
A girl, 13, of Boca Del Rio, San Pedro, was sexually assaulted by an 18-year-old young man at about 7:30 Friday night at a house in the Boca Del Rio area. Yesterday, Monday, at about 5:00 in the evening, the girl went to the San Pedro police and reported that on Friday evening, a man whom she knows, who also lives in the Boca Del Rio area of San Pedro, invited her to a house in the area, where he raped her.

Fugitive who chopped up female police officer captured
The manhunt for Oscar Perez, 44, of Trial Farm, Orange Walk District, who has been on the run since December 9 last year on charges of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm and wounding for attacking a female police officer, came to an end following his arrest at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon in Little Belize near Shipyard, in the Orange Walk District. Perez will be to taken to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court tomorrow. Police said that at about 4:30 p.m. on December 9, 2013, WPC Marilyn Pate, of the Orange Walk police, went to Trial Farm, to the home of Oscar Perez, along with members of the Human Development Department, to detain Perez pending investigations into allegations of sexual abuse of a female child.

Hattieville resident Justin Lemott, 26, arraigned on murder charge
An apparently senseless stabbing incident that left a teenager dead and another injured last Saturday, has resulted in murder and other criminal charges against a Hattieville resident, who was arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court and remanded to prison today. Justin Lemott, 25, of 19 Foster Street, Hattieville, appeared animated and wanted to speak when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. But since no plea was required from him, as he was only being arraigned on the charges, she told him this was not the time for him to talk, before reading the charges to him. Smith read the murder charge first, which accused Lemott, on April 4, of intentionally and unlawfully causing the death of Richard Waight, Jr., in Hattieville, in the Belize Judicial District.

One man shot, another stabbed in Ladyville
At about 2:00 Saturday morning near a bar in Ladyville, Dennis Burke, 47, a businessman of Vista Del Mar, Ladyville, was stabbed in the right upper chest, while Oscar Perez, 31, a construction worker of Airport Road, Ladyville, was shot in the abdomen. The two men were taken to the Belize Defence Force Hospital at Price Barracks Ladyville, where they were stabilized, before being transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Police said that on Saturday morning they responded to a shooting near a bar in Ladyville, where, on their arrival, they saw two injured men, Dennis Burke and Oscar Perez, lying near the highway. They found that Burke had been stabbed in the chest, and near him they found a 9mm pistol.

Beaten into a coma – he took too long to return a bike!
A father of two is presently lying unconscious, hospitalized in a coma for the past two days at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after he was beaten, allegedly by two brothers, near his home on Central American Boulevard in Belize City. Amandala understands that Lloyd Augustus, 35, was socializing with a group of friends this past Sunday, April 6, sometime in the afternoon, when he asked to borrow a bicycle from one of the persons he was socializing with. According to our reports, he did not return with the bike until later on in the night, which was when he was severely assaulted by two of the men. Today, we spoke with his sister, who wished to remain anonymous, and she told us how the incident unfolded. She said, “The [beating] incident happened between 2:30 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. and I wasn’t around, but one of my friends came and told me that my brother was just taken to the hospital because he was just found on the street side, and he was badly beaten. I then went to the hospital and I saw the state that my brother was in, and the doctors told me that indeed he was in a bad condition. I then came back to my house and when I started inquiring, one of the main witnesses told me that he was beaten by two young men.”

Two contractors charged for employing undocumented worker
Two contractors, a Belizean and a Salvadoran with Belizean permanent residency, appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer on Tuesday to answer to a charge of employing a person who is not in possession of a valid temporary work permit. Belizean contractor Oscar Rene Chan, 45, a resident of Succotz, Cayo District, pleaded not guilty to the charge, thereby challenging the Immigration Department, which levied the charge. But Salvadoran Samuel Elias Zelada Cosmi, a resident of Mahogany Street who has been living in Belize since 1993 and has permanent residency status, pleaded guilty to the charge. Magistrate Frazer fined Cosmi $1,000 plus $5 cost of court for his guilty plea. She ordered him to pay by April 30, 2014; if he defaults, he will have to spend six months in prison.

