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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

SPTC Celebrates Teachers and Nurses
On Thursday, May 15th the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) celebrated the teachers and nurses of San Pedro Town for their dedication and commitment in making the community a better place. The night of food, drinks and lots of fun started at 7AM when teachers from the island’s various educational institutions and the nurses from Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II gathered at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium. The teachers and nurses also participated in fun games for a chance to win great prizes donated by generous sponsors. Games included an oreo cookie eating competition, needle and thread, cracker and whistle, musical chairs, a dance-off and of a course beer drinking competition! The fun night saw teachers and nurses dancing the night away!

Reef Week activities brings community together
As part of Reef Week, celebrated under the theme “Our Reef needs our protections for future generations,” several activities were held from May 11th to the 17th. The events were organized by Hol Chan Marine Reserve and included the participation of several stakeholders, environmental and wildlife organizations during the seven days of activities that were prepared for both residents and students on Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. Activities concluded with a beach cleanup of the turtle nesting sites on Saturday May 17th in the Robles and Rocky Point areas just in time for the 2014/2015 turtle nesting season. The cleanup was timely since the Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Monitoring Program is reporting that in the first week of the nesting season, they have found two turtles. The staff at Hol Chan Marine Reserve would like to thank all those schools, students, residents, businesses and stakeholders who helped in making Reef Week 2014 a huge success.

Hook Line and Sinker takes the Billfish Fishing Tournament
Fishing team Hook, Line and Sinker has won the 2nd Annual Captain Shark Billfish Fishing Tournament. Organized by the San Pedro Game Fish Association, the event took place on May 17th and 18th and saw 16 vessels set sail on both days in an attempt to land the biggest billfish and take the top prize. Under both rain and sunshine, the competition brought out the best fishing folks from Belize, and after two days of intense fishing, it was Hook Line and Sinker, captained by Josh Reyes, that topped the tournament. Along with his crew members Tommy Burandt, Albi Godoy and Cord Olivia, the team walked home with a 1st place trophy and $5,000. Second place boat was Fu D Road captained by Aldo Urbina of Orange Walk Town. Along with his crew members Rosendo Urbina, John Harris and Clara Urbina, Fu D Road took home the second place trophy and $1,500. Meanwhile Precipice, captained by Horace Bladen, had to settle for third place. Bladen along with his crew Horace Bladen Jr. and Allan DeShield, took home a trophy and $1,000 in cash. Consolation prizes were also distributed to fourth place, Jolly Man, captained by Andrew Roe and his crew of Mike Meighan, Brett Bowen and Denny Feinstein.

Misc Belizean Sources

Urology resident receives valuable training in Belize
In his fourth year of residency, U.S. Air Force Capt. (Dr.) Matthew Stringer has traveled south of his home unit at the San Antonio Military Medical Center in Texas to Belize City in support of New Horizons Belize 2014. The urology resident from Syracuse, New York, is on his first overseas journey, helping people and training to better aspire to his goal of offering superb care for wounded service members. "When I was applying for medical school, I saw a PBS documentary on taking care of wounded Soldiers coming back from Iraq," said Stringer, a graduate of the Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "I wanted to take care of them, and that's what inspired me to call the recruiter." Stringer has discovered during his time at SAMMC that working with service members provides much job satisfaction, but he's also found that working with World War II veterans reinvigorates his desire for a military career. "I have the chance to develop relationships with veterans as far back as World War II while we treat more chronic conditions," Stringer said. "Some of the veterans I see are World War II legends - real war heroes. "They are a reminder of why I signed up in the first place," he said.

Anthony Gonzalez Wins Football Awards
Congratulations, Anthony Gonzalez, San Ignacio United forward, for being awarded the Best Forward and Most Goals awards! "Congratulations to San Ignacio United's very own Anthony 'Keish' Gonzalez on winning the 2014 PLB Best Forward Award and Most Goals. 'I am very grateful for the support of the club and the fans, I look forward to score many more goals next season.'"

