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#491333 - 05/24/14 07:02 AM Today's Belize News: May 24, 2014
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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Under the Sun and Stars: Bridal Shower & Charitable Donations!
Courtney Bowen reviews possible island bridal gown designs by her friends in preparation for her Belizean wedding in San Pedro. Friends of the bride-to-be, daughter of Lady Dixie Bowen and the late Sir Barry Bowen, gathered upstairs at Fido’s for a surprise pre-nuptial celebration last week. Courtney will reveal the actual design of her Belize bridal gown when she weds Peter Tully, longtime boyfriend from Boston, Massachusetts, USA. She and Peter exchanged formal vows in London, England, on April 4, at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Fisheries Ministers consider Regional Coral Reef Plan of Action Friday
Fisheries ministers from member states of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will meet at Fort Young Hotel, in Roseau, Dominica, on Friday, May 23, 2014, for the Eight Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council. According to CRFM’s Executive Director, Milton Haughton, the first sub-regional fisheries management plan (FMP) to facilitate co-operation in the conservation, management and sustainable use of the flying fish resources shared among countries in the Eastern Caribbean, recently endorsed by the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, will be presented to the ministers for their review and endorsement. It is anticipated that the Council will sign an accompanying resolution approving the Plan. The ministerial meeting’s agenda also calls for a look at the sustainable use and management of key fisheries resources in the region, as well as fisheries policy, legislation and institutional development. Ministers will also review current activities being undertaken through the CRFM’s Statistics and Information Programme, as well as human resource development and capacity-building activities. Finally, the Caribbean fisheries ministers will receive an update on projects and activities of strategic partners, as well as the CRFM’s work plan and budget for 2014-2016.

Ambassador to the Past Program takes students into Marco Gonzalez Maya Site
As part of the program, students have been learning about the life of the Maya that once occupied the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site. According to Dr. Simmons, over the past two years, the activities for the Ambassador to the Past Program were held in the classrooms, but this year students were brought to the Maya Site. “What we did this year is some archeological activity on the site. The primary school students got to participate in doing a surface survey. They are learning to observe things just like a scientist would do in the field. The students were asked to take notes based on their observations and they drafted conclusions on what they found when doing the surface survey,” said Simmons. While Marco Gonzalez does not have large structures like those on mainland Belize, Dr Simmons explained that the students are still excited because they get to pick up pieces of stone pieces, pot shards, net sinkers, old fish bones and even obsidian. “Sites like Marco Gonzalez were trading centers that were involved in commercial activities, and the students get to understand how Marco Gonzalez was interconnected with all the big cities along the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize and even Honduras. For example, they get to appreciate and understand how sea shells ended up all the way to large Maya cities located in the mainland areas – simply because of the trading activities in sites such as Marco Gonzalez,” detailed Simmons.

Cameramen become the filmed in the “Monster Croc: Search for a Killer” Animal Planet Thriller
James Incledon and Jason Gibirti first came to Belize in February 2012 as the production team for Wild Productions, who produced the long-running UK Discovery Channel “Wildlife SOS” series. At that time Cherie and Vince Rose of the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) were filmed for one of the “Wildlife SOS” episodes. When returning to Belize as film makers, Incledon and Gibirti reunited with the ACES team who were instrumental in the crocodile component of the “Monster Croc: Search for a Killer” production. These skills can ultimately be used to capture a problematic animal and relocate it. We are basically using our experience in the field filming wildlife to help solve a specific wildlife problem,” explained Gibirti. These techniques were utilized during the filming of the action packed killer crocodile show.

Sinking your fears at the Black Hole Drop
Two days before, I had gotten an email from Julie at Tropic Air, inviting one of The San Pedro Sun/My Beautiful Belize staff to go on a familiarization (FAM) trip to Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch, and experience the thrilling Black Hole Drop (real name: Actun Loch Tunich). Bucket List item Alert! I may have begged and squirreled my way into being assigned to it (ha) but I certainly wasn’t laughing now. At the time of the email, the one-hour hike through rugged terrain up into a mountain was my biggest fear. I bragged that I wasn’t worried about the drop. Oh no, I was only concerned about the hike, seeing as the last time I hiked UP somewhere longer than five minutes, I just about passed out from exhaustion. Well, it seemed that the hike was a cakewalk compared to getting my feet to move away from the ledge. They were not moving, and every time I tried to look behind and below, all I could see was the dark, unknown territory below.

Ambergris Today

Blue Hole Natural Monument and Half Moon Caye Natural Monument are both located within Lighthouse Reef Atoll and Puerto Azul Exclusive Resorts and Hotel is a proposed development just north of these two sites on Northern Two Caye and Sanbore Caye. Puerto Azul boasts to be a luxurious eco-development that, above all, will be very environmentally conscious, sustainable and pro-active. But like most developments in pristine and reserve areas of Belize, it is receiving quite the negative feedback and causing quite a stir within environmentalists and concerned citizens. Show business talent and product manager Oscar Generale and businessman Domenico Giannini - the president of Puerto Azul Exclusive Resorts & Hotels have just recently hosted a star-studded Puerto Azul Experience at Villa Saint Georges at the Cannes Film Festival to promote the new luxury resort in Belize.

Elsa P The Little Boat With Big History
The Elsa P belonging to Tio Pil (Felipe Paz Sr.) has got to be the cargo/passenger boat with the longest history. Way back in the 1950’s and into the 60’s, the Elsa P was a sailing boat. To make it a motorized boat, Tio Pil removed the mast and built the shade/caseta for the comfort of the passengers and for the captain’s compartment. At this time the Elsa P was a three story vessel with cargo below deck, on the deck and up on the caseta/shade. And just where are the passengers’ seats? Anywhere on the deck where there was a small space with no cargo, or on top of the boxes of merchandise that was part of the cargo. How lucky one was when there was a mattress on board and one got to sit or lie on it first. Otherwise passengers sat on coke crates, milk boxes and even bags of beans and flour. Note that the third floor was reserved for heavy and large cargo-in this case large pieces of Mennonite furniture, and corrugated construction steel rods. Of interest is that small compartment at the stern. You guessed it right- the boat’s restroom. It consisted of a piece of 2 X 4 board on which one person only could sit. Yes, everything went directly into the sea and there was no problem when the boat was travelling. The problem was when it was docked at the main pier in front of Central park, so Tio Pil had the door to the restroom padlocked.

Misc Belizean Sources

Rug Rats Play Club
We have licensed child care now and are ready to take on the little ones en mass. Great for dive family's with one child not of age that needs entertaining while the family dives. Here are the details of our RUGRATS program, our summer program for kids, our Tree Top Studio schedule with includes dance/body work, Pilates, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and soon salsa. While enjoying services at Zen Arcade or other activities in San Pedro leave your child to play, learn and create in our Rug Rats Play Club. Rug Rats Play Club is a safe and fun environment within Zen Arcade where children can express themselves through individual or group play, whether within our self-contained playroom, fenced playground or treetop studio. While in our care your child will have the opportunity to participate in arts and crafts, yoga play and creative-learning play. We recommend reserving a space 24 hours in advance of your child's stay with us.

The Netherlands Authorities in collaboration with the Organization of American States herein offer partial scholarships (30% of tuition costs) for Master of Arts Degrees in subject areas that are indicated in the attached documents. The application deadline has been established at June 15, 2014. The language of instruction will be English. More detailed information including the application process, admission criteria and website is contained in the attached documents. Further questions should be submitted to mdeleon@oas.org.

Saint Martin's AGM
St. Martin's Credit Union is having their annual AGM tonight. It starts at 5:00pm, and will be held at the Octavia Waight auditorium. They have lots of door prizes, and if you get there before 5, there's a cash prize too. If you're not a member, you should go in Tuesday(they are closed Monday), and become one. "YOU ARE INVITED and win great prizes: LAPTOP - CELL PHONE - EARLY BIRD $300 (cash) - STOVE - BICYCLE - FANS - many other CASH PRIZES! We will have snacks, drinks and a CHILDREN's AREA with their own activities, prizes and snacks/drinks! See you there! NO INVITATION REQUIRED - Just be a Member and show up!"

Power outage Orange Walk May 25
Two 30-minute power interruptions scheduled for Orange Walk on Sunday, May 25, from 8:00 am to 8:30 am & 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm: entire Orange Walk District. This scheduled power interruption is necessary for BEL to replace utility poles and insulators & conduct maintenance work on equipment between Buena Vista & Mexican Border.

Power outage Corozal May 25
Two 30- minute power interruptions scheduled for Corozal on Sunday, May 25, from 8:00 am to 8:30 am & 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm: entire Corozal District. This scheduled power interruption is necessary for B.E.L. to replace utility poles and insulators & conduct maintenance work on equipment between Buena Vista & Mexican Border.

School hopes for brighter futures with New Horizons additions
Approximately 3,200 square feet of classrooms at the Stella Maris School Belize Academy for the Deaf built by New Horizons Belize 2014 engineers is scheduled for completion by the first week of June. New Horizons is an annual exercise providing mutual training opportunities for Belize Defence Force and U.S. military civil engineers as they build new facilities at five locations throughout Belize. The addition at Stella Maris features facilities that cater to students with various disabilities. "One building will be for vocational skills - woodworking and sewing skills - that teach life skills through activities that our students are in need of and are interested in," said Maria Newport, acting vice principal at the school. "It has been a dream for our principal to have a room for those skills. It gives us the opportunity to better accomplish the mission and goals of Stella Maris."

PolyClinic receives new golfcarts from Ramon’s Village
On Friday May 23rd, the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic ll received two golfcarts from Ramon’s Village Resort secured via the San Pedro Town Council. The keys were handed over to a very happy Dr. Javier Zuniga and PolyClinic administrator Owen Vellos.

Golf Carts for Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II (6 photos)
On Friday, May 23, The Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II were presented with two golf carts that were donated by Ramon's Village Resort through the San Pedro Town Council. On site for the presenting of the golf carts were Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Deputy Mayor Gabriel Nuñez, Councilor Severo Guerrero, Mr. Ramon Nuñez, Dr. Javier Zuniga, Mr. Owen Vellos and Nurse Maria Jeffrey. Congratulations!

Marie Sharp's Nopal Green Habanero Pepper Sauce
Did you know? That in 2013 Marie Sharp's Nopal Green Habanero Pepper Sauce was the fastest growing pepper sauce in both local and international sales. This cactus based pepper sauce is made from our own Scagineal cactus aka prickly pear, Nopal. Nopal cactus is a native of the Highlands of Mexico where the ancient Aztecs and Mayas consumed on a daily basis and even before going to battle . Scagineal is also very healthy and treats diabetes, lowers blood sugar & cholesterol and is rich with fiber and vital vitamins. You can get all these benefits by eating our Marie sharp's Nopal Green Habanero on your favorite dishes! Sauce goes well with seafood, meats, burgers and even with chips as a dip. If you haven't tried it yet look for it and see why this is a favourite in Japan, Mexico, and USA markets. Available in stores countrywide! All natural straight from the farm to your family table!