$10,000 fine for mother of 5, for “drug trafficking”
A Belize City woman who pleaded guilty to one count of drug trafficking when she appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith today was fined the mandatory minimum sentence of $10,000. Smith ordered her to pay $5,000 immediately; in default, she will have to begin serving the three-year prison sentence the offense carries. The woman, Roshawn Higgs, 35, a domestic of #6 -7th Street, Kings Park, who is the mother of five children, the youngest being one-year old, is a first-time offender. In court, an unrepresented Higgs said she was guilty of possession, but the Chief Magistrate told her that the charge before the court was for drug trafficking. When Smith asked her to enter a plea, Higgs pleaded guilty to the one count of drug trafficking.

Thief “went to sleep and woke up confused,” so he signed out another detained man’s property at police station
A Belize City mechanic who stole from a man while they were both in police lockdown now has two years to clear his head—from the confusion he admitted caused him to steal, when he answered to someone else’s name and then brazenly signed out the person’s property from the police station. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith sentenced mechanic Jermaine Jorgenson, 25, a resident of 6812 Tibruce Street, to two years in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of theft on Wednesday. Police charged Jorgenson with theft from Glen Williams, 31. He was accused of stealing $500 and four gold rings which has a combined value of $2,639. The theft occurred on Friday, April 4, when Williams was detained. He handed in his properties to police, which is a standard procedure detainees must comply with. But the following day, April 5, after he was released, he returned to claim his property from the police, and that is when the theft was discovered.

Police on manhunt to capture Reid and Locke
Corozal police are on a manhunt to capture two wanted men – Alex Reid of the Cayo District, who is wanted by Corozal police for armed robbery, and Robert Locke, wanted for rape of an underage girl in Corozal. Police have issued warrants for their arrests. Anyone who sees the men or knows their whereabouts is urged to contact the nearest police station. Added to the armed robbery Reid allegedly committed in Corozal, San Ignacio police also want him for a number of other crimes. Police say that Reid was one of two bandits responsible for the death of Freddy Lopez, 67, of Cayo, who was shot in the head during a robbery attempt by one of two robbers who held up Lopez and his family while they were walking in the Kontiki area of San Ignacio.

Deon’s team, Atlanta Silverbacks
Belizean fans are paying close attention to the games of Atlanta Silverbacks in their pre-season, and will be as intently focused on their season games in the North American Soccer League (NASL), where the Atlanta Silverbacks play their Spring season opener on the road in New York this Sunday, April 13, against the NY Cosmos. Of course, that is because our own Deon McCaulay now plays with the Silverbacks. There are 10 teams in the 2014 NASL tournament: Atlanta Silverbacks; Carolina RailHawks; FC Edmonton; Fort Lauderdale Strikers; Indy Eleven; Minnesota United FC; NY Cosmos; Ottawa Fury FC; San Antonio Scorpions; and Tampa Bay Rowdies. In their pre-season, the Atlanta Silverbacks lost 1-0 to the Charlotte Eagles on Saturday, March 15, at Atlanta Siverbacks Park; on Sunday, March 23, Deon scored the first goal, a header, in first half to lead the Silverbacks to a 3-0 win over University of Alabama-Birmingham in Birmingham; on Saturday, March 29, the Silverbacks dropped Young Harris College, 4-1, and Deon had a hat trick (3 goals) at Silverbacks Park; on Saturday, April 5, the Silverbacks drew, 2-2, with Clemson University Tigers at Silverbacks Park, as Deon’s two attempts, a header and a shot, went straight to the keeper. Deon did not play in their last pre-season outing on Sunday, April 6, where a different line-up was used for a 4-2 win over Carson Newman College at Silverbacks Park.