Chocolate Festival 2014 (12 photos)
Punta Gorda town is buzzing with activity this weekend as the annual Chocolate Festival takes center stage. This annual event is coordinated by the Toledo Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA). It is aimed primarily at celebrating Belize's hardworking Cacao farmers. — at Punta Gorda Belize.

The Reporter

PUP condemns statements of Mark King
The People’s United Party (PUP) has condemned what it terms as “ignorant and arrogant comments of Minister of State, Mark King” which were publicized on Thursday evening’s news. King was responding to questions from reporters who asked him about his company seeking a contract with Norwegian Cruise Lines. The People’s United Party PUP, in a press release, termed the comments as describing “a patronage system of spoils in which the UDP are ranked first, the Belizean people second, and the PUP third.” The PUP feels that the comments are consistent with the mentality of the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) and it says it recognizes that there must be a new standard that requires that “all Belizeans, regardless of political persuasion, be treated fairly, respectfully, and equitably.” The party also calls on Prime Minister Dean Barrow to apologize to the Nation for his Minister’s callous remarks, join us in condemning those remarks, and to remove this arrogance and ignorance from his Cabinet.

New phase of works to begin says Mayor
Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley confirmed meeting with the Prime Minister this week to discuss the commencement of a new phase of infrastructural work in the City. Bradley told The Reporter that this coming week he will execute contracts to commence works on St. Charles Street, St. Matthew’s Street, George Street, West Street, Castle Street, Lancaster Street and Magazine Road. Bradley explained that after this second wave of streets have been completed, that would bring their total to 34 new streets and said that he expected this project to be completed by September. This is in addition to the over 100 streets that were rebuilt under the municipal bond project. Bradley said of the streets they have been working on 50 percent of those have been completed already and he believes the works are being completed in a timely fashion. He added that the City Council expects to have a significant amount of work done before the rains start.

Dominican Republic records highest percentage regional tourism growth
With a 3.6 percent tourism growth in 2013, the Dominican Republic has outpaced the entire Caribbean region, which recorded an overall one percent increase. Francisco Javier Garcia, that country’s tourism minister called the performance “an extraordinary year”. With 4.7 million tourists visiting its shores last year, the Dominican Republic outshone its clostest rival, Cuba, which had 2.8 million visitors. Jamaica was third with two million tourists. The Spanish-speaking country’s year-round hotel occupancy averaged 87.3 percent, “one of the highest rates in recent years,” according to Garcia. Garcia attributed the high occupancy partly to the recovery of the European economy, particularly the German market, which registered a 16 percent growth in arrivals in 2013. For 2014 the Dominican Republic embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign dubbed “Dominican Republic Has it All”, highlighting the oldest cathedral in the Americas and the only subway system in the Caribbean. In addition, the country boasts seven international airports, awesome scenery, and 1,000 miles of beaches.

Patrick Jones

PUP demand Mark King be ousted from Cabinet
The Belize City press interviewed Minister of State Mark King yesterday where he discussed a meeting held in the South Stann Creek District on Tuesday with supporters of the United Democratic Party and representatives of Norwegian Cruise Line. Asked if it was true that it was intended that the UDP’s supporters in the area should benefit in a greater proportion, King said that while Government is slated to serve the interests of all Belizeans, as a political party it must look after “UDP first, Belizeans second and PUP last,” adding that he had nothing to hide and was being “straight up.” On Friday, the Opposition People’s United Party took exception to King’s statements, calling them “ignorant,” “arrogant” and “callous.” The PUP says that in 2014, the patronage system that King describes must be replaced by a new standard which requires that all Belizeans be treated fairly, respectably and equably.

Belize planners link up with Canadian professionals
A relatively new organization wants Belizeans to take a closer look at the future of the Jewel, especially our major towns and cities. The Belize Association of Planners on Friday welcomed visiting professors of Vancouver Island University in British Columbia, Canada, for a panel discussion on planning practices and approaches compared between Belize and Canada, emphasizing commercial downtown and waterfront development planning and participatory approaches to planning. Dr. David Witty, the provost of the University, who was recently part of a team working on plans to redevelop the waterfront of his native city of Na-nai-mo, told us that engagement with stakeholders is the most important facet of project planning, because they are the ones who will ultimately benefit.

