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#490737 - 05/10/14 12:12 PM Today's Belize News: May 10, 2014
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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


The San Pedro Sun

Kim Simplis Barrow promotes Belize in Harper’s Bazaar Interiors
The May-June Issue of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, featuring an eleven page spread showcasing the beauty of Belize, was officially launched at the opening night of BETEX on Wednesday, May 7th, at the Ramada Hotel and Casino. A feature that highlights natural and man-made elements of Belize, it gives readers a closer look at the simplistic, yet cultured lifestyle of Belizeans, depicted through the eyes of Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow. Speaking of the collaboration, Editor in Chief of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, Rue Kothari, says, “In Harper’s Bazaar Interiors we always strive to depict the most inspirational people, to reveal how their values and unique style translates to the way they live. It was our honour to present Kim Simplis-Barrow in the pages of our biggest ever issue; and to discover first-hand the natural beauty of the islands of Belize.”

San Pedro Lions host the 36th Annual National Convention
Lion and Leo members from across the country and Mexico converged on Ambergris Caye for three days as part of the 36th annual Belize Lions Zone 59 national convention. The event was held from May 2nd to the 4th under the theme “Lions – rejoicing and uniting to better serve our communities.” During the three days of events, Lion conventioneers took the opportunity to reflect on the goals and objectives of Lionism, as well as methods to improve their work in their communities. The official opening ceremony took place on Friday March 2nd, and the Lion Zone 59 Chair Melanie Paz gave a sober reflection of the issues affecting club members not only locally, but worldwide. “Lion clubs across the world are facing serious problems in terms of membership. Many of these problems are internal and at Zone 59, it is no exception. Over the past decade, if we audit our club numbers correctly, you will realize that more Lion members have abandoned the Club than what has actually joined our ranks…

SPHS Drama Club seeks donations for exchange program
The San Pedro High School (SPHS) Drama Club will be travelling to Los Angeles, California USA from May 23rd to the 31st to participate in a student exchange program. The exchange program will see students from four nations, Belize, United Kingdom, Mexico and Zanzibar, coming together to share and learn in drama and theatrical skills. Seven students from SPHS will be acting as Belize representatives. The exchange program is being organized by Larry and Debbie Heimgartner, who have been hosting plays and exchanging ideas with SPHS students and the community for many years. In November 2013, they hosted a series of plays at the San Pedro High School and initiated the Drama Club. The Heimgartners hope that through the plays they write and produce, they can positively impact the communities in which the plays are performed. To make a donation, contact Alexis Guerrero at the San Pedro High School at telephone number 226-2045.

SMART River Challenge
Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 was a nice cloudy day for the SMART River Challenge at National Agriculture and Trade Show. This year’s race had thirteen entries in seven categories. The uniqueness about this race is that all paddlers had to stand outside their canoe and at the sound of the start they jumped in their sitting position and paddle off. All 1st Place teams in each category received a trophy, medals and $150 cash, 2nd Place teams received medals and $75 cash, 3rd Place teams received medals only. Special thanks to SMART for their continued sponsorship of this race, thanks to the National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee and thanks to LoveFM. Next Race: May 18th, open race, More Tomorrow Village Day 221st Anniversary Celebration.

Attempted armed robbery at Bowen & Bowen Distributors
Police have responded to an attempted robbery incident at Bowen and Bowen Distributors located on Blake Street. Initial investigations have revealed that around 1:20PM on Friday, May 9th, a male person charged into the office with a firearm and demanded money. Security guards on duty quickly responded, removing him from the office away from the employees. The assailant fired nine gunshots; no-one was injured but a glass door was broken. The man fled the scene before San Pedro Police could arrive. According to Officer in Charge of San Pedro Police, Superintendent Luis Castellanos, no one was injured and nothing was stolen. “The man fled into the nearby area after shooting, but no one was hurt. Luckily a security officer was able to identify the attacker and police are now searching for the suspect,” said Castellanos. Police are not yet releasing the identity of the suspect, but they are continuing their investigation and are actively searching for the armed suspect. More information will be made available as the investigation progresses.

Black Orchid Restaurant hosts painting party!
What I was actually doing was sitting at Black Orchid Restaurant, enjoying its fabulous ambiance and listening to Melody Sanchez-Wolfe’s instructions on recreating one of her pieces: a full moon over the water, framed by palm trees in silhouette, and a dock with a palapa in the foreground. My artist pal Monique had joined me for drinks and delicious appetizers, and between the two of us, we hoped to come up with something worthy of display. I mean, I failed Art in junior college. I hear no-one fails art, but I think we all know I’m special…(ha!) so between the two of us, there should be something worthy of display, right? Black Orchid Restaurant decided to do something a little different to offer a little variety to the routine, and so Splash n Paint took on a new dimension. With appetizer service and a free drink ticket, those who signed up got to enjoy the delicious creations of Chef Judyann Horton, while sipping drinks made by her husband Tom. The saying ‘watching paint dry’, is often used to describe boring…but not this time!

Ambergris Today

Belize Tourism Arrivals are Up for First Part of 2014
Tourist arrivals for the first quarter of 2014 are up! Compared to last year, there were increases in all three months for overnight, cruise and airport arrivals. Airport arrivals for January-March, 2014, have seen an overall increase of 10.25%. January had the largest increase of 13.01%, which is a total of 22,562 tourist arrivals. 77,464 tourists arrived via the international airport for the first three months of 2014. Overnight arrivals have increased by 9.67%, compared to 2013. February saw the highest increase with 11.61%, which was a total of 32,105 overnight arrivals. Overnight arrivals in the first quarter of 2014 have all exceeded 30,000 visitors (January - 31,164; February – 32,105; March – 38,712). The total overnight arrivals for January to March, 2014, was 101,982.

Misc Belizean Sources

UB Earth Day Fair
The University of Belize had their annual Earth Day Fair last week. Lots of students made it out to learn about the environment and how they can make a difference. A big thanks to PACT for funding the event.

Nicole C. Mullen Concert and Musical Workshops
Nicole C. Mullen will be performing on Saturday, May 31st, at Governor General Field in Belmopan. She'll be teaming up with the Roots and Honor Records artists. The NCM Musical Team will be offering musical workshops on the 28th and the 30th, and they'll cover musicianship, sound engineering, and song writing.

SHC Art Exhibit
The SISE House of Culture has an exciting new exhibit which will feature art from Sacred Heart College students. It will open today, at 2:00pm.

The Invest Belize Magazine 2014
BELTRAIDE Partners with McNab Publishing Ltd. to produce The Invest Belize Magazine.

Wrobel & Co., Attorneys-at-law Opens Satellite Office in San Pedro Town
Wrobel & Co., Attorneys-at-Law of Belize City has recently opened a satellite office in San Pedro on the second floor of the Vilma Linda Plaza, Tarpon Street. The law practice, led by Managing Partner Ryan J. Wrobel, concentrates on real estate, business law, QRP, and other legal services relating to the ex-pat/retirement community. Mr. Wrobel is licensed to practice law in New York State and Jamaica, in addition to Belize. Wrobel & Co. looks forward to becoming a productive member of the San Pedro Community. More information about Wrobel & Co., Attorneys-at-Law can be found on www.lawbelize.bz

Canadian master corporal expands horizons
A Canadian master corporal deployed from the 16th Field Ambulance in Saskatchewan, Canada, is expanding his own horizons as a medical technician for New Horizons Belize 2014. New Horizons is an annual exercise held in Central America, South America or the Caribbean that offers international partners an opportunity to train to deploy while operating in a humanitarian capacity. The exercise incorporates medical readiness training exercises, or MEDRETEs, along with civil engineering construction projects throughout the select country. In Belize, Master Cpl. Sebastien Lepage is applying his extensive training and experience during the MEDRETEs held in the southern Toledo District. Even with considerable knowledge, however, Lepage is still finding much to discover. "I'm learning lots of different things every day, even medically speaking," Lepage said, relaying his recent hands-on education in steroidal injections or maneuvering scar tissue from a cesarean section to ease abdominal pain. "We don't deal with those kinds of patients typically at our bases. I'm learning a lot more outside of my scope than I'm used to."

Hol Chan Reef Resort and Villas Announces Winner for Its First Facebook Contest
The “Photo Contest” is the very first Facebook contest that Hol Chan Reef Resort and Villas has had. The contest started on April 8th, 2013 and ran for a month. Hol Chan Reef Resort and Villas wishes to express their gratitude to everyone who has participated in the photo contest for April. “We would like to extend a thank you to all of our 26 contestants! Your photos and experiences of past vacation destination sites were delightful and we know a truly memorable experience awaits our winner.” The photo with the most votes, a total of 197 was gathered by Ms. Rosie Wood of Belmopan, Belize. Her picture was a lovely collage of her and family on Easter Vacation in Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve in Belize. This collage embodies all that is great and wondrous with the joys of a family vacation. “Belize is breathtaking and there is no place like it and no place that I’d rather be.” – Rosie, Belmopan, Belize

Channel 7

Obispo Dressed Up In Stolen Clothes To Rob A Bank
Tonight, Teakettle resident Cannon Augustine Obispo is at the KHMH after he robbed a customer at a bank and was shot by police while escaping. It was a lawless morning for Obispo who is accused of trying to get away with theft from not one, but two business places across the street from each other. Daniel Ortiz explains how this almost unbelievable crime unfolded:... Daniel Ortiz reporting 25 year-old Cannon Augustine Obispo, a resident of Teakettle Village, went on what only be described as a robbery spree.??Just before 10 a.m., he reportedly walked into the clothing store, Classics, and asked to try on $210 worth of brand new clothes: an undershirt, a dress shirt, a pair of pants, a pair of socks shoes, and a pair of tennis shows. The vendor who out outfitted then asked him to pay for the items, but he walked out of Classics without handing over any money.??The vendor saw that he was walking over to the Scotia Bank across the street, and so he waited outside, thinking that Obispo went there to withdraw money to pay for the clothes.??We're told that Obispo then joined the line like any other customer, and while he was nearing the front, he walked up to the counter while another customer was making a cash deposit. He then grabbed a large amount of money, $6,500 dollars, and fled the bank.

Health CEO Allen Responds To That Damning SRH Audit
Last night we showed you the Auditor General's report on the embezzlement of almost four hundred thousand dollars from the Southern Regional Hospital. It is a damming catalogue of criminality at the individual level and carelessness at the official level. Basically, anyone who's seen the report has to wonder, how could it be that no one was keeping an eye an account with hundreds of thousands of dollars of public funds? For years no one saw a bank statement or asked for one. Incredible, and it went on for three years, and probably more. In the end, the Auditor General Dorothy Bradley found that the ultimate responsibility rests with the CEO in the Ministry of Health, Peter Allen. Today at a press conference on another subject, we asked him about it:... Jules Vasquez "It says that ultimately the fault rest with you the CEO. The accounts went unchecked for 2 years and 9 months. The government of Belize lost $366,468.88. And the auditor general in her opinion, her considered opinion, said the blame rest with you."

An Execution Plan At Funeral?
24 year old Julian Willoughby was killed a week ago and his funeral was held at today. But it had to be done with a full deployment of police officers. That's because his killing was gang related - and there were security concerns that the presence of Willoughby's relatives and associates in one place could trigger another retaliation. Well, there almost was one! 7News has confirmed that police found a sawed-off shotgun in the yard of the church when the funeral was about to start. Alert officers focused on a male who was standing to one side and the gun fell out of his pants leg when he stepped back. Street reports suggested that there may have been another gunman who escaped but police say they didn't observe anything else unusual. It's not clear why the man was carrying a prohibited firearm at a funeral - but he has been detained and will be charged.

Former BCHS Teacher Accused Of Abusing His Student
Michael Angel Guzman, a former teacher of the Belmopan Comprehensive High School, is spending his second night at the Belize Central Prison after being accused of a taking advantage of a student, and having a sexual relationship with one of his students. 7News has been following this case since the week before the Easter holidays. What we've been able to dig up is that the mother a 14 year-old student found out about the inappropriate relationship and started to press the case first with the school. She brought this matter to the principal first and following her persistence, Guzman was placed on a sort of administrative leave. A few days later, he unexpectedly resigned his post as teacher at the school. Police began investigating him for the crime and on Tuesday, he was arrested and criminally charged. The officer commanding Belmopan Police explained more today: Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police "A 14 year old minor from the same school reported that on the 11th February she had sexual relations with one of her teachers. The teacher has been identified as Michael Guzman. He has been charged with one count of carnal knowledge and he has been remanded to prison."