Cross Country Parade
Holy Saturday is just 9 days away, and the tradition continues with the Annual Cross Country Parade, which takes place on Holy Thursday, April 17, starting at 4:30 p.m. The parade will leave from behind the Supreme Court building and travel through the principal streets of the City, to end at BTL Park (exact route not released yet). The Cycling Federation is also encouraging all cyclists, even those not taking part in the Cross Country, to join in the parade.

Football juggle
Not too long ago, when Belize star striker Deon McCaulay was pressing for his release from the Belmopan Bandits FC in order to secure a contract with the Atlanta Silverbacks FC, Bandits owner Hon. John Saldivar expressed strong disapproval at the way his club was being treated in the matter by the foreign club, calling it “disrespectful.” Well, from reports we received this week, it seems the Paradise/Freedom Fighters club of Punta Gorda, Toledo, perceived a similar measure of “disrespect” in the treatment they received in the rescheduling of their game with Belmopan Bandits FC which was originally set for Saturday, April 12, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. In its Monday release giving the weekly game report and schedule, the Premier League secretariat quite casually included a Wednesday night date for the Freedom Fighters vs Bandits game. When we inquired, the PLB said the date change from Saturday to Wednesday was to accommodate an invitational match the Bandits had arranged with the Houston Hurricanes of the U.S. on Saturday at the Isidoro Beaton. Bandits manager Kenneth Budna confirmed this when we contacted him, and said the arrangements had just been finalized.

According to our reports, the first ever boxing event at the Tipsy Tuna beach resort in Placencia on Saturday night was a big success, with hundreds of spectators in attendance to witness an exciting 14-bout amateur card. The action got started at 6:00 p.m. and lasted until around 10:30 p.m., after which medals were presented to the winners. Participating boxers were from Clinton Tucker’s Lions Den Gym in Ladyville, Frank Martinez’s Lions Den Gym in Cayo, Leopold Smart’s Gym in Belize City, George Swaso’s Dangriga Gym, and there were also boxers from Placencia and Cowpen making their debut in the sport in front of their home fans. Judges for the event were Elton Anderson, Duane Saldano, Darrel Arnold and Robert Ordonez, Jr. Bell/timekeeper was Leshawn Pollard, referee was Robert Ordonez, Sr., and the doctor in attendance was Dr. Alexis Caballero. The boxers fought 3-minute rounds with 1 minute rest in between rounds.

LETTERS: Like Ebony Street, like San Antonio Road …
I completely understand and sympathize with the people of Ebony Street in Belize City who were bombarded with dust from heavy traffic when their street was used as an alternate route. I hope their problem has been solved. We at San Antonio Road in Orange Walk Town have been living in this condition for two long years. The only reprieve we got was the long rainy season. Bad for the cane farmers, but good for us. There are many important businesses along this main street/road, and I know tax contribution is major from these enterprises. I fail to see a reason why we have been left in the dust for so long. Our health and business machines have deteriorated.

LETTERS: Caleb Orozco lied to the OAS
I want to state that I was horrified to hear how Caleb Orozco lied to the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C. on Monday, March 28, 1014, vis-à-vis the death of Ricky Castillo, which occurred in Orange Walk Town some time ago. According to Orozco, Castillo was bludgeoned to death with a bat and his throat slit. To the uninformed, anyone would have thought that Castillo was the victim of a hate crime. I do remember the incident. Ricky Castillo was well known for his personal tendencies. In today’s sophisticated international jargon in general use, he would be considered to be a member of the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersex) community. In Orange Walk Town he was affectionately known as “Granma”. He was sympathetic to UNIBAM. Castillo had hosted a party at his house on the Belize-Corozal Road for his close friends of the LGBTI community. As they got “nice up” imbibing alcoholic beverages, the party got out of control, which ended in a brawl.

