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#498899 - 12/11/14 10:32 AM Today's Belize News: December 11, 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

Cayes well represented at the Belize Sagicor Visionary Challenge
The Belize Sagicor Visionary Challenge National Competition was held on Wednesday, December 3rd and saw the participation of two groups from San Pedro and one from Caye Caulker. The challenge is aimed at stimulating secondary school students to develop solutions to problems faced in their community using the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) method. Held at the Ramada Princess Hotel in Belize City, this year’s competition saw the participation of 32 projects from 28 high schools across the country. At the end of the competition team Bishop Martin High School from the Orange Walk District took the first place win for the second year in a row. Although neither of the islands’ teams placed, they certainly did a great job and the team from Caye Caulker’s Ocean Academy was even awarded the “Most Creative and Innovative Project” award.

Fall Fashion Show by Foreva Fancy is a Frozen Fantasy
Fashionistas were out in full force on Saturday night to witness Foreva Fancy’s fabulous Once Upon a Time Forever Frozen fashion show. Foreva Fancy boutique specializes in ‘high street fashion’, offering unique looks for the fashion conscious of La Isla Bonita. Local models opened the fun show wearing fantastic costumes, embracing the popular winter wonderland theme. With that spectacular kick-off, it was time for some gorgeous looks – just in time for the Christmas and New Year’s parties coming up!

Holiday Lighted Boat Parade returns with brighter vessels
The parade started shortly after 6PM from Wayo’s Beachside Beernet. All ten boats lined up, shining brightly on the water as they started to make their way south along the designated route. Spectators enjoyed the view, taking in the fun details on the boats. There came a bull shark! There went a sea serpent! At the municipal dock, the boats made a 360 turn, allowing the judges to take a closer look before tallying their votes (although frankly, they were all winners!). The parade then made its way down to Caribbean Villas before returning for the grand finale at Central Park, it was time for family fun, with lots to eat, drink and even shop! Children had the chance to take their picture with Santa Claus at the Saga Humane Society booth, which was great fun. After all the excitement, it was time to announce the winners of the parade. Taking the first place prize was Blue Water Grill. Second place went to Isla Bonita Elementary, while The Phoenix Resort took third place. The San Pedro Lions Club was the proud recipient of the Minister’s Trophy and the San Pedro Red Cross took home the Mayor’s Trophy. Certificates of participation as well as great prizes were awarded to every single vessel.

Ambergris Today

Mexican Luxury Hotel Development Group Purchases Caye Chapel
The Government of Belize, through BELTRAIDE, announced in a press release yesterday, December 9, 2014, the completion of the sale of the island of Caye Chapel on Monday 8. Caye Chapel, an island in the Belize District and just a 35 minute boat ride from Ambergris Caye, consists of 265 acres, was purchased by a leading Mexican luxury hotel development group.

New Partnership Between Condor and Tropic Air
Thanks to the cooperation with Tropic Air, Belize is now accessible to passengers from Europe in a faster, more convenient manner. Up until now, the journey to Belize involved catching connecting flights via the USA. Due to immigration checks and less than ideal connecting options, a fast onward journey to Belize was often not possible with passengers having to put up with total journey times of more than 24 hours. The new connection via Cancun means that Condor passengers can now enjoy significantly improved comfort and convenience. As a result, the journey time from, for example, Frankfurt to Belize has been cut to around 16 hours.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

MISSING PERSON
36-year-old Kifani Timmons of 8693 Curl Thompson Street, Belize City reported that at 6:00 a.m. on December 9th her 15-year-old son Steven Vernon, left home en route to work on Cemetery Road and has not returned. He is about 5’4” in height, weighs about 110 pounds and has two tattoos on his feet with the names Kiandra and Sherie. He was last seen wearing a long black jeans pants, a red and white shirt and a pair of red and white tennis.

Three dead after violent attakc in Corozal
There are reports of a violent attack last night 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 man being chopped, was himself viciously chopped. Both chopping victims reportedly succumbed to their injuries. The man believed to have chopped the others, was himself allegedly fatally wounded by a gunshot. More information on this incident will be posted as soon as they are confirmed by Corozal Police.

Next great Paranda album from Garifuna superstar Aurelio Martinez.
Stonetree Records is very proud to present the next great Paranda album from Garifuna superstar Aurelio Martinez. Aurelio will launch his new album, 'Lándini' in Belize with a special concert at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts on Friday December 12th. Aurelio returns to his Garifuna roots with Lándini - a swaying, bittersweet homage to his beloved home and people. In original songs crafted with his mother Maria, as well as traditional tunes, Aurelio mixes upbeat, Garifuna rhythms with heartfelt melodies and sparkling instrumentation, and carries forth the torch for Central America's indigenous Garifuna tradition. A narrow spit of land arcs into the Caribbean off the coast of Honduras, where a dark-watered river flows into the sea. There, in Plaplaya - a small village without electricity - Garifuna songwriter, singer, and guitarist Aurelio Martinez first learned music at his mother’s knee. At the end of the day, villagers would return in their boats to the river landing, setting aside work and gathering to hear paranda, the guitar-driven music of Garifuna troubadours who teased and taught, bemoaned and praised community life. Aurelio joined musical gatherings from a tender age, set atop a table by his uncles.

Belize Fishing Report: Nov 30, 2014 - Dec 5, 2014
Here we are, the first week of December! Thanks again to our returning El Pescador guests: Kathy and Bill, Bud and Ruth, Roy, Wade and Lawrence, and always our “honeymooners,” Matt and Kristen. It’s so wonderful to see you again. Our anglers were all good sports this week. They went out in the rain and found some fun on the flats. And when the sun came out, we had rainbows! We all worked on casting out on the dock and tied up some fun toads for tarpon. (Lately, tan toads are the ones getting the bite!). All the fish are here, we just need to keep pursuing and trying new ideas for getting that bite. This is fishing. It’s always nice to go out and have everything be perfect – the weather, our casts, corporative fish, but that’s not fishing. Those are good days fishing! Fishing – the act of angling, is all about going out and seeing what is going to happen. It’s the mystery that become memories filled with stories about the day, as well as the accomplishments. So keep practicing your casts, and be ready. The day will come when it all comes together. You just need to show up for the game.

Channel 7

Mayor Bradley Says BML Workers' Employment At City Hall Unsustainable
Mayor Darrell Bradley had a press powwow today – where the media got to ask him that burning question: will he run as Mayor in the next municipal election? It’s burning because of persistent and credible reports that he has packed up and left city hall. And the event that reportedly pushed him to do so was a meeting the Prime Minister held last week with two councilors where he put plans in motion to take over the operations of Belize Maintenance Limited, when their contract ends early next year. That includes, centrally, a commitment to take on all 170 of the BML workers at City Hall. It was a political decision made in the wake of the politically disastrous garbage protest in August – but a decision that the Mayor still cannot accept. Today, he repeated his renunciation of it – calling it a bad idea:… Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City "I think it is a bad idea for the city to grow it's staff by 35 percent. That's not withstanding the fact that something need to be done with the people. I understand the humanitarian aspect of it and I think we can deal with that in a different or a better way. I could see in the future, essentially what your going to have is a new BML because you will take on 170 people, you're going to realise as I have realised, and I'm not an idiot. I know how the city council works, so i've realised we have problems in terms of existing staff.

