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#498712 - 12/06/14 11:00 AM Today's Belize News: December 6, 2014
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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
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The San Pedro Sun

Shopping: stock up for Christmas in Belize!
Ahhh, Christmas shopping…that wonderful time of year when your to-do list magically grows as long as Santa’s. Suddenly, you’re scrambling for ideas on what to get Great Aunt Maria and Beto, the cousin twice-removed from your stepmom’s side. Have no fear, we’ve been secretly window shopping around town, keeping track of the awesomeness that abounds on La Isla Bonita and would be PERFECT for stuffing stockings and placing under the tree. For your beloved wife: How about some shiny baubles from Belizean Arts? We bet some rings or dangly earrings or bracelets would fit nicely in that heart-shaped jewelry box from Graniel’s Dreamland!

Those fleeting rays of sunshine!
It’s been very rainy, in case you hadn’t heard. It seems that we’re bound to grow gills soon if the rain doesn’t stop. As soon as we get desperate however, there’s a few rays of sunshine that peek out as if to say, “I’m still here…have some patience!” We all know when the rains stop, we’ll be begging for respite from the heat! But in the meantime, how fun is it to have these images captured by those willing to wait for a little spot of sunshine?!

Good Samaritan survives gun shot wound and plane crash within hours
An armed robbery that occurred on Pescador Drive on Thursday, December 4th at approximately 1:15PM left 24-year-old Good Samaritan Carlos Najera injured with a single gunshot wound to the left leg. According to San Pedro Police, a distress call was received of robbery in progress at A-Z Store, and Najera was shot while attempting to stop the robber from escaping. Najera was then immediately taken to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II, where he received primary care before being transported to the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City. At 2:20PM, Najera was transported to the city via Tropic Air flight #281. Upon arriving to the municipal airstrip, the flight experienced engine problems and was unable to decelerate. Several attempts were made by the pilot to shut down the engine. However, the momentum caused the plane to overrun the airstrip and landed it in the sea.

SPHS Boys are Northern Regional Basketball Champs
Young athletes from the country’s Northern Division descended upon Ambergris Caye over the weekend of November 28th-29th for the National Secondary School Association (NSSA) Northern Regional Basketball Championship. The games took place at the Angel Nunez Auditorium and saw eight high school teams competing for the top prize and opportunity to represent the Northern Division at the NSSA Basketball Championship. But in the end it was San Pedro High School (SPHS) male team and Muffles College High School (MCHS) female team that took the top prizes. Schools represented were MCHS by the males and females, Corozal Community College (CCC) males and females, Belize Rural High School (BRHS) males, New Hope High School (NHHS) females and SPHS female and male teams. A total of eight games were played during the two day tournament: four female matches and four male matches. The auditorium overflowed with fans who showed up to support their favourite team and this support definitely motivated the young players.

SICA ministers converge on Ambergris Caye to speak on regional health issues
The 41st ordinary meeting of the Commission of the Ministers of Health of Central America and the Dominican Republic (COMISCA) was in Belize held under the auspices of the Belize’s Pro Tempore Presidency of the Central American Integration System (SICA). The event was spearheaded by Belize’s Minister of Health Pablo Marin. During the two-day forum, the health representatives of the region discussed many health issues and initiative in the SICA-member states. Minister Marin commented, “Enormous strides have been made in Belize and the region and we look forward to further progress in the next year.” He added that every six months COMISCA holds their Ministerial meeting and this time around Belize has been chairing the Pro Tempore President of regional health organization. According to Marin, during Belize’s Presidency, new challenges including Ebola and Chikungunya had been addressed. Renewed attention was focused on chronic diseases including HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Family and Community health.

Blue Water Grill makes donation to the San Pedro Cancer Society
San Pedro Cancer Society (SPCS) was the recipient of a check of $1,717BZ from Blue Water Grill (BWG). The donation was presented on Wednesday, December 3rd and was part of a social media incentive to raise awareness for SPCS. The well-known island restaurant posted on their popular Facebook media page that they would donate $1BZ for every ‘like’ that their image of Giving Tuesday received during a set time. At the end of the allotted time (midnight), the image had received an astounding 1,717 likes.

Petrocaribe money to fund 24-hour medical service on Ambergris Caye
When asked what the delay in the decision was, since the monies were allocated months ago and he had promised that the service was to start in by September, Marin said, “The funds are now in place for us to employ the workers for the 24-hours service. It was not about disbursing the monies that was the delay, but the actual hiring of doctors and nurses who are willing to come to the island. In the past, when we sent doctors to the island, after being here, they realized it is expensive to live there and so they would move off the island. We had to work around that to get doctors to come,” explained Marin. In addition to the current staff, the Ministry will now hire additional staff to allow uninterrupted medical services on the island. The auxiliary staff will be hired from the island, but the professional workers such as doctors and nurses will be hired from mainland Belize. In the longer term, the Ministry of Health is hoping that the students from Ambergris Caye that were given scholarships to study nursing and medicine will be brought to the island to contribute to the health sector. The need for a 24-hour medical facility has been one of the major areas of concern that has been brought up on many forums by the thousands of islanders and tourism stakeholders. In the past, many families have seen sick and injured loved ones suffer and wait for hours until proper medical help could be accessed. Some have even witnessed the untimely death of a loved one while waiting for help. So the news of the opening of the medical facility for 24 hours is seen as a welcome “Christmas gift” to the residents of Ambergris Caye.

Spotlight on: Diamante Beachfront Suites
Since its discovery as a haven for visitors from far and wide, Ambergris Caye has attracted visitors who travel year after year to her shores. And warmly welcoming them from the very beginning was Celi McCorkle. Known as the godmother of tourism for the island, McCorkle has been running the historic Holiday Hotel in the center of town. It seems that the desire to make a mark and add to the rich tourism fabric didn’t go far, as following her footsteps is daughter Lisa McCorkle Guerrero. At the helm of the fabulous Diamante Beach Home development, Lisa has been bringing to life a project that started as most do: a dream. Sitting on land owned by the family for over 35 years, Diamante can be called a true Sanpedrano development. Envisioned by Lisa’s late husband, and being fulfilled by Lisa, Diamante is a unique project that will see sound structural engineering, attention to every detail down to the finishes with fine Belizean artistry throughout. From the beginning, Lisa has aimed for quality, sound structure and impeccable finishes that will inspire confidence in buyers. On-site engineer Jorge Barrios has been a major part of the design team, working to ensure that the buildings are built to fit every safety standard from the required to the unforeseen (earthquakes, et al). The historic works of Graniel’s Dreamland/Construction will be in charge of the gorgeous wood finishes throughout.

Ambergris Today

UPDATE ON CARLOS NAJERA
Shooting & plane crash victim Carlos Najera is in stable condition in the Belize City Hospital, after a very bad day (yesterday) for him. The bullet hit his tendon which will require surgery and therapy in order for him to walk normal again.

San Pedro High School Celebrates Founder's Day/Angel Nunez Birthday
Once again the faculty, staff and students of San Pedro High School pulled off yet another great celebration for Founder’s Day, dedicated to Mr. Angel Nuñez who is now a retired principal of the school. San Pedro High has designated his birthday celebrations as Founder’s Day and have included Mrs. Martha Guerrero and Mrs. Celi McCorkel co-founders of San Pedro High School. The students and teachers showcased their talent by singing, dancing and performing for the founders. Happy Birthday Mr. Angel Nuñez and congratulations to the founders of San Pedro High.