LETTERS: Taiwan official discusses Bill Lindo article
Reference is made to Mr. Bill Lindo’s commentary titled “Global financial system about to blow up again!” in the AMANDALA Belize Newspaper, April 6, 2014, concerning the global financial system. In his article, Mr. Lindo also mentioned recent student protests in Taiwan and put this matter side by side with the change of government in Ukraine. We hope to point it out that it is not precise to analogize Taiwan’s matter with what happened in Ukraine. The protesting students of Taiwan were concerned that the services pact with China will undermine their opportunity of employment in the future and broaden the difference between the rich and the poor in Taiwan. They believed that the legislative process of the pact was not transparent, and hoped to catch the government’s attention to their concern by means of occupying the legislative chamber of the parliament.

LETTERS: Abolish the Westminster system
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system derived from the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The system is a series of procedures for operating a legislature. It is used, or was once used, in the national legislatures of most Commonwealth and ex-Commonwealth nations, beginning with the first of the Canadian provinces in 1848. It is my view that all CARICOM countries must abolish the Westminster system because it creates a stratified society and does not allow true democracy to occur in parliament. It is a democracy only for the majority with the minority party or parties having only a symbolic token of democracy. Belize is a country rich in natural resources – we have oil, gold and an abundance of agricultural land. Our population is small and young therefore it is easy to maintain and can be developed to make Belize a powerhouse in the world.

LETTERS: Strong words from Carolyn Trench-Sandiford
Three statements in the article captioned “Justice Arana Reaffirms Maya Land Rights” in the Amandala of April 6th 2014 resonate with me, and compel me to juxtapose them and add to the dialogue. The first is… “No to oil drilling until our rights to land, resources, culture, identity and equality are recognized…” as per the SATIIM; and The second is “The courts have said, repeatedly said, and Arana has said yet again, that the indigenous people should not be forced to go to court to have those rights respected. It is the obligation and duty of the government…” per Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, attorney for SATIIM; and The third is “At this point, we will continue (to drill) [i]until someone tells us to stop.” I also wish to extract from and make reference to specific statements in your editorials entitled “Wounded Knee and Sarstoon-Temash” and “Partridge, Sarstoon-Temash and the MAA” of November 2nd and 9th 2012 respectively.

#489398 - 04/12/14 06:42 AM Re: Today's Belize News: April 12, 2014 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

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The Reporter

World Bank: Caribbean economies “holding steady”
The World Bank says that Caribbean and Latin America have been holding steady, despite tighter external condition. This week the Washington-based financial institution said while international investors shift their focus back to advanced economies, particularly the United States, as a result of monetary policy normalization, emerging economies face much tighter […]

BNE launches fund to assist Belizean entrepreneurs
The Belize Natural Energy (BNE) Charitable Trust launched the first phase of an Empowerment Fund aimed at providing Belizean entrepreneurs the opportunity to finance viable business plans. The first phase of the Empowerment Fund is being rolled out through La Inmaculada Credit Union Limited […]

Suspected police murderer caught
A suspected police murderer who was on the run since last December is in police custody. Oscar Perez Hernandez, a labourer of Trial Farm Village, Orange Walk, was nabbed during a police operation on Wednesday afternoon in Little Belize, Corozal. He is due in […]

BML director criticizes Mayor for investing in “capital projects”
The Managing Director of Belize Maintenance Limited, BML, Lawrence Ellis, has accused Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley of investing in projects that the City Council has no mandate or obligation to spend on. Ellis, whose company is owed at least seven weeks payment from […]

PUP considers filing motion to hold Compol in contempt
The People’s United Party is contemplating filing another motion in the Supreme Court asking the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to consider whether or not the Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie can be held in contempt of court. While the PUP, at a press conference on […]

BTL workers pressure management on pay with silent protest
In advance of continued negotiations between the Belize Communication Workers’ Union (BCWU) and the executive board of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) this coming week, employees on Friday staged two silent one-minute protests at all offices of the state-owned telecom company. […]