Jenkins Benefit Concert
There will be a benefit concert and auction for healer Edward Jenkins at Orange Gallery. Barefoot Skinny will be playing, and there will be a silent auction too. It's time to help heal the healer.

FCD Finishes Chiquibul Phase I
The Friends for Conservation and Development and the Protected Areas Conservation Trust have finished phase 1 of their Chiquibul management project. The goal is to halt the human footprint expansion in the southern Chiquibul Forest Reserve. Ready for phase 2. Thanks, PACT and FCD!

Cayo Classifieds - Issue 17
This week's Buy and Sell Weekly. The Horticulture training at DuPlooy's starts Monday. Read about the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve in this week's issue.

Public Service Information Day
Photos of on-going displays at Public Service Information Day celebration 2014 - Corozal Central Park 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Travel Fundamentals for Belize
Traveling to Belize can be an adventure, but keeping things pleasant and comfortable always makes for the most enjoyable trip. Brushing up on these basic tips below will help you get by better in Belize. Etiquette You'll find that Belizeans are very friendly under almost all circumstances. However, remembering a few rules of etiquette will allow you to discover just how friendly the people of Belize can be. When walking into any kind of building, or just asking someone for directions on the street, it is most polite to greet the person first with a "good morning" or "buenos días." Don't get carried away taking pictures. While photos from inside churches and of indigenous people may look interesting, be sure to avoid snapping pictures during church services, or without asking someone for their permission first. Always remember to thank locals you photograph with a small fee. Remember, even business attire is casual in Belize. There's no need to overdress; men rarely wear suits with ties. Gay travelers are advised to be very discreet in Belize. Homosexuality is still illegal there and has resulted in prison time for natives, though vacationers have not been prosecuted.

Channel 7

A Protest For Professor Bain
Jamaican Professor Brendon Bain is probably the very first CARICOM national to be the subject of virtually simultaneous protests in Belize and Jamaica. That’s because the University of the West Indies Professor – who also headed the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Initiative was sacked for his deposition in the UNIBAM Case in Belize. He provided expert testimony to say that men who have sex with men have a higher rate of HIV Transmission. That stirred outrage from pro gay – and HIV awareness organizations throughout the Caribbean. 32 of them protested to UWI that he had to go – and go he did. Now, his supporters, and others are saying it is unfair – and today in Belize City, that meant a protest, with potent visual imagery. Daniel Ortiz was there:

Harmonyville Halts Plan For Planting Corn On Road Reserve
For the past 2 weeks, Nigel Petillo and the rest of the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Organization (B(i)GYEA), have been making the media rounds to complain about their latest dispute with the Lands Department.

Police Say "Cat" Was The Killer In Santana
Police have charged 24 year-old Albert Reid with murder for the death of 57 year-old Maurice Young. Investigators believe that he chopped his fellow Santana Villager sometime over the weekend. Like his fugitive brother, Alex Cat Reid, Albert is also known as "Cat" He was charged this evening and will be arraigned at the earliest convenience. As we told you, Maurice Young's body was found lying in the bushes about 100 feet away from his house on Tuesday evening. An on-site autopsy done by Dr. Mario Estradabran certified that he died from a chop wound to the neck. There is no clear motive but police believe it may have been a robbery.

Bail For Cop Accused Of Gun Theft
3 weeks ago, we told you about Police Constable Yannick Wade who was charged with stealing 8 guns and 100 rounds of ammunition from the San Pedro Police Station. The guns were put there by the KBH Security Company for safe keeping. Well, tonight, Wade is out of bail, and he is with his family.

Serial Caller Slain By Record Defamation Award For PM
On the morning show circuit, Attorney Arthur Saldivar is known as the serial caller. It was meant as an insult by a political opponent – but Saldivar has embraced it, after all, the man loves his call in shows, and apparently has endless credit….and so he calls, and calls…and calls.

Coye Family Money Still On Ice
While he has until Monday to pay up, Saldivar was in Supreme Court today to try to get money for the Coye Family from their frozen bank accounts. The Panamanian company Internet Experts SA says that the Coyes owe them 4.8 million dollars, and that company is seeking to recover via a private claim.

Hon. Heredia & Hon. Contreras Going "Cray-Cray" At Cannes
The Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera – it’s the biggest, most glamorous film festival on earth – and this year, Belize is being represented by two A list political celebrities, complete with entourage. Tourism Minister Manuel Junior Heredia and Investment Minister Erwin Contreras are seen here hamming it up at a reception in Cannes. But, they weren’t there to see which film would get the prized “Palme d’or,” they were there to profile for investors who want to build a mega resort on Northern 2 Caye, which is in the Lighthouse Caye range in Belize. The Italian development group held a star – studded event in Cannes called the “Puerto Azul Experience Party at Cannes 2014.” Heredia and Contreras were there, apparently as photo-bombing, tuxedo-wearing, government of Belize glitterati .

Nurses Say No To Transfer; CEO Says, "I Don"t Know"
Recently, it seems the Ministry of Health has been lurching from crisis to crisis - and tonight it's the nurses who are complaining about CEO Peter Allen. On May 6th, the Nurses Association of Belize wrote to Chairman of the Public Services Commission Patrick Bernard complaining about the impending transfer of 9 senior nursing staff. The letter says, quote,"the proposed countrywide transfers of seven senior nurse managers and two infection control nurses…is being spearheaded solely by CEO Dr Peter Allen. The nurses are administrators of regional and community hospitals and received "intent to transfer" letters in March. The Association says the way the entire process has been managed by the CEO is a quote, "total disrespect and disregard for nurses and the nursing profession!" That's because they say there were no formal consultations about the proposed transfers with Augustina Elijio the Chief Nurse in the Ministry of Health. The association says the Chief Nurse is the technical expert responsible for advising on all matters related to nurses and nursing.

NHI Used Like Slush Fund For Central Health Region
And staying on the subject of the Ministry of Health, last night we showed you a few salient points from the 37 page Auditor General report on Central Health Region. CEO Dr Peter Allen asked the Auditor General to investigate after conscientious public officers warned him of frequent irregularities in the management of the region’s budget. But nothing prepared the Auditor General’s office for the long list of very unusual money manuevers allegeldy orchestrated by the Regional Manager Melinda Guerra. The auditor found mis-representaitons, mis-allocations, misdirection, and a few misisng purches. Tonight we’ll focus on the alleged mis-use of NHI funds designated for the Matron Roberts Clinic, on a whole bunch of stuff:..

KHMH Investigates Van Acquisition
Carlos Perrera, The Finance Director at the KHMH is under scrutiny tonight, because of two 2012 passenger vans that he bought for the hospital. We’ve been trying to gather information on the story for over a week now, and from what we’ve learned, there are a few issues with the vans. They reportedly cost a combined one hundred thousand dollars but driving up the price a few thousand more was the fact that Perrera and another KHMH staffer had to go all the way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to “inspect” them. But, 6 months after the vans got here, the transmission failed on one of them. The cost of replacing it? Only 16 thousand dollars. And then, the hospital agreed to purchase two 15 passengers vans, but both were only outfitted for 12 passengers. Earlier on we told you about the internal audit at the KHMH into the acquisition of two vans. We said that the Director Of Finance, Carlos Perrera was under scrutiny. Well, before we got to the commercial break, he fired off a call to our newsroom to say he is not under any investigation for anything at the KHMH.

PUP Says Shame On Hon. King; King Says He Noh Shame
Last night you heard Minister of State Mark King's very plain-spoken remarks about a Tuesday meeting with Norwegian Cruise Lines held for the UDP Southern Standard Bearers in Independence Village. Well, apparently, it was too plain spoken for the PUP. The party issued a statement today calling the comments "ignorant and arrogant". The statement calls on PM Barrow to quote, "apologize to the Nation for his Minister's callous remarks." Well, one man who isn't apologizing is Mark King. He put out his own statement on FACEBOOK today FOR, quote, "taking my statement and trying to divide Belizeans into thinking we are only for the UDP." He adds if i choose to help my UDP first, and other Belizeans before any pup then they must live with that. He closes by saying "I continue to stand by my words and it will not be retracted."

Son Of Slain Elderly Woman Assaults Neighbor For Interview
His elderly mother, Erceline Gabourel, perished in a tragic case of arson yesterday, but today, 57 year-old Dennis Gabourel, was taken to court because he allegedly assaulted one of the women who gave an interview to the media about her death. Gabourel was take before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart, where he was arraigned for harm. Gabourel pleaded not guilty to the charge and he was released on a bail of $1,000; His next court date is June 23. The complainant, 22 year old Kathleen Grant, reported to the police that while she was in front of her house on Cleghorn Street she was approached by Gabourel who slapped her on the left side of her face. She said she fell to the pavement and while she was on the ground Gabourel kicked her several times.

He Shot His Accomplice By Accident
On Wednesday, we told you about the 17 year-old man who was hospitalized after his partner allegedly shot him by mistake while they were robbing a man in Ladyville. Well that accomplice was Twenty-seven year old Mason Patnett, and he was arraigned on robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery when he appeared today before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart. He pled not guilty to the charges and he was remanded until June 23. It happened on May 20 in Ladyville, the complainant, 18 year old Marvin Martinez, was by a basketball court at the corner of Seagull and Pigeon Streets when he was robbed at gunpoint by two persons. He said they stole $150 and his blue mountain bicycle, valued at $350. Police reports are that during the robbery, Martinez slapped the gun that Patnett had pointed at him. The gun went off and a single shot struck his partner, a 17 year old, in the left side of his chest.

Suspected Arson In Ladyville
There was a fire last night in Ladyville. At five minutes to 9:00 Ladyville Police responded to a report of a house on fire at #10 Edwin Park Avenue Lords Bank Village. At 8:15 reisdent, Evan Lamb Sr. arrived home and left to visit a friend. At about 8:50p.m. the neighbour saw that the house was engulfed in flames. The Fire Department put out the fire, but the four bedrooms white and green in color concrete bungalow house measuring approximately 30ft by 40 ft. was completely destroyed. It was not insured. Police suspect arson.

2 New Coast Guard Seals
In February, we told you about the new batch of Coast Guard Seals. 25 of them entered the programme, and only two made it through. But that was just the initial 5 week phase. They then had to go through five months of training. They made it and graduated today the Belize National Coast Guard Headquarters. 7News was there: The seals were trained in advanced marksmanship, close quarters combat, and other specialized fields.