Constable accused of theft out on bail
Police Constable Yannick Wade who is accused of masterminding the theft of eight firearms and 101 rounds of ammunition from the San Pedro Police Station is out on bail after an application in the Supreme Court. Bail was set at $5,000 with one surety and he must surrender his travel documents, report to the San Pedro Police Station every Friday, stay away from witnesses and return to court at his next appearance. The firearms and ammunition, which are property of KBH Security Firm, were stolen from a metal safe inside the San Pedro Police Station sometime between April 30 and May 2. Police say they have since recovered two of the stolen firearms at a location on Cemetery Road. Wade is additionally charged for the crime of possession of firearms and ammunition without a gun license.

The Belize Times

Playing Serious Games! – ComPol refuses to hand over Penner evidence file
Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie has opted to continue playing a serious game against Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and the right-thinking people of Belize. ComPol Whylie is withholding crucial criminal evidence that incriminates UDP area representative Elvin Penner and details his lead role in the provision of Belizean nationality and passport to South Korean jailbird, Kim Won Hong in 2013. This evidence is critical to COLA’s private prosecution which resumes next week Thursday, May 29th in Belmopan. Despite COLA’s repeated requests to the Commissioner of Police, he has refused to budge. In his most recent response to COLA, via a letter dated May 20th, Whylie claimed that the investigation is “ongoing”; therefore, he does not have to provide any information. He defended his position by citing section 24 of the Freedom of Information Act, which he said, exempts ongoing Police investigations from disclosures. COLA has responded strongly. They called the Commissioner a “flip flopper” in a press release issued on Thursday May 22nd.

John Saldivar’s bitter response to PUP’s proposals to end injustice
Minister of National Security John Saldivar has demonstrated how cruel and out of touch the UDP Government is with the pain, suffering and injustice they are causing on Belizeans. The Barrow Administration’s draconian gun laws have been sending many innocent Belizeans to jail. Among them, and most recent, is 48 year old Belizean nurse Bernadette Samuels. She and six young persons were charged after the Police searched a West Street house on April 13th and reportedly found two 9mm rounds. Barrow’s gun law states that everyone in such premises should be charged and remanded to prison without bail for no less than two weeks. Punishment, under the law, is mandatory five years imprisonment. Ms. Samuels, who was caught up in the unfortunate web, is one of dozens of other victims. High school students, young mothers and pregnant women have all been sent to prison by the overreaching laws. In response to the cries of the people, and as a result of the Government’s unwillingness to heed the calls for the laws to be revised immediately, the People’s United Party Legal Team headed by Senator Anthony Sylvestre Jr. did the work of the Government and reached out to various partners to formulate a series of proposals to the law.

Dictating the tone
Somebody — was it Burke? — called journalism the fourth estate? That was true at the time no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Journalism. ~ Oscar Wilde A question that is often asked these days is, with all the corruption and wrongdoing that is happening under this administration, why are the people so calm and complacent. There are those who murmur and grumble but nothing like what happened in 2005 when the masses took to the streets. Many believe that what is going on today is much more blatant, malignant and corrupt than anything that happened under the past administration. Some suggest that people are afraid of victimization; government is the biggest employer and Dean Barrow has proven a ruthless paymaster. Some believe that people are afraid of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), whose reach and powers extend far beyond just the handling of gangs. Then there are those even, who suggest that the people are afraid of the gangs themselves, many of whose members are known to be criminals and who receive regular perks and payoffs from the government. All those things might indeed factor in, but the biggest problem in my opinion, is a media engaged in shameful and outright lapdog journalism. The news media was initially created to serve as a watchdog for the people, but it seems that in Belize, they have strayed far from that original role. The media is now more used to push political propaganda and steer people’s focus away from the corrupt and “distasteful” ways of this administration. The media plays a significant and important role and have created some powerful personalities in our society. People who author Thomas Carlyle suggest have “a tongue which others will listen to”.