Air Quality Monitoring Program to Start For Belize City
Air quality monitoring in Belize has been nonexistent to some extent, and as such, on December 4, 2014, the Department of the Environment (DOE) is starting an air quality monitoring program in Belize City. The Belize City Air Quality Monitoring Program will test the air quality of Belize City, in particular as it relates to Nitrogen Oxide (NO2), Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and Ozone (O3). It will assist the DOE in establishing a baseline for understanding the environmental and human health effects of air pollution from industrial, vehicular and other domestic emissions.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

MINISTERS OF AGRICULTURE OF CENTRAL AMERICA AND DOMINICAN REPUBLIC MEET IN BELIZE TO DISCUSS REGIONAL AGRICULTURE ISSUES
he Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA) in its capacity as President Pro-Temp of the Central American Agriculture Council (CAC) hosted the OIRSA-CIRSA Meeting on the 4th December and the final meeting of the Agriculture Council of Ministers on the 5th of December, 2014 in Placencia, Belize. Panama currently holds the Presidency of CIRSA but agreed to the Belize initiative to combine meetings in an effort to save cost, improve coordination and increase effective participation. (4 photos)

The Reasons to Make Belize Your Home
I couldn’t keep my eyes off the Caribbean Sea in Belize—whether I was cruising around by boat, watching tiny islets fade into the distance…swinging in a hammock strung between two palms on the beach…or beating that tropical heat with a cold Belikin beer in the shade of a palm frond-roofed beach bar. Belize has a lot to offer those seeking a new life abroad. The low cost of living means a couple can live well on $2,000 to $3,000 or less a month. Established expat communities make for a ready supply of new friends, and it’s English-speaking, even if it’s the second or even third language for many locals. (I spoke only English during my time there and had no issues.) Plus, it’s easy to get to from North America, thanks to daily flights. And it’s no problem to get around the roughly Massachusetts-sized country itself: The main highways are in good shape, regional airlines provide service all over, and frequent and on-time water taxis serve the island communities.

CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING 2014 (44 photos)
On Wednesday, December 3, the San Pedro Town Council hosted its annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony to kickstart the Christmas Season in San Pedro. Mayor Daniel Guerrero welcomed everyone to the event where he expressed his gratitude for everyone's assistance. The event included a wonderful performance of Christmas Carols by San Pedro's very own Heaven's Voice Youth Choir which is lead by Miss Natalie Arceo. The San Pedro Town Council would like to thank Ms. Dixie Bowen & Mr. Guillermo Rodriguez for helping us out yearly with the setting up of the Christmas tree. We would also like to thank Miss Natalie Arceo and the Heaven's Youth Choir for spreading the Christmas spirit with their carols. And lastly, we would like to thank everyone who came out to this event which keeps on growing. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2015!

Mrs. Ofelia Caliz passes away
Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the San Pedro Town Council and Staff would like to extend its deepest condolences to the Caliz family on the passing of Mrs. Ofelia Caliz. May her soul rest in peace.

It's Official! Reggae superstar Demian Marley to perform in Belize!

DYS CZL Youth Group learning about the different types of Mangroves and their importance.

Corozal Town Council's Annual Christmas Tree Lighting
Corozalenos' are invited to the Corozal Town Council's Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Presentation tomorrow Dec. 6th beginning at 7pm at Central Park. Come on out and enjoy the Christmas spirit!

Channel 7

Tropic Air, Should They Have Been Warned?
Yesterday it made headlines everywhere when a Tropic Air Cessna Caravan plunged off the runway at the Municipal airstrip and took a dive into the Caribbean. No one was hurt - but it does raise valid concerns. First among them is that Tropic had only just bought the aircraft last month for 4 million dollars. So what went wrong? Tropic Air is saying its was an engine failure, but the Civil Aviation Department which is leading the investigation is being very guarded in its remarks... Nigel Carter, COO - Civil Aviation Department "Tropic Air Flight 281, Cessna 208 Caravan inbound from San Pedro to Belize Municipal Airport was involve in an accident. The aircraft had 1 pilot and 5 passengers. Upon attempting to land at the municipal airport the aircraft was not able to come to a full stop in the existing length of the runway and ended up departing the runway and coming to rest beyond the end of the runway in the water."

Waste Control Going To Crowfoot City Hall?
For the past 2 nights, we've been showing you our interview with Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley about the recent challenges he has been facing. Well, one of his headaches returned today...but like a migraine! A Supreme Court Marshall went to City Hall to crowfoot the council's items to recover an outstanding debt! Now that kind of action is reserved for the hardest pay malpago's - but now it has befallen city hall. It's a product of that well-known dispute that City Hall has with Belize Waste Control where it falls behind on arrears for garbage collection. About 6 weeks ago, the Supreme Court entered a default judgment against the Council when Waste Control sued them. Bradley and the council didn't offer any defence, and so, the court ordered them to pay the company $525 thousand dollars.

Sugar Negotiations, Still No Breakthrough
Well, it's coming right down to the wire for the 2014 - 2015 sugar crop. The season is scheduled to open on Monday and still tonight there is no agreement between BSI and the Cane Farmers. At this point BSI has responded to the cane farmers proposals with a letter dated today - it ends with the hope that an agreement can be signed shortly. The cane farmers continue to seek political intervention and are scheduled to meet with the Deputy Prime Minister tomorrow. We'll keep following the story.

House Falls In City, Devastates Family
Tonight a Belize City man needs your assistance after he lost everything inside his home. Sometime this afternoon Miguel Vansen - a resident of Roches Street in the Lake Independence Area - received the news from his neighbors that his upstairs wooden house had collapsed. Luckily no one was inside the house - but all his belongings were destroyed. Monica Bodden spoke to a very emotional Vansen a few hours ago:.. Miguel Vansen - Home Owner "I was working on a street right over there when my neighbor came and told me that my house fell. I never believe it, but when I came I saw it like that." Reporter "Sir, was your house shaking before?" Miguel Vansen - Home Owner "Yes it was shaking because when the hard breeze come I would feel it the shake. It never really had good board and thing. Most of it was already leaning." Reporter "You lived there alone?"

Gallaty Pleas With Court To Get Back Driver's License
It made news back in April when 57 year-old Insurance executive Phillip Gallaty was charged for reversing his Toyota Hilux into the vehicle belonging to Traffic Magistrate Stephanie Gillett. Well, he was suspended from driving, but today, Gallaty went to court pleaded with the Senior Magistrate to lift that sanction. He was found guilty before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith for the charge of driving without due care and attention on September 4. Chief Magistrate Smith suspended his license for 6 months as punishment, but today, he went back to court to ask Senior Magistrate Frazer to allow him to drive. Gallaty explained that due to nature of his business, the suspended driving license has caused him a great deal of inconvenience, and an inability to earn his living.

Man Charged For Gang Insignia Says He Turned To God
33 year-old Ian Westby, an unemployed resident of Casuarina Street, is on remand tonight after being taken to court for displaying gang related tattoos. Police officers encountered him in his neighborhood yesterday, and when the officers observed closely, they saw that he had "30" tattooed on his left arm, and "WS" on his right hand. Police associate these tattoos with the Crips Gang, and they charged him with the offence of displaying gang insignias. He was arraigned today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer on the charge, and he attempted to plea guilty to the offence. He says that he got the tattoos when he was in primary school, but that he has been a member of the Central Assembly of God Church for the past 6 years now.

Bailed On Tuesday, Back to Court Friday
39 year-old Lance Welch, a Rivero Street resident, who was only just released from prison on bail yesterday, is back before the court for a drug trafficking allegation against him made by Gang Suppression Unit. The GSU found him in a yard on Kraal Road, and when they searched the area, they found 90.1 grams - or 3.1 ounces - of cannabis. No one else was the area, and so they charged Welch for drug trafficking. In court today, he told Senior Magistrate Frazer that after he was released on bail, he went home until late in the evening. He said that he then went to visit some friends at a yard on Kraal Road, and when his companions saw the officers, everybody ran away. Welch says that he stayed behind because he was not guilty of any offense, and that's when the officers found the drugs and are trying to tie him to it.

Meighan, The Younger Freed
18 year-old Shaquille Meighan, the younger brother of the well-known Tyron and Ellis Meighan, is home free tonight after the Senior Magistrate threw an aggravated assault charge against him out of court. The complainant, Maurice Middleton, accused him back on June 10 of firing a weapon at him. Middleton reported to police that he was on Victoria Street when Shaquille Meighan shot at him, but missed. The prosecution was asked to produce Middleton as the main witness against Meighan today. The police prosecutor didn't, and informed Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer that police couldn't locate Middleton for the case.

BTIA Elects New President, Tries To Grow Membership
The Belize Tourism Industry Association held its 29th Annual General Meeting today at the Radisson. For outgoing President Herbert Haylock, it was the end of a two year term - and he told us that as an advocacy organization, BTIA has to continue the earn the confidence of its stakeholders - which can be a challenge:.. Herbert Haylock, President, BTIA "There are a number of things as you rightly say impacting the industry today. We continue to be voicing concerns about those issues and that we take a stand, for example to ensure that development, in terms of the context on development that we want to see for this country continues and the way we would like it to continue." Jules Vasquez "Do you lament the fact that BTIA really is not in a great place. I don't think you all have an ED. I don't know that you do and also membership of the BTIA is opportunistic. At best you have a lot of people who aren't engaged."