Gonguez Family Complains About Callous Police Search
Tonight a Jane Usher family is irate after police officers showed up at their residence this morning looking for ammunition. It's a family yard with mostly women and children who claimed the officers had no respect for them and didn't even inform them what the search was about. Here's their side of the story. When the search was over, nothing was found at the Gonguez's home.

Chief Magistrate Did Say Something About Bailiff Casey
An entire month ago, we told you about Gabriel Casey, the bailiff at the Magistrate's Court Department, who has been accused by multiple persons of serial irregularities in the conduct of his duties. At the time, we pressed for comments from the Magistracy Department, and we never got any. Last week Friday, however, out of nowhere the Chief Magistrate issued a press release, the first ever from her desk. The best part is that it wasn't sent to the only media house which ran the story. It was sent to 4 other media houses, none of which picked up the story - so the press release was kind of like a secret, one we just got wind of it yesterday. It says, quote "Bailiff … Casey was taken before the Public Service Commission for breaches of….the Public Service Regulations. The Public Service Commission recommended that Casey be reinstated…."

Dion Leslie To Step Down; Make Space For Mayor Bradley?
City Councillor Dion Leslie is preparing to withdraw his name as a candidate for the UDP's mayoral convention. Leslie confirmed this to us today. It is believed that he is doing so to make way for the resurgent Darrell Bradley, who rumours suggest is back in the race for mayor. Bradley was cagey when we spoke to him earlier this week about his meeting with the Prime Minister. Leslie has told us the conversation has started about him stepping down and he has to go in to the party and formally withdraw his name. Leslie says he was not asked to step down, but he had told Bradley that if he chooses to run for Mayor, he will step aside.

Tonight's I AM Belize PROFILE features Deborah Reneau, a teacher at Santa Elena Roman Catholic Primary School. Her story is that she happened on the profession of teaching because her family decided to stay in Belize and making their life here. Since then, she hasn't regretted her decision in the least.

Dr. Parham No Longer The MFFSD CEO
And finally tonight - a small bit of news from the government bureaucracy. Wendel Parhman, the CEO in the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development is no longer in that job. We could not confirm whether the contract officer was terminated or moved to another area, but we have confirmed that he will no longer be CEO. Parham's last day was reported to be today. We are told that his minister Lisel Alamilla had differences with him.

Channel 5

Supporters tape their mouths in protest of UWI Professor’s termination
University of the West Indies Professor, Brendan Bain was terminated on Tuesday of this week in Jamaica under pressure brought on by advocacy groups who claimed they had lost confidence [...]

P.U.P. objects to reappoint of Justice Awich to Court of Appeal
There is a rare development tonight to our story earlier this week on government’s intention to re-appoint Justice Samuel Awich to the Belize Court of Appeal. We say rare because [...]

NHI funds misused to pay Melinda Guerra’s hospital expenses
The audit of the Central Health Region is done, and the thirty-seven page report is out. It’s comprehensive and detailed, and paints a very grim picture of the health personnel [...]

Former Mayor Alfonzo Cruz kept overnight at the Belmopan police station
Former Mayor of San Ignacio Alfonso ‘Ponchis’ Cruz spent Thursday night in lockdown at the Belmopan Police Station. As we told you, he was picked up by San Ignacio Police [...]

Albert Reid charged for murder of Santana man
Police have formally arrested and charged twenty-four year old Albert Reid for the murder of Santana resident, Maurice ‘Tuko’ Young. Reid was detained at two a.m. on Thursday at a [...]

Will the mayor Darrell Bradley be on the City Council ballot?
For months now, the political future of Darrell Bradley has been up in the air, and he’s certainly done nothing to change that. Tonight, there is every indication that Bradley [...]

P.U.P. fires a statement in response to Mark King’s crass remarks
On Tuesday, Minister of State Mark King, in a candid interview with the media, made it abundantly clear that the needs of his political party and those of its supporters [...]

Nurses Association lashes out at Health C.E.O. over transfers
Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, Peter Allen, isn’t making many friends in the health sector these days. That much is crystal clear in a release sent out [...]

Yannick Wade, remanded for missing guns in San Pedro, gets bail
Police Constable Yannick Wade is out on bail. Today, his attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd applied for Supreme Court bail for Wade, who has been on remand since May fifth for charges [...]

Mason Patnett is charged for shooting his accomplice during a robbery
  Police have detained and charged twenty-seven year old Mason Patnett, who was on the run after he accidentally shot his accomplice during a robbery on Tuesday. He was picked [...]

Nicaraguan national acquitted of theft
  Minister of State Edmond Castro was back in court today; this time he appeared as a witness in a case of theft. A Nicaraguan national, forty-six year old Oscar [...]

G.O.B. takes out injunction against BGYEA
Tensions are running high tonight between the government and the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association. That’s because government has taken out an injunction to prevent the organization from planting corn [...]

Agricultural project in Harmonyville buffer lands stopped in its tracks
According to BGYEA, the private investor, Samuel Patton, has since backed out of doing business with them, but the issue remains that they have already purchased the corn seeds that [...]

Names announced for 2014 Hurricane Season
The names for the 2014 Hurricane Season have been released. The season is less than a week away and already tropical storm Amanda has formed and Accuweather reports that it [...]

Former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo guilty of money laundering conspiracy
Former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo has been sentenced to roughly six years in a United States prison after being convicted of conspiring with several others to launder millions of dollars [...]

Rural Executive Officer asks for quotations to repair police stations
As we told you on Tuesday, the death of Santana resident Maurice Young highlighted a critical need in the rural communities on the old Northern Road. Crime in those areas [...]


BGYEA Served Injunction to Keep Out of Buffer Zone
Today the Government of Belize, represented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, formally served an injunction on the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA), represented by president Nigel Petillo and vice-president David Barnett, stopping them from conducting any activity in the Buffer Zone separating the Harmonyville community...

Auditor General Report on Central Regional Reveals $90,000 Misappropriated
The Public Services Commission is gearing up to hear cases of misappropriation of funds which allegedly occurred at two regional hospitals. This is after the Auditor General reports were released, revealing hundreds of thousands of dollars either allegedly embezzled or misappropriated. The two hospitals in question are the Southern...

17 Year old Stabbed Multiple Times in Ladyville
A 17 year old was stabbed multiple times in Ladyville last night. Ladyville Police visited the home of 17-year-old Zane Pott of Lords Bank. He had been stabbed several times to the left leg, back and hand. Pott told police that he had just arrived home from the shop...

Nurses Association Formally Complains about Countrywide Transfers
Tonight there is mounting discontent at the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health Dr. Peter Allen and this time it has nothing to do with pharmaceuticals. Every so often public servants, like teachers and nurses, are shifted around and transferred to other facilities as deemed necessary by...

Another Act of Arson Strikes Ladyville
Yesterday we reported on an act of arson in Belize City that claimed the life of an elderly woman. There was another case of arson last night, this time in Ladyville. Sometime before 9 pm last night, Ladyville Police responded to a report of a house on fire at...

Son of Arson Victim Charged for Harm
We told you yesterday of the tragic death of 84 year old Isoline Gabourel who burned alive in her Douglas Jones Street home in a pre-dawn fire on Thursday morning. Today her son, 57 year old Dennis Gabourel, the owner of Horse and Carriage Tours, was charged with harm for allegedly attacking a neighbor...

Attempted Murder Charge Withdrawn from Albert Moody
Albert Moody, Jr. had a charge of attempted murder withdrawn against him today. Kent Moss, who accused Moody of shooting him on January 15 of 2013 has told the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that he wants no further court action in the matter. Accordingly the police...

18 Year old Robbed at Gunpoint
An 18 year old of Dollar Bank Road Hattieville reported that he was robbed at gunpoint on Wednesday night. The complainant told police that while he heading home on the Dollar Bank Road he was held up by two male persons wearing cloths over their faces. One pointed a...

Constable Accused of Theft Out on Bail
Yannick Wade was accused of masterminding the theft of eight firearms and 101 rounds of ammunition from the San Pedro Police Station. Today he is out on bail after an application in the Supreme Court. The firearms and ammunition, which are property of KBH Security Firm, were stolen from...

Vehicle Set on Fire; Another Act of Arson
David Locario, a mechanic of Yarborough Road, Belize City visited the Burrell Boom Police Station on Tuesday afternoon and reported that on October, 2013 he parked his 1994 red and white Ford Escort, four door Wagon type car valued at BZ$2,500.00 in his common law partner’s yard in the...

Ladyville Reports Another Armed Robbery
There was an armed robbery in the Ladyville area on Tuesday of this week where two men went to rob a teenager while he was at the Ladyville basketball Court. Well, the armed robbery almost turned fatal for one of the robbers, who we understand may have been shot allegedly by...

PUP Demand that Mark King be Ousted from Cabinet
We showed you portions of an interview with Minister of State Mark King yesterday where he discusses a meeting held in the South Stann Creek District on Tuesday with supporters of the United Democratic Party and representatives of Norwegian Cruise Line. But in the beginning he made a characteristically blunt statement...

Belize Action Protests Ouster of Brendan Bain
This afternoon in Belize City, members of Belize’s Christian community, about a hundred of them, led by Belize Action showed their support for fired UWI professor Dr. Brendan Bain. Bain was released after pressure from LGBT rights organizations for his testimony in the Caleb Orozco Case last May. They...

#491334 - 05/24/14 07:02 AM Re: Today's Belize News: May 24, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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Murder by fire!
Isolene Gabourel, 84, a resident of a home at the corner of Douglas Jones and Cleghorn Streets, was burnt to death while sleeping in her house, which was completely destroyed by the fire at about 4:00 this morning. Security guards on duty at the JL’s Quick Loan Company, which is located in front of the house, responded to Gabourel’s cry for help, but the fire spread quickly and engulfed the house, which prevented them from going in to save her. Other persons from the neighborhood who tried to go into the house to rescue Gabourel, who lived alone, were also repelled by the flames. They called 911 and the Belize City Fire Service, which responded quickly, but by the time they arrived, the house had been destroyed and Gabourel was already dead.

Groom stood up at the altar
After weeks of preparation for his wedding, on Saturday, a Ladyville man was ready to exchange wedding vows with a woman with whom he has been living for three years. But it never happened, because she left him hanging onto the promise, “I am on the way.” At 4:00 p.m., the hour when the wedding ceremony was supposed to take place at the Ladyville Seventh Day Adventist Church, the anxious groom called his bride-to-be, and she assured him once more, “I’m on the way.” But as the evening wore on, he became more agitated. So he called her once more. “How far away are you,” he asked her. But the click in his ear suggested that she had hung up the phone. In desperation, he called again. “I done tell you a di come,” she replied. “I started to get cold feet, because I done figure she will not come,” the groom told Amandala.