Chopping Incident Becomes Fatal In Corozal
Tonight, Corozal Town residents are reeling from a very gruesome display of violence on a very busy, well trafficked street last night. It involved 2 Corozal residents getting into a machete fight where one man was killed after being repeatedly chopped, and police had to shoot the other to subdue him. 29 year-old Mark Massam Jr. and 23 year-old Carlos Cassanova Jr., lived close to each other, but last night, they brawled on the street side as though they had been bitter enemies. It ended in murder and a police shooting, and now, two families are left to fix the damage that has been created by this incident. Our news team was in Corozal for most of the day, putting together the details and Daniel Ortiz has this report: The family of 23 year-old Carlos Cassanova Jr. and Mark Massam Jr. found themselves dragged into a simmering dispute today. That's the result of a violent incident between both men which ended with Massam being chopped to death, and Cassanova being shot multiple times by police.

It Starts; GOB & AA Argue Of BTL At CCJ
Today at the Caribbean Court of Justice Headquarters in Port of Spain, Trinidad attorneys for the Ashcroft Alliance and Government commenced arguments in a raft of appeals and cross appeals meant to settle at this highest court, whether the nationalization of BTL and BEL were legal or not. Appearing for Dean Boyce and the BTL Employee’s Trust, Lord Peter Goldsmith opened arguments dramatically, declaring that his clients, from the Ashcroft Alliance, have been waiting five years to have their rights vindicated:… Lord Peter Goldsmith, PC, QC - Attorney for Dean Boyce, Employees' Trust "It is 5 years, 3 months and many days since there property have been was expropriated back in Belize; And they have been waiting despite already 2 decision from the court. One which held the acquisitions unlawful over 3 years ago. They've been waiting to come to this court for that period of time, hoping and expecting this group will finally be able to give them justice and help to restore the rule of law in Belize.”

How the Petrocaribe Shift Will Affect Belize
For the past few weeks, international financial news outlets have been reporting that Venezuela is in trouble because of the falling price of oil on the world market. For a country that is the third leading oil producer in the world – the five year low in oil prices means major losses in revenue for their main export, and it’s causing crippling conditions in the already cash strapped country. So, reports say that Venezuela is being forced to sell some of that Petrocaribe debt – in a process that’s called securitization. The new owners of the debt would be US investment banks such as Goldman Sachs. That has sent a chill through some of the Petrocaribe countries because owing an arch-capitalist American bank is not quite the same as owing a friendly country with socialist ideals. But, today, John Mencias who is the Deputy Chair for the Alba Petrocaribe Belize Energy Limited, the Belizean company that buys the Petrocaribe fuel from Venezuela told us that it hardly matters to Belize who holds the debt:…

Hon. Briceno Denies That Million Dollar Rumour
Last week, we told you about how a family dispute over the late Anthony Gillett ended up with his body being exhumed from his grave a month ago to settle an internal family dispute over his estate. Before his death, he was the driver for PUP Orange Walk Area Representative John Briceno. He connection to the former Government Minister and Former Leader of the PUP has become significant because the narrative of his exhumation has taken on a life of it’s own. It was supposed to have been done so that his family can get a DNA sample to determine the paternity of a child he claimed as his own before his death. Still, there has been strange but persistent rumours that the Briceno family has a vested interest in the settlement of this dispute about Gillett’s estate. The speculation is that Gillett somehow may have had control of certain accounts related to the Briceno family business. And, according to it amounts to as much as 7 million dollars.

The Persistence of Violence Against Women
Today a national forum was held to launch a Project which focuses on the Prevention of Violence against Women, Femicide and Human Trafficking in Central America. Although there have been improvements opportunities afforded to women, women are still subject to abuse and discrimination in all forms – from sexual harassment in the streets to lower paying jobs than men in the workplace. But where does change begin? In the kitchen? The classroom? Or the cabinet room – where, until recently, there wasn’t even a ladies bathroom! Those are the questions we asked the CEO of Human Development at the forum today. Judith Alpuche - CEO Human Development "Violence against women is perpetuated because there's a level of acceptance. A level of acceptance of domestic violence and people don't want to talk about sexual assault, people don't want to talk about rape. People don't want to talk about carnal knowledge when it happens in their community or when it happens in their family because of the shame etc. It continues on because they are cultural and social factors that are push factors to this phenomena. They way women are seen.

Mayor Bradley: BWC's and City Hall's Animosity
Belize Waste Control and Belize Maintenance Limited – those are the two private companies that (sort of) keep the city clean – and, someday when the full story is told, that two headed sanitation monster and their prohibitive weekly fees – may play the starring role in the story of the undoing of Darrell Bradley. You’ve already heard how hiring the BML workers is taking Mayor Bradley through a sort of dark night of the soul. Well, Waste Control is putting him through another set of trials. The company ahs been suing the council to collect their arrears- and at one point event threatened Mayor Bradley with a bench warrant for his arrest and imprisonment. And then on Friday the company sent court officers to take re-possess his mayoral pickup – to settle unpaid arrears. They never did because the arrears had been paid that afternoon – but today the mayor said that there is indeed abiding bad blood on both sides:..

Coast Guard Officers Report Each Other To Police
And while they took it to court….two weeks ago, a pair of coast guard officers took it out with fists, and reportedly a gun butt – and then ran to the cops. Now, it’s an arm of the military – and fights do happen – but this time, both officers went to make complaints against each other. That’s very unusual and today Commander Elton Bennett commented on what they are doing about the fisticuffs in uniform:.. Elton Bennett - Commander, Belize Coast Guard "There was an altercation between a junior officer and a senior officer on the coast guard compound. Both officers went to the police station to make a complaint against each other and the police are doing their investigations. As it relates to us internally, we're doing an investigation also. From one side it appears though the junior officer was out of line and was confronted by the senior officer, trying to arrest the situation and there was physical contact between the two."

BTL's "Dalla" Phone Promoting
Cellphones: Everybody wants one, and those who have one, always feel another one wouldn’t hurt. And when getting another one only costs a dollar – hey, why not? That’s what the mad rush was for this morning at BTL headquarters on St. Thomas Street. Only about 10 people were in line when we got there this evening but Retail Sales Department Representative Thalia Myvett says they expect another crowd tomorrow. Thalia Myvett - Retail Sales Department "Today is the first day of our dollar phone promotion. It's on going country wide so all residents in Belize city can come to this location to purchase the dollar phone. To get the phone is easy, all you need to pay is 1 dollar for the phone and 40 dollars in top up. This morning we started at 7, we had a crowd this morning, up to about 12 o clock, I could say we had up to a thousand people that has pass through our boots so far. I would like to encourage our customers to keep coming out, the supplies are very limited. We'll be here while supplies last.”

Red Cross & The Challenges of Community Service
The Red Cross does plenty for those in need, but they also need – specifically willing and dedicated volunteers. That presents a major challenge because fewer youth are engaged in community service and the working adults – well they just don’t seem to have time. David Sobers, the youth and development officer from Red Cross has returned from a Red Cross Global Volunteer forum in Bangkok, Thailand and he explained how these challenges are not unique to Belize. David Sobers- Youth and Development Officer, Red Cross "We focused on the major challenge of trying to retain volunteers. We realise over the years volunteers have left the national society around the world, so we wanted to find ways to come up with to retain volunteers and to retain good committed volunteers. One of the things we realise is the culture of volunteering has changed and persons don't have enough time. So we try to figure out what are some ways we can actually gauge the volunteers without having enough time and money.”