Big Weed Bust In Griga
Tonight, Dangriga police are processing what looks to be a lucrative drug trafficking operation in which 3 people have been arrested and charged. Acting on intelligence from Special Branch, a team of police officers launched an early morning raid today in the Baka Town Area of the community. They visited the residence of 38 year-old Delvorine Ramos, which is located on St. Vincent Street. Delvorine Ramos was present at the time along with 19 year-old Chelsey Ramos and 46 year-old Felix Alvarez. A thorough search of the premises led to the discovery of a barrel in the house corridor. Inside that barrel, the officers found a crocus sack which contained 9 plastic bags - each a separate marijuana parcel for at least 10 ounces all the way up to just under a pound. The total weight of all the drug parcels was 3.72 kilos, and due to the discovery, all 3 persons were arrested and charged with drug trafficking. It is expect that they will be arraigned at the earliest convenience.

Making Olympics Special
In October we reported on the Community Policing Unit's $6,000 dollar donation to the Special Olympic Committee. This donation was used to help fund the 2014 Special Olympics Games that was held today in Belmopan. Over 270 children registered to be a part of the event where they participated in football and Bachi matches as well as running races. But beyond the sporting activities and community support, this event highlights the importance of engaging children with diverse abilities to reach their highest potential. I found out more when I visited:.. Courtney Weatherburne reporting This golden torch planted in the grounds of the Governor General Field in Belmopan, sheds a light of hope and perseverance for participants in the Special Olympics Games. This morning, about 150 police officers accompanied by special Olympics youth made their way from Hattieville to Belmopan for the opening ceremony.

Man Called "Peter Tosh" To Court For Maim
Police say that 61 year-old Tony Anthony, also known as "Peter Tosh", chopped a man's finger off, and so tonight, he's at the prison, because police want to charge him with maim. He was arraigned on the charge of grievous harm when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Based on the facts of the case, the prosecutor objected to bail for Anthony. The prosecutor told Chief Magistrate Smith that the charge should have been maim because the middle finger of the complainant was severed. At that point, Anthony broke down in tears, and He told Chief Magistrate Smith that it was the complainant Wayne Anthony who went to his yard at Lemonal on December 2. He says that Anthony threw stones at him while he was patrolling his yard with his machete.

Profile Of A Teacher
Tonight's profile is about Gaywin Bowen. She's the food and nutrition teacher at Maude Williams High. Tonight, she tells the profile how her life lessons inform and shape her work as a teacher:..

Civil Aviation Remembers
The Department of Civil Aviation held a ceremony today remember pilots who died while doing their jobs. It's an important part of International Civil Aviation Day which started with the laying of wreaths for those deceased pilots, and a ceremony up at the PGIA. 7News stopped by and spoke with a representative of from the Department, who told us more today: Francis Lizama, Flight Operation Inspector, Department of Civil Aviation "The civil international aviation is commemorated every year in Belize. This year its promoting global friendship and understanding and we also remember our fallen pilots for year to year." Daniel Ortiz "How many pilots have you loss in accidents that have killed them?"

Re-visiting The Battle On The Boulevard
Call it the sidewalk skirmish, the battle on the Boulevard, or whatever you wish…but Wednesday's showdown between Gilroy Usher and Anthony Boots Martinez was a first. In an era when lively political debate is much in demand, but scarce in supply - we'll have to take this shouting match as our version of debate. It might not have been informing but it sure was entertaining - and tonight we have a slightly satirical re-take on it:.. It went on like that for 15 minutes. Next time we promise we'll have full punch stat and compubox figures.

BSI - The Breakdown
At the top of the newscast we told you that BSI has counter-proposed to the cane farmers association in a letter dated today. Well, the contents of that letter are known at this time. Here's what BSI and the cane farmers say: they are willing to negotiate the term of the agreement. The cane farmers have accepted the 7 year proposal, but they want a right to cancel it within a year if they don't agree on a strategic development plan which BSI is coming up with. Today, BSI called that unrealistic. Second, on the ownership of the cane. The cane farmers are willing to cede their notion of ownership on the condition that they can renegotiate for a percentage for any future bye products which may come from the cane. BSI is willing to accept this but with heavy conditions, principally that they would have to first recover their investment from such bye product before any discussion of a revenue cut.

Channel 5

BWC Attorneys Crowfoot City Hall Trucks
Belize City’s Mayor Darrell Bradley has been having his share of financial woes of late, since he is faced with the commitment of taking on one hundred and seventy new [...]

Civil Aviation Investigates Tropic Air Crash
At around two thirty Thursday afternoon a Tropic Air Cessna Grand Caravan, inbound from San Pedro, crash landed at the Municipal Airstrip in Belize City and then ran off the [...]

BSI Rejects BSCFA Proposals
The sugar-cane crop season 2014-2015 will not start on December eighth. And when, or if it will start, is anybody’s guess. On Wednesday the BSCFA presented proposals to the BSI [...]

BTIA Holds AGM
The annual general meeting of the Belize Tourism Industry Association took place this morning at the Radisson Hotel in Belize City. While the tourism industry has faced its own share [...]

Osmany Salas is New President of BTIA
The B.T.I.A. also welcomed a new president during today’s AGM.  Osmany Salas has been chosen to succeed Herbert Haylock as head of the private sector tourism organization.  The incoming president [...]

Guatemalans Serve Five Year Sentence
A pair of Guatemalan men found hunting in Belizean territory illegally is spending the first night of a five-year sentence at the Belize Central Prison.  Thirty-five-year-old Emilio Chub and twenty-five-year-old [...]

Young Mother Behind Bars for a Bullet
A young mother remains behind bars tonight along with her two siblings, but sadly her two month old baby boy is at home being deprived of breast milk. The case [...]

Cop Out on Bail
Two men, including a cop, who are facing criminal offenses, are out on bail tonight.  First, there is PC Rupert Thomas, who is attached to the Independence Police Formation in [...]

Robbers pretending to be passengers robs James Bus en route to PG
A James Bus en route to Punta Gorda Town on Thursday night was held up by a trio of armed gunmen who boarded the vehicle near San Isidro Village as [...]

Civil Aviation Lays Wreaths in Honour of Fallen Pilots
The Department of Civil Aviation held an event today to coincide with International Civil Aviation Day. The activities began with a wreath laying ceremony to honor pilots who perished in [...]

Special Olympics National Games Held in Belmopan
Today the 2014 Special Olympics National Games were held in Belmopan. It was a culmination of local and regional games in which athletes from across the country had the opportunity [...]

BCCI to Host Christmas Expo in the City
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry is hosting a Christmas expo this weekend in Belize City. The expo has become a popular event because it offers consumers great deals [...]

PlusTV

Financial Irregularities at KHMH, again
The Ministry of Finance requested another Special Audit for the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital over two x -ray machines purchased...

Venezuela selling PetroCaribe loans?
The price of oil on the World Market continues to fall and while that is a good thing for those countries whose Governments pass on the savings at the pump, it is also cause for concern for some on the global scale...

National Special Olympics Games in Belmopan
“Let me win, but if I cannot, let me be brave in the attempt...

Highway robbery of James Bus
A James Bus was robbed on the Southern Highway. Sometime around 6:30 pm on December 3, a James Bus travelling from Belize City to Punta Gorda was stopped by three men in San Isidro Village...

New PreSchool in Kontiki
A new preschool, Arms of Love Preschool, was built in the Kontiki area of the Twin Towns in the Cayo District.  The new preschool was built by the Government of Belize at a total cost of $265,775.00 with funds financed through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank.

BSI and BSCFA still negotiating
After many back and forths and some apparent hostilities between ASR/BSI and the BSCFA, on Wednesday both parties went back to the negotiating table, where they met for a much anticipated meeting at the BSI staff club in Orange Walk Town. Present at the meeting were ASR/BSI, BSCFA and their attorneys and representatives of the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB). The meeting was rather cordial as both parties attempted to mend fences in order to begin the crop season as soon as possible. However, up until Thursday, there is not much that can be said as both parties are not revealing much about the discussions at this time. Both do concede, however that the discussions were good. BSI’s Belizario Carballo spoke the media on Wednesday.