Over $350,000 missing from Southern Regional
Two regional hospitals in Belize are the subject of shocking audit reports which are soon to be the subject of hearings conducted by the Public Services Commission, as they probe allegations of embezzlement and/or misappropriation of huge chunks of money from the nation’s health budget. Health CEO Dr. Peter Allen confirmed to Amandala that he has seen the reports completed by the Office of the Auditor General following allegations of financial wrongdoing at the Southern Regional Hospital and the Central Health Region in Belize City. In the first instance, Nasley Sommerville, the hospital administrator, has been put on suspension, while in the second instance, Melinda Guerra, Central Regional Manager, has been relieved of any role in processing financial transactions, Allen said.

Spineless UWI!
The firing earlier this week of Dr. Brendan Bain, a widely known Jamaican professor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), over his deposition to the Belize Supreme Court in the challenge by Caleb Orozco and UNIBAM to Belize’s sodomy laws, has sent a tsunami of outrage across the Caribbean, and Belize Action is calling Belizeans to converge at Battlefield Park at noon on Friday, May 23, to express their solidarity with Bain, who was terminated as director of the regional coordinating unit of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) on Tuesday. Pastor Scott Stirm, the lead organizer, told Amandala today that Bain put his whole professional career on the line to testify in the case, and Belize should say, “We stand with Dr. Bain; and this is deplorable how he’s been treated.” Stirm said that Pastor Eugene Crawford, head of the Evangelical Association of Belize, has indicated that they are “fully onboard.” One of Belize’s leading health experts, Dr. Bernard Bulwer, a Harvard-trained cardiologist, wrote us, expressing his views on Bain’s termination.

SJC sixth form students pay tribute to their “angel,” Evan Garnett, Jr.
Fellow students, friends and family members of Evan Garnett, Jr., 19, who was laid to rest at Lord Ridge Cemetery on Monday following a funeral mass at St. Ignatius Church, gathered on St. John’s College Junior College campus Thursday evening to pay tribute to his memory. Present for the ceremony were his mother, Jacinta Hyde; father, Evan Garnett, Sr.; stepfather Bernard Wagner and his younger siblings, as well as several other family members who traveled to Belize for his funeral. Garnett’s young life was cut short in a tragic traffic accident on Saturday, May 10, when he lost control of his car on the Philip Goldson Highway while travelling to his Los Lagos home. But since his death, a full portrait of his personality has emerged in the consciousness of his family and friends, who remember a happy young man, with an incessant, captivating smile, always showing the willingness to go an extra mile for his friends and family.

Jason Lawrence, 39, sentenced to life
A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for a little under four hours before returning to the courtroom of Supreme Court Justice John “Troadio” Gonzalez to announce a unanimous guilty verdict in the murder trial of Jason Bruce Lawrence. Lawrence decided to forgo a mitigation hearing and Justice Gonzalez imposed the mandatory life sentence. Lawrence, 39, was indicted for the December 4, 2009, murder of his common-law wife, Nurse Mercedes Carillo, 40, who died after being stabbed multiple times in the couple’s Burrell Boom home. The stabbing allegedly occurred in front of Carillo’s two teenage children, who reportedly begged Lawrence to take their injured mother to the hospital after he had stabbed her five times in a jealous rage.

LGBT pressure groups force UWI to sack Professor Brendan Bain
The University of the West Indies, the region’s premier tertiary level institution, today issued a statement announcing that it has terminated Dr. Brendan Bain, Professor of Community Health at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Coordinator of the UWI HIV/AIDS Response Programme (UWI HARP), as Director of the regional coordinating unit of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) at UWI—amid a hailstorm of complaints from the LGBT community who said that his testimony in the Belize case has caused a loss of confidence in him. The well-known Jamaican professor was this month the subject of an unprecedented institutional trial triggered by members of a region-wide LGBT community, which has for months been calling for his appointment to be scrutinized in light of statements he made to the Belize Supreme Court as expert witness in a high profile challenge to the nation’s buggery laws.

Shalini Zabaneh Champion
Nine (9) female cyclists started out from Columbus Park in San Ignacio on Sunday, May 18, shortly after 8:00 a.m. for the 25th running of the Female Cross Country Cycling Classic, which journeyed along the George Price (Western) Highway to Belize City, ending in front of Leslie’s Imports, where cycling fans gathered to greet the gallant ladies on completion of the grueling almost 70-mile ride. The favorite going into Sunday’s race was defending champion Shalini Zabaneh, but there were a few worthy challengers, including 2012 champion Kaya Cattouse, fast improving Patricia Chavarria, always dangerous Alicia Thompson, the Lovell sisters – Gina and Gabrielle, Kerah Eiley, veteran 2-time champion Marinette Flowers, and an unknown factor in first time Mexican entry Laura Rodriguez Canto from Merida, Yucatan. Belize already had a male Mexican Cross Country Champion earlier this year in Juan Pablo Magallanes, so fans were a bit uneasy at the prospect of seeing another Mexican take the Female Cross Country garland.

No Limit Soldiers
The first ever National Elite Basketball League’s (NEBL) regular season came to an end this past weekend. The league was well received in most markets, as fans were able to identify with their local franchises. But after the regular season comes the playoffs, and with only 4 of the 8 NEBL teams advancing to the post season, there was a battle for the final 2 spots between the Belmopan Point Bandits, the Dangriga Warriors, and the Belize City No Limit Soldiers. In this final weekend of regular season play, the Belmopan Point Bandits needed to beat the Western Ballaz in San Ignacio on Thursday, and then needed the Warriors to lose to the Soldiers in Belize City. There were many who had already written off the Point Bandits, saying that there was no way they could go into the loudest building in the league and get a victory; but they did exactly that, defeating the Western Ballaz by a final score of 81 to 78, to keep their playoff hopes alive. Now all they needed was for the Dangriga Warriors, who had just beaten the league leading San Pedro Tigersharks a week earlier, to fall to the Soldiers from Belize City.

From April 8-11, 2014, FIBA Director, Lubomir Kotleba and FIBA Americas Technical Director, Anibal Garcia conducted a clinic in San Ignacio to certify FIBA international referees and FIBA Technical Commissioners. The clinic included four sessions: a written test, a physical test, a practical test and an informative section with questions and answers. Two candidates successfully completed the referees training course — Mr. Melvin Pinelo from Belmopan and Mr. Marlon Castillo from Dangriga. Mr. Pinelo is currently a chemistry teacher at Sacred Heart College. Mr. Castillo currently serves in the Coast Guard. Mr. Pinelo and Mr. Castillo are now eligible to officiate in any FIBA sanctioned game worldwide once called upon by FIBA. Two candidates also successfully completed the Technical Commissioner training – Mr. David Lacey from Belize City and Mr. Karim Juan from San Ignacio. Mr. Lacey is currently a lecturer at St. John’s College Sixth Form, and Mr. Juan is the Vice-Principal at Sacred Heart College.

Bandits rule
As expected, football fans were treated to a high intensity match at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium on Saturday night, May 17, where Game 2 of the Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup 2013-2014 Closing Season Finals featured home squad Police United, sporting a 3-nil deficit from Game 1, going against the Opening Season champion Belmopan Bandits, who were determined not only to win the 2-game series, as they were expected to, but to prove that they were the better team, and deserving of a trip to the CONCACAF Champions League, the major prize in this tournament. From the “opening bell,” Police was on the attack, showing for the first time a 3-forward offense, much like the Bandits had done the previous week, featuring Clifton West, Harrison “Cafu” Roches and an unusual starter, Lennox “Criminal” Castillo, who created a number of scoring opportunities for his teammates. Striker Danny Jimenez started at left midfield, but he was very much a part of the frontline attack. For their part, the Bandits reverted back to the traditional 2-forward set with “twin towers” Elroy “Bibbs” Kuylen and Jerome “Jarro” James, who had both played splendidly in the 3-0 win the previous week.

Mr. Belize
2012/2013 “Mr. Belize” title holder, Rigo Vellos won first place in the Segunda Copa Escarcega 2014 bodybuilding competition, winning the title and top prize on Saturday, May 17. The competition was held in Escarcega, Mexico. Rigo competed against over 15 competitors from all over Mexico, and then 3 finalists in the Overall Category. This win follows previous victories in 3 competitions in Mexico: the Copa Revolucion held at the Yucatan Festival in Xmatkuil, Merida on November 24, 2013; Mr. Temple competition, held in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2013; and the Mr. Cedral Bodybuilding competition, held in Cozumel in April 2014.

Belmopan City Council
The Belmopan Football Association’s (BFA) Belmopan City Council Mundialito Kids, Female & Youth Cup 2014 completed its semifinal games over the past weekend, and this coming weekend will see the third place and championship games in all three categories. Two Youth semifinal games were played on Saturday, May 17. (Youth) YWAM-Netherlands bombed Las Flores-Spain, 6-2, with goals from Naim Wilson (6’), Adrian Waight (7’ & 16’), Mario Valencia (9’), John Banner (35’) and Jalen Myers (70’); while Las Flores-Spain goals were by Jairo Lopez (61’) and Jaime Crespo (80’). YWAM-Netherlands advance to the Youth Finals over Las Flores-Spain with an aggregate score of 10-2, as YWAM had won their first game, 4-0. The other game on Saturday saw (Youth) Central Site-England and Salvapan-Brazil playing to a 0-0 draw. Salvapan-Brazil had won their previous encounter, 2-1, so Salvapan-Brazil advance to the Youth Finals over Central Site-England with an aggregate score of 2-1.

Alliance United
With Game 1 of the best-of-2 games Finals series on April 27 ending 1-nil in favor of San Martin FC over Alliance United, there was a one week break for Agric Show, before the decisive Game 2 for the championship of the Belmopan Football Association (BFA) 1st Division 2014 Tournament this past Sunday, May 11, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. And Alliance United came back strong, registering a 2-nil victory over San Martin FC with goals from Wayne Wiltshire (9’) and Israel Clavel (72’). Alliance United is therefore the Belmopan Football Association 1st Division Champion 2014 with an aggregate score of 2-1 over San Martin FC.

The ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) is essentially cruising along, despite the fact that there are at least four critical issues which have organized groups calling for their Cabinet heads. These four critical issues, not in any order of importance or volatility, are: (1) the continued illegal extraction and sale of Toledo rosewood; (2) the dispute in the Sarstoon/Temash between the Kek’chi Maya and U.S. Capital Energy, an oil company; (3) the wrangling between the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA) and the UDP Ministry of Lands; and (4) the Elvin Penner sale-of-passports scandal, wherein the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) is presently carrying the torch. The rosewood issue is one which has been kept in the public eye by Wil Maheia, the Leader of the Toledo-based People’s National Party (PNP). The opposition to U.S. Capital Energy activities is led by Greg Choc and Cristina Coc of the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM). BGYEA is led by Nigel Petillo. COLA is led by Geovannie Brackett.