Why the Prime Minister wants to derail a trial for Penner
The Prime Minister will soon have to come fully clean about his involvement in the fiasco of his un-constitutionally appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, who was deposed by him because of international pressure. The immigration scam artist and passport fraudster has a long way to travel out of the woods of corruption involving his role in trying to spring a South Korean fugitive from a Taiwanese prison using a fraudulent Belizean passport. Somebody will also soon have to rub his bald head and wipe his now bearded and sweating face in having to explain the partnership, it is alleged, that the Prime Minister has with his former junior Minister for immigration. It is believed that they have a mutual interest for a partnership with a foreign investor who wants to set up a wind farm for the generation of electricity that will be sold to the national grid. Despite every possible attempt by the Prime Minister and his Minister of Immigration to abort justice in this massive immigration scandal involving just about every member of the Cabinet, a citizen’s organization, COLA (Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action) managed to secure the arraignment and criminal charges against the former Immigration Junior Minister for misdeeds that include the issuing of a bogus passport to the South Korean fugitive. This was to be a part of a bigger plan to facilitate his escape from a prison in Taiwan. Despite the massive cover-ups by the government and its lies about “thorough investigations” into the scandal, the criminal charges brought against the former junior minister, is a major victory for COLA. This is after the Prime Minister asserted that his junior Minister of Immigration had done “nothing illegal” and that he was not criminally culpable.

Belmopan Bandits win PLB football champs
The Belmopan Bandits won the 2014 Belikin Cup’s closing season championship, shutting out the No.1 seed Police United 1-0 in Game 2 of the finals held at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan on Saturday night. The Police needed 4 goals for a comeback, but it was not to be. The Bandits brought pressure on the Police defense, which could not stop Elroy Kuylen’s shot in the 78th minute that scored the single winning goal. FFB President Ruperto Vicente presented team trophies and individual medals to the champions and sub-champions. Providing the FFB Stadium is ready on schedule in August, the Bandits will represent Belize in the CONCACAF Champions’ League this year.

Amiri Hoare wins U-13 & U-16 table tennis championships
Amiri Hoare won the U-13 and U-16 championships held by the Belize Table Tennis Association and SMART. The Junior ranking tournament is now in its 3rd year. Amiri Hoare made it to the U-13 finals by defeating Eric Li, Taye Parkinson, and Jaylen Nicholson, while Nicholson also made it to the finals by defeating Sergio Pech and Samron Pott and then losing to Amiri which took him into the losing bracket. He came back by defeating Terry Su to once again meet Amiri in the finals. Amiri won the finals by a score of 3-1 over Nicholson. Corozal Community College’s Joshua Gegg came in as the top seed in the Under-16 category and advanced undefeated to the finals by defeating Maurice Alvarez, Jaylen Nicholson, Trevon Brown and Matthew Usher. Amiri Hoare was on top of his game, also advancing to the finals by defeating Alexis Tun and Luis Bardalez before losing to Matthew Usher. In the losers’ bracket, Amiri fought back by defeating Latrell Solis, Luis Bardalez and Matthew Usher to make it into the finals with Gegg. Since Gegg was undefeated, Amiri had to defeat Gegg twice by a score of 3-1 to win the U-16 Championship.

Shalini wins Women’s Cross Country Cycling Classic
Team Sagitun’s Shalini Zabaneh came six minutes shy of breaking Brenda Aguayo’s 3 hours, 7 minutes record set in 2007 as she won her 5th female Cross Country cycling championship on Sunday. Shalini clocked 3:12:54 on the 70 mile ride from Queen Elizabeth Park in San Ignacio to Leslie’s Imports on the George Price Highway to win two $1,500 prizes. Shalini also won a 6-foot trophy from the family of Kevin & Philip Brannon, a round trip ticket from Maya Island Air, a trophy from Jex & Co. and the winner’s garland of roses from Florasol. Team BECOL’s Patricia Chavarria won a year’s 4G service from Belize Telemedia as Queen of the Hills title and led Team Smart C-ray’s Kaya Cattouse in the chase for 2nd place with a record of 3:14:11. Patricia won the $500 prize and another $300 prize; a return ticket on Maya Island Air, and a trophy from Jex & Co.