Failed Robbery Attempt At B&B San Pedro
There was an attempted armed robbery this afternoon on San Pedro - and multiple shots were fired - luckily no one was hurt. It happened at the Bowen and Bowen Depot where around 1:30 an armed man stormed into the office and demanded money. The San Pedro Sun reports that security guards responded quickly and bravely to subdue and remove him from the office. In the process he fired nine shots, shattering the glass door, and then ran off before police arrived. But the security did identify him so police are looking for a known suspect. No money was stolen.

Health Ministry Answers The Sceptics To The Pharmaceutical Procedures
More than ever, low-cost, generic pharmaceutical drugs are flooding Belize. But how good are they, and who's checking? Well, in the private realm, no one is really or regularly checking; Belize just doesn't have the capabilities for that. But, in the public sector there is a Drug Inspector, and a newly appointed director of the drug inspectorate. Still, when you go to a public facility, what controls are in place to make sure the drugs you are getting are effective and properly screened for your safety? Some concerns have been raised about that recently - and that's become a public relations emergency for the Ministry of Health - because public confidence in the supply of pharmaceuticals is central to a functioning health system. So, they held a press conference today to assure the public that the public system is intact, transparent and legitimate. Still, though, the backbiting and personal differences in the Ministry that brought the issue into the forefront of public attention in the first place overshadowed today's event. Here's our report:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Today the Ministry of Health gathered all the major players from the public pharmaceutical supply chain to explain that nothing untoward has happened with the process.

Churches: Ever Watchful Of The NGP
On Wednesday we showed you the leaders of the Evangelical Association leaving a meeting with the Prime Minister – and we told you about their press release after. But just to make sure everyone got the message, today they held a press conference at the Central Assembly church in Belize City. They explained that while it’s been a year since the Gender Police was launched, and basically nothing has happened other than lots of talking, they have been busy:

Stolen Guns Spill-Over? Family Claims Police Victimization
Last week Friday night at this time police were searching the home of Constable Yannick Wade’s girlfriend – desperately searching for 8 stolen weapons. That search led them to all his family members including his brother in law, 29 year old Jermaine Patnett and eventually his home.

The Much Disputed Harmonville Buffer Area
Yesterday, the Lands Department sent out a public notice to the persons living the Harmonyville Development Area on mile 41 on the Western Highway.

Akeelah's Family Member Charged For Her Death
3 weeks ago, we told you about the Holy Saturday road traffic accident which claimed the life of 5 year-old Akeelah Wade. Well, tonight, 18 year-old Visiona Carcamo, is out on bail after was criminally charged for her death. Carcamo was charged with manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct; driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention; negligent wounding; using a motor vehicle not covered by third party risk insurance, driving a motor vehicle without a valid Belizean driver's license, and driving with passengers in excess on a vehicle. She was arraigned before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, who took no plea on the 6 charges because they are indictable offences. She able to meet bail of $5,000, and she must return to court on July 14.

Butane Prices Are Down
There's good news on the LPG front tonight as the price of BUTANE is tumbling. Effective yesterday, the new controlled price for a 100 pound cylinder of Mexican LPG in Belize City is 115 dollars, down from 128 dollars - a more than 10% reduction. That is LPG sold by Belize Gas and Western Gas. The Central American LPG sold by Belize Western Energy, Southern Choice Butane, Zeta Gas and Tomza Gas is also sharply down from 128 per hundred pound cylinder to 112 dollars.

KHMH Board Members Expectedly Resigned
7News today confirmed that two persons have resigned from the KHMH Board of Directors. Milagro Garel and Maude Sylvester have both tendered their resignations - albeit weeks apart. Today neither the CEO nor the Minister of Health could tell us why - but we know that Sylvester has had differences with Chairman Chandra Nisbet-Cansino.

Con Artist Still At It; Still Unkown
The police department is warning the public about a con artist who pretends to be a cable guy or repair-man. He has a pattern of preying on the elderly on the city's northside. The best advice form the police is that you should not let him into your house without full and proper identification, and you should call 911. Justyesterday, he tricked a retiree when he pretended to be a cable repair-man. The retiree told precinct 3 police that a dark skinned male person, in his mid-forties about 5ft 10inches tall and wearing a black baseball cap, t-shirt, long pants and brown boots came to his door claiming to be an employee of Baymen Cable and identified himself as Reginald Flowers of Burrell Boom. The retiree let him inside the house to check the cable wire while he was preparing breakfast. He observed the supposed cable guy inching up to his bedroom door and became suspicious - but didn't question it. After the man left he found that his black purse with $60.00 dolalrs inside was gone and his ATM card was missing from his bed head. Similarly, an 88-year-old woman of Kelly Street, Belize City reported that on Wednesday around 10a.m., a man went to her house pretending to be a City council employee there to fix her veranda. She was about to go to the store and the man kindly offered to get someone to run the errand for her. While waiting for the run man to return, the man told her that her wedding band and earrings needed cleaning and offered to clean it. She complied, which is when he told her he will go check on the run man. He stepped out, and never came back.

Student Remanded For Gun Is Getting Desperate
18 year old Godwin Neal Jr is tonight still remanded at the Hattieville prison after he and 5 others were charged with kept ammunition without a gun license and possession of 1.2 grams of cannabis. Since then, five of the accused have managed to secure bail except for Neal who is a student of Nazarene High School. Today his devastated mother told us the young man has been having suicidal thoughts and is asking for assistance from anyone who can help get her son out of prison. On April 13th, police searched a house at 10 Far West Street and found the 2 bullets and a small quantity of cannabis. Present at the time were 23 year old Nicoli Rhys, 27 year old Shane Mckoy, 18 year old Rheonna Rivero, 18 year old Godwin Neal Jr. a 17 year old male student of Wesley High School and Bernadette Samuels, a nurse at KHMH.

There's A Third SPICE Cadidate
Last night, we told you about SJC 4th form Graduates, Siian Rancharan and Mishek Musa who will attend a prestigious science camp at the Cavehill Campus at the University of the West Indies. That program is called SPICE and we missed the other name disngled out for this prestigious honour: she Digna Ramirez of Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico. As we've told you the camp is called the Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering, and only 17 students from the entire Caribbean were chosen along with these 3 Belizean high schoolers. It was made possible through the extensive efforts of the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities. The Ministry has been working for the past 3 years to ensure that Belize is represented at the camp.

PROFILE...
Tonight, the I am Belize Teacher Profile series is back after a short break. This edition is about a young teacher, Lenessa Reynolds - who has a unique story - here it is:..

Prison CEO To Jamaica For Rehab Training

Ras Indio's: Love You, Mama
Sunday is Mother's Day, and reggae artist, Ras Indio says he has prepared a special treat for those inspiring ladies that made all the babies. It's a new music video called, "Love You Mama". Now no one has ever missed the mark by making a song about Momma - you can ask Tupac or Sizzla about that - and today Indio told us what makes his message special: You'll be able to find "Love You Mama" on YouTube.

Channel 5

A brazen and daring robbery at Scotiabank in Belmopan
A brazen, mid-morning robbery took place at the Scotiabank Branch in Belmopan when numerous customers were conducting business. It happened like this. The robber, who is well known to the [...]

The embattled Health C.E.O. goes on the offensive
After weeks of sustained fire by the Pharmacists’ Association of Belize, the Ministry of Health called a press conference this morning to allow C.E.O. Peter Allen to answer serious allegations [...]

Procurement manager caught by the mouth; his email circulated about Chief Pharmacist
The decision to allow three other persons, including Danini Contreras, to approve Customs entries of pharmaceuticals was made on the strength of one email. That email was circulated on April [...]

Audit Report says C.E.O. responsible for embezzlement at Southern Regional
In October 2013, Administrator of the Southern Regional Hospital Nasley Sommerville was placed on suspension for suspected embezzlement of funds. A subsequent audit revealed that almost three hundred and seventy [...]

Directors resign from K.H.M.H.
That seems like woes aplenty, but there’s even more. News Five has been able to confirm that member of the K.H.M.H. Board of Directors, Maude Sylvester, resigned on Thursday. She [...]

Minister of Health, Pablo Marin, defends his C.E.O.
So where does Minister Pablo Marin stand in all this? C.E.O. Peter Allen is his hands on guy, his right hand, so to speak. Well, despite the myriad administrative and [...]

Belize City man detained but released for the murder of a King’s Park resident
Vince Martinez Junior was murdered within minutes of leaving the funeral for his uncle in Ladyville on Wednesday. No one has been charged for Martinez’s murder nor has the motive [...]

Hansel Garcia dies 5 days after he’s shot
  There is also another murder to report which occurred down south. Seventeen year old Hansel Garcia was shot multiple times last Wednesday as he was walking through Castillo Alley [...]

Belmopan Comprehensive Teacher remanded for carnal knowledge
As we reported on Wednesday, thirty-three year old Michael Guzman, a secondary school teacher at Belmopan Comprehensive High School, has been arrested and charged for carnal knowledge, after carrying on [...]

IMF’s report on the state of Belize’s economy
In economic news, a team from the International Monetary Fund, led by Jacques Bouhga-Hagbe, has concluded a consultation mission to Belize on the state of the economy.  The report issued [...]

Church leaders discuss meeting with PM Barrow
On Wednesday Church leaders met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow to discuss the gender policy and other related issues. Some fringes of the organized church gave the impression that it [...]

Belize Can Patriots should not be confused with Evangelical Churches
With seeming accord between government and the churches, you might be a little confused by those militaristic releases condoning shutdown of schools and strikes or giving the government thirty days [...]

A one-on-one with gay activist, Maurice Tomlinson on the CCJ ruling
On Thursday, the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled favorably on behalf of LGBT activist Maurice Tomlinson, granting him special leave to challenge the immigration acts of Belize and Trinidad & [...]

BGYEA executive calls G.O.B. a bully
Firebrand grassroots activist and president of BGYEA, Nigel Petillo, is again up in arms with the Lands Department over the Harmonyville community near mile forty-one on the George Price Highway. [...]

Ras Indio’s music video for mothers
Ras Indio is back in the jewel after touring various cities in the U.S. The talented Belizean artist is back in time to release his new track and video specifically [...]

A Labour Education Seminar
A training workshop on employers’ and workers’ rights and responsibilities under the Belize Labor Legislations and ILO conventions was held today in Belmopan.  Representatives from the National Trade Union Congress [...]

Ministry holds training workshop on employers and workers rights
Senator Hulse also spoke on the establishment of a Labor Advisory Commission which is chartered to look closely at issues pertaining to employment practices.   Godwin Hulse, Minister of Local [...]

PlusTV

Customer Robbed at Belmopan Scotia Bank
A slow and laid back Friday morning was interrupted, when a shooting was reported immediately following reports of a robbery which took place in Scotia Bank, Belmopan branch. ASP Joel Gillet- Officer Commanding the Belmopan Police “Shortly before 10, this morning, we received a call that someone has been...

BGYEA Speaks Out on Bann from Harmonyville Buffer
BGYEA is facing a new hurdle. The latest update on this story was that the Government had finally taken heed to BGYEA’s constant plea for help in removing illegal squatting from the Buffer Zone, which BGYEA hoped to use as farming to generate some revenue for the community. However,...

Ministry of Health Defends Pharmaceutical Tender Process
It has been a trying few weeks for the Ministry of Health and particularly its chief Executive Officer Dr. Peter Allen, with a wide public rift being exposed between senior staff over the regime for importation of drugs into the private sector and who should be in charge of...

Robbers Enter BWSL Compound and Rob Payroll
Yesterday evening, a supervisor at BWSL in San Ignacio Town reported that at 5:50 p.m. while he was inside the main office, two male persons of dark complexion entered the BWEL compound and held up the security guard with a pistol. They then proceeded inside the main office and...