The 2015 Inspiration Calendar
Today the Special Envoy for Women and Children launched her 2015 agenda and calendar. Each month in the calendar is designed using drawings of 12 talented children living with disabilities. Proceeds from the sales of the agendas and the calendars will go directly towards the Inspiration Center – Kim Barrow explained: If you are interested in purchasing agendas, you can contact McNab Designs at 223-1025. Calendars are also for sale at the Special Envoy’s office at the Withfield Tower on Coney Drive for $10 dollars.

Help Age's Annual Christmas Party
The residents at the Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly were treated to a Christmas celebration today. For most of these older people, it is a refreshing experience to socialize and interact with others as their family members rarely visit them at the center. Chairman of Help Age Evan Dakers told us how important these activities are to the social and emotional well being of residents at Sister Cecilia. There are 43 residents at the Sister Cecilia home. Apart from the residents many other older people from the community were invited. A total of 150 older people were at the party.

Customs' 7th Christmas Party for Disabled Children
The Customs Department held a Christmas Party part for 120 primary school students living with disabilities in the Corozal District today. It’s a tradition that the Ministry of Education and the Custom Department is developing, and this year’s party was the biggest yet. That’s because 37 of the 39 schools in Corozal responded favourably and were accommodated with transportation for an all-day party. 7News stopped in and got a chance to observe the children enjoying themselves. Here’s what the organizers told us about it: Customs and the Education Ministry thanks the businesses which helped to organize today’s party.

A Sea Cucumber Hustle?
We always hear loose allegations of low level corruption, but an unusual case came up today – it involves a cane farmer Pedro Guerra who is threatening to take out a lawsuit against a senior fisheries officer because he says that the officer made him costly promises which he couldn’t keep. The promise was that the fisheries officer could get him a permit to expert frozen sea cucumber. Great profits were promised and the fisheries officer did all this for a fee, or, more specifically, a bribe of thirty five thousand dollars which Guerra says he paid him in January of 2014. The deal was allegedly centered around this confiscated catch of sea cucumber which we told you about in February. That was for over three thousand pounds of the valuable seafood. Now usually this would be given away to a charity, but because no one in Belize really eats it – the Fisheries Department decided to sell the frozen sea cucumber to the highest bidder. That was Guerra who says he bid at a price which the senior fisheries officer told him to. That cost him another thirty thousand dollars - but he says he never got anything.

City Hall Renovates Buttonwood Primary's Facilities
Earlier on in the news, you saw our interviews with Mayor Darrell Bradley. Well we caught him at he reopening of the Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School Library and Computer Lab. The school says it’s a special place which city hall and the central bank put together to spruce up and modernize.

Channel 5

OVER $20,000 WORTH OF PHONES STOLEN FROM CELLULAR WORLD in BELMOPAN
32-year-old Vishal Sabnani, Belizean businessman and owner of Cellular World, Belmopan Branch reported that between 5:00p.m. on 08.12.14 and 7:45a.m. on 09.12.14, his business place - Cellular World located in the Caladium Building, Belmopan was broken into and stolen were an assortment of phones totaling $20,833.00. Police investigations continue.

Chopping Incident in Corozal Leaves One Man Dead, Another Shot by Police
There was a brutal and bloody murder in Corozal Town on Tuesday night. It happened at around nine o’clock on College Road as residents of the area were getting ready [...]

Family Demands Justice in Murder of Mark Massam, Criminal Past Notwithstanding!
But Mark Massam Junior is no stranger to the law; he received a nine-year sentence back in 2005 for a string of robberies in the Orange Walk and Corozal districts. [...]

Darrell Bradley’s Sanitation Woes
In mid-January 2015, a contract issued to Belize Maintenance Limited will expire, and one hundred and seventy workers from that company will be hired on by the Belize City Council. [...]

Will BML Employees Be Assimilated into CitCo Fold Come January 2105?
And that’s where the very real, very monumental problem arises. Bradley is the Mayor, and the boss of City Hall. He says he knows without a shadow of a doubt [...]

Will Mayor Bradley Run Again in 2015 Municipals?
So where does this go from here? The Mayor has put his foot down, and so has the Prime Minister. Who will win that cock-fight is a no-brainer, but the [...]

B.T.L. & B.E.L. Nationalizations Heard at CCJ
Hearings started today at the Caribbean Court of Justice in Trinidad, which will determine the fate of B.T.L. and B.E.L., the two utility companies that were acquired from their owners [...]

Senior Fisheries Officer Fingered for Alleged Sea Cucumber Scam
Is there financial hanky-panky going on at the Belize Fisheries Department?  Senior fisheries officer Mauro Gongora is under fire for allegedly persuading a cane farmer from Corozal Town into paying [...]

All’s Well with City Hall’s Finances Despite Crowfooting of Mayor’s Vehicle
In December 2013 the Belize City Council owed Belize Waste Control over five hundred thousand dollars, and that was whittled down to fifty-nine thousand dollars. That’s the amount which resulted [...]

Is Waste Control Double-dipping with Lawsuits Against CitCo?
Last week News Five was also informed that another claim has been filed in Court against City Hall, in which BWC is claiming that it is owed over six hundred [...]

K.H.M.H. Audit Reveals More Irregularities
A special audit of the K.H.M.H. requested by the Board of Governors of that institution has revealed many irregularities in the purchase, procurement and payment of two X-ray units. Those [...]

Businessman Cecil Knowles in Court for Outstanding Income Tax Arrears
In the Magistrate’s court today, the case of the Commissioner of Income Tax versus businessman Cecil Knowles was heard. Knowles, a Belize City resident, owes the Income Tax Department seventeen [...]

Cellular World Hit by Thieves, $20,000 in Phones and Electronics Stolen
A well known Belmopan business was targeted by brazen thieves sometime after they closed for business on Tuesday evening. Thirty two year old Vishal Sabnani, businessman and owner of Cellular [...]

Accident Victim Kiran Moguel on Life Support at KHMH, Mother Faces Tough Decision
Tonight, a mother is faced with a decision which no parent should ever have to make. Esther Moguel will have to decide when to take her son, Kiran, off life [...]

Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School Receives New Resource Center
Today, the Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School proudly opened the doors of a new, fully equipped resource centre. This invaluable addition to the institution is the result of considerable lobbying [...]

Taiwan Foreign Minister on Working Visit to Belize
  A delegation led by Taiwanese Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin is scheduled for a working visit to Belize from the eleventh to the sixteenth of December.  The official [...]

2015 Inspiration Calendar Launched
The fifth edition of the Inspiration Calendar and agenda were launched earlier today; the calendar features the art work of special needs children who are clients of the Inspiration Center. [...]

Ministry of Human Development Introduces Project BA1
Today is international day of human rights.  Coinciding with activities being held was the launch of a SICA-led initiative to prevent violence against women in Central America.  This morning, at [...]

Bodybuilders Flaunt Medals from Regional Championship
On Monday, we reported that a delegation of Belizean bodybuilders won big at the Central American Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships, a regional competition held in El Salvador.  The three athletes [...]

BBBFF President Comments on Victory
According to BBBFF President, Stanley Moody, Belize had been unable to place in previous competitions.  Despite the lack of funding, however, the trio has performed well.  Moody says that there [...]

2 Belize City Men Claim GSU Brutality
Two men claim they were badly beaten today at a house on Periwinkle Street in Lake Independence Area. The Gang Suppression unit was looking for drugs and firearm. They didn’t [...]