Tubal Institute won’t have 2014 graduating class
In the midst of all the positive hoopla about High School Graduation Season, we are being cruelly reminded that at least one non-traditional school has fallen significantly and precipitously from its surprisingly high ‘heights’ it ascended to only one year ago. The Tubal Technical and Vocational Institute (TTVI), based in Ladyville, Belize District, had an impressive (at least for its status as a vocational institution) graduating class in 2013 – 23 out of 40 graduates. But as that old ‘saw’ goes – oh, how the mighty have Fallen. And fallen, they have… with only 3 to 5 students, according to Manager and school Co-founder Mrs. Lavern Bailey, ‘ready’ to graduate from the institution for this year. Without further belabouring the obvious, it is a far cry from 2013 – and a rather steep fall for a private institution recognized as an alternative to the Government-based ITVET (Institute for Technical and Vocational Education Training). In a phone interview with the BELIZE TIMES last week, Mrs. Bailey admitted the students who started out with such high hopes and prospects “were not ready” for that march down the aisle, and attributed that to students having “financial and behavioural problems.” So that begs the obvious question – Will 2015 be the year that Tubal breaks the monotony of this news? The answer Mrs. Bailey gave leans towards a “yes”. Mrs. Bailey told us: “I most definitely believe that there will be a graduating class in 2015.”

Wu-ing Dean Barrow
The Barrow Administration has resorted to begging and collecting alms from pitying “allies” to survive. Strapped for cash, and with an economy on life support and no innovative ideas to get the ship sailing, the Government has turned, with both palms out, to diplomatic friends for financial oxygen. This week $5 million was dished out by Taiwan. That country has supported the Barrow Administration with constant, large financial gifts. Most of these gifts, dedicated to vague purposes such as “the development of Belize”, go unaccounted for and very likely end up being misused for political programs such as the $850,000 spent by the Barrow Administration in a Mother’s Day cheer last week, which saw each UDP political representative get $40,000 to giveaway for their political supporters in their constituencies. Taiwan and the UDP seem to share a very special relationship, even though the UDP always finds ways to drag Taiwan’s name through dirt. Taiwan has been involved in two of the biggest scandals in 2014. The infamous Citizen Kim (Kim Won Hong) was being held in a Taiwan prison when he obtained Belizean citizenship and an official Belize passport in 2013. Taiwan officials, hoping to return Kim to his native country, South Korea, so he could face embezzlement charges, were stunned when they learnt that South Korean Kim had become “Belizean Kim” thanks UDP Representative Elvin Penner.