Teachers who led school trip could face sanctions for drownings
The Ministry of Education is investigating the circumstances that led to the drowning deaths of two fourth form students of Escuela Secundaria Technica Mexico, which occurred in San Ignacio Town last week Friday. The two students, including the school’s valedictorian, Edgar Pook, 17, and […]

Venezuela president and opposition agree to formal talks
The Venezuelan government and a coalition of opposition parties have agreed to enter into “formal talks” to end weeks of anti-government protests. At least 39 people, both opponents and supporters of the government, have died in protest-related violence. Venezuelan Vice-President Jorge Arreaza said the two sides had agreed to hold […]

US contractor on hunger strike in Cuban jail
A US contractor who has been in jail in Cuba for more than four years has gone on hunger strike, his lawyer says. Alan Gross, 64, said he began fasting on Thursday to protest his treatment by both the Cuban and US governments. Mr Gross is serving a 15-year prison […]

China angered by latest U.S. arms sale plan for Taiwan
China’s defense ministry expressed anger on Wednesday after the U.S. House of Representatives agreed to authorize the sale to Taiwan of four second-hand U.S. warships, saying the United States had ignored Chinese protests. China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the […]

“What has changed?”
The Church has always been here in Belize. Homosexuality too, has always been here. The bedroom has always been the domain of privacy; the unknown and the unknowable. Unless, of course, those who are in there speak about what was done; either by way of boasting or by way of […]

Short-term Thinking Leads to Long-Term Failure
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” ~ Alan Lakein A colleague of mine recently made the observation that our economic history is based on short-term unsustainable activity rather than on long-term efforts. Instead of the agriculture most of our […]

Byron Pope wins Pre-Cross Country
Defending national road champion, Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes cycling team won the 120-mile pre-Cross Country race organized by the Cycling Federation of Belize on the George Price Highway from Leslie’s Imports in Belize City to Mount Hope and back on Sunday, April 6. Pope […]

FC Belize draws 2-2 with San Ignacio United in Belikin football
FC Belize salvaged a 2-2 draw out of the jaws of defeat in their eighth outing in the Belikin Cup closing season competition, organized by the Premiere league of Belize at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio last Sunday. Rudolph Moody created some early […]

Smoking – Do you really know the risks?
You probably know about the relationship between smoking and lung cancer, but did you know smoking is also linked to heart disease, stroke and other chronic lung diseases? Smoking can also increase your risk for cancer of the bladder, throat and mouth, kidneys, cervix and pancreas. Thinking about quitting? Look […]

Two senior students, 16-year-old Anahi Zepeda and 17-year-old Edgar Pook of Escuela Secundaria Mexico died by drowning last week when an unexpected surge in the river swept them away. Edgar jumped in to save the Anahi, who did not know how to swim. Both perished as the unrelenting stream carried […]

Penner recall case greenlighted
Justice Courtney Abel agreed Thursday that three of five applicants can ask his court to review Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai’s decision to reject 337 signatures from last November’s petition for the recall of Cayo Northeast area representative Elvin Penner. Of the original five applicants, […]

BCWU supports Anwar Barrow as Chairman of BTL’s Executive Committee
The Belize Communication Workers’ Union says it supports the leadership of Anwar Barrow as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Belize Telemedia. In a press release circulated Thursday, the union states that it is “of the view that the stewardship of the company […]

CCJ upholds award for Janae Matute
On Thursday morning, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) found against obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Raju Meenavalli and in favour of Roaring Creek student Janae Matute, 13, and her mother Georgia, ending a 13-year saga in which the doctor was accused of medical malpractice. CCJ judges Rolston […]

The Kidney Association of Belize
The Kidney Association of Belize organized and held its fourth annual health fair today to promote kidney and health awareness. This came with support from other organizations that promote similar causes. President of the Kidney Association of Belize, Ruby Nicholas told The Reporter that it’s very […]