CTV3

Eight Year Old On Life Support, Family Contemplating To Pull The Plug
In last night’s newscast we told you about a tragic accident that left an eight year old boy in critical condition in a hospital in Chetumal City, Mexico. Tonight, the child is in Belize City at the KHMH but his prognosis is grim and doctors don’t think he will recover. The situation is an extremely unfortunate and sad one for the family as the child may very well be taken off life support tonight. A close family friend, Silvia Gillett told us over the phone what the situation is like for eight year old Kiran Moguel. Silvia Gillett – Close family Friend “The child Kiran Moguel was transferred from Clinica General from Chetumal last night over to the Belizean side to Corozal Hospital and the doctors upon reaching there decided to transfer him the KHMH because that hospital does not have a ventilator, immediately he was taken by ambulance to Belize City to KHMH and we been here since about 11:30 last night.

Man Chopped To Death In Corozal Another One Shot By Police
Tonight a neighborhood in Corozal Town is still reeling from a gruesome murder that occurred in the usually bustling but tranquil College Road. When the incident played out, many watched in horror as the perpetrator viciously attacked his victim. And while police are investigating the circumstances, they too are no closer to confirming what may have led the altercation to occur. We spoke to both sides of the families today but first; we’ll take you to the scene and share with you what information the authorities have been able to collect so far. Our Corozal Correspondent Victor Castillo has that report. Victor Castillo – Reporting Investigators are currently piecing the puzzle to a brutal attack that left one Corozal resident dead. 29 year old Mark Massam was viciously murdered a little after 9 Tuesday night. What onlookers witnessed last night was disturbingly real, a machete wielding madman inflicting as much as 30 chops to his victim. Peter Serano is the Deputy Commander at the Corozal Police Station.

Family Says, Massam Was Not In His Right Mind When He Committed The Murder
And while Corozal police are investigating the circumstance surrounding the death of Mark Massam and have detained Carlos Casanova for the murder, family members of the victim claim that their loved one was set up. Doris Massam – Sister of deceased. “According to Police he was a target because he came out from jail in January and he got shot already and nothing came out of it, he got chopped already and nothing come out of it so now he is dead and I think they are glad.” Reporter “Do you believe that, we know that he has had his troubles with police but do you believe that because of that police didn’t treat him as a citizen who deserve justice and who deserve the protection of the law?”

Petro Caribe Program To See Cut Back Due To Dipping Oil Prices
The Petrocaribe program is to be cut back following cuts into Venezuela’s domestic earnings. The program which was started in 2005 has seen millions of dollars into GOB reserves. World oil prices that continue to dip is forcing Venezuela to take drastic measures and will be selling the debt to investment banks at rather big discounts to keep cash flow. Under the program, the country is owed about twenty billion dollars. So with Venezuela being forced to securitize the 3.5 billion dollar a year Petrocaribe debt some countries will be affected but Belize has not yet been named. Nonetheless, changes under the program will happen, says Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize “What I am concerned about is I don’t know if you have been told but PDVSA has indicated that they will no longer be able to supply us with Premium…I think starting either now but certainly by the end of the year.

UDP Spreads Christmas Cheers With Petro Caribe Funds
The government has issued the Christmas cheer funds a program under which this year its minsters are receiving well over one hundred thousand dollars and PUP representatives are receiving thirty-five thousand to issue within their constituencies. This Christmas Cheer is being funded by Petrocaribe funds which has funded numerous other programs under the government and which the opposition has criticized and even challenged in court. But the opposition is taking part in this program and the PUP Leader Francis Fonseca has publicly expressed his reasons for supporting the program calling it quote, “the most transparent, the most accountable,” end of quote, since no representative receives actual money. In an interview with the Prime Minister on Monday, he was asked to comment on the PUP leader’s support of the program. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize "Well, Amen." Reporter "But at the same time does this in your opinion weaken your case strategically or in any substantial way legally?"

Mother And Child Knocked Down In Chetumal, Quintana Roo
A traffic accident in Chetumal, Mexico lands a Belizean mother and her son in the hospital but doctors say the child is the more seriously hurt. Reports indicate that around four on Monday afternoon, Esther Moguel and her eight year old son Kiran Moguel were along with two others heading back to Belize after doing some shopping in Chetumal, Mexico. Both were traveling in the back of a pickup truck driven at the time by one Zacarias Copo. At an intersection on Avenida Heroes, a little past the Mew Market a vehicle crashed into the pan of the pick-up truck. The hit sent the pick-up truck spinning and in the process flinging both Moguel and her son out onto the asphalt. Esther Moguel sustained a broken hand and a cut to her forehead. Eight year old Kiran was not so fortunate however and sustained serious head injuries.

OWTC Learn More About New Regulations
Today, approximately 84 workers employed at the Orange Walk Town Council were engaged in a discussion that featured a new legislature and regulation that will govern the working aspects of all employees, no matter what rank in the Town Councils. Town Administrator Alberto Guerro who elaborated on the legislature says the new regulation will become law in the coming weeks. Alberto Guerra – TOWN ADMINSTRATOR “The document is very lengthy, it has a lot of benefits and one of the main ones that I must say is that it is looking to depoliticizes town councils and not just Orange Walk but all nine municipalities, town councils has largely been viewed as highly political from the hiring to the way they operate, this piece of legislation is looking in removing the politics from the town councils leaving the politics to the Mayors and Councilors and having the management and administrators and managers to manage and govern the staff and it also looks to give the employees tenure, meaning not because elections come and parties change that employees have to change, employees will now remain it is to give them tenure which is very good to employees.”

Catholic Schools Share The Joy Of Christmas
Students from sixteen schools convened at the Crystal Palace Auditorium this morning to share in the Christmas joy in what has become an annual event. We are talking about the Christmas Variety Show organized and held by the Catholic Principals Association. This is the third year that the event is being held and it sees the participation of sixteen catholic institutions. The event features different presentations from these schools which prepare weeks ahead. These presentations are performed by students of different standards depending on what the school decides to present for the occasion. The presentations include dances, singing and even drama. It is a great opportunity for participating students to meet new friends in a fun filled environment. Organizers say that the variety show is held to celebrate the occasion and also serves as a fund raiser for the association. Here is a look at some of the presentations. Enjoy.

Rigo Vellos Completes Central American Body Building
Tonight the spot light once more shines on Mr. Belize Rigo Vellos as he competed at the Central American Body Building Championship this past weekend in El Salvador. Vellos went up against body builders from across Central America and placed second place in the Light Heavy Weight 80 to 85 KG Competition. Competing along with Vellos were two other Belizean Body Builders well known to the Body Building Competitions in Belize, Clayton Greenidge who came in 3rd place in the Light Heavy Weight (80 to 85 KG) Competition and 2nd place in the Masters Competition. Oyinkro Akpobodor, better known as the African, won 1st place in the Under 23 Category and 2nd place in the Heavy Weight (over 85 KG) Competition.

Thieves Target La Inmaculada School
Some twenty-five infant two students were displaced this morning at La Inmaculada School, Infant Division as their classroom had been broken into. Well before classes begun this morning, police were called to the school to investigate the break in which according to school officials took place sometime between six and eight this morning. Two louvers were pried open and it is here that the perpetrator gained access to the classroom. While the classroom was basically untouched, the thief helped himself to over one hundred dollars that the class teacher had collected and was intended to finance the children’s end of term class party this Friday.

O/W Police Remove More Drugs Off The Streets
The police are tonight reporting another successful operation which yielded in the confiscation of drugs from off the streets. Around 5:50 p.m. on Monday, while police were conducting an operation on the Phillip Goldson Highway in San Jose Village, they intercepted a Joshua’s Bus with license plates -OW-D-4525 travelling from Corozal to Orange Walk. Police then conducted a search in a knapsack belonging to 35-year-old Tyron Alexander Williams, Belizean watchman of Lord’s Bank Village who was a passenger on the bus. The search led to the discovery of a black plastic bag containing one parcel wrapped in transparent plastic containing a total of 680.4 grams of suspected cannabis. Williams has since been detained pending charges.