Con Artist Strikes Again Against the Elderly
There have been several reports made of a con artist preying on the elderly in north side Belize city, posing as a linesman, a cable man, and a repairman among others, resulting in monies and properties been stolen from the victims. The police department advises the public especially the...

Armed Robbery Hit Bowen and Bowen in San Pedro, Ambergris
There was an attempted armed robbery this afternoon at Bowen and Bowen Limited on the Island of San Pedro. The incident occurred this afternoon after 1 pm when an armed man entered the office and demanded money. Reports are that the security guard somehow managed to get the culprit...

Evangelical Pastors Remain Vigilant Against LGBT Agenda
Today the Evangelical Association of Churches of Belize hosted the press as promised earlier this week following their meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Its president, Pastor Eugene Crawford, wished to emphasize that the Church remains vigilant on the issue and awaits the satisfactory response of the Government to...


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#490738 - 05/10/14 12:12 PM Re: Today's Belize News: May 10, 2014 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

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Amandala

Evening execution in Ladyville
The cashier at the Puma Gas Station on the Philip Goldson Highway in Ladyville told Amandala that shortly after 6:00 yesterday evening, Wednesday, she heard a loud bang, which sounded like the blowout of a car tire. “But I was busy attending to customers and never paid any attention to the source of the noise,” she said. But a few minutes later, Ladyville police officers were demarcating a crime scene with tape, as they diverted traffic from off the highway, where a dark-skinned man lay stretched out at the bus stop, almost in front of the gas station. The man lying on the ground, dressed only in a pair of blue jeans pants, was dead. He was identified as Vincent Martinez, Jr., 27, an unemployed resident of 8th Street, Kings Park. A pool of blood had formed on the ground where he lay. The blood had poured out from a gunshot wound visible at the right side of his head.

Hansel Garcia, 17, dies from gunshot wounds
A teenager and resident of Dangriga Town has unfortunately succumbed to injuries he suffered last Wednesday, April 30, when a lone gunman approached him while he was walking through Castillo Alley in Dangriga around 8:00 that night, fired a barrage of gunshots and ran off. The shooting victim, 17-year-old Hansel Garcia, also known as “Mission,” was found lying on the street suffering from gunshot injuries to the left forearm, right leg and the lower left side of his back. He was later rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga. However, Garcia’s condition deteriorated after he clung to life for nearly a week, and this past Monday, May 5, the young fisherman died after undergoing multiple surgeries.

LGBT’s Tomlinson has “arguable” case – CCJ!
Belize will have to face another round of litigation from the LGBT community over its domestic law in a challenge filed by Jamaican national, Maurice Tomlinson, who this morning won special leave from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to file a suit against Belize and Trinidad over immigration laws which Tomlinson claims violate his right to hassle-free movement across CARICOM, under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. “Upon discovery of the prohibitions contained in the Immigration Acts, he has refused to travel to either state, lest he fall afoul of the law. He claims that the existence of these provisions violates his right to free movement under the treaty,” CCJ president Dennis Byron noted. Byron said that there is no disputing that Tomlinson is a CARICOM national and that the right to free movement inures to his benefit directly. He also noted that the state of Jamaica has refused to espouse a claim on Tomlinson’s behalf, given his prior unimpeded travel to and from both states.

KHMH CEO “talking loud and saying nothing”
Two days after the headline story, “KHMH sued for 5 dead babies,” was published in the Amandala of Sunday, May 4, 2014, Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Francis Gary Longsworth, wrote Amandala’s Editor-in-Chief complaining about the story, saying: “The KHMH administration wishes to document its objection to the above-captioned article which is replete with inaccuracies and misinformation, both by the reporter, Mr. Roland Parks (sic) and attorney, Mr. Kareem Musa.” But Longsworth’s letter was extremely short on facts, and long on “talking loud and saying nothing,” to paraphrase the late, great Godfather of Soul, James Brown, even though he claimed that the article was “replete” with “inaccuracies and misinformation.” The lawyer for the five mothers, Kareem Musa, told Amandala that apparently, Longsworth had not thought it worthwhile to send the letter to him, as one of the “accused.”

Convicted child predator from US living in Belize?
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a convicted child predator is supposedly residing in Belize. Thomas Allen Bloom, 63, was convicted of sexual battery and child coercion in Brevard, Florida, in 1997, and is therefore registered as a sexual predator in that state. Since being released from prison, however, Bloom is believed to have relocated to Belize since March of 2013, and although his specific location in Belize is unknown, it must be noted that sex offenders from the United States of America are not required to register in Belize.

Cuban accused of gold heist whisked away to the US
Yesterday, local Immigration and police officials repatriated a Cuban national who, according to authorities in the United States, was wanted in connection with the largest gold heist in Florida history. After over two months of negotiations between the US and Belize authorities, Raonel Valdez Valhuerdi, 34, was boarded on an 11:30 a.m. American Airlines flight and flown to Miami, where he was booked into the Miami Dade County Jail for his alleged perpetration of the October 2012 robbery of 110 pounds in gold flakes valued at 2.8 million US dollars. Valdez Valhuerdi was detained after he had been caught by Immigration authorities in the bushes west of Benque Viejo Town trying to slip illegally into Belize from Guatemala on February 18 of this year. He was subsequently detained, since he had a Cuban passport but could not produce a stamp showing he had entered Belize legally.

From The Publisher
There is a point in all men’s lives when they become irrelevant. This, on an average, happens earlier in men’s lives than ever before, because post-modern life has become dominated by so much technology and so much velocity. We are left behind earlier than ever before. In British Honduras in the 1960s, we had a Mayor of Belize City who was way up in his eighties, perhaps even nineties. That was the famous “Boss Fred” Westby, who also represented the Albert constituency in the House of Representatives from 1961 to 1965. Back then, life was slow and “oh so mellow,” as the song says. Things have changed: you can’t have geriatric people running things, or even making decisions. Old people are out of touch with the real deal, the daily deal. As Rt. Hon. George Price fought to achieve independence in the 1970’s, there was growing stress on him. British Honduras had attained self-government in 1964, and was expected to move on apace to political independence. There was a spoke in the wheel, however, and that was the Guatemalan claim to the colony. The solution to this claim which was offered by the United States Government, through the attorney Bethuel Webster, sparked unprecedented street uprisings in our capital city in 1966 and 1968. (“Unprecedented” is used in the context of our post-World War II generations.)

8th Rose Classic
Every Easter break for the last 8 years, hundreds of young men – and even young women – mainly from the impoverished areas of Belize City have flocked to the Rose Classic (Belize) International Basketball tournament, which is hosted annually by Mr. Cleon Hyde at Bird’s Isle in the Yarborough area. Hyde, who organizes the tournament, can be described as a philanthropist who has been coming to Belize to mentor aspiring basketball players and young people in general, while training them on the skills and techniques of the sport, as well as discipline and respect for others. The young ‘ballers’ were divided into 3 categories: (1) the Biddy category, which consisted of 8 teams made up of players from 8-12 years old; (2) the Junior category, which consisted of players aged 13-15; and (3) the Senior category, which was made up of players who are the top high school basketball players from the city as well as some rural areas.

Third World Sports
Camp director Dion Flowers informed us last week that the Third World Sporting Club is once again organizing its annual Summer Camp for youths of Belize City, where from 150 to 200 youths between the ages of 5 to 13 years are engaged in various positive sporting activities – football, basketball, volleyball, dominoes, checkers and chess, while also being provided with fruits, water and a healthy meal. The camp commences on June 30 and will run until July 25. This is the 15th year that the Third World Sports in Education Summer Camp is being held at the St. Martin De Porres football field, and any assistance, in cash or kind, will be greatly appreciated to help make the camp a success for the kids. Dion can be contacted at 607-8785 or 668-2886 or email dionflowers29@yahoo.com for any inquiries or concern. Monetary contributions can be made through Belize Bank account #76918.

Belize City No Limit
The first ever National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) playoffs are almost upon us, as the league’s top 4 teams will advance to the semifinal round, to later crown an NEBL champion. The number 1 seed will play the number 4 seed in a best-of-3 games series, while the number 2 and 3 seeds will do the same. The San Pedro Tigersharks have all but locked up the number 1 seed, and going into last Friday night’s game between the Cayo Western Ballaz and Belize City No Limit at Bird’s Isle in Belize City, the number 2 seed was still up for grabs. Last Friday night, before the Elite League players took the court, fans who were early to Bird’s Isle were treated to a rematch of last year’s National High School Basketball championship between Sacred Heart College of San Ignacio and Anglican Cathedral College of Belize City. ACC, who lost to SHC in the championship, would get their revenge, as they blew out the side from San Ignacio by a final score of 90 to 58. No doubt, there were a few future NEBL players participating in that game.

Brown Bombers U-15 males
After almost two months of competition, the Belize District Football Association (BDFA) Youth Tournaments climaxed on Saturday, May 3, with the Finals in 3 different categories at the MCC Grounds. In the U-15 male category, Smart Brown Bombers prevailed, 2-1, over Collet Strikers, with goals from Sherwin Requena and Eldon Byrd, while Shaquil Matute scored for Collet. The 14-17 female championship saw Academy FC (A Team) coming away with the 3-2 win over Pallotti, with Jody Pott netting 2 and Jennifer Estrada scoring 1 for Academy, while Shandy Vernon and Monisha Hyde got 1 apiece for Pallotti. In the U-17 male Finals, Hattieville won, 3-1, over City Boys, with Trevaun Rhaburn, Charles James and Kenyon Lewis netting 1 apiece for Hattieville, while Sydney Bradley got the only goal for City Boys. The “man in the middle”, Anthony “Willie Bo” Bernard was under intense pressure in this one, as the City Boys fans were visibly annoyed with his calling back 2 other goals scored by Sydney Bradley of City Boys, while they claimed offside for 2 of Hattieville’s goals. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed. Both managers of Hattieville and City Boys agreed that championship games need to be administered by only the best certified and experienced referees.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Give me a green paper or a white paper
A green paper or even a white paper is needed on education reform. I have been asking several Ministry officials about the education finance reform. I have gotten vague answers to some of my questions, so I have come to the conclusion that a policy document which is available to all stakeholders to comment and improve on the policy is needed. I am not sure if they believe Parliament and Ministry officials are omnipotent and omniscient. “White Papers are used as a means of presenting government policy preferences prior to the introduction of legislation”; as such, the “publication of a White Paper serves to test the climate of public opinion regarding a controversial policy issue and enables the government to gauge its probable impact”.

Mental patient, 21, goes missing
Belize City police are asking the general public to be on the lookout for Clifton Clifford Willoughby, 21, also known as “Grizzle”, who has been reported missing. Willoughby is described as an unemployed Belizean who normally resides at #179 Iguana Street Extension in Belize City, but has been mentally unstable for the past three years. He is of brown complexion, of slim build, and about 6 feet in height. He has a low haircut and can be recognized by a scar over his right eye. According to police reports, Willoughby was last seen wearing a short silk silver pants, an orange and white buttoned shirt with a black sweater over it, black socks with green stripes, a pair of green slippers and a grey hat on his head.

Alrick and Brandon Smith charged with attempted murder
Two men, Alrick Smith and Brandon Smith (no relation), who have been accused of attempting to murder four on-duty police officers in a case that has been through fourteen months of adjournment cycles in the Magistrate’s Court were freed of the charge on Monday, when Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith struck out the case against them. But by today, Wednesday, police brought the two men back to court and re-arraigned them on the charges before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart, who remanded them to prison until their next court date on June 6. On Monday morning, in striking out the case for want of prosecution, Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith told one of the accused men, Brandon “Battery” Smith, 29, who appeared for the preliminary inquiry that morning, “You need not come back on the matter,” after the court prosecutor informed the court that he was not yet in possession of the case file.

Helicopter crash claims life of Belizean-American soldier
A Belizean-American soldier who was working as a helicopter mechanic with the United States Military lost his life in a helicopter accident this past Saturday, May 3, near the state of New Mexico. Amandala understands that Sergeant Dwight Burn, 27, a soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade, died as a result of injuries he sustained when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter – on which he was a crew member – crashed around 8:15 p.m. while the crew was conducting a desert training exercise in an area north of the Fort Bliss Garrison near Orogrande, New Mexico. Sgt. Burn was reportedly the crew chief and one of four persons who were aboard the helicopter when it went down, and unfortunately, he was the only person who died as a result of his injuries.