Street Fixing Challenges in Belmopan
Residents of Salvapan area that live in the Calle De Las Americas Street Extension are under dire need of street repairs. The street is trafficked regularly as it is the main point of entry for residents on the Northernmost part of Salvapan. The street extension has always been left in a bad state however the recent rains have since worsened the conditions of the road leading into that area. Cirilio Choco is a resident of that community. “I’m complaning on behalf of all of us, the residents of the Salvapan area, because our road looks like it’s a road where you haul logs. The reason is that it’s a pig road, lots of mud, lots of holes, lots of water, especially for mosquitoes, and [it's] very dangerous for kids going to school. That’s why I am talking on behalf of the Salapan people, towards the media, to let you guys know that we need help, and we need to call our ministers and our Area Representative to please help us in this area. We have more that fifty kids who come to school every day, mothers, children, men who go to work every day, and then we have to pass through all of this mud.”

Dark Knight’s Cave Contract Clarified
FECTAB held a press conference on November 17 to discuss what they said was an exclusive 75 year contract to Dark Night to conduct tours at a cave behind Jaguar Paw on the George Price Highway. FECTAB was irate that a foreign company would be allowed exclusivity of a Mayan archaeological site. However, after meeting with NICH and seeing the contract for themselves, FECTAB says that the contract is for a period of three years, and they are satisfied that the company does not have exclusivity. Tom Greenwood – President of FECTAB “It came out at us from nowhere, and there was some misinformation about it. This will happen, when it is obvious that an archiological site is suddenly available to one person or one company, and not anybody else, we fear the worst. Now we know that the Dark Night contract is a three year contract. NICH has invited anyone to come there and read up on the contract, and you’ll see two things that are stark about the contract. We’re happy that these are true, that there is nowhere in that contract that gives permission to build a zipline through the caves, and the Dark Night people have no exclusivity to that cave. It’s a matter of absolutely getting to the cave, and the entire area is owned by various people. A lot of it is owned by the people who run Dark Night, and so that is a little hurdle, but there are other areas.”


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#498713 - 12/06/14 11:01 AM Re: Today's Belize News: December 6, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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Amandala

No apology from “Monchi,” and no lawsuit from “Gapi”
Last month, it made national headlines when the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) Orange Walk North standard-bearer Ramon “Monchi” Cervantes, Jr., was threatened with a lawsuit by his political opponent, the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP)’s Hon. Gaspar “Gapi” Vega, the Deputy Prime Minister of Belize and the Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture, if he did not apologize and pay damages for defamation of character, for causing a conversation in Spanish which implicated him, Vega, in the murder of Ramon Cervantes, Sr., to be broadcasted on LOVE FM. However, Cervantes, Jr., told Amandala tonight, Thursday, that he has not been served with any court papers from Hon. Vega’s attorney.

Gungulung man, 27, executed on “Jump Street”
On Wednesday, December 3, police responded to a shooting on Wagner’s Lane, more popularly known as “Jump Street.” The Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT) ambulance that screamed its way down Albert Street moments after a police mobile unit, with siren blaring, had passed, drove back quietly on Regent Street as it made its way back to its base, an ominous sign of another fatality in the city — ambulances do not transport dead people. None of the residents of Jump Street who were standing behind the yellow police crime scene marker knew who the man was, who lay dead near the entrance to one of the network of alleyways that connect to Jump Street. The suspense about the identity of the victim was soon broken, as word began to spread that the man on the ground, who was shot once in the head, was Robert Tracy, a man from Gungulung who had strayed into Jump Street.

Johnny denies 7 million dollar Guardian story!
The Guardian’s headline story of Sunday, December 7, 2014, “Johnny Briceño’s driver died leaving behind 7 million dollars?” has been described by current PUP Orange Walk Central area representative, Hon. John Briceño, as “completely absurd and ridiculous” in an interview with Amandala today. The Guardian, the mouthpiece of the ruling UDP, claimed that an Orange Walk man who had been employed as Briceño’s driver died leaving behind assets worth “somewhere in the region of $7 million.” Earlier this week we were informed that the body of Anthony “Tutch” Gillett, Briceño’s former driver, was recently exhumed from the Orange Walk cemetery where he had been laid to rest. The exhumation followed an internal family dispute over assets, including his house, that he had owned before his death.

Woman, 45, faces $10,000 and 3 years for 1 weed tree
A woman who was on trial for marijuana cultivation and pipe possession was found guilty this morning when she and her two children appeared before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer. Frazer found Tyron King, 18, and Sherin King, 20, not guilty of the two charges, but their mother, Olympia King, 45, was not so fortunate. She was found guilty of both charges against her. Another person who was accused along with the Kings was Harrison Smith, who has been murdered since the trial began. Frazer, in a gesture of goodwill, allowed King to go home to spend the Christmas holidays with her family, but warned her that the penalty for marijuana cultivation is the same as that for drug trafficking, a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for 3 years.

Deadline December 15 for KREM Classic
The Cycling Federation of Belize announced today that it would be conducting its 2015 Membership Registration drive this Saturday, December 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., at the UWI Open Campus in Belize City on Princess Margaret Drive. According to the Federation, “All persons (athletes, support personnel, officials, teams etc), can bring in their completed registration forms with the relevant supporting documents (copy of either your Social Security Card or Passport) to indicate proof of your date of birth.” The release also noted that “the deadline for membership registration for athletes participating in the 25th Annual KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic is MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2014.” It added that, “Deadline to submit names for vetting of Foreign Riders, who will be riding on a team for this event, is Friday, December 12.”

Belmopan Football Association 1st Division Tournament
There were 4 games scheduled for Sunday, November 30, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in the Belmopan Football Association (BFA) 1st Division Tournament, but only 1 of the games was actually played. In the first game, scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m., San Martin FC won by default (3-0) over Las Flores United. In game 2, UB Black Jaguars dropped Maya Mopan Ranger, 3-1, with goals from Reynaldo Lisbey (53’ & 62’) and Angel Briceno (74); while Maya Mopan’s lone tally was by Juan Pop (28’). The other 2 scheduled games, Armenia FC vs Cotton Tree FC, and Duck Run II vs Club Atletico, were not played because the referees were called to officiate at PLB (Premier League of Belize) games.

Serving the people …
Seen from a certain perspective, electoral politics is an investment of time and money in order to achieve power. Power is the reward for that investment, and when one achieves power in the form of government formation in Belmopan, one then proceeds to recoup one’s investment. Most of our politicians recoup more than their campaign investment when they are elected to office, and if they personally do not wish to grab in excess because of personal reasons or because they want to protect a political image of cleanliness, then their relatives and cronies will gladly do it for them. The people of Belize now know that politics in Belize is a “grab tub” business. The people of Belize are not fooled any more by this “I want to serve” foolishness.” Politicians and those around them want access to the public funds of Belize. That is what the game is all about. The real estate of Belize is also a great prize. That real estate includes pristine land and jungle, and wonderful coral isles. Tiny Belize, must we say it one more time, owns the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. Then there are the petroleum realities and possibilities. How about collecting protection money for the movement of narcotics from South America to the United States? Yes, you can get rich when you are in political power in Belize.

From the Publisher
I’ve heard a few Belizeans in the Diaspora give me credit for having remained in Belize, but, to be truthful, some of the background explanation for my remaining in Belize has to do with my airplane phobia. If I could have flown back and forth, I might have moved to America in early 1979, say, when the UDP were giving me a really hard time and appeared about to take national political power. I have been saying to you Belizeans that we must always keep the Seventeen Proposals in mind. These remain the template the Americans are using insofar as their foreign policy for Belize is concerned. I have also been saying that we must pay keen attention to the Maya of Belize, because their perspective is important for the rest of us. One problem is that both the American foreign officials and Maya leaders are more sophisticated than Belizeans can conceive.

Residents of Ivor Street held fundraising flea market to repair their street
Ivor Street lies deep in the north of the Lake Independence area, almost by the riverside, but when it rains, navigating the street is a nightmare for its residents, because the short street has no drainage and the potholes keep getting bigger. Residents of the street have traditionally taken matters into their own hands and have done some of the work to improve the street on their own. In another two weeks, they will launch their street cleanup campaign. Before the start of the cleanup, however, on Saturday, November 29, the residents of Ivor Street held a flea market inside Battlefield Park to raise funds to buy filling to repair their street. Two of the residents of the street, Shasa Eiley and Jacqueline Meighan, told Amandala about their plans to tackle the street filling.