Students Of BMHS Honor San Juan Diego
Students at Bishop Martin High School stepped out of class today to pay honor to San Juan Diego. For the third time a handful of students took part in a torch run and the rest of the student body held a procession this morning as part of the celebrations. Here is a look at that event. Dalila Ical – Reporting In keeping with tradition, students ran from the northern border to Orange Walk Town this morning where they were met by the rest of the school population. It is a celebratory occasion says High School Principal Luis Pook. Luis Pook - High School Principal “San Juan Diego as you know is the Patron Saint of Bishop Martin High School, he is a Mexican Saint and we embrace the activities that we do here today in honor of our Patron Saint.”

2015 May Bring New Electricity Rate
On Monday the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission 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. The savings achieved are primarily due to lower than expected cost of power from Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) during the current tariff period, which has made it possible for the Company to provide electricity to customers at a reduced rate.


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#498900 - 12/11/14 10:32 AM Re: Today's Belize News: December 11, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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LOVE FM

Gruesome Murder; One Man Dead, Another Hospitalized
Corozal police are investigating a gruesome murder. 29 year old Mark Massam Jr., was chopped to dead by 22 year old Carlos Cassanova. It happened sometime after 9 oclock on college road and police believe that they had to shot Cassanova in order for hom to stop chopping Massam Jr. Our News team was in Corozal Town today and Hipolito Novelo has the story. HIPOLITO NOVELO “Twenty-nine-year-old Mark Massam Jr. was chopped to death last night on College Road in Corozal Town. The accused murderer is 22 year old Carlos Cassanova. Police say that a feud between both men ensured leading a machete wielding Cassanova to ultimately murder Massam Jr., by chopping him countless times to the head. When police arrived on the scene, they ordered Cassanova to seize but that did not work. Police then fired two warning shots, but that did not work either.”

HelpAge Belize Celebrates Human Rights Day
In 1950, the United Nations declared December 10 as Human Rights Day with the objective of garnering the attention of persons from around the world to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to use the points in this declaration as a compass in having all nations achieve the common standards set out in the paper. There are several institutions that are recognizing this day and using it as an opportunity to appeal for the respect and recognition of the rights of a human being. Helpage Belize is one of those organizations that have partnered up with Helpage International in highlighting the rights of elderly persons and persons with disabilities. Love News spoke with Ivorine Bulwer, the Executive Director for Helpage Belize.

Police Search In Abandon Lot; Discovery of Pistol
At 12:50p.m. on 09.12.14, police conducted a search in an abandoned lot on Faber’s Road Extension which led to the discovery of a black and chrome CZ75 compact pistol, S/N-A267482 and (1) magazine containing 5 live rounds. No one was in the area at the time and the items were deposited as found property.

Police Search In Abandoned Lot; Discovery of Cannabis
At 9:00p.m. on 09.12.14, Police conducted a search in an abandoned lot in Corozal Town which led to the discovery of a black plastic bag containing 61.4grams of suspected cannabis. No one was found in the area and the drugs were deposited as found property.

Robbery in Local Super Market; Man Robbed of Cellular Phone
A 20-year-old man of Calcutta Village, Corozal District reported that at 7:00p.m. on 05.12.14, he went to a local super market and while exiting he saw three male persons enter the supermarket all dressed in dark clothing and faces covered. He stated that one of the men pulled out a handgun and fired a shot in the store. He further stated that upon seeing what was happening, he ran and about two minutes later he saw the three male persons on bicycles coming towards him. The men then caught up with him when one whom he recognized as Jermaine Sanker took out a handgun and pointed it at him and robbed him of (1) BLU cell phone valued at $185.00. Police have recovered the cell phone and have since detained 18-year-old Randolph Crawford of #58 Snapper Street, Corozal Town and are looking for 19-year-old Jermaine Sanker of Skeleton Town Area, Corozal Town pending investigations.

Minor Reported Missing
A fifteen year old boy has been reported missing. 36-year-old Kifani Timmons of Curl Thompson Street in Belize City reported that at six o’clock yesterday morning, her 15-year-old son Steven Vernon, a construction worker, left home en route to work on Cemetery Road and has not returned. Steven Vernon is of Creole descent, slim built, has short black hair, stands about five feet four inches in height, weighs about 110 pounds and has two tattoos on his feet with the names Kiandra and Sherie. He was last seen wearing long black jeans pants, red and white shirt and a pair of red and white tennis. He was last seen at three o’clock yesterday evening at a neighbor’s house.

Belmopan Cellular World Burgularized
Over twenty thousand dollars of phones were stolen from the Belmopan branch of Cellular World. 32-year-old Vishal Sabnani reported that between five o’clock Monday evening and 7:45 yesterday morning his business place located in the Caladium Building, Belmopan, was broken into and an assortment of phones totaling twenty thousand eight hundred and thirty three dollars were stolen.

Belize City Man Skiff Stolen Near His Residence
60-year-old Sydney Fuller of Dickenson Street in Belize City has reported his white and red 25-foot fiberglass skiff with a forty horse power Yamaha outboard engine and three fishing nets were stolen. The items have a total value of twenty three thousand dollars. According to Fuller the items were stolen between six p.m. on Monday and eleven o’clock yesterday morning from where it was docked about 75 feet away from his residence. Police are looking for one male person pending investigations.

Chopping Incident Leaves One Dead And Another Hospitalized
A man is dead and another hospitalized following an incident in Corozal last night. Police say sometime after nine o’clock last night they responded to a chopping incident on College Road in that municipality. On arrival they saw 22-year-old Carlos Cassanova inflicting chop wounds to 29-year-old Mark Massam Jr of Bocotora Street. Cassanova was ordered to drop the machete; however, he refused and continued inflicting chop wounds to Massam; that was when Police fired shots at Cassanova hitting him in both legs in order to subdue him. Initial investigations revealed that earlier that night the men were riding on separate bicycles on Collage Road when they got into an argument and escalated into a fight. Cassanova was transported to the Corozal Town Hospital and later to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he was admitted in a stable condition. Massam Jr, was transported to the Corozal Community Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

UNIBAM Celebrates International Human Rights Day
Today is being celebrated as International Human Rights Day. The theme for this year is “Human Rights 365″, which is a reminder that everyone is entitled to basic rights. A number of organizations are holding events to mark the day. The United Belize Advocacy Movement says it joins organizations around the World in celebrating the day. UNIBAM calls on all organization to continue to express the values and principles of human rights, to ensure its inclusiveness and impact to quality of life of all citizens as rights are indivisible and universal.

PlusTV

Unidentified Cayo man died from trauma by blunt instrument
On Tuesday we told you about a Salvadoran man known only as Alex, who was found clinging to life inside a house in San Ignacio. Police have still not been able to identify Alex X but they have now ruled his death as a murder. According to the post mortem examination, the cause of death was certified...

Cellular World Belmopan cleaned out by burglars
Cellular World in Belmopan was burglarized and a number of phones were stolen. 32-year-old Vishal Sabnani, Belizean businessman and owner of Cellular World, Belmopan Branch reported that between 5:00p.m. on December 8 and 7:45a.m...