Day of Healing in Majestic Alley
The 12th Day of Healing will be held in the Majestic Alley area on Saturday, May 17, from 9 in the morning to 7:00 p.m., and at 6:00 p.m., a candlelight vigil will be held in remembrance of those who have lost their lives due to the ongoing senseless gun violence. The event is a collaboration between Perry ‘Stickz’ Smith and Leroy Mutty Smith, the founder of an organization known as the Upliftment Camp, in the Majestic Alley area. Mutty is a social activist who conducts an afterschool feeding program for children from his home in the Majestic Alley area Perry “Stickz” Smith, the Director of the Day of Healing, a registered non-governmental and non-profit organization in Belize, said that the aim of this Day of Healing is to bring the community and the adjoining communities together in a safe and friendly environment to enable residents to reopen the lines of communication and to restore solidarity within the communities. The event also is aimed at displaying the talents and skills of residents – both younger ones and adults – in the community through their participation in various games and competitions during the day. Trophies and medals will be presented to the first place winners.

Back-and-forth persists between SATIIM and GOB over oil exploration activities in Sarstoon-Temash National Park
Of late, indigenous Mayan advocacy groups such as the Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA), the Toledo Alcaldes Association (TAA) and the Sarstoon-Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) have been vehemently protesting about the Government of Belize (GOB)’s decision to waive the expiration date for US Capital Energy’s permit to conduct pre-drilling activities within the Sarstoon-Temash National Park without the consent of the buffer communities surrounding the park. In a letter written yesterday to Belize’s Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, SATIIM categorically describes Government’s actions in regards to the waiving of the expiration date for US Capital Energy’s concession as “the historical trademark of a corrupt, inept, despotic and discriminatory government.” SATIIM, which represents the buffer communities of Midway, Conejo, Crique Sarco and Graham Creek, is lashing out at the Government because they are stating that the permit has been declared by the Supreme Court as “unlawfully granted” and suggests that GOB’s action verifies its “colonial and racially-entrenched mindset towards the indigenous peoples” by regressing and circumventing consecutive rulings by the Supreme Court which affirm customary Maya land rights.

WEALTH AND INSTABILITY – THE OIL PACKAGE
Amongst themselves, the European peoples, and a thousand years ago they were “tribes” (just as how they referred to Africa and indigenous American peoples after their invasion and conquest of Africa and America in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries), waged bloody wars among themselves for centuries after centuries. As a result of these unending wars, the various European peoples developed gunpowder, artillery, cavalry, and sophisticated techniques of warfare which gave them a noticeable advantage over the Africans and indigenous Americans when they entered Africa and America. The Europeans were also able to exploit the relative innocence of native peoples, in the sense that many native cultures prized honesty and honor amongst men of noble rank. In Mexico in 1521 and Peru in 1532, Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro, respectively, brought levels of dishonesty and treachery to the New World which the natives had never experienced. In addition, these Europeans conquistadors took advantage of longstanding divisions amongst major ethnic groupings. It was not a case of a few Spaniards just massacring many natives. There were natives from groupings which had been oppressed by Moctezuma in Mexico and Atahualpa in Peru who made strategic alliances with the conquistadors in their quest for revenge.

American fugitive recaptured after escaping from Belmopan police
An American fugitive who escaped from police custody on Sunday was recaptured early yesterday morning in Roaring Creek, Belmopan. According to Belmopan police, Martin Chapman, 52, who is allegedly wanted in the United States for several criminal offences, was cleaning his cell when he reportedly slipped past authorities during a change of shift around 3:32 p.m. this past Sunday, May 4. On Thursday, April 24, Chapman was arrested and detained after police received information about a suspicious man who was lurking in the area known as “Another World” in the village of Roaring Creek. Upon running a profile search, police discovered that he was wanted in Minnesota, USA, for felonies which include attempting to escape from a police officer while in a mobile vehicle.

Belizean arrested in Mexico for alleged kidnapping attempt of 2 young girls, but released
A Belizean man, 19, known as “Ariel,” believed to be a human trafficker, has been arrested by Mexican police after he attempted to kidnap two girls, each 8 years old, from a school compound in Sabido, Mexico, a village located across the Rio Hondo River, which borders Belize and southern Mexico. The girls were released when their mothers raised the alarm that they had been taken, at about 3:30 Monday evening, when they went to the school to pick them up. According to Por Esto (Quintana Roo), a Mexican newspaper, Ariel’s accomplice, a 13-year-old girl, approached the two little girls, who had just come out of classes, trying to convince them to follow her to the edge of the river, and the children went. When their mothers went to pick up the girls and they were not at the school, however, an alarm was raised, and an immediate search began, and the girls were seen returning to the village from the river area. They reported what had happened, and authorities began to look for the man and the young girl.

Criminal pair strikes again in Corozal Town
Less than two days after the Huan Huan Store was held up and robbed in Corozal Town, and thieves got away with about $1,000 cash, a husband and wife, owners of Ma’s Fast Food on 7th Avenue, Corozal Town, were held up at gunpoint, beaten with a gun butt and a knife handle, and robbed. The thieves got away with over $3,900 in cash and goods. The owner of the store told police that at about 11:15 last night, he and his wife were in their store when two armed, masked men entered, and one of the thieves, who was carrying a sawed-off shotgun, pointed it at them and demanded money. Fearing for their lives, the owner handed over $2,000 from the cash drawer, two Samsung Galaxy cell phones and $300 worth of phone cards.

Sandhill man re-charged for his brother’s murder
Edward Cabanas, 21, was arrested and charged for the December 31, 2012 murder of his brother, Brandon Cabanas, 20, which occurred in Sandhill. But on March 25, Edward Cabanas was freed of the murder charge when the case was struck out, an occurrence that went under the media radar. Cabanas, however, was rearrested, charged for the murder and again arraigned on the charge today, Wednesday, when he appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart. But before Stewart read the charge to him, Cabanas told her that he had been freed of the charge since March 25. Stewart explained to him that the charge against him was brought back, and that because it is an indictable matter, she would not take a plea from him, and neither could she offer him bail.

Lincoln Sabido, 29, accused of jacking Chinese grocer, remanded to prison
A Belize City man, accused of robbing a Chinese grocer at gunpoint and making off with around $3,500 in cash and assorted items, was remanded to prison after he was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on Tuesday. Lincoln Sabido, 29, a resident of 6755 Berry Street in the Lake Independence area, pleaded not guilty to four criminal charges police laid on him. Police charged Sabido with one count of robbery and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly instrument, a firearm. Smith remanded him to prison until his next scheduled court appearance date, on August 8. Sabido will have to celebrate his 30th birthday behind bars, on July 6.

Belizean girl, 15, human trafficking victim, rescued by Mexican police
A 16-year-old Belizean girl believed to be a victim of human trafficking who was found in Carrillo Puerto, Mexico, is in the custody of Mexican authorities, who will return her to Belize. The girl told Mexican police that she had been held against her will for the past seven months by an older man who had been beating and abusing her. According to the Mexican newspaper Por Esto Quintana Roo, at about 9:30 Saturday night, police were on patrol on 68th Street in the Colonia Jesus Martinez Ross area in Felipe Carillo Puerto, Quintana Roo, Mexico, when they came across a vehicle that was parked in a dark area of the street and inside the vehicle were two people who were in an altercation. The police stopped to investigate what was happening, and the driver, who identified himself as Miguel Angel Manzanero Cocom, 53, claimed that nothing was wrong, but the girl, who was sitting in the front seat, quickly told police that she was being beaten and abused by Cocom.

Carnal knowledge of 14-year-old reported in Punta Gorda
A teenage girl of Punta Gorda has told police that she was molested by an older man. Yesterday, May 7, the girl, 14, and her grandmother went to police and told them that at about 4:30 on Holy Saturday, April 19, she was in Punta Gorda when a man, 27, who is known to her, took her to his house and had sex with her. Police took her to the Punta Gorda Hospital where a doctor certified that she has been carnally known.

Shooter, 17, remanded to prison
A 17-year-old young man who police say fired seven shots at Victor Luna, a resident of Asuncion Street, Orange Walk Town, was taken to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court today on charges of attempted murder, discharging a firearm in public, and aggravated assault. He has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison. Police said that Luna was driving his vehicle on Macal River Street in the Louisiana area of Orange Walk Town when a person shot at him at about 9:00 last night. One of the bullets grazed his leg, Luna told police, who processed the scene and recovered seven 9mm expended shells.

Belmopan schoolteacher remanded on carnal knowledge charges
Disturbing cases of carnal knowledge and sexual abuse of minors have arguably become more widespread in the Belizean society nowadays, and the situation is made even worse when the perpetrator turns out to be a trusted custodian of the victim. Amandala understands that a teacher who had been employed at the Belmopan Comprehensive School is reportedly on remand at the Belize Central prison after he allegedly engaged in a relationship with a 14-year-old second form student from the same school. Additional details have not been forthcoming, but according to our information, the teacher (age unknown) was arraigned at the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court yesterday for one count of carnal knowledge after the mother of the 14-year-old reportedly read her diary and came upon indications of a sexual relationship between her daughter and the former teacher.

The Reporter

Ministry of Health CEO: "I did not victimize Chief Pharmacist"
Today Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Peter Allen, categorically denied accusations that he victimized Chief Pharmacist Sharon Anderson. At a press conference at the Belize Biltmore Plaza, and flanked by Minister of Health Pablo Marin and other ranking members in the MOH, Allen explained that while he and Anderson do not agree, her removal from the tendering committee for pharmaceuticals was a process in accordance with the regulations of the committee. “All members of the committee were asked to declare any possible conflicts of interest. Mrs. Anderson declared that she had such conflicts and so she was replaced on the committee.” Dr. George Goff, chairman of the Tender Committee for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies for the public sector, supported Allen. He explained that all members were subject to the process. Goff also emphasized that the procedure is transparent, and that prior to the current government administration there was no tendering process whatsoever.

Canton out at CPBL
Dr. Henry Canton, the CEO of the Citrus Products of Belize Ltd (CPBL) resigned from that post at the end of April. Canton is now the representative on the CPBL Board of Directors for Banks Holdings Ltd, co-owner and the second major shareholder of CPBL. He served as CEO of CPBL for 12 years. His retirement package, paid by the company that has gone through financial strains in recent years, remains a private issue. CPBL’s interim CEO is the company’s Chief Operations Officer, Jaime Alpuche.

Police warns against prowling con artist
Belize City police have issued a warning to residents of Belize City following an increasing number of reports that a con artist is prowling around and posing as someone with different types of professions. The police advise especially senior citizens to be wary of anyone who visits your home claiming to be a cable collector, a linesman or a repairman. If this happens, the police advise the public to call the company that the person claims he’s employed with to crosscheck his story before letting him into your homes. If it does not make sense the police advise to call the police hotline at 911 and report the matter immediately. The most recent incidents occurred on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Police say that an elderly man reported at the Precinct 3 police sub-station that at around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday a man in his mid-40’s visited his home claiming to be an employee of a cable company. The senior citizen said he let the man inside his house to check the cable wire while he fixed breakfast. He said that when he saw the man near his bedroom door he became skeptical but continued about what he was doing. He said that when the man left he discovered that a black purse which contained about $60 and his bank cards and social security identification card was missing his bed head.

Bank robber shot after grabbing cash bag from customer
Belmopan police are preparing charges against an alleged bank robber who brazenly grabbed a cash bag from a customer inside a bank and then attempted to escape this morning. The incident occurred around nine this morning when a customer was about to make a deposit inside the bank in Belmopan. Reports are that the robber waited until the customer placed the bag on the counter before he decided to strike. A policeman who was on patrol when the robber ran through the bank’s parking lot set chase and apprehended him in the Belmopan Market Square area. The two struggled and the policeman was hurt in the process, and the robber was shot.