The scare of Mother’s Day Cheer
Last week, I noted that many of The Publisher’s (Evan X Hyde) past writings on media politics and civil society were reflected in the coverage of the “Mother’s Day cheer.” Politicians and journalists all struggled to define what meanings and values were to be associated with the “cheer.” In so doing, one observes the continued normalization of party politics (PUDP) and the role of the media therein. Several observations are worth recounting here: The first is the question of “objectivity” in the media. It is said that media should be the watchdog of democracy. But who is feeding the dog? (Hon?) Anthony “Boots” Martinez accused Channel 5 of “not [being] objective at all”. Of course, Martinez was merely struggling to articulate a positive image of himself and the UDP.

The NCL “deal” – national collusion and lies?
Could you please publish my letter to the Placencia Village Council members on this very important matter? Dear Placencia Village Council members, I am writing to express my extreme disappointment with the chairlady’s remarks to LOVE FM, May 14, 2014, re: NCL and recent Placencia Village Council (PVC) public meeting votes. I was in attendance at both last week’s (8 May 2104) and last year’s (July 2013) PVC meeting when the NCL topic was broached. My issues with the LOVE FM comments by the Placencia PVC chairlady are thus: She stated last year’s meeting did not have a quorum, yet there were at least three times as many attendees on the basketball court last year as there were last week at the community center. However, since no participant/attendance list was taken, neither her estimate nor mine can be verified;

Dr. Bernard Bulwer discusses Prof. Brendan Bain
I have a lot on my plate, but I feel compelled to press “pause” and issue a brief comment on Professor Brendan Bain and the recent events. There are many things I would like to say, but for now, I will let this editorial below and two additional links speak. I must say a personal word about Professor Bain: Dr. Bain taught me and an entire generation of doctors at UWI. I last met Dr. Bain when he visited Belize a few years ago. He is among the very top in my list of the finest human beings ever to walk on this planet, and one of the most caring, conscientious, and humblest of human beings I have ever met. This is an overused statement, but to me, the label of a person “without an ounce of hate” towards anyone, applies especially to Brendan Bain.

Eulogy for Evan Garnett, Jr.
We gather here in great numbers to celebrate the life of Evan Rasheed Garnett — not because he was some visiting dignitary or big time statesman, but because of the young man he was and the grown man he was bound to be. We weep because we loved this youth – because his soul was pure and his heart was huge. Evan Rasheed Garnett was a child born of love, delivered on a day of love – Valentine’s Day, 1995. He was 7 pounds 4 ounces – a healthy, happy baby. As a child he was a little fellow, scrawny even. But inside that wiry frame was packed a lot of love. He loved his family and his family loved him back. This is a youth who was always infectiously happy – big beautiful grin alongside a radiant personality. Always polite almost to a fault – never one day called me anything other than uncle. He was a real lover – of his parents, of girls, of life, of his siblings and his friends. Some of us might live to see three score and ten but may never quite have the same impact he crammed into his fleeting 19 years.

Do Belizeans consume too much alcohol?
Excessive alcohol consumption amongst the Belizean populace is viewed by some as one of several worrying trends that are affecting our country, and while there may only be a percentage of citizens who actually engage in alcohol abuse, a global survey which was done by the World Health Organization (WHO) and was launched last week in Europe shows that Belizean drinkers regularly consume large volumes of alcohol on average through what is known as “binge drinking.” While total alcohol consumption for Belize is relatively low in comparison to other countries, it is reportedly trending up sharply across the entire population. In the years after 1995, a group of key alcohol experts estimated the unrecorded alcohol consumption in Belize to be 2.0 liters of pure alcohol per capita for members of the population older than 15. By 2008, however, the average consumption for persons 15 and older increased to 5.3 liters of pure alcohol per year, which amounts to about 12 pints.

BIGOTS in our midst
I would not say the word “bigot” is of common use on our society… and I surmise that is because as a society Belize is far more tolerant and passive than many other societies. So for those who do not know what the word means or use it loosely, I have taken time to enlighten myself as to its dictionary definition. big•ot (noun) –1. a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion. Origin: 1590–1600; < Middle French ( Old French: derogatory name applied by the French to the Normans), perhaps < Old English bî God by God. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bigot); 2. Intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/bigotry); 3. a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, especially on religion, politics, or race. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bigot)

SATIIM promises to “take action” if litigation proves futile
On Monday, a large gathering of 38 Mayan communities and their leaders and representatives convened at the Machaca Outreach Camp in Toledo, where the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) explained the way forward in their efforts to stall the controversial pre-drilling activities being done by US Capital Energy and discussed the next steps in their ongoing fight against the Government of Belize (GOB) and the oil exploration company. Since the government-sanctioned waiver of the expiration date on the company’s license came into effect, leaders of the Mayan villages buffering the national park have been consulting with their communities and trying to arrive at a consensus position in their struggle against oil exploration in their communal lands. The indigenous advocacy group has faced challenges in its efforts to mobilize all the Mayan communities, and it believes this is the result of US Capital Energy’s use of economic influence to create allies in certain communities where financial opportunities are scarce, in addition to GOB’s full-scale backing of the oil exploration company.

Red Cross hosts regional contingency planning meeting in Belize
With the start of the 2014 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season fast approaching, forty delegates representing branches of the Red Cross from the Caribbean and Latin America as well as international partner societies in the United States and Europe are currently in Belize for a three-day regional contingency planning meeting which is being held at the Ramada Belize City Princess Hotel. The regional meeting – which is being hosted by the Belize Red Cross – is held annually prior to the hurricane season to strategically plan and produce a document that can be relayed to respective governments in preparation for hurricanes or natural disasters that may arise, and is also aimed at garnering national and international response and/or support when a disaster strikes. The regional conference is taking place in Belize for the first time in ten years and Jan Gelfand, Deputy Director and Head of Programs and Operations for the America Zone Office of the International Red Cross, expounded on the purpose of the event and its merits.

The drill rig is coming: US Capital
Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay indicated to Amandala today that the court hearing to review a request made by the Sarstoon Temash Institute of Indigenous Management (SATIIM) and four Maya villages: Conejo, Crique Sarco, Midway, and Graham Creek, for an injunction order to stop US Capital Energy from proceeding with petroleum works inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park will help to resolve the pending issues which lie at the heart of the dispute between the Government of Belize and some Maya communities in Toledo. The Maya communities in question continue to call on the Government of Belize to consult with them before US Capital begins to drill inside the national park. Currently, the project is at a virtual standstill, but Alistair King, the representative of US Capital in Belize, told Amandala today that they intend to press ahead as soon as possible, but works, he said, have been delayed because they are still waiting for the rig to arrive from Mexico—and they hope it will by the end of the month.

Tragedy in Isabella Bank — youth drowns on his birthday
Keron Michael Jeffords, 24, drowned while swimming in the Belize Old River while celebrating his birthday on Sunday at the Owen Hendy Farm in Isabella Bank. Jeffords reportedly went under the water at about 4:00 Sunday afternoon and did not resurface. His body was recovered at about 7:00 this morning, Tuesday, about one mile and a half from the area where he disappeared. When he was found, one of his hands was missing, believed to have been bitten off by crocodiles. A post-mortem was conducted about a mile from where he was found and he was buried at about 5:30 this evening at the Eternal Gardens Cemetery at Mile 13 on the George Price Highway.

Brothers Earl and Joseph Garbutt still missing 4 years after they went to sea and failed to return
The mother of brothers Earl, 27, and Joseph Garbutt, 37, of Zacaranda Street of the Lake I area of Belize City is going through the fourth year without her two sons, who went missing at sea in the Gladden Spit area in the Stann Creek District while travelling to Belize City from Roatan Honduras, on Sunday, Mother’s Day, May 10, 2010. They were seen by fishermen travelling to the Spit from Hunting Caye, after which they disappeared. Joseph and Earl, who worked for the Belize Audubon Society, were reported missing on Wednesday, May 14, by concerned family members after they failed to return from the 24-hour journey.

Regional officials examine Belize’s BOOST program
This week, senior government officials – including Ministers – from 8 eastern Caribbean states are meeting at the Radisson Fort George Hotel as part of a 3-day Horizontal Cooperation Exchange which is being focused on a social protection scheme known as the BOOST program which was initiated by the Government of Belize (GOB) in early 2011. Amandala understands that the main objective is to facilitate social policy dialogue between Caribbean countries, and to enable the officials from the visiting countries to study and understand Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs – primarily the BOOST program, which is aimed at providing financial support to our country’s most impoverished constituents, particularly in Belize City’s southside and in the rural areas and southern districts.

House fire on Lawrence Avenue in Lake I
A house located on Lawrence Avenue in the Lake I area of Belize City, owned by Michael Belisle, has been destroyed by fire. At the time of the fire, no one was at home. The incident occurred at about 1:30 p.m. yesterday, Monday. Police said that Belisle left home at about 7:25 a.m., and at about 1:25 p.m. in the afternoon, he was informed that his house was burning. The house and its contents were insured and were valued at about $80,000.

Mother of hit-and-run victims calls on driver to “have a heart” and assist her children
Norma Johnson, the mother of Herman Williams, 7, and his sister, Francine Francis, 12, of Police Street Extension, both students of Lake I Methodist School of Mahogany Street in Belize City, who are at home recovering from injuries they received when they were slammed from behind by a vehicle that did not stop, is calling on the hit-and-run driver to have a heart, and step up and offer financial help to her children. The accident occurred when the children were riding a bicycle, going home after school on Thursday afternoon at about 3:30 in front of Olga’s Roast Chicken on Mahogany Street, which is also in front of the Mahogany Street Tire Shop. Francine suffered three cut wounds above her right eye, a swollen mouth and abrasions on both hands. Herman Williams suffered abrasions on both hands, and a swollen mouth.