GoBelize youth program graduates 10, celebrates 10th anniversary
GoBelize is a non-governmental organization which is focused on advocating for the rights and development of youths in both rural and urban areas. Today, the administrators and alumni celebrated the program’s 10th anniversary while incorporating the graduation ceremony for ten additional cohorts who joined the organization this year. After starting out under a regional initiative known as “GoJoven” in 2004, the program evolved and later localized in Belize through the efforts of past graduates who came together to contribute to the leadership and development needs of Belizean youths. Executive Director, Eva Burgos, who was one of the first to undergo the internationally funded, youth-led program, told Amandala about her role in the program and its future initiatives.

High schoolers enter regional science project competition
A group of teenagers from Canaan S.D.A. High School in Belize City have put together an innovative energy-generating contraption which is designed not only to improve ventilation in some of their classrooms, but also to propel them to success in an upcoming regional competition known as The Sagicor Visionaries Challenge 2014. Through the yearly event, students between the ages of 11 and 18 years from high schools all over the Caribbean are stimulated to solve problems of sustainability in their schools and communities through STEM, which stands for a combination of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Since some of their classrooms are made of metal, which is known to conduct heat, the students have decided to create an electromagnetic generator ventilation system made up mainly of a bicycle, an alternator, an inverter and a car battery, which will be used to power wall fans inside the classrooms to reduce the heat and make the classrooms cooler.

Possession of 118 grams of cannabis results in $1,500 fine for amputee
An amputee who shredded the prosecution’s drug trafficking charge against him (by proving through a cross-examination of witnesses against him that he did not sell cannabis, but merely used it) was sentenced to a fine of $1,500, yesterday morning, Tuesday, when he appeared before Magistrate Herbert Panton, who had found him not guilty of drug trafficking, but guilty of possession of a controlled drug — 118 grams of cannabis that police found at his home. On September 3, 2013, the police’s Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), while on an anti-drug operation in the Conch Shell Bay area, searched the home of Alton White, 50, and his common-law wife, Idolly Frazer, 36, and found 118 grams of cannabis in two separate locations.

Drilling beyond 7,000 feet in Sarstoon-Temash
Alistair King, the country representative for US Capital in Belize, confirmed to our newspaper today that the company continues exploratory drilling inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park, and although no commercial find has been discovered even at 7,000 feet below ground level, they remain hopeful that the search will yield positive results. Whereas the Government of Belize has granted permission for the oil company to drill for oil inside the protected area, two NGOs – the Sarstoon Temash National Park and the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) – contend that no such drilling should be allowed in the park where extractive use has been strictly regulated. Members of the surrounding Maya communities have taken issue with the Government’s decision to grant the permit to US Capital to enter the national park for oil exploration activities, and four of the surrounding communities have filed a suit against the Government of Belize, challenging its decision.

Supreme Court judge tells BGYEA to try mediation once more
The Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA) and the Government of Belize remain locked in a legal dispute over the rights to use the Harmonyville “buffer zone,” an area that BGYEA members who reside in the surrounding territory wanted to use to plant corn, but for which Government has taken them to court, claiming that the area is a road reserve. After the government’s side had failed to abide by two court orders for mediation, the parties were ordered back to the mediation table yesterday, Monday, by Supreme Court Justice Courtenay Abel, who expressed disappointment that the court-ordered mediation was not used to try to resolve the dispute. Following the court hearing this morning, some members of BGYEA and residents of the Harmonyville community explained what is happening on the ground.

Belize missing again from corruption index
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2014, captioned “Clean growth at risk,” was released today by Transparency International and again Belize has been excluded from the rankings (the government chose not to participate), so there is no telling how Belize measures up to its regional counterparts which have been ranked on the international scale. According to the CPI report, “More than two thirds of the 175 countries in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean).” Generally speaking, countries in the Americas scored poorly, and the report said that 68% of countries scored lower than 50%, versus 66% last year, 2013. The average score for the Americas, although being only 45%, is still higher than the average global score, which is 43%.

Prime Minister attends Fifth CARICOM-Cuba Summit
Cuba-CARICOM Day, observed annually on December 8, was instituted back in 2002, to solidify relations which Cuba began to cultivate with the region decades earlier, starting with the establishment of diplomatic relations with Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago back in 1972. On Monday, December 8, 2014, Cuba will host delegations from CARICOM member countries, including Belize, as talks focus on matters of economic importance, in the context of the 5-year strategic plan (2014-2019) for the region, formalized at the last regional summit. Prime Minister Barrow left Belize on Tuesday, December 2, to first travel to Atlanta, Georgia, USA, after which he plans to travel to Cuba for the regional summit.

OW cop internally charged for handcuffs on Ramon Cervantes, Sr.
Information reaching Amandala suggests that disciplinary proceedings were carried out today against Police Constable #743 Javier Alvarez, who is attached to the Orange Walk Police Formation, after it had been alleged that his handcuffs were used to bind the hands of Ramon “Don Ramon” Cervantes, Sr., the well-known Orange Walk businessman and former mayor who was abducted and murdered earlier this year. According to information we received from sources within the Belize Police Department, Alvarez was reportedly found guilty of two counts of Prejudice to Good Order and Discipline, and was consequently fined $200 and “severely reprimanded” by a disciplinary body today.

The Reporter

Civil Aviation Day celebrated in Belize
The Belize Department of Civil Aviation observed International Day of Civil Aviation on Friday with a list of events, including a wreath-laying ceremony to honour pilots all over the world who lost their lives in the course of their duties, and a larger ceremony on the Phillip Goldson International Airport compound. Durong that event, the department honoured one of its employees for having 51 years of service in the field. Nigel Carter, chief operations officer at the department, explained that the day was all about raising awareness about the importance of civil aviation and safety-related issues. “By the end of 2014 we will have had 290,000 flight operations,” Carter said. “We have different classifications, depending on damage and number of injuries to define an accident and for this year our only accident happened yesterday December 4.”

Two murders, 15 hours apart! Are they connected? Police want to know
City Police are looking to see if the murders of Emerson Arnold, 35, and Kenroy Parham, 25, who were killed 15 hours apart over last weekend, are connected in any way. Hattieville police have several persons detained for the Parham murder and are looking […]

Hold-up in Cotton Tree Village marks start of Christmas season
Three Bowen & Bowen employees, along with a Chinese grocer and his wife were relieved of their money and cellular phones during an armed hold-up at around 2:30 Monday afternoon in the village of Cotton Tree in the Cayo District. Two men wielding handguns […]

Court extends mediation date in dispute over buffer zone
The Supreme Court this week gave another extension for the Government of Belize and the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA) to hold mediation talks to settle the dispute over the buffer zone surrounding the Harmonyville Community at mile 41 on the George Price Highway. […]

U.K. lawyer finds prison system in need of overhaul
A report published by a London-based NGO entitled “Behind the Prison Gates” identifies many of the problems the Belize prison system faces, including proper care for mental and juvenile inmates. Joseph Middleton, a human rights lawyer in the UK, was commissioned to undertake the […]

BTL system failure
Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) experienced an interruption in their system this week that caused BTL customers nationwide to lose calls, text messages, 4G and DSL services. BTL Public Relations Officer, Lorena Martinez confirmed that BTL experienced some issues with their system early Wednesday morning, […]

Boots on the ground! FCD will triple its patrols in the Chiquibul
Friends of Conservation and Development, the non-governmental organization which co-manages the Chiquibul Forest, is preparing to beef up its monitoring of the area by tripling the number of forest rangers. Director Rafael Manzanero, explained that after the successful Chiquibul telethon in October, the NGO acquired […]

Still no date for crop-open day and no breakthrough in sight!
Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. has until Friday midday to respond to proposals by the Belize Cane Farmers Association, which came from a meeting held on Wednesday, December 3rd. If the response is favourable, the crop could start as early as next week. But if BSI does not budge on its […]

Wednesday morning murder
A 28-year-old man is out on bail for attempted murder after he was shot in the back of the head and killed around 10 Wednesday morning on Wagner’s lane as he sat on a stool in a yard. Robert Tracy, a resident of Holy […]

They remember Andy!
The Garifuna community turned out in the hundreds on Tuesday night at Saint Martin de Porres Church in Belize City to celebrate the life of Andy Palacio, Belize’s former cultural ambassador, and artist for peace, as declared by UNESCO, on what would have been his […]

Belize/Mexico discuss tourism possibilities
Hotel representatives, travel agencies, car insurance agencies, restauranteurs and tour operators from Chetumal, Mahahual and Bacalar met in Belize on Wednesday at a tourism trade show to discuss possibilities for trade in that industry. The objective was to encourage Belizean service providers to consider […]

Venezuela stands by PetroCaribe in spite of falling oil prices
Venezuela has pledged to continue her PertoCaribe program, despite a worsening economic situation in that country. The Government of Venezuela has insisted that the program is sustainable. According to John Mencias, Deputy Chairman of Alba PetroCaribe Belize Energy Limited (APBEL) Venezuela’s program is indeed sustainable because the PetroCaribe program is […]

Editorial
Belize has been black-listed as the third most violence-prone country in the world. Fourteen years ago, at the turn of the century, the murder rate for Belize was 18.8 homicides per 100,000 persons. By 2012 the murder rate had doubled to 39.0 homicides per 100,000 persons, and last year’s reports […]

Plane slides off runway! Passengers escape unharmed
Directors of Tropic Air are blaming the slick runway at the Municipal Airstrip in Belize City for a near disaster involving a Cessna Caravan, Flight 281, on Thursday afternoon. The plane, coming in from San Pedro, landed successfully and then slid into the cold waters at the Eastern end of […]

Trickle-down effect of cheaper oil slow in reaching Belizean drivers
Pump prices for gasoline and diesel in Belize have dropped, but only slightly when compared to the global price of petroleum in other countries, which have enjoyed significantly cheaper prices over the past few months. Belizeans are hopeful that they may enjoy lower prices […]

BML may yet get a piece of the action
Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) and the Belize City Council (CitCo) have begun discussions about the transition of 170 employees when BML’s contract ends in January, even while CitCo has been making good on its financial commitments to pay off arrears. . According to BML […]

Financial irregularities found at KHMH again
Two X-ray machines purchased by the KHMH are the subject of a Special Audit, which focused on the nation’s largest referral hospital for the period July 2013 – July 2014. The audit was commissioned through the Ministry of Finance and requested by the Board of Governors of the KHMH. In […]

The Belize Times

PUP Ready in Cayo North!! – PUP Cayo North Standard Bearer Richard Harrison to unveil 5-year Development Plan
People’s United Party Standard Bearer for Cayo North Richard Harrison has hit the ground running. He continues his ground campaign, meeting with residents of the division and gathering tremendous support as he shares his ideas for development. On Wednesday, Harrison held a successful meeting with key supporters in Bullet Tree Village who have committed to supporting him and working to bring about victory for the People’s United Party in the bye-elections to be held on January 5th 2015. Bullet Tree is a key community in Cayo North. Similarly, groups of young people, students of voting age, businessmen, religious leaders, teachers and community activists in Belize and abroad have commended Harrison for stepping into the political fray and committing to supporting him. This is the positive reaction which the People’s United Party’s decision to have Belizean entrepreneur and businessman Richard Harrison as their candidate in the January 5th bye-election in Cayo North has had in the division.

Mass resignation at Santa Familia Village Council
“It’s my way or the highway” – that’s the message the arrogant UDP Chairman Alberto August and spineless Cayo North East Standard Bearer John August imposed on the members of the Santa Familia Village Council, forcing a mass resignation of community leaders several weeks ago. Five members of the Village Council: Rafael Humes Jr., Yuri Rivera Obando, Juanito Carillo, David Carillo and Irbin Tun abandoned the UDP ship and left Chairman Gobin Carrias on his own, after they got fed up of the disrespectful treatment by UDP Chairman Alberto August and John August.

Darrel Bradley – the Christmas Grinch – BML workers denied Xmas loans because of job instability
Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) employees have received notification letters that as of January 18th they will no longer have jobs at the sanitation company, as a result of the Belize City Council’s crude decision not to renew their service contract. This has made life for BML workers miserable as the situation has impacted their ability to get the only kind of Christmas cheer available in these cold and hard Barrow times. The workers have been denied access to loans by every financial institution on the basis that they don’t have job stability. BML workers are looking for something to be cheerful about this Christmas, and have attempted to access a little extra cash from loans at their credit union and banks, but the Belize City Mayor’s indications that they might not be keeping an earlier commitment that every employee would be hired has made things iffy for the employees.

Another youth gunned down – 28 year old Robert “Bolo” Tracey executed on Jump Street
Gun shots rang out in Southside Belize City shortly after 10:00am on Wednesday morning, as 28 year old Robert Tracey was executed on Wagner’s Lane, also known as “Jump Street”. Tracey was shot in the head multiple times by an unknown gunman, and left dead on the sidewalk. Residents who had heard the gunshots looked out and saw a man lying on the ground. Horrified at the site, they called the Police. At the scene, the Police recovered several expended shells and a blue-in-color beach cruiser bicycle. It is believed that the gunman sneaked up on Tracey who was sitting in front of a private residence and shot him at close range. The gunman then ran through an alley and escaped. The Police found clothing which they believed belongs to the gunman.

ANOTHER BAD EXAMPLE
The news on Channel 5 television that the Police have decided to no longer consult the Director of Public Prosecutions before charging any citizen for criminal offenses is most disturbing. The internal memorandum to all Police formations and district stations was signed by Mr. Russel Blackett, the former Assistant Commissioner of Police and Head of National Crimes Unit. The memo was not signed by the Commissioner of Police, nor was it signed on his behalf, which may or may not have some meaning. A decision of this importance should have come from the Commissioner. Perhaps he saw controversy in this decision and felt he was already skating on thin ice in the court of public opinion. Mr. Blackett is a retired Police Officer. He reached his retirement age and has been rehired at the behest of the Prime Minister. Such a decision itself raises concern. The law governing public officers, of which all senior police officers above the rank of Inspector are legally public officers; is that they must retire on reaching the age of fifty-five years.

Verdes FC bombs Placencia Assassins 2-1
Verdes FC of Benque Viejo moved up to the No. 2 spot in the Premier League of Belize after the green machine blasted Placencia Assassins 2-1 at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio on Sunday to shadow the top gun with 13 points. A header from Assassins’ Luis “Barker” Torres forced Verdes’ goalie Benito Moreira to make an acrobatic save, while Verdes’ Jarret Davis and Gilroy “Bredda” Thurton brought the pressure on Assassins’ goalie Jesus Urbina, with “Orlando “Leechy” Jimenez, Nahjib Guerra, Richard “Cheety” Jimenez and Everald Trapp all trying shots at goal.

SJC & Sadie Vernon boys clash in basketball finals
The Sadie Vernon Technical High School boys will take on the St. John’s College boys in the high school basketball finals at Bird’s Isle on Wednesday night, December 3. On Monday night, SJC overpowered Gwen Liz 55-47 in Game 3 of the playoffs. Dudley Erskine led with 24 points. The Sadie Vernon boys eliminated the defending Belize District high school champs, ACC boys 66-64 in overtime, after regulation ended with the score tied at 64-64. Clency Lopez finished with 25 points as he scored the winning basket unopposed, as ACC’s coach Matthew Smiling had refused to allow his players back on the court, forfeiting their chance at the championship. Belize Bank Bulldogs’ star Darwin “Puppy” Leslie is coaching the Sadie Vernon Technical High School.

The Base at Hunting Caye
Just a couple of months ago Belize’s security had been compromised leading to a brutal fatality of a Tourism Police at the Caracol Archaeological site involving some Guatemalans. Now, it has come to the attention of the Public that a privately-owned Guatemalan Contractor Company “BINARQ” was contracted to construct the Belize Coast Guard’s Base at Hunting Caye, which is a military facility located down south. This has caused some consternations and legitimate concerns by the Belizean Public as they would like to know “Why in the world would the Government allow Guatemalans to be in charge of our military base especially since there has been an ongoing dispute between the two countries? It is understandable that as a democratic and peaceful country the Government would want to try and settle the dispute with Guatemala in a civilized and peaceful manner; therefore, contracting a Guatemalan company would seem to be a start in moving forward and working harmoniously. However, I personally believe that the only acceptable way that a Guatemalan company could be operating in Belize is to have the company hire Belizean citizens only since it is in our country.

GST accountability
Slowly throughout the years we have been forced to change our lifestyles to suit the changes in the economy. In many homes in Belize today, both parents are working in order to make ends meet. Household incomes are going down, the cost of living is going up and debts are accumulating. A majority of our paychecks are stagnant while the cost of living just continues to soar. We are finding it harder and harder to be able to afford the things that were once easier to afford, like a mortgage or higher education. In order to help the economy and ourselves, we need to evaluate the issues that are affecting us. We know that the Government of Belize (GOB) has an obligation to its country and is responsible for sustaining a vast majority of expenses like fixing streets and roads, maintenance of the different ministries, schools, hospitals, national security etc. We all agree that it is necessary to pay taxes in order to sustain our country and one of the largest contributing revenue bases for GOB is the General Sales Tax (GST). It would not be necessary for GOB to implement so many other taxes or may even be able reduce some of the taxes already in place if everyone did their part in paying their due share of GST and ensuring that those authorized to collect GST on behalf of government do account for all GST collected and due.

Guerrero Street Swimming Pool
Dear Area Representative Boots Martinez, This is Guerrero St. in your constituency of Port Loyola. It has been neglected for over a decade. It has no drain on either side with potholes that turn into swimming pools. It is both a safety and health risk because it holds stagnant water for days after rainfall occurs. PLEASE HELP! Sincerely,

Michel Chebat letter to Cayo North
Dear Residents of Cayo North, Over the past few weeks, I have along with members of my committee visited with you, and listened to your concerns and ideas with the goal of formulating solutions that would bring meaningful change to Cayo North and by extension our beloved country Belize. After consultation with the leadership of the party, it was determined that in light of the current circumstances and time constraints and to foster unity and harmony within the party, I would step aside and allow my fellow aspirant to go, uncontested, into the bi-elections to be held on the 5th of January 2015.

Time to Get Serious about Sports!
Dear Editor, In countries where Sports is handled properly, it is a profitable venture for the Government as well as other partners who support the industry. Years ago when our population and the economy were much smaller, there was often only standing room for basketball games at Civic Center, football matches at MCC grounds, boxing bouts at Bird’s Isle , and softball games at Roger’s Stadium. Apart from the profit making aspects, sports is also a discipline that teaches life skills such as self-reliance, good decision making, patience, hard work, ambition, peaceful resolution of dispute, and the need for a good education among many other things. Early support for Sports also enhances the chance for amateur athletes to reap the many benefits of playing on the world stage at the professional level.

City Administrator’s pickup crashed
The expensive vehicle bought with City Council funds for daily use by the City Administrator Candace Burke was crashed earlier this week. Following the crash, the vehicle was hidden from the public and clandestinely driven to an auto body works located on the Western Highway for repair. While the Mayor and Council stomp their feet and bawl that the City Council is broke when the sanitation companies knock on their doors to collect outstanding debts, the Council will surely find a way to pay the cost of repairs for Burke’s nearly brand-new Toyota Hilux to avoid any public scandal.

Tropic Air crashes off airstrip runway
A Tropic Air Cessna plane crashed into the sea after it ran off the runway at the Belize City airstrip on Thursday afternoon. The 5 passengers and pilot were not injured in the mishap, according to Tropic Air’s Public Relations Director Dennis Sunderman. A company press release indicated that “approximately 2:20 PM flight #281 was going from San Pedro to Belize City Municipal Airport and upon landing went off the end of the runway into the water.”

WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – THE PETROCARIBE PARTY
At the sitting of the House of Representatives on November 18th last, I rose on a Point of Order, indicating assertively to the Speaker my objection to the interruptions and catcalls from the government side as Leader of the Opposition Hon. Francis Fonseca rose to debate the Petrocaribe Loan Motion. Members of our side had sat quietly as the Prime Minister, as ringmaster of his red circus, delivered his now infamous “Roll It” pseudo-defence of the Petrocaribe illegality. But, true to form, the peanut gallery of Barrow’s side of the House just couldn’t shut up and behave themselves when it was the Opposition’s turn to expose the hypocrisy of the Barrow administration. I did not myself speak to debate the Motion. The day was long, and the speeches of the government side were the usual empty drivel. Those from our side were cogent and hard hitting. I had paid keen attention as the Prime Minister tried in vain to explain away his unlawful actions in not seeking House approval before borrowing and spending the countless Petrocaribe millions. He called the Petrocaribe funds a ‘peculiar creature,’ saying that it was impossible to know ahead of time the exact sums to be borrowed, so therefore (following his twisted logic) it was alright to commit a blatantly illegal act. What hogwash, and what a spurious, silly argument! Simple arithmetic could have told him when he was arriving at Ten Million Dollars and more in funds and the need, therefore, to seek House approval as required by law prior to borrowing and spending.

Bitter Sweet Sugar Cane
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) has been engaged in a longstanding negotiation with the new factory owners of Belize Sugar Industries, American Sugar Refining Inc. (ASR) regarding the upcoming sugar cane season expected to begin on December 8, 2014. Both parties have agreed that it is in the best interest of this valuable industry that the new sugar cane season begins on time. However, the sticking point is that BSCFA does not want to relinquish ownership of the sugar cane after sale to the factory because of the residual value of the bagasse when the sugar cane is grounded.

Dah we like suh
My grandmother had a saying that whenever I would complain to her about someone doing me wrong, she would say, “Dah you like suh!” In other words, if you didn’t like it, you would do something about it. There are usually two courses of action available to any person who believes that they are being wronged. The first is to remove themselves from the environment and the second is to do what is necessary to put a stop to the offensive action. Belizeans have long been complaining about being wronged by politicians. Abuse of authority, corruption, wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money, nepotism, cronyism, interference in Police work and the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, in this case before us (the current government is not only accused but practically found guilty of all of the above, and then some), most Belizeans do not have both options available to them. Belize is our only home and we do not have the luxury of removing ourselves from this environment. There are those who do have green cards and the opportunity to travel but they choose instead to stay and make a life in Belize. That is their right for this is our home! We therefore are left with one choice and one choice only; we must do what is necessary to put a stop to this miscreance.

Belize “Titanic” is Petrocaribe
I’m not a big movie fan but boy when I fall in love with a movie I watch it often. One such movie is “Titanic”. Mein, I loved that movie! It’s a bit long but who cares it holds my attention for the 3 ½ hours and it’s worth it. The other good thing about it is that it’s a true story. It all started on April 10, 1912 when this large ship, the largest in the world at the time, left Southampton, England on her maiden voyage to New York City. No expense was spared – every luxury available to man was onboard. Her passengers were a mixture of the world’s wealthiest, basking in the elegance of first class accommodations. She was classified as the safest ship ever built, so safe she couldn’t sink. She carried only 20 lifeboats for her 2,200 passengers and crew. The party started immediately with dancing and drinking all day into the morning. The best liquor was onboard. This was life at its best for the rich and famous. Who can forget the love story of the society girl “Rose” and the penniless artist “Jack” as they fell in love on the high seas? What a party. Life could not be better. Then four days into her journey at 11:40pm on the night of April 14, she struck an iceberg but what’s to worry? This ship cannot sink we were told, so the party continued. Soon it became obvious the ship would go down. Each passenger was issued a life jacket but life expectancy would be short. The water was four degrees below freezing and very few if any could survive this cold water.

Think About It
For some ten years public sector workers have not benefited for a salaries increase. Despite rising cost of living in Belize. In 2004 and 2005 the trade unions played an important role in paving the way for the then opposition UDP to gain electoral victory. In 2008 the UDP became the government on a promise of accountability, transparency and all the rest of broken electoral pledges. They held out an open window and door that they would be a workers government. Another broken promise. From 2008 to 2013 the Unions played along with “their” government. No raise came. When they could no longer hold back the frustration of their members, and in particular the teachers, negotiation started. Based on facts and figures the Unions placed their cards on the negotiating table. Oh, no, said the Prime Minister, we just don’t have money for a raise. The Unions said they wouldn’t budge. They were asking for ten percent.

Secret Police Files on Gangs Leaked!!
Highly sensitive police intelligence on the gang networks in Belize has been leaked out of the Police Department, and is at risk of falling into the wrong hands and undermining organised-crime probes and potentially endangering the lives of Police Officials and citizens. The BELIZE TIMES has learnt that the intelligence data was mismanaged by a Police Officer who lost the device, a flash drive, which contained a back-up copy of the information. That flash-drive, with all the sensitive content, was recklessly handled and has now fallen in the hands of a private citizen, who we understand is resisting returning it to the Police. The intelligence data, some of which the BELIZE TIMES has obtained through reliable sources, contains information on gang networks and how they operate with certain resources. It lists names and contains detailed information of the key players involved. The data represent months of work by the Police’s special branch department. If gangs get the information it could weaken the Police’s anti-gang efforts tremendously, and even give gangs the advantage as they can pre-empt police action.

Patrick JonesPJ

Weed charge for GSU target
Thirty-nine year old Lance Welch, a resident of Rivero Street who was released on bail from prison yesterday, was back before the court today on a charge of drug trafficking. Welch was arraigned on the charge by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser, the same magistrate who offered him bail […]

Philip Gallaty’s gets his driver’s license reinstated
Fifty-seven year old Phillip Gallaty, the manager of Victor Bryant and company limited, is permitted to drive again. Gallaty’s driver’s license was suspended for 6 months after he was found guilty of driving without due care and attention. After 3 months had passed since the suspension, Gallaty appeared […]

Gang charge for unemployed man
Thirty-three year old Ian Westby, an unemployed of Casaurina Street, was charged displaying gang insignia when he appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Westby wanted to plead guilty to the charge. He explained that he has had the tattoos on his left arm and right hand from […]

Teen beats charge after complainant no-shows
Eighteen year old Shaquille Meighan, charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, was freed of the charge when it was stuck out today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. The charge was struck out for want of prosecution because the virtual complainant, Maurice Middleton, could not be located. The […]

“Peter Tosh” hit with grievous harm charge
Sixty-one year old Tony Anthony, aka “Peter Tosh”, a former police officer, was charged with grievous harm when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. But based on the facts of the case, the prosecutor objected to bail for Anthony. The prosecutor told Chief Magistrate […]

Caye Caulker residents pleads to drug trafficking
Apologizing for wasting the court’s time, 31 year old Nolberto Choc of Caye Caulker accepted a plea of guilty of drug trafficking. Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith handed down a fine of $10,000, half of which was to be paid immediately and the rest by December 31, 2015. Choc […]

Guatemalans jailed on unlicensed firearms charges
Two Guatemalan mean have been charged for the crime of possession of firearm and ammunition without a license. They are 34 year old Erasmo Vasquez Emilio. The duo was intercepted by Belizean authorities last week during a patrol near Machakilha village. Police say when the men were intercepted […]

First Caribbean International Bank donates to Belize Cancer Society
On Thursday First Caribbean International Bank made a donation of $8,000 to the Belize Cancer Society, proceeds of its various activities highlighting cancer awareness. The society’s vice-president Diane Finnegan said it comes in handy to provide services to persons afflicted with various forms of cancer, many of whom […]

Civil Aviation Department defends record after plane crash
The Department of Civil Aviation today observed International Civil Aviation Day in honor of the 70th anniversary of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s founding. It comes on the heels of yesterday’s crash of Tropic Air Flight 281 off the coast of Belize City as it prepared to land. […]

New BTIA president aims to strengthen organization
With just 16% of hotels, 4% of restaurants and 11% of other key sectors as active members of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), the spokespeople for the tourism industry are aiming to get their own house in order by improving membership and financial position. That is the […]

Blogs

Working with the manatee calves...from Dani, Lead Manatee Carer and Aussie extraordinaire
For someone to ask you to write a blog about your time and role at Wildtracks seems like a ridiculous feat. No amount of words could ever explain the pure joy and satisfaction you feel here on a daily basis, however, I will do my best. My name is Dani and I volunteer here at Wildtracks, mostly caring for the two male West Indian Manatee calves; Mitch and Lucky. Those who have met me will know that it is almost impossible for me not to cry when i see videos of dugongs and manatees in the wild, so, to be blessed with the opportunity to care for these two boys is one of the greatest endeavours of my life. Getting up at 5.30am is something normally unheard of for me, but knowing that I'm waking up to two hungry little manatees makes all the difference. I wake up each morning happy and excited to see them. It has been an absolute dream to bottle feed these beautiful animals five times a day, and it is worth the late nights, early mornings and zillions of mosquitos. Some days can be very testing and upsetting when the boys are uncomfortable, cold or gassy which can affect their feeding pattern. When Lucky came in he looked like a rumpled brown plastic bag; beached, emaciated and 95% dead. Mitch was also found stranded and underweight. Both manatees were left without a caring mother whom they would have fed from for up to two years before becoming independent. But acting as a mother, caring for, socializing, and comforting Mitch and Lucky is such a humbling experience for me. Mitch is now a very healthy, happy, handsome manatee and Lucky is looking better every day.

Throwback Travel Friday – Belize!
The second country I visited in Central America, Belize clings to the eastern coast sandwiched between Mexico and Guatemala. The terrain varies from dense jungles and Mayan ruins to Caribbean coast, blue waters and islands. Known famously by scuba divers as the location of Jacque Cousteau’s legendary Blue Hole, the coast is a great place for diving and other watersports. This is also the first place I ever ruined a camera by snorkeling with it in my pocket for a couple of hours getting a much deserved I told you so by my then girlfriend and beginning my streak of camera murder. The trip started with a flight into Belize City followed by a shuttle ride piloted by an insane Dutchman who stopped for beers halfway through the trip and deposited us in San Ignacio, a town near the border with Guatemala.

Make the Most of Your Belize Vacations
How will you make the most of your Belize vacations? With just a little research, you should find the answers that you need. Identify your priorities early on in your trip and stick to them. From here, start to meld your priorities with the 10 Belize travel tips below, in no particular order, and you will be sure to take advantage of every opportunity to experience the beautiful country of Belize to the fullest.

Testing Astrum Helicopters New Ride Over Ambergris Caye, Belize Or HOLY CRAP! I Can’t Believe I’m Doing This!
Yesterday I received an invitation from my friend and SanPedroScoop.com correspondent Finn Kardashian to TAKE A RIDE ON A HELICOPTER over the reef and Ambergris Caye with Astrum Helicopters. The very same company whisks people from the Belize International airport to super luxe resorts, allows them to flyover the Blue Hole in a matter of minutes (from basically anywhere in the country) and to see Belize’s amazing sights in probably the most spectacular way possible. Hidden waterfalls…jungle clearings…Maya sites…I can only imagine. Hovering just a few hundred feet above them…amazing.

International Sourcesizz

Caribbean integration and the big issues- Part one
Even with the premature death of the West Indian Federation in 1962, there was some optimism that the countries of the English speaking Caribbean would engage in other forms of integration short of a political union. And in many ways they have. After the ill-fated federation, there was the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), established December 15, 1965 by Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago, and later joined by other countries. It sought to increase, diversify and liberalize trade while ensuring fair competition among these countries. The Caribbean Court of Justice, intended to replace the English Privy Council, is the highest court in a few Caribbean countries. As of 2011, Barbados, Belize and Guyana replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council’s appellate jurisdiction, with that of the CCJ. This means that the CCJ considers and determines appeals in both civil and criminal matters from common law courts within these countries. In addition, in July of 2014, Dominica’s parliament approved a bill to make the CCJ the final court of appeal.

OAS Launches Workshop on Drug Treatment Courts in the Caribbean
The Organization of American States (OAS) today inaugurated the third and final two-day regional training workshop on the Monitoring and Evaluation of Drug Treatment Courts (DTCs) in Bridgetown, Barbados. Participants in the workshop organized by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the OAS, included judicial, health and drug treatment officials from Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Canada, including the Chief Justices of Belize and Barbados. Adriel Brathwaite, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs of Barbados, opened the workshop highlighting his country’s investment in the drug treatment court program, “to save our young people.” The Attorney General expressed his gratitude for the support from the Government of Canada and the United States to the OAS Drug Treatment Court program, while also expressing the view that the countries, including Barbados, should take responsibility for the initiative within their countries.

Videos

Video: Jason Hartman & Tim - All Things Belize, 25min.

Video: Ambergris Caye, Belize - Market Introduction, 6min.

Video: Half Moon Caye Wall Shark Fun!, 1min. Megan O'Meara and a Shark!

Video: Belize dive with SeaSports Belize Nov12, 2014, 4.5min. Carnival Pride excursion: 2 Tank dive at the South Gallow's point reef. Divers: Adrian & Nancy, Tom & Donna, Dwayne & Danita.

Video: Training Ride Belize, Dec 1st 2014, 5min. Cyclists from Belmopan joining the Oceana ride across Belize on Saturday December 1st, 2014.


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