Earthquake rocks Mexico
An earthquake on Wednesday, measuring 6.4 on the Richter Scale and centred near Tecpan de Galeana in southern Guerrero state, or 190 miles south-west of Mexico City rocked several communities but caused no damage or injuries in its wake. A map provided by the BBC World News shows the earthquake’s location and the areas of impact. Mexico, which lies on top of three continental plates, is frequently affected by tremors seismic experts are concerned that more tremors could follow that may cause damage to weakened buildings. The quake had a depth of 15 miles. It followed a 7.2-magnitude quake that shook central and southern Mexico last month.

Nine Steps to Legal Business
Few people would disagree that Belize must increase its rate of economic growth more dramatically, and in a sustainable way. One of the obvious ways in which Belize can do that is by encouraging entrepreneurship. Beltraide, through its Small Business Development Center, provides assistance for new entrepreneurs in the form of advice, training and technical assistance. This is an excellent effort by a government-owned body toward encouraging small businesses to start and increase their odds of business success. Beltraide, working with the government’s Director of Public/Private Sector Development and the three major utilities, also developed the Micro-Enterprise Utility Start-Up Package wherein new small business account deposits and fees are either reduced or waived.

Dr. Arturo Gamero dies in Belize
A funeral service for the late beloved Dr. Arturo Humberto Gamero was held on Thursday, May 1, at the Buddhist Sanctuary at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ken Kensuki on Gabourel Lane, Belize City. He died from a massive stroke suffered two days earlier. His body was cremated the next day. Arturo left behind his beloved wife of 35 years, Luz Maria Gamero, daughter Noriko Gamero and adult sons Alexander and Daisako. Arturo was the son of career diplomat Ambassador Marcial Gamero of Honduras, who served as Ambassador to Belize for 18 years. He studied to become a doctor at the University of Yucatán School of Medicine and during his internship years, in July 1979, married his dream girl, Luz Maria, moving to Belize shortly after that.

Norris Leslie dies in Florida
His many friends in Belize will be grieved to learn of the death of Norris Hillary Leslie Sr. on the morning of May 1, 2014, in the City of Stuart, Martin County, USA. Norris grew up on West Collet canalside, with his boyhood buddy, businessman Tony Leslie of Leslie’s Imports. He also lived for some time on Nargusta Street, Belize City. Norris died from the effects of surgery for colon cancer, leaving his present wife, Laura, to mourn his passing. He is survived by daughters Darlene, Francine, Dyann and Keisha and his sons Norris lll, Lance, Clifford and Jovan, aged 10.

Belize becomes fashionable in Harper’s Bazaar magazine
When did Belize’s tourism offerings become fashionable? Judging from the recently launched 11-page editorial spread in the world-renowned Harper’s Bazaar magazine, Destination Belize has certainly grown in its celebrity status, being ranked among the Who’s Who in fashion, beauty and pop culture. Belize Tourism Board’s Director Karen Bevans told The Reporter Wednesday, hours before the spread’s official unveiling in Belize City, that the BTB and the industry thankfully capitalized on a low-cost opportunity—which was originally designed to feature the personal life of the Prime Minister’s wife, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow—to showcase Belize in the 147-year-old brand name magazine. “One full-page ad in a magazine of this nature averages about USD$40,000; that’s roughly BZ$80,000,” Bevans explained. “There is no way that the BTB could have financed something of this magnitude: almost a dozen pages in a brand name magazine that publishes in approximately 30 countries, including United States, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.”

Venezuelan Ambassador says higher oil prices won’t affect contract with Belize
Venezuelan ambassador to Belize, Yoel del Valle Perez Marcano, says the price of fuel that his country sells to Belize will not increase despite inflation, a marked increase in pump prices in Venezuela, and escalating concerns about a collapsing economy. In a telephone conversation with The Reporter, Ambassador Marcano said, “The price of fuel in Venezuela has nothing to do with international prices. The contract with the 18 member countries of PetroCaribe remains in tact.” The announcement comes in the wake of a 30 percent increase for minimum wage in Venezuela last week, which Venezuelan President, Nicholas Maduro deemed necessary to help address the country’s inflation rate, which literally skyrocketed over the past year to 56 percent, the highest in the world. It also comes after reports that fuel prices in Venezuela could go up to ease the economic strains in that country.

Castro attorneys seek to dispose of misconduct case
Its merits have yet to be fully considered, but the lawsuit brought by Belize Rural North constituent Trevor Vernon earlier this year against his area representative, Hon. Edmond Castro, may not make it to trial, following an application for strike out brought to the Supreme Court on Monday. Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, representing the Minister of State for Transport (and formerly Civil Aviation), asked Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to dismiss the matter on the ground that it was an “abuse of process” and had no hope of success as presented. Castro is accused of a breach of the code of conduct of his office as outlined in the Constitution, and violating the Prevention of Corruption in Public Life Act. He is accused of contravening the law when he allegedly accepted money on his own behalf, or through his representatives, from the Belize Airports Authority (BAA), an entity for which Castro held ministerial responsibility as Minister of State.

Geographic info helps make informed financial decisions
Having geographic information of flood and fire risk to properties in flood-prone areas can help financial institutions make better risk management decisions and to better evaluate the value of properties offered as collateral, said Chief Operating officer Jose Cardona of British Caribbean Bank Holdings Ltd. Cardona was addressing the opening of the fourth annual Geographic Information Systems (GIS) users’ conference at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel on Wednesday morning, May 7. GIS information of population demographics and economic activity can also help the bank make more informed decision in its deployment of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) and its network of branches, Cardona noted. Land parcel GIS database can help banks map the location of land parcels held as collateral, and additional maps showing areas under sugar cane cultivation can also help the bank better assess the risk of floods to areas under agricultural production, and to loans made to assist farmers.

Cop remanded on slew of gun-related charges
Yannick Wade, 27, police constable # 1332, is on remand at the Hattieville Prison after he was denied bail for a slew of gun-related offences. This follows the discovery, according to police, of two stolen guns in the general area where his 16-year old girlfriend and her family reside, at the corner of Johnson Street and Cemetery Road in Belize City. The Reporter has learned that Wade was one of four policemen who were on duty at the San Pedro Police Station last Wednesday between of one and 7 a.m., but he remained at the station while the other three went on patrol duties in the town. The guns, which are the property of KBH security, are kept locked along with a log book in a metal chest inside the police station. One of Wade’s colleagues, Police Constable Juan Cho, received the weapons on Wednesday night when the KBH guard took them for storage and Cho, reports indicate, supervised the deposit of the weapons inside the chest and signed the log book along with the KBH guard who delivered them.

Panamanian company opposes Coyes’ access to finances
Following a successful application in the Supreme Court, more than a million dollars in assets belonging to the surviving relatives of the late Michael Coye remain under lock and key. Earlier on Monday, Supreme Court Justice Shona Griffith had lifted the freezing order against nearly $6 million in financial assets belonging to members of the family, left to them by Mr. Coye. The family – parents Michael (deceased) and Marlene; daughter Melonie and son Jude; and associates James Gerou, Atlee Matute and Dietrich Kingston, as well as the company Money Exchange International Limited were exonerated after two trials and two appeals, the latest coming in March of this year.The Coye’s ran the money exchange until the start of investigations by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) into allegations of money laundering The FIU has chosen not to appeal the decision, but there are still some legal hurdles for the family to clear.

BTIA threatens injunction against Harvest Caye development
The Belize Tourism Industry Association has threatened to file for an injunction against the Harvest Caye project, if Norwegian Cruise Line does not halt the development. BTIA officialized their ultimatum on Monday, when they also announced that they’ve applied for judicial review of the National Environmental Appraisal Committee’s approval of the project. BTIA’s attorney, Godfrey Smith, explained that BTIA will send a letter to NCL to ask them to delay the start of the initiative until the court makes a decision on the tourism association’s application for leave to bring judicial review against NEAC and the Department of the Environment (DOE). Smith explained that after filing the application for leave to bring judicial review against NEAC and DOE, it may take anywhere from two-weeks to a month to get a hearing on the application.

NTUCB defends position on OSH
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize continues to support the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, despite concerns from the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry about the economic impact of the proposed law. NTUCB President Dylan Reneau told The Reporter that he believes the Belizean public would push for the enactment of this legislation when they understand the benefits. Reneau explained that the drafting of the Bill was linked to international commitments that Belize has made, in particular the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) OSH Convention, which mandates that governments enact such legislation. Reneau addressed one of the major points of contention during the consultations, namely the issue of regulations.

Electricity rates to be lowered slightly
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a nominal drop in electricity rates and Belizean consumers may very well see electricity rates trending downward explained PUC Chairman, John Avery. Avery explained that even though Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) recommended a mean electricity rate of $0.43 cents per kilowatt-hour, the Commission uses a specific method to arrive at the rate, which they determined to be $0.4347. Avery explained that while the government may have wanted to further lower the rates, the Commission is mandated to calculate the rates based on particular factors including Operational Expenditure (OPEX). According to Avery, BEL’s OPEX was higher than the target set by the PUC.

VIP continues Anti-Corruption Tour
The Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) has been carrying on with its Anti-Corruption Educational Campaign by visiting tertiary institutions throughout the country. VIP Chairman Hubert Enriquez explained that during their tour they have made visits and heard concerns of young adults from Galen, Sacred Heart Junior College, University of Belize’s Toledo campus and Wesley Junior College. Enriquez said that during their visits the students they have spoken with have been extremely engaged in discussions about the state of the country, the prevalence of corruption, the lack of public moral and the inactivity of young people in the political landscape.

Westrac Stingers win SMART Agric canoe race
The Westrac Stingers comprising Hener and Erwin Cruz, and Jerry Cante won the second annual SMART River Challenge canoe race from the Iguana Creek Bridge on the Belize River to the National Agricultural and Trade Show Grounds on Saturday, May 3. They clocked 2:06:00 to win the $150 first prize in the male category. The Ziprider canoe paddled by Jerry Rhaburn, Wilberto Daniels and Chris Guydis were seven seconds behind to claim the $75 second prize in the male category. The Belize Bank Bulldogs of Armin Lopez and Amado Cruz, finished fourth overall in 2:10:00, third in the male category. The Gerber/Guana team of Eric Cano, Francisca Cruz Phaender and Erwin Cruz, sponsored by Judd and Kelly Gerber, finished fifth overall in 2:10:50 to win the $150 first prize in the mixed category.

Western Ballaz bomb Smart No Limits 77-63 in NEBL basketball
The Cayo Western Ballaz recovered from a heart-breaker loss to the San Pedro Tiger Sharks to outlast Smart No Limits 84-70 and post their 10th victory of the National Elite Basketball (NEBL) Competition at Birds’ Isle last Friday night, May 2. SMART’s Andrew Ortiz rammed home three monster dunks as he led No Limits with 21 pts, as they seized an early 13-4 lead in the first quarter, but Kurt “Chengo” Burgess responded with two 3-pointers to score 20 pts, 11 boards and the Cayo Western Ballaz took over the lead 21-17 at the end of the quarter. Travis Lennan added 18 pts, five boards and Farron Louriano laid up 14pts, snagging 14 boards as the visitors cruised to a 42-36 lead at intermission. Johan Bermudez added 10pts, 10 boards, Ivan Flowers had seven points and three boards, while Mark O’Brien and Elroy Willis chipped in four points each to lead 57-54 at the end of the third quarter.

BETEX 2014 kicks off on solid ground
Belize’s tourism industry has expanded over the years and with encouraging tourist arrival figures, and those taking part in the Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX), which opened Wednesday night in Belize City, feel that the industry is poised for much greater things to come. BETEX, a trade show that is held every two years since 1996, offers those in the tourism industry the opportunity to market their products and services. It provides an opportunity for wholesalers, agents, travel media to visit Belize en masse to discuss with local tourism service providers what they have to offer. The trade aspect of the show ends on Friday afternoon and for the remainder of the weekend the visitors will go on site inspections of the tourism destinations. While the event has over the years expanded to include more of the products and services on the Belizean market, Herbert Haylock, the president of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, says that there are still a few loopholes that need to be plugged.