Earlier flights and reaching new heights with Tropic Air
Many have been questioning being at Philip Goldson International Airport 3 hours in advance of their international flights out and a few are also asking if it will be the same in slow season, the answer is yes. Due to the increasing popularity of Belize travel year round, Tropic Air is no longer experiencing slow season the way that they used and finding the month September as being the quietest one of the season. Tropic Air flight guidelines 2014 – Allow for 45 minutes upon landing to clear customs – check in and pay. For return flight time they ask that you be at International airport 3 h ahead of your scheduled flight. Please note Tropic will not take responsibility for any missed international flights due to unforeseen delays on any flights booked in less than the required time. End of 2013 numbers for Tropic Air: • 270 employees • 16 destinations, 11 domestic. and 5 international • 275,000 passengers • 12 planes The above figures show marked steady growth from having just over 250 employees, and carrying over 220,000 passengers in 2011. These numbers found in San Pedro Sun article – Tropic Air Late Evening Flights Return.

International Sources

The World’s Murder Capitals
The U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime released its 2013 Global Study on Homicide this week. Overall, the number of murders in the world is relatively stable—even declining slightly—but the most striking finding in the report is how geographically concentrated homicide is become. According to the report, a group of countries—all of them in either the Americas or Africa—accounting for just 11 percent of the global population are the location of 46 percent of the world’s homicides. Honduras has the world’s highest homicide rate at 90.4 murders per 100,000 people, and it’s not even close. Venezuela is next with 53.7. Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Jamaica all have rates around 40.

Meeting the Maya in midwinter
Like a lot of Minnesotans this year, I opted for a winter vacation, but this one taught an unexpected lesson: You don’t need sand, sun and surf for a good one. Deep mud and torrential rain will work just as well, if you’ve got a compelling destination and a small group of like-minded companions to share it with. I had all those things in spades on a trip to Central America in January. Especially the rain and mud. I had gone to north-central Guatemala, a region known as the Peten, to spend a couple of weeks tromping around Mayan ruins with a dozen other archaeology buffs from the Maya Society of Minnesota. Some were working archaeologists, others had been Peace Corps volunteers there, all were experienced and enthusiastic travelers – a good thing, because it wasn’t a cream-puff trip, and many of us were pushing the outer edge of middle age.

Rocky academic unlocks long-lost secrets of ancient Mayans
DR STAN Serafin stares intently at the ancient skull he nurses gently under the probing light. As he works his way through the skeletal remains discovered on an archaeological site in Mexico, he pauses for a moment, realising that he is living his dream. The Rockhampton-based academic has just unearthed some long-lost secrets about the ancient Mayan civilisation. "I feel so lucky to be doing this," the 36-year-old said at his CQUniversity office yesterday. The bioarchaeologist was part of a team that examined about 200 skulls and skeletons recovered from 13 sites in north-west Yucatan, Mexico, where the Mayan peoples have lived for more than 3000 years. The research was done to trace changing patterns of violence and warfare relating to distinct periods in Mayan civilisation.

Green Energy Solutions Could Save the Caribbean $200 Million
HIGH ENERGY costs are the Achilles heel of the Caribbean. More than 97 percent of this region’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels and many islands devote a hefty portion of their GDP to fuel imports. On some Caribbean islands, electricity bills can soar up to six times higher than in the United States, which creates a burden for many local businesses. At the same time, these islands are vulnerable to the environmental impacts associated with fossil-fuels, including air pollution, rising sea levels, and coral bleaching. Reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and supporting cleaner, more efficient energy production is critical to helping island economies grow sustainably. But many companies face hurdles in accessing credit to invest in clean energy. That’s where the banking sector can play an important role.