Caye Chapel Sold to Mexican Luxury Hotel Group
There is big news in the economic sector of Belize and that is because Caye Chapel, a two hundred and sixty five acre island in Belize District, was purchased by a leading Mexican luxury hotel group. The high end destination had been in the market for several years, and several names of would-be buy...

Sanitation worries City Hall
As he predicted some time ago, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley is once again confronting the spectre of the sanitation contracts owned by Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) and Belize Waste Control (BWC). The latter sent officers of the courts to crowfoot City Council assets to settle a debt. The Ma...

Man found dead in Esperanza, apparent chop wounds
Police have confirmed that the body of a man was found in the village of Esperanza, Cayo District late Wednesday evening. Reports say that the body of the man appears to have what looks like chop wounds. Police are not revealing much information at this moment as the identity of the man has not been...

Government: City Council must hire BML workers
In August of this year, following unrest among workers of Belize Maintenance Limited (BML), who were in danger of being dropped by their employer, because the Belize City Council was heavily behind in payments for the weekly sanitation contract, Prime Minister Dean Barrow made a public commitment to have the Council hire all the workers (about 170) when the contract expires next January. But it represents one of many headaches for forward-thinking Mayor Darrell Bradley, who has publicly contended against the burdensome addition to a trimmed City Hall payroll. While he sympathizes, Prime Minister Barrow made clear that the commitment stands, even as he denied that the party may lose the popular Bradley’s candidacy because of it.

First responders trained in oil spill management
It is the nightmare of Belize’s environmental community and its Government officials alike – the possibility of oil spilling either on land or at sea. With interest in exploration stepping up and at least one operation, that of Belize Natural Energy (BNE), already in place, the importance of tailoring a response to a potential oil spill is important, and so a group of the people who would be first on the scene in any such event was held on Tuesday in Belize City. We hear more from Acting Senior Environmental Officer in the Department of the Environment, Maxine Monsanto.

Picketing over undeclared assets of elected officials
Every end of the year, Ministers, Area Representatives, Councillors, Mayors and every other elected official, is required by law to submit a disclosure of their assets to the Integrity Commission as a means of check and balance, that ensures that elected officials are not enriching themselves unlawfully off of the people’s taxes. The Integrity Commission Act was enacted under the Prevention of Corruption in Public Life in 1994,and was further reformed in 2008- as promised in the UDP’s manifesto. But the broken Integrity Commission has not been able to serve its purpose properly. In his New Year’s speech, the Prime Minister promised that in 2014 he would “remedy omissions such as the failure to appoint the integrity commission.” We are now in the last weeks of 2014 and up to date there are no records of elected officials submitting their declaration of assets.

Cayo police try to identify dead man
Police are grappling with the sudden death of a man only known as Alex, believed to be a Salvadoran National in his twenties. Reports on Monday were that sometime around 9:30 and 11:30 on Saturday December 6th, Alex was socializing with some friends on Awe Street, in San Ignacio. He left shortly after and was not seen again until he was discovered at around 4:00 am on Sunday morning by 22 year old Dennis Guzman, inside a house at Coyoc Street, San Ignacio, in a semi unconscious state. Dennis Guzman told us via phone that he had known Alex X for only a month and a half and had allowed him, in good faith, to lodge with him temporarily in his house. . Dennis Guzman “I reached home between four and four thirty. When I walked into my house, I heard the man breathing hard. The lights were on. I saw him on the bed. He was bleeding. I carried him to hospital. That’s it.”

Son stabs father; father won’t press charges
On Monday we told you about a stabbing incident in Esperanza Village, Cayo, which involved a father and a son. Reports were that that on Saturday night December 6th, 50 year old Joseph August Sr. and his 20 year old son were socializing at a bar in the village when they got into an argument. The son then reportedly left but returned a short while later with a knife and inflicted a stab wound to his father’s chest. Joseph was rushed to the San Ignacio Hospital and later transported to the Western Regional Hospital in a stable condition. Charges were dropped on Tuesday at the request of the father.

Patrick JonesPJ

OpEd: Can torture ever be justified?
Today the 10th day December has been proclaimed by the UN General Assembly as World Human Rights Day with its stated objective as “to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples […]

Sanitation worries continue to bedevel City Hall
As he predicted some time ago, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley is once again confronting the specter of the sanitation contracts owned by Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) and Belize Waste Control (BWC). Belize Waste Control sent officers of the courts to crowfoot City Council assets to settle a […]

Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School receives computer lab
The student body of Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School got to celebrate a renovated computer lab delivered through the Belize City Council. The school, located along Coney Drive, has a population of 223 and has had to scrap for what it can get. Principal Amelia Bencomo said the […]

Older persons honored on Human Rights Day
Today is International Human Rights Day and there were activities held around the country. Helpage Belize is marking the occasion with a renewed call for government to challenge the wide range of human rights and violations experienced everyday by many older women and men. In Belize City at […]

Bodybuilding Federation calls for athletic support
On the heels of the success of the trio of Rigo Vellos, Clayton Greenidge and Oyinkro Akpobodor at the recent Central American Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships in El Salvador, the Belize Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBBFF) held a follow-up press conference in Belize City today. According to BBBFF […]

Body found in Esperanza village
The body of a man was found in Esperanza village, Cayo this evening. According to reports received, the body appeared to have what looks like chop wounds. The name of the person is being withheld, pending official reports from the Police and notification of the family.

UNIBAM celebrates international Human Rights Day
Today is international Human Rights Day. It marks the adoption, in 1948, of the adoption and the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly. In Belize, the United Belize Advocacy Movement, UNIBAM, issued a statement this morning saying that it […]

Christmas Cheer reaches Families in the Belmopan Area Schools
The students in the Belmopan Area Schools have teamed up to give Christmas Cheers to families with children living with various disabilities. Students and their parents donated food items towards the cause and the team at the District Education Centre Belmopan Office under the coordination of Mrs. […]

Anti-rabies campaign underway in Toledo
The Public Health department along with Vector Control Unit are carrying out and an anti-rabies campaign in the Toledo district. Personnel from the two agencies are visiting the villages in the district to vaccinate dogs and cats as part of the community outreach campaign. The general public is […]

BTL offers economy phone promotion
Belize Telemedia is today offering a special promotion of phone devices and Belizeans are lining up to take advantage of what is being offered. At the BTL headquarters on St. Thomas Street in Belize City, there were long lines of customers who have turned out to take […]

Police investigate Corozal murder
Police in Corozal have identified the victim of last night’s murder as 29 year old Mark Massam, Jr. Authorities say that around 9:15 pm, they responded to reports of a chopping incident on College Road and upon their arrival, observed a man identified as 22 year […]

Corozal man chopped to death
There are reports of a violent attack tonight in Corozal town which has left one man dead. Reports are that a man viciously chopped another during an attack which happened on College Road. The man believed to have chopped the others, was himself allegedly wounded by a […]