Agric show 2014 attracts 34,000
Approximately 34,000 Belizeans participated in this year’s National Agricultural and Trade Show, held last weekend in Belmopan. According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, this year’s attendance was about 19 percent lower than last year’s 42,000 participants, but considering the inclement weather that proceeded the two-day event, some observers still say that this year’s turnout was relatively good. The show has also become more trade than agriculture oriented in recent years, a trend the agriculture ministry has sought to change by refurbishing the show grounds last year, with permanent roofed pavilions with concrete flooring, where the Agriculture Departments from all six districts showcased the best produce from the farmers of each district. Trade also stepped down, as some major corporate exhibitors of previous years were conspicuous by their absence. Others stepped in to fill the breach as the Belize importers of the St. Lucian lager, Kubuli Beer, introduced a new product onto the Belizean market: Kubuli Gold in the 355 ml aluminium can, which, when marketed for $3.00 each, offered a better bargain than the local Belikin in the 275ml bottle.

A two-legged stool cannot stand!
According to the Belize Constitution, the word “Government” speaks to three separate branches; the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislative Branch. Government can be seen, then, as a three legged stool; each leg is separate, but all are working together to hold up the entire structure. In Government, some power is distributed to each branch by distributing various functions so that no one branch has all the power; none making all decisions. One branch may stall or even stop another branch from carrying out an activity; that branch must either find another way, or must give up that pursuit. This is how the separation of powers helps to produce a check and balance on behalf of the people. It ensures that one branch of government does not abuse the people with the very power given to it. When the three branches function together, the people are speaking and acting, and will benefit. The nation moves forward in an agreed direction. This is democracy.

“Major global threat” posed by antibiotic resistance – WHO
Resistance to antibiotics is now a “major global threat” to public health, with “devastating” implications likely unless significant action is taken urgently. That’s according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO), which analysed data from 114 countries and reported that resistance is occurring “in every region of the world.” The report warned of a grim “post-antibiotic era” in which simple infections and minor injuries that have been successfully treated for decades will once again become potentially deadly. The report looked at seven different bacteria responsible for common but serious diseases like pneumonia, blood infections and diarrhoea, and suggested that two key antibiotics no longer work in more than half of people being treated in some countries.

EDITORIAL
The Alcalde System is an old, time-honoured tradition for running the domestic affairs of a village. The system exists only in the Maya villages of Cayo and Toledo, where tradition requires a village elder to be in charge of village affairs. His duties require him to maintain law and order, […]

Caribbean Court of Justice says Gay man free to challenge Belize immigration law
The section of Belize’s Immigration Law which bans homosexuals from entering Belize is, by its very existence, prejudicial to these persons, the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled Thursday. The CCJ said this as it granted special leave to Jamaican homosexual activist Maurice Tomlinson to file an application challenging Section 5 (1) (e) of Belize’s Immigration Act under the CCJ’s original jurisdiction (that is to say the court’s power to hear and decide a case for the first time. Presenting the judgment of the court, CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron said that Tomlinson had met the standard of presenting an arguable case. According to the court, even though like Belize states argue that they do not treat homosexuals that way in practice, the very existence of the laws amounts to prejudice. Last November, Tomlinson, a legal advisor to the organization AIDS Free World, a gay activist and attorney for 14 years, argued through attorneys, Lord Anthony Gifford, QC, and Anika Gray that the very existence of the law is an infringement on the rights of homosexuals like himself.

Pharmacy Association responds to release from drug suppliers’ release
Belize Pharmacy Association’s President Hortence Humes said that she expects that pharmaceutical suppliers will indeed provide their quality certification as they promised via press release late Thursday evening. Suppliers to the Ministry of Health said that they support the Ministry’s tendering process and pledged that they are prepared to provide copies of all their certificates of Good Manufacturing Practices. Humes responded by saying that sub-standard pharmaceutical supplies have been entering the country and the Association wishes to see suppliers provide those certificates of good manufacuring practice.Humes also commended the suppliers for supporting the development of a Standard Operational Procedure and again stated that she hoped the suppliers were being sincere.


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Will PM be summoned to court?
The private prosecution of former government minister, Elvin Penner, has reportedly hit an impasse, and the plaintiff, Citizens Organised for Liberty through Action, say they might subpoena Prime Minister Dean Barrow and others to give evidence in court if necessary. The announcement came three weeks before the case is called on Thursday, May 29, at which point COLA is expected to furnish the defense with whatever evidence it has against Penner. At a COLA press conference on Wednesday, attorney Kareem Musa told reporters that there has been no cooperation from a number of public offices crucial to the case. These, he said, had informed that they also are investigating the passport/visa scandal. Of vital importance to the prosecution is the case file, which Musa said he has formally requested in writing from Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecutions.

Patrick Jones

Evangelical Association confident about changes to gender policy
Today the Evangelical Association of Churches of Belize hosted the press as promised earlier this week following their meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Its president, Pastor Eugene Crawford, wished to emphasize that the Church remains vigilant on the issue and awaits the satisfactory response of the Government to the implementation of the Revised National Gender Policy with its input. He said that while certain remarks alleged to have been made by the chair of the National Women’s Commission Ann-Marie Williams may have coincidentally impacted the meeting’s timing, they were ready to hear from the Prime Minister. And he told those skeptical of the Church’s chosen means of addressing the issue that confrontation is not always the best way, that talking to God can move mountains.

The Belize Adventure displayed at BETEX 2014
The biennial Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX) showcases the best of Belize’s overnight tourism industry. With many looking to cash in on the Belize adventure, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and other industry partners have arranged a sort of one-stop shop for all things Belizean tourism. BTIA President, Herbert Haylock, told us that this is the primary outlet for purveyors of overnight tourism – hotels and resorts from North to South – and associated businesses to sell their individual experiences to visitors and agents for international outlets and the odd Belizean or two. Representatives for two developers, one on the mainland and the other in the cayes that we spoke to said business can only get better with their exposure here. Grand Caribe Resort, two miles north of San Pedro Town proper in the North Ambergris Caye area, offers a tranquil experience, with its ideal location – close to the reef and all nearby attractions – making it prime property.

Ministry of Health opens up regime for drugs
The Ministry of Health and particularly its chief Executive Officer Dr. Peter Allen, have been doing their best to repair a wide public rift being exposed between senior staff and partners like the Pharmacy Association over the regime for importation of drugs into the private sector and who should be in charge of it. Today Dr. Allen admitted some painful truths about his management style, with specific reference to Chief Pharmacist Sharon Sanchez-Anderson. While they often do not agree, he says, he believes that it should not affect the work the Ministry does in this area. As the man in charge of over 2,000 employees, he admits he is bound to get into a few disagreements with those who dislike how he manages. But he insists that he will not back away from setting clear targets and performance goals that he expects those around him to match and exceed. Dr. Allen also denied having any personal interest in managing who signs for drugs to be brought into the country privately, only in ensuring that there is quality testing and standards.

Employer hired undocumented workers
46 year old Ricardo Marin, a resident of Ladyville who owns Oasis Restaurant and Bar at Mile 4 1/2 on the Philip Goldson Highway, pleaded guilty today to two counts of employing persons not in possession of a valid temporary work permit. Immigration officials visited his establishment and found two women, Cynthia Hernandez and Deinys Cervante, who could not produce their permits when asked. Marin, their employer, was arrested and charged.

Butane price falls by $13
The government of Belize today announced a $13 across the board reduction in the price of a 100-pound cylinder of butane gas. Imported butane from Mexico is now selling for $115 in Belize City and Corozal; $117 in Belmopan and San Ignacio; $118 in Benque Viejo del Carmen; $116 in Orange Walk; $119 in Dangriga and $120 in Punta Gorda. Imported butane from Central America is now selling for $112 in Belize City and Corozal; $114 in Belmopan and San Ignacio; $115 in Benque Viejo del Carmen; $113 in Orange Walk; $116 in Dangriga and $117 in Punta Gorda.

Attempted armed robbery in San Pedro town
There was an attempted armed robbery this afternoon at the San Pedro branch of Bowen and Bowen Limited. According to reports, around 1:30 pm today a man brandishing a firearm stormed the Bowen and Bowen office on Blake Street and demanded money. The on-duty security guard was able to eject the armed robber who did not get close enough to any of the employees to take anything. But before he left the area, the armed robber fired a number of shots.

The Belize Times

UDP Campaigning With YOUR Money!!
The BELIZE TIMES has confirmed from reliable government sources that the Ministry of Finance has paid out $850,000 to United Democratic Party politicians and operatives in another desperate political gimmick to buy out votes. This time, the deceptive political ploy is hidden under the guise of an unofficial Mother’s Day cheer program – much like the 2011 and 2013 Christmas cheer programs in which the Government diverted $1.25 million and $2.23 million dollars respectively from Government’s coffers to dish out $40,000 and $90,000 to each UDP representative for the distribution of ham and toys to political supporters. The BELIZE TIMES has been confirmed that the Ministry of Finance has already disbursed the money to UDP politicians by the tens of thousands. The money, in various denominations, will then be inserted into Mother’s Day cards and distributed to a small number of selected supporters. The cards carrying taxpayers’ monies inside will be signed by UDP politicians in a perverse and dishonest attempt to prop up the UDP’s campaign. Undoubtedly, in Edmond Castro-style, some of the money will end up in the pockets of these same politicians. ABUSIVE & ILLEGAL This is the third or fourth known time the UDP Government is dipping into the public’s purse to dole out funds to their political candidates. They did the same thing in February 2012 too, when four weeks before the early election the Prime Minister boasted that his Government was “slush with funds” and so he had devised a “pro poor assistance initiative” in which HIS political candidates got $50,000 each to spend. This most-recent blatant abuse of tax payers’ money is not sanctioned by the House of Representatives. It is an arbitrary decision by the Minister of Finance who is Prime Minister Dean Barrow. It is totally illegal and arguably, even corrupt.

Stonewalled! – COLA says ComPol, Auditor General & Ombudsman are obstructing Justice
Grassroots organization, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and their attorney Kareem Musa announced on Wednesday morning that they are prepared to take every step to ensure that the criminal case against corrupt UDP area representative Elvin Penner does not fail despite the numerous roadblocks set up by the Barrow Administration through its official functionaries. As the preliminary May 29th trial date approaches, C.O.L.A. has been working on gathering evidence. But according to President, Geovanni Brackett, their efforts to obtain key evidence from the Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie and Auditor General Dorothy Bradley have been stonewalled.

Barrow Defends “Clear the Cheques” Castro – Are taxpayers funding “Poor” Castro’s lawyer fees?
Minister of State Edmond Castro proved to Belizeans what a facey hustler he is when he claimed that he could not afford to pay for his own mother’s funeral services, so he took $4,000 of public funds to pay for the expense. He did the same when it came to paying for personal bicycle repairs, for dental care services and for the purchasing of chicken and soft drinks for his constituency political events. These acts of misuse of public funds that were exposed by the BELIZE TIMES earlier this year, among other major instances of abuse of office involving the misappropriation of tens of thousands of dollars from the coffers of the Belize Airport Authority, moved one of his constituents to seek a Supreme Court declaration that Castro had seriously violated his oath of office.

Progress in St. Matthews Village & Cayo South
The Cayo South constituency may not have access to its due share of Government support and resources under this vindictive UDP Government, but the leadership and humility of the elected PUP Area Representative Hon. Julius Espat and the willingness of residents to work together for the development of their community have become a perfect combination for progress. There are various examples of the positive results from this partnership. One such is the opening of road access to farm lands in St. Matthews Village. The project was initiated through the leadership of the PUP St. Matthews Village Council and Chairlady Teresa Linarez. She approached area representative Hon. Espat requesting support, and he readily offered to assist.

KHMH Implements Parking Fees
The KHMH administration has implemented new parking fees for anyone accessing parking outside of the hospital. In these hard times this is a cold move to squeeze money out of hard working Belizeans. The Belize Times also noted that the Belize City Council is forcing commuters to park at the KHMH parking lot by making the section of Princess Margaret Drive immediately in front a no parking zone.