18 ways to survive the lime shortage
Thanks to drought, disease and drug cartels, we’re headed for an all-out lime crisis. Here's how to navigate the citrus catastrophe. Lime-ageddon, guacpocalypse, mojito-gate … call the looming lime dilemma what you will, but we’re calling it an opportunity to put some new fruits in the limelight, so to speak. Some suggest that we should be back in limes by mid-spring; but with the way things are looking in Mexican lime growing regions – the source of most of our limes – we’re preparing for the worst. Lime buyers say that prices have more than quadrupled this year, jumping from $14 a case to more than $100. Bad weather and a tree disease in Michoacán, Mexico, have wreaked havoc on the lime supply, further exacerbated by the mind-boggling influence of drug cartels. (Because apparently when making billions of dollars on cocaine isn’t enough, it’s time to begin shaking down lime farmers.) At this point, the Knights Templar Cartel controls the wholesale distribution center where growers sell limes to the global market, making limes an even hotter commodity.

Lime prices spike after shortage in Mexico
In Mexico, they’re practically a sacred institution. The mighty lime is used in drinks, food, and well just about everything. In recent months, a big drop in production has meant limes are in hot demand – and prices have shot up. Grower Juan Leana Malpica says he is receiving 20 times as much for his limes as 6 months ago. Prices normally rise at this time of year – but there are other more important factors. “There’s the devastation caused by a citrus disease. Then there is climate change. With the arrival of winter there has been a cold snap in neighboring states. And what I feel is most devastating are the price speculators.” He also points to recent insecurity in the state of Michoacan, a top lime producer. Many growers simply can’t or won’t get trucks on the road. Those most directly affected are Mexican consumers. “I normally buy two kilos,” one shopper says, “But now I buy a half and only use them for absolute essentials.”


Video: Belize Funnel Cloud, 1min.
There were actually three different funnel clouds in the sky that morning. We were house sitting at Steppingstones Resort near Monkey River in the Southern district of Toledo in Belize. We weren't really sure what we were looking at when they first started coming down over the Caribbean sea. It looked like heavy rainfall in a condensed area but then it started taking on a more centered point. Having all three form at once only made the view more spectacular.

Video: One Drop Competition in Cayo District, Belize, 1min.
Crazy ass one drop Competition

Video: Belize Zip Rides 2013, 7min.
We enjoyed an exciting ziplining tour during our December 2013 cruise.

Video: Ants in Belize, 15sec.
Leaf cutter ants marching through the nighttime forest

Video: Swimming in San Pedro, Belize, 3min.

Video: Belize 2014, 8min.

Video: Belize video 1, 8min.

Video: Belize video 2, 6min.

Video: Belize video 3, 6min.

Video: Placencia Belize Our Home Away From Home, 15min.
Placencia Belize and Captain Jak's Photos from our numerous visits..

Video: Lamanai Ruins in Belize
4min. Lamanai means "submerged crocodile" in the Maya language and it's also the name of the third largest, and possibly most interesting, archeological site in Belize. Located in the Orange Walk District, the Lamanai temple complex sits atop the western bluff of the New River Lagoon and is surrounded by pristine rainforest. Lamanai was occupied continuously for over 3,000 years and it's remoteness contributed to it's continuous occupation, well beyond most other Maya sites, until at least 1,650 AD. Set in tropical forest and providing spectacular views from several of its large temples, Lamanai provides a unique experience into the culture of the Maya and the biological diversity of the tropical forest.

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, March 2014, 3min.

Video: Diving in Belize 1 ; Thnx 2 John Speaker for filming!, 6min.
Diving in Belize in 2012 with the nurse sharks.

Video: Diving in Belize 2 ; Thnx 2 John Speaker for filming!, 1min.

Video: Diving in Belize 3 ; Thnx 2 John Speaker for filming!, 5min.
diving with nurse sharks pt 3 (best part). You can see a shark "sniffing" at my underwater camera @ 2:42

Video: The Barrier Reef Reserve System of Belize, 5min.
A trends and tourism issues assignment from a group of Hotel Management students at George Brown College. English subtitles are available. We hope you enjoy!

Video: Shark Alley Belize, 3min.


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