The November 7, 2014 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Six Santa Elena Men Arrested And Charged For Drug Possession:
    Six Santa Elena men were arrested and charged for the possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply. On Friday, November 28, San Ignacio police were on routine patrol on George Price Avenue in Santa Elena when their attention was drawn to six men sitting around a table in the yard. Upon approaching the young men police immediately smelt a strong marijuana scent. The young men around the table were searched and however nothing incriminating was found. Further checks in the immediate vicinity led to the discovery of a red Emperador biscuit pack lodged between a zinc and a piece of lumber, the bag contained three small transparent plastic bags containing a green leafy substance suspected to be marijuana.
  • Organic Produce Becoming A Reality For Belize:
    Organic vegetables are in high demand due to safety concerns. Not too long ago all food grown in Belize was organic. With commercial growing came agrochemicals and concerns about the health of both the soil and the consumer. In recent times in Belize, the only way to assure that food is grown safely and organically is to grow your own. Consumers worldwide have become increasingly alarmed at the incidence of agrochemical poisons in their food because indications are that it is the cause of increases in cancer and other serious diseases. There are many people who simply don’t want produce that has been exposed to agrochemicals or other environmental toxins and GMOs. Some people are turning to organically produced vegetables in Belize because they know that agrochemicals are often not safely used. Washing can‘t make vegetables safe because some of the chemicals are inside the produce. Belize, unfortunately, is not yet sufficiently monitoring the safety of the vegetables in the markets.
  • Another Santa Elena Man On Drug Possession Charges:
    A Santa Elena man was found in possession of 6.6 grams of suspected cannabis. On Tuesday, December 2, police on mobile patrol on Carmen Street, leading into Carillo Puerto Avenue in Santa Elena saw a suspicious male person walking in the opposite direction on Carmen Street. Upon seeing the police, Jonathan Smith, 40, Belizean laborer, threw a green object to the side of the street and continued walking. Police stopped and escorted Smith to the area where they saw him throw the object. Upon reaching the area police observed that it was a green leafy substance suspect to be marijuana. Smith was cautioned and escorted to the San Ignacio police station.
  • Clarification on GOB December 2014 Residential Mortgage Payment Program:
    Through the Residential Mortgage Payment Program, the Government of Belize will assist qualifying Belizeans by reimbursing December 2014 interest and principal payments on all residential mortgages with an original value of up to BZ$100,000.00. Borrowers from the National Bank, Commercial Banks, Credit Unions, the Development Finance Corporation and the Belize Social Security Board can apply for assistance; however borrowers must meet the following criteria approved by Cabinet: 1. Must be residential mortgages of original value of no more than BZ$100,000.00;
  • Belize Officially Hands Over Pro-Tempore Presidency of COMISCA:
    Following two days of regional discussions at the XLI Ordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Health of Central America and the Dominican Republic (COMISCA), Minister of Health Hon. Pablo Marin today officially transferred the Pro-tempore Presidency of COMISCA to the Minister of Health of Guatemala Luis Enrique Monterroso, who will now serve for the next six months. Minster of Health Hon. Pablo Marin expressed his appreciation for the cooperation received during his time as Pro-tempore President. Minister Marin commented, “Enormous strides have been made in Belize and the region and we look forward to further progress in the next year.” During Belize’s Presidency, new challenges including Ebola and Chikungunya had been addressed. Renewed attention was focused on chronic diseases including HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis and Family & Community health.
  • Reaching Perfection:
    Steel is iron plus fire. Soil is rock, plus heat, or glacier crushing. Linen is flax plus the bath that cleans, the comb that separates, and the flail that pounds, and the shuttle that weaves. Human character must have a plus attached to it. The world does not forget great characters. But great characters are not made of luxuries, they are made by suffering. I heard of a mother who brought into her home as a companion to her own son, a crippled boy who was also a hunchback. She had warned her boy to be very careful in his relations to him, and not to touch the sensitive part of his life but go right on playing with him as if he were an ordinary boy. She listened to her son as they were playing; and after a few minutes he said to his companion: “Do you know what you have got on your back?” The little hunchback was embarrassed, and he hesitated a moment. The boy said: “It is the box in which your wings are; and some day God is going to cut it open, and then you will fly away and be an angel.”
  • Fruit Comes from Deep Roots:
    “The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it. But they don’t have deep roots, and they believe only for a little while. As soon as life gets hard, they give up.” (Luke8:13 CEV) During the springtime, all the grass in Southern California turns green, the wildflowers and poppies bloom, and it’s really pretty. But the moment the rains stop, the hills turn brown again. Why? Because the grass has no roots. It can’t go down deep enough to get water from the springs that are deep beneath the ground. When there are no roots, when a plant is in shallow soil, it may initially sprout and look good, but it doesn’t last. The plants wither quickly because they don’t have roots. Luke 8:13 says, “The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it. But they don’t have deep roots, and they believe only for a little while. As soon as life gets hard, they give up” (CEV).
  • 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.
  • Glaucoma:
    Glaucoma is a term describing a group of ocular (eye) disorders resulting in optic nerve damage or loss to the field of vision, in many patients caused by a clinically characterized pressure buildup in regards to the fluid of the eye (intraocular pressureassociated optic neuropathy). In a large number of glaucoma patients, however, the intraocular pressure (IOP) is normal, i.e. below 20 mm Hg. These patients display the same signs of glaucomatous damage as those with an elevated IOP; their condition is thus called normal tension glaucoma. The disorders can be roughly divided into two main Glaucoma categories, "open-angle" and "closed-angle" (or "angle closure") glaucoma. The angle refers to the area between the iris and cornea, through which fluid must flow to escape via the trabecular meshwork, an area of tissue in the eye located around the base of the cornea. Closed-angle glaucoma can appear suddenly and is often painful; visual loss can progress quickly, but the discomfort often leads patients to seek medical attention before permanent damage occurs.
  • STAR Humor
  • Your Weekly Horoscope and Lucky Numbers
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Public Notices

Blogs

New Chicago-To-Belize Flights thanks to United Airlines!
We smiled upon hearing the news that beginning 20 December 2014, United Airlines will be adding weekly Saturday flights from Chicago to Belize City, bolstering its current service to Belize from Houston and Newark. United will offer the new Chicago-to-Belize flights through to 15 August 2015, according to a recent post on ASIATravel tips.com. As we reported earlier, Delta Airlines recently increased its Atlanta to Belize service from eight to 12 weekly flights, and also resumed weekly non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Belize this last November, giving travellers from the City of Angels an extra 160 seats per week.

Local Focal Part 1
Belize has a flavour that goes far beyond September celebrations – on the 10th, the commemoration of the battle of St. Georges Caye and on the 21st, Independence day – it goes beyond the creole we will turn to speak to you and the Jankunu dance and the merriment of the Garifuna drums in the movement of Punta (add some synthesisers and you get “Punta Rock”). Oh yes, the flavour of Belize predominantly lies in your plate! Apart from the awesome spices and the rice, beans potato salad, the deliciousness of the free range, local fowl is what truly dictates the massive intensity of the Belizean cuisine. Sure one can get the chicken sold in stores and they too, well seasoned and prepared are tasty and rich in niceness. But, walk through a village and find a home where you see chickens running around a yard next to dogs and turkeys and maybe even pigs – thats the place you would want to stop for lunch. Don’t get us wrong, not all the yards where these chickens roam “wild” will have lunch readily available for you, but how amazing would that be?!!

Breakfast in Belize: Fry Jacks
Forget the fresh lobster and morning catch fish, the most popular thing to have for breakfast in Belize is fry jacks. I’d never heard of them before either. I’d heard a murmur surrounding they’re deliciousness as soon as I arrived on Caye Caulker, but it took two weeks of being in Belize until I finally got round to trying it. And all thanks to my new Belizean friend Nadine. I was with two friends and we went out for dinner to Sobre des Alos on the waterfront in Caye Caulker. We got chatting with the waitress, Nadine, who’s awesome, and by the end of the night she’d invited us round for breakfast to her house the next morning.