AMAZING GRACE – Dead Bread
In today’s world, success is measured by the numbers. The number of zeros trailing the salary. The number of luxury vehicles tucked into the garage. The number of houses. The number of name brand clothes. The list can go on and on. But labeling something a ‘success’ simply because of the numbers is not limited to people outside the church. In the various cathedrals and meeting places around Belize, success is calculated by the amount of pews filled, the number of ‘big time’ members attending each week, and the number of tithes and offerings. What we have all missed, however, is the principle of quality over quantity. And there is no better example of the phrase ‘less is more’ than the one Jesus presents. John 6:25-67 records Jesus during one of His sessions with a crowd of followers. Amazingly, Jesus’ inspiring speech, which probably took less than ten minutes, cuts the size of His entourage so drastically that He is left with just twelve disciples when it’s over. What did He say to tick the people off so quickly? Firstly, the man kept insisting that He was the Bread of Life. In those days, it was a grave sin to align one’s self with God. Any hint of blasphemy was to result in some sort of execution for example, a stoning, where the people would start throwing rocks the size of their fists and ask questions later. By claiming to be the Bread sent by God that would alleviate hunger, Jesus was going against the grain of the Jewish religion. This was the first step in a nervous dance with fan-abandonment.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know!
How much in legal fees was paid to Denys Barrow his legal opinion recently given to the Ministry of Natural Resources in respect to the Mayan Land Rights case? Is Castro paying for his own legal defence or is the Government dishing out another handsome cheque to brother Denys? Is the National Trade Union Congress President truly representing the interest and integrity of the Belizean workers? Or has he been bought ought with the perks that come from sitting on various boards and even the Government’s national bank. With all the issues affecting workers, the NTUCB has nothing to say about it. Could the Minister Know It All explain the reason a personal cheque was paid to another Minister’s sister at Immigration to the sum of $5,000 dollars by a Chinese who she helped to turn into a Belizean? Mr. Mayor, please give the reason for having 24/7 security guards posted at your City Administrator’s house, and does the City Council pay for it?

Double Standard in the Rosewood Trade
I write to condemn the continuous double standard when it comes to enforcing the laws of this country. Government’s approval for the current export of rosewood is a perfect example of that. To protect this precious wood from depletion due to massive export, to places such as China where it’s used to make some of the most expensive furniture, a moratorium was placed on the extraction and sale of the product. This decision was taken by the Barrow Administration after everyone in the trade was given the opportunity to sell all the rosewood they had on the ground. Couple months later some wealthy people in the rosewood trade with good political connection claimed that they had missed the moratorium enforcement date. With the ears of Belmopan they were allowed to export more rosewood to China although the moratorium was already in effect for several months. That should have been the final shipment of the precious commodity until a sustainable method of harvesting was devised by the government. That’s what we all thought. To bolster that misguided belief, the administration confiscated every rosewood log cut by poor people trying to make a few dimes after the moratorium and made sure those seizures hit the evening local news.

Obstacles to the Prevention of Corruption in Belize
Belize, like many of its neighbours, having accepted the need to confront and eliminate corruption in public functions, now faces the daunting challenge of charting an appropriate course to achieving that most elusive objective. The challenge requires that we identify the obstacles to the prevention of corruption in public functions, devise appropriate measures for dealing with them and then take the steps required to implement those measures. While such an approach appears simple enough, the task is indeed a daunting one in Belize because it requires the making of principled decisions which inevitably fly in the face of political self-preservation, and indeed, in the face of what may now well constitute a number of cultural norms in Belizean society. In typical Caribbean fashion, instead of confronting and addressing the issue squarely, the preference is to pay lip service to it, while refusing to create and empower the necessary institutions obviously needed to achieve required changes. This disposition is a significant obstacle to the prevention of corruption in Belize.

WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – Use Only the Word Belizean!!
I have just completed a book that was kindly loaned to me from the library of James and Lydia Waight. Its name is simply “British Honduras,” and it was written by Englishman Algar Robert Gregg and published in 1968 by The Corona Library, a series of volumes “dealing with the United Kingdom’s dependent territories, the way their peoples live, and how they are governed.” It was a fascinating read, at once factual and fanciful. I say this because Mr. Gregg had clearly done his research. He included a Reading List or Bibliography which sets out to his sources for historical information, and as well a list of Official Publications. On the other hand, he had travelled widely in the country, but some of his impressions were somewhat naive and clearly of his time and British predilection. For instance his chapter on Early History makes no mention whatever of the various slave rebellions in eighteenth century Belize, and his references to twentieth century Belize completely ignore the Ex-Servicemen’s Riot and the early Labor movements that preceded the Nationalist era. Of course with source documents such as Sir John Burdon’s Archives and Histories by E.O. Winzerling, Stephen Caiger, Wayne Clegern, W.A. Donohoe and R.A. Humphreys one can easily understand the Euro-centric perspective of his account.