New US Ambassador to Belize supports same-sex marriage
Last week, retired US judge Carlos Moreno’s appointment to Belize was finalized, and on Monday, May 19, a video featuring a short statement by the new ambassador that was produced by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs in October 2013 was posted online. In that video, Moreno said that the slogan “Equal Justice for All” serves as a guiding principle for him and for a free democracy. “As a former California Supreme Court justice, I understand and respect the judicial process and will work with the government and people of Belize to uphold the rule of law and protect human rights,” Moreno said in his statement. Moreno is reputed as the judge who in 2009 cast the lone ballot in a 6-1 vote against California’s Proposition 8, a state ballot initiative to overturn same-sex marriage. In the context of the Proposition 8 decision, he expressed the view that “[t]he rule the majority crafts today not only allows same-sex couples to be stripped of the right to marry that this court recognized in the Marriage Cases, it places at risk the state constitutional rights of all disfavored minorities” and “weakens the status of our state Constitution as a bulwark of fundamental rights for minorities protected from the will of the majority.”

In Southern Session of Supreme Court, 2 Guatemalans acquitted of murder
Two Guatemalan nationals who were indicted for murder and were on trial in the Southern session of the Supreme Court were acquitted when Justice Dennis Hanomansingh upheld no case to answer submissions from the accused men’s attorneys. Adelso Picon Rodriguez and Nilo Morales Valdez were accused of the March 2010 murder of Valentin Duarte, who was shot in Cowpen in the Stann Creek District. Duarte was shot on March 19 and succumbed to his injuries five days later, on March 24, while he was undergoing treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

OAS Sec Gen discusses Guatemala-Belize problems in advance of Sept. 19 meeting
Guatemala is due to host the Special General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) on September 19, 2014, and OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza arrived there on Friday, May 16, to discuss plans for that meeting. On the occasion, Insulza also addressed the ongoing territorial differendum with Belize, as part of an agreement between Belize and Guatemala to hold national referenda so that their electorates could decide whether the dispute should be finally adjudicated at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera was also present at the meeting, at which Guatemala media reports said the investigations into the March 2014 shooting death of Tomas Desdicho Ramirez, 26, who was said to be farming corn illegally inside the Chiquibul, were also discussed.

American national dies suddenly in Caye Caulker
Although details have been sketchy so far, Amandala has been able to confirm the sudden passing of a 51-year-old American national who was reportedly wanted in the United States but had recently been residing in the village of Caye Caulker. Caye Caulker police were called to the Maya Island Air Office at around 7:40 this past Monday morning and when they arrived, they reportedly observed a man bleeding through the mouth and nose. The individual – who we understand was waiting to board a flight to Belize City – was not allowed to get on the aircraft due to his condition and was instead transported to the Caye Caulker Health Center, but died shortly after.

Burglaries in Belmopan and Punta Gorda
A bar and a house were burglarized in separate break-ins in Punta Gorda and in Belmopan respectively. Thieves got away with over $2,100 from the bar in Punta Gorda, and from the house in Belmopan, thieves stole over $5,100. Both burglaries occurred on Saturday. Maria Rivera reported to police that at about 2:00 Saturday morning, she locked her bar, Sea Splash, located on Pompano Street in Punta Gorda, and went home.

Punta Gorda man gets 5 years in prison for unlicensed gun
Kenner Gomez Trapp, 20, of Oriole Street, Punta Gorda, has been slammed with a 5-year jail sentence by the Punta Gorda Magistrate’s Court after having been convicted yesterday of possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Police said they conducted an intensive investigation into the murder of Janice Vargas, 28, of West Street in Punta Gorda, which occurred in Jamaica Bar in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 1, and that the investigation led them to Kenner Trapp.

Two men charged in connection with theft of $11,155 worth of jewelry
Two men, a construction worker and a Port of Belize stevedore, were both released on bail after they appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, to be arraigned on charges of burglary and handling stolen goods, in connection with $11,155 worth of jewelry that were stolen from a home in the West Landivar area of Belize City. Police charged Jamil Meighan, 25, a construction worker residing at 8250 Ivor Street, with one count of burglary, and Wilfred Javier Stanley, 30, a stevedore residing at 173B Neal Pen Road, with six counts of handling stolen goods.

Carnal knowledge of 14-year-old reported in Belize City
Police are investigating a case of carnal knowledge which occurred in Belize City in which a 14-year-old female minor reportedly ran away from home to stay with an older boyfriend (age not specified) who resides at a Partridge Street Extension address. The girl’s 49-year-old mother told police that her daughter left home without permission on April 2, 2014, and took all her (the girl’s) personal belongings, after which she (the mother) reported the matter to police.

16-year-old remanded for shooting a mother and her son in San Pedro
A 16-year-old youth of the San Pedrito area of San Pedro Town, who police accused of shooting a woman, 45, and her son, 23, has been remanded to the to the Wagner Juvenile Facility of the Belize Central Prison on charges of two counts of grievous harm against Nigel Polanco and Aurora Gonzalez. The youth was also charged with discharging a firearm in public. He was remanded until July 2. The incident occurred at about 11:00 Sunday night, May 18, in front of Nigel Polanco’s yard in the San Pedrito area.

Police bust man with sawed-off shotgun at funeral
A twenty-one-year-old man who went to the funeral of a murdered friend of his with a sawed-off shotgun was remanded to prison after he was arraigned on charges of “kept prohibited firearm and kept unlicensed ammunition.” Wilfred Ramirez, 21, a laborer residing at 56 Antelope Street Extension, pleaded not guilty to the two charges. Police charged Ramirez with one count of kept prohibited firearm, for allegedly having in his possession, one black rusty sawed-off shotgun, an unknown brand which had no serial number. The gun measured 18 inches in length.

Toyota Hilux pickup stolen from Ministry of Health compound
The Ministry of Health has been reeling from allegations of misconduct and mismanagement by some of its senior officials in the past few weeks, but, amidst the successive “black eyes”, the Ministry is also seeking to locate one of its vehicles, which was reported stolen since last Thursday, May 8, from out of the Ministry’s compound. The Ministry has reported to police that a 2005 4-cylinder silver diesel Toyota Hilux pickup truck was stolen from the Ministry’s parking lot in Belmopan in the early hours of Thursday. The truck reportedly has a camper and the word “HECOPAB” is labeled on the two front doors.

Paul Mark to stand trial for bigamy charge
On Monday of this week, Paul Vincent Mark of Hopkins appeared before Magistrate Patricia Arana for a preliminary hearing regarding a charge of bigamy. According to police, Mark was arrested and charged for bigamy sometime last year and posted bail at that time. He was bound over in Magistrate Arana’s court to the Supreme Court for a hearing scheduled for July 7, 2014.

Thieves shoot security officer in the head and rob him
Yesterday evening, a security supervisor who was in the process of transporting a knapsack with assorted checks was attacked by a gunman who not only robbed him of the bag of checks along with a gun and ammunition, but mercilessly shot the 57-year old in the back of the head and left him to die on the street. According to police reports, Belize City resident Levi Brown, 57, a security supervisor of J&B Security Firm, was riding his bicycle on East Collet Canal heading in the direction of King Street at around 6:20 p.m. yesterday, Wednesday, May 21, when he was ambushed upon reaching the corner at which Dean Street runs into King Street.

Businessman remanded on firearm charge
A Belize City businessman was remanded to the Belize Central Prison after he was arraigned on a firearm offense in the Magistrate’s Court this morning. Christian Ebanks, 39, a resident of 122 Teacher’s Street, pleaded not guilty to one count of “kept firearm without a gun license” when he was arraigned by Magistrate Dale Cayetano. Before his arraignment, however, Ebanks asked the police officer who was escorting him to the courtroom if the court reporters had to be present at his arraignment. He would like to “exclude them,” he told the court orderly, as he headed into the courtroom.

#491335 - 05/24/14 07:02 AM Re: Today's Belize News: May 24, 2014 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here

The Reporter

Church leaders protest firing of UWI professor
Church leaders from various religious denominations throughout Belize led their followers and anti-gay activists in a protest at the Battlefield Park at midday on Friday against the firing earlier this week of Professor Brendan Bain from the University of West Indies (UWI). The protesters, who carried placards and wore pieces of tapes marked “Freedom Under Attack” over their mouths, specifically rallied against the “agenda” of gay activists who demanded Dr. Bain’s removal following his expert testimony in the case of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNiBAM) versus the Government of Belize. “Whenever we have someone, especially someone like [Dr. Bain] who is a decorated awardee – has done so much good as a doctor – targeted because he spoke out…and when you keep silent about these matters then they will think that it is okay. It is not okay”, said Pastor Eugene Crawford, president, Belize Association of Evangelical Churches. Pastor Crawford said, however, that he can see the concern that the gay community has raised – that they have lost confidence in Dr. Bain because he gave his testimony using data he compiled based on private information. “But it is convenient to them at this point to cry foul. They are saying that [they] must be treated with special care…the church doesn’t see it that way”, he concluded.

Forum sheds light on City development issues
A forum between the Belize Association of Planners and professors from Vancouver Island University, Canada met on Friday afternoon to discuss planning practices and development planning as it relates to city development. President of the Belize Association of Planners, Carolyn Trench-Sandiford told The Reporter that the purpose of the forum was to bring together stakeholders to dialogue and exchange relevant information about planning. “We thought it timely that the association and the professors meet and have a discussion on planning issues, practices and approaches that are taking place both in Canada and Belize so that we can share knowledge, experiences and lessons learned,” Sandiford said. Sandiford explained that the forum revolved around commercial downtown development and how to make those areas prosperous. She dded that they were also looking at waterfront development planning. Sandiford said that the discussions would compare the activity in Belize to that of Vancouver and said that she hoped the discussion would set the stage for future collaboration between the University of Vancouver and the Belize Association of Planners.

American court sentences former Guatemalan President
Former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo is serving to five years and 10 months in an American jail for taking bribes from Taiwan. The court in New York also fined Portillo, who was extradited to the U.S. last year, to pay a fine of $2.5 M. Portillo pleaded guilty two months ago to attempting to launder the illegal money through American banks. Portillo had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money and agreed not to appeal against any prison sentence between four and six years. He admitted to accepting $2.5m in bribes and promised to return the money. Portillo said he took the money in exchange for a promise that his country would continue to recognise Taiwan diplomatically while he was in office, between 2000 and 2004. Portillo, who has already spent time in jail, has only 18 months of his sentence remaining.

Supreme Court strikes out Castro misconduct case
The misconduct case against Hon. Edmond Castro, the minister of state who allegedly violated the law by receiving about $80,000 from the Belize Airport Authority, was struck out on Monday. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin dismissed the matter, saying that it was not reasonably grounded and cannot succeed. Benjamin decided that Trevor Vernon, the Belize Rural North constituent who brought the matter before the court, had given no reasonable cause of action, because the allegations he made are dealt with under the private law provisions of the Civil Procedure Rules of the Supreme Court. Vernon and attorney Philip Palacio had argued that the Minister’s alleged role in directly or indirectly receiving the funds from the BAA was a matter that should be determined by the court through declaratory orders affirming violations of the Code of Conduct, Section 121 of the Belize Constitution Act, and the Prevention of Corruption in Public Life Act.