How Much Will I Spend in Belize?
Belize is an expensive country to travel to, there’s no getting away from it, unless you stay west and don’t do anything that is. After I realised how much I’d spent in Belize, and how much more I was likely to spend if I stayed in the tourist areas of Caye Caulker, this is exactly what I did. But how much does a holiday to Belize cost? Overall in 20 days in Belize I spent £998.55 (£49.93 per day). A good 80% of this was in 10 days on the island of Caye Caulker, where I had a lot of fun. Before that I spent four days in Belize City without doing much but going to Belize City Zoo. After Caye Caulker, and realising how much I’d spent, I decided to chill out in Benque on the Guatemalan / Belize border, just catching up with work, life and exploring ruins for a few days until home time.

Shark! Snorkelling at Caye Caulker Marine Reserve with EZ Boys
With all the scuba diving and snorkelling I’ve done this week in Belize I feel like I’m an extra on Finding Nemo. If you ever go to the island of Caye Caulker you absolutely have to go to the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. It was one of the coolest things I’ve done. Take a tour with E Z Boys – there are loads of tour operators on the island, but this came recommended and was awesome – $70BZD and you’ll get to go to four spots to wet your snorkel. After spending the morning drinking rum punch and learning the words to Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid in preparation, 2pm came round and off we went. We had the boat to ourselves; me, Coco and Dick. Real name, seriously, I checked his driver’s license. And it turns out ‘Coco’ is what they call lady parts in Belize. I had to start going by VJJ just to fit in. We became pretty popular.

International Sourcesizz

Season's greetings from Belize
Luci Kennedy’s seventh-graders huddled around her and her tablet Dec. 3 at Holy Trinity Catholic School as they carried on a conversation with high school students about 1,500 miles away in Belize. Luci’s students just finished studying Central America, but they learned more than just textbook facts during last week’s face-to-face conversation. The interaction was made possible by Luci’s daughter, Katherine, who is spending a year teaching math in Belize after graduating from Benedictine College in May. Katherine, who also is a former Holy Trinity student and 2010 Paola High School graduate, actually spoke to her mother’s students in person while returning home from Belize earlier this fall. When she went back to her Central American school, she took with her two suitcases full of treats, clothing, letters and more to deliver to her students.

Foreign Minister to visit Belize to promote ties
Foreign Minister David Lin is leading a delegation on a visit to Belize, where he will meet with his counterparts in the Central America region to promote deeper ties, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday. During the visit to Belize, Lin is also scheduled to call on the country's Governor General Colville Young, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and other government officials to discuss issues of mutual concern in an effort to advance bilateral diplomatic relations, the ministry said in a statement. On Dec. 15 in the Belizean town of Placencia, Lin will attend a meeting in which foreign ministers of the six Central American countries that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan are expected to participate.

Belize: 60,000 pounds of onions 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. Marin denied reports of a ban against importation of yellow onions from Mexico, where that variety of onions comes in much larger sizes. He said that the larger mauve and white onions are imported from Mexico. Marin said that Mexican prices fluctuate a lot.

Music is a 'weapon to make change' for this Garifuna guitar player and activist
Aurelio Martinez has two major roles in his life: He’s a musician, specializing in the music of the Garifuna people of Central America, but he's also a politician who advocates for their rights. “Music, for me, is my weapon to make change," Martinez says, "to bring power and empower the people in our community, and to give pride to our children. Sometimes, we don’t have any pride around our culture, where we come from.” The Garifuna are already a small minority throughout Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. And with inevitable cultural assimilation, many of the community’s older traditions have already been phased out. “There are certain songs that used to be performed in social gatherings, and they don’t happen as they used to. Especially now, everybody just stays home and watches TV or they go about their lives in a different way," explains Ivan Duran, Martinez’s producer.

Dominica workshop to examine citrus greening in Caribbean
Dominica will host a three-day regional conference on the Haunglong Bing (HLB) or citrus greening disease management. The disease is caused by a bacterium that blocks the phloem and prevents the flow of nutrients, resulting in loss of leaves, deformation and early drop of fruits and eventual death of the tree. The disease is vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri. The Food and Agriculture Organisation-sponsored workshop, which started yesterday, will allow for delegates from National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPO) within the Caribbean Community to discuss ways to prevent and control HL. The organisers describe HLB as one of the most serious and devastating of all the diseases affecting citrus. "Its high socio-economic impact is linked to the fact that all species of citrus are affected and there is no known cure."

Drugs in Early Americas Included 'Magic' Mushrooms and Toad Skin
From hallucinogenic mushrooms and cacti to alcohol-infused enemas and psychoactive dried toad skins, the array of consciousness-altering substances that people in the early Americas used was wider than thought, a new report suggests. People living in Mesoamerica before the arrival of Europeans used such psychotropic drugs primarily in medicine and religious rituals, said study author Francisco Javier Carod-Artal of Hospital Virgen de la Luz in Cuenca, Spain. (Mesoamerica is a region defined more by shared cultures than by geographical boundaries, but it can roughly be considered as the southernmost region of North America. The modern nations of Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua and Costa Rica are among the countries in the region.) The Maya — whose civilization reached its peak between 250 B.C. and A.D. 900 — consumed an intoxicating drink called "balché" during the ritual of divination, in which they tried to communicate with spirits, according to the report.The Mayamade the drink by mixing an infusion from the bark of a plant called Lonchocarpus longistylus together with honey produced by bees that fed on a type of a morning glory plant that contained ergine, which is thought to have psychedelic properties.

Norwegian Cruise Line Reveals Itineraries for 2016-17
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced its highly anticipated itineraries for 2016-17. Among the deployment highlights are the new Norwegian Escape cruises from Miami to the Caribbean. The cruise line will offer an eight-day Eastern Caribbean voyage in addition to a six-day Western Caribbean cruise. Norwegian will also introduce a new island destination, Harvest Caye, for passengers headed to Belize. The cruise line's website claims visitors will find both "solace and adventure" in Harvest Caye. The just announced itineraries are already available for group bookings, but will go on sale for Latitudes Rewards guests and President’s Club travel partners on Dec. 16. The 2016-17 voyages will be open for all bookings on Dec. 18.

Videos

Video: Project PAC Belize 2014: Day 3, min. Our first clinic day was filled by 3 different villages across Belize City. We tested blood glucose, measured blood pressures, and administered physical exams to the locals of these villages.

Video: PADI OW Certification Belize November 2014, min. Frank and Wen. Ecologic Divers. Belize, Ambergris Caye, San Pedro. Open Water Certification and post-cert diving. No music - sounds of diving! Filmed with Hero 3+ Black and Hero 4 Silver. Pablo was the instructor. Sharks, Turtles, Rays and a host of other fish and creatures.

Video: Belize Adventure - Part 1 - H'Ohm, 9min.

Video: Landing in Belize City International Airport (Updated), 2.5min.

Video: Belize November 2014 Diving, 17min. Belize scuba diving with Ecologic Divers. Shorty, Greg and Pablo were our dive masters. Kim and Matt, Lauren, Frank and Wen. Sharks, Turtles, Moray Eels and a host of other neat creatures.

Video: Belize - Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, 2min. Took a quick trip down to Belize for a shoot with Offsprings Productions out of the UK. Picking up some aerial shots with the DJI S1000 and GH4 platform. We stayed and the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. All shots are from the Panasonic GH4. Some handheld, some on the DJI Ronin.

Video: School of Princess Parrotfish at Silk/Queen, Belize., 1min. Princess Parrotfish (Scarus taeniopterus) swimming in a school. Shot at Silk/Queen Caye Belize with GoPro HERO 3+ Black.


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Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
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We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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