Zhi Cheng wins 2014 5-Barrel Veteran’s table tennis championships
Zhi Cheng of Punta Gorda Town won the 4th annual 5-Barrel Veterans table tennis championship after defeating Hector Lopez 3-1, Arturo “Tux” Vasquez 3-0, Yasser Musa 3-0 and Carlos Cui 3-0 at the Belize Elementary School auditorium on Sunday. Cheng won twice over 2-time defending champion Carlos Cui, winning the finals 3-0. Cui had advanced to the finals by victories over David Ho: 3-1, Jorge Espat: 3-0, and 3-1 over Sen Sen. Cui fought his way back out of the losers’ bracket by a 3-0 win over Hector Lopez to face a rematch with Cheng in the finals.

Brown Bombers U-15, Academy FC girls & Hattieville United U-17 – win football championships
The Brown Bombers U-15 and the Academy FC “A” team girls and Hattieville United Youth Sporting Club U-17 won the Belize District Football Association’s championship finals at the MCC Garden on Saturday. In Game 1 of the U-15 finals, Brown Bombers bombed the Collet Strikers: 2-1. Strikers’ Shaquille Matute scored the first goal, but Bombers top goal-scorer Sherwin Requeña equalized 1-1 before the half. Bombers’ MVP Eldon Byrd scored the 2nd winning goal after the break.

Westrac Stingers win SMART River Challenge canoe race
The Westrac Stingers won the 2nd annual SMART River Challenge canoe race from the Iguana Creek Bridge to the National Agricultural and Trade show grounds by the Roaring Creek Bridge on Saturday morning. Top 10 finishers: 1st – Westrac Stingers – 2:06:00 – $150 prize Paddled by Hener and Erwin Cruz, Jerry Cante 2nd – Ziprider – 2:06:07 – 2nd male: $75 prize Paddled by Jerry Rhaburn, Wilberto Daniels, Chris Guydis

Land of Injustice
The United States basketball playoffs are in full effect and many Belizeans have chosen a team to ride with. I am a long time Knicks fan but unfortunately once again this year, my heart was broken. I love the game however, and have so far enjoyed the playoffs and the level of competition among the stars like Durant, LeBron and Chris Paul. I feel no guilt, or in any way unpatriotic, about being a bigger fan of the NBA than I am of the Elite League of Belize. It is chalk and cheese and the taste of one is far superior and to be desired than the other. I remain hopeful that one day our country will understand the importance of sports and grant more monies, attention and effort to the cause. We have talent but sports gets little funding and our athletes have little discipline and commitment. One of the teams that have advanced so far to the second round of this year’s playoffs is the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers once played in upstate New York as the Buffalo Braves. They moved to the West Coast in 1978 and became the San Diego Clippers. In 1981, billionaire Donald Sterling bought the team and three years later, move the franchise to Los Angeles. For many years the Clippers were considered the laughing stock of the NBA as they won very few games. They also have had to play second fiddle to LA’s premier team, the Lakers. With the acquisition of point guard Chris Paul and slam dunk specialist Blake Griffith in 2010, the Clippers improved immensely and began to gain more respect. Despite their success however, and in spite of the Lakers recent losing ways (Clippers swept the season’s series 4-0 and blew out the Lakers in one game by 36 points), LA fans still seem to prefer the Lakers and the Clippers remain just LA’s “other team”. It has taken a racist rant by the team’s octogenarian owner to bring the spotlight attention that the Clippers have so long craved; albeit in a negative way.

Editorial: THE UDP’s DISMAL HEALTHCARE RECORD
Since coming to power in 2008, the United Democratic Party government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has been steadily building a catalogue of failure and fatal political interference with the nation’s healthcare system. The fight with the Pharmacists Association of Belize over the ill-advised appointment of Minister of Trade Erwin Contreras’ daughter, Danini Contreras, is the most recent example of a government that practices nepotistic rule in important affairs of state. In 2009, Barrow had to appoint a Commission of Inquiry to look into allegations of corruption at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. But what was the result of that investigation? Was disciplinary action taken against any of the hospital top management? The answer is no. Business continued as usual. By mid-2009, it came sweeping into the national headlines that officials at the KHMH were hustling from patients. But what did the Barrow administration do to restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of the hospital? The answer: nothing.

Mayor Swaso and Dangriga Town Council Exonerated
It happened about two weeks ago and got lost in the midst of the post Easter slump. But on the 24th April 2014, the Dangriga Magistrate Court exonerated Mayor Gilbert Swaso and the Dangriga Town Council after it dismissed a claim brought against them by one Dennis Bellini. In August, 2013, Bellini took out a suit in the Dangriga Magistrate Court against Mayor Swaso and the Dangriga Town Council. The claim brought by Bellini was for monies Bellini claims the Dangriga Town Council owed for the transportation of a back hoe from the United States for the Dangriga Town Council. At the time the suit was filed, it got national attention as was expected, since Mayor Swaso is one of only three sitting PUP Mayors. Media coverage was given clearly to sully the image of the Mayor and the Dangriga Town Council,

AMAZING GRACE – Desperate People Do Desperate Things
Despite the appearance of wealth that Belizeans often portray with fancy new cars and designer clothes, a large number of our population is living in poverty, the kind of poverty that inspires tears and reeks of human injustice. Some literally have no food to eat for days and feel the gnawing of hunger attack their stomachs, filling them with the desire to tear themselves inside out. The people who feel this desperate hunger will stop at nothing to satisfy that urgent need. Rummaging through the garbage, salvaging for food by stealing or begging, these are all the things desperate people would do to place a little something in their stomachs. What’s the point? Well, the reason desperation appears in these people is because they are hungry. See, everybody has a need. As humans, it is genetically, scientifically, psychologically and all the other ‘ally’s’, impossible for us to ever be fully satisfied. This principle applies to things as mundane as our need to eat everyday for sustenance, to the complicated problems of infidelity, corruption, and war. Our desires are constantly evolving and achieving one goal is just a stepping stone to achieving another. So no matter how ‘independent’ or put together one may look, he or she always has a need.

SCALES OF JUSTICE – Elections Fever
The signs have not been that illuminating but they are there: elections are around the bend. For starters, he- the Prime Minister- did tell us early in the year (February) that if the variables presented themselves, he would do it- call an early election, with two plus years in his second term. Of course, he gave us a spin (as is his habit with everything) and tried to give us some story about the variables that would compel him to call early elections; chief among them, he said, was that he was personally distraught as a result of the continuing self induced scandals that was riddling his government like bullets from an automatic firearm. But of course, everyone knew that was hogwash- Dean Barrow, personally distraught? Everyone knows that the only true variable that he would consider is the timing- whether he thinks he has given the people sufficient sweets to have them on his side. Which is why this latest revelation of $50,000 of taxpayers’ monies being given to the 17 UDP Area Representatives to give away over this weekend, Mother’s Day weekend, must be closely looked at; it is a good marker of possible early elections. Of course our beloved mothers all need a little reprieve and ought to be celebrated. But this government has never done this before. So the question has to be asked: why now? And it is a clever and shrewd gimmick. The Opposition cannot openly condemn it otherwise we would appear as not into our mothers. But the truth is that this is another obscene example of the government using taxpayers’ monies to finance their political campaign.

WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – Belize needs a Thuli Madonsela
Yesterday I happened upon an article from VOA News about South Africa which was titled “South Africa Protector of the Powerless is Nation’s Most Powerful Person.” It piqued my interest, and so I read the full script and as well watched the video report online. South Africa has in its Constitution the position of Public Protector. I would imagine that this post is akin to that of Ombudsman, but with far more investigative and reporting clout. The woman who holds this important post is Thuli Madonsela, who according to the article enjoys a higher approval rating than her boss, South African President Jacob Zuma. She has grabbed headlines in her country for exposing government wrongdoing. Recently she even called out the President himself for a major corruption scandal. The article goes on to state that recently she has been recognized as one of Time Magazine’s

Children celebrate National Tapir Day
National Tapir Day is celebrated annually around the end of April, and the Belize Zoo has made sure to keep awareness and respect for our National Animal alive and well. This year the day was celebrated on May 2nd due to the May Day holiday the day before and the opening of school after the Easter break. Children from several schools attended, including two schools from the Toledo District, one from Benque Viejo del Carmen, one from Belize City, and one from Belmopan. Also in attendance was the Pannerifix Steel Band from Belmopan along with their Director Julietta Burrowes.

REFLECTIONS ON THE PUBLIC SQUARE – STOP OR FACILITATE??
All Belizeans should support and be proud of the strong, determined and principled position taken by the Belize Pharmacists Association (BPA) in demanding that the newly and “specially” created post of DIRECTOR OF DRUG INSPECTORATE, be filled by a competent, qualified and experienced pharmacists. Having a Director of Drug Inspectorate, in and of itself may not be a bad initiative, but creating such a post without consulting the Belize Pharmacists Association and seemingly doing so to simply facilitate the well paid employment of a Cabinet Minister’s daughter is wrong and should be condemned by all Belizeans. Erwin Contreras’s daughter has a right to work and if fully and properly qualified for a job, she should not be denied an opportunity to seek such a job, but she has no right to preferential treatment. The GOB has no place creating a job for her and then thumbing its collective nose at the Pharmacists Association and the Belizean people.

Cotton Tree Village Council challenges GOB’s land subdivision – Andrew Marshalleck, of Barrow & Co., says GOB has broken the law
Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck has filed a civil claim on behalf of the Cotton Tree Village Council before the Supreme Court. The Cotton Tree Village Council has led by Chairman Oscar Otero is protesting the callous and illegal manner in which the Government has distributed land in the village. Without any form of consultation with the duly elected Council, the Government has surveyed a large parcel of land which it will divide into 111 acres for distribution to persons selected by UDP Port Loyola representative Anthony Boots Martinez. Chairman Otero pointed out that the Village Council Act gives Village Councils the authority to distribute land and not the Ministry of Natural Resources.

A family affair exposed
Two weeks ago, with his back against the wall and his nepotistic appointment coming under intense heat, Anwar Barrow did the predictable. He gave in to the demands of BTL employees for a raise just so he could save his own butt and look good. After all, Anwar does not have report to the nation if, when and how he decides to spend BTL money. With the salary adjustments made, the UDPs can now continue along their merry way, using BTL like a candy dispensary. It is a way for the UDP to get rich quick and to stuff their UDP supporters. Information to the BELIZE TIMES is that Magali Perdomo, who is the daughter of UDP mogul and grand party financier, Maito Perdomo, will take up the post of in house attorney for BTL. This is big news.

PUP Dangriga Council upgrades Havana Bridge approach! – “Working together, more can be done,” says Mayor Gilbert Swaso
Residents of Dangriga Town can now enjoy a smoother and more comfortable ride when traversing the Havana Bridge. This is because the Dangriga Town Council invested $26,500.00 for a much needed upgrade on the North and South approach of the bridge. Residents had indicated that the approaches to the bridge caused undue stress on their tires; the Mayor and his Council heard the cries of the people and found funds for the resurfacing of the bridge. The upgrade of the Havana Bridge is in keeping with development plans that the Dangriga Town Council has to upgrade the entire Havana Creek area to make it more user friendly to residents and visitors and make it more aesthetically appealing. It is expected that the development in this area will boost and stimulate economic activity and growth for the residents of Dangriga.

Blogs

BETEX Trade Exposition in Belize City Brings in Travel Pros, Press & Me from Around The World
After a bit of work, I secured a press pass to the large Travel Expo that is held each year by the BTIA (Belize Tourism Industry Association) to…well…sell Belize. To present the country to visiting travel agents, wholesalers and consolidators (I’m still not exactly sure what those last two are)…to attract visitors to our country. The event was (and is still being) held in the Princess Hotel and Casino which has actually been very recently purchased/repurchased by the Ramada chain. It’s now the Ramada Belize City Princess. The room was filled with booths from hotels, the local airlines and, a bit strangely, the cell phone companies. Lots of freebies for the visiting travel agents from water bottles to shot glasses with rum punch to bags. Lots of bags.

Lizards of Belize – What makes the Belizean Iguana Incredible!
Having briefly talked about the ubiquitous iguana of Belize’s forests and rivers in a recent post, it occurred to us that this amazing reptile, which plays such an important role in Belize’s history and ecology, deserved more than a mere mention. So here, starring in its own post – the Incredible Iguana of Belize! First, some background on our star: Even though it goes through various colour changes during its life, it is technically known as the Green Iguana, with the rather unimaginative scientific name of Iguana iguana (order Squamata, sub order igaunea, family Iguanidae, genus iguana). The name iguana itself is said to come from the native Caribbean Taino language, iwana. Here in Belize things are a bit more imaginative, with Bamboo Chicken, Guana and Garobo for the more bigger, more mature males, who take on an orange hue and can grow up to five or six feet from nose to tail tip.