Government of Belize receives $10 million grant from the Republic of China (Taiwan)
The Government of Belize received a boost to its infrastructure projects on Monday, when His Excellency David Wu, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), presented a $10 million cheque to Prime Minister Dean Barrow. According to a government press release, the cheque is “the grant from the Republic of China to Belize for the year 2014 under the Bilateral Cooperation Program between the two countries.” The release further states that the funds will be used to finance portions of key infrastructure projects such as the Belize City Southside Poverty Alleviation Project Phase II.

Two charged for attempted murder of mother
Irma Mejia, 17, a mother of a one-month-old baby, underwent major surgery on Monday at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after she was shot at her home last Saturday morning. Mejia, who lives in an apartment complex on Marina Drive, told police that she was asleep with her baby when she heard a knock on the door. She got up to open it, thinking it was her common-law husband. Instead she was met by a volley of bullets, two of which hit her. One bullet ripped through her jaw and another struck her abdomen about four inches above her navel. When police found her outside her home she was barely conscious, but identified the two men she saw at her door when she opened it.

Suspected Ecuadoran fugitive arrested in Belize
Christian Jackson Ebanks, a 39-year-old resident of a Teachers Street address in Belize City, was arraigned in court last Thursday and has since been remanded to the Belize Central Prison. So far, no request for his extradition has been made. Ebanks was arrested last Wednesday after a GSU search of his home yielded a chrome 9 millimeter pistol with serial number 508834B and a chrome 9 mm magazine.

Saldivar: I retrieved immigration files from dumpsite
Arthur Saldivar, the attorney who made news when he revealed to the media immigration files that were set aside for destruction in the passport/visa scandal, said that he retrieved the documents from the mile three dumpsite on the George Price Highway. Saldivar explained that he found out about the files from a relative of one of his clients. He said the person told him that there were documents that he believed Saldivar would be interested in that were being destroyed at the dumpsite. “I went there, I found documents in plastic bags.” Saldivar said. “ I retrieved those documents and I perused them. Upon perusing the documents, I realized that these were certainly matters of great national interest.” In addition to that, Saldivar told us that while he has no proof, key people have informed him that it was a prominent member of the Cabinet, a Belize City area representative who made the files available for destruction. “In fact there were people from his constituency who were doing this work”, Saldivar added.

Employment for people with mental illnesses?
The Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Unit held a workshop this week to discuss the employability of persons with mental illnesses. The workshop was held at the Belize Institute of Management, in collaboration with Disability Aid Abroad, an international organization which looks after the rights of mentally ill persons in many areas. The session brought together stakeholders such as the Labour Department, Social Security Board, and the Human Rights Commission. Participants discussed case studies from other countries with the goal of formulating working modules for employing the mentally ill, which are tailored to the Belizean reality. Carey Ann Clarke, advocate with Disability Aid Abroad, explained that due to the varying degrees of mental illness many patients are employable. However due to societal stigma they are not given the opportunity to enter the work force.

More problems for cane farmers
The approaching rainy season could add to the list of problems that cane farmers are facing, says Alfredo Ortega, deputy chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Ortega told The Reporter on Wednesdays that scattered rains experienced over the weekend have caused some delays in transporting cane to BSI sugar factory. “It has not been much, but if the rains continue a lot of cane could be left in the fields,” Ortega said. He also said that the roads to access the mill have not gotten any repairs, despite numerous requests to the Ministry of Works in Orange Walk. He added that repairs have not been done on any of the roads since February. Another contention exists in the negotiations with BSI over remuneration for bagasse. According to Ortega, since the cane farmers made their counter proposal in April, BSI has neither accepted the proposal nor responded with another offer.

Bain Bells the Cat
When Hitler decided that Jews were less than human and that his Arian race was the superior one, his Scientists who disagreed disappeared. Scientific Data collected through research and experimentation had to be interpreted through his warped social construct or scientists had to face the consequences. Countless research were secretly discarded because they did not fit the new Society Hitler was building. Results were skewed, data re-interpreted to create the desired outcome. His totalitarianism sought to control everything in Germany, but it could never control a clear conscience. Over time, truth won out. HIV and Aids is not acquired through discrimination; it is acquired through risky behaviour. The riskier the behaviour the higher the exposure. That is the science.

Enforcing Contracts…Slowly
Luxembourg, of course, doesn’t have warm tropical weather, the second largest barrier reef in the world, or archaeological wonders representing the ancient Maya civilization. Investors consider many other factors when deciding where they will put their money, so the World Bank’s Doing Business report does not overall rank Luxembourg as the Number One country in which to do business. In fact, between 2013 and 2014 its overall ranking dropped 4 places, from 56 to 60 out of 189 economies. Previously, this column looked at New Zealand as the top country for ease of starting a business. Luxembourg, by contrast, ranks at 103 for that particular category. But before you set out to mock them, remember that we rank overall at 106 to their 60.

Belmopan Bandits win PLB Belikin football championship
The Football championship finals organized by the Premier League of Belize, was played at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan on Saturday night, May 17. Playoff MVP Jerome “Jaro” James and Elroy Kuylen led the Bandits’ offensive supported by Denmark Casey and Norman Anderson on the wings and Brandon Peyrefitte and Erick Rodriguez at midfield. The Police defenders, Trevor “Burger” Lennon, Kishane Pech, Chris Gilharry and Byron Usher tried to contain the Bandits. Bandit attacks on goal won three corner kicks and a free kick, forcing regular season MVP, Keith Allen to come with several saves for the police.

The Lesbian and Gay Rights Movement in Belize is barely three years old, but already it has caused the dismissal of a distinguished educator, Professor Brendan Bain, the man in charge of UWI’s Caribbean HIV/Aids Regional Training Network, (C.H.A.R.T.) The LGBT lobby of Belize, which is insisting on fair play […]

To dig a way out of poverty a number Indian villages in Toledo got together and formed the Toledo Ecotourism Association. They put together an economic plan called the TEA Village Guesthouse & Eco-trail Program. . It is the only one of its kind in all the world. Under the […]

Amiri Hoare & Trevon Brown win Smart BTTA Junior table tennis championships
Amiri Hoare won the Under-13 title and playing one age group above his level, also won the Under-16 Championship, while Trevon Brown emerged as the new National Under-19 Champion when the Belize Table Tennis Association held its second SMART bi-annual National Ranking Tournament for 2014 at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium on Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18. The tournament began with some 53 players competing in the three age groups in a round robin format on Saturday, with many players competing in two age categories on Saturday. From these eight under-19 and eight under-13 players advanced on a double elimination knockout format on Sunday, while 16 players advanced to the double eliminations from the under-16 category.

ARSON claims life of 82-year-old woman
An 82-year-old woman died as a result of arson in her home at the corners of Douglas Jones and Cleghorn Streets early Thursday morning. Erceline Gabourel was asleep in her bedroom in the upper flat of the two-story wooden structure when the fire started. Orin Smith, station officer at the National Fire Service, told the media that An 82-year-old woman died as a result of arson in her home at the corners of Douglas Jones and Cleghorn Streets early Thursday morning. Erceline Gabourel was asleep in her bedroom in the upper flat of the two-story wooden structure when the fire started. Orin Smith, station officer at the National Fire Service, told the media that the Fire Department got the call about the fire at approximately 3:44 a.m. and arrived about three-minutes later. According to Smith the fire was contained by 4:00 a.m.

“I serve UDP first, Belizeans second’ – Minister of State, Mark King
“When it comes to serving people, I serve UDP first, Belizeans second, and PUP last,” UDP’s Lake Independence Area Representative Mark King told the media Thursday. King, who is also the Minister of State for in the Ministry of Human Development and Poverty Alleviation, shared his priority list as part of his response to the media’s questions regarding reports of his company seeking a contract with Norwegian Cruise Lines. King, who owns a security company, unabashedly admitted that his company had indeed applied for a contract to provide services to NCL. According to reports reaching this newspaper, King sought to strike the deal at a meeting between the cruise lines and the Cabinet subcommittee overseeing the project. Senator Godwin Hulse, the subcommittee’s chairman, confirmed to The Reporter that King did attend the meeting that was held in southern Belize earlier this week. However, he said that the matter of King’s contract “never came up during the meeting.”

Compol denies COLA evidence
Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie has denied Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA)’s request for evidence to aid the group’s private prosecution of former Minister of State, Elvin Penner. Whylie, via a succinct, one-paragraph letter to COLA, dated May 20th, wrote: “The Police investigation, which may lead to a public prosecution in respect of allegations made against Mr. Elvin Penner, is still ongoing. “Consequently, the Law by virtue of Section 24 of the Freedom of Information Act…exempts information from being disclosed while an investigation is pending.” The denial of police evidence is sure to have a significant effect on COLA’s case, which is scheduled to resume next week. COLA, responding to Whylie’s letter via press release, pointed out a few inconsistencies between the Commissioner’s most recent position and that which he shared with the media last week.

PUP proposes gun law amendment
The People’s United Party has, from the onset, rejected the revised Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act, but now it plans to present a proposal for the law’s amendment at the next sitting of the House of Representatives or the Senate. At a press conference at its party headquarters on Wednesday, Senator Anthony Sylvestre, legal advisor to the PUP, told the media that more than enough time has lapsed since John Saldivar, the Minister of National Security, said that his government would review the law, beginning with national consultations. The PUP wrote Saldivar in February, said Sylvestre, to remind him of his comment, and attached to that letter a copy of the PUP’s proposed draft amendment, prepared by the party’s legal team. Saldivar, however, has not responded. The PUP regards the matter as an urgent, because anyone who is present when a police search reveals an illegal weapon or ammunition will be charged and remanded for a mandatory two weeks. The same fate would befall someone who may have been absent during the time of the search, but happens to live at the address .

Patrick Jones

Son of arson victim charged for harm
We told you yesterday of the tragic death of 84 year old Isoline Gabourel who burned alive in her Douglas Jones Street home in a pre-dawn fire on Thursday morning. Today her son, 57 year old Dennis Gabourel, the owner of Horse and Carriage Tours, was charged with harm for allegedly attacking a neighbor who gave a media interview in which he claims she “disrespected him.” Gabourel pleaded not guilty before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart and is out on bail of $1,000. Kathleen Grant, with whom we spoke yesterday, says that Gabourel approached her in front of her home on Cleghorn Street later in t

BGYEA served with injunction to keep out of buffer zone
Today the Government of Belize, represented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, formally served an injunction on the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA), represented by president Nigel Petillo and vice-president David Barnett, stopping them from conducting any activity in the Buffer Zone separating the Harmonyville community at Mile 41 from the George Price Highway, including a plan to plant corn in conjunction with a foreign investor, Sam Patten. In Belize City this morning, the group’s leaders met with attorneys Kareem Musa and Audrey Matura-Shepherd, who has officially been retained as counsel to get their legal advice. In its wish to remain non-political, Petillo says, they have not retained Musa because of his political connections. Essentially, they have been told that they must and will respect the injunction. We hear more from BGYEA president Petillo, who expressed his frustration with the Government’s apparent micro-managing of their project.