Cane farmers could lose millions of dollars
With fifteen days to go before the end of the dry season and the start of the rainy season, sugar cane farmers still have approximately 450,000 to 500,000 tons of sugar cane to deliver to the mill. The delay was caused by drawn out stalemate earlier this year, between the new private owners of Belize Sugar Industries, American Sugar Refining Inc., and the cane farmers over whether farmers would share profits from the production of electricity with the bagasse derived from sugar cane. The estimated production for the 2014 crop is 1,273,000 tons of cane in the Orange Walk and Corozal districts. Up to date, the mill has received approximately 821,000 tons leaving at least 452,000 tons to be harvested before the heavy rains begin in June. The heavy rains normally begin by mid-June. If this is so, hundreds of farmers will not be able to deliver their sugar cane in time. It is estimated that at least 250,000 tons of sugar cane could be left unharvested, translating to losses as high as 18-20 million dollars. If the heavy rains begin earlier, losses can be as high as 25 million dollars. This comes at a time when cane farmers are receiving marginal profits due to the constant increase in the cost of production. It is also important to note that losses such as these are unbearable to the cane farmer especially when it is expected that the market prices for Belize’s sugar is predicted to reduce by 20- 25 percent in 2017.

Like the Government… the University of Belize is dysfunctional
The red flags at the University of Belize are much more numerous than those warning of an impending hurricane. The green flag, if it ever appears, will not signal an all-clear but rather that the university is taking a collision course with history as it is ill-prepared to take that highway into the future. Neither does it seem to have the credentials to prepare the country’s young talents for the task of nation building. And that is thirty two years after independence! The Ministry of Education appears not to understand the vital function of this institution for higher learning. It has lowered the entrance requirement for UB and rather than help in promoting the quest for excellence it continues, with political dumbness, to encourage mediocrity. It is even easier to earn a degree from UB than to buy one on e-bay. A retired teacher recently commented that a high school diploma earned in Belize in the 70s is now worth more than a degree from this national university today. There are admittedly, a few students who perform with excellence and on their own accord in the miserable environment of a UB campus. It is simply not just for parents to be gambling their children’s future on a dysfunctional institution and the persistent political interference in a university that is supposed to be autonomous and above politics.

REFLECTIONS ON THE PUBLIC SQUARE – From Bella Vista with Love
Last Sunday Night, May 18th, as Sir George Domingo and I journeyed back from the beautiful village of Bella Vista in the Toledo East Constituency, my thoughts were only of the kind, sincere, humble and hardworking people I had just been privileged to encounter on my visit alongside the good gentlemen of the PUP Southern Caucus, Hon. Deputy Party Leader Mike Espat (Toledo East), Hon. Oscar Requena (Toledo West), Hon. Ivan Ramos (Dangriga) and Hon. Rodwell Ferguson (Stann Creek West). Our worn but reliable blue Landcruiser rolled steadily across the magnificent Southern Highway, and even as midnight approached, a clear moonlit night afforded me the opportunity to take in the breathtaking wonder and beauty that is Belize. The public rally in Bella Vista had brought out some 1500 residents of the surrounding communities. They were filled with energy, excitement and love. They had come out to see, meet, and hear their Leaders and to share with us their concerns and hopes for the future.

Barrow Saves Castro…for now – Who is paying Poor Castro’s expensive lawyer bill?
The brother of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has saved Edmund Castro from facing the music by getting a Court case against the scandal-ridden UDP area representative thrown out on technical arguments. Belize Rural North resident Trevor Vernon and his attorney, Phillip Palacio, sought the Supreme Court’s permission to apply for declaratory relief against Castro. Vernon’s attorney presented to the Court that Castro violated his oath of office when he misused public funds belonging to the Belize Airport Authority. Castro’s bold-faced attorney, Denys Barrow, didn’t argue the merits of the allegations. He submitted to the Court that the matter brought against his client was a charge that could only be filed against bodies and institutions and not private individuals. Barrow’s wily argument was meant to elude a trial that would have taken a close look at the evidence of Castro’s abuse of funds.