ReefCI in National Geographic
Polly, ReefCI Founder and MD is featured in the latest edition of National Geographic UK. Check out the article here!

“A guaranteed bundle of fun!”
“I have just returned to reality after spending four months with Reef CI. The diving with Reef CI is hands down the best and most amazing thing I have ever done. With the most beautiful reef I have dived on, seeing Dolphins (that swam close by and played with us), Sting Rays, Nurse Sharks, Eagle Ray, Whale Sharks and much more. I completed my Rescue Diver and my Dive Master course during my stay and I can definitely say that Reef CI has the best instructors I have dived with. They are both knowledgeable about the reef and its eco-system and have such a passion for diving that they want to share their extensive experience and knowledge with everyone. During my stay I did countless conservation surveys that are extremely interesting and fun to get involved in. Lionfish spearing is an experience like nothing else I have ever done and benefits the reef hugely.

International Sources

Statement at the Conclusion of the IMF Article IV Consultation Mission to Belize
Press Release No.14/212 May 9, 2014 An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Jacques Bouhga-Hagbe visited Belize during April 28-May 9 to hold discussions in the context of the country’s 2014 Article IV Consultation. At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Bouhga-Hagbe issued the following statement: “The Belizean economy is estimated to have grown by only 0.7 percent in 2013 mainly because of continued decline in oil production and weak agricultural output, especially sugarcane and citrus. Inflation eased to 0.5 percent from 1.3 percent a year ago, as commodity price pressures abated. Private sector credit grew by 3.8 percent (y/y) in March 2014. While declining, Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) remained high at 17.6 percent of total loans at end 2013. The banking system’s capital buffers improved and weaknesses in the system are being addressed. The external current account deficit widened to 4.5 percent of GDP up from 1.2 percent in 2012, as exports of oil and agricultural products fell sharply, while imports of fuel and electricity picked up. Nonetheless, international reserves improved to 4.3 months of imports (up from 3.3 months at end-2012) owing mainly to PetroCaribe financing and private capital inflows.

Goblin shark caught in Gulf of Mexico, plus 18-foot oarfish and other big and odd fish
Shrimpers fishing in the Gulf of Mexico pulled up an incredibly rare, almost prehistoric-looking goblin shark. It’s only the second sighting of such a beast in the Gulf. Earlier, an 18-foot oarfish was found off Catalina Island in California. Here’s a look at the goblin shark, oarfish and other big and/or odd-looking fish.

From Atlanta, McCaulay points the way for Belize
Each day he steps onto a soccer pitch, Deon McCaulay does so with motivation derived from several sources. The 26-year-old striker plays to make a better life for his family, to represent the people of Belize and to open doors for other Belizean soccer players. “Growing up in Belize is not something that was very easy. Most young men don’t get very far in life,” stressed McCaulay. “As a kid, I didn’t even own my own football. I didn’t have shoes on my feet. I always try to think about where I come from.” He is now a member of the Atlanta Silverbacks, signing with the North American Soccer League club in February. “Life here is good,” McCaulay expressed. “It took a couple of games to get used to what the league is about, but I think I’ve adjusted well. There are a lot more physical players in this league.” McCaulay previously played professionally in Belize for Kremandala, FC Belize, Belize Defence Force and Belmopan Bandits, in Costa Rica for Puntarenas and for Deportes Savio in Honduras.

The Best All-Inclusive Adventure Resorts for Families
The Tropical Base Camp: Slickrock Adventures, Belize. Sixty-five miles offshore from Belize City, Slickrock's Long Caye eco-lodge is ultra-minimal by design: 15 open-air, thatch-roof cabanas fringe the beach and the turquoise waters of Glover's Reef. You won't find air conditioning, maid service, Wi-Fi, flush toilets, deep mattresses, or a saltwater pool (unless you count the ocean) anywhere on the 13-acre island, but if you like your tropics laid-back and natural and packed with action, this is definitely the place. When I was last there, pre-kids, in the late '90s, I spent my days kayaking the calm waters inside the atoll and surf kayaking just offshore. Since then, they've added a vela, or windcenter, stocked with windsurfers and kiteboards, a full complement of surfboards, and even a dry land trainer for teaching newbies to windsurf. You can scuba, surf-cast from your kayak, or just lounge in the hammocks or beachside all day. The island is wind- and solar-powered, and home cooked meals are served buffet-style in the sand-floored dining palapa—no shoes or fancy table manners required. Kids Included: Although many of Slickrock's guests are solo travelers or couples, families fit right in, and kids especially will dig the Castaway-style isle. Children three and older are welcome, and although there is no designated kids' program, those who are too young to paddle can ride along in a tandem or sit-on-top; there's also a cache of sandcastle equipment and a well-loved beach volleyball court. Slickrock is happy to help arrange for a full-time, on-island babysitter (for just $25 per day, including housing and meals). Note to landlubbers: The boat trip takes three hours, but less than an hour of that is through open seas, so plan accordingly if you or your little ones get seasick.

Cosmic touch in the deep sea
I have never felt closer to the sky than when I was 170 feet under the ocean here at Tuffy Canyons, Belize. It happened on Easter morning. A half-dozen of us slipped out of a boat on the barrier reef here and followed our dive master, Michael, into a canyon, dropping through jagged openings past profusions of coral waving like wheat in the wind. There were clouds of fish, turtles and the occasional shark.Then the ocean floor suddenly fell away. We were hovering like unharnessed window washers on a vast wall of rock and coral, the outermost edge of the second-longest barrier reef in the world, the boundary of the big deep.

Macarena’s Memories From HGTV’s “International House Hunters”
Recently, EscapeArtist sat down with Macarena Rose to discuss her upcoming 5th appearance on May 14th on “House Hunters International,” the popular international television show on HGTV. We also discussed her life in Belize and her involvement with the EscapeArtist’s Global Online Summit: EscapeArtist: How did you originally get involved in HGTV’s House Hunters International? Macarena Rose: The House Hunters Production people called me after they saw shows that I did for Belize Television which featured biographies of people in Belize. We shot episodes with exotic birds, a jaguar and John Carr, a remarkable horse whisperer. EA: What was the most surprising thing about the behind-the-scenes process of participating on “House Hunters International”? MR: The behind-the-scenes experiences have been so entertaining. One time, the pickup truck I was driving started sliding down a steep, muddy hill. The film crew was riding in the back of the truck, and they just kept on filming.

Videos

Video: Horses in Belize with John Carr- Horse Whisperer, 15min.
Horse Whisperer John Carr takes us to see his monkeys and horses in this video in Belize.

Video: John Carr with Host Macarena Rose, 15min.
Visit today with Long Time Belize Expat John Carr as we go along with Belize TV Biography host, Macarena Rose. This is Part 2 of 4 and you will see the birds of Belize and hear more from the engaging John Carr.

Video: Blustery day on the reef- Turneffe Atoll, Belize cayes, 1/2min.
A sample of the high winds we faced during a week's stay at Blackbird Resort, Turneffe Atoll, Belize. At times it was gale force, but we still snorkeled the reefs daily to enjoy their pristine condition and the extraordinary life they support.

Video: Belize - BV Expedition (PART 6), 5min.
My expedition together with the amazing Blue Ventures Team and volunteers in Belize, 14 feb - 27 mar 2014. More videos soon, stay tubed. Like, subscribe and expect every part of nature. "Based in Sarteneja and Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve our Belize expedition involves volunteers in marine conservation research and community projects as you immerse yourself in the culture and marine environment of Belize."

Video: Underwater Belize - MACKEENE Beachwear Advertisement, 1min.
Video Made in Belize at Caye Caulker by Arnaud SCIUS (MOUPS) Casting : Pierre VOGEL wearing a Bee model

Video: Belize Scuba, 3min.

Video: Sea Turtle in Belize, 4min.
Snorkeled at the famous diving paradise, Hol Chan Reef, Ambergris Caye, Belize 07/05/14

Video: Jewel Caye Landing, 1/4min.
Jewel Caye Island Landing in Belize --- Gateyway to beautiful Jewel Caye Island!

Video: Holding Nurse Shark - Belize, 1/2min.

Video: Tropic Air - Landing in Belmopan / Belize, 2min.
Flight from Belize City to Belmopan (Belize) on 08th May 2014. These flights are mosty a bit rough, but only as a result of the size of the plane. Its like driving a go-cart but in the air. Pure joy.

Video: Belize tour with Kodi Ireland of the Cayo Area, 3min. slideshow

Video: Costa Maya Festival San Pedro Belize Tropical Night, 5min.

Video: BELTRAIDE Partners with McNab Publishing Ltd. to produce The Invest Belize Magazine., 1.5min.
BELTRAIDE & McNab Publishing Ltd. are pleased to announce their new partnership for the Invest Belize Magazine. The 3rd issue of Invest Belize, which will be released in September, will be created by Beltraide and McNab Publishing. That should be a ground-breaking issue. Beltraide has a video out about the 9 firms that they worked with to increase their sales. The Invest Belize Magazine made its debut early last year and BELTRAIDE's 3rd volume is set to be released this coming September. The magazine is Belize's prime business and investment magazine comprised of engaging articles, enlightening statistics and important information on the country's business community. Invest Belize Magazine provides an opportunity for Belizean Businesses to make their mark; with its wide distribution both nationally and internationally, Invest Belize welcomes both local and foreign parties and promotes their investment in our country. McNab Publishing Ltd. is proud to be partnering in this new venture and to be a part of the growth of this useful tool for promoting Belize.

Video: The illusion of life, 3min.
The 12 basic principles of animation were developed by the 'old men' of Walt Disney Studios, amongst them Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, during the 1930s. Of course they weren't old men at the time, but young men who were at the forefront of exciting discoveries that were contributing to the development of a new art form. These principles came as a result of reflection about their practice and through Disney's desire to use animation to express character and personality. This movie is my personal take on those principles, applied to simple shapes. Like a cube.

Video: Ras Indio’s: Love You, Mama, 2min.
Sunday is Mother's Day, and reggae artist, Ras Indio chats about how he has prepared a special treat for those inspiring ladies that made all the babies. It's a new music video called, "Love You Mama". Now no one has ever missed the mark by making a song about Momma - you can ask Tupac or Sizzla about that - and today Indio told us what makes his message special:

Video: Ras Indio’s: Love You, Mama, 5min.
Here's the video, the cut above is a bit from the video and some interview…

Video: Belize Tunnel, 1min.
Scuba diving pass through. High rez

Video: GILHARRY 7 THE NUMBER ONE BAND IN THE LAND OF BELIZE, 5min.

Video: Into and through San Ignacio Belize, 9min.

Video: Heavenly Belize, 5min.
Belize from the air, ultralight

Video: Gomez the Iguana Belize, 4min.
All about the iguana thanks to a knowledgeable guide

Video: Mr Peters Run fu yu life 2006 in Belize, 5min.

Video: Keisha Belize 2012 San Pedro, 10min.

Video: HiLine Poultry Fiesta processing plant in Belize, 4min.

Video: Househunters International San Pedro Belize Steve Reid, 7min.

Video: Mayan Ruins in Lamanai Belize filmed with XP2 Quadcopter, 2min.

Video: Belize Underwater, 3min.

Video: Shark Feeding Fun, 2min.
SHARKS!!! Thank you David Luxford for the awesome Video! Much appreciation and gratitude.

Video: Travel journey, 5min.
Mexico and Central America - by Adrian

Video: Belize, 2min.
Katie finished the spring break video! Enjoy!

Video: Tikal, 7min.
One of our last activities in Belize last summer was going to Tikal for the day which is where the largest mayan ruins are located! It was so amazing to go there and learn all about the mayans! Afterwards we went zip lining in the rain and it was an absolute blast! :)

Video: Frank Connelly - Sustainability Overview Part 1, min.


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Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
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