Belize Action protests ouster of Brendan Bain
This afternoon in Belize City, members of Belize’s Christian community led by Belize Action showed their support for fired UWI professor Dr. Brendan Bain, released after pressure from LGBT rights organizations for his testimony in the Caleb Orozco Case last May. They taped their mouths shut, displaying a message stating “freedom under attack” as well as additional slogans on placards. Pastor Richard Smith of Belmopan says it is about family values. While LGBT have their individual rights and freedoms it is felt that they are interfering with Dr. Bain’s right to work and live and have free speech. Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd felt the wrath of the LGBT movement when last year she wrote a critical column in the Amandala newspaper that prompted her to leave the vice-presidency of OCEANA in Belize.

Attempted murder charge withdrawn from Albert Moody
Albert Moody, Jr. had a charge of attempted murder withdrawn against him today. Kent Moss, who accused Moody of shooting him on January 15 of 2013 has told the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that he wants no further court action in the matter. Accordingly the police prosecutor, Sergeant Egbert Castillo, applied to withdraw the charges of attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm based on instructions from the DPP and Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart acceded. But the 24 year old is not free to go, at least not fully. He still faces two counts of attempted murder, wounding and use of deadly means of harm in relation to an incident on October 25, 2013, where Elroy Perdomo and Steven Lambey were attacked.

Grupo ADO says Belize route proving successful
The Mexico-based ADO bus company is reporting moderate success of its Belize to Cancun and Belize to Merida routes. Three years into the service, ADO says the occupancy rate is up to 60% on the Belize-Cancun route, indicating that the service is being well received by its customers. In fact, the service numbers are so encouraging that ADO executives are thinking about putting in more routes. But ADO’s manager in Chetumal says it all depends on whether or not the requisite permits are given by the Government of Belize.

Maya Leaders Alliance says Valentin Makin is not being truthful
Earlier this week the ousted Alcalde of Conejo village Valentin Makin lashed out at those he feels are responsible for his removal from office. He charged that due process was not followed and vowed not to hand over the Alcalde’s office to his replacement unless he is advised to do so by the Attorney General. But the Maya Leaders Alliance says that Makin is not being truthful about what led to his removal. Pablo Mis is the coordinator of the Maya Leaders Alliance. The Maya Leaders Alliance has also released the document that they say was key in getting Makin removed as Alcalde.

Man Travels 100,000 Miles and Wins a Free Honeymoon to Belize
This afternoon, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) awarded Jack Benjamin Hyer and his future wife Rebecca Strellnauer a free Belize honeymoon vacation via Twitter. According to Mashable, a popular social media site, Jack traveled more than 28 countries to film an epic proposal video which prefaces the history of his relationship. “He says that he knew she was the girl he would marry — or so he wrote in his travel journal four years ago, on September 30, 2010” states the article on Mashable.com. Greece, Tanzania, China, Thailand and Vietnam were some of the countries that Jack visited the past four years all while filming short clips of him lip-syncing the song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers. Apparently the Belize Tourism Board loved the video that they extended a honeymoon invitation to the couple.


It’s Been Too Short Placencia – My Last & Only Full Day Around The Village
Yesterday started as most do…with a bit of blogging and coffee sipping but this time on a breezy veranda on the south side of Placencia Village on the Southern coast of Belize. My spot at Sea Glass Inn, Placencia floating in the treetops. No time for dilly dallying though. Though the village is a very small one, it’s practically busting with charm and quaint beachy-ness, art and jewelry and lots and lots of good food. Like the most beautiful gelato you are going to find in Central America at Tutti Frutti Gelato shop… First stop is always Above Grounds Coffee. Just a lovely treehouse that serves very very good coffee…a comfortable spot to have a bagel, a huge creamy latte and continued internet session.

“What’s a Guy Gotta Do” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Apologies if yesterday’s edition gave you a restless night’s sleep wondering what plants Edward offered for sale. And whether we bought any! Unfair of me? Maybe. But then again milking it this way gave me some subject matter for another edition. I mean what’s a guy gotta do. I’m of course going to let you know what decisions we made but you’ll have to wait a while longer because by popular demand (OK so only a few people asked) I’m first going to give you an update on Ziggy who left us last Sunday to return (temporarily) to his home at Price Barracks, Ladyville. As an honorary member of BATSUB the Arsenal shirt had to be discarded (only for a little while mind) and replaced with his ‘uniform’.

Belize Once Again Ranked Top Honeymoon Destination
The AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, is a huge organisation with a lot of clout. With more than 37 million members it is one of the biggest non-government organisations in the USA and has been an important lobbying and information source for people over 50. AARP has branched out since its inception back in 1958, with affiliate AARP Services Inc providing an impressive range of services including insurance, discounts, and well-researched entertainment and travel packages to a more diverse membership. So when the AARP says something, a big audience is listening. And recently the AARP named Belize as one of the top ten honeymoon destinations, sharing honours with Tahiti, the Maldives, Bali and other exotic tropical locations. Yes, tropical seems to be a key element for a happy honeymoon. But of course, it takes more than a warm sunny climate to make the AARP’s top ten. This is a discriminating group looking for the very best for its members, so no wonder Belize got a nod.

Exploring the Jungles of Belize
Mike and I spent the first four nights of our honeymoon on Ambergris Caye in Belize. We rented bikes to explore the small town of San Pedro, enjoyed our idyllic view of the Caribbean Ocean at our boutique hotel and snorkeled Hol Chan. We were in bliss from our recent wedding and the pristine beauty of the island. But, we also wanted to see the other side of Belize – the jungle. We flew out to to and from the mainland via airplane and loved the views of the Caribbean from above. However, our wallet liked the boat ride for this day trip off of the island. We hopped on a speed boat early on rainy morning and headed for the mainland with our guide. Forty-five minutes later we were in a dry van with twelve other travelers and on our way to the first adventure of the day – zip lining!

International Sources

PuertoAzul Belize dubbed Citadel of Luxury; plans for F1 track and amphitheater
As the 2014 Cannes Film Festival is starting to wind down, reports indicate the ultra-posh PuertoAzul Exclusive Resorts party was the place to be this year. Formal invitations to the May 21 bash, called "PuertoAzul Experience," went to noted celebrities like John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston, Andrea Bocelli and a long list of other Hollywood A-List celebrities and global socialites. According to PuertoAzul's now-fully-launched website, the resort will be located on Northern Caye and Sandbore Caye, located within Belize's Lighthouse Reef. It will cater to the most discerning of luxury travelers, with amenities like a private jet, limousine driver, yacht or helicopter that can transport guests to the PuertoAzul Resort and Club House within minutes.

John Travolta gives enthusiastic thumbs up as he and wife Kelly Preston get glammed up to attend the most exclusive party on the Cannes calendar
With guests ranging from supermodels Heidi Klum and Alessandra Ambrosio to British socialites Tamara Ecclestone and Jay Rutland, the event proved to be the hottest ticket in town. Looking for investors? Co-host Domenico Giannini - President of Puerto Azul Exclusive Resorts & Hotels - proudly showed the couple the giant pictures of the construction taking place on his new luxury resort in Belize

Carib choices: Climate change impact or MDGs
Climate change is forcing the nine-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to choose between expending scarce resources to deal with its impact or other pressing development goals. “There is a very thin line between consumption and conservation…progress and protection,” Grenada’s Environment Minister Roland Bhola told IPS. He explained that countries still have to fulfil the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which include reducing poverty and hunger, while dealing with the impacts of climate change. But there is a flicker of hope for these countries. The European Union (EU) has signed a financial agreement for 39.5 million East Caribbean dollars for a project designed to improve the sub-region’s natural resource base and its resilience to impacts of climate change. The OECS consists of the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin islands.

Ex-Guatemala president gets nearly six years jail
Former Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo was sentenced to five years, 10 months in prison after admitting to taking $2.5mn in bribes from Taiwan and laundering funds through US banks. The sentence, delivered by US district judge Robert Patterson in New York, ensures the fallen leader will remain incarcerated beyond the more than four years his lawyers said he has already served since his arrest in 2010. Portillo, 62, served as president of Guatemala from 2000 to 2004. He was extradited to the US in May 2013 after a years-long fight and after Guatemalan courts had cleared him on local embezzlement charges. At a hearing in New York that drew a crowd of Portillo’s political supporters and family, Patterson also ordered him to forfeit $2.5mn. Patterson said Portillo had abused his position in committing his crimes. “The case has importance in how we treat violations of laws against corruption,” Patterson said. US authorities initially accused Portillo of laundering tens of millions of dollars embezzled from the Guatemalan government, including $2.5mn provided by Taiwan’s embassy in Guatemala.


Video: May 7th, 2014 - Esmerelda Canyon, Belize (#17), 7min.
Feeding time! We brought some tasty treats for the nurse sharks to enjoy and they followed us around for the whole dive along with a bunch of smaller fish and some groupers.

Video: May 8th, 2014 - Turneffe Elbow, Belize (#18), 4min.
Rough seas, but amazing coral formations. I've never seen gorgonian coral (the tree branch fan coral), but it was everywhere on Turneffe. Very cool! Also, there was a tiny puffer that was very interested in my camera.

Video: Mexique2013 Belize2014, 3min.
excellent dive video, with some cave diving also....

Video: Ocean Academy Caye Caulker Belize, 6min.

Video: Belize Xunantunich Mayan Ruins Tour Part 1, 18min.

Video: Belize Xunantunich Mayan Ruins Tour Part 2, 18min.

Video: Belize Xunantunich Mayan Ruins Tour Part 3, 18min.

Video: Belize Xunantunich Mayan Ruins Tour Part 4, min.

Video: Segway,Snorkelling and Snuba in Cozumel,Belize,Honduras,Caymen Islands, 40min.
My Carnival Freedom Cruise Vacation, Filmed on Go Pro Hero 3+ black edition

Video: Cave Tubing in Belize!, 3min.
The was on the western side of Belize, we were on a class trip for anthropology, 2013.

Video: The Playground, Belize (#19), 5min.
An excellent mostly shallow dive! It was cool seeing jawfish (they're the ones that hid in their burrows when I got close), lots of small coral formations dotted with small fish. An awesome, colorful dive.


Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!

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