Celebrating Our Bright Minds! – High School Graduation Season 2014
There couldn’t possibly be a more wonderful time of the year in Belize than Graduation Season. It’s not Christmas, Easter or even our own Independence Day, but undoubtedly– it’s special. And while there’s the usual fretting over parties, proms and that always-worth-preserving march down the aisle, it always comes to a single, solitary fact – the end of the long grind of high school, and facing a future that will be, one hopes, prosperous and meaningful. And it is with such a future in mind that the BELIZE TIMES begins its look into the High School Graduating Class of 2014. Over the next few weeks, we intend to capture those feelings – of joy and hope, of sadness and fear, and ultimately, of looking forward to becoming part of a working society and in so doing, etch their names into the Belizean ‘Bible’. The first of the schools to be covered in this first article is Edward P. Yorke High School on Princess Margaret Drive. Despite its notable ‘Northside’ locale, it does tend to attract the ‘Southside’ kids – those who, despite poverty yawning and staring them dead in the face, persevere and often triumph no matter the odds stacked up against them. And this year’s graduating class certainly gives proof to that. According to Vice-Principal responsible for Academics, Ms. Josephine Flowers, of 120 4th formers that started the year in 2013, 118 of them will be graduating on Sunday, June 1st at the Ramada Princess Hotel in Belize City at 3:00 p.m. – certainly a cause for much celebration within the school and for its Principal, Mr. Roderick Cardinez.

Blogs

Day One Of the Belize Chocolate Festival: Arrival in Punta Gorda, The Wine & Chocolate Party and More
After one day and two nights in beautiful Placenca, yesterday morning I hopped on the 9am express bus for the 1.5 hour hop to Punta Gorda. (I don’t why more people don’t do a Placencia/Punta Gorda combination trip…fantastic way to experience Belize is you have just limited time. Beach + fantastic restaurants of Placencia and the wildife + wild beauty + culture + diversity of Punta Gorda? But that’s another blog.) I then went way up in the hills to the tiny village of Columbia, Toledo to visit the largest commercial butterfly farm in the world. YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MANY BUTTERFLIES. Thousands and thousands are shipping out each week…in pupae form. But…I’ll have to tell you more about that too. Here’s a picture of the view… And then chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. The Belize Chocolate Company, Cotton Hill chocolate…there were four different tables with ENDLESS samples. My photos are not so hot. It was dark! And so is chocolate!

International Sources

Heidi Klum shows off her fun side while party hopping at Cannes
Heidi Klum recently flew into Paris, France to attend the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and she showed the world how a superstar entertainment personality can mix business and pleasure and enjoy it all at the same time. The beautiful entertainment personality arrived with her hot younger than her boyfriend, Vito Schnabel, him all of 27 years old compared to her 40 year old stunningly gorgeous self on the Wednesday May 21 wearing stylish jeans and a blouse. Shortly afterwards the television host was on the stage as one of the co-hosts at the Puerto Azul Experience Night dinner looking stunning in a white Grecian inspired gown the was held up by two sets of gold braid straps. The renowned television host looked glamorous and relaxed as she helped the organizer celebrate the plans to open a resort in Belize. This was her first event of the evening but in true Heidi Klum fashion this was just the start of her fun times.

Videos

Video: Baking Cashew Apple Crisp, 8min.
Belize Family Living shows how we make Cashew Apple Crisp, Belizean style. The Cashew apple is a delicious tropical fruit with many uses such as baking as we will demonstrate here, stewing into a delicious jam, or just eating fresh from the tree. The Cashew tree is an amazing tree providing both Cashew Fruit ( called simply "Cashew") and the Cashew nut that many people are so fond of. The Cashew nut is very labor intensive to process, so next time you think the price for cashew nuts is high, think of all the work that goes into processing the Cashew Nut! We may try to make a video of processing the Cashew nut in the future.

Video: Belize042014, 7min.