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#498864 - 12/10/14 10:50 AM Today's Belize News: December 10, 2014
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Specials and Events

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


The San Pedro Sun

Ministers of Agriculture of Central America and Dominican Republic meet to discuss regional agriculture issues
The 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. On the 4th December 2014, the Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture welcomed the delegates and officially opened the LVII Extraordinary Meeting of the International Regional Organization for Health in Agriculture (CIRSA). During this meeting, main points discussed included the approval of the OIRSA strategic plan for the period 2015 to 2025, and the modification of the work plan for 2014 and 2015 to cater to the changes required by the member countries. One major achievement of this meeting was the presentation and approval of regulations to govern the management of the organization in an effort to make it more efficient and transparent.

Opening of the Xunantunich Education Centre
The Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (MTBCAAS) project has achieved yet another important milestone, with the completion of The Xunantunich Education Centre, as well as infrastructure improvements and installation of signs at this site. The completion of works at this site marks the first of a total of nine sites which are being enhanced under the MTBCAAS Project. The project is funded under the Belize Rural Development Programme II (BRDPII), supported by the European Union and the Government of Belize. For the first time, the spectacular archaeological site of Xunantunich has a dedicated space to provide training to students and archaeologists alike. The 950 square feet facility will allow the Institute of Archaeology to provide on-site training in a proper facility boasting an audiovisual room and a dedicated classroom that can accommodate up to 40 persons in two different spaces at any one time. Visitors to Xunantunich can also now enjoy additional improvements at the site, as other infrastructure improvements were carried out under the MTBCAAS Project. The improvements feature new walkways made from gravel and concrete surfaces, the installation of directional, interpretative, warning and notice signs, and benches in designated rest areas.

The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage holds 2 day Art Exhibit from Primary School Competition
The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage today, Wednesday, December 3, 2014 launched a two day Art Exhibit featuring 43 pieces of art work from primary school students under the theme: “Belize with a Properly Planned Oil Industry vs. an Improperly Planned Oil Industry” at the Belisle Art Gallery at the Bliss Institute of Performing Arts. The Art Exhibit represents the entries into an art competition for primary school students and this morning the first place winner was named as Amber McKoy of Grace Primary School. Amber’s art work depicts economic, environmental and cultural benefits and gains of a properly planned oil industry contrasted against loss caused by an improperly planned oil industry. For her first place win, Amber was given a trip for her class to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, gift certificate worth Bz$125 for art supply and promotional items from the Coalition.

Special Olympic Belize Torch comes to San Pedro for the first time
Camp Starfish was the proud host of the Special Olympics Belize torch as it landed on San Pedro on Wednesday, December 3rd as part of the third annual Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). This is the first year that the torch has come to San Pedro, and it arrived on the island shortly after 7PM and it remained here until 10AM on Thursday, December 4th when it departed en route to Hattieville Village, Belize. LETR is part of a series of events held by Special Olympics International (SOI) across the world to promote awareness for persons living with disabilities. The torch run will conclude in Belmopan City, where the Special Olympics Belize National Games will be held. To celebrate the presence of the torch, Camp Starfish set up a booth in front of the town clock to share information on persons living with disabilities. Visitors to the booth took the opportunity to take a picture with the torch for a small donation. This helped raise much needed funds for Special Olympics Belize, while raising awareness of the cause.

Ambergris Today

It's CRAZY DAY at Isla Bonita Elementary School
The students were free to express their Creative and Crazy side.

Belize to Train First Responders in Oil Spill Incident
The overall goal of this training is to ensure that Belize has trained and experience personnel that are able to effectively respond in a coordinated, timely and organized manner in the event of a significant oil spill within the coastal and marine environment of Belize. The specific objectives of this three (3) day oil spill training are to 1) provide basic response techniques for recovering spilled oil and cleaning polluted shorelines to First Responders; and 2) training in basic response strategies and tactics as well as the organizational planning skills required of operational supervisory staff such as On-scene Commanders to deal with major oil spill incidents on-site.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Belizean forced to check with Guatemala military to visit Belize side of river
Natural light photographer Tony Rath was on an excursion on the Sarstoon, an area frequented by Guatemalans and has no presence by Belize. Rath said "While working along the Sarstoon River, we were "forced" to check into the Guatemalan military base seen here at the mouth of the river; first time I've been required to register with the Guatemala‬ military to visit Belize‬. And the river bank on the Belize side has been trashed...no wildlife, frequent cut trails, seine nets (lots), what appears to be homesteading and of course logging. Sad."

COLA TO RELEASE SECRET FILES ON POLICE OFFICERS’ MISTREATMENT
After careful and thorough review of each document in the files provided to us by anonymous sources, COLA has decided to release for public consumption through the press files of correspondence between the Belize Police Association and Belize Police Department, specifically Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie and other senior officials, as well as officials of the Ministries of National Security and the Public Service among others. These documents, dating back to 2011, detail an increasing frustration with the Police High Command’s inability and unwillingness to meet with the Police Association over its grievances concerning the constables, corporals and sergeants it represents. It is clear that the Department has not only not made itself available to discuss and remedy these concerns; it prefers to cover up its inefficiency by not allowing the Association to seek help from other quarters on the basis of going against regulations.

More Youth involvement needed to curb poverty UNFPA report says
A recent fact sheet released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) states that there are more than 2.9 billion youths living in the world; nearly half of the entire human population is under the age of 25. Of that number, 1.8 billion live in developing countries, such as Belize. It was with this number in mind, that technocrats came to the conclusion that more youth inclusion in the decision making process could stem the tide of poverty and transform the future. According to the UNFPA's latest report, titled: "The Power of 1.8 Billion Adolescents, Youths and Transformation of Future, launched in mid November 2014, 54% of youths who receive a tertiary level education make it out of abject poverty. Yet, in 2011 some 57 million children were not enrolled in a school setting. The report shows that Belize is among the countries that display a slow rate of transition in adequately addressing the factors to improve the standard of living for youths.

A manatee for the morning
Khaleesi is in the large pool, with the wood-fired stove burning day and night to keep the water temperature up (the large pool is too large to heat using the butane heaters). She is doing well, as you can see from this photo, taken this week by Eran (thank you Eran!). Khaleesi was the manatee calf rescued in front of Corozal about 18 months ago - she's doing very well, and should be released back into Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in 2017

More exiting Basketball competition continues this weekend at the Andres Campos Civic Center.

Summit a testimony to solidarity, fraternal relationship – CARICOM Secretary-General
The Fifth CARICOM-Cuba Summit was testimony to the solidarity and fraternal relationship that existed among Caribbean people, CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said on Monday. Addressing the Summit in Havana, Cuba, the Secretary-General retraced the history of the relationship between CARICOM Member States and Cuba, and outlined the myriad ways in which they had cooperated. “Cuba has demonstrated its commitment to the sustainable development of our Region, by providing generous assistance in areas such as health, education, agriculture and sports. This has been a significant boost to the Caribbean Community, in particular to our efforts at strengthening our human resource capacity.

Private Island Luxury Tourism Development
The Government of Belize, through BELTRAIDE, is pleased to announce the completion of the sale of the island of Caye Chapel, on Monday 8 December, 2014. Caye Chapel, an island in the Belize District, consisting of 265 acres, was purchased by a leading Mexican luxury hotel development group. The group, who are owners and operators of luxury tourism developments in Mexico City, Cancun, and Acapulco, are currently working on a detailed development plan for the island for presentation to Government. It is expected that this plan will include the announcement of a partnership with a renown global luxury hotel brand, to be announced in the near future, as well as the development of high-end residencies and other amenities.

Summit a testimony to solidarity, fraternal relationship – CARICOM Secretary-General
The Fifth CARICOM-Cuba Summit was testimony to the solidarity and fraternal relationship that existed among Caribbean people, CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said on Monday. Addressing the Summit in Havana, Cuba, the Secretary-General retraced the history of the relationship between CARICOM Member States and Cuba, and outlined the myriad ways in which they had cooperated. “Cuba has demonstrated its commitment to the sustainable development of our Region, by providing generous assistance in areas such as health, education, agriculture and sports. This has been a significant boost to the Caribbean Community, in particular to our efforts at strengthening our human resource capacity.

National Forum: “Belize’s Commitment to Eradicate Violence against Women, Femicide and Human Trafficking
to be held tomorrow, December 10th at the Best Western, Biltmore Hotel in Belize City, Belize

Summit a testimony to solidarity, fraternal relationship – CARICOM Secretary-General
The Fifth CARICOM-Cuba Summit was testimony to the solidarity and fraternal relationship that existed among Caribbean people, CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said on Monday. Addressing the Summit in Havana, Cuba, the Secretary-General retraced the history of the relationship between CARICOM Member States and Cuba, and outlined the myriad ways in which they had cooperated. “Cuba has demonstrated its commitment to the sustainable development of our Region, by providing generous assistance in areas such as health, education, agriculture and sports. This has been a significant boost to the Caribbean Community, in particular to our efforts at strengthening our human resource capacity.

Corozal Art in the Park
The Corozal Organization Leading Cultural Heritage and Art (COLCHA) is inviting all to our Christmas Edition of Art in the Park this Saturday December 13th. The event begins at 5:00 p.m. and at 7:00 p.m. we will be presenting a musical group from Chetumal; Cuerteto Juul K'iin; they along with their dancers will present traditional romantic spanish music. Come out and enjoy!

BEL Submits Request to PUC for Amendment to Electricity Rates
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission on Monday, December 8, 2014 in which the Company requested an amendment to electricity rates to reflect the savings it has realized in the cost of power it purchases from Independent Power Producers (IPP). This proposed amendment is aimed at passing on these savings to customers. If approved by the PUC, the amendment is expected to result in a 3.4% reduction in the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) from 43.47 cents per KWh to 42 cents per kWh for the period January 2015 to June 2015.

Belize and the Immigration Hustle
In either late 2007 or early, just before the election, I wrote an article for the Amandala titled: "What Kind of State". The article explored what kind of country Belize had become and addressed issues such as corruption and immigration. This is a section of the article that dealt with immigration, and I am now wondering how much things have changed since then. We must look at the role of migration in helping to shape the kind of state Belize has become. This is in consideration of the fact that the country has experienced significant emigration and immigration, which have help to define Belize in the last five decades. Greater consideration is given to immigration as Belize continue to attract people to its shores. This immigration has brought up questions of national identity and regional integration. Besides the “immigration hustling” that took place, significant immigration has also highlighted the government 's lack of a coherent immigration policy, although minister Fonseca acknowledge the immigration situation in Belize. There is a political aspect of this immigration, in relation to issues of sovereignty, citizenship, and voting.

SOUND OF THE GHETTO: BELIZE CITY'S BLACK YOUTH SPEAKS!
Belizean Legends is honored to feature these collection of poems from the voices of Belize City's black youth, that reaffirms the fact that not much has changed in the lives today of Belize's black youth population who continue to be marginalized, disenfranchised and killed at incredible proportions today. This small token of appreciation for this work in poetry form, echoing the cries of Belize City's Southside black youth, and the young brave high school poets who wrote them, is a reminder for all Belizeans at home and abroad; that Belize's black people are a people in crisis. The work was produced by the Belize Islamic Educator, of the Muslim Community of Belize, Sister Zakina Muhammad, for the Communication Skills Programme of Belize's Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports in April of 2002.

Register to Vote for Municipal Elections
Municipal Elections will be held on Wednesday, 4 Mar 2015. Voters must register on or before 10 Jan 2015 to vote in these Municipal Elections. Persons who qualify to register should visit their municipality's Elections and Boundaries office. The Elections and Boundaries Office (Corozal North, Corozal Bay, Corozal Southeast, and Corozal Southwest) is on First St N (across from the Police Station, upstairs) Registration is open to persons at least 18 years old, and a citizen of Belize or any Commonwealth Country who has resided in Belize for at least 12 months, or any Commonwealth Country who is domiciled in Belize Resident in the Electoral Division at least 2 months. For information call 422-2156.

Channel 7

Alleged Queenpin Cleared? Immigration Case Collapses
The Accused Immigration Queenpin, Marleny Castellanos, and her husband Alfredo Orlando Gonzalez Marcos, have been cleared of all criminal charges. They were accused of being the chief arranger of illegal Belizean nationality documents for immigrants. It made big news when an investigation conducted by joint law enforcement agencies alleged that she and her husband stole the identity of dead Belizeans and reportedly got through the backdoors of the system to get all their documents to live in the country. Another narrative developed that a number of illegal immigrants accused the couple of a lucrative hustle in which they arranged for illegal passports and nationality certificates to be created so that these people could live in Belize unlawfully. These persons alleged that they misrepresented themselves as legitimate immigration agents to get this done, and that the victims were all ignorant to the laws they were breaking.

Caye Chapel Finally Sold to Mexican Luxury Hotel Group
Caye Chapel, it's been on the selling block for years…first we heard the Four Seasons Group of luxury hotels would buy it, and then it was the Sheridan group with a Canadian connect, then the Yumi group out of the British Virgin Islands, and then the Qatari's, and in between a few other rich names popped up. But none of those sales materialized, until now. BELTRAIDE sent out a release this evening saying that the sale of the 265 acre island has been completed, and the new owner is an un-named Mexican luxury hotel development group. According to BELTRAIDE, the group owns and operates luxury developments in Mexico City, Cancun and Acapulco and they expect to partner with a, quote, "renowned global luxury hotel brand." These preliminary renderings were released today - and the release says work on the new tourism project should commence in early 2015.

Best Hope: Cane Season In Time For Christmas
The meeting between Prime Minister Dean Barrow and executives from ASR/BSI is set for Thursday - which is when the ASR executives will arrive in country. This is considered a last ditch effort to get the sugar crop season started hopefully in time for Christmas. Experts tell us that is the best that can be hoped for right now because even if an agreement is reached on Thursday, it would still need revision to make it legally sound, and then both sides would sign off. The farmers claim they could start deliver three days after that, but sugar roads still have to be repaired after the recent rains over the last 3 weeks.

Opposition Leader Says ASR Has To Back Down From Big Stick Approach
The meeting between Prime Minister Dean Barrow and executives from ASR/BSI is set for Thursday - which is when the ASR executives will arrive in country. This is considered a last ditch effort to get the sugar crop season started hopefully in time for Christmas. Experts tell us that is the best that can be hoped for right now because even if an agreement is reached on Thursday, it would still need revision to make it legally sound, and then both sides would sign off. The farmers claim they could start deliver three days after that, but sugar roads still have to be repaired after the recent rains over the last 3 weeks.

BEL's New Year's Resolution: Lower Your Light Bill
And something positive is just what BEL has in mind as a sort of Christmas gift for consumers. The company announced today that it wants to cut electricity rates by 3.4%, taking the average rate down from 43.47 cents per kilowatt hour to a flat 42 cents. The power company made the request to the Public Utilities Commission yesterday based on savings it has realized in the cost of power, principally from Mexico's CFE. Indications are that CFE's cost of power to BEL may continue to go down which would again redound to the benefit of Belizean consumers. Last year BEL sourced 42% of its power from Mexico. This is the fourth consecutive application by BEL to the PUC to lower electricity rates since 2013.

Police Reverse Position On Gun Found At Valley Of Peace Murder Scene
Last night we told you about 54 year-old Donatilo Canales, the Valley of Peace Villager who was found in his yard on Saturday with multiple gunshot wounds. Well, Belmopan police investigators believe he was murdered. That conclusion is based on a completed post-mortem, and the evidence found on the scene. The problem is that there was no witness to the moment when he was killed and so they don't know who the assailant is. He got up just after midnight on Friday when he heard his dogs barking. When he exited the back door and entered the yard, a few minutes passed, and then, someone shot him 4 times in the leg, chest, neck and head.

Execution For Man OF Salvadorian Descent
While continue to look into that homicide, they are also trying to figure out what is the motive and who is behind the very violent murder of 43 year old Jose Miguel Abrego. The caretaker of a Citrus farm was shot multiple times and then chopped to death in what police say is a ruthless execution. The attack happened at around 11 on Sunday Night in his yard. He was sitting down with a male companion, when the gunman arrived and opened fire on them. His companion ran inside the house seeking cover, but the gunman was determined that there would be no witnesses. He fired on the house about 4 more times, and then left. When Abrego's wife and companion came out, they realized that he had been shot in the neck and chopped another 5 times, as though the assailant was ensuring that he was killed.

VIP Calls Christmas Cheer State Sponsored Patronage
Since 2003, the member countries of the United Nations have celebrated International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9 - the anniversary on the day that the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention Against Corruption. But, Belize has yet to sign on and comply with the anti-corruption convention, and since last year the Independent Political Party, Vision Inspired by the People, has been pressuring the ruling United Democratic Party, and the Opposition to take action on it. Today, the VIP staged a seven-man protest in front of the National Assembly Building. The picket was staged to coincide with Cabinet TUESDay. And though only 7 were there, they were complaining about millions in public funds wasted on what they call political patronage programs, namely government's Residential Mortgage Payment Program and the Christmas Cheer program.

It All Comes Down To This Trinidad, CCJ, GOB vs AA
For years we've been reporting on the multitude of lawsuits that the Ashcroft Alliance has brought against the Government of Belize for its 2009 acquisition of BTL. There have been wins and losses on both sides, but government has managed to retain possession of the utility. But tomorrow in the Caribbean Court of Justice, all the lawsuits are dramatically converging in a raft of lawsuits which will have the highest court of appeal tied up for three days of dense legal arguments - arguments which will determine authoritatively if government was right to have acquired BTL. A virtual battalion of attorneys, Senior Counsels and Queen's Counsels from Belize and the UK are in Trinidad tonight awaiting the commencement of legal hostilities which begins tomorrow at 10am Trinidad. An advance release today from the Caribbean Court of Justice calls it a quote, "ground-breaking case for the Caribbean,"

Newlywed Finds Husband's Other Birth Certificate
Police have charged a man from Roaring Creek for the crime of Bigamy because he is legally married to two women. 27 year-old Merkita Castillo Chimilio reported to police that she has been married to her husband, John Chimillio, since August of this year. While she was looking for her marriage certificate, she came across another marriage certificate which showed that her husband was married to another woman. Police have since verified at the Vital Statistics Unit that indeed, 36 year-old John Chimilio, a construction worker from Roaring Creek, is legally married to two women. He has since been charged, and he will be arraigned at the earliest convenience.

KHMH Audit: X-Ray Acquisition Was Less Than Transparent
All of last week, we told you about the special audit of the KHMH looking, principally, into the acquisition of a pair of X-Ray units. There were a number of procedural irregularities in the acquisition - including purchasing it from an offshore shell company in Hong Kong. But, as the audit illustrates, the irregularities extended beyond procedure to the units themselves. Here's more:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The X-Ray machine arrived at the KHMH without basic information such as a bill of lading or the customs entry. The auditors had to source this from the Customs Department. The auditor concludes that they were unable to determine conclusively that the hospital had received what it ordered. There was no warranty for the machines.

Belize Takes A Cruise Bruise With Yahoo List
Yahoo Travel today published a list of "The Worst Caribbean Ports of Call for Cruises" and Belize City was right there, third on the list behind the Nassau Bahamas and Montego Bay and Ocho Rios Jamaica. It is described as dreary and having no beach. Proponents of the Stake Bank project point to this as one more reason to put governmental impetus behind that project. Of course, it's not that simple. The situation is fraught with legal implications, suits, counter suits and cross suits. And right in the middle of it is a pair of agreements signed by the Musa Administration making certain assurances to the Fort Street Tourism Village - assurances where government would compensate them for passenger shortfalls. The Barrow administration doesn't want to be left holding that bag - and thus the reason things are at standstill. On Sunday, we asked the Leader of the Opposition for his position on it:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "So, it's a complex issue, but it's certainly an issue that needs to be address very urgently in the interest of the tourism sector."

Training For A Spill
A National Oil Spill Training workshop started today and facilitators say that there is hope beyond the 'spill'. The training focuses on strategies to prevent oil spills, to recover oil in the event of a spill and to ensure the safety of people and the environment. Belize has not had a catastrophic oil spill but there have been several incidents that posed serious threats to the environment. One of those incidents happened in January of 2007. An oil tanker was punctured in Orange Walk draining hundreds of gallons of oil unto the street. Elliott Taylor, representative for the International Maritime Organization on the Oil Spill response training, told us how this training can minimize these incidents.

Water And Oil Don't Mix
On the topic of oil spills, The Tropic Air Cessna Caravan that plunged into the sea on Thursday also fits into this discussion. About 90 gallons of aviation fuel drained into the sea as a result of the accident. We asked Environmental Officer Maxine Monsanto what was done to contain that spill. Maxine Monsanto, Acting Senior Environmental Officer "The incident for Tropic, I believe, I would have to further investigate, but yesterday the Department of the Environment did send someone out to investigate and take a look at the site and everything. I cannot tell you the status at this time, but I can tell you that they have done an investigation and they are in the process at looking at it as well as sitting down and discussing with Tropic how best to respond in the future, so that they can be better prepared as to what they need to do."

BTL Will Keep Speednet's Southern Link Going Till End February
Earlier we told you about the legal showdown in the Caribbean Court of Justice tomorrow. While that fight ensues, a legal dispute with BTL's competitor, SMART!, came to a temporary resolution yesterday. As we told you last month, SMART's parent company, Speednet, filed an injunction against BTL to stop them from terminating a contract in which SMART contracts BTL's infrastructure to provide voice and data to SMART's customer base of almost 7,000 customers in the Toledo District. So, if BTL discontinued, it would have cut off all of those SMART cell phone users from getting service. BTL's attorney gave an undertaking to the court that the company would not terminate the service pending the outcome of yesterday's hearing.

PM Says You Can Wait To Get Reimbursed For December Mortgage
Earlier we told you about the VIP Party's protest against what it calls state sponsored political patronage: namely the Christmas Cheer and the Residential Mortgage Payment programme. But the government calls Christmas Cheer pro-poor, and the mortgage payment program, it calls that middle class relief. The rules to qualify for that are that the original value of the residential mortgage must be no more than one hundred thousand dollars. Mortgages taken out solely for the purpose of refinancing prior mortgages for the ?construction of new residences will also qualify for the program. And the mortgages must be legally registered. Those who qualify just have to fill out a two page form and make their monthly payment then government will re-imburse them. Seems simple enough, but the PM says, he has still heard reports of complaints:..

First Caribbean Gives
4 city schools received stoves and cooking supplies for their feeding programs today. A short ceremony was held at CIBC First Caribbean Bank on Albert Street this afternoon to hand over the donations. According to the recipients it takes a lot of resources to ensure that all students are properly fed but these donations will make a considerable difference in the lives of the children. Shaeleen Castillo, Manager - Retail Banking and Operations "CIBC First Caribbean, we have a commitment to give back to the communities in which we operate and throughout the year we participate in various initiatives that we identify as well as which our staff identify and so one of the things that we know is very important is the development of our children and what we have done is to reach out to certain schools and to find out what happens with their feeding program and they presented to us what is basically their wish list and so based on the schools that responded to us, the management of their feeding programs and the ones that we consider to be most needy - we narrowed down to 4 schools and we were able to meet what had presented to us on their wish list."

Hype's Christmas Party
You may know the DJ, Alfrain "Mr. Hype" Supal as a radio personality and dancehall impresario, but on this coming Saturday, he is taking a bigger stage at the BTL Park. He's putting together his first Annual Christmas ParkFest, a fun-filled family event where giveaways, games and entertainment will converge. He has a star-studded line-up of local musicians, and he's inviting you to come out to the event. He told us more today: Alfrain "Mr. Hype" Supal "The event is called Belize Christmas Park Fest and it's going to be held at the BTL Park. A lot of giveaways for families; ham, turkey, Marley, and of course we are going to have toys for the kids. Santa will be there. You can't have any Christmas event without Santa and like I said it's a family oriented event and we will have entertainment as well. Trying to bring back a Belize style Christmas to Belizeans on a whole. As well just added is the brukdown segment. Mr. Peter's brukdown; a tribute to Mr. Peter's. Of course we will have the guys who sung on the newly release album Christmas Brukdown.

Five Buff Medals
Last night, we told you about the Belizean bodybuilders, Rigo Vellos, Clayton Greenidge and Oyinkro Akpobodor competed at the 2014 Central American Bodybuilding Championships. It's a significant achievement for these athletes to have brought home 5 medals and they told us us about the experience: Stanley Moody, President - BBBFF "This tournament was the Central American Championships. It entailed all the countries of Central America; Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador (who was the host country), Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica and unfortunately Panama was the only country that didn't show up this year. But it was a championship which entailed all the different categories of bodybuilding. This year unfortunately we didn't take any females to the championship. We felt that we were going there to try and win medals and we don't think that the females were prepared to go and compete on that level at this time. But next year they should be ready."

Swiping At Cricel
As you may have noticed, there were no female athletes in the Belize delegation, something which the President of the Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation explained by saying that there were no athletes who are at the level of competition required. So, what about Cricel Castillo, Belize's first professional in the World Beauty Fitness and Fashion Federation? She entered for the first competition in Miami 3 weeks ago, and won in the Fitness Diva Category. As far as we are aware, it is a significant achievement since she now has a pro card, qualified to compete against world-class athletes. But, if you ask the Belizean Federation's President, it's not that big a deal. Our Colleague Geovannie Brackett asked him about his opinion if Castillo would have measured up against the female competition at the Central American Championships. He dismissed her and appeared unimpressed:

Channel 5

Authorities Investigate Death of Infant
There is a disturbing report tonight on the death of a three month infant. Police have ruled out foul play and are calling it a case of sudden death; the [...]

Marleny Castellanos walks from immigration offences
The case of Marleny Castellanos, who was named as the mastermind in an immigrations scam, came up today in the magistrate court. But what seemed to be an iron-tight case [...]

PM to Meet With ASR/B.S.I. on Wednesday
Tonight, the only news in the ongoing sugar cane crisis is that there is no news. Late this evening News Five spoke to an official of the BSCFA who told [...]

P.U.P. Bashes Mortgage Cheer Program
The Christmas Cheer monies have been disbursed, we hear, thanks to Petrocaribe. News Five understands that U.D.P. Area Representatives have gotten one hundred and ten thousand dollars…P.U.P. Area representatives have [...]

P.U.P. Deputy Says Petrocaribe Priorities Are Skewed
P.U.P. Deputy Leader Julius Espat also weighed in on the mortgage giveaway which he says is pure nonsense. Apart from the shameless politicking, Espat claims that there is much better [...]

CCJ Prepares to hear Groundbreaking Nationalization Case
At the Caribbean Court of Justice headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago, arguments begin on Wednesday in what is described as a ground breaking case for the Caribbean in which the [...]

Is A Policeman Involved in Valley of Peace Murder?
In the very early hours of Saturday morning, Valley of Peace resident Donatilo Canales was shot dead in his yard in the village. His wife heard multiple gunshots minutes after [...]

Caye Chapel Sold to Mexican Company
There is major news tonight on the economic front. Government issued a release late this evening to announce the sale of the exclusive island of Caye Chapel. The high end [...]

Belize Named One of Five Worst Ports of Call
Firebrand activist organization COLA has managed to find its way into many different causes which affect the quality of life of roots Belizeans all over the country. And they’re back [...]

B.T.B. Says Belize City Has Gotten Major Upgrade
You’ll note that Brackett disagrees with the article’s critical tone where Belize City is concerned. And there, indeed, he is joined by the B.T.B.’s Director of the Cruise and Regional [...]

2 Belize City men busted with 70 pounds of weed
Two Belize City men from the PIV controlled area of the Southside of Belize City are  facing charges for the Possession of a Control Drug with Intent to Supply to [...]

Honduran national still in country despite removal order
A Honduran national, Marvin Leonel Lara Melara, was before the Supreme Court for illegal entry today.  His case is significant because the ruling is the first ever interpretation of the [...]

Roaring Creek man charged for Bigamy
A Roaring Creek man is tonight in big trouble with the law and his two wives. Thirty-six year old John Chimilio has said “I Do” twice in four years. This [...]

International Anti-Corruption Day is celebrated
On October thirty-first, 2003, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Convention against Corruption.  The Assembly also designated December ninth as International Anti-Corruption Day, to raise awareness of corruption [...]

VIP lashes out a G.O.B. over use of Petrocaribe funds
Since announcing its Christmas loan program a few weeks ago, hundreds of Belizeans from across the country have stood in snaking queues at the National Bank waiting to apply for [...]

Feeding program gets boost from FirstCaribbean
The Petrocaribe money is rolling happily all over the country, and politicians are busy exchanging witty, sarcastic repartee over Christmas Cheer and the merry mortgage payment scheme. But while that [...]

Channel 5 celebrates its 23rd anniversary
Great Belize Productions/Channel Five has reached another milestone. Today we celebrate twenty-three years of broadcasting. The company was established in 1982 as a production unit, and in 1991 it obtained [...]

CTV3

Start Of 2014/2015 Crop Season Still In Limbo
There is still no clear path forward in the negotiations between BSI/ASR and the BSCFA and the new crop is still on hold. Stakeholders had identified today, December 8th as the ideal time to start but following long hours of discussions, there is still no clear indication when the crop will start. Furthermore, even though the BSCFA has proven to be flexible on their demands, the BSI keeps firm. Today, when the Prime Minister Dean Barrow should have been in Havana Cuba for the CARICOM Summit, he was in Belize City meeting with the BSCFA representatives trying to find a way forward as time is now of utmost importance as delays in starting the new crop spells economic loss for all. After less than two hours of meeting, it seems there is still not much achieved as the BSCFA still has to wait for the PM to go to the BSI/ASR group for a response to their latest terms. Dalila Ical- Reporting Ezekiel Cansino, Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.C.F.A. “We believe that it’s more flexible and that’s why we as cane-farmers believe that we are going too far being flexible. We are trying our best to get to an agreement. We hope that at this time we get through the impasse and if not, we will be seeking other options.”

Man Charged For Possession Of Article With A Blade
A teen from August Pine Ridge has been arrested and charged for having in his possession a machete. According to authorities in Orange Walk, whilst on mobile patrol on Friday night in the village of August Pine Ridge, police saw a man with a machete on his bicycle and when asked why he had the machete in his possession, he could not give a reason. Police then placed him under arrest and escorted him to the Orange Walk Police Station where the machete was measured to be 27inches in length. Police then arrested and charged 19-year-old Oviser Contreras of August Pine Ridge Village for the offence of Possession of Article with blade.

MAMAS Sees Another Successful Year
For almost 10 years, MAMAS Group in Orange Walk has been a haven for single mothers, young ladies and children to learn a skill. Over the years, Mujeres Ayudando A Mujeres a Superarse, MAMAS, has without a doubt left a mark here in the community. This past Saturday a group of women who took part in several courses offered graduated with honors. Founder Ofelia Novelo spoke on yet another accomplishment. Ofelia Novelo- Founder, M.A.M.A.S Group “We are here today after one year of training and hard work but first I would like to thank the almighty father for giving us life and for providing us with the strength and drive so succeed and I would like to thank my guest speaker Mrs. Mirna Manzanares for taking time out for being with us here today, for my teachers for the dedication on the students graduating here today and to all the sixteen women graduating here thank you, you found the needed equipment for yourself and the skill and knowledge to be your own boss. The courses that they took are cosmetology, pastries and barbering and that is the ones that are graduating here today.”

La Inmaculada R.C School Named National Champs In Reading Competition
A few weeks ago we told you about the Belize National Library Service’s countrywide reading competition that saw primary school students take on the best readers in the country. On November 28th the National Championship competition took centre stage in Belize City and emerging as the top winner was Deianeira Roshelle Flores from La Inmaculada RC Primary School. Today, we found out that the school took first and third places in the competition. It’s a huge accomplishment for the school and for the participants. We spoke with the National Champions and their coach today after a short recognition ceremony at the La Inmaculada Church.

Traffic Mishap Leaves One Person Injured
Following a traffic mishap over the weekend, a man is lucky to be alive but remains hospitalized tonight. On Saturday December 6th, Corozal police responded to a road accident between miles 73 and 74 on the Philip Goldson Highway in the vicinity of Louisville Village in the Corozal District. At the scene, police observed a black Montero SUV vehicle bearing license plate CZL C 02826, driven at the time by Norberto Ical, approximately 150 feet off the highway. Initial investigations reveal that Ical was traveling towards Corozal Town when he lost control of the vehicle causing him to run off the road into the cane field.

P.M Discusses Residential Mortgage Program
Recently we told you about Central Government’s newest program to reimburse Belizeans for their December 2014 interest and principal payments on all residential mortgages with an original value of up to BZE$ 100,000. Through the Residential Mortgage Payment Program, borrowers from the National Bank, Commercial Banks, Credit Unions, the Development Finance Corporation and the Belize Social Security Board can apply for assistance. So how is that playing out? Prime Minister Dean Barrow says despite some complaints about the process, once you apply there is a good chance to benefit from the program and while the deadline to hand in applications had been indicated as this year December, it seems government is extending that. Honorable Dean Barrow- Prime Minister “I will make the point though that this is not because they compared it with the CXC’s there you had to submitted the application and be approved by a certain time because fees had to be paid but with the mortgage program no man if they want to; remember we said to them you pay the institution we simply give you back the money so if they don’t get in the application in December and they want to get in January or February we will simply once it is authenticated that is so much you paid for your monthly repayment in December we will give you back the money.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow Cuts International Trip Short
The Prime Minister Dean Barrow was scheduled to attend the CARICOM-Cuba Summit in Havana, Cuba. According to the international press, Caribbean Community leaders would discuss ways of strengthening relations. Given the circumstances in the sugar industry however the Prime Minster found himself back in the country in an effort to settle the longstanding impasse in the Sugar Industry. How will this impact his previous commitments? The press asked him and this was what he responded.

Burglars Hit Another Chinese Store In Corozal
Three individuals are tonight under police custody pending the investigation of a reported Robbery. 40 year old Juan Qing Wu Chinese naturalized Belizean from the village of Calcutta reported to officials that around 7:25 pm on Friday December 5th, three male persons of brown complexion wearing black clothing with bandanas, entered the store namely Community Supermarket. One of the male persons, who was armed with what appeared to be a Chrome color pistol demanded money and proceeded to search the cash drawer. According to Wu the male person who had the pistol, pistol whipped her to the back of her head causing pain. In the process the men made off with $1,000.00 Belize dollars in different denominations and a Samsung Galaxy Cellular Phone, its value unknown.

Evangelical Church Targeted By Burglars
It’s not the first time we’ve reported on incidents involving thefts at a place of worship. Over the weekend, heartless thieves struck early morning on Saturday at the “Iglesia de Dios Evangelio” on Plum Street in Trial Farm. And while authorities have responded to the call, tonight the items stolen remain on the streets. Tito Garcia who owns and looks after the church’s sound system stopped by our studios pleading to the public to not purchase any stolen items and gave us an account of the incident. Tito Garcia– Complainant ”They open a three louvers from the left side of the church from the alter and he or whosoever came in just went away with part of our sound system from the church.” Maria Novelo – Reporter “Specifically what did they take?” Tito Garcia– Complainant “They went with our amplifier and with our cross over, the amplifier is a 4000 watts brand new with an estimated price of $2000.00 and a cross over $400.00 brand new so that is a $2400.00 value that they went with.”

BSCFA Meets With DPM
What was supposed to be the start of the new Sugar Cane Crop season is being prolonged since there is still a stalemate in the negotiations between both major key players. And with things coming ‘down to the wire’ the Prime Minister who was scheduled to be in Cuba for a CARICOM summit had to cut his visit short and flew back to address the pressing issue in the Sugar Industry. We’ll get into that shortly, but first after getting a “not so favourable” response from BSI/ASR on Friday, an emergency with Acting Prime Minister Gaspar Vega was held with the branch managers of the BSCFA. The two hour long discussion centered mostly on getting the crop season to start says Acting PM Gaspar Vega. “We are insisting that everybody comes back to the table.” Maria Novelo– Reporter “Well, they did already again on Tuesday.” Honorable Gaspar Vega– Acting Prime Minister “Well they come back again and that is what they discussing that were the main focus of the discussion, details I cannot because it is negotiation, details that I don’t think it should be made public until the two parties, both BSI and BSCFA have an opportunity to meet again.”


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BEL Requests Ammendment To Electricity Rates
Belize Electricity Limited has made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission requesting an amendment to electricity rates to reflect the savings it has realized in the cost of power it purchases from Independent Power Producers. If approved by the PUC, the amendment is expected to result in a three point four percent reduction in the Mean Electricity Rate from 43.47 cents per Kilo watt hour to 42 cents per kilowatt hour for the period January 2015 to June 2015. This submission is the fourth consecutive application by BEL to the PUC to lower electricity rates since 2013. According to the company the savings are primarily due to lower than expected cost of power from Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE). BEL says in addition to passing on cost of power savings to customers and in line with its Business Plan, the company will continue to invest in the expansion of its power distribution network to allow more communities across the country to connect to the national electricity grid.

Man Found Dead In Bungalow House
San Ignacio police are currently investigating the death of a man believe to be from El Salvador. Police only known him as Alexander, believe to be in his early 20’s and believed to have died from injuries sustained between Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Now, how he received those injuries is the focus of the investigation. Alexander was found inside a small wooden bungalow house on Coyoc Street in San Ignacio Town by his housemate, 22 year old Dennis Guzman. Alexander had a large wound to the head and bruises on the abdominal area. Police found out that Alexander was drinking with some friends in town before his death. Inspector Reymundo Reyes filled us in on the details.

Women’s Department 16 Days of Activism; Free Legal Advice And Consultations
Free legal advice and consultations will be made available on Thursday through the Women’s Department as part of their 16 days of activism to end gender based violence against women. The Legal Clinic, as it is being called, is not the first event of its kind as similar activity was held previously in the Toledo and Cayo districts with the most recent one being this past Saturday in the Mahogany Heights area. Love News spoke to Tricia Collins of the Women’s Department who explains how the event will be carried out. TRICIA COLLINS “The free legal clinic is a part of our 16 days of activism to end gender based violence against women and so we have decided one of our activities is to do a legal clinic whereby the general public can access attorneys. The legal clinic is going to be held tomorrow at ITVET from 9am until 4pm. We will be having several different attorneys that will be giving their time. We will be looking at issues like those pertaining to gender based violence and family issues.

Belize Municipal Development Road Project; Phase 2 Undergoing Construction
Plans are in the making for the implementation of additional needed infrastructure projects in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details. PAUL MAHUNG “Punta Gorda Mayor Anthony Fuentes commented on phase 1 of the Municipal Development Project in town and spoke of plans for the implementation of phase 2.” MAYOR ANTHONY FUENTES “Punta Gorda Town is part of the Belize Municipal Development Road Project and of phase 1 of the project, we renovated the Administrative building and of course pavement of Papana Street. Now under phase 2, the project that will be completed includes the pavement of Lucille Melendrez Boulevard, Robert K. Pennel Boulevard, Hopeville, the Wild Cane Street, Morning Glory street and Mangrove Street in Hopeville. Now the Punta Gorda Town Council has paid 3 percent of tax payers’ money towards the pavement of these streets and boulevard. Our three percent amounted to 52.000. The additional seven thousand dollars, because drain works were not done on the Papanou , the Town Council had a credit of seven thousand dollars which was added to that phase two project. So that made it a three percent contribution made by the tax payers of this municipality of fifty nine thousand dollars towards the street. The total cost of monies that were allocated to the Punta Gorda Town Council under the Belize Municipal Development Project is 1.6 million dollars.”

VIP Rebuttal To UDP And PUP; Belize Not Participating In Anti-Corruption Convention
Today the international community is recognizing International Anti-Corruption Day 2014. Belize is not officially participating because Government has not signed onto the anti corruption convention. However the Vision Inspired by the People, VIP, supported by other third parties has come out swinging against the UDP and PUP for not signing the convention. Today, the VIP picketed in the capital city of Belmopan and Public Relations Officer, Robert Bobby Lopez told us more. ROBERT BOBBY LOPEZ “We have to stop corruption. It is one of the worst scourges affecting the development. The theme says Zero Corruption, 100 percent Development. All that money that is stolen, that is wastefully spent needs to be put in proper place and this is our money. It has to be paid back whether it’s Petro Caribe or our tax dollar. And another thing I want to tell you for twenty years, the Prevention of Corruption in Public Life Act was enacted in 1994. For twenty years, every elected person, senator, speaker of the house is to declare. We are tired of telling them to declare and they don’t want to declare so we are telling them now, don’t bother to declare; pay the fine.

Honduran National Charged For Illegal Entry; Deported To Honduras
Honduran national, Melvin Melara, who paid a fine of $1000 for illegal entry on November 17 but was not allowed to leave Belize, will now be able to do so because of a court order that was made today by Justice Shona Griffith. Based on an application made by attorney Kevin Arthurs, Justice Griffith ordered that Melara can leave Belize as soon as he is able to provide the cost of his transportation to Honduras. Melara indicated that he intends to leave on a flight to Honduras and Justice Griffith ordered that he be escorted to the airport. According to the immigration law, no illegal immigrant who has been convicted of an immigration offense should be held in Belize after 7 days as long as they can pay for their transportation back to their country of origin. The Attorney General’s Ministry was represented by Crown counsel Leonora Duncan.

Auto Mechanic Charged With Robbery
Twenty-five year old Jose Ayala, an auto mechanic of Freedom Street, one of two persons who allegedly stole one gold and one silver chain, was charged with robbery when he appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. Ayala plead not guilty to the charge. He was offered a bail of $3,000 and his case was adjourned until January 8, 2015. The incident occurred around 11 a.m. on December 8. Fifty-eight year old Sandy Hinks, a security guard at Triple A security, reported to the police that he was riding his bicycle on Iguana Street and when he reached the intersection with Curassow Street a man of dark complexion rode up beside him. He said a second man, one of Hispanic descent then rode up behind him. He told police that the man beside him pushed him off his bicycle then grabbed at his chains while he was on the ground.

Guatemalan Nationals Freed of Immigration Charges
Guatemalan nationals forty-six year old Marleny Castellanos and her common-law husband, 42-year-old Alfredo Marcos, who were freed of some of their immigration charges on October 28, were all smiles today when they walked out of the court of Magistrate Dale Cayetano with not having to answer to any of the remaining charges. Today Magistrate Cayetano dismissed 17 charges against the couple after the Immigration Department indicated that it wanted the charges withdrawn. When they were first arraigned in May, Castellanos was charged with four offenses while Marcos was charged with six offenses. The allegation was that they had used the documents of dead Belizeans to provide immigrants with Belizean birth certificates and social security cards. The immigration Department was unable to provide the evidence to prove the allegations. The couple was represented by attorney Kevin Arthurs.

Vacant Lot; Police Discover Sacks of Cannabis
On Monday night San Ignacio Police conducted a search in a bushy lot in the Shaw Ville area of San Ignacio. The search led to the discovery of four sacks containing a total of eight four thousand grams of suspected cannabis. No one was in the area at the time and the drugs were deposited as found property.

Man Detained For Cannabis
Orange Walk Police have detained a 35-year-old man pending charges. Police say they were on operation on the Philip Goldson Highway in San Jose Village when they intercepted a passenger bus traveling from Corozal to Orange Walk. Police conducted a search in a knapsack belonging to the man which led to the discovery of a black plastic bag containing a parcel wrapped in transparent plastic containing a total of six hundred and eighty point four grams of suspected cannabis. As a result he was detained.

Construction Worker Charged With Bigamy
A construction worker from Roaring Creek Village has been charged with bigamy. According to Police a woman reported that she got married to John Chimilio in August. She said last week she was looking for her marriage certificate when she came across another marriage certificate in the name of her husband and another woman dated March 20, 2010. Checks made at vital statistics confirmed that John Chimilio is married twice. The 36-year-old was arrested and charged for bigamy.

2-Month-Old-Baby-Death; Family Distressed
A family in the Belize District is preparing to put to rest their almost 2-month old baby who passed away last Friday, December 5 whilst in the care of a children’s home. The baby was born to a 16-year-old girl, who is currently residing at the child care facility. It is a situation that has created much grief for the family as in the last months there were limitations when it came to visitations to the home. Love News spoke to the mother of the minor, who relayed to us what her daughter said, happened the last night she saw the baby alive. MOTHER OF MINOR “My daughter told me yesterday that before the baby died, Human Services carried her to court on Thursday and she said when she came home she was tired so I asked her why she was tired and she said they took her by the court where she would sign a document for them to keep the baby. I asked her if she signed the paper, she said No she never answered them about it.

PlusTV

COLA releases files on Police
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) today released a series of files detailing correspondence between the Police Association and the Police Department high command dating back to 2011. The files, it says, “detail an increasing frustration with the Police High Command’s inability and unwillingness to meet with the Police Association over its grievances concerning the constables, corporals and sergeants it represents. It is clear that the Department has not only not made itself available to discuss and remedy these concerns; it prefers to cover up its inefficiency by not allowing the Association to seek help from other quarters on the basis of going against regulations.” The Association complains of treatment of officers working on the vehicular checkpoint patrols on the George Price and Philip Goldson Highway, saying they have been left on their own without food, water, bathroom facilities and vehicles, and are stiffed on pay and working hours, as they are forced to work 12 hours at a time.

Last charges for immigration couple dropped
The Immigration Department has withdrawn prosecution of Guatemalan nationals, forty-six year old Marleny Castellanos and her common-law husband 42 year old Alfredo Marcos, allowing them to walk free from allegations that they had used the documents of dead Belizeans to provide immigrants with Belizean birth certificates and social security cards. As many as 20 persons on the island of Caye Caulker benefited from the alleged scheme, but the Department indicated that it was unable to provide the evidence to prove the allegations. Magistrate Dale Cayetano officially dismissed the 17 remaining charges against the couple, and they left the court with attorney Kevin Arthurs all smiles.

Court allows illegal entrant to leave Belize
Justice Shona Griffith ordered Honduran national Melvin Melara, who was held since November 17 by authorities despite paying his fine of $1,000 for illegal entry, to leave Belize as soon as he is able to provide the cost of his transportation to Honduras. Melvin Melara’s attorney, Kevin Arthurs, applied under writ of habeas corpus, charging that immigration authorities flouted the law, which states that no illegal immigrant who has been convicted of an immigration offence should be held in Belize after 7 days, as long as they can pay for their transportation back to their country of origin. Melvin Melara satisfied the court that he can pay his own way via flight, and authorities were made to escort him straight to the Philip Goldson international airport.

Accused gang members released
What seemed to be a slam-dunk conviction for the Police Department went by the wayside on Monday morning. Police have recently begun targeting alleged members of criminal gangs in Belize City, under the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act, on charges such as professing to belong to a criminal gang. Five such persons were charged in October: Edwin “Drive” Flowers, 34 year old Michael Coleman, 23 year old Emmerson Skyers, 24 year old Albert Clother and a 17 year old boy. The group is alleged to have told police officers under caution that they were members of the gang known as Peace in the Valley or PIV.

Roaring Creek Man arrested for Bigamy
27-year-old Merkitia Castillo Chimilio of Belmopan City visited the Belmopan Police Station on December 8, and reported that she has been married to her husband John Chimilio since August 15 of this year; just under four months ago. According to the young bride, earlier this week, she was looking for her marriage certificate when she came across another marriage certificate in the name of her husband and another woman, dated 20 March of 2010. Checks were made at the Vital Statistic Unit and it wass confirmed that John Chimilio is married twice. 36-year-old John Chimilio, a construction worker of Roaring Creek Villag,e was arrested and charged for the crime of Bigamy.

BEL Submits Request to PUC to Lower Electricity Rates
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission on Monday, December 8, to lower its rates and pass on a 3.4% savings to its customers. According to a press release “..the Company requested an amendment to electricity rates to reflect the savings it has realized in the cost of power it purchases from Independent Power Producers (IPP). ….If approved by the PUC, the amendment is expected to result in a 3.4% reduction in the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) from 43.47 cents per KWh to 42 cents per kWh for the period January 2015 to June 2015.” The savings are primarily due to lower than expected cost of power from Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) during the current tariff period.

Mechanic charged with jewelry robbery
Jewelry valued at $450 was allegedly stolen from 58 year old Sandy Hinks, a security guard at AAA Security. On Tuesday, one of the alleged robbers, 25 year old Jose Ayala, an auto mechanic, pleaded not guilty to a charge of robbery before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. Around 11:00 a.m. on December 8, Sandy Hinks was riding his bicycle on Iguana Street, Belize City, and at the intersection with Curassow Street a dark-skinned man rode up beside him, and then a second man of Hispanic descent appeared behind him. The man beside him pushed him off his bicycle, he told police, and then grabbed at his chains while he was on the ground. While he kicked at this first man to prevent him from taking the jewelry, the other man rode his bicycle on top of and over him, pinning him to the ground. Defenseless, the first man took a silver chain valued at $150 and a gold chain valued at $300 from his neck and both men escaped.

Murder in Valley of Peace
Two murders happened over the weekend in the vicinity of Belmopan. We start first with the shooting in the community of Valley of Peace, where a man was shot and killed on the night of Friday December 5th. According to reports, 54 year old Donatilo Canales and his wife were inside their house awake, when at around 11:00 pm they heard their dog barking. Donatilo Canales then got up, grabbed his lamp, and went outside to check his yard. We located Margarita Canales, wife of Donatilo, in Belmopan where she is staying with her family. Still rearing from the ordeal, she shared with us what happened.

Agreement keeps SMART service in South online
In November, Belize’s leading telecom providers Speednet Communications, parent company of SMART, and Belize Telemedia Limited went to court after BTL attempted to terminate its service to SMART in the South of Belize, following an agreement in July. BTL claims that SMART was to use the service for its private needs; instead, it illegally offered it to its customers. SMART meanwhile says that to cut the service would leave over 7,000 customers in the lurch, and that BTL was not keeping to the terms of the July agreement. On Monday the two parties came to an agreement, preventing an interim injunction, which was signed off on by Supreme Court Madam Justice Shona Griffith. The agreement states that the services will be continued, but not indefinitely.

Why PUP accepts Christmas Cheer
Late last week the United Democratic Party took the opportunity to crow about their rivals across the political aisle, who, they contend, have had to swallow their words and accept the “Christmas Cheer” program, despite their aired concerns over issues of accountability and transparency. On Sunday, while speaking with reporters, Opposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca stated that this program is better administered in terms of handling and so that is why the PUP is supporting it. “We run the risks of looking hypocritical, but we believe that of all the programs funed under the PetroCaribe program, this one in every respect perhaps the most transparent, the most accountable. We receive no monies. We submit an invoice and all the monies are then given directly through the Ministry of Human Development to the supplier of those goods. Those are the things we were concerned about. We were concerned about waste. we were concerned about corruption. We were concerned about the lack of accountability. And those we feel are minimized as it relates to the Christmas Cheer Program.”

Christmas cheer di come!
The Petrocaribe Loan Program has become a major part of the national consciousness in recent weeks, with the Government seeking to justify its spending and the Opposition slamming what it calls fiscal irresponsibility. But the Opposition representatives have had to dial back some of that rhetoric with the announcement that the PUP will accept the significantly smaller sums – through line Ministries – offered to them. The Prime Minister took the opportunity to do a little gloating. Reporter “Does this, in your opinion, weaken their case strategically or in any substantial way legally?” Prime Minister Dean Barrow “Well I think so. I am not quite sure what the applications are for before the court, but this thing in law that if you come to equity, you must come with clean hands. Mr. Espat, who seems to be the chief applicant, I don’t know how he will say to the court that he is coming with clean hands, if he ends up taking the money from PetroCaribe, so I suspect they will have their difficulties.

Amandala

PetroCaribe pain visits Belize
Two weeks ago, there were chants of praise and celebration on Independence Hill over the $228 million in cut-rate financing which Belize has received from Venezuela since 2012 under the PetroCaribe accord, but today, prospects for the continuity of that program seem to be fading amid fears that economic turmoil in Venezuela could force that country to abort the concessionary deal, which is supposed to finance new helicopters for the Belize Defence Force as well as external exam fees for high school graduates and the payment of mortgages this month for thousands of homeowners in Belize. Under the terms of the PetroCaribe accord, Venezuela only needs to give Belize 30 days’ notice of its intent to change the program or cancel it altogether. Today, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow confirmed to journalists in Belize that Venezuela will soon cut its exports of premium fuel to Belize, and as a result, Government vehicles will use regular gasoline instead. That realization has changed the mantra of “PetroCaribe, roll it!” to “we will roll with the punches…”

Waste Control “crowfoots” City Hall pickups
A Belize City Council official today confirmed that following the granting of a writ of execution which was recently filed by attorneys of the Belize Waste Control (BWC), the sanitation company that had sued the Belize City Council (CitCo) for outstanding arrears earlier this year, a Court Marshall visited City Hall today to crowfoot two pickup trucks belonging to the Council and used for its staff, in an attempt to recover the balance of the court judgment, which was handed down about six weeks ago. On October 17, the Supreme Court entered a default judgment against CitCo that is a product of an age-old dispute that City Hall has had with BWC over the arrears into which CitCo has periodically fallen in its payment for garbage collection services rendered by BWC. Since Mayor Darrell Bradley and his council didn’t offer any defense at the hearing, the court ordered them to pay the company $525,000 in default.

Wife hangs self; husband tries, but fails
The village of Bella Vista in the Stann Creek District was the scene of great tragedy after the wife of Jenaro Caal, Maria Rosaria Caal, 19, hanged herself in their home following an argument with her husband, and Jenaro, after he saw that she had died, tried to hang himself. Jenaro, 22, is now recovering at the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga, while Maria Rosaria’s body lies at the morgue, awaiting a post-mortem to certify the cause of her death. The tragedy occurred at about 9:00 Friday night at the Caal family’s home in Bella Vista. Reports to Amandala are that the couple was at home Friday night when Caal received a text on his cellphone, reportedly from a woman, which his wife read. She became angry, and there was an altercation between them, because she felt that he did not love her anymore.

Murder in Valley of Peace
Donatilo Canales, 56, a farmer of the Valley of Peace Village, died after he was shot multiple times in his head and body by an unknown gunman in his yard at about 1:00 Saturday morning. Reports to Amandala are that Canales was sleeping in his house along with his wife and family when the dogs began barking. He got out of his bed and went outside to see what was happening, and shortly after, his wife heard about four gunshots, after which there was silence. Police responded to the shooting and rushed him to the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, where he was declared dead on arrival.

BTL and Smart agree on service in the south
In mid-November, Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) and Speednet Communications, the parent company of Smart, went to court after Smart filed for an interim injunction at the Supreme Court in an effort to prevent BTL from discontinuing its data service to approximately 7,000 Smart customers in the Toledo District. The case was adjourned to today, Monday, December 8, but when the attorneys for the parties met in the Supreme Court of Justice Shona Griffith, it was to formally ask the court to put aside the application for the interim injunction because the two telecommunication companies had reached an agreement on the matter of BTL continuing to provide the service to Smart’s southernmost customers. This latest round of legal wrangling between Belize’s two telecommunications providers stems from Smart’s reliance on BTL’s infrastructure to provide voice and data services to its Toledo customers.

60,000 pounds of onions, mostly from Holland, imported weekly
Due to climatic conditions and the lack of proper storage facilities, Belizean producers supply the local market with onions for only part of the year, usually from January to about August. Currently, Belize imports 60,000 pounds of onions a week, mostly from Holland, said Silvero Marin, interim administrator of the Belize Marketing and Development Corporation (BMDC). BMDC imports onions for retail sale. Producers who need onions for processing, such as making sauces, import separately. Most shoppers like the yellow-skinned onions, and they are purchased at an average size of 50 millimeters by 70 millimeters (roughly 2 to 3 inches) from Holland, where Marin said yellow onions of better quality are available at a good price.

Former gang member tells court he is a born-again Christian
A Belize City former gang member, who was arrested for displaying gang insignia tattoos in public, told Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer this morning that he has given up the gang-life for more than ten years and that he reads his Bible and prays every day. Ian Westby, 33, attempted to “plead guilty with an explanation” after the Senior Magistrate read to him the single charge of “displaying gang insignia” on Thursday, December 4, on Casuarina Street. Westby, who is unemployed and is a resident of Casuarina Street, told the court that he has given up being in gangs since 2003, when he became a church member. “From the time they killed my home boy, I gave up the gang life.” Westby told the court.

Shock and awe at Norman Broaster
What a difference a weekend makes! With 6 teams fighting for 4 playoff spots, Saturday night saw Police United FC become the first team to definitely secure a playoff spot with their 3-0 default win over no-show FC Belize at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk. Meanwhile, defending champions Belmopan Bandits had strengthened their position with an 8-1 thrashing of short-staffed Paradise/Freedom Fighters at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. Shaking the net for the Bandits were Elroy “Bibs” Kuylen (12’ & 20’), Jordy Polanco (34’), Jerome “Jarro” James (45+’), Highking Roberts (52’ & 54’) and John King (83’). The Bandits also benefited from an early own goal by Freedom Fighters defender Adrian Gonzalez (4’ O.G.). The only goal for the visitors was by veteran Wilmer Garcia (47’), whose direct kick from 25 yards out curved over the wall and found the right pigeon hole past a diving Woodrow West in goal for the Bandits. Wilmer’s laser left foot almost found the mark again from another free kick, but this one passed a couple inches over the crossbar in the left corner.

National Men’s Volleyball Team at Central American Championship in Honduras
Belize’s Men’s Volleyball National Team is in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to compete at the 18th Central American Championship. All seven Central American countries are attending, with the host, Honduras, being the favourite. The technical level has risen in the region, and Belize will show it is also improving and there to win against the best teams. The team members are: Elton Anderson (captain), Shane Gentle, Francis Usher, Keith Castillo, Radin Santos, Raheem Flowers, Edgar Martinez, Karym Coleman, Ean Galvez, Alex Evans, Daril Avila, Bryton Codd, Wallace Tillett (Asst. Coach), Albert Humbes (Coach), Khalid Encalada (Int’l. Referee).

SCA girls, SJC boys are Central Zone champions
On Friday evening last, the girls of St. Catherine Academy (SCA) and the boys of St. John’s College (SJC) won the respective championships of the Central Zone high school basketball tournament, and with it the right to represent the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) in the upcoming National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) basketball championships this coming weekend in Belize City. SCA girls had defeated Gwen Liz girls, 34-22, on Wednesday, December 3, in game 1 of their Central Zone championship series. Tricia Jefferies led SCA with 11 pts, while Kayla Bowden had 15 pts in a losing effort for Gwen Liz. However, contrary to the report released by the CSSSA, the boys finals game 1 was not completed on that Wednesday night, as the game had to be stopped due to rain. Therefore, game 1 of the boys’ zone championship series between SJC and Sadie Vernon Tech was replayed in its entirety on Thursday evening, December 4, at Bird’s Isle, with SJC blowing out Sadie Vernon, 80-55. Sadie Vernon’s Glency Lopez led all scorers with 33 pts in the loss; while SJC’s Dudley Erskine had 22 pts.

Chiquibul and Tower Hill
At this newspaper, we are watching two different scenarios – one in the West and one in the North. We are watching how calm Chiquibul, Caracol, and Pilar appear to have become in the last few weeks after the violent turbulence of late September and October. That’s out West, in the Cayo. And, we are watching the epic struggle between American Sugar Refining (ASR) and the cane farmers of Belize’s Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. That is, of course, in the North. Let’s start with the North, where the critical 2014/2015 sugar cane crop was supposed to start on Monday, December 8, with the farmers commencing delivery of their cane to the Tower Hill factory for grinding and processing into sugar and molasses. Reports on Sunday, December 7, were that the crop would be delayed because ASR and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) have not settled their differences. The most important of those differences involves the matter of bagasse, a by-product when the cane is ground which has become substantially more valuable in the last few years. Bagasse is now used to generate electricity, and ASR is saying that it is the company which made the investment in the equipment which generates electricity from bagasse. The cane farmers are saying that it is their sugar cane from which the bagasse is derived, and they are entitled, on principle, to a reasonable share of the bagasse money.

From the Publisher
Every now and then, I have a hard time producing a column. One of the reasons for this is that I am not a machine. A second reason is that there are times I have to swallow things I’d really want to say. I saw a story some days ago where a nursing mother with a two-month-old baby got remanded to prison because the police found a bullet in her home. The whole family was taken away to jail. I really thought we had found a way to take the fangs out of our stupid gun laws, but the vicious predator, made in the U.S.A., is still with us. In these modern, urbanized societies, we live in large groups of human beings. We have laws and regulations which guide and govern our individual conduct, and these laws and regulations exist so as to reduce the amount of friction among us; laws and regulations are supposed to facilitate us in our daily interactions with each other.

“Déjà vu” in sugar industry
Instead of overseeing the delivery of freshly harvested stalks of sugar cane to the Tower Hill milling factory in Orange Walk Town today, which was designated as the optimal date for the start of the 2014/2015 sugar crop season, the executives of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) headed to Belize City for another round of talks with Prime Minister Dean Barrow and other government officials in hopes of bringing an end to a continual gridlock which has effectively stifled the sugar industry for the second consecutive year. After months of negotiations, which resulted in several proposals, counterproposals and exchanging of letters affirming such, the local cane farmers’ association and the sugar processors are back at square one and thus, the BSCFA, in its efforts to get the season started and avoid the degree of losses that were experienced last season, sat down once again today with PM Barrow, Deputy PM and Minister of Agriculture, Gaspar Vega, and representatives of the relevant government entities, including the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB), at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel to finalize a solution to the crisis.

Cuba, CARICOM aim to widen trade amid calls on US to end Cuba embargo
At the 5th CARICOM-Cuba Summit which opened in Havana, Cuba, this morning, leaders of the region reaffirmed their commitment to trade collaboration with their sister Caribbean country, Cuba, amid renewed calls for the United States to end its 50-year-old trade embargo against Cuba. Cuban president, Army General Raul Castro Ruz, while acknowledging his country’s economic difficulties, asserted, “we will honor our pledge to cooperate and share our modest achievements with our sister nations in the Caribbean.” Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said that a practical machinery had to be established to expand trade and investment between CARICOM and Cuba. Central to such machinery is effective and affordable transportation for the movement of goods and people between our countries, he added.

Patrick JonesPJ

Multiple fatalities in Corozal
There are reports of a violent attack tonight in Corozal town which has left three people dead. Reports are that a man viciously chopped another during an attack which happened on College Road. According to reports received, a second man who came to the aid of the […]

Conch Shell Bay residents complain of abusive GSU raids
Residents of the Conch Shell Bay area of Belize City have raised loud complaints over alleged abuse at the hands of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), which has recently been conducting raids in the area. The raids occurred on Saturday and today, Tuesday, and they have one thing […]

COLA releases police files
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) today released a series of files detailing correspondence between the Police Association and the Police Department high command dating back to 2011. The files, it says, “detail an increasing frustration with the Police High Command’s inability and unwillingness to meet with […]

Radio station launches fundraising effort in Toledo
The Toledo Christian Radio has embarked on its yearly fundraising effort to support its ongoing programs. According to President of Board of Directors Maria Tut, the radio station stays on the air through funds or offering collected from listeners around the Toledo district. Every year the station organizes […]

Man accused of sexually assaulting eight year old girl
Twenty year old Lionel Quiroz, a resident of Lord’s Bank who is the father of 2 children, was charged with sexual assault on a 9 year old girl when he appeared on Monday before Magistrate Herbert Panton. Quiroz pled not guilty to the charge. The prosecutor objected to […]

Student allegedly swipes money from cable company
Twenty-one year old Carlos Echeverria, a student of the University of Belize, was charged with theft when he appeared today before magistrate Dale Cayetano. Echeverria pleaded not guilty to the charge. He was released on a bail of $1,000 and his case was adjourned until February 6, 2015. […]

Standard 6 student from Orange Walk wins national reading competition
Meet Roshelle Flores. She is a Standard 6 student at the La Inmaculada Roman Catholic Primary School in Orange Walk town. She was recently crowned as the best reader in all of Belize when she captured the national reading competition at the end of last month, which […]

Ladies graduate from MAMAS program
The latest group of women to benefit from home economics and craft training under the Mujeres Asuperando a Mujeres a Superarse (MAMAS) graduated over the weekend in Orange Walk town. Sixteen young ladies received certification after completing the training program in pastry making, cosmetology and barbering. The […]

Man charged for bigamy
A man from Roaring Creek village, Cayo has been arrested and charged for the crime of bigamy. 36 year old John Chimilio is accused of being married to two women at the same time. According to police a 27 year old woman reported on Monday that she found another marriage certificate indicating that the man she is currently married to, is still married to another woman, dating back to March, 2010. Police say that checks made at the Vital Statistics department confirmed that John Chimilio is married twice.

Blogs

Monkeys or manatees? Sometimes a hard choice!...Louise makes her decision!
My name is Louise, I’m a 21 year old marine biology graduate from the UK. My love of manatees began when I first saw them on a family holiday to Florida. It was this love that drew me to Wildtracks. Despite being fond of all animals, I had no particular interest in monkeys, hence I was surprised when a few days after my arrival Paul asked how I felt about looking after three baby howler monkeys. Despite being very flattered at being considered for this huge responsibility, I doubted my suitability considering my lack of experience and knowledge of monkeys. My emotions were bitter sweet at this point when I considered how this position would limit my time with the manatees, and (I assumed) prevent my dream of bottle feeding a calf coming true. I was thus ecstatic when it was announced I was to take care of the baby monkeys alongside the two manatee calves Mitch and Lucky. Although my schedule was rather full on, all babies requiring five feeds a day, and the monkeys needing almost constant attention, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Laidback Belize: Live Well in the Caribbean for Less Than $2,000 a Month
I’ve never seen such blue water as the Caribbean in Belize. I couldn’t keep my eyes off it, 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.

My Year in San Pedro, All of Belize and Reasons to Visit in 2015, Part 2
Just a few weeks ago- over Thanksgiving weekend – I was reminiscing about all the amazing things I’ve been able to do over the past year. From attending a Harley-Davidson Rally in Belize City to floating on a glowing lagoon in Hopkins. I stopped in June and since I am in NJ now…for another 6 days…weathering “Winter Storm Damon” (I’m sure this has been asked 1 billion times, but when did winter storms get names? And what about a bunch of rain makes this a named storm that must be talked about CONTINUOUSLY on TV? Sigh…#NJProblems)…I thought I’d continue. Here are the things, people, food, tours, animals…the stuff I am SO thankful for doing this year.

International Sourcesizz

Major Hotel Project Coming to Belize
A major new resort project is coming to Belize’s island of Caye Chapel. The country’s government announced Tuesday evening that a leading Mexican luxury hotel development group had purchased the 265-acre island. While the government did not reveal the name of the group, it said it consisted of the owners and operators of luxury tourism developments in Mexico City, Cancun and Acapulco. The group is now “working on a detailed development plan for the island for presentation to Government,” Belize’s BELTRAIDE agency said in a statement. The plan is expected to include a partnership with a “renowned global luxury hotel brand,” which will be announced in the near future. The government said it anticipates the project to begin development in early 2015. “The government of Belize is pleased to welcome this significant investment into Belize’s growing tourism sector,” it said.

All-Star Filmmaking Team to Steer ‘The 3D Distribution Project’
An Important Regional project that NICH has partnered on and is represented within the steering committee in the person of our Belize International Film Festival Director, Suzette Zayden. CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution, (CTWD) this week announced the impressive international team of top film and cultural industry talent that will implement the “3D Distribution Project” an innovative project financed by the ACP Cultures+ Programme of the European Union. The aim of the 3D Project – which stands for Digital, Domestic, and Diaspora Distribution -- is to expand markets for indigenous film, and contribute to the Caribbean film industry’s global competitiveness. The team consists of long-time CTWD associates as well as outstanding professionals new to the CaribbeanTales family. Together they bring a wide range of skills, and combined years of experience to ensure the successful implementation of the project’s objectives.

Caribbean Court of Justice to hear Belize nationalization case
The Caribbean Court of Justice will take up on Wednesday the nationalization case pitting the government of Belize against British Caribbean Bank and businessman Dean Boyce. The court will spend three days listening to arguments in six consolidated appeals lodged against Belize by Dean Boyce & Trustees of the BTL Employees Trust, British Caribbean Bank Ltd and Fortis Energy International (Belize) Inc. In 2009, the government of Belize enacted a number of statutes citing a public purpose for the compulsory acquisition of utility companies BTL and BEL properties, belonging to Boyce and British Caribbean Bank Ltd. Boyce and BCB successfully challenged the constitutionality of the government's actions in the Court of Appeal.

The Worst Caribbean Ports of Call for Cruises
It’s dreary outside and you find yourself dreaming of an escape to the Caribbean. You long for turquoise water and sugar-sand beaches, with plenty of activities to take your mind off work. Cruises offer the perfect smorgasbord of beaches, shopping, scenery, and fun things that you can’t do at home, all served up with a fruity, umbrella-topped beverage. But not every port lives up to the image in your dreams. To help you choose your next cruise itinerary — or rather, figure out which places to avoid — Yahoo Travel did some digging around and found the Caribbean ports with the worst reputations. Another industrial city, with very little to do in the port itself, Belize City does have adventure waiting beyond the city itself. Ships do not actually dock here; they anchor off and use tenders to carry passengers to town, or sometimes directly to activities on nearby tiny islands. There are things to do in Belize City, but you have to plan ahead. One Cruise Critic reviewer said, “Don’t even think about walking around the town and looking for trinkets. We sought out a beach but couldn’t find one. We asked a cabby where one was and he replied that Belize City HAS NO BEACH!”

Daughter’s legacy continues with Abby’s House
A Columbus woman’s legacy continues to touch medical students from around the world nearly a decade after her death. Fourth-year medical students who spend a month at Hillside Health Care International in southern Belize stay in Abby’s House, a dorm that houses up to 16 students and is located next to the free clinic. The 6,000-square-foot dorm is named after Abigail Brinkman, a Columbus native who died in a 2005 diving accident while serving at the clinic.

Cuba and CARICOM Close Summit with Promise to Strengthen Integration
Cuba and the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) have concluded their fifth summit in Havana with a commitment to strengthen economic and commercial relations as well as cooperation in areas of health, education, climate change and intensifying their integration. “This day has been intense and fruitful because it has served to further strengthen our unity and reinforce our commitment to continue working together tirelessly, for the development and prosperity of the Caribbean and Latin America,” said Cuban President Raul Castro at the close of the summit Monday. Caribbean and Cuban leaders, in their final declaration, pledged to work towards developing their countries, especially in the economic and environmental fields, as well as improving productivity, infrastructure and air and sea transport connections.

Sweet Deal: How One Company Found a New Way to Support Cacao Farmers
Improving the productivity and livelihoods of the more than 2.5 billion farmers around the world should be one of the biggest impact investment opportunities around. Yet, small-scale agriculture businesses, with their seasonal revenues and volatile prices, have generally been seen as too risky and troublesome for equity impact investors. Maya Mountain Cacao launched in Belize in 2010 with an investment from Alex Whitmore, owner of Taza Chocolate in Boston, who was looking to source high-quality cacao from Belize’s Toledo district. At the time, most of the area’s top cacao farmers sold their harvests to a single dominant buyer: the Toledo Cacao Growers’ Association, which supplied exclusively to Cadbury. Whitmore saw the potential for competition. Whitmore teamed up with Emily Stone, an energetic social and environmental activist. Stone saw the impact potential of creating another cacao buyer in a region with 70 percent poverty.

Condor und Tropic Air kooperieren
Der Ferienflieger Condor zählt ab sofort die belizische Fluggesellschaft Tropic Air zu seinen Partnern. Die Flüge von Tropic Air können als Erweiterung des Condor Flugnetzes über das bereits bestehende Ziel Cancún (CUN) gebucht werden, teilte Condor nun mit. Condor fliegt im aktuellen Winterflugplan 2014/15 immer dienstags, mittwochs, donnerstags, samstags und sonntags ab Frankfurt (FRA) und immer montags und freitags ab München (MUC) nach Cancún (CUN), Mexiko. Weiterflüge nach Belize (BZE) mit Tropic Air werden einmal wöchentlich, immer samstags, angeboten. Ein Rückflug von Belize kann flexibel gewählt werden, die Anbindung besteht täglich über Cancún nach Frankfurt oder München und weiter nach ganz Europa. Durch die Kooperation mit Tropic Air ist Belize künftig für Reisende ab Europa schneller und bequemer zu erreichen. Durch die neue Verbindung via Cancún kann der Komfort für Condor Gäste erheblich verbessert werden. So verkürzt sich beispielsweise die Reisezeit von Frankfurt nach Belize auf rund 16 Stunden.

Videos

Video: Belize City dump transformed, 1.5min. It's #transformationtuesday and just take a look at how the Belize City dump has been transformed into an eco-friendly transfer station in just a few years. The late Keith Swift produced an award-winning news item on the squalor and filth that some residents had to endure which is no longer the case.

Video: Project PAC Belize 2014: Day 1, 3.5min. Members of the Wagner College Physician Assistant Class of 2016 went on a medical trip to Belize to aid locals with medical problems facing them. Along the way we also visited Mayan Ruins, the jungle, and a private island. A video has been created for each day and over the next 5 days you will be able to see the trip unfold. Enjoy and please share with family and friends!

Video: Project PAC Belize 2014: Day 2, 3.5min. Our first touring day was filled with the Mayan Ruins of Lamanai!

Video: Leaf Cutter Ants in Belize, 1min.

Video: BELIZE // 2014, 6.5min.

Video: Belize snorkeling, 6min. Ambergris Caye Hol Chan Marine Reserve Shark Ray Alley.

Video: Alexi's Restaurant in Dangriga, Belize, 3min. Cyril Uruwei, Publisher at Belize In America, interviews Chester and Noelia Ritchie at Alexi's Restaurant in Dangriga, Belize.

Video: MISS AMERICA BELIZE IN DANGRIGA 10 / 12/ 2014, 9min.

Video: Silk Caye Belize Tangs, 1min. Shot at Silk/Queen Caye, Belize in August 2014

Video: Selfie videos from day 3 of diving Belize., 